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Discussion Starter #1
Here is my information:

1) 55 Gal
2) DIY Hood with 4 48" 40 watt bulbs (2.91 wpg)
3)Whisper Power 60
4) This is pending (2" Turface, 1" sand or gravel)
5)No Plants Yet
6)No Fish Yet
7)AP Master Fresh Water
8)No Fert Yet
9)No CO2 unless deemed necessary
10)Plan on weekly 20% water changes
11)Tank not set up yet

12)I've been doing alot of reading and research on this site and others.
The participants here seem very friendly and well versed, so I've chosen to make this my home site for aquarium plants. I've managed to thouroughly confuse myself on the issues of the planted tank. I'm new at this and looking for some advice. What I would like to achieve is a community fish population with a not too sparse, but not overbearing plant population. I'm looking for some fairly easy to grow plants that match the setup I have. Please let me know what your suggestions are. The tank isn't set up yet, so I can make some changes if necessary. Thank you
 

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Discussion Starter #2
To clarify

I'm not looking for plant type advice now. I reread my post and it seems to imply that. I'm looking for advice on setting up the tank correctly first.

thanks,
 

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As far as i understand once passing the 2watt per gallon range you'll definitely need co2 and ferts. Without it your plants will basically try to grow on what reserves it has left. This means your plants will end up looking yellow and semi-transparent. I think you either have to reduce the lighting or work with co2 anf ferts. As far as substrates go, all i have experience with are inert gravel and ecocomplete. Still learning like you are ;)
 

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I would recommend using C02 at 2.91WPG, you can start out with two 2-liter pop bottles intil you can go pressurized if desired.

It would also be best to go with a canister filter if using C02 to keep from losing the C02 from surface agitation that the Whisper filter will cause.

You may want to think about using Eco-complete since it contains nutrients for the roots to help plant growth. Also it is very easy to use just open bag and pour in tank. What ever substrate you decide on make sure you have at least 2" of depth but not more than 3".
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Would I be better off

to set up my hood with two 40w and one of the 15w bulbs that came with the standard hood. I could set these three lights on a timer for 10 hours on/14 hours off. This would leave me with 1.72 wpg controlled lighting. I would then rig the other 15w light with a moonlight and an on/off switch for night viewing.

In the mean time, I would work on a CO2 injection system (I work for a food/beverage sanitary process company) to regulate CO2 injection at 15 ppm (I think thats the number I read in an article on this site).

Would this give me the optimal setup for a beginner? I would have room in the hood to "rework" it and add the other ballast and two 40w bulbs later if I have some success and enjoy this.

Some questions on CO2:

If a two liter bottle fermenter lasts for 1 to 2 weeks, wouldn't a 5 gallon fermenter last that much longer?

If the primary concern for dissolving CO2 in water is loss of the gas to the air, why not inject the gas into an airtight ballast tank at the top and pull water from the aquarium through that tank from top to bottom with an inline pump. The water could then be sent back to the aquarium and pumped out at the bottom. I'm new to this, so forgive me if I'm missing something obvious here.

Thanks
 

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The problem isn't the amount of co2 being produced, it's keeping the yeast alive. When producing co2, they also produce alcohol. Once the alcohol reaches a certain level it kills the yeast. I suppose if you took 5 gallons and filled it with mostly water, it could possible dulite it. I'm not too sure about it.
 
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