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Hey everyone,
So like i've said in the "introductions" section, I'm quite new to aquarium plant keeping and have done some research but decided I'd find more help on a forum and found this one. I've just purchased a 130 gal. aquarium for my fish and fear it may be too large to start keeping plants. At the moment I have pool sand substrate which is very fine but I'm looking to add some type of soil substrate.

So I guess I'll list off my questions hoping no one will get frustrated with me :(

1.) How much wattage am I looking for, for a 130 gal. aquarium about 2 feet tall?
2.) Do I need a CO2 diffuser?
If so, should I have 2 diffuser's for a tank this big?
3.) What trace elements should I keep an eye out for?
Finally,
4.) Do I have to purchase fertilizer for the plants?

At the moment I'm attending university so my budget is quite low, but I'm really excited to get something going! Any advice is much appreciated.

Thanks everyone
 

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That's quite an undertaking. Did you get any other equipment with the tank?

I suggest that you try to learn more before diving in and buying stuff. You need to have a better idea of what you want your aquarium to look like. CO2 injection, filters, lights etc. will cost money and generally speaking a 130 gal tank will cost more that a 20 gal tank. You might consider starting with a smaller set up, and save your 130 gal for down the road.

This forum will be an excellant place to learn. You can purchase everything you need online, but you will most likely need to find a really good local fish store as well.

The issue is that you need to match some of the equipment depending on what you are striving for. For example, some plants do well with low light while others will require that you have more light. You won't need CO2 unless you just want to have a brightly lit tank to grow lots of fast growing plants.

Be prepared for a challenge...it's not necessarily easy.
 

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Lighting will be the most expensive thing you have to buy next to grow plants. You want between 2 and 4 watts per gallon of water for low to high light. 130 x 2, 3, or 4. If you have a wood canopy over the tank, you can build your own light system attached to the inside of the canopy lid, or you can have an open top tank with lights suspended above, or you can buy strip fixtures that will sit on the frame of the aquarium. It will cost you anywhere from 300 to 400 all the way up to a thousand dollars depending on what you get. Even on the cheap you probably can't go much below 300.

For retrofit kits, check out www.ahsupply.com
 

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You will get a LOT of different advice on this forum (which is a great thing). Remember this...none of them will necessarily be wrong, but they may all be describing very different approaches, different choices as there are many different configurations to choose from....bottom line is that you can spend anywhere from a lot to a lot less than a lot depend on which of those paths you choose to attempt. Hense, learn as much as you can and try to get an idea of what you want and what you can afford before you start buying equipment.
 

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Thats excellent advice from manwithnofish. I spent between $600 and $700 dollars getting my 55 gallon high tech tank going ands I don't think I could have skimped much more without losing a lot of quality. Make sure you know what you are getting into before jumping in.

All that aside this is a great hobby and I don't mean to discourage you in any way, just want you to be completely informed. There are some great sticky threads on this forum that you can read to get a better idea of setting up a new tank.

Good luck and remember that the forum is here to help.

Welcome
 

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anywhere from a lot to a lot less than a lot
OK, so what is a lot less than a lot...? How much would you be able to spend to put the minimal amount of light over a 130 gallon tank and still be able to grow plants successfully? I don't think you can do it for under 300 dollars. Is that a lot or a little?

What is your goal with this tank Copelin? How heavily into it do you want to get? Do you want really lush, heavily planted with lots of color, or something more basic? Do you want high maintenance or low maintenance? Do you want to plant it and forget it, or do you like to get your hands wet constantly with pruning, replanting, tinkering, constantly ajusting fertilizer regimes...that sort of thing?
 

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OK, so what is a lot less than a lot...? How much would you be able to spend to put the minimal amount of light over a 130 gallon tank and still be able to grow plants successfully? I don't think you can do it for under 300 dollars. Is that a lot or a little?
I'll leave that for others to decide. I guess it varies with the individual. My point is that you can light a tank from some range, say it's $150.00 to $500.00. There are many ways to go. What I was pointing out to Copelin is that there isn't a simple single answer to any aspect of this, whether we're talking about lights, filters, CO2, fresh water vs salt water, types of plants, fish, etc. It all boils down to choices that come with a wide variety of price tags.

Copelin, I think you are going to have to examine this further and see if you can answer some of these questions. The equipment needed to get there will depend greatly on what it is you want to achieve.
 

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Can you be specific about anything at all? Can you give one example of a $150 light set up for a 130 gallon tank? One example? Anything? You say there are many ways to go, so name ONE?

but decided I'd find more help on a forum and found this one.
I hope we can help you. Just keep the questions coming here and then maybe we can get more specific, (please, somebody) in answering your question.
 

