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Old 02-11-2007, 07:45 PM   #1
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new 20gallon high - In Setup - with Pics!

I'm starting to make plans for this 20high I picked up off of craigslist.

I've already purchased an AC 50 and a stealth 100W heater. I intend on going with eco-complete for my substrate. The media for the AC50 is currently in my XP3 on my other tank getting seeded while I plan and get things together.

My lighting plan is still developing, but I'm aiming for about 30-33W of light, as at this stage I'm not willing to go the whole CO2 route. That will put me at about 1.5WPG or so. I'm either going to go the dual fluorescent route or the 1x65W CF route with a 50/50 bulb for starters. (If anyone has a used 24" fixture for sale near what I'm looking for, PM me!)

I plan on fishless cycling, then adding the plants. For fish I'm thinking a pair of GBRs, an otto or two, and possibly some smaller tetras.

I recently picked up a test kit for gH and kH, and here's my first question. My water is really soft, 5 for gH and 6 for kH. Is that going to cause me problems?

Is there anything else WRT my water params that I need to look into while planning all this.

As I do more research, I'm sure I'll be bothering you guys with tons more questions, especially when it comes to a dosing schedule.

TIA!
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Old 02-11-2007, 08:34 PM   #2
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Are you planning on any co2 at all?

I know GBRs seem to like a pretty heavily planted tank. I'm finding that they are an extremely shy fish and like plenty of cover. I think co2 would make that much easier to achieve.

In my case I did not find that excel really worked well. I think that at best it kept my plants alive. Inexperience surely played a part in the lack of results, but I found that co2 did so much better for me.

Also, I think that there are inherent problems with going from low light to higher light in an established tank. Advice I received pointed me toward going all the way from the get go.

As for the soft water, it sounds like a custom order for the fish you want to keep. Plants and some driftwood and your fish should feel right at home.
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:10 PM   #3
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Your KH an GH are perfect.

Also, I'd advise going with a Silent Cycle over a Fishless Cycle. Plant heavy from the beginning and add fish slowly. If done right you should never see a Ammonia or Nitrite spike.
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for the note on the kH and gH - that makes me happy.

I don't know what I plan on doing in the long run. I really really like the look of the planted tanks, but I really don't know how I'm going to enjoy the maintenance when it comes to clipping/pruning. If I don't enjoy it, I won't keep up with it. So I was hoping to use this project as a low cost way to feel things out and see. If I do enjoy it, I'll be going high-tech, cuz that's just what I do. lol But I can't afford a ton right now and would be upset if I spent the money and then didn't like it.

So, like I said, this is sort of a "feeler" project for me to see how or what I want to do in the future.
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:51 PM   #5
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With different plants and setup I'm sure things will differ. I find that I trim weekly just for keeping some of the taller plants off of the roof. So far only one major trim so I am saying that in my tanks maybe a major pruning monthly.

It's not really time consuming as far as I can tell.
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:56 PM   #6
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Thanks for your insight Sparky. It'll be interesting to see how I progress at this.

I guess I should wander over into the DIY section to see what's involved (both price and time wise) in setting up a DIY CO2 system. Can't hurt to look into it I guess.
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:35 PM   #7
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So I'm starting to check into the DIY CO2. lol even though I said I wouldn't - I'm sure you understand how it goes.

My guess is doing that I'll need to go with the larger PC fixture, for up to 65 watts. As soon as the funding is available (come on tax return) I'll get the eco- on order and then the lights.

Namebrand recommendations for a 1x65W PC fixture?
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Old 02-14-2007, 02:58 PM   #8
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Both Coralife and Current are good brands. You can get refurbished Current units from here. I bought a refurbished Current Satellite 2x40watt for my 10 gallon from there, and have been really happy with it.
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Old 02-14-2007, 04:26 PM   #9
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Thanks purrbox, you gave me that link in chat last Sunday. Last I looked, all of their refurbished 24" 1x65 units were out of stock - so I'm keeping an eye on them.

I replied to your PM, I would like your cap set please.
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Old 02-15-2007, 09:01 AM   #10
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Thanks again!
I just got confirmation from them that they have 3 of the refurb 1x65W fixtures in stock! For $35!!!

