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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have a 55gal. I want to go high tech with it. I currently have some of the plants for it residing in a 10gal until the 55 is set up. I have creeping jenny, glosso, java fern, and melon sword. I'm planning to get a shop light fixure with two T5 bulbs with a workhorse 7 ballast to overdrive the lighting.
I'm getting conflicting advice about what substrate to use. I have a bag of topsoil I wanted to use with 1'' of sand on top. Some people say to go this route, others don't.

I'll be using DIY co2. I'll make multiple units if I have to. I do not know anything about ferts currently, only that I need them for high tech. Can someone enlighten me about them? What types I need? How often I should use them? How to use them? What each one does?

Any other thoughts/ideas/suggestions/concerns welcome!:D
 

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Don't bother with DIY. It is NOT worth it. I'll stress that again. It's NOT worth it. Buy pressurized. With a lot of light DIY quickly becomes a PITA. And you will almost certaily be plagued with algae problems from inconsistent CO2.

Don't mix tons of light with a topsoil substrate if you are a newbie. Terrible idea. AaronT did it, but he used pressurized CO2 and he is one of the hobby's best and brightest.

Look up EI dosing, it's the easiest. You may wish to try PPS later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Don't bother with DIY. It is NOT worth it. I'll stress that again. It's NOT worth it. Buy pressurized. With a lot of light DIY quickly becomes a PITA. And you will almost certaily be plagued with algae problems from inconsistent CO2.

Don't mix tons of light with a topsoil substrate if you are a newbie. Terrible idea. AaronT did it, but he used pressurized CO2 and he is one of the hobby's best and brightest.

Look up EI dosing, it's the easiest. You may wish to try PPS later.
Unfortunately, pressured is not an option right now due to recent unforeseen medical problems and not being able to work. :icon_cry:
 

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PPS is perpetual preservation system. It's a way to fertilize and rarely have to do water changes. it's rather complicated, there's a sticky over at APC. If you can't do pressurized, high lighting isn't your friend.
 

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If you can't do pressurized, high lighting isn't your friend.
Yep. Although there are deals to be had if you are very thrifty. CO2 equipment is used in a number of industries, so used equipment is plentiful and often cheap.

The up front cost sucks, but I've never known anyone to go back to DIY after using a pressurized setup. It's that much better.
 

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Yep. Although there are deals to be had if you are very thrifty. CO2 equipment is used in a number of industries, so used equipment is plentiful and often cheap.

The up front cost sucks, but I've never known anyone to go back to DIY after using a pressurized setup. It's that much better.
Could not agree more.

You could have a pressurized system for less than $150 you price right. I bought a used regulator, needle valve, brass check valve, and tubing for less than $60. Add a used tank and a DIY reactor.

People are extremely averse to doing pressurized for some reason, maybe because it is so unfamiliar and it has a moderately expensive upfront cost.
 

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Okay... I am wondering what the watt works out per gallon with that light setup.

I have about 2 wpg over my 55 with a great reflector. Use DIY CO2 (two one liter bottles changed a week apart). A sponge pre-filter that collects the CO2 bubbles and disolves them very well, connected to a power-head. Dose a small amount of ferts, and usually just top off or re-fill when I take a few gallons out to wc another tank. (I use my used 55g water for my shrimp tanks.)

I had an algae outbreak from the added light (up from .5 wpg) for the first few weeks, and have had a tiny bit of algae once in a while when the plants filled up too much of the surface, but nothing a bushy-nosed plec and a couple of ottos couldn't handle.

My plants are very happy, and I have grown successfully everything I have been able to get my hands on... and my red plants are REALLY red.

Of course, if you have 3 or 4 wpg, it is probably much different in requirements, so I don't want to imply that this would be the way to go for everyone.
 

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Unfortunately, pressured is not an option right now due to recent unforeseen medical problems and not being able to work. :icon_cry:
Don't want to rain on your parade, but IMO, now is a bad time for you to decide to spend money to set up a high tech tank. Wait until things improve and you can work again to spend money. The low tech setup can make do until then. Why spend money when you don't have it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Don't want to rain on your parade, but IMO, now is a bad time for you to decide to spend money to set up a high tech tank. Wait until things improve and you can work again to spend money. The low tech setup can make do until then. Why spend money when you don't have it?
I've realized that. I have money for everything except the pressurized CO2.
I think I'll just go with medium and low light plants.:icon_cry:
 

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With a lot of light DIY quickly becomes a PITA. And you will almost certaily be plagued with algae problems from inconsistent CO2.
He's right, I know from experience....
 
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