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Can anyone give me some ideas for a planted Eclipse Six? How can I avoid that murky water that a lot of the planted aquariums suffer from? I want clear water with crisp green (not dark green plants). However I do not plan to use CO2 and my lighting is the standard 8W full spectrum lighting. However, I also have full spectrum lights in my office, which may provide more ambient light for the plants. Clean, lush, and beautiful is the look I am going for. Unfortunately, I already put water and gravel in, so it may be a pain to add in a substrate...if i can find a small amount at a good price, I'll still put it in though. Will root tabs suffice in a tank without a proper substrate? Will plants introduce algae to the tank and how can I treat the plant to kill the algae? Thanks!
 

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In my opinion I think root tabs will not make up for lack of organic substrate over the long haul. You can see a boost in initial budding and leaf production with fertilizer tabs, but trace elements and long-term carbon/nitrogen stores will be limited in a new setup. You can coax plants to put on heavy vegetation, and then not provide enough long-term support to keep them from spotting and developing chlorotic patches on lower leaves. Now much of this depends on the type of plants you select to start the aquarium with, many good aquatic gardeners start out with all stem plants to get things going and then replace with other forms over time, as the system adjusts and collects detritus (decaying leaf matter/fish wastes/light gravel scum) in the aging gravel bed.

I think a great mix for your tank would be to actually plant it with slow growers who are easy on light, like heavy Microsorium P. (java fern) and Anubias of any kind planted very densely. Keep fertilization to a minimum, Id recommend light dosing with the Pink and Blue bottles of Kent's Pro-Grow and Micronutrient support, these work well in my systems and are the only two fertilizers I use. To start of with a nutrient poor substrate, why not try plants that won't pull from it as fast/ Then you won't find yourself dosing so heavily in a Nano and having all the green water you fear. this is a good approach for the lighting and CO2 non-injection you've mentioned (which can be nicely compensated with a few respiring fish).

let your substrate slowly collect over time; dont load it heavily with high-nutrient food particles as is found in overfeeding. But let a leaf decay every once in a while, much is to be said about the bioavailability of macro and micro nutrients when various protists and bacteria have consumed their portions. Id say as the system ages somewhat, use a couple substrate boosts every now and then to charge up your heavily rooted anubias forest.

Just my .03,

Brandon M.
 

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I have java fern and anubias nana in my 6g eclipse...it is so filled in now that I can barely see the bottom! They grow very well under the elipse lighting.
 

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im not sure if you can get the "crisp" green with the lighting you have. majority of the low lights plants are not "crisp" green. Java fern is not that dark green, but anubias are. Crypts are medium green. i've seen the eclipse tanks. they aren't really bright, so don't expect too much. im sure you can grow the low light plants pretty decent and make it look good with good aquascaping. :D
 

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I also just bought an Eclipse 6 and am concerned about the default light bulb. I just purchased a Hagen CO2 system and some fertilizer tabs for aquatic plants (can't remember the brand right now as I'm typing this at work) and plan to use Seachem's Flourite substrate.

My question is, since I am going to use CO2 and a substrate designed for plants is the default bulb adequate for plant growth? Or is it so low-level in output will the plants be doomed? Are there any plants I could get that are hardy and could survive (maybe even grow a bit) the conditions I describe (good substrate + CO2 plus low-light levels)?

If not, is there anyone who can tell me exactly what and where I can purchase a good high-output bulb that will fit in the Eclipse 6 hood fixture? Or maybe I could tape or glue aluminum foil near the default bulb to help reflect more light into the water?
 

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I setup an Eclipse 3 Nano Reef, and Have seen Eclipse 6 Nano reefs. Go to Hellolights.com and get the 13 dollar 13 watt pc kits. On the eclipse 6 planted and reef tanks I have seen 4 kits fit (2 on a planted should be fine) and I have 2 on Eclipse 3. I myself have also plugged in a standard 15 watt fixture to place over a 1.5 gal Eclipse Explorer tank.

Ray
 

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Thanks Ray

Do you think a 15w bulb might fit in the Eclipse 6 fixture? I'm willing to spend a little bit more on a bulb to get better light to the plants as long as it doesn't require me to become the next Bob Villa.

That's mainly because I have no clue as to how to retro fit an Eclipse 6 hood for a compact flourescent and my boyfriend said since it was my project it'd be my problem to solve. *sigh*
 

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Hamsterdance,

Sorry, the 15 watt fixture that I put on the 1.5 gal tank is the 15 watt incandescent fixture and not PC. The upgrade that I know of the PC lights are 27 watts from 13 watts. But I think space wise, two 13 watts will fit better since the 27 watt pc bulbs are 4 bulbs across and the 13 watts are 2 bulbs across but if you do what I did and mount them Head to Toe, the actual area you need is smaller.

Ray
 

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Not sure. I have bought the AH supplys kits for the 55 watt kits, however I have found that Hellolights.com tend to have the smaller nano kits. Call them and ask for Scott. He helped me mount the kit but basically I used marine goop (That is the name in the hardware store) to blue the Endcap and reflector into my hood. Then I took the ballast and mounted the ballast with small screwss to the back of the hood. Lastly, I am using a radioshack microfan to control temperature on the Eclipse 3. I have also seen where some people prefer building a "Ballast" Box seperate to control lighting. I guess I can see building one with a toggle switch.

Ray
 

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You will have to modify the hood. You cant power a higher wattage bulb with a ballast that is designed to power a lower wattage bulb. It either wont fire at all, or it will only put out the lower wattage.

So, its not as simple as getting a better bulb, you need the bulb, and the means to power it. These retro kits are just that, its the bulb and all the necessary components to power it.
 

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Oh dear...

What kind of tools would I need to retro fit an Eclipse 6 hood? Are we talking power drills and solder, etc? This is what I was afraid of. I don't know how to solder or do any kind of electrical wiring.

Maybe if I beg and plead with my boyfriend I can convince him to do this. Or maybe some sort of bribe...*sigh* Or maybe I could get my dad to do this...sheesh, I'm impressed now with all these folks who go the DIY route.

If I buy one of these retro-fit kits do they come with instructions? I might be able to attempt this if these kits come with step-by-step instructions.
 

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Well that sounds a bit less daunting. If it's only a drill and screwdriver I just might be able to manage it.

I just got off the phone with Hellolights. The guy I talked to thinks a 13w won't be enough light for growing plants. He recommended their 14" Nano Ballast retrofit kit with a 28w compact flourescent. I put a link to their page below so you can see what he's talking about. Is this a good system? Was he right about 13w not being enough? They also sell a 13" retrofit kit but he kept steering me away from it. The Nano retro-fit includes the ballast, bulb and reflector. He said their 13" kit would be more appropriate for an Eclipse 3.

http://www.hellolights.com/14nanretkit.html
 

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that is really expensive. you could always buy...

5.5 gallon aquarium - 10 dollars
Glass hood - 10 dollars
Strip light- 15 dollars
2 19 watt HD daylight 6500k bulbs- 15 dollars
FIlter- 10 dollars
Socket- 1 dollar
Extension cord- 1 dollar
Electrical Tape- 50 cents

Great Aquarium Lighting- priceless
 

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Hamster,

I think I would go with the two 13 watt PC fixtures. You will have to find a place to put the ballast though. I have mine mounted on the back but I am going to mount it in a seperate box to have a switch. On the back it gets too hot. Before mounting though, use that silver tape from home depot. It is a tape with a shiny side to it and that works great as a reflector. Just cut out holes for where you want to mount the PC fixture. Like I said, Scott at Hellolights walked me through my setup.

Ray
 
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