And so how could I pass up ordering one?
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Old 02-15-2007, 10:54 AM   #11
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You couldn't! Make sure to pick up at least one daylight bulb if you want to make use of the full power of that fixture, as it comes with a 50/50 bulb and the actinic portion is useless to plants.
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Old 02-15-2007, 11:05 AM   #12
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Looking at them now and trying to figure out what lighting setup to use.
I think the dual bulbs can run different K ratings on each side. Should I do a 6700/10000? or should I go straight 10000k?

I'm thinking the dual will give me a broader spectrum of light, right?

Also, I'm looking for confirmation on straight pin or square pin
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Old 02-15-2007, 11:58 AM   #13
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The current fixtures all have the square pin configuration. I'd personally go with the dual daylight bulb as the 10000K will give the tank a very blue look to the lighting. Either will work fine though.
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Old 02-15-2007, 12:55 PM   #14
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I'm glad you said that, somehow I had convinced myself it was the straight pin. Alright, I'll go with the dual 6700k/10000k bulb, that should work nicely.

I'm not sure if this refurbished fixture is going to come with the "feet" that elevate it. I'll be using a glass versa-top, are the legs required?
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Old 02-15-2007, 01:37 PM   #15
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Good advice already given, but a couple of mental notes I made while reading:

I agree that a silent cycle should be your choice. You're already seeding your filter media and fast-growing plants will handle what your media won't. No need to wait the extra time and deal with the extra hassle of doing a fishless cycle.

In terms of lighting, I like Coralife (and especially at the deal you seem to have found!), but I like AHSupply even better; mainly for the reflectors. I seem to get more light into the tank from the AHSupply reflectors than I did from the Coralife. I haven't compared a 65W Coralife to a 55W AHSupply, but I would imagine that the light getting into your tank would be the same. 2.75WPG on your tank still isn't too bad.

DIY CO2 = piece of cake, especially on a 20 gallon tank. There are plenty of posts on forums all over the internet. It will be hard to go wrong. If, however, you still don't want to deal with it, I recommend the Flourish Excel. When you get the hang of using it, it will provide enough carbon for your plants to thrive. You won't be trimming every week like you would with DIY or pressurized, but you can expect to trim every 2 or 3 weeks.

You look like you're on the right path. Keep it up!
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Old 02-15-2007, 03:06 PM   #16
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Legs are not required with a glass top, however mine did come with the legs. I didn't realize that so I had ordered them separately, but it was a good thing as I managed to break one while putting it together. (Dropping the light fixture off the back of the tank while getting it in position is NOT a good idea.)
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Old 02-15-2007, 03:09 PM   #17
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Thanks for the comments FMJ, I'm looking into the silent cycle and trying to make a decision there.

I'm confused by your 2.75WPG comment. At 65W over a 20 gallon, isn't that 3.25WPG? And also, I was under the impression that with the compact fluorescents that I should actually be using a factor to distinguish between the basis of the WPG rule which I believe is T12, and CF, which I thought would have put me even higher than that. Not that it matters a whole lot to me at this particular point, I just want to make sure I didn't misinterpret something along the way.

According to Glorious Light the 65W fixture puts me in the high light category, is that correct?

I'm working towards the DIY CO2 as well while I'm waiting for parts and stuff to arrive, so I think its pretty solid that that's in the plan now. And knowing me, a pressurize system probably won't be far behind. lol
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Old 02-15-2007, 03:26 PM   #18
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neilanh, I was referring to the 55W AHSupply kit (which would put you at the 2.75WPG I mentioned). I should have been a bit more clear in my wording while comparing it to the 65W Coralife fixture.

You are correct in the efficiency of the bulb type. You also have to factor in the restrike of light on the reflector, which is where AHSupply excels. They claim that their reflectors provide a 162% restrike, which could essentially mean that their 55W fixture is as good, if not better, than the 65W fixture.

I'm not debating anything though. I just wanted to give you another option to look at if you so desired. The "Wattage Per Gallon" rule is just a basic rule to go by. The only TRUE method is to read your plants and give them what they need. I'm quite sure that whatever fixture you choose will be just fine.
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Old 02-15-2007, 03:56 PM   #19
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ok thanks.

Like I said, I was just worried I was misinterpreting things. I'm with you now, thank you!
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Old 02-16-2007, 08:00 AM   #20
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What about my question for the legs on the light, are they a must or can this unit sit right on the glass versa-top?
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