Starting Heavily Planted 29g/ Advice in what route to go
I am new to this t8 kelvin bulb idea, the advice I got from my LFS was to get a 24" t5 lighting system that can hold 2 bulbs. One white and one blue (hoping someone will understand what that means, I do not know exactly what the difference is in spectrum). My tank is completely set up minus the lighting and any living components. I have the stock lighting strip to work with if I don't by a new lighting fixture. So Im trying to decide which method I would like to go, if both will work I would obiviously like to go for the cheapier solution as long as its realiable.
im new to this also been up and running for a month now. This is a great place to come for help. i read and researched for over a month mostly around this forum before I bought anything. I would start out by reading the 4 part sticky series at the top of this forum by Byron.
Ok I read through everything again and I think I grasped it this time. From the sounds of it I have to take out the activated carbon in my canister filter. And then next thing to do would be to check my lighting, once I figure out what kind of lighting i need to operate this kind of balanced system I think im ready to run with it. I will look at what I have now tomorrow and than try and find what byron is suggesting for lighting. One question I would have I will send him a message once I get used to this site some more, is if I need to buy a new light fixture. I have now the original one that you get with the tank, and its good i ran into this site before i bought t5 because that was my next step.
Welcome to our Forum!! I see you recently joined, there are alot of knowledgeable members here, espically with live plants.
What size is your tank??
I wouldn't jump the gun on buying a T5 lighting system. They can be pricey, and most of the time are unnecessary....alot of us on the site believe in a low-cost, low-matainence planted aquria. There's no need really to spend lots of money on expensive lighting, or even a co2 system. Byron's tanks are beautiful with no co2, Angels tanks are beautiful and some of her's have a single strip lighting...just about everyones is set-up using bulbs you can buy @ lowes or a Home Depot...so you can do too!!
Having said that.....have you thought about what kinds of plants you wish to keep?!?! If you havn't found a LFS which sells great plants, just about everyone on here will recommend sweetaquatics.com. They are awesome. Prices are great, amazing customer service(family owned) and shipping is a breeze. Maybe think about a plant list and they have just about everything.
LIGHTING: I would read Byron's 4-part stickies on everything you need to know. I have a 55G tank, and I personally run two-48" bulbs. One of my bulbs is a "cool blue" made by Sylvania, the other is a "full spectrum" also made my sylvania...each are t8 bulbs, 32 watts a piece. They are cheap and my plants are doing quite well (feel free to check out my plant build, also on the plant section here).
This will atleast maybe get your started, others will along to chime in! Everyone on here is quite knowledgeable and will help to get you on your way!!
+1 FOR johnny... I have a 29g planted with plants ordered from sweet aquatics (pkg#1 plus a few other add ons). I run the stock hood with a t8 24" LIFE GLO bulb and have no issues what so ever. I have new growth and everything is happy and healthy.
For a 29g thou which is just 1 short of my 30g I'd not put 2 all the way across that'd be a lot light and to balance that out with the co2 from your stock and nutrition would be a lil more difficult (or you don't balance it out and have algae). For example my 55g is ran with 32w 4ft t8 that is IT and if you look at my plants here I think it say's it all (was set up and started Nov last year) http://www.fishtanks.net/aquariums/p...db7aa_full.jpg
Most of all if you have a hood for it already: See what length you need for bulb go to Homedepot, Lowes, Walmart and look for bulbs by GE, Phillips, Bright effects and look for their "Daylight" or Ultimate daylight one's - You should read the small print on the box and make sure you get something rated around 6500 Kelvin that's what your plants need; bulbs there are about 1/4 to 1/5 of the price then the petstore will charge you. Me pers I got stuck using the GE & Bright effects bulbs now.
Then I'd select he plants YOU like to see in there here if you don't have a verity locally www.sweetaquatics.com (I love this place they have a very good quality and fair prices).
Hope I didn't forget nothing now :-D
Good advice above from all who have posted, so this will just add my agreement. I would certainly not go with T5 HO lighting, it is too intense for the majority of plants not to mention the poor fish, most of which come from dark waters and will be stressed under these over-bright lights. On a 29g a single-strip regular fluorescent (which takes a T8 tube) will be sufficient, provided you have a good balanced tube as Angel mentioned. Full spectrum/daylight are common names, the kelvin rating around 6500K is close to the colour of mid-day sun, and a decent tube will emit sufficient intensity (lumens) without fussing over that.
Welcome to the wonderful beautiful world of planted aquaria that ensures a healthier home for the fish.:-)
P.S. There are several photos of my present and former aquascapes under my "Aquariums" and I think these meet your title of "heavily planted" and these all run on the method outlined in my articles.
Alright I will try that for my 29gallon, but I had a question for my 55g. Im basically doing the samething in both tanks, and i just realized this morning that my lightstrip for 55g is t5(two tubes). Do you have any suggestions on what specific bulbs to put in there, or what I may do to make it fit into the system you outlined in your articles? And the only other question I have before I try your method is that in both tanks I have activated carbon in my canister filters. Should I not run them with this media and if not what should i place instead?
If you recently bought this at the fish store, perhaps you can exchange it; most will do this, rather than lose your business. I've exchanged fixtures and tubes several times in different stores. If this is not possible, and you can find NO tubes, it is workable--especially if you can remove one tube and have the other still light, that would be OK. I'll wait for your response on this before suggesting specific tubes, as the types are not interchangeable (T5 fixtures only take T5 tubes, and regular fixtures take T8 or T12).
I would remove the carbon. Carbon removes substances from the water (the substances bind to the carbon, I've forgotten the term, doesn't matter) and most of us believe nutrients are included in this removal, which is counter-productive. Plus, with live plants you cannot better their filtering work no matter what the filter, so we just let the plants do their job. In my canisters I have the pads that come with them, plus the ceramic disks in the first basket (they do nothing but trap large matter, and support bacteria of course). In the second (and third in the largest) I have Fluval BioMax media; I used to use Eheim's but it costs 2-3 times more, and does nothing better and really isn't even needed anyway. As I explain in the part of filtration, many believe encouraging biological filtration is detrimental in planted aquaria. You could use plain rock chips or large gravel (pebbles, the small aquarium gravel would compact too much) or leave it empty, or use filter floss/wool...all ideas others have suggested.
I, for one, only use filter floss and dolomite gravel (to raise the PH and KH) Taking the carbon out makes room for other things that help help modify the water paramters (Like peat for lowering PH and dolomite for raising it) It's so odd... Coming here regularly I've had to make myself 'forget' everything I've ever read in books and other web sites... So called "professionals" don't understand at all (so it seems) Reading things like "Some plants require 2-3 WPG" and "You have to use pressurized CO2 for good plant growth" kept me from planting my tanks for a long time... I now have three planted tanks, and the only added expense was some CFL's (to fit in my incandescent hoods). I was reading as book at the library today that was brand new (written in 2009) and it was garbage IMO. Saying Vallis needed 3WPG... Angel has less than 1 WPG (or close to 1) and her vallis are INSANE. Apparently the plants never read those books. ;)
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