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Old 12-15-2009, 04:02 PM   #1
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Ok, now I'm serious about planted tank :)

So after having several tanks I now REALLY want to do a planted tank. I'm thinking of using either a 20gallon long, or a 29 gallon tank, but I don't want to go bigger than that. I don't know what kind of plants I want yet, but I would like to eventually have a good deal of greenery. I plan to get the substrate and lighting after Christmas and start from there. Any suggestions of a great substrate? Any websites that will be particularly helpful to someone who has zero idea how to do a planted tank? At this point I'm not even thinking about animals in the tank. I want to get a beautiful flourishing tank setup and then once I've gotten that working well, I'll get some fish or maybe shrimp.
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:53 PM   #2
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I am glad you are doing your research before jumping in you might find a lot of good information at PlantGeek.net - Plant Guide For substrates I have used everything from play sand to eco complete. It depends on the look you are going for and what type of plants you want. The fish, lights, plants, substrate and CO2 are things you will want to do the most research. AA is one of the best sites for researching the fish and plants actually it is well rounded if you want just a plant site go to The Planted Tank - Articles, Forums, Pictures, Links or Aquatic Plant Central both sites are very helpful.
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:44 PM   #3
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Very helpful information! Thanks So is CO2 something that I will inevitably have to use or is that a bonus thing? I'll look into it too.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:04 PM   #4
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There are downfalls with those size tanks IME. Finding a lighting system that lights evenly through the tank is hard. You will end up with dark corners. Yeah you can plant low light plants there but they will grow toward the light.

I ran a 20gal long for years then switched to a 29gal a year or so ago. The 29gal is a bit better since the light has a bit more room to spread but still there are dark corners.

Needing CO2 depends on how much lighting you are going to use.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:08 PM   #5
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if i had a choice between a 29 and a 20 long, i would do the 20.
for substrate you can use just about anything. make sure that it isnt oversized gravel and you'll be fine. some substrates like flourite (my fav) or ecocomplete come with nutrients in it. other substrates like sand (pool filter sand is pretty common) dont have any. so you would need to add root tabs to them.
lighing i wouldnt go over 2-2.5 wpg. that should be plenty in a 20 long.
co2 should be at the very top of your list of things to get. yeah, you can do diy but pressurized is the way to go.
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:19 PM   #6
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Ok ,so I think I'll stick with my 20long, and I planned to get ecocomplete. I've heard that I absolutely need CO2 and also that I don't necessarily need it. Is it a big hassle? It kind of sounds like one.
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:59 PM   #7
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CO2 will help keep the algae down and make your plants grow faster if you feed them. If you don't use CO2 plan on less feeding and slower growth. I have everything for pressurized CO2 and haven't set it up since I am happy with the way my tanks are doing.
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Old 12-16-2009, 05:08 PM   #8
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co2 is a nutrient. if your light is high enough your plant will need more co2 to photosyntesize. on top of that it helps keep algae away as long as you keep a balanced fert regiment
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:22 PM   #9
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There are downfalls with those size tanks IME. Finding a lighting system that lights evenly through the tank is hard. You will end up with dark corners. Yeah you can plant low light plants there but they will grow toward the light.
+1 on lighting a 30" tank being difficult. I have both a 20L and 29g with plants and they're really difficult to light. 30" fixtures just aren't common. I thought I'd struck gold when I found a 30" 2-bulb T5 fixture in a clearance pile for $17, but I'm probably going to have to order bulbs for it because they're only made by a couple of companies.

The 29 lets the light spread out better, but it takes more intense light to penetrate down to the bottom. The 20L is easy to grow plants in, but it has a lot of dark corners.

A custom canopy would be the best way to go. If you can stagger a couple of 24" T5 fixtures about 6" above the top of the aquarium, that'd probably give enough spread to eliminate the dark corners.
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Old 12-17-2009, 12:25 AM   #10
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Thanks for the advice, but a custom canopy is not something I'd consider. I'm not trying to make an award winning aquascaped tank, I just want to have a good amount of plants that look good. I'm new to planted tanks so I'm going to take this slowly, and that means not splurging on equipment. I appreciate the advice, but dark corners aren't really going to be a problem are they? It's not like the plants are all going to die because every inch of the tank isn't uniformly bathed in light, right? What do people do with dark corners? I assume this is a common "problem".
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:51 AM   #11
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dark corners are like the dead spots in cell phone coverage that all the companies are fighting over on tv you'll just have to deal with it... not a big problem if you dont mind having bare spots, or maybe some driftwood to take up the space
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:32 AM   #12
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If you go with a CO2 DIY setup... put the bottles in a bucket to keep them from tippng over... if they do and you dont realize... its a disaster...


trust me going thru it now... lost every fish but 2
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:09 AM   #13
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Driftwood is what I was thinking too. Plus I wanna get some apistogrammas or rams so maybe those dark corners could have some kind of hides in them.


So [Poet] what happened when the bottles tipped over? Did it flood the tank with CO2 or something? I hate tank related disasters, like when my strip light fell into the tank and electrocuted all my fish.. woopsie.
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Old 12-19-2009, 02:44 AM   #14
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I don't understand, I have never found a problem getting 30" light fixtures.

I got a 15 gallon long tank kit from petsmart. I put a 24 " T5 fixture on it and it is a planted freshwater shrimp tank. It has pressurized C02 that shuts off at night.
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Old 12-19-2009, 07:34 AM   #15
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30" t5 ho?
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Old 12-19-2009, 07:59 PM   #16
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I don't understand, I have never found a problem getting 30" light fixtures.
30 inch fixtures aren't the problem. 30 inch lights are however.

To the OP, maybe try a low light setup with crypts, anubias nana, and java ferns? You can grow those in a 20 gal long with a single 20w flourescent bulb. I have all three growing in a 30gal with 30w of light. Maintenance is a bi-weekly 50% water change. No ferts added. Can't get much easier than that lol.
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