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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Is anyone aware of a relatively low tech light that's otherwise good for the application? I would like to use the "siesta" lighting schedule, and actively do NOT want phone apps and all that jazz. I'd prefer to use an old school dip switch timer. The only "feature" I can think of that might be worthwhile is the ability to dim the lights.
 

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Skip the duckweed and get something more manageable like salvinia or red root floater. There are lots of cheap LED aquarium lights On amazon. I guess you’d want something like 12-24 watts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Red root floaters are my aesthetic floater. Salvinia might be what I was thinking was called spangles. The google image search looks right. What about duckweed makes it unmanageable?

I've been digging around on Amazon et. al., and every light I find has a fancy controller or app or blue teeth or whatever other cheap frippery they can throw at them to justify a higher price. I work with automation, and would really prefer a simple dumb light that I can control with my own contrivances without having to cut and hack so I can return them and I'm not stuck with the otherwise cheap LEDs they're using should they go bad prematurely.
 

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The duckweed you are apt to get online is barely the circumference of the "Like" icon at the bottom of this post. It's like having a carpet of green dust across your water surface. Some fish will eat it, if nothing else is available, but aesthetically, I find "spangles" more pleasing.
 

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About the controllers, I hear you! You've got to punch in 10 times to set the stupid thing. When the power goes off, which it does fairly frequently in my area, you've got to re-punch in everything.
I bought this one (LED lamp) with the controller and immediately put the controller on its "manual setting." Then, I hooked it up to my $7 Home Depot analog timer. I run a power strip from the timer for the new lamp and one other. Works fine. I don't want digital, dimming, sunsets, etc, just simplicity.
My guess is that the extra built-in cost for the lamp's controller is counter-balanced by mass producing only one product type (i.e., lamps with a controller). That way the manufacturer doesn't have to offer two versions of every lamp.
Floating plants: I like Water Lettuce, Frogbit and Salvinia. Duckweed can be a pain and because of its small size is not as powerful a water purifier. Photo shows Frogbit (Limnobium spongia), a native plant of Southeastern USA, releasing oxygen into the water. You can be sure that those roots are also sucking up lots of ammonia and nitrite.
Plant Terrestrial plant Water Grass Aquatic plant
 

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Diana beat me to it, but I'll post anyway, LOL.

Another suggestion for a floater: Amazon frogbit. It looks good and is more reliable than red foot floaters. Duckweed is a pest because it multiplies so quickly and your hand or any tool you put in the tank will come out coated with the stuff. It will also find its way to any other tanks. Not a problem now, but multiple tank syndrome is insidious.

For lighting, I suggest either the Finex Stringray or a Beamworks, both on Amazon. Finex is not as bright and more expensive. Beamworks is brighter and cheaper. Both are available as simple switched operation. That is what I have, using a cheap appliance timer for siesta schedule.

Nice tank you've picked out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Re: duckweed. That makes sense. I was told it is the fastest grower, but that may be by count rather than biomass. Frogbit is like giant duckweed, and that is easy to imagine being more manageable. From what I've read, water lettuce sounds like it might be a bit too large for my square foot of surface area. I'm hoping to have an emergent plant (Pothos is the current spreadsheet entry) for a little extra oomph, and the supporting infrastructure for that will undoubtedly reduce some of that square foot. I haven't gotten far enough into that aspect to know if it'll make it to the final draft yet though. Certainly open to input. Floating plant lineup is frogbit, spangles/salvinia (whichever is a different size to the frogbit), and red root floaters.

Nearly all of my (admittedly limited) computer time for the past 36 hours has been spent trying to figure out the light. My copy of @dwalstad's book finally arrived yesterday, and her suggestion of a $24 light for an aquarium style named for her that it sounds like she uses in a manner very much like I intend to use it sorta seals the deal... No further investigation necessary on that one! Thank you! Are you still advocating the siesta light timing? I think I... heard/read that from something of yours from a few years ago. I feel like it might have been a podcast interview I listened to while wrangling a pesky electrical gremlin extermination project for work a few days back, so I was maybe a bit distracted...

At this point, I think I've settled on nearly all of my hard goods. Currently working on the plants. The tall plants I have picked out for the moment are Shinnersia riv., Limnophila sessiflora, and Persicaria sp. "Sao Paulo". That gives me three tall, fast growing, "easy/beginner" plants with a variety of leaf textures and colors. If anyone with more experience/wisdom than I (read: any at all) sees anything about that combo, please let me know.

