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Old 11-24-2013, 03:57 PM   #1
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Low light/low tech tank questions

I have an old 5 gallon tank that I really want to use. I want to make a lowtech/lowlight tank planted tank. I am wondering if anyone has suggestions for good substrate and lights for these type of tanks that you may have used and liked. To be honest, I am looking to spend the least amount I can without sacrificing quality because I only have about $70 dollars to spend (not including plant money). I have all the equipment for the tank aside from the two items listed above.
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Old 11-24-2013, 04:19 PM   #2
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Guess I should mention that I plan on putting a betta in this tank. And I am not really sure what plants I am going to put in there yet. I really want to do co2 and make this a highlight tank but I am limited on space and money. My boyfriends brother has an old 20oz paintball co2 tank I was thinking about stealing and setting up. Does anyone know about how long that would last at about 2BPS?
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Old 11-25-2013, 02:12 AM   #3
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70$ is a good budget for lighting and substrate. I'd get the new Finnex Fugeray Planted+ LED fixture. Substrate... you can get a bag of floramax or eco complete if you like a dark substrate. You can do something like pool filter sand if you like a white sand substrate.

Here's a link to the light:
http://www.aquavibrant.com/lighting/...d-fixture.html

Petsmart sometimes have floramax on sale for 10$.

As for how long that paintball co2 lasts, depends if it's on a solenoid valve with timer. I get about 2 months out of mine at ~2bps on for about 12 hours a day. You can squeeze a little more time out of it with shorter photoperiods. Right now I'm running an 8 hour photoperiod cycle.
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:04 AM   #4
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I saw a 4 watt led finnex on eBay for like 40 dollars and a paintball co2 gauge with one monitor for $40.00. I'm probably going to end up doing co2 and going a little over budget. I already have co2 tubing, bubble counter and an extra diffuser. I can afford to if I do co2 because I can take stem cuttings from my other tank and just put them in there lol.

I really want to do a dirt substrate lik eco complete. I read that you can use organic potting soil which is what I was thinking about doing. Just not really sure which is the best kind to use.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:45 AM   #5
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Eco Complete isn't a dirt substrate. If you want to use dirt you need an Organic Potting Soil and then some other type of substrate to cap it with.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:47 AM   #6
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I am totally new to the world of LED lights lol. Would 4 watts of LED lights be enough for a 5 gallon med-high light tank? I know the conversion is different from the h'5s just not really sure how much different.
I was looking at the 10 inch from the link Brian posted.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:50 AM   #7
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What do you think would be better to use rivercats? I used eco complete in my 15 gallon tank and got good results with it but its pretty expensive which is why I am trying to look for other options. I know eco-complete isn't dirt, I meant a substrate that looks like dirt...or actually dirt lol. If that makes sense.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:50 AM   #8
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You'll have to wait for Brian to chime back in as I'm not up on Led fixtures at all.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jehenry89 View Post
What do you think would be better to use rivercats? I used eco complete in my 15 gallon tank and got good results with it but its pretty expensive which is why I am trying to look for other options. I know eco-complete isn't dirt, I meant a substrate that looks like dirt...or actually dirt lol. If that makes sense.
Some people have actually thought it was a type of dirt so just wanted to be sure...lol! I use Eco in all my tanks, even the dirted one's I use Eco as a cap. So if you use Organic PS you'll still have to buy something for a cap. Maybe black sand.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:13 AM   #10
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Didn't mean to sound rude, sorry if that came off snippy.
Too many options! I should probably just stick with what I know and get the eco-complete. Thatpetplace.com has it for $22.00 which isn't bad but 20lbs is so much and it will only give me excuses to start a new tank after this one.
I wish I could fit my old 10 gallon tank on my end table but its 4 inchs to long and buying a new table/stand is out of my budget
I keep going back and fourth between the Finnex LED lights and the Corallife mini 12watt t5. They are both around the same price.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:24 AM   #11
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Your tanks are stunning by the way, was just browsing though your pictures. I read on some thread a few days ago that you have been doing planted tanks for like 30 years >< You put my 6 months to shame. Makes it nice to have people on this forum like you to answer all my dumb noobie questions lol.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:51 AM   #12
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Would something like this work as far as lighting? I have a desk light that I never use that can support it. Maybe if I use a glass canopy and just put the light above the canopy. If I can find a cheaper alternative for a light, I can buy a stand for my 10 gallon tank, **** budgets.
http://www.elightbulbs.com/Eiko-4932...ent-Light-Bulb
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Old 11-25-2013, 01:28 PM   #13
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So the new direction of this thread/build is to go medium-high light with co2 injection right? From the initial post and title, seemed like we wanted low light / low tech...

