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battlehawk77
03-15-2011, 03:02 AM
I'm looking at going down the dark path of getting a planted tank. I found a heck of a deal on pea gravel, and I have heard it mentioned that I should get something (FloraMax and Flourite have both been mentioned) to mix in with the gravel to make it more suitable for plants.

If so, how much of what do I need? I have a 55g.

Also, I'm looking at getting a bulb to replace the one that came with my hood. Do I need to stick with the same size bulb that came in my tank, or can I go a size up or down? I currently have a Marineland 40W T10. And what would be the highest wattage I could get in a suitable bulb for low to medium light?

Thanks! :22:

rich311k
03-15-2011, 11:21 AM
You do not have to use a plant substrate but if you decide to mix use at least 50% planted substrate.

You can not upgrade the bulb the fixture will only support the bulb it is made for. With the light you have you will only be able to grow low light plants. You will want to think about upgrading your fixture.

battlehawk77
03-15-2011, 12:37 PM
I was kinda thinking a 50/50 mix on the substrate, but I thought I had better ask to make sure. That'll be a project for this weekend upcoming.

As for the light fixture, what would be a good one to upgrade to? I guess I should mention I would need a 48" fixture.

Cliff
03-15-2011, 01:09 PM
Iíve got a 50/50 (ish) mix of regular sub straight and flourish in my tank and it has worked well for my plants

Lighting isnít exactly my strong point but I will try to offer some help here

If you are only interested in more easier to care for plants which are low light plants, then a standard double T5 fixture with two 28 watt, 6700K bulbs will do. I have one of the below and I like it. Seamed to work well on my 55 gallon for low light plants like java fern and moss balls.

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/review/showproduct.php?product=165&cat=22

With more demanding plants, I would suggest that you consider getting a double bulb T5HO fixture. With two 54 watt, 6700K bulbs you should have enough lighting to grow most plants that require high levels of light.
If later on you want to turn your tank into a a more high