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Old 09-24-2006, 09:18 PM   #1
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Plant Newbie - lighting, substrate, water questions

Hey all,

I'm not new to aquariums, but am new to plants. I have two tanks, a 125 gallon and a tall 15 gallon. I'm looking to run low to mid-light plants, probably not too dense to begin with. Here are my questions.

Lighting. On the 15 gallon I'm running this light:
http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS...ripwlunarlight
Is the 10,000k bulb good for growing? I sure hope so.

On the 125 I'm running two of these:
http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS...pactlight1x96w

That gives me almost 3/1 watts to gallons on the small tank, but it's high and I've heard that small tanks need a little more wattage. It's about 1.5/1 watts to gallons on the big tank. If need be, I can supplement that later. I have a monster canopy that I built myself, it's pretty sweet. (Pics to come)

Substrate:
Right now I have a ton of regular gravel. I've ordered root tabs and Flourish Excel, don't know if I'll need the Excel yet though. If I use gravel and root tabs, do I need anything else in my substrate to be properly fertilized for now?

Water:
I have an RO system that all my water comes from. My tap water is very bad My LFS says I should buy a nutrient mix for my water because it's too pure. Is that true, or BS? (They're also trying to sell me a supplement substrate to mix with the gravel, thus my question above on substrate.)

Thanks for your help!

PS - if anything, I have too many filters. I'll be running an XP3 and Magnum 350 in line on the big tank, and a HOB on the small one. No carbon.

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Old 09-24-2006, 09:46 PM   #2
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For the 15G, you will need CO2. You could easily do DIY to keep costs to a bare minimum. You will be able to grow quite a selection of plants with that light.

For the larger tank, this will get you to about lower-medium light. And if you would like ground cover at that lower lighting, then this would work well. Elatine Triandra. I have it in my 10G with lower-medium light and it grows rather fast and is awsome looking.

for RO water, you do need to add minerals back in. Personally I don't use it. I use straight tap. And if you don't want to use additives, then I would at least use 25% tap water with the RO to replace what it's missing, or even 50%, depending on where you want your parameters at.

For substrate, root taabs will be enough for heavy root feeders like swords, crypts, etc. For other plants that feed more from the water column, you might need to dose ferts, especially in the smaller tank with that much light. You could use the Flourish line of products or mix your own from Greg Watsons dry ferts. The main ones you want to look for is Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potassium, and traces.
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Old 09-24-2006, 10:23 PM   #3
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is the link for the 15 gal tank light correct? that light is a 50/50. meaning it's only putting out ~20watts of usable light.
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Old 09-24-2006, 10:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkilling1
is the link for the 15 gal tank light correct? that light is a 50/50. meaning it's only putting out ~20watts of usable light.
LOL, you are right. It is 50/50. So that will put you at no CO2 unless you go to the full bulb and not 50/50. The 50/50 bulb would put you only at 1.5w/g.
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Old 09-25-2006, 02:37 PM   #5
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I saw that on the light yesterday, but wasn't sure about usability. I think I'll go with the stock bulb initially to see how it goes and swap out for a better bulb down the road. The 15 is a tall tank so I don't know if 1.5 wpg will be enough.

For the big tank, are the 30 watt standard flourescents even worth running? I figured I'd buy a third 96w fixture down the road when I want to up the wattage, but I have two standard 36" 30 watts at home already.

Any more comments on substrate? Am I good with plain gravel if I keep up on ferts and stuff?

Thanks again!
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Old 09-25-2006, 02:55 PM   #6
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The plain gravel should be OK but it will be harder to keep little foreground plants and stem cuttings down until they grow roots. But many folks on this forum successfully grow plants in regular gravel. Popular other substrates include PFS (pool filter sand), EcoComplete and Fluorite. PFS is cheap, but still requires the root tabs. Eco and Fluorite are pricey but contain all the nutrients the plants need.
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