Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   time to get final info on planting a tank (

yippee 09-18-2008 01:50 AM

time to get final info on planting a tank
I've kept tanks for years now, but i never really got into live plants until now. I feel adventurous and feel like taking the plunge into live plants. however, i like to get my details straight before i get in over my head. i have been reading around, so it's not like i dont have any information.

i guess i will be starting with my 5 gallon betta tank before moving on to my bigger tanks. the tank is new, not yet established. the betta is currently in a 1gal tank. when i get the new tank set up, it will consist of mostly new water, mixed with the roughly 1 gallon of existing water in the tank. gravel substrate. normal light that came with the tank. i will most likely be upgrading to one of these before i add any plants:
(most likely the 10 watt, which would be 2 watts per gallon, which from my understanding is adequate lighting for most plants)

as far as co2 goes, would this be a good system?:

now, as far as the 5 gallon goes since thats where i plan on starting, will the light listed work well for what i am wanting. I'm not positive if the 50/50 is a good plant light, but i was aiming to use it for the crisper light than the normal incandescent lights put out. i want a light that will nicely display the bettas colors.

is the co2 necessary for the 5 gallon or is it overkill at this point? would the listed system work well or would you suggest something else?

as far as fertilizers go, would you suggest the type you mix into the water or the type or another type?

Please let me know your thoughts/concerns on the matter, thanks!

onefish2fish 09-18-2008 04:43 AM

i clicked the link for the light and it said "were sorry this page does not exist" but since you mentioned 50/50s im going to take a wild shot and say its a coralife fixture.

personally i wouldnt go with that and i would ditch the incadesant all together as well (they tend to run hot and will cause inconsistant temperatures in such a small tank) im not sure the demensions of the tank so its hard to recommend a fixture.. since a 5 gallon is so small a standard light fixture or even two would work just fine..really just aim for 2-3 watts a gallon, but use full spectrum light bulbs ( check out home depot or any hardware store, they are cheaper then local fish stores )

i would recommend not using a co2, its almost guarenteed it will be overdosed and will kill your fish

java moss, anarcharis and hornwort are a few very easy, hardy, plants
going on and writting down plants you like then google-ing their needs ( light requirements, max growth size etc. etc. ) is a good idea

be warned petsmart, petco, and even some LFS's will sell plants not inteneded for aquarium use, best to do your research and homework.

API leaf zone and seachem flourish are prob. my fertilizers of choice you can also use root tabs

Kim 09-18-2008 02:25 PM

I got my plants from Baylees Fishees ( and they were really healthy even after being in the mail for a couple days. His plants are also waaaaaaaaaaay cheaper, and the shipping is free for orders $20 and up. Even if you don't order that many plants, the regular shipping is only $8 compared to around $15 at other places!

iamntbatman 09-18-2008 03:55 PM

I haven't ordered from there, but free shipping on $20 and up is really a great deal. A couple of plants plus shipping would almost be $20 anyway, so why not just get a few more plants essentially for free?

aunt kymmie 09-18-2008 04:23 PM

I agree about the price issue. I last ordered plants on line from Liveaquaria. The plants arrived overnight, packaged beautifully and very healthy. I'm about to hit the send button on a shopping cart I just filled up at BayleesFishees. I'm ordering more of the same that I did on my prior order with Liveaquaria for half the price! Some of my liveaquaria plants didn't make it. That was BEFORE I installed new lighting...

I'll post an update once the plants arrive....

yippee 09-19-2008 02:23 AM

sorry, i guess i should have specified, the tank is a 5 gal hex. I'm pretty sure there is no florescent hood available for it. i know incandescent lights are not ideal for fish keeping, which is why i am trying to find a better bulb to use in the existing fixture. which i assume is wishful thinking? other than that i'm not sure what other options there are.

iamntbatman 09-19-2008 12:38 PM

What size is the screw-in base of the bulb that's in it? If it's the same size as a regular light bulb, you can just get rid of the incandescent bulb and get one of these:

For freshwater, you'd want the Colormax bulb, not the 50/50 one. I've seen these for sale at most LFS's, including Petsmart. They even have a knock-off brand at Wal-Mart for like $5 a bulb. I have one of these in my betta tank and it does just fine.

yippee 09-20-2008 02:12 AM

ah, those were the bulbs i was looking at. in the local stores ive only ever seen the 50/50. ill either have to find somewhere that sales them or buy them online. just out of curiosity, so i have an answer, why is the 50/50 a no-go? do they put off the heat of an incandescent light or a florescent light? or somewhere in between?

iamntbatman 09-20-2008 08:37 AM

When buying lights for an aquarium, you have to consider two factors most of all:

1) The light output of the bulb. Compact fluorescents put out considerably more lumens per watt of electricity used than regular fluorescents or incandescent bulbs.

2) The color temperature of the bulb. Here's a bit of physics: a perfect black body (that is, an object that will perfectly absorb all frequencies of electromagnetic radiation - including light - that are shined on it) will emit a range of frequencies depending on the temperature the object is heated to. Light bulbs are actually rated as if they were one of these black bodies. The temperature (listed in Kelvins, or K) is an indication of the color range of visible light the bulb will put out. For good plant growth, you want a temperature between 6500 and 10,000 K. 50/50 bulbs are a combination of 10,000 K and some much higher temperature, which isn't useful for plant growth but is great for corals. The other bulb, the Colormax bulb, has a color temperature of 6700 K, which is much more useful for your live plants.

yippee 09-20-2008 02:45 PM

ah, thanks, that makes perfect sense.

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