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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Before the boards went down I was getting advice from a couple of members on how to help the plants in my tank.

I have a 29 gallon tank with numerous fish that I am also trying to grow plants in with minimal success. (if you want the specs, let me know and I will provide them)

Last recommendations were as following:

1) for me to increase the wattage of my light to around 90 watts (currently have a All Glass Fixture with 55 watts in it). Does anyone have particular knowledge of a good fixture out there that could accomplish this? My current hood does not support more than a 55 watt bulb, so it appears I will have to get a new fixture if I want to accomplish this much light in my tank. I have done some research online, but am a newbie enough to have no idea what is the best set up for my tank.

2) for me to lose the carbon in my filters (Penguin Bio Wheel Filter and Fluval 204) as it was eliminating the very things I was trying to fertilize my plants with. I have done this as a week ago.

3) to know that CO2 was really the key. I have the Hagen CO2 system in my tank (good for up to 20 gallon tanks). Should I purchase an additional Hagen system to increase the CO2 to a 29 gallon tank? I know there was some concern that my Bio Wheel might be churning the water too much to cause a loss of CO2, but if I installed an extra CO2 system would this still be a concern? I don't to upset the beneficial bacteria that the Bio Wheel provides, so am waiting on advice for this course of action before stopping the use of the Bio Wheel.

Any help on the lighting issue and CO2 issue is greatly appreciated.
 

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I have always suggested to folks who are new to plants that it is best to begin at the easy end (low light) and as you gain experience to work your way up to more high tech planted tanks (3 wpg/co2 gas added).

If you want to do co2 in a smaller tank, I would suggest diy- yeast/sugar/pop bottle as opposed to the commercial systems which will cost more to run over time.

When it comes to lighting many folks tend to underestimate the relative benefits of pcs w/ quality reflector vs standard fluors. I consider a good pc to be worth 1.25-1.5 times the same wattage in regular fluors.

If you are going to add co2, you have to lose any HOB filters- ie the Penguin must go. As long as you churn the surface no matter how much co you pump in, you will outgas most of it.

In a well planted tank most of the bio filtration will be preformed by the plants, not by bacteria on the bio-wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will loose the Bio Wheel then since I am already doing the CO2 and see if there is improvement in how much CO2 is staying the water and benefiting the plants.

I do have a power compact fixture now - the 55 watt one, but if I upgrade the light eventually what do you recommend?  Most of what I am finding (higher than what I already have) online is either 110 watts, and I don't know if that would be totally overkill for my tank, or retrofit kits that I have no idea how to put together to make something suitable for my tank.  

I really enjoy the amazon sword, but know it will take more light than I am giving it to survive.

Do you recommend any other hardy plants that are great for beginners?
 

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I don't know if you would be interested in getting a regular fl striplight in addition to your pc. It would be cheaper but your whole top would be covered with fixtures.
A twin tube regular fl light would be about a third the cost of a new double lamp pc and would add roughly 40 watts more of light. Another option would be the 96w Coralife Freshwater Aqualight or the Current USA light from bigalsonline. Both are under 100$ but the coralife is better for plants. The Current USA is a dual bulb--part of the lamp is actinic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I currently have a 30" All Glass Aquarium Power Compact light (55w) on the tank. What i am finding is if I want to increase my light over the tank with a new fixture that could fit the tank it would be putting around 110w over the tank.

I can find the 96 w fixture, but it appears to be 36", which I assume wouldn't work on my tank.

At 110 w, I would be doing just shy of 4 watts per gallon in the tank. Would this be putting too much light on the tank if my original suggestion was to boost it to around 3 watts per gallon?

I am trying to debate what to do - we really enjoy the tank, but would love to upgrade to a larger tank in the future and eventually try a saltwater tank, so we are trying to weigh how much to invest in this current one with that in mind, especially since this will be the second upgrade to the lighting we have done over this tank.

Would it be a better idea to try plants that could survive under my current lighting (if there are any)? Or are we resigned to the fact that if we want to grow plants successfully, we will have to upgrade the lighting one way or the other?
 

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4 watts is a lot, but not necessarily too much.  I wouldn't go above 3wpg as this will grow just about anything (lighting wise).  You could get a dual strip (2x65) and replace one of the bulbs with something of less power.  With PC fixtures, you can go less, but not more.  You could replace both of them with 32 watt bulbs.  If you go this route, you could always use the fixture on larger tanks as it will be able to give you the lighting you need.



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ALSO ... someone suggested the anubis plant and although an "almost bullet proof" plant if you do get up to the 3-4watt range you'll want to shy away from most anubis variaties as they "like" the lower lighting .5 to 2 watt"ish" java fern/moss will also do well in the lower light ranges although they will thrive in the high light also ... just wanted to throw that out there on the anubis ... hate for you to end up with a bunch of "sun burnt plants" .... :lol: :cool:
 

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Hey! Can anyone explaint to this person about kelvin. I have had successful 55 gallon plant tanks running with 36 watt 10k bulbs. That blue spectrum of light is important too. I'm too tired to go into it all. Maybe someone can pick up the ball and run with it!

Have no fear, the Plantman cometh.....................
 

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Can anyone explaint to this person about kelvin.
I don't think kelvin matters, other than does it make your tank look nice or not.

Diana Walstad reports (in her book) about the results of growing plants with various flourescent bulbs. The experimenter used, amongst other bulbs, GE cool-white bulbs, and something called Vita-lite, a fairly expensive full-spectrum bulb. They tested 2-bulb combos. The best combo was one cool-white + one Vita-lite. Next best was two cool-whites. Next best after that was 2 Vita-lites. So by all means use ordinary flouro bulbs, as long as you either get spashproof endcaps, or you have a glass plate between the bulbs and the water.
 

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I certainly don't want to put down that author but all life needs a full spectrum of light survive so basic flourescents don't cut it. Most of the folks who have succes with them usually have a source of indirect lighting available in the same room. If I put that author in a room with just a basic flourescent she would get very unhealthy over a long period of time so...........................

The PlantMan cometh................................
 

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