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Old 04-01-2011, 03:43 PM   #1
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Am I doing this right?

Hello everyone I am a newbie and I was wanting some opinions on my current tank setup for my live plants.

I currently have several plants (forgive me I have yet to remember all of their names). I use liquid aqueon plant food, as well as seachem root tabs. I also do frequent water changes approximately once a week and have an aerator in my tank (I have heard good and bad about them in planted tanks)

My lighting is not up to par right now which I am aware of. I only have a 20 watt going over my 29 gallon tank. Everything seems to be vivid green but very few plants are growing any taller. They just seem to be sustaining themselves. Any advice?
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Old 04-01-2011, 03:52 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by sambos_gurl
Hello everyone I am a newbie and I was wanting some opinions on my current tank setup for my live plants.

I currently have several plants (forgive me I have yet to remember all of their names). I use liquid aqueon plant food, as well as seachem root tabs. I also do frequent water changes approximately once a week and have an aerator in my tank (I have heard good and bad about them in planted tanks)

My lighting is not up to par right now which I am aware of. I only have a 20 watt going over my 29 gallon tank. Everything seems to be vivid green but very few plants are growing any taller. They just seem to be sustaining themselves. Any advice?
IME bubblers allows the co2 to offgas faster, which the plants make use of. The wattage should be OK, but do you know what spectrum (K) the bulb is putting out? IMO a bulb in the 5000K to 6700K range is best for plants.

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Old 04-01-2011, 04:36 PM   #3
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The aerator will however put co2 into the tank, the very same way it does for oxygen. It will only be the amount that is present in the air. Although with a lot of surface agitation, it will also let off a lot of co2.

EDIT: I'm not saying keep the aerator either. I would most definitely get rid of it.
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Old 04-01-2011, 04:45 PM   #4
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A list of plants would really help. Picking the right plants for the light level of your tank is crucial to success.

The root tabs are good. The extra ferts might be a little overkill at this point because of your light level. It won't hurt anything if you dose sparingly, but extra nutrients will cause an algae outbreak.

The aerator isn't doing your plants any good. I've seen debates about using an aerator at night when you're injecting CO2, but that's irrelevant to your tank at the moment. Personally, I'd take out the aerator.

You're right about the light being a little lacking. You can keep some low-light plants under that, but even they won't flourish. If you're serious about a planted tank, now is the time to fix your light problem. Here are your options:

- If you've got an incandescent fixture, replace the bulbs with CFLs
- You can add a second fixture if you've got the room. Doubling your fluorescent light wattage would still keep you in the low-med light range.
- You can retrofit CFLs or T5HO lights into your existing fixture.
- You can replace your light with a T5HO or LED fixture.

It really depends on what you want to do as far as plants.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:20 PM   #5
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Agree with BigJim.

The aerator won't hurt anything so long as you are not injecting CO2... in fact, it will actually help keep the tank at equilibrium with the air, around 7ppm CO2. If you start injecting CO2, you would want to ditch it during the day to keep from off gassing all the CO2 you are trying to inject.
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:11 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input guys! I have seen some heavy debates on aeration and the more I read, the more confused I became. Everyone seems to have a hardcore opinion on this. So far I have not seen the aeration kill any of my plants, so I guess I will leave it for now. I am more worried about the lights at this point. Does everyone approve of the t5 lighting and does anyone know where I can get a fixture at a reasonable price? In store or online either way, I know lighting can be a bit pricey.
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:51 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input guys! I have seen some heavy debates on aeration and the more I read, the more confused I became. Everyone seems to have a hardcore opinion on this. So far I have not seen the aeration kill any of my plants, so I guess I will leave it for now. I am more worried about the lights at this point. Does everyone approve of the t5 lighting and does anyone know where I can get a fixture at a reasonable price? In store or online either way, I know lighting can be a bit pricey.
Big Al's has a great deal on this Aqualight T5 Series Double Linear Strip Light. I just bought one for my 55g and I couldn't be happier.

The only problem is the freshwater version is out of stock, so you would need to purchase the saltwater version, (per the link above). I did that and just replaced the Actinic bulb w/ a 6700k bulb. This gave me a 1wpg setup, (which is all I wanted for now as I'm a plant n00b on a tight budget. lol). IMO this is the perfect fixture for a beginner!
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Old 04-02-2011, 01:13 PM   #8
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Thank you for giving me the big al site. I checked it out and the prices are very reasonable! I think I will be purchasing a light from them soon
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Old 04-02-2011, 01:55 PM   #9
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Thank you for giving me the big al site. I checked it out and the prices are very reasonable! I think I will be purchasing a light from them soon
They are by far the best LFS I've ever dealt with, very experienced and knowledgable staff. I moved six years ago and now the closest one is 2 hours away!
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Old 04-02-2011, 09:29 PM   #10
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Thank you for giving me the big al site. I checked it out and the prices are very reasonable! I think I will be purchasing a light from them soon
You're welcome! They ship fast too and the packaging is awesome! They have free shipping when you spend over $75 and every once in awhile they will have a xx% off deal too. I took advantage of their St. Patty's Day 10% off special. You might be able to find a coupon code for their site by doing a google search, but I haven't tried that yet.
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