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I started keeping fish a year ago and absolutely love it, recently I bought a new 75 gal AGA tank and was really wanting to dive into trying a planted tank. I am brand new to this forum and know the ?'s I have are newbie questions but hopefully you can bear with me. I have done some searches for related articles and spent some time looking around but find some of the information is a little overwhelming!! My first question is this...

Would a planted tank be a pipe dream for me since my water here is 8.2? The source of our water is straight from a well on our ranch and does have a lot of minerals.

Lighting....Obviously very important. I have been looking into a Coralife Compact Flourescent fixture but have been mislead along with many others apparently by the watts per gallon rule.

So far I have only purchased a filter and a heater other than this tank, its a do as funds come project:icon_wink and am also worried about CO2, no matter how much information I read I just dont understand it yet, AND since we deal with VERRRY frequent power outages I am discouraged that a more complicated set up like I am dreaming of would totally crash. Any help is so greatly appreciated, and sorry in advance for the novel.
 

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+2 on fibertech's comment.

If you had a high tech set-up, that would probably just be a disaster with frequent power outages. A low-tech tank might be best for you.

You can still have a beautiful aquarium without co2. Just look around the journal section - you'll find most people in fact do not have pressurized co2. You can also take a look at my 85g journal, it's basically "low-tech".
 

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Second that. Go low tech IMO. I started my first planted tank with a 75g and coralife compact fluorescent and had very good results so I think that is a good start up option given that coralife has some relatively cheaper options than some other brands with sufficiently good quality.

WPG is not the most scientific way but a good reference to consider when starting.

If you want to handle power outages you can also try solar cells. There are some real cheap options. Get a couple. Place one outside and one below (like on a side where it gets the light but does not shadow the tank) your tank light. That way you can re-use a lot of the wasted light energy to power it back and supplement the overcast winter days. Hope I did not go SCI-Fi with that :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the help so far. I spent a lot of time today looking at different journals and researching some articles on here about lighting. I was happy to see that Catalina is an American company, dont see that alot nowdays! Definitely have decided that low tech would be the way to go for me too. Will the pH be a problem though or will plants adjust to it? The amt of information here is unreal, answers a lot of things for me and also a lot of beautiful set ups to look @.
 

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Your pH should not be a problem. When I lived in Colorado my well water was about that pH and very very hard. There are products on the market that will lower your pH, but I've never bothered with them. Tough plants like cryptocoryne and anubias species do great with the high pH. I didn't have much problem with some of the easier stem plants either, things like ludwigia repens, rotala indica, moneywort, green/sunset hygro.
 

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Wow, thanks Ariel thats really good to know. I know of the pH products like you said but worry about the water being so volatile and not staying close to a certain value when using those. I also like your profile pic, I raise sheep myself although we mainly cattle ranch and it caught my eye! :fish:
 
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