Need help with choosing plants? ? ?
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Need help with choosing plants? ? ?

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Need help with choosing plants? ? ?
Old 02-23-2011, 09:16 AM   #1
 
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Need help with choosing plants? ? ?

So I have been doing some reading and have decided to do a planted aquarium with my 55gallon. I love the looks of real plants in aquariums. I just have one problem I have no clue what to plant? LoL there are some many plants. Being this will be my first attempt at planted aquarium what should I plant? and How many plants do I need for a tank that size? I will be using soil and rocks as my substrate. I have read that at first you need lots of fast growing plants to help get the tank going but need a some with good root base also some floating plants? The only problems is I have no clue which plants have/do what I have read about some of them but I think I am just getting myself confused
Can someone please help break it down for me???
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:16 PM   #2
 
Check out the "Tropical Fish Profiles" on this site. It has good pictures as well as information to get you started. Also, depending on where you purchase supplies (I purchase mine from my LFS, not online), will determine some of what you plant. Try a few plants at a time. You will get to know which you have the best luck growing.
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Old 02-23-2011, 04:50 PM   #3
 
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Originally Posted by brownmane View Post
Check out the "Tropical Fish Profiles" on this site. It has good pictures as well as information to get you started. Also, depending on where you purchase supplies (I purchase mine from my LFS, not online), will determine some of what you plant. Try a few plants at a time. You will get to know which you have the best luck growing.
Okay thanks for the info!
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Old 02-23-2011, 05:35 PM   #4
 
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Well I am cerainly no expert but I just picked plants I liked the look of that worked in my water parameters. I researched as to their suitability for the front, middle or back of the tank. Then I started adding. As I am not the best at foresight, I had to move them around a little to get them where I wanted them.

Actually, I placed the wood where I wanted it and then started planting all around the wood to fill in. I love the look of a heavily planted tank.
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:57 PM   #5
 
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You can save yourself some money by deciding about light and nutrients first. Not all plants--just as not all fish--need the same light and nutrients, and selecting high light/high nutrient plants if your light is low/moderate will lead to failure within weeks. And that is discouraging.

On the substrate, I seriously would not recommend soil if this is your first attempt at a planted tank. Regular small-grain gravel will be much easier, I assure you. Or if you can afford it, one of the plant substrates like Seachem's Flourite or CarribSea's Eco-complete. These are much less risky than soil.

But to the light, what fixture/type of light do you have? Be specific. This is the single most important aspect of planted tanks.

Byron.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:34 PM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
You can save yourself some money by deciding about light and nutrients first. Not all plants--just as not all fish--need the same light and nutrients, and selecting high light/high nutrient plants if your light is low/moderate will lead to failure within weeks. And that is discouraging.

On the substrate, I seriously would not recommend soil if this is your first attempt at a planted tank. Regular small-grain gravel will be much easier, I assure you. Or if you can afford it, one of the plant substrates like Seachem's Flourite or CarribSea's Eco-complete. These are much less risky than soil.

But to the light, what fixture/type of light do you have? Be specific. This is the single most important aspect of planted tanks.

Byron.
As of right now I just have a plain jane lighted hood thats in two sections. I know I need to upgrade to something different but that just it? In another thread that I posted I asked what kind of lighting was needed to get or what was the best? I was under the empression that T8's would be the best somewhere around 6500k with enough lumens ( which by the way what is enough? ) but what about wattage?
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:26 AM   #7
 
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Originally Posted by Boredomb View Post
As of right now I just have a plain jane lighted hood thats in two sections. I know I need to upgrade to something different but that just it? In another thread that I posted I asked what kind of lighting was needed to get or what was the best? I was under the empression that T8's would be the best somewhere around 6500k with enough lumens ( which by the way what is enough? ) but what about wattage?
Depending upon the manufacturer of the tube, T8 "daylight" tubes with a kelvin around 6500K are best. As for wattage, that is somewhat irrelevant because tubes come in standard wattages for the size; some manufacturers make energy-efficient types with lower wattages but the same intensity, but you won't find the same size and type of tube in different wattages. For example, the 48-inch Life-Glo 2 is 40w, while the 48-inch ZooMed Ultra Sun is 32w; they produce the same intensity and colour (around 6500K) of light, the ZooMed is just more energy-efficient.

You mentioned a 55g tank, and and hood in two sections, from which I assume it has two tubes; what length are they? [Measure the tube end to end excluding the prongs.]

Byron.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:44 PM   #8
 
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They are both 18" bulbs
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:16 PM   #9
 
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I am however going to change those hoods for something esle though. Thoughs have never fitted the tank right there are big gaps all the way around the tank with that said is it better to have 2 small bulbs bulbs running the tank or just having 1 long bulb running the tank or maybe 2?
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:19 PM   #10
 
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They are both 18" bulbs
You might be able to manage, with the right tube, but if you don't mind upgrading the light, it would be advisable.

With the present fixture, you could use two Life-Glo tubes. These are made by Hagen, and they have two types, Life-Glo and Life-Glo 2. The Life-Glo (without the "2") has a coating on half the inside that directs more light out the other half, so you get slightly more intensity. I have one of these. Over a 55g, this could work for many plants such as those considered low to moderate light, but it would be pushing the envelope, so to speak.

A new fixture with 48-inch tubes would work better. This would spread the light full length, and allow you some options. I had a single T12 tube over my 55g years ago, and managed well with swords and crypts. The T8 tubes are better, more intense light and in better spectrum now from what was available back then (1980). You could go with a dual-tube T8 fixture. This allows you to have two different tubes, which is nice with respect to the colour rendition. A single-tube T5 would work, but not a dual-tube T5. T5 HO (high output) tubes are very bright by comparison, one is equal to 1.5 T8 tubes of the same type (spectrum) in intensity, and you really do not want more than two T8 tubes over a 55g for a low-tech or natural setup. The T5 NO (normal output) tubes are comparable to T8 but very hard to find.

I can suggest tubes if you ask.

Byron.
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