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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
im really starting to realize everything that goes in to maintaining your plants. im looking to put in a good quality light strip that will benefit my plants, and my fish. i just dont know as far as bulbs, and lightstrip what to get that would be the best for the money. looking to spend about $200. i have attached a pic of my tank so you all can somewhat see the fish and plants i have. its a 55gal. with just normal typical lightstrips, all glass hood.

1 common pleco
1 blue ram
4 gold skirt tetras
2 corys
6 otos
2 fantail goldfish
4 harlequin tetras
1 hill stream loach
1 cherry barb
2 mini puffers

i know, odd mixture, but everyone gets along very well. puffers are a little hungry, notice the little plastic container on the left. snail transporter from snail farm. :D
 

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ASk yourself if you want to have all sorts of plants later. Do you want to go high tech with CO2 or keep it simple with no CO2.

If you plan on getting more hardcore into various plant species and odn't mind CO2/ferts, then I would look at something like:
4x65watt COralife $220
http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/product.xml?product_id=24037;category_id=1875;pcid1=1843;pcid2=

If you want to keep it to a lower maintenance tank but limit your plants a bit, then perhaps:
2x65watt COralife $119
http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/product.xml?product_id=29553;category_id=1875;pcid1=1843;pcid2=
All Glass twin tube $76
http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/product.xml?product_id=23843;category_id=1853;pcid1=1843;pcid2=
All Glass triple tube $90
http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/product.xml?product_id=23881;category_id=1853;pcid1=1843;pcid2=
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i actually was looking at the same coralife you first linked to. i currently fertilize with Seachem comprehensive. i also have a small co2 system, nothing fancy, just the one from the LFS that has the canister, and bubble counter. i will be somewhat overhauling my gravel and putting in some flourite (flourite?) since i have quite a few swords, and i was told that swords get most of their nutrients from the roots and not the leaves. i have that large sword on the right, which i have grown from a sprout, a nice size melon sword, its hard to see, its behind the driftwood. and then the typical amazon swords. i recently added some ludwig (spelling) and an ulvaceous. the ulvaceous is a little too fragile for my tank, so will not be there much longer. yes, i would like to have a well planted tank, the plants i choose will have to be hardy to put up w/ the goldfish and pleco, and somewhat low to give swimming room. mostly swords. i would like to get more melon swords.
thanks for the help, thats the light i was looking at, and actually found it for $199.

what bulbs would you recommend, since there are 4 sockets for 4 different lights.
 

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Bulbs are a bit of a preference thing. I can tell you that GE9325's are VERY good for plant growth and bringing out reds. However some people find them to be too pink. Mixing them with 10,000K or 6700K's help there.
5000K bulbs I find to be too yellow. May people like the 8800K bulbs, but I think they are only offered in square pin.

Just an FYI...most swords get huge. the AMAZON will EASILY get gigantic relative to your tank size. All swords have gigantic root structures when you let them establish...makes it harder to remove later. As for ferts, I have swords get ALL their nutrients from the water column and they grow quite nicely.
 

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I don't mean to be discouraging, but the mix of fish you have is very incompatible, a big overload on a tank that size, and will make it very difficult to grow anything but the toughest of plants.

I'd consider finding a new home for the Goldies, and common Plec at very least, then you'll have a more plant friendly atmosphere. :)
 

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I have the Coralife 2x65 on my 55G tank and most low-med light plants do well. At this time I have crypts, Hygro, dwarf sag., pennywort, java moss & fern, anubias, tiger lotus. I did have a Amazon sword in there but could not get it to grow well, so I moved it to a higher light tank and it took off. So if you want to grow swords you may need to go with more wattage, I say that from my experiance with my sword.

The one Hagan C02 system you have will not work well on the 55G tank, they do better on tanks under 20 gallons. It would be better to hook up two DIY pop bottle C02 and use the hagan ladder for your diffuser. I used this setup a while on my 55G until I went pressurized.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i understand you aren't supposed to mix "tropical" and "goldfish", but fancy goldfish do require warm water, and all the fish get along quite well. as i said before, the only ones that have issues are the mini puffers, and that is because we did a huge cleaning of snails and unintentionally wiped out the snail colony. it seems i have relatively few fish for a 55g, only three large fish, and the rest small. im also running a tetratec 350, and penguin 175, and a small submersed power head for water circulation. (didn't mean to sound too rude or offensive about the fish i have :D) im not looking to go strictly plant only, i just enjoy watching them grow, and how they make the environment look. i couldnt get rid of the goldfish, they're awesome.
im apprehensive about using a DIY co2 system, i've heard too many stories about them overflowing or bursting, and the pressurized systems are a little too expensive. i may just get another hagan for the other side of the tank.

concerning light bulbs, i was told that (swords especially) need a lot of light, and i have been thinking about going mainly swords. but just concerned on how different lights would affect the fish also. and would the 2x65watt COralife be sufficient for my swords?
thank you all very much for all the help. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
oops, forgot trenac addressed the issue on which light to use for the swords. would anyone have any other recommendations on striplights?
thanks again.
 

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rohape said:
i was told that (swords especially) need a lot of light, and i have been thinking about going mainly swords. :D
It seems you have narrowed down the type of plants you want to grow which is something I have yet to be able to do :) If you want to go mainly swords my first thought for you is to get a bigger tank. I had a Red Rubin that outgrew my 75g within about 3-4 months.

I have grown plants in a 55g with 70 watts of NO (1.25wpg) up to 4wpg! Keep in mind, the higher the light you go, the more CO2 and fertilization you are gonna need. I don't know if the Hagen (or two of them) will be able to keep up with some of the higher wattage compact fluorescents. I really don't have any experience with CO2 other than pressurized so maybe someone else can help out here.

At 4wpg+ (4x65 watts), the Flourish Comprehensive, as well as other types of Flourish (Nitrogen, Phosphorous etc) will get very expensive on a 55g. You should look into getting your fertilizers in dry form. Greg Watson is a good source for them and he is one of the sponsors of this site.

As far as strip lights, Lowe's or Home Depot have very inexpensive shop lights that can be used over your 55g until you have the cash for something prettier/fancier. I have an All Glass 2x55 w strip (9325K lamps) on the back half of my 75g with an All Glass Triple Tube strip light that Gomer recommended (with 6700K, 8800K and 9325K lamps) on the front half. I experimented with various K lamps on the front half and this is what I settled on.

Since you say you want plants in your tank, I would suggest you do some searching on this site. There is a LOT of info on here just waiting to be read (or re-read in my case ) :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i will take your advice and do lots of research since the "boss" has set this light set as my b-day present. :D so, off to do lots of research on lights and plants.
thanks to all for the help. :D
 

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rohape said:
i understand you aren't supposed to mix "tropical" and "goldfish", but fancy goldfish do require warm water, and all the fish get along quite well. it seems i have relatively few fish for a 55g, only three large fish, and the rest small.
It's the three large fish that I'm talking about. They get much too large for a 55 gallon by themselves not including the smaller fish, and like I said before, they aren't plant friendly.

I don't mean to keep veering off the topic, but just trying to save you a headache down the road. :)
 
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