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Old 05-10-2010, 08:41 PM   #1
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Question lighting and ferts for 20 gal tall

i have a 20 gallon tall tank. i just tore it down and cleaned everything (long story) so now that i am starting over i want to make it a planted tank. the tank will need to be cycled. Question1: do i wait until it's cycled to add the plants?
i have dark blue gravel that we just purchased so i want to use it. i heard that it will work for low light low maintenance plants. Q2: is this true?
The hood that came with this tank has an 8000K 15W 18" bulb in it. Q3: will this be sufficient for low light plants? if not, any suggestion on what would be?
I am wanting to make this a planted tank without the hassle of a CO2 system. in that case, [Q4] what kind of fertilizers will i need to use? [Q5] should i expect to have to add the liquid CO2 alternative?
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:35 PM   #2
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1 i personally think the soon you add them the better it is. since they can help cycle the tank
2 yes there plants that will grow in anything. there are substrates that are better for plants.
3 depends on what kind of plants you might get away with java ferns and anubias. personally i would retro fit the hood and use cfl bulbs.
4 low light tanks for the most part ferts are not needed
5 co2 again prob not needed
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:46 PM   #3
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ok. i am DIY challenged. when you say retro fit the hood and use cfl bulbs, what do you mean? could you elaborate?
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:36 AM   #4
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He means that you should take out the fluorescent bulb and hardware and retrofit one or two incandescent style screw-in fixtures with two sockets each. Use the spiral compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) instead of normal incandescent bulbs. It's probably the cheapest route.
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:46 AM   #5
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ok.....again, DIY challenged. is this something I could do myself? what kind of parts would i need to get? any sites i can look at for instructions or procedure to do this? i've never done anything like this before. pretend you're talking to a complete dummy.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:05 AM   #6
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If you do not have any experience in working with electronics I would probably tell you to just buy another light. You would have to cut out the existing hardware in the hood and wire it up with a new ballast, etc. You can find some cheap T5HO lights and even some compact fluorescent fixtures on the internet.

I would figure out what kind of plants you want first and then go from there. Do some research on the needs of plants and that will give you an idea of how much light/ferts/co2 they need.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:37 AM   #7
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+1 Messing with electricity is dangerous, especially for DIY-challenged individuals. The easiest route would be to find an incandescent hood and use the aforementioned CFLs.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:42 AM   #8
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If you're going to fishless cycle, I recommend to wait to add the plants until after the cycle is complete. This is because high amounts of ammonia + light = algae nightmare, hence why it's recommended to leave the lights off during the cycle. Plants, on the other hand, need light to survive, so the 2 are kind of mutually exclusive.

There is something called a silent cycle, but i don't recommend doing that with a low-light, low-maintenance planted tank.
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