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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have decided to use a 46 gallon bowfront that was formerly a reef tank and make it into our first planted tank. We started by cleaning up the salt that was all over the tank and making it usable again. We are also going to be using the Nova Extreme T5 fixture we also have. So far our plans are to use eco complete as the substrate, and seed the tank with either a fluval 204 or a fluval 305 that are currently running on other tanks. I have a few questions about the start up.

The light fixtures hold 4 T5s at 39w each. That is obviously too much since we are not using CO2, so should we run two or just one of the bulbs in the fixture to start?

On Dr. Foster and Smith there are a few bulbs and I am confused about which to purchased. The plain 6700K, the "plant grow" bulb, or the "aquaflora. Basically I think the last two say they bring out reds and blues more in the tank. I also already have 10,000K bulbs, which I'd use to save money if they could work.

We are going to be planting heavily as this site suggests, and I'd like to have a lot of small schooling fish as well, so my last question is, which fluval should I use? Would it really matter if I used the smaller 204? I'm going to be adding the 305 to my oscars tank if this is the case, but they are both at my disposal.

Lastly, anyone know how many bags of eco earth I'll need for the 46 bowfront? I was thinking about 3, but I hear some people say it settles and more is needed.

Thank ahead of time for the help!
 

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i think you'll prob need 3-4 bags of eco complete. i'd prob just get 4. i put about 65 lbs of substrate in my 40 gallon. the 10k bulb will work it gives off a nice white. i run a 10k and a pink bulb. but i would prob start with just one bulb for now and go to 2 later on if you plan to add co2
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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i think you'll prob need 3-4 bags of eco complete. i'd prob just get 4. i put about 65 lbs of substrate in my 40 gallon. the 10k bulb will work it gives off a nice white. i run a 10k and a pink bulb. but i would prob start with just one bulb for now and go to 2 later on if you plan to add co2
+1

With 2+ bulbs you'll need pressurized CO2 for sure. Unless you suspend the fixture pretty high up over the tank.

Welcome to TPT!
 

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Depends on which nova extreme you have... if it's the old model with a single reflector, you could probably get away with 2 bulbs. Those fixtures were not very efficient. A lot of opinions on T5 is based on the assumption of individual bulb reflectors. The advice of buy 2, but start with one is pretty sound IMO.

As for which bulbs... I'm a huge fan of the Giesemann Midday 6000k. looks great on its own, but also a very nice combo with the aquaflora (also Giesemann). I wouldn't run the aquaflora or any pink bulb solo, it will look pretty weird.

I'd go with 4 bags of eco... I just used 2 in a 18" cube that i set up for a low-tech. If you add a little slope, it will be just about right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, I set the tank up with four bags of eco complete, used tank water from another tank we took down, and also hooked up the fluval 204 from the old tank to the new one.

Right now the Nova Extreme is on with one 10000k bulb. Yes, it is the one without individual reflectors. I also have the option of using the fixture that came with the tank, it holds two 30 watt fluorescent tubes. This would be 1.3 wpg as opposed to the one t5 which is .84wpg, not sure which to stick with as a beginner in planted tanks without co2.

I traded in some african cichlids for plants today, packed them all up and brought them to the LFS for an even trade and of course the owner was not there. I was annoyed because NONE of the plants are labeled and the guy helping me had no clue....so here are some pictures of what I bought.

Keep in mind the tank was just thrown together for the pics so someone could help me ID the plants. If anyone has advice about placement of the wood, and if anyone can ID the plants let me know. I just threw them in the tank to take the pic. I'd like to know if the plants are good for low tech, otherwise I'll exchange them for something else when the owner of the LFS is back. Then I'll aquascape everything and get more plants.

Whole tank without black background



plant 1



plant 2



plant 3



plant 4

 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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1. Myriophyllum. May not do well w/out CO2.

2. Corkscrew Val. Spread them out in the background. You may end up wanting to put up a substrate divider (like landscape border) to keep them from taking over the entire tank.

3. Looks like it was grown emersed so will probably go through a die-off. I'm going to guess Ludwigia though I'm not at all certain

4. I can't make heads or tails of? (Looks like shredded lettuce LOL)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hmm, I thought for sure the first picture was something like hornwort. I looked up myrophyllum and the plant doesnt have the same feather like leaves.They are more like very thin pine needles, almost like little hairs. As for the ludwigia, it was growing in the substrate at the store and was surrounded by a ton of other plants in a planted tank display, so HOPEFULLY its been there awhile and will be ok. Thanks for the ID! So far so good I guess. Not too bad for not knowing what any of the plants were when they were bought. Im going to pick some more up today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok, so here is an updated picture with more plants. The fuzzy plant is indeed myriophyllum, I went back to the store when the owner was there to ask. The floating stuff that looks like lettuce is water wisteria. I assume there is a planted version and floating version. The floating stuff can be planted and then grows stalks? I also picked up some Anubias, a Red Wendtii Crpyt, water sprite, thin leaf java fern, red ludwigia and some other plant in the far right of the tank. Again, not sure what it was because I was told it was one plant and when I looked it up it was not. I also threw a small amazon sword in the far left that I had in another tank. If it gets big Ill be moving it. Any other suggestions?

I do think I need more ground cover in the front...im thinking java moss tied to slate, and more anubias.

 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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You can plant water wisteria or let it float, either way.

Make sure that the rhizome (the green "stem" that the leaves grow out of) isn't down in the substrate; it needs to be exposed to light or it will rot and kill the plant.

You might try dwarf sagittaria, E. tenellus (dwarf pygmy chain sword) or Marselia minuta in the foreground.

This is going to look really nice when it all grows in!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So its only been two days and the tank is already looking more natural, all the plants are starting to spruce up and appear like theyve been there awhile. We are however, starting the see a BUNCH of small clear snails all over the tank and not sure if we should be trying to remove them or not.
 
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