Well I took the first step and got myself an aquarium. I went with the 55g Aqueon and glad I did over a 75g. Where I am placing it had me concerned as to how much it would protrude out had I went with the 75g. The 55g is perfect where it sits. I gave up that extra depth that the 75g gives but that's ok. This being my first ever planted tank I want to make it a bit easier on myself. Don't burst my bubble, it's just that the 55g looks a bit more manageable to me.
So we have:
Honey stained birch aquarium stand
And the glass top so far. Now I need to learn more about lighting and live plants before I commit to a light. And I need to read up on co2. Not sure I'll need it but I don't know where the line is to needing/not needing co2.
I will eventually do pics. It's just an empty tank now.
Most would suggest CO2 if lighting exceeds 3watts per gallon and or the plants you choose need high lighting.
I will let others who are more expierienced with planted tanks comment further.
I guess your existing hood holds 2x4ft florescent's , correct?
Over my 55g's I use the "Daylight" tubes you can find at Homedepot or Lows. They're more blueish in color rather then yellow/ dim and I always had great success with these. They're rated at 6500K which is also what plants need. I always try to get either 35 or 40w of these named ones.
As for CO2 the plants need that, that is correct. Which is why its advisable to stock the tank with fish at some point ;-)
As anything else in life - Your plants need a proper balance between nutrition, light and CO2. So let's say you run 4x200w tubes then you WILL need extra CO2 cause there's no way you could stock your tank so much to make up for this.
In my tanks, with the lights mentioned abound and the stocking I have it works great w/out CO2 - See for yourself under my Aquarium Profiles.
Now also the tanks you see there are all w/out using fert's. However this strongly depends on your source water and its level of nutrition. Most use City water, which doesn't offer a lot and you'd then need add liquid fert's you can use 1x week.
Bottom line: I'd not recommend a CO2 machinery for you;-)
Whether you need CO2 or not will depend on what kind of plants you get I would assume. I don't actually have experience at all with CO2 and I don't think a CO2 system is necessary but others may have diverging opinions on the matter. I've read some posts / comments where some hobbyists swear bu it. A good suggestion I would make would be to also research the substrate you want to keep for plants along with the CO2 issue and the lighting. For example, if I had to start over, I would get 3X the amount of gravel I originally purchased, and I may look into researching the type of substrate that would be conducive to growing plants instead of getting plain gravel. But then again, every plant I get for my 32g so far just thrives in there so I have to question whether all the "growing aids" out there are really necessary or simply gimmicks.... ?
Thanks for the input everyone. What happens is I get to reading a bunch of stuff all over the internet and the next thing you know you start thinking that you need this and that and all kinds of junk. I was up until almost 3am this morning researching light fixture reflectors and how Mirror 4 is the best and how it concentrates more light. I think I want to stay with 1-1.5w per gallon and get low to medium light requiring plants. And that with some fertilizing should do it.
One has to remember that men are like kids in a candy store with toys. Must have gotta have frankenstein march towards the store yumyumyum TOYS!!! I'm no different and have to remind myself that I want to KISS... keep it simple stupid.
Now to check out this stand. It's driving me nuts. It's birch but they put a thin cheap piece of plywood across the top to close it off. It's not meant to support the weight as the stand frame and aquarium frames are. As you look across the rear bottom of the tank frame from right to left, about 4" from the end of the tank the bottom tank frame is not touching the thin plywood. I can see light. But the tank itself is level right to left as it sits. I think that thin cheap stuff is coming off and I'm putting down 1/2" piece. It may not matter but I'll feel better about it.
Well yea whether online stores or you LFS - They make a living off of you buying as much as possible - So yea in their opinion you'd need everything and then some.
But that's real silly and IMO & experience also unnecessary and a waste of $.
There's a LOT of very beautiful plants for which you don't need no hardcore set up. Look at my 55g with the Red Tiger lotus (pic below) IMO one of the most beautiful tank plants and like I said I don't have all that high tech equipment neither.
Also plants like Swords, Anubias, Vallisneria, Cryptocoryne, Ludwigia, Rotala and Hygrophilia all grow just fine in lowe-medium light set up, getting a daylight for them will do just fine, add some liquid fert's and you'll be happy trust me.
Just googel pictures of the images and see how you like them, there's aquarstic plant stores online but I can't post you external links here (forum rules)
For the specialized plant substrate mentioned by Hawkin: This will only help plants that mainly feed off their roots, like Swords, it will not help the other plants too much, so IMO I'd safe the $ for it and rather buy a comprehensive liquid fert and IF you do get Swords just but them root tablets (Seachem's products are pretty good)
Well really you also gotta think, if you hook your tank up with THE most expensive light you can find and THE hardcore CO2 machinery - You may not have Budget left for nice fish and wind up with some lil Guppy or alike - I'd pers not wanna go set up a high tech tank and then add goldfish to it :-)
On a side note, and that's a factor that should NOT be neglected by now means: If you have lower lights but Inject CO2 at a higher level (tank out of balance) that does encourage algae growth. Growing algae is EASY, getting rid of it not so much. And its proofed that algae is directly influenced by CO2, Light & Fert levels ;-)
I hadn't been able to find ANY stand I truly liked when setting up the new 55g, so I built my own and I'm LOVING it, not only does it look good IMO but its also sturdy enough to support2x55g on it (I figured I rather built overkill then the other way around not knowing a thing about carpentry lol)
Agree with Angel, you can grow the majority of aquarium plants without CO2, in plain gravel substrate (fine grained is best), full spectrum fluorescent light at around 1 watt or slightly less per gallon, and weekly liquid fertilization.
It is true that plants will grow faster with added CO2 and increased lighting (these have to balance as Angel said), but they will still grow if slower and be healthy and do the water filtering work they do best without this fuss. My aquaria photos demonstrate the low-tech natural approach that I write about.
Really Harri, in the end of the day is what YOU want, if you think you totally need a CO2 equipment, go for it, its YOUR tank after all. But I also think Byrons or my tank pictures speak for themselves :-)
Just if you do get it - Make sure to have the adequate lights to go with it (and again the balance matter yes lol)
I agree. Just talked to the LFS. I forgot the 2 Coralife light fixtures they had. The guy that helped me yesterday said if I go with the Coralife 8081 (2-65w 6700k) power compact fixture I should be fine doing lower light requiring plants and no co2. They have a Coralife T-5 fixture as well with 1- T5 28w 6700k and a 28w full spectrum bulb I believe. I can get the Coralife 8081 cheaper online but shipping only makes it $26.00 cheaper than my LFS. For $26 being able to get it when I want to get it and return it there if it craps out early is worth it to me.
Fishy tank here I come :-D
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