My vote is to go LED... more efficient, no bub replacements, little heat produced, and sleek & modern. Also, watts don't really matter too much for LEDs. What's more important is the PAR values. If you want medium light, PAR should be about 30 to 80 PAR at substrate. PAR numbers are usually advertised by reputable LED manufactures now for planted tanks... Google and you shall receive.

But isn't a 5g 16" long? Why were you considering a 10" light? May have dim ends in the tank.

But if budget is a concern, you can go CFL.
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Old 11-25-2013, 01:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian_Nano12g View Post
So the new direction of this thread/build is to go medium-high light with co2 injection right? From the initial post and title, seemed like we wanted low light / low tech...

My vote is to go LED... more efficient, no bub replacements, little heat produced, and sleek & modern. Also, watts don't really matter too much for LEDs. What's more important is the PAR values. If you want medium light, PAR should be about 30 to 80 PAR at substrate. PAR numbers are usually advertised by reputable LED manufactures now for planted tanks... Google and you shall receive.

But isn't a 5g 16" long? Why were you considering a 10" light? May have dim ends in the tank.

But if budget is a concern, you can go CFL.
Ya its 16 long, for some reason I had it in my head that if I went over a certain wattage with LED that it would be too much. Ya initially I was thinking low light/lowtech but I remember that I had all of these extra parts for co2 that are just sitting in a storage bin, myswell use them. The 16in is kind of more than I wanted to spend.
I was looking into the CFL just to keep my options open.
(sorry about the private message, I forgot I asked about LED lights earlier in this post)
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Old 11-25-2013, 01:53 PM   #15
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A 16" (older model, not the "Planted+" version) Finnex Fugeray can get you about 50+ PAR at substrate. That's a solid medium light and can grow most plants. I personally like the Planted+ version though because of the added red spectrum (660nm). However, the regular Fugeray LED is cheaper... 50$ shipped in Amazon. Whereas, the Planted+ version is 60$ + shipping from AquaVibrant.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B008K1WGN0?vs=1

Just an FYI, in case LED is still up for consideration. Otherwise, T5HO or CFL can get you there cheaper. T5HO would end up costing more in the long run from annual bulb replacements. However, the full spectrum and color enhancing capability of T5HO is tried and true, especially when colorful high-light stem plants are concerned.
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:41 PM   #16
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I thought about it a lot at work and I am probably just going to get the Planted+. I agree with your statement about how it would cost more in the long run. The CFL light bulbs I need run about $10.00 a piece. I am planning on starting the tank on Wend when I have off so I can start to cycle it while I am away for Thanksgiving at my in laws. The plants won't go in until probably right before Christmas so I have some time to save some extra cash.

I found Flouramax(sp) fine grain substrate at petsmart for $11.00 as you stated it would be. I am going to take a look at a local nursery and see if I can find some organic potting before I purchase it though. I already have a bag of black sand that has been sitting in my room for several months that I can finally get rid of and use as the top layer.

I feel like since I am going with this type of build instead of lowtech, I might use my old 10 gallon tank instead.I would have to get a bigger table since my end table was originally where I was going to put it but that is 4 inches to small for a 10 gallon. Could probably build one for around $20. I built the table my 55gallon tank is on for around $60 with 1/2 inch particle board, laminate flooring tiles and 2x8's. It isn't anything fancy but it gets the job done.
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