Planting help Please
I am sorry for being so ignorant, I feel like I am asking a lot of questions lately. But I just got a new 36 gallon, and I am so confused about lighting. T-8, T-12, sounds like Greek to me but I know the difference between incandescent and fluorescent thats about it.
I am in the pre-aquascapeing phase and I really don't know the first thing about aquatic plants and their needs. It sounds really complicated with co2 diffusers, and special substrate, and special lighting, but the plants are not going to be the main focus of my tank so I was hoping to keep it simple.
So, here is what I know about my light, it says 30 inch fluorescent, and the bulb says 20 watt aquarium bulb. so my question is, is that good enough? I do not want to change a bunch of parts around to make this work, hopefully I just need a bulb or something easy. I don't want to change the hood.
I want about 7 plants in the gravel. I don't know what kind of plants, I suppose that depends on what I can have. but I don't know how to pick ones that will do well, as they seem to be holding back on the advice at the fish store, for example they sold me 5 white clouds, 4 tetras, and one CAE all for my 10 gallon on the same day.
The tank is about 20" deep. the substrate I picked out is just standard aquarium gravel. looks like it was screened to about 5mm but there are plenty of smaller pieces in there (I can still exchange it).
OK maybe I helped my self a little. it looks like I cant get over 20 watts with this fixture which puts me at about half of what is needed to put me in the low light category. So basically I cant do anything with what I have now?
but the fixture is easy to replace, will any 30" fixture fit on the hood? looks like I can get a CF fixture for 55 or 110 watts. They are pretty expensive, as well as the bulbs. Anybody know how often they must be replaced? I should get the 6700k because this is for freshwater right? I'm not sure if I will go through with getting this CF fixture, its not really in my budget. I spent most of that just to get what I have now.
Ok, your existing lighting is only about 0.5WPG (I presume you're from the US?) which tbh I'd regard as very low light.
If you're not all that fussed about plants, I'd probably go for about 1WPG of lighting (or around 36Watts of lighting). There's plenty of plants that will grow at that lighting, like anubias, cryptocorynes, hygrophilia polysperma, mosses etc. At 1WPG you're not going to need to worry about CO2 (really only worry at over 2WPG) or ferts although if you get anubias or cryptocorynes definitely get some root tab fertilisers as they will appreciate them.
As long as you don't go over 2WPG you don't need to stress about CO2 or ferts (if you don't you're likely to have algae issues) so if you get the 55W fitting you'd be fine too.
The 6700K sounds good too - it's around a daylight colour (ie natural light) but if you have more than 1 tube then sometimes it's good to have a combination of tubes (ie some with higher Kelvin rating which will be bluer in appearance or some with a low Kelvin rating, which will generally be pinker in appearance). But if you're not worried about the plants and at under 2WPG don't worry yourself about it too much.
Don't worry about substrate either, just get gravel or sand - it's not worth worrying about it if you aren't interested in keeping a heavily planted tank) and even then it's do-able without special substrate.
Hope this helps some!
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