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Old 10-07-2007, 05:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Beginner, 55 Gallon Planted Tank

Hi all. I've had a 55 gallon tank (12x48x18, freshwater setup, fluval 404, 40W lighting) for awhile now and have been thinking about switching to a saltwater setup. I then stumbled upon these boards and have made the decision to try attempt a planted tank.

I've been searching this site and across the net for the past week or so trying to find out about beginner plants, lighting, substrates, etc. So after reading a bunch I'm still left with a few questions. So if anyone would like to lend some helping thoughts I would appreciate it!

So for starters, due to budget, I have thought about using Schultz Aquatic Soil topped with some pea pebbles. From my understanding, I see that it has high CEC but it does not contain nutrients. Can someone fill me in or point me somewhere as to what and how to add these nutrients. I have read about people making small balls of items and pushing them into the substrate, but I am still confused as to quantity and scheduling.

Second, I was wondering if there is a low light "carpet-like" plant. I love the look of it, but I don't know if I can afford to make an expensive lighting upgrade.

I'll leave it at that for now. If anyone can lend a helping hand I would appreciate it!

Enjoy the holiday weekend guys!
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Old 10-07-2007, 07:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beginner, 55 Gallon Planted Tank

This is a very good place to start reading. It should help answer more of your questions. Take lighting, for example: a 40 watt light will not be enough on a 55 gallon tank for any plants. Two of those lights would give you enough for some low light demand plants. But, an AH Supply 96 watt light kit - http://www.ahsupply.com/96watt.htm - would be enough, and might fit into your existing hood.

One easy to grow carpet like plant is Hygrophila "Porto Velho" - https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...pec=Hygrophila - listed as a moderately high light demand plant, but I grow it very well with only 1.6 watts per gallon, comparable to a 96 watt light on a 55 gallon tank.

You don't need a nutrient rich substrate - just dose the water per EI, PPS Pro, or using Pfertz and all plants will grow very well.
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beginner, 55 Gallon Planted Tank

Will a 96 watt really be good for the tank? That fixture is 35 in and his is 48. I was thinking of 2x 55 would be better?
http://www.ahsupply.com/36-55w.htm
I was planning on putting that on my hood, but if the 96 would work, i'd get that since it's cheaper. thanks.

And would the 2x 55 be considered med light? since the reflectors are really good. sorta wanna grow hc in my 55 gal
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beginner, 55 Gallon Planted Tank

Two 55 watt light kits would be better than the 96 watt kit. And, that would be high light intensity, because the reflectors make them more efficient. It would be pointless to go higher in wattage. A T5 light setup with individual reflectors for the bulbs would be even better, but probably cost more.
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Beginner, 55 Gallon Planted Tank

Thanks for the replies guys. I think ill go ahead and try to do a 2x55 lighting setup.

Thanks for the tip on the carpet plant hoppycalif. I have seen many ppl comment about "hc". What plant is this?

Thanks again!
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beginner, 55 Gallon Planted Tank

HC is Hemianthus callitrichoides. Very attractive, but rather demanding from what I've read.
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beginner, 55 Gallon Planted Tank

I think HC would grow pretty well if you got the 2x 55 since it's high light. I'm not sure how demanding it is, but i haven't had any die on me yet(except for the emersed ones XD), only grow up since it is pretty low light. I'm gonna get a 2x 55 kit for my tank too then. will it fit in my strip light?
http://www.petco.com/shop/product.as...&cm_ite=216640
Or should I just totally build a new hood since the part that covers it is a bit cloudy? Actually, really cloudy
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Old 10-08-2007, 02:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beginner, 55 Gallon Planted Tank

i do not think that 2x55watts really constitutes high light. I think that'd be moderate. I mean you can always give HC if you'd like, but i'll make no guarantee. As far as the AHsupply kit fitting in there, i dont think the reflectors will, i mean you can try but i dont think it'll happen.

A plant i would suggest is marsilia any species you can get. It's nice, i have 2 species of Marsilia and they both grew well in my 55 that i have 4 x 32 watt T8's co2, and ferts. They are now doing well under 3 x 32 watt T8 because i had to make it a low light tank when i went to school. My parents are taking care of it, and it's really my Snakeskin Endler breed out tank. Sorry to go off topic. But it grows very small and it looks like a single lobe clover.
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Old 10-08-2007, 02:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beginner, 55 Gallon Planted Tank

I do have a little bit going around, but they don't seem to really want to grow. Maybe I should throw away all the glosso in my nano. Starting to hate how high it grows. I sorta want the ahsupply now, but price is a huge factor.
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Old 10-08-2007, 02:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Beginner, 55 Gallon Planted Tank

use strip lights from home depot if you want to save money. Check out the link in my sig and just scale it down. (i think you can buy 12" maybe even smaller lights) or even build the hood and use Compact Florcent, or Power compact your opions are limitless.
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