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I currently am getting ready to set up my planted tank. I intend for it to be heavily planted.

My tank is a 55 gallon (short - about 36 inches long).

I currently have a Power Compact light fixture that can house two 96 watt bulbs (36"). The bulbs I have are 1-10k and 1-actinic. The actinic will be going bye-bye as it won't do anything for my tank leaving me with 1-96W bulb.

I will be injecting CO2 using a pressurized system. I will have about 2-4 inches of substrate (eco-complete). I will be using an Eheim canister filter.

I will be dosing Ferts using the EI method (yeah that means 50 percent water changes :rolleyes:).

My question is, should I get another bulb or would that be overkill at the early stage? Will I still get acceptable plant growth with one 96 watt bulb or will that not be enough light? I don't want the plants to go crazy but I don't want growth to be practically non-existant.
What about photoperiod? I heard short is good in the beginning working up to longer durations. Start with 4 hours? 5 hours? 8 hours?

Any suggestions would be good.
 

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The 96 watts will give you enough light to grow low to low-medium light plants. If you stick with these type plants you should get the growth you want. I would suggest starting off with the one bulb, then add another bulb (if you want) once you get comfortable taking care of a planted tank and/or when you want to get higher light plants. I would go ahead & start out with 8 hours of daily light since you will have under 2wpgs.

Welcome to APC!
 

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In my opinion, you'll have less problems starting off if you go with just the one bulb (until you get adjusted to caring for a planted tank) . Since it's not high light, you might consider dosing you ferts at 2/3 of the recommended EI rates. Then you can bump it up when you decide to add the other bulb.
+1 on Trena's recommendation for 8 hrs to start. But I wouldn't hesitate to try some moderate-light plants. I started with about 2 wpg on a 50 and was able to at least grow Bacopa, and with only DIY CO2.

-Dave
 

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I have (4) 55W CF bulbs over my 55gal tank. My photoperiod is 12 hours a day. EI fertilization. CO2.

I have never deviated from this routine from the beginning. I had no problems that the plants themselves didn't take care of. What little algae I had in the beginning, disappeared as the plants took off.
 

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Do you think 2-4 inches of substrate is enough ?? I would shoot for a couple of more inches if possible. In fact you can get away with sloping your substrate so that it can be a bit shallower in the front and deeper at the back for the (likely) larger background plants.... just a thought.
 

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Do you think 2-4 inches of substrate is enough ?? I would shoot for a couple of more inches if possible. In fact you can get away with sloping your substrate so that it can be a bit shallower in the front and deeper at the back for the (likely) larger background plants.... just a thought.
Based on everything I've read from the aquascaping and substrates forums (and from past experience), the average substrate is 3-4" deep.
 
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