NEED HELP!! NOOB HERE! please. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-17-2009, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I have started buying a bunch of stuff to setup a new aquarium.

I have some questions

1. I bought a fluval 205 40 gallon canister filter, but i have a 36 gallon bowfront tank. Just today i found out that ur supposed to have a filter rated 10 gallons over ur size?!? Am I fine with the fluval 205 or what??

2. I would like to setup live plants, can they be setup in just gravel or sand only? what is the proper way to put plants in? Is it hard to maintain plants?

3. The most important thing im trying to figure out is the lighting! Im trying to buy a lighting fixture. I want a really bright one, preferably be able to change colors on it, and somewhere under $100? please name some good brands for me if possible


The length of my 36 gallon bowfront is " 30 1/4" inches. What size is the lighting fixture supposed to be then??? is a 30 inch one fine??? or does it have to be exact size?

really confused


thank you
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-17-2009, 11:20 PM
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Your fine with a fluval 205. iv never heard of that rule but it sounds like a good one to follow. When you get your filter whether it be a fluval 205 or not don’t put carbon in it, as this will remove some of the nutrients used by the plants.
For live plants your going to need sufficient lighting. For a planted aquarium of your size your going to want a minimum of 36 watts of light but it would be better to have around 60 or 70 watts. The reason I say this is because there are 3 different light level requirements for plants. Low level light plants which would be around 1 watt per gallon mid level light plants which would require 1.5 to 2 watts per gallon of light and high level light plants which would need 3 to 3.5 watts per gallon of light. To acquire this level of light for your aquarium you’re going to need either t8 t10 or t5 bulbs. If your tank is 48 inches long I would suggest getting 2 48' t10 bulbs. Good bulbs for a planted aquarium would be life glo, power glo, or flora glo bulbs. Plants utilize full spectrum light in the red or blue color range. In my 50 gallon planted aquarium I have 2 48' 40 watt life glo bulbs.
Now to address substrate, for a planted aquarium your going to need a finer substrate with grains 2-3 mm in size though people often use a coarse sand but sand needs to be stirred every once in a while to avoid becoming compacted iv heard of people using quikset play sand or pool filter sand but before adding it to your aquarium you need to rinse it well to remove small particles of dust and smaller pieces of sand. A popular substrate used in planted aquariums is eco-complete with a small layer of fluorite below that. Since eco-complete is a fairly expensive substrate you could mix it with a different substrate of similar size. Just make sure what ever you use is chemically inert. When you do get some substrate your going to want to wash it thoroughly to remove any toxins or dust particles just like sand although some substrates like eco-complete they tell you not to wash it because it has added nutrients that you would be removing if you wash it.
A good place to buy your aquarium supplies is at but look for what you need first at your local fish store.

you can see pictures of my 50 gallon planted aquarium if you click aquariums under my profile picture and click the first picture

its a half a inch of water and you think your gunna drown
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-18-2009, 01:06 AM
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for ur filtration and plants your going to be fine, as far as lighting goes look for lights that are in the 5500 - 6700 kelven range "same spectrium as the sun" you want really high blue and red spectrum and atleast 2 watts per gallon any more than 5 watts per gallon and you will need to do all kinds of ferts and co2. as far as the procedure of planting the plants this varys, some like to float for a week ro two before planting and some can only be planted so far under the substrate. you can use sand or gravel or even a mix, its late for me and time to sleep if not much else is posted tomm ill go into more depth. Money
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-18-2009, 11:01 AM
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ok serge, im awake and refreshed :D now ill break down what your gunna need for your planted.

ok in depth about your filtration, the fluval is a nice filter and does its job well. i have never heard of the rule as you stated, the only one i have heard is you want to be able to filter your entire tank atleast 3 times a hr as a good rule of thumb. but if you have alot of plants your not going to need to follow that rule. plants themselfs are a natrual filter that will remove the toxins out of your water and will help your cycle move along fairly quickly.

As far as lighting goes, i would say get t8 fixtures since they will be a little more affordable than a t5 fixture. i would highly reccomend though that you buy a single fixture that spans the entire length of your aquarium and can also house two bulbs. plants use firstly blue spectrum and then red to go through pohtosenthisis I.e remove toxins and oxegenate your tank natrually. if you gave me names of what plants you want to keep i can find out which lights you will need and can even refer you to a trusted site that i use to order aquarium suppllies.

as far as actually planting your plants there are all kinds of methods to do this and it mainly depends on the plnat. lets take the TRUE amazon sword not a hybrid.... these guys can float on your tank and will eventually flower. but if you let them float for long enough they become used to it and if planted underwater all the leaves that grew while it was floating will die off and it will eventually grow more. it also dependsd if your plants are potted from the store, if they are remove them from the pot and remove the wool and metal band around the plant then put it into the substrate. with these types of plants specifically at the base they have what is called a crown, and for some reason this cannot be under the substrate. there are also some sites that will say cut a small amount of root off the plant to encourage new growth and there are some that say dont, personally i dont.

as far as your substrate goes usually a mix is best but is more exspensive than just one or the other. for example i used play sand in my aquarium that had to go through a exhausting washing with but now that its in my tank and washed LOOKS GREAT. you can also mix with something called eco complete its great for the plants it has sometype of natrual fert. on the otherhand you can also use just regualr rock.

as far as a lighting fixture that changes colors i can assure you that you wont be able to find one to do this for under 100$ for the size you need. instead i reccomend DIY install your own leds in your fixture its much more cheaper and gives the exact same effect. Hope this helps, Money
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post #5 of 6 Old 09-19-2009, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info!!! Helped alot! :)
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post #6 of 6 Old 09-19-2009, 10:04 PM
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glad to be of assistance if you need anymore info feel free to send me a PM. Money
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