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30G planted tank planning
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spec v
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Joined: 07 Jan 2007
Location: Hamilton, ON, Canada!

PostPosted: 2011.01.27(Thu)22:56    Post subject: 30G planted tank planning Reply with quote

Hi all, looking for a little advice on the hardware I want to get for my newly acquired Miracles 30G aquarium.

As you can see in my sig, I have 2 small planted aquariums, both low light/low tech (10G 1.5wpg, 6G 1.3wpg), both are awesome after 4 years of establishment, but I feel I have outgrown the 10G at least. I plan on consolidating my 10G into the 30G--the ferns have outgrown the 10G and are in dire need of a bigger home.

My questions/thoughts/general ramblings are as follows, feel free to jump in and share your thoughts and opinions! Please excuse the disjointedness of my thought process...this has all been circulating in my brain for the last week, and this is the first time I've puked it out in a readable form! LOL

1) Lighting: I am looking at a Coralife 30" T5HO freshwater light fixture, 2x31W, giving me +/- 2WPG...Is this overkill? Would this create a "high tech" environment? I'm looking at maintaining the same plants as I currently keep (low-mid light plants: anubius, crypts, ferns, vals). I've read that the T5HO provide a lot more light than the "WPG rule" allows. What sort of fixture would give me the best light to keep these plants? Should I go with a PC light fixture instead, to adhere more to the WPG rule? I want to remain low-tech, with no CO2 injection...I dose Seachem Flourish/Excel and Trace on a daily/weekly regimen/cycle. Both of my current tanks are spotless, aside from a little diatom algae buildup on the front glass after about a week or 10 days after a WC.

2) Substrate: I will be using real driftwood, and the ferns, anubius will be attached to these, but I'm sure the crypts would appreciate a little more sustenance from the substrate. I would like to use a nice thick bed of Seachem Flourite as the only substrate.

3) Filtration: Want to keep it simple. Looking at an AquaClear 50 HOB filter, with my own filter media that I make with filter pad and floss. I will also run the AquaClear 30 Powerhead that is on my 10G to keep the water moving. I will cycle this aquarium using plants and the established HOB Whisper10 from my 10G, and the sponge filter attachment from my powerhead. Should be cycled instantly, give or take a day...gotta love having established aquariums to harvest nitrifying bacteria from!

4) Decor: Real driftwood that I have been saving for this occasion: need to boil, soak and rinse to remove tannins etc. Already have 2 pieces from the same harvest in actual duty in the 10G...really nice, has fern growing on it...My 6G is about 60% full of java fern, all from a tiny offshoot that I got as a bonus from AquaticMagic on eBay! Would like to have a dwarf grass carpet...java moss (never been lucky with this), lots of crypts (the 10G has HUGE crypt blassi, and nice size wendtii browns...tons of runners, and daughter plants abound, removing these from the 10g is going to be a b****! Also like petrified wood to pile up and arrange...

5) Stocking: My goal is to have a beautiful group of small schooling fish, or maybe 2. Thinking of harlequin rasboras...maybe 15 or so. More black neons as well...few otocinclus or SAE for algae eaters. Centerpiece fish/fishes unknown at this point.

6) Heater: I really like the Eheim Jager 150W heater...looks like a good product...anyone have any experiences with this product?

7) Bubbler: Undecided if I will use my Rena air pump on this one...I might create an air bubble wall in the rearground, not sure yet

That's it for now...I can't wait to get started on this new project!
My big issue is with the lighting...there are so many options. I'm not overly familiar with the T5HO fixtures, or whether they are appropriate for the setup I'm aiming for. I would like at least 2wpg though, to keep the valisnerias reasonably happy.
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10G planted: black neons, 1 female guppy
6G planted: Java Fern farm
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DaleJr
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Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Location: Memphis, TN

PostPosted: 2011.02.01(Tue)10:08    Post subject: Re: 30G planted tank planning Reply with quote

spec v wrote:

1) Lighting: I am looking at a Coralife 30" T5HO freshwater light fixture, 2x31W...Is this overkill? Would this create a "high tech" environment?

2) Substrate: I would like to use a nice thick bed of Seachem Flourite as the only substrate.

3) Filtration: Looking at an AquaClear 50 HOB filter

5) Stocking: My goal is to have a beautiful group of small schooling fish, or maybe 2. Thinking of harlequin rasboras...maybe 15 or so. More black neons as well...few otocinclus or SAE for algae eaters. Centerpiece fish/fishes unknown at this point.

