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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've already got suspension lighting for my terrestrial plants, including an extra light not being used. Will hanging this over be enough, or do I need more specialized lighting? I'm not sure the exact lighting type other than tube as I inherited it from my mom. It does well for my various bromeliads, spider plant, various succulents and kalanchoe.

Extra info:
I'm looking at a planted tank and have never had one before. I plan to start dry, then flood the tank so that I can establish a good root system (from what I've read this seems a strong option, especially as I want to try propagating mosses and substrate covers myself then will add larger plants after flooding). I mention this in case it makes any difference on lighting needs.

Lid plans:
While establishing the plants I'll be using a full clear cover to keep in humidity, then after I'm considering a rimless polycarbonate lid as it's readily available to me and will keep my cats out of it and most of the humidity in without causing me too much difficulty or danger with maintenance needs (disabled and have dropped things in the past).

Currently have:
2 lidless tanks, not sure the exact size as it was also secondhand. It came with a few accessories but I plan to replace them as I don't feel comfortable with my ability to sterilize them.

Sorry if this is difficult to understand, have some communication struggles on my end.
 

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I would recommend against having a sealed lid if you want to run CO2. You need that gas exchange to help you get CO2 to optimum levels. With no gas exchange, you will either run very little CO2, or you'll gas your fish.

If you plan on running CO2 but the cats are a problem, you can use a piece of window screen attached to a frame.
 

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A couple of things, 1 your existing light might work great, or be a disaster. Without knowing what light/bulb and what tank it's going over there is no way to tell. The farther the light is from the substrate the weaker the light. If there is too strong a light you get algae.

You didn't mention if you are running co2 so I'm assuming you aren't.

Lids work well to control fish from jumping out if you are keeping fish prone to that. They also help with evaporation. I have not needed one for my cats. One of my cats was prone to drinking from one of my tanks but she never attacked the fish even though she cheerfully murdered a million song birds. Unless you have already tried and failed with the cats, I'd be very tempted to go lidless once the tank is flooded.

Either way, polycarbonate is not a good choice for a lid as it will badly warp in a short period of time. You will need a glass lid if you want a lid. Screen can work as well if your cats are not prone to destroying screens.

As for the existing tanks, if they are in good shape you can clean them with vinegar. Honestly pretty much everything that might hurt fish needs water to survive. So a dry tank is already essentially sterile. The vinegar is mostly to make you feel better. Of more concern is the silicone. If it's in good condition and you like the tank I wouldn't hesitate to use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A couple of things, 1 your existing light might work great, or be a disaster. Without knowing what light/bulb and what tank it's going over there is no way to tell. The farther the light is from the substrate the weaker the light. If there is too strong a light you get algae.

You didn't mention if you are running co2 so I'm assuming you aren't.

Lids work well to control fish from jumping out if you are keeping fish prone to that. They also help with evaporation. I have not needed one for my cats. One of my cats was prone to drinking from one of my tanks but she never attacked the fish even though she cheerfully murdered a million song birds. Unless you have already tried and failed with the cats, I'd be very tempted to go lidless once the tank is flooded.

Either way, polycarbonate is not a good choice for a lid as it will badly warp in a short period of time. You will need a glass lid if you want a lid. Screen can work as well if your cats are not prone to destroying screens.

As for the existing tanks, if they are in good shape you can clean them with vinegar. Honestly pretty much everything that might hurt fish needs water to survive. So a dry tank is already essentially sterile. The vinegar is mostly to make you feel better. Of more concern is the silicone. If it's in good condition and you like the tank I wouldn't hesitate to use it.
Thank you!

co2: I'm going to start low tech, last thing I want is to completely overwhelm myself with more than I'm ready for (why I plan to start things in stages rather than rush into a full setup). So no to CO2 initially, but I'm well open to the idea down the line.

Light: Should I just try playing with distance and see how it does with it just planted? Or would it be better to go ahead and start with a new light I know the specs for?

Cats/lid: Good to know on your cats! I've got one that is special needs so entirely unpredictable in any manner whatsoever. She also really, really loves knocking things around and dropping things so I'm a bit worried about her knocking or putting things into the tank, falling into it, or shoving her whole dumb furry paw into it. I've never had trouble with screens from these two, so I'll try screens if needed instead then.

Current Tanks: I am worried about algae as well as bacteria/other microbes, but really good to know on fish harming things. Silly to ask possibly but does that apply to shrimp as well? And what should I check for on the silicone, just a visual?
 

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Thank you!

co2: I'm going to start low tech, last thing I want is to completely overwhelm myself with more than I'm ready for (why I plan to start things in stages rather than rush into a full setup). So no to CO2 initially, but I'm well open to the idea down the line.

Light: Should I just try playing with distance and see how it does with it just planted? Or would it be better to go ahead and start with a new light I know the specs for?

Cats/lid: Good to know on your cats! I've got one that is special needs so entirely unpredictable in any manner whatsoever. She also really, really loves knocking things around and dropping things so I'm a bit worried about her knocking or putting things into the tank, falling into it, or shoving her whole dumb furry paw into it. I've never had trouble with screens from these two, so I'll try screens if needed instead then.

Current Tanks: I am worried about algae as well as bacteria/other microbes, but really good to know on fish harming things. Silly to ask possibly but does that apply to shrimp as well? And what should I check for on the silicone, just a visual?
If you don't know anything about the light I would plan to buy a new one. Light is the easiest thing to mess up with a tank. Even experienced folks run into trouble with it from time to time. Which light should you get? Depends on the tank you use.

Bacteria and algae also require water to live. While both will definitely colonize any tank, once filled, you don't have to worry about a dry tank transferring them to a new setup. I would still scrub down the glass, fill the tank and drain it, but this is mostly for aesthetics. This also applies to shrimp.

If you don't know how old a tank is or its history I would do a careful visual inspection looking for bubbles, or breaks in the silicone. Then water test it (preferably outside) to see if it leaks.
 
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