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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this is in the wrong place. Didn't see a newbie forum.

I am going to start another fish tank shortly. I currently have a nano reef and a Tanganyikan tank. I wanted to do a planted amazon river type of tank.

My questions are pretty simple.

Its a 55 gallon tank. Center brace up top and 21 inches high. When the substrate is in it'll be about 18 inches I imagine. There are two hoods on each side of the center brace that are 22 inches long. I need to keep these hoods. Are there any good retrofit kits? I saw the AHSupply kits and they seem pretty awesome. Also saw an 8 bulb CFL retrofit. Is there anything else you can recommend? Will the amount of light I get (2 watts per gallon) be enough for the bulk of the average south american plants?

Is Co2 required at the beginning of the tank? Can I dose Flourish Excel and see ok results?

Thanks guys
 

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WPG is an outdated rule. What type light bulb do you currently have? If you don't know, look for information on the bulb or just measure the diameter of the bulbs in eights of an inch and post the results here.

With lower light, CO2 is not required as long as you keep light and nutrients limited. However, if you have bright lights and dose nutrients you will need CO2. You can get decent results with Excel, but having to dose it everyday is a pain, and if you start slacking off on dosing the impact on the plants is pretty drastic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The hoods I have now I can promise you won't support a single plant. Hence the retrofitting. They are probably T8s. I imagine about 14 watts.

The question is will AHSupply CF 55 watt kit in each of the hoods be enough? This is 110 watts, but is CF with high quality reflectors.

Or can I rig the CFL you get at Home Depot to be enough? 4 in each hood.
 

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just to be clear your planning on doing a 55 gal planted correct?

If so 6500k 48" fluorescents are probably your best bet I picked up one for $25 on sale at a hardware store with the bulbs included. I have used a DIY C02 and it seems to work well. I also dose daily with glutaraldehyde 2.5% which is basically flourish excel and it seems to work great at a fraction of the cost.
I'm not a fan of the canopies that come with the tanks I would rather buy my own.
I even used 3 shop lights that I got for $5 each with 100W equivalent CFL's for about 2months and it worked fine. there's always a DIY way of doing everything these days and the information on how to do it is usually readily available on forums or youtube

I have a 55gal dirted tank and would be happy to give you pointers if youd like
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
just to be clear your planning on doing a 55 gal planted correct?

If so 6500k 48" fluorescents are probably your best bet I picked up one for $25 on sale at a hardware store with the bulbs included. I have used a DIY C02 and it seems to work well. I also dose daily with glutaraldehyde 2.5% which is basically flourish excel and it seems to work great at a fraction of the cost.
I'm not a fan of the canopies that come with the tanks I would rather buy my own.
I even used 3 shop lights that I got for $5 each with 100W equivalent CFL's for about 2months and it worked fine. there's always a DIY way of doing everything these days and the information on how to do it is usually readily available on forums or youtube

I have a 55gal dirted tank and would be happy to give you pointers if youd like
You are correct sir. Sorry if I was unclear. Did not sleep at all last night.

Now I know it sounds like a good idea to do the shop lights, but I have a problem with that. I found the tank and stand on craigslist for $60. Its a newer tank. The problem is that the trim is the fake woodgrain.

Woodgrain is the ugliest tank trim ever. The center brace up top is also brownish. So keeping the ugly-as-sin woodgrain hoods is important to me. Even if it costs me more.

The tanks going to be in the living room so I need to keep it as pleasing to the eye as possible. Hiding equipment and such is important.

But yea give me as many pointers as you can whenever I get this lighting thing figured out. I want to keep it as Amazon-y as possible.
 

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just an FYI 55 gals are always on sale at PETCO for $55 new with the black trim that's where I got mine they have a $1 per gal up to 55 gal sale pretty much every holiday. I bought my 5 gal there and my 40 gal breeder and honestly I would recommend the 40 gal over the 55. it has a larger footprint and more usable space, however be prepared to build your own stand and lid if you go the 40 gal route there arent too many out there. like I said before I live DIY stuff anyway so I really dont mind.

the 55 are nice and long but very narrow and harder so scape
the 40B is 18" wide and is now in my living room instead of my 55 which was moved into my kitchen. If you are set on the 55 due to it's very attractive length you might want to look into a 75G which is the same length but a lot wider.

it's your call really I know with me price is always the motivation behind my projects
I found a 75 on Craigs list for $50 which was cheaper than my 40B after taxes

as far as substrate, lighting and Co2 i'll get more into that later based off of your response
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My Petco for sure doesn't have $1 a gallon sales ever. Never has. I go there all the time. Can't change tanks. And I need the slim tank profile due to the location of where the tank will go.
 

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I bought my Craigslist 75G with that ugly wood trim. I simply taped off the glass and painted all of the trim black the same time I painted the back panel. It's held up pretty well.
 

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My Petco for sure doesn't have $1 a gallon sales ever. Never has. I go there all the time. Can't change tanks. And I need the slim tank profile due to the location of where the tank will go.
ok so 55 gal it is
I used organic Miracle Gro as my substrate capped with pool filter sand and the 2x48" fluorescent I talked about earlier

I recommend starting with some Wisteria and amazon swords to get the tank started especially the Wisteria as it grows super fast and I would just pull it out later when all your other plants start filling out

I use Metricide 28 as my excel substitute it costs about $22 on ebay/amazon and makes about 2 gal of excel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I bought my Craigslist 75G with that ugly wood trim. I simply taped off the glass and painted all of the trim black the same time I painted the back panel. It's held up pretty well.
I think this is going to be the route I go. I'll have to paint the center brace too. I'll probably get Krylon black and replace the top with glass panels and buy a T5HO 48" fixture.

Is a dual lamp T5H0 a good start for the lighting?

I'm going got probably go the potting soil route. How is it in terms of nutrients getting into the water?

Also thank you for all your help thus far... I'm starting to piece together an idea in my head.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Brilliant. You've been a ton of help. Anyone ever try krylon fusion on the trim? I imagine it works quite well. I'm going to try it out.
 
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