7) Bubbler:

That's it for now...I can't wait to get started on this new project!
My big issue is with the lighting...there are so many options. I'm not overly familiar with the T5HO fixtures, or whether they are appropriate for the setup I'm aiming for. I would like at least 2wpg though, to keep the valisnerias reasonably happy.



1. First off YOU DON'T want HO unless you're A; planning on moving to pressurized Co2, or B; you're wanting to create an Algae farm lol.
I would recommend a singular T5NO like this one
http://cgi.ebay.com/SolarMax-30-T5-Aquarium-Tank-Strip-Light-Fixture-130-/300401113456?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45f14d3970

2. In this setup the Seachem Flourite would be OK since it is only 30gals. You could also use 1: Pool Filter Sand or 2. Sterilized Playsand

3. AC is a good option. But I would go just a little higher, I personally like the 110

5. Well my personal favorites are rummys, Cardinals and your centerpiece could be an Angel. Again my personal preference.

7. Why a bubbler?

FYI the wpg rule only appies to T12 bulbs. T5 Par is more important. Vals really only require 2 things 1.Nitrates, which is a byproduct of feeding your fish and 2. Decent lighting. Here is a great artical written up for one of my favorite plants.
http://www.tankgeek.com/2011/01/24/vallisneria-%E2%80%93-plant-wonder/

Stay away from HO. OH yea and Sorry for the relay in response.
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spec v
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Joined: 07 Jan 2007
Location: Hamilton, ON, Canada!

PostPosted: 2011.02.03(Thu)19:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dale, thanks for answering.

The link you provided advertises a 14W parabolic T5 fixture...is that enough light to grow plants under (understanding that the WPG rule does not apply)? Bearing in mind I only want to keep the ones listed above...maybe a few more crypt varietals, and perhaps a grass carpeting plant as well. What is the guideline for lighting an aquarium using T5's?

AC 110: Is that not a little overkill for a 30G aquarium? I like to overkill a little, as I run 2 filters on my 10G (one sponge and one HOB), and I figured I was going overboard a bit by using the AC50...rated for 50-70G aquariums.

Why a bubbler? -- I don't mind the looks of an airstone...dunno, personal preference! Smile

Cheers!
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10G planted: black neons, 1 female guppy
6G planted: Java Fern farm
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DaleJr
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Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Location: Memphis, TN

PostPosted: 2011.02.04(Fri)10:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

spec v wrote:

The link you provided advertises a 14W parabolic T5 fixture...

What is the guideline for lighting an aquarium using T5's?

AC 110: Is that not a little overkill for a 30G aquarium?

Why a bubbler? -- I don't mind the looks of an airstone...dunno, personal preference! Smile

Cheers!




Here is a very good formula. Par is what's important when talking about T5s
And this is a good write up
http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73446

Depending on plants (or additions) the Java and moss, crypts and hairgrass will do fine with this light. If you desire HO I would add much more plants to compete with the algae. You see ONCE the plants have used all the lighting they need the algae will use the rest. All the plants mentioned are fairly low light plants except the hair grass but with the T5 and distance from the substrate to the light I don't think you will have any issues. Again if you desire the HO then you might have to play with the height of the light, maybe 3" above the tank might allow you to use it and not fight algae. But a singular light system IS all I advise, not a dual UNLESS it was Normal Output. On the bulb I would suggest 10k, the plant bulbs are OK but give off a yellowish hue WHICH I don't like.

Yea the AC 110 is a little over kill but it will pump more oxygen into the tank and allow you to remove the un-needed bubbler, lol. That's my personal preference, I don't like bubbles in my tank but this is yours hahaha.
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spec v
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Joined: 07 Jan 2007
Location: Hamilton, ON, Canada!

PostPosted: 2011.02.04(Fri)21:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, you have been most helpful!

So at the end of the day, a 30" 14W single bulb T5NO 10K fixture would be more than enough lighting for the plants I wish to keep? Sorry, I have the WPG 'rule' ingrained in my very being, lol....PAR is a whole new ball game for me, I've never heard of it until you mentioned it... just have a hard time believing 14 Watts is enough...
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6G planted: Java Fern farm
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unissuh
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Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: 2011.02.05(Sat)1:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hard to beat T5HEs (proper name for T5NO) for efficiency. If you go with these, I'd recommend a two bulb unit rather than one. If you go with a T5HO unit, then a single bulb is all the tank can handle without going high tech. The Coralife unit would probably be overkill.

spec v wrote:
I would like to use a nice thick bed of Seachem Flourite as the only substrate.


