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Old 08-17-2008, 07:33 PM   #1
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T5, vho, cf, wpg, ei, co2, kh, eieio....

Hey, everybody,
I'm going to be setting up a planted tank soon and I'm running into a couple of basic questions...

-I'll be setting up a 38G (36X12X20") tank.

-I'm going to be purchasing a Current Nova Extreme T5HO 4X39w fixture.
I know I'll be replacing the actinic bulbs eventually, but I'm planning on running only 2 10,000K bulbs initially to get dosing of ferts, CO2, etc. handled.

-Using the old WPG system, am I really getting 2.1 WPG into the tank, or am I actually putting more light into the tank, being T5? I've read that T-5 and CF lights put more light into the tank than the eqivalent of NO T12s that the WPG system is based on..?

-At this light level, would DIY CO2(3 bottles, changed 1 every 10 days) keep my CO2 levels high enough, and, is DIY CO2 consistent enough in a 38G tank?

-Lastly, I'm planning on using the EI method of dosing at the lowest dosage level initially. Is this realistic, or should I try a different technique of fertilizing?

All that said, am I over-analyzing this whole thing? Should I be quiet and buy the D***n tank already?

Thx. in advance...
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:14 PM   #2
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You'll probably find that that's going to put you in the light range where you could grow almost anything - it's plenty of light. I would recommend a pressurized CO2 system, it's much easier to maintain and much, much more stable.

EI is okay, I have found that I prefer PPS-Pro myself. Read into it before you start either one, and choose which works best for you.
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:21 PM   #3
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How does PPS-Pro differ from EI? To be honest, I've never heard of it...
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:38 PM   #4
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EI works on the theory that you overdose everything, to ensure that you never run out of anything. Then, at the end of each week, you do a large water change to get out the excess, then start over.

PPS-Pro attempts to match the fert mixture to the needs, only dosing daily what your tank will consume. They give you a base mixture to start from, then over the next several months you tweak things in to whats actually being consumed. If you watch your plants, they'll tell you everything you need to know - too much or too little nitrate, phosphate, etc etc, and you slowly make adjustments from there.

Here's a link to PPS-Pro information. Keep in mind, I'm not trying to sway you one way or another, you should do your research and figure out what will work best for you. I started with EI, and then switched to PPS-Pro and now I just prefer it. Others don't agree with that - to each their own.
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:50 PM   #5
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Thanks, Neilan,
I'm planning on switching to pressurized CO2 as soon as my budget allows. In the meantime, is it realistic to shoot for 25-30 ppm CO2 using DIY? I've heard that fluctuating CO2 levels can be as bad as low CO2 if algae becomes a problem.
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:53 PM   #6
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It can't hurt to try. If it were me, I'd start by running only half the lighting, and let things settle in and see what your CO2 levels do over a few week period before kicking it in to full gear. I didn't look, but assume that fixture allows you to turn off 2 of the bulbs.
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:26 PM   #7
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Yeah, it does...
Actually, this is the fixture.
I'm eventually going to change out the actinic bulbs, one at a time, as my experience grows. The goal initially is to start out slowly and play around a bit with a bunch of plants.
I am planning to start different tanks eventually with different water parameters, 'cause no one can have only one tank; they're like Frito-Lay chips...
BTW, am I starting out with too much light, or can I limit the photoperiod. I don't want to end up with a beautiful crop of algae to fight with...
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:12 PM   #8
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i think with the t5 ho bulbs you will be at about 1.5 wpg with only using one bulb according to the old rule which was started with t12 no bulbs. depending on the plants and how many you start out with you might try just one 10k bulb and one actinic until you feel comfortable with your routines of tank maintenance.

i use a diy co2 on my 40 gal with 78 watts of t6ho 12k and it makes a big difference, even over using excel. right now i only have one 2liter bottle and i dont really know what ppm co2 i have. i just know the plants grow crazy with it. i do get some hair algae when the generator depletes in between change outs if i dont catch it quick enough. i will be adding a second bottle soon so i can stagger the change outs.
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Old 08-17-2008, 11:23 PM   #9
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I agree for 1.5WPG with 1 bulb.

Personally I'm a noob and have been reading lots and getting involved in this hobby. Personally I think that 2 T5 bulbs and CO2 would grow about anything in that tank but again I dont have much experience. You should see some of the tanks that have ~2wpg of T5 and CO2 and they look great. I'm just not one for all the extra trimming and maintenance of more than that, others seem to do it.

I would just start slow as things can get out of hand fast if your not experienced. You may very well enjoy all the watts and growth that it brings.
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Old 08-18-2008, 12:16 AM   #10
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Thanks Fish, Speed,
I guess T5 is much more powerful than I gave it credit for!
My plan at this point is to plant heavily initially with some or all of:

Background:
-Cabomba sp.
-Ludweigia arculata
-Bacopa monnieri
-Sagittaria subulata
-Lobelia cardinalis
-Anacharis sp.

Midground:
-Alternanthera reinekii
-Nyphaea lotus
-Hydrocotyle verticillata
-Hydro. leucocephalia
-Echinodorus parviflorus
-Crypto. undulata and pondeteriifolia

Foreground:
HC(?)
Anubias barteri var 'nana'
micro-sword

I work at a large greenhouse in Colorado and have a couple of ponds set up to sell pond plants. I've already started the Hydro. vert., Bacopa, some cabomba and dwarf sagittaria in our lily pond. most of these were grown emersed, I just cut them back to the crown, planted them in Schultz soil conditioner w/ some clay mixed in, and sunk 'em... They're all doing great, with the exception of a Lobelia that completely melted(roots and all)...:p
I'm getting really antsy to get this tank set up, but I have to move into a new apartment before the tank gets set up...
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