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New to Planted Aquariums

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I'm new to the hobby of fish keeping: I have a single, artificially planted 10 gallon tank at the moment, and I'd like to set up my empty 29 gallon tank as a planted aquarium. I've been looking into it for the past couple of weeks, but there are still a few things I'm not clear about.

I'll probably plant mostly crypts, and I would really like a carpet plant if possible, although I'm not sure which is best. Will a Flourite substrate with a layer of small gravel work? I'm most confused about the lighting, as I want something in the medium-to-upper range but I'm not exactly sure what this is and what types of bulbs to use. Is it possible to have reasonably bright tank on a budget? If anyone can give me an idea of what equipment I'll need, that would also be appreciated. My 10 gallon only has a filter, and I'll probably get a Penguin 200 for the new tank, as I've heard it's one of the better brands. Will my tank need a powerhead, and if so, what for? A CO2 system?

I apologize if some of the questions have been asked before, there just seems to be so much to consider in order to keep a healthy planted fish tank.
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There are several type of tanks to set up. First you need to decide if you are going to use either DIY CO2 or regulated CO2. Tanks that have plants and over 2wpg of light will need CO2 without it you can get algae along with your plants.
I run my tank with Seachems Excel which is a carbon base instead of using any CO2. I am just changing over from all of Seachems plant products because they can add up on your costs. Dry fert are only cents on a dollar. I am going to use dry ferts for my micro and macro nutrients the plants will need. Here are two web site that you can read about both of these fert plans. Someone else will have to come along if you want CO2. I will run my tank using the first EI method along with Excel. There are several fert methods out there. Like PMDD you can google. The type of plants and light you grow also need matched up somewhat. A lot of the red stem plants only produce reds with CO2. I use Red tiger lotus for my red.


http://www.barrreport.com/estimative-index/2819-ei-light-those-less-techy-folks.html

http://www.barrreport.com/estimative-index/4266-hybrid-methods-fusing-dry-start-excel-non-co2.html

http://www.seachem.com/Products/Planted.html
 

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I am not currently running c02 but have been doing lots of research since I'm setting up my 56G. Anyway, I started on a budget but found that running 56 without $$$$ is just a dream. Your 29 is small enough to run a DIY c02 system or 2. Also dosing things like flourish and excel will help.

As for lighting this is a ball park estimate Low = less then 1.75WattsPerGallon, Med = 1.75-2.6WPG, High = +2.7WPG. Most people use compact florescent to achieve a high wattage. You can get a 2x55 Watt kit from AH supply for around $70 which believe it or not is a good deal for lights. Only trick with AH supply is you have to build the lamp yourself. 1x55 watt kit may be sufficient.

Thats My $.02
 

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Mike I know that Plantbrain (Tom Barr) was talking about setting up a CO2 system for under $150 may even be less. Not sure if he said that here or on Barr Report. That does not sound to bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I've set up the tank, although it's currently empty. 29 gallons, as I believe I already mentioned, and I've acquired a 65W single bulb PC and the Penguin 200; I don't plan on dosing CO2. The substrate is also already in and settled, I went with eco-complete; is this okay alone? I'm planning to order plants online within the next couple of days, probably from aquaticplantdepot.com, and I thought I'd post my plans on here and maybe ask for a little more good advice on plant choice, numbers, and arrangement.



#1 - Low lying rocks on the middle-left surrounded by approx. three anubias (nana, coffeefolia, and barteri) and two or three crypts, in both fore- and middle-ground. The store I'm ordering from unfortunately does not stock green wendtii, although plenty of other varieties are stocked. Are any others similar? Green wendtii is my favorite of those I've seen.

#2 - More crypts and anubias (same varieties) surround the driftwood, in addition to dwarf sag if this will work. Also fore- and middle-ground.

#3 - Java moss on the driftwood.

#4 - The site lists Sagittaria platyphylla; is this the large sag I've seen? Various kinds of a plant called vallisneria are also stocked, and they look similar. Are they a better option?

#5 - Med. amazon sword is one of the few background plants I've decided on, as well as #6 hygrophila difformis in the background on the left.

#7 - I'm unsure what to do with the rest of the background. I guess a variety of medium-tall plants might look nice, depending on what my tanks stats will allow. The website has quite a collection here: http://aquaticplantdepot.com/bunchedplants.html. Are any of these obvious decent choices?

The tank is largely insprired by the following tank, designed by Dusko Bojic. I really like how dense the crypts and anubias are. Any advice on the layout, the number, and particularly the specific species of plants I've chosen (and not yet chosen) would be really appreciated. Thanks in advance.

http://bp3.blogger.com/_dLGw_s0RLUw/R8sXKv8YIeI/AAAAAAAABGo/cOXiMDpriRc/s1600-h/nbnbnba+025.jpg (No luck linking the image.)
 
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