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pnealis
01-26-2012, 11:39 AM
I have been in and out of the aquarium seen for about 15 years now, never really had the time or the resources to do it right. But now I have both. I just picked up a nice used 55 gallon last night and am in the process of setting it up. It came is 2 loaches, 18 tiger barbs and an assortment of live plants. All are in a smaller tank while the 55 gallon cycles. Most of the plants a smaller (shorter) plants, sorry I don't know names. A couple are taller and larger, and at least one is a amazon sword. I don't know the details of the lighting, it is pretty bright, the old owner said everything flourished with about 4 hours of light a day, any more and the algae starts to go wild. Evenually I want to put a double bright LED in, but not for a while.

I truly enjoy natural and heavily planted tanks.My questions are:

What are some easy, hardy big plants to use?
What are some suggestions to keep cost down but have good growth?
Last, what is a good pace to add new plants. I don't want to overload anything?

Thanks for your help.

Pierre
01-26-2012, 12:53 PM
Welcome! Being a newbie I found that Wisteria (Hygrophilia Difformis) definitely hardy and low care... even a floating leaf will grow some roots! Had good success with CRYPTOCORYNE WENDTII RED, Anubias barteri. I love the effect of the ECHINODORUS ANGUSTIFOLIA "VESUVIUS" and seems doing fine with medium light. How course the java moss will grow well. I dose my fertilizers every 3 days and in between I add plantex and flaurish. However I just started this week with DYI CO2 and will see how it goes if I can stop using flaurish.

But on this forum you have real experts who will be able to guide you better than I.

Best of luck,

Pierre

gofish
01-26-2012, 03:29 PM
You mention that your 55 gallon is cycling so I'll assume that you already have a substrate. What kind of substrate is in the tank?

Brian

pnealis
01-26-2012, 04:34 PM
It is just small black gravel. I also have some driftwood, and larger peaces of slate in the tank. The filter on the tank is a Aqua clear 110.

geotek
01-26-2012, 06:46 PM
Did the small black gravel come with the tank, or did you buy it? The reason I ask, is that some plant substrates look like small gravel and work great for plants, but epoxy coated black gravel will only work well for root feeding plants if it has accumulated fish mulm for a while. Four hours of light a day is fairly short, maybe you could ask the former owner what kind of light it is.

pnealis
01-26-2012, 07:33 PM
The gravel came with the tank, as did the plants.

The light is 48" 108W T5 HO Light Fixture Extendable Series (FW/ Planted)

Dimensions - 47.50" x 5.00" x 1.70"
Supports 2x 54W T5 HO fluorescent lamps
Standard T5 Sockets
Extendable bracket - 52" max length
Quick disconnect external ballast
Non-corrosive powder coated aluminum housing
Acrylic splash guard
Reflector
CE Certified

Thanks

Parker

geotek
01-26-2012, 08:15 PM
Well, the dual tube HOT5 explains the 4 hour photoperiod. LOL I would stick with the 4 hour days for now. If the gravel wasn't washed or allowed to dry out and was put back into the aquarium within a day, you may have a farily quick cycle as a lot of bacteria live in the gravel. It also should continue to support plants.
You will probably want to get some root tabs, or add something like "plant gro" to supply iron and a some potassium.

Since dual HOT5's put out a lof of light, if you want to have the tank lit for longer than 4 hours a day, you will need to remove one of the bulbs. If you should ever decided to upgrade to higher light aquarium with CO2 and ferts, your light should be adequate for almost anything with both bulbs lit.

pnealis
01-26-2012, 08:26 PM
I like lots of light. So are you saying that if I keep the lights on or go with the LED then I need to start worrying about CO2 and ferts?

geotek
01-26-2012, 09:00 PM
Yes, the fixture you have produced a lot of light, which in turn, requires added CO2 and dosing with ferts,

nalu86
01-27-2012, 12:12 AM
The gravel came with the tank, as did the plants.

