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Old 03-13-2009, 12:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Arrow 55g Lighting/CO2

Hi! I'm new here and have some questions about plants.

I currently have a 55g with a Penguin 350B filter, gravel, two plasic/ceramic rock formations, two airstones and a wand, and the following inhabitants: 6 peppered cories, 7 zebra danios, 1 oto, and 2 GBRs. The lights I currently have are two 18 inch, 15 watt, 8000K, T8's.

I have been unable to keep plants alive under the current lights, probably because of the depth of the tank, but I would really love to go planted. Depending on the cost, I might have to just go with the plants found at Petco/Petsmart, but i really love the "grass" I've seen in other tanks.

So, the question is, what kind of lighting would you recommend and is CO2 necessary? I would like to stay under $200-$300 on the lighting. Any information is appreciated.

Thanks!

-TS

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Old 03-13-2009, 01:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 55g Lighting/CO2

I have the same size tank and I just bought a compact fluorescent fixture for around $120 from marineandreef.com. It is important to have around 2-3 watts per gallon if you are looking to have any good plants. The 48 inch single satellite compact fluorescent (which is what I bought) has two 65 watt bulbs and lunar lights to simulate night conditions. It looks really nice and its pretty in expensive. The lights that come with it are kind of blue so I plan I getting some daylight ones but, you can probly trade them with your local lfs. To grow plants you will also need some type of fertilizer but not necessarily CO2.
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: 55g Lighting/CO2

You will need at least 1.5 Watt per Gallon to keep any plant other than Anubias, Java Fern, or moss. And even those won't do much with just 0.5 WPG.

You can find a 48" 2x65 watt fixture for around $150 (maybe less if you search enough). That would give you plenty light. Or you can go for some good t-5 fixtures.

CO2 is necessary if you go more than 2 WPG (don't quote me on that...that's more of a guess, based on experience, than a fact) . Either way, you'll need some source of carbon for your tank. If you want ot save money and use sunlight instead of more artificial, check out the El Natural forum.

-Dave
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: 55g Lighting/CO2

Ah, ok. This is what I've been looking at: http://www.amazon.com/inch-Current-U...6974958&sr=8-4

The problem is, I'm getting really confused on what I need. Some say the light would work, some say the CO2 would work, and some say I need both for the plants to grow. No one has mentioned fertilizer yet, so that's new to me.
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 55g Lighting/CO2

Oh, I just noticed this was your fisrt post. WELCOME to APC!!!

Read this article, it will help explain some things:
http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articl...ges/index.html

-Dave
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Old 03-14-2009, 05:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: 55g Lighting/CO2

Thats pretty good but the one im talking about is 120. It has the same look too.
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Old 03-15-2009, 07:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: 55g Lighting/CO2

I have a Coralife 2 X 65 watts (2.36wpg) on my 55G tank. I do inject C02, since it is over 2 wpg. If you do not want to inject C02 then stay under 2wpg. However with that little light you will not be able to grow grass plants like dwarf hairgrass, but should be ok with dwarf sag..



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Old 03-15-2009, 03:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: 55g Lighting/CO2

Alright, I have about 1/2 wpg right now. How come I would need CO2 if I went higher than 2 wpg? I haven't read the entire article Dave posted, but I'm working on it.

What would be your advice for an "almost" college student living at home with a 55g tank who wants plants? I really do love the grasses I've seen but I'm not sure if I can afford it. Also, does the substrate play a major role? I have gravel right now.

Thanks for all the help so far!
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Old 03-15-2009, 05:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: 55g Lighting/CO2

Substrate can make a big difference. it can determine how much fertz you have to use. You could just buy fertz that you put in the gravel but that can add up. I would say in the long run it is a better idea to get a plant substrate. Maybe use the move to college as a chance to redo your substrate.
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Old 03-15-2009, 05:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: 55g Lighting/CO2

For the co2 question it is important to have a balance between co2 and lighting therefore the more lighting u have the more co2 u need.
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