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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

I am going ot be setitng up a 30 gallon soon for a friend. They want low light and fairly easy maintance since they just had a baby:) I was planning on using crypts, microsorum, anubias, a few of the lower light stem plants, some lobelia... Well there are many possibilities.

Anyway, the tank will not be CO2 injected, be fairly heavily stocked, will use some type of plant substrate, either Onyx, eco, or flourite. They would have no problem dosing ferts, especially if it was kept to KNO3, P and trace(probably flourish) Whet lighting should I go with to keep the light low enough for no CO2 yet provide enough for the tank to be low maintance? I was thinking either 1 55 watt PC although I don't know if I would get enough coverage from it. I could also build a hood to hold 2-4 flourescent tubes. 2x30 watt would be 2 wpg. 3x30 would need CO2. WOuld it be necessary with 2 wpg. I have no experience with "larger" tanks. I figure 2wpg would suffice, grow healthy plants and still be low maintance, but.....

Any thoughts would be great. I have not used PC lights. I could do something from AH supply, although, it looks as though regular NO flourescent would give the most combinations of wattage options. It would also be easier to mix K ratings to get a pleasing color. I could build the hood to hold extra bulbs incase they want to upgrade later(Or incase they don't like it and give it all to me:) )

Thanks
 

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Dennis,

I have 2X30 watt C50 lamps on my 38 gallon tank. That tank has the same footprint as a 30, it's just a few inches taller. It works fine. No CO2, no macro fertilizers, but weekly doses of Flourish (or something similar) are necessary. It grows a variety of cryps, sagittaria subulata, java fern and Bacopa caroliniana. Ii've had anubias in it before and they did very well. I'm sure a few other plants would grow very well.

Setups like this can have problems with low-light algaes like diatoms and BBA, cladophora, and the like. Those problems are not as bad if the nutrients and CO2 are kept low. I tried adding CO2 for a while on the advice that increasing the CO2 level would let me grow plants that otherwise would find the light too low. The only thing the CO2 grew was algae -- tons of a BBA-like algae I was also adding macros at the time, which probably helped fuel the problem.

I dropped the CO2 and the macros and the tank become much easier to care for. I tried dropping the Flourish for a while but the Bacopa showed the effect very quickly by growing small, light-colored leaves. With regular Flourish additions the Bacopa grows normally, the algae is mostly gone and the crypts show a very rich reddish color unlike anything I get in a more brightly-lit tank.

That aquarium has been set up now for more than 17 years.


Roger Miller
 

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I'd also probably do the 2x30. Should be cheaper, and you should be able to just DIY from parts from Home Depot or Lowes, etc...

I'm gonna do an ODNO setup for my 29g, but the equip should be the same for you, just not configed for ODNO. At Lowes I picked up an Electronic 2x32w ballast for around $20-$25, and 2 packs of sockets for a measily few bucks. Home Depot has the "Plant and Aquarium" bulbs that would work well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all. Thats what I was leaning toward, I was just looking for a clittel first hand experience.

Roger, finally nice to see you here:)

Thanks all:)
 

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Hey Dennis,

Hopefully you're still following this thread. I set up a 30g using Eco and Tahitian Moon Sand. It also has a custom hood with very similar lighting. I put two 30w 9325K GE lamps in the hood and used a 2x32 ballast. I placed my ballast on the rear of the hood. If you are planning on hinging the hood so the front half opens you may want to get a 4x32 ballast for the extra weight and cap off the two unused ends. The 2x32 isn't quite heavy enough to keep the hood from trying to tip when you close it. The good thing about this is should they later decide to go with a high light tank they won't need to spend a penny to increase their lighting and can do DIY CO2.

I'm growing crypts, sag, lobelia (newly added) anubias, and some e. tennelus (newly added). I had the problems Roger mentioned with diatom algae and also had some BGA. A blackout fixed the BGA and the addition of some Flourish and Flourish Excel seemed to take care of the diatoms as well. I also changed the location of the spraybar to improve the flow in the tank and things seem to have improved. Time will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Mat. That sounds like what I was starting to plan. Thanks for your help all:)
 
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