The light is 48" 108W T5 HO Light Fixture Extendable Series (FW/ Planted)

Dimensions - 47.50" x 5.00" x 1.70"
Supports 2x 54W T5 HO fluorescent lamps
Standard T5 Sockets
Extendable bracket - 52" max length
Quick disconnect external ballast
Non-corrosive powder coated aluminum housing
Acrylic splash guard
Reflector
CE Certified

Thanks

Parker

If this is the odyssea fixture, it is crap.
Even with the 4 bulb fixture you will never get High light.

geotek
01-27-2012, 12:23 AM
Nalu, I assume you have had problems or have heard of people not getting much light out of what should be a powerful light source. I had that problem with a coralife HOT5 fixture and determined it was due to the coralife bulbs. I've heard complaints about the light output from Odyssa's before. Switching out to a good bulb such as giessman, or Catalina Aquariums would fix that problem for less than the cost of a new fixture. Based on my own experience, low quality bulbs or worn out bulbs create an algae farm.

nalu86
01-27-2012, 12:35 AM
I have the 4 bulb with Gieseman bulbs in it.

I noticed 2 bulbs of my glo give almost double the amount of light of the 4 bulb fixture.

I think Roy and Hoppy (TPT Forum) did a test on it with a PAR meter and they only got 30 PAR out of 4 bulbs or so.
Also tests on the ballast showed less than 54W per bulb was around low 30W.


Nalu, I assume you have had problems or have heard of people not getting much light out of what should be a powerful light source. I had that problem with a coralife HOT5 fixture and determined it was due to the coralife bulbs. I've heard complaints about the light output from Odyssa's before. Switching out to a good bulb such as giessman, or Catalina Aquariums would fix that problem for less than the cost of a new fixture. Based on my own experience, low quality bulbs or worn out bulbs create an algae farm.

kwseiders
01-27-2012, 08:30 AM
...then I need to start worrying about CO2 and ferts?

No, we like to think of it as "entering the exciting adventure" of cO2 and ferts.

geotek
01-27-2012, 11:45 AM
If you decide to embark on the voyage of CO2 injected tanks, let us know, several of us have high light, CO2 injected tanks, often the same people who bring in bags of plants to almost every auction, by a strange coincidence.

geotek
01-27-2012, 11:54 AM
I have the 4 bulb with Gieseman bulbs in it.

I noticed 2 bulbs of my glo give almost double the amount of light of the 4 bulb fixture.

I think Roy and Hoppy (TPT Forum) did a test on it with a PAR meter and they only got 30 PAR out of 4 bulbs or so.
Also tests on the ballast showed less than 54W per bulb was around low 30W.

I will admit, I have only used CA bulbs and fixtures, and they have worked quite well for me. If the Odyssesa fixture's ballast only puts out 30w to each bulb, then that would be inferior, regardless of what bulb was used. What light level does 30 PAR translate into?

nalu86
01-27-2012, 12:10 PM
I will admit, I have only used CA bulbs and fixtures, and they have worked quite well for me. If the Odyssesa fixture's ballast only puts out 30w to each bulb, then that would be inferior, regardless of what bulb was used. What light level does 30 PAR translate into?

Low light. You will grow low light plants ( what most of people grow, but you won't grow a nice carpet of HC (baby dwarf tears) or Hair grass or High light plants.

If you put CO2 and EI dosing on a tank like that, you will have stunted grown plants (long stems with lots of space between leaves.
Also because of the low light EI and Co2 you will give Algae an opportunity to make your tank an Algae farm.

The Odyssea fixture is actually a NO (normal output) fixture, almost equivalent with T8 fixture.

I would recommend if you don't want to spend lots of money, buy yourself 1 or 2 T8 fixtures from home depot (the ones with diamond plate) they have pretty good reflectors. And will give you plenty of light for a 55 or 75. Someone on TPT has 2 on his 90 Gallon and he grows most plants (with co2 and EI dosing). This is a simple T8 fixture but has good reflectors.

Pierre
01-27-2012, 01:03 PM
I got my light at http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/store/index.php?cPath=71 Ask for Jim and you may even get a better price than the one listed as he can custom build what you want/need. Tell Jim that I sent you ;-) if you call.

geotek
01-27-2012, 03:10 PM
Low light. You will grow low light plants ( what most of people grow, but you won't grow a nice carpet of HC (baby dwarf tears) or Hair grass or High light plants.

