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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok yes I am :icon_smil

Well first I have done about as much reading as I guess have the patience for. So I apologize in advance for questions you have probably seen 100 times.

Well so far I have a 38 gallon tank 36x12x20, a bio-wheel power filter, a heater, cheap sand substrate mixed with florite, standard All-glass brand lighting, 5 danios and two random plants, a java fern and some sword, and grand dreams of an aquascaped paradise.

I guess my overall goal is for a well planted tank with a few species of community fish, to learn the ropes before I venture into more demanding plants ect.

Step one: I realize stock lighting will get me nowhere. I have tried to research a low cost method to bring my lighting level to something respectable and have come up with only two methods.
a. 1 x 96 watt Bright Kit 40961 $59.99 from ahsupply.com
b. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=11418&N=2004+113345 $84.99

Now the questions-- (A )is a kit I assume for a DIY hood? Do i need to build a hood or would it fit in my stock All-Glass brand hood? It also does not include a bulb so what would you guys recommend?
(B) is an all in one thing but will it suffice?

I cant do math for crap but I think 96w on a 38 gallon throws me over 2w per gallon. Will that be sufficient for my noob desires? Should I step it up a bit higher on wattage to prepare for the future? If these methods are not acceptable I welcome any recommendations.

Should I add a DIY C02 rig?
So many questions....:help:

What I am trying to do is set up a decent rig to learn on as well as look appealing. I have read as many begginers guides as I can find, and am now looking to be spoon fed some direction :)

Thanks again guys.
 

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Welcome to PT! I suppose the answers depend on what you want to keep. You'll have about 2.5 watts per gallon, which isn't the worst you could do but if you want to keep anything medium to high light, you'll need at least 3 watts per gallon. Any idea which plants you might like to grow? With 2.5 watts, your java fern should be fine, in addition to anubias, crypts or mosses.
 

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Will that be sufficient for my noob desires?
In short, yes. :)

Should I step it up a bit higher on wattage to prepare for the future?
Nah, either light will be fine.

I personally would go with the AHSupply retrofit 96 watt. They also sell bulbs - order either a 10,000K or a 6,700K light. Even with the bulbs, this is a cheaper option.

The reason I like the AHSupply option better than the all in one is that the all in one already comes with a SmartPaq bulb, and that isn't the bulb you want. The actinic lights (the more bluish looking ones) aren't going to help your plants any.

I've had GREAT luck growing stuff under 96 watt lights - they are surprisingly bright and AHSupply lights have good reflectors, which really helps out. You'll do well with these lights.

You'll also want to look into CO2. Everyone starts with DIY but before too long I'm guessing you'll want to try pressurized. If you get any MORE light than this, you'll NEED pressurized, so it's probably a good thing that you are getting the 96 watt and not more. (More light = more demand for CO2 = more demand for ferts = more growth. Less light = less demand = slower growth, but less problems with algae if you slack off a bit on ferts and CO2).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I thank you both very much for the response. Sounds like I will go with the ahsupply 96 watt. Are these retrofit things designed to fit in your existing hood?
As for the plants I will use, I am really unsure. Something beginner friendly and that will grow in 96 watts I guess. Ground cover is important to me, i really want a good carpet of something I just havent done enough research to decide yet.I will probably throw together a diy C02 as well to assist in growth. I am sure I will return with more questions. Once again thank you.
 

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Yeah, they should fit in your hood. AHSupply kits have very good directions and even better phone support, so you shouldn't run into any trouble.

As for ground cover, do you like the grassy look? Sagittaria or Dwarf Hairgrass would work well I bet. Baby's tears would work too, or you could do a free-floating foreground of moss, pellia, or riccia tied to stones. 96 watts is a good amount of light, and it'll be well spread around your tank - I really don't think you'll have to much trouble growing nearly anything you pick out. Check out the Swap and Shop section for good deals!
 

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If you plan on being in the hobby for the long haul, buy a pressurized CO2 unit and a canister filter. They both have good resale value, so it's not that big of a loss if you decide to get out.

Which bulb will you be getting? The 6700K is the most natural looking, but many like me prefer the clean crisp white of 10000K.

Here's a site that really helped me out. www.rexgrigg.com

Some of the more common foreground plants to look at, to help you decide what you want:

Riccia fluitans (perhaps the easiest to grow foreground, can give issues later)
Glossostigma elatinoides
Elatine triandra (one of my favorites)
Hemianthus callitrichoides (the current favorite of many hobbyists)
Hemianthus micanthemoides
Micranthemum umbrosum
Eleocharis parvula
Eleocharis acicularis
Utricularia graminifolia (the "hot" plant right now)

I use a decorative sand foreground, you may wish to check that out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Again thanks for the info, I will probably go with the 6700, natural looking sounds good. THanks for the list of foreground plants, there are a few there that I haven't seen on the sites I have been browsing. The light will be ordered soon followed by a C02 system. Can anyone recommend a good kit? Or where to buy. Cost is a factor as always so I am not looking for anything pro just yet. I appreciate it greatly, this a good site with some helpful individuals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Alright guys, here is an update and a few questions. Below is a few images of my tank. Dont laugh to hard its my first attempt ,and I am approaching it as a learning experience. Now to the heart of the matter. I am pretty sure the plants are growing albeit, slowly. I think the Camboa is rotting at the base, and getting brown spots through out. Did I plant too close together?
And what about the rest, glosso need more light? Did I plant wrong?
I think the grass is micro sword, should I spread it thinner? Honestly I am kind of lost, I thought I would plant it and it would just work. Anyway, please take a look and tell me how to improve :) I appreciate your help.

38 gallon, 96w coralife, no co2


Sorry for the crappy pics, not sure how to get good shots with a standard digi camera, here is the base turning brown


And this stuff is'nt doing that well either.
 

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So far so good:) The plant you are calling Cabomba looks more like foxtail to me, but it could just be the photo. Regardless, the brown base is pretty common with plants of this morphology. Not enough light reaches the base so the lower parts "melt" away. Most people don't worry with this and just plant something in front to hide it. Your Lilaeopsis (micro-sword) doesn't look too bad. Mine will shoot runners above the substrate which I cut and replant in a different location. Personally, I haven't found it to be the fastest growing foreground plant, but be patient and it should come in with time.

Your overall design looks pretty good. I like the rock arrangement; it drew my eye instantly. I would focus on it and design around it. I think I can see the look your going for, however, you might consider adding allot more plants to help you fight algae until your tank gets established. You can remove them later once everything is thriving.

Keep up the good work...

--
Don
 
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