Next up is the medium height plants, followed by the short ones, and then a few pretty trivial incidentals, and it's time to start making things appear at my door one way or another!
 

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Anubias nana is for small mid to foreground. Staurogyne repens is a good foreground too. You want small plants to fit your small tank. Large plants in small spaces are awkward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
@mistergreen, Are any of the plants I listed in my tall/background list "Large" by your definition? Also, a quick look at the two plants you mention says they're slow growing. I was under the impression (I just got the book yesterday, and have barely cracked it) that the goal with the plants should be fast growth to remove nutrients by trimming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
tall utility plant 1shinnersia riv.
tall utility plant 2limnophila sessiliflora
tall pretty plantpersicaria sp. "sao paulo"
medium utility plant 1hygrophila corymbosa
medium utliity plant 2Brazilian pennywort
medium pretty plantcryptocoryne wendtii
short utility plant 1dwarf hair grass
short utility plant 2monte carlo
short pretty plantPogostemon helferi
floating utilty plant 1water spangles
floating utilty plant 2frogbit
floating pretty plantred root floaters
emergent plantfancy pothos

What does the hive mind think of the plant options here?
 

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Another vote for avoiding duckweed. Somehow it made it into my tank where water lettuce was once my floater of choice, and now it's completely taken over the surface. I have to remove it weekly because it becomes very dense and blocks a lot of light.
One thing you'll learn along this journey is that some of your plants will thrive and some won't. No rhyme or reason, just the way it is. Seems like you have a great variety to start with but be prepared that you won't end up with all of them. Plant heavy to start, more than you think you'll need. The plants will figure it out in the end. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
I doubt very much that 10 plants will all thrive within a cubic foot. I'd love to be wrong about that, but I'm expecting some amount of attrition. Ditto with the livestock. I'm just hoping I'm better at keeping things alive this time around than I was as a kid!
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Might have found an issue with my strategy... I'm down to sourcing the plants and fish. Ideally, I'd be able to order the plants all from a single place for shipping cost and timing purposes. It appears I may have been better off picking a supplier, then choosing from their stock... Any suggestions for an aquatic plant supplier with an especially broad range of offerings?
 

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This isn't quite what you're asking for, but I actually got most of my plants from reddit (r/Aquaswap). I needed a cost effective option because I'm a starving college student lol. You can get fast growing plants for dirt cheap there because people need to get rid of them from their own tanks. Most sellers ship very reasonably, and local pickup is available as well if you're in a popular area. I got my rotala, ludwigia sp., bacopa, hornwort, pearl weed, Taiwan lily, red root floaters, salvinia, and water lettuce from two different sellers on there. The only plant I bought elsewhere (an Etsy store) was my hair grass because I wanted a certain variety no one was selling.

Also, it's not the end of the world to keep plants sitting in a bowl of water for a few days if shipping doesn't quite line up. So don't be too stressed about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Excellent! I have tabs open for Buceplant, Aquarium Plants Factory, Aquatic Arts, and Modern Aquarium. Those are the ones I've found so far that a) have a fairly broad selection, and b) are located in the US. Save the one of those (I forget which) based in Indiana, they're all on the coasts, and I'm more or less smack in the middle of the country (Denver-ish), so they're all about equally far for shipping purposes. I'm still in the process of figuring out which among those is most likely to get me where I'm going with the most success, so Buce Plant just rose to the top!
 

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Excellent! I have tabs open for Buceplant, Aquarium Plants Factory, Aquatic Arts, and Modern Aquarium. Those are the ones I've found so far that a) have a fairly broad selection, and b) are located in the US. Save the one of those (I forget which) based in Indiana, they're all on the coasts, and I'm more or less smack in the middle of the country (Denver-ish), so they're all about equally far for shipping purposes. I'm still in the process of figuring out which among those is most likely to get me where I'm going with the most success, so Buce Plant just rose to the top!
I've purchased from them many times. Only once did I have some plants DOA but that was because FedEx sent my package to me in Washington (state) by way of Chicago in the middle of winter. Even with heat packs some of the plants didn't make it. Buce was quick to send replacements free of charge, no questions asked.
I highly recommend them. :)
 
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