If you put CO2 and EI dosing on a tank like that, you will have stunted grown plants (long stems with lots of space between leaves.
Also because of the low light EI and Co2 you will give Algae an opportunity to make your tank an Algae farm.

The Odyssea fixture is actually a NO (normal output) fixture, almost equivalent with T8 fixture.

I would recommend if you don't want to spend lots of money, buy yourself 1 or 2 T8 fixtures from home depot (the ones with diamond plate) they have pretty good reflectors. And will give you plenty of light for a 55 or 75. Someone on TPT has 2 on his 90 Gallon and he grows most plants (with co2 and EI dosing). This is a simple T8 fixture but has good reflectors.

One T8 dual tube T8 should give med low light levels which would be a possibility, no CO2 and little ferts needed, two dual tube T8's might be hard to fit on a 55 gal due to the narrowness of the tank. CatalinaAquariums offers a single tube HOT5 which wouldn't cost too much more than two diamond plate shop fixtures and should manage med light levels. http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=71_196&products_id=1837
Or you can go with a 2, 3, or 4 tube fixture and start the high light adventure! (CO2 setup and ferts required)
Thanks for the data on the Odyssa's, apparently the external ballasts still aren't up to standards, but at least don't catch fire. LOL

gofish
01-27-2012, 08:01 PM
If this is the odyssea fixture, it is crap.
Even with the 4 bulb fixture you will never get High light.

I have a 6ft Odyssea fixture that I bought from AquaTraders.com on my 220 Gallon tank and it works great! I paid $429.00. It's got 4 - 60 inch long T5 HO light, 3 Metal Halides, and 8 moon lights that I never use. Trust me, it produces a ton of light. 1070 Watts of it. I'm using a 584-PP Mazzie injector for my CO2, along with dry ferts, just to keep the plants from starving due to the increased photosynthesis. My tank pearls like a soda. I did replace all the bulbs because it was designed for a marine tank and the lights were on the very blue side of the spectrum. The fixture is definitely not crap. It's very well made. It's very light and easy to move around. I have it hanging from the Odyssea hanging kit that is attached to sliders that I attached to my ceiling. I can easily push the fixture back and prune my plants. I think a lot of what you read on the internet about these fixtures are written by those who have never owned an Odyssea fixture. It's been running reliably for 7 months now without a single problem. I read all the reviews and decided to take a chance. The reviews are either wrong or perhaps the company had a production problem in the past. All I know is that I'm very happy with the fixture.

Brian

nalu86
01-28-2012, 12:11 AM
I have a 6ft Odyssea fixture that I bought from AquaTraders.com on my 220 Gallon tank and it works great! I paid $429.00. It's got 4 - 60 inch long T5 HO light, 3 Metal Halides, and 8 moon lights that I never use. Trust me, it produces a ton of light. 1070 Watts of it. I'm using a 584-PP Mazzie injector for my CO2, along with dry ferts, just to keep the plants from starving due to the increased photosynthesis. My tank pearls like a soda. I did replace all the bulbs because it was designed for a marine tank and the lights were on the very blue side of the spectrum. The fixture is definitely not crap. It's very well made. It's very light and easy to move around. I have it hanging from the Odyssea hanging kit that is attached to sliders that I attached to my ceiling. I can easily push the fixture back and prune my plants. I think a lot of what you read on the internet about these fixtures are written by those who have never owned an Odyssea fixture. It's been running reliably for 7 months now without a single problem. I read all the reviews and decided to take a chance. The reviews are either wrong or perhaps the company had a production problem in the past. All I know is that I'm very happy with the fixture.

