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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
as soon as my 40 breeder's cycled, I plan on adding the fish and eventually some hardy, low-light plants. for the lighting, I have a 30'' 20w all-glass fluorescent strip (it's a 36'' tank though).

I plan on getting java fern, anubias nana, and a few foreground plants. can you recommend some? also, where would you recommend I buy them from? aquabid, ebay, this forum's swap n shop section? (I don't want any snails invading my tank.)

is the light I have enough to grow and maintain low-light plants or will I need something like a 36'' nova extreme with 2x39w t5ho bulbs? if so, I plan on running only the 6700k bulb, with no co2 or ferts.

what would you recommend for the substrate? eco-complete is a bit expensive, so would regular gravel like estes be enough? how many pounds would I need for my tank?
 

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you don't need to cycle the aquarium if you add plants. as a rule of thumb you should use about 1.5 watts per gallon, but in your situation 1 39 watt T5 HO bulb will work great because it's so powerful. this forum is a good place to buy plants, make sure you give good thought to your plant selection because that will be the most important in the final product. consider doing an all cryptocoryne tank or fern tank. to save money you might want to mix eco-complete with another gravel, but I prefer all eco, once you mix you cant go back. 6700 is a good color, grows plants very well. loaches will eat snails.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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You don't want to put T5HO over this tank unless you also add CO2. I think even just one bulb will be too much light. One of the Coralife T5NO fixtures would be a gracious plenty, you may even need to dose Excel with one of those, depending on your plants. I do think you need more light than what you've currently got if you want to grow foreground plants, though.

I'd post a WTB ad in the S&S here on the forum, and specifiy that you don't want snails. And I'd still probably still plan to dip the plants in either bleach or a potasium permanganate dip to be sure. Plants that would work as a foreground in your setup include Echinodorus tenellus (dwarf pygmy chain sword), dwarf Sagittaria, and Marselia minuta.

You can use regular gravel if you want to, but the foreground plants will definitely fill in better/faster with a substrate with some nutrient content. You might consider mixing substrates, or just having the plant substrate in the foreground where those plants can benefit with the regular gravel in the back half.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
75-100 lbs of substrate
that sounds like a bit much. I only want 3'' of substrate, so can I use less?

You don't want to put T5HO over this tank unless you also add CO2. I think even just one bulb will be too much light. One of the Coralife T5NO fixtures would be a gracious plenty, you may even need to dose Excel with one of those, depending on your plants. I do think you need more light than what you've currently got if you want to grow foreground plants, though.

I'd post a WTB ad in the S&S here on the forum, and specifiy that you don't want snails. And I'd still probably still plan to dip the plants in either bleach or a potasium permanganate dip to be sure. Plants that would work as a foreground in your setup include Echinodorus tenellus (dwarf pygmy chain sword), dwarf Sagittaria, and Marselia minuta.

You can use regular gravel if you want to, but the foreground plants will definitely fill in better/faster with a substrate with some nutrient content. You might consider mixing substrates, or just having the plant substrate in the foreground where those plants can benefit with the regular gravel in the back half.
what's t5no and how is it different from t5ho?

can you tell me where I can get some potassium permanganate?

the problem with eco-complete is that I want the gravel to look more natural instead of just black. but I'm not sure mixing the gravel and eco would look too well. also, I've read that the eco-complete is rather light-weight. could I accidentally siphon some of it out during water changes?
 

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I used 5 bags of eco-complete in my 40 gallon, and Im still a little shy of 3"
I've used 39 HO bulb over my 40 gallon and it worked great without co2 and fertilizers. dipping plants in chemicals sounds a little harsh, I would stay away.
It won't syphon out when cleaning.
 

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that sounds like a bit much. I only want 3'' of substrate, so can I use less?



what's t5no and how is it different from t5ho?

can you tell me where I can get some potassium permanganate?

the problem with eco-complete is that I want the gravel to look more natural instead of just black. but I'm not sure mixing the gravel and eco would look too well. also, I've read that the eco-complete is rather light-weight. could I accidentally siphon some of it out during water changes?

You can get potassium permanganate at Drs Foster and Smith. It's called Oxyclear, and it is made by Jungle.

Get the powder, and only use enough to make the solution pinkish purple (dark purple is too much).

After dipping for 15 minutes, add some dechlorinator or H2O2, which neutralizes PP.

Then rinse with water.

Potassium Permanganate is really not that harsh. It eliminates most hitchikers and parasites (including snails/eggs), and reduces the potential for introducing algae from another tank.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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NO stands for "normal output" and HO stands for "high output." HO fixtures also usually come with highly polished individual reflectors for the bulbs, so put out dramatically more light than most NO fixtures.

Ace Hardware also usually carries PP, in liquid form in the pool supply section. $10 would be a lifetime supply LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks for all the replies so far.

I'm thinking of getting the nova extreme t5ho fixture and running 1x39w bulb. the plants on my buying list are riccia fluitans (floating), java fern windelov (attached to rocks), anubias nana (middle ground), and microswords (foreground). can you recommend a background plant?

for the substrate, I want to use eco-complete sloped higher towards the front, with a layer of gravel from home depot sloped higher towards the back, so that the combined substrate will be level in the end. does that sound good, or should I just go with 1'' of eco under 2'' of gravel?
 

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I use eco or flourite under gravel, it works nice. It will always stay on the bottom, and you can use your natural gravel on top. I prefer black myself, I think it makes the plants and fish look better, and still looks natural. And about doing a dip, its always a good idea. I just use a 5% bleach mix though, I need to get some PP.
 
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