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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I'm quite new to planted tanks, but I've had fun and good success with my little 10 gallon--a couple swords, crypts, moss, etc.
Just got a 56 gallon (30x18x24). I'm sure the stock hood won't do much. I'd like to be able to have a nice planted tank. Any specific suggestions for lighting? I'm probably going with fluorescent from a cost perspective. Budget is ~$200 or less for the lighting. DIY is probably not my thing. Any help would be much appreciated--I find the lighting aspect more confusing than other aspects. Planning on using Eco-complete for ~2.5" base. For now I plan to stick with hardier, more common plants. Thanks.
 

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if you are going to stick with hardy common plants a dual 24" t5 HO should be fine.
Because of the uncommon dimensions of this tank I suggest using small crypts like C. Parva in the front center or the more common dwarf sag.
put moss/anubias on the front sides and a fast and tall plant like Jungle Val in the back. this layout could work with a t5 ho on shorter than average light schedule.

Just make sure to stock it with a good amount of plants from the start and it wouldn't hurt to have some seachem Flourish Excel on hand. Its the startup on a tank that size to be crucial in avoiding a heavy algae outbreak
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great, thanks. Is there a less costly way to stock it-- my LFS is $5 for most plants. I know this isn't a cheap hobby, but I don't have a huge budget.
 

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Clamp lights
I used these for a while.I used 2 of the 10" domes I relined them with aluminum duct tape They worked great and there cheap it will save you money for your plants.
Buy your plants in the sns off here. Much better quality than your lfs.
 

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Walmart sells undercabinet lights for a 23" T5 light its only $10. I would buy 2 and custom build a canopy

Sent from my unsmart phone
 

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Look at http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=184368 Then pick a light that will give you around 25-35 micromols of PAR - a Coralife 2 bulb T5HO or a FishNeedIt 2 bulb T5HO should work fine.

If you want better uniformity of the lighting over the whole front to back area of the substrate you could buy a 4 bulb T5HO Odyssea light, and hang it about a foot above the top of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How much of a difference does it make having a 24" vs. a 30" lamp for a 30" tank? I could afford the Odyssea 24" 96W T5 HO Light Fixture Extendable Series (FW/ Planted). Is Odyssea a pretty good brand?
 

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Great, thanks. Is there a less costly way to stock it-- my LFS is $5 for most plants. I know this isn't a cheap hobby, but I don't have a huge budget.
You can get all of these plants from this site, just check out the for sale thread. All the plants I've bought from here are just as good (usually better) than the plants you would get from you lfs. They are usually a lot cheaper too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, I've started looking for folks in the Colorado Springs/Denver area. Cheaper is good, but getting to know local folks is better still.
 

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Odyssea lights are cheap, therefore not known to be top quality lights. But, a lot of people have commented on how much they like them. They do not produce as much light per watt of power used as the more expensive light do, but that is a big advantage when you don't want a lot of light, but do want a low price.
 

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A pair of 18" Finnex Ray 2's 7000k lined up front to back would avoid the wide center brace problem on that tank I mentioned in another thread. I find it best to go with high light even for low tech as the photo period can always be reduced at first then increased later once the vegetation fills out. Personally I like my tanks heavily overgrown so once I have a thick canopy on the water surface I need the strong light and long photo periods to penetrate down to the low lying plants near the substrate.

A combination of Excel and snails have done a great job of keeping my low tech tanks algae free. With your tank I would grow a huge water wisteria 'tree' in a pyrex pint pot as a centerpiece making full use of the 24" depth of that tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Oxl, that's sounds like a good idea--and more or less within my budget. It looks like they come in 7000/10000 and 7000/7000. I assume two of the latter is enough. If I didn't want the front to back, I guess I could also just go with two of the 24's lengthwise--I'd lose a bit of light to the center brace and at the edges. Is that a big deal? Thanks.
 

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10000 color temp is for reef tanks, would likely only benefit the algae in a freshwater setup. The 24 has twice the number of led's so you may be able to get away with just one - could always add another later if needed. Not sure how much will be blocked by the center brace..and the cord will come off the side of the tank with it run lengthwise.
 
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