Brian

If you are running your MH, you will have super bright light.
But we are talking about T5 fixture without the MH.
Don't have experience with the MH fixtures.

gofish
01-28-2012, 01:56 AM
Sure, I would agree that having only two T5 HO bulbs is definitely not a high-light tank. However, I think four 54W HO T5's on a 55 gallon tank would be plenty of light to grow just about any aquarium plant. Especially if you use a good reflector. In my experience, I've found that the most important thing to provide with tanks over 2 wpg is enough CO2 and ferts. Heck, I have four NO florescent bulbs on my 75's and my plants grow fine. Growth is, of course, slower on my low to medium light tanks, but at least I don't have to prune them as much :smile:

nalu86
01-28-2012, 01:10 PM
Sure, I would agree that having only two T5 HO bulbs is definitely not a high-light tank. However, I think four 54W HO T5's on a 55 gallon tank would be plenty of light to grow just about any aquarium plant. Especially if you use a good reflector. In my experience, I've found that the most important thing to provide with tanks over 2 wpg is enough CO2 and ferts. Heck, I have four NO florescent bulbs on my 75's and my plants grow fine. Growth is, of course, slower on my low to medium light tanks, but at least I don't have to prune them as much :smile:


Ok , No, 2 T5HO bulbs with excellent reflectors at 21inch from substrate give High to very high light, but this is when you have a fixture that exactly puts 54w to the bulb.
But we were talking about ODYSSEA light fixture. 2x54W T5HO, that fiture has 1 reflector and is poor quality, same for the 4 bulb version, 1 reflector.
Again, the bulb doesnt get 54W but something around 30W and if you use the odyssea bulbs, they are also low quality, so you have actually a NO fixture or even lower quality.

WPG rule is outdated.

and yes, 4 T5NO bulbs will give you medium light on a 75.

Here is a chart by Hoppy (@ TPT) !!Again, this chart does not count for low quality fixtures as Odyssea!!

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lighting/105774-par-vs-distance-t5-t12-pc.html

gofish
01-28-2012, 02:50 PM
Those fixtures in your link look just like my Odyssea fixture. Do you have any direct evidence that suggest Odyssea T5HO fixtures output 44% less light using the same bulbs that are in another fixture? What makes you think Odyssea bulbs are of lower quality than any other bulb? I only replaced all my Odyssea bulbs because they came with a spectra more conducive to Marine aquaria. I replaced them with Giesemann PowerChrome midday 6000k bulbs because the Odyssea bulbs were 15000k. The reflector in the Odyssea fixture seems very reflective to me. BTW, the 4 NO bulbs on my 75's are NO T12's from Lowes and my plants love them.

nalu86
01-29-2012, 03:43 AM
Those fixtures in your link look just like my Odyssea fixture. Do you have any direct evidence that suggest Odyssea T5HO fixtures output 44% less light using the same bulbs that are in another fixture? What makes you think Odyssea bulbs are of lower quality than any other bulb? I only replaced all my Odyssea bulbs because they came with a spectra more conducive to Marine aquaria. I replaced them with Giesemann PowerChrome midday 6000k bulbs because the Odyssea bulbs were 15000k. The reflector in the Odyssea fixture seems very reflective to me. BTW, the 4 NO bulbs on my 75's are NO T12's from Lowes and my plants love them.


Do your research !!!!!!!


PLANTEDTANK.NET !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO FOR IT

We entered a new millennium!


are NO T12's from Lowes and my plants love them? NO? from lowes? NO on T12? Think they just call them T12s
what plants are those??? Low light plants???

nalu86
01-29-2012, 05:56 PM
Do your research !!!!!!!


PLANTEDTANK.NET !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO FOR IT

We entered a new millennium!


are NO T12's from Lowes and my plants love them? NO? from lowes? NO on T12? Think they just call them T12s
what plants are those??? Low light plants???

Sorry for this reply, it was my birthday and I was a little bit drunk and upset when I wrote this.
But anyways, there is a lot of information on plantedtank.net about lights.

brimcg
02-02-2012, 02:21 AM
I have to say that I also have an Oddysea 48" T5 x4 over my recently converted 70 gal planted tank. For the past couple of weeks, not much growing except algae. CO2 looked fine accoring to checker. At this point, I could have easily written it off to the lights or bulbs. But decided to double the CO2, and now my tank looks like I have an airstone hidden somewhere!

Guess what I'm trying to say is that a really good fixture can make a big difference, but you can still do pretty well. I got the fixture with four 6700k bulbs, three built-in timers (one for each light row and one for the blue LEDs) for $105 with shipping... I could have spent 2,3,4 times as much and found myself with the same algae garden (or worse) because my parameters were off.

- The Other Brian