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Can you be specific about anything at all? Can you give one example of a $150 light set up for a 130 gallon tank? One example? Anything? You say there are many ways to go, so name ONE?
I suppose a possible (albeit less effective than most) lighting setup could be 5 shoplight fixtures (or at least their endcaps and ballasts) with 32 watt t8 bulbs jammed into the hood. That would cost around $80 total and would give enough light to grow plants, maybe not to their fullest potential, but if budget were the factor this would be the minimum setup that could get a result. :)
 

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Are you talking about four foot shop light fixtures? Around here they go for about 12 dollars a piece, and the bulbs are about 5 or 6 bucks a piece, two per fixture. If you can fit five of those fixtures on a tank that would work. Two of them don't fit that well on a 55 gallon. Depends on how wide the tank is. It won't look pretty!;)
 

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Can you be specific about anything at all? Can you give one example of a $150 light set up for a 130 gallon tank? One example? Anything? You say there are many ways to go, so name ONE?
Robert, if there is one and only one choice with regards to any of this, then why don't you just go ahead and tell him what to do.

One option would be to put a lamp next to the tank...there that's cheap enough.

Copelin, as for the 2 to 4 wpg advice, forget about it. Watts per gallon mean nothing at all.

Go to this link http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/lighting/56906-best-lighting-135-gallon-72l-x.html and look at my last post. It has three links that will educate you on the subject of lights.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
OK, so what is a lot less than a lot...? How much would you be able to spend to put the minimal amount of light over a 130 gallon tank and still be able to grow plants successfully? I don't think you can do it for under 300 dollars. Is that a lot or a little?

What is your goal with this tank Copelin? How heavily into it do you want to get? Do you want really lush, heavily planted with lots of color, or something more basic? Do you want high maintenance or low maintenance? Do you want to plant it and forget it, or do you like to get your hands wet constantly with pruning, replanting, tinkering, constantly ajusting fertilizer regimes...that sort of thing?
Oh noo! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pit you all against eachother. I'll try to be a little more specific this time, it's just when I first posted, I really had no clue there were so much to know; which is why I'm here today i guess? So here goes:

I do have a light fixture that came with my aquarium. In terms of lighting, we have a Home Depot in town that sells bulbs for really cheap with really good wattage so like Manwithnofish said, lighting shouldn't even be a problem. Right now it just sits on top off my aquarium with an open top lid. There is a glass divider on top so the fixture won't fall in the water. There is no splashing on top so the lights don't get wet (all the water flows into the overflow tower).

In terms of what I want, I would really love a pretty basic but lush tank (mostly greens). At the moment, I would need a low maintenance tank because I'm attending University classes, but later I would get into it more and start pruning etc.

This 130 gal. came with a sump tank but I put a fluval 405 in there just for the extra kick.

I guess I can start off by listing off my problems and experiences and hopefully my questions will flow out in a more straight forward way.

So like I said, I've got my 130 gal with a fluval 405 in the sump. The light fixture seems a little dull which is why I think my Cryptocoryne (brown) is doing well but my other light green plant (can't name off the top of my head --- will get back to you guys on that) is dying. I just bought a comprehensive supplement called "FLOURISH" to help assist the plants but it doesn't seem to be helping my lighter green plant out at all.

So, why does the lighter green plant die, and the cryptocoryne survive?
What am I doing wrong? or What elements am I missing? Does water quality matter?

I do have a 10 gal. tank somewhere so I will start with that. I guess it would make sense to start small and progressively move forward. But right now, I would like to understand what I need to start a planted aquarium is all.
 

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Are you talking about four foot shop light fixtures? Around here they go for about 12 dollars a piece, and the bulbs are about 5 or 6 bucks a piece, two per fixture. If you can fit five of those fixtures on a tank that would work. Two of them don't fit that well on a 55 gallon. Depends on how wide the tank is. It won't look pretty!;)
I never said pretty...;)
Was just trying to give a perspective on the lowest possible price point for the sake of the discussion.

Back to the real topic though, copelin, If you plan to use bulbs from the home depot get the phillips "daylight deluxe" models, they come in a two pack of eithe t8 or t12 size 4 foot long tubes for 6.97 a pack. They have the proper color temperature (6700K) for good plant growth without a lot of algae. Stay away from the "plant and aquarium" bulbs, they're good to light a fish only type aquarium, but don't do much at all for aquatic plantlife.

Also, as I stated in a previous post, to get the magical 2.5 watts per gallon everyone likes to reccomend you would be looking at trying to cram a total of 10 of the above mentioned 4 foot long bulbs over that size of tank, it would work, but there are probably a lot of easier, more efficient, and more attractive ways to go (but none cheaper!)
 
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