Will work fine, but realize that fracted clay substrates work better when they can absorb nutrients from the column. Throwing in a few root tabs every so often will probably give you a noticeable boost in growth.

spec v wrote:
AC 110: Is that not a little overkill for a 30G aquarium?


It could be, but you can always swap out the impellor for one from a lower model. I run a AC70 on my ~10g with a AC30 impellor, love the media room.
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DaleJr
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Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Location: Memphis, TN

PostPosted: 2011.02.05(Sat)7:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree if you go NO (normal output) I would go with 2 bulbs, HO 1 bulb but raised at least 2 inches above the tank. You might have issues finding NO units especially dual.
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spec v
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Joined: 07 Jan 2007
Location: Hamilton, ON, Canada!

PostPosted: 2011.02.06(Sun)17:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies.

I am having a hard time finding a dual lamp T5NO 30" fixture, as Dale alluded to, lol ... they ARE available from Big Al's online USA site, but are not available in Canada online for some reason. Maybe I will visit my local Big Al's and ask around a bit to see if they have any stock on such an item.

Would another solution be a Coralife 30" single lamp 65W fixture?
http://www.bigalsonline.ca/Fish_Lighting_Light-Fixtures_Power-Compact_Freshwater-Aqualight-Deluxe-Series_10113281_102.html?tc=fish

Light fixtures can get to be a lot of money, I just want to make the most-right decision, and know what all my option are.

To clarify, I want to be able to grow java ferns, anubius, cryptocorynes, Amazon swords, dwarf saggitaria subulata, valisneria spiralis (these are all existing), and possibly add some pellia moss or a dwarf hair grass carpeting plant, and keep it CO2-less, and continue with my dosing regimen. Don't really want to get into a high tech setup as yet.

So this raises the argument: Which is more appropriate:
1) single T5HO strip
2) dual T5NO strip (hard to find)
3) single lamp PC 65W fixture

Thanks again!
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10G planted: black neons, 1 female guppy
6G planted: Java Fern farm
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DaleJr
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Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Location: Memphis, TN

PostPosted: 2011.02.07(Mon)9:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

option 1

T5 NO dual 21w .. I would replace the Actinic bulb with another 10,000K bulb

http://cgi.ebay.com/SolarMax-36-2-x-T5-Lunar-Aquarium-Strip-Light-Fixture-/300428574913?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45f2f040c1

Option 2

T5HO single 39w Hagen

http://cgi.ebay.com/HO-Linear-Flourescent-Hagen-Glo-T5-36-single-A3901-/280620267043?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4156457623


Option 3

T5 ??? Dual 39w bulbs

http://cgi.ebay.com/36-Aquarium-T5-Light-39W-x2-white-Bulbs-aquatic-plant-/270696813160?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f06c99268

Might want to contact the seller and ask if it is HO or NO

The only problem I have with the coralife is that it's 9" ??? And I am not a PC fan.
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spec v
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Joined: 07 Jan 2007
Location: Hamilton, ON, Canada!

PostPosted: 2011.02.07(Mon)14:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dale...in the link I put in my previous post, you had to select 30" from the drop down menu, the 9" one is a mini PC fixture.

Here is what I have narrowed it down to, as far as lighting goes:

1) Coralife 65W PC fixture, single lamp
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250472016902&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

2) T5 dual lamp fixture, replacing the actinic second bulb with a 10K colormax bulb, available from the same seller.
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250472599795&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT


You have been very helpful, and I thank you very much for your time!


Any particular reason why you don't like PC fixtures?

Could you also recommend a top level substrate other than sand to put over the flourite? I would like the substrata to be black/very dark...I'm looking into Tahitian Moon substrates to put overtop a nice 2" bed of black Flourite.
http://www.bigalsonline.ca/Fish_Substrates_Freshwater-Sand-Gravel_Instant-Aquarium-Substrate-Tahitian-Moon_9149185_102.html?tc=fish
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6G planted: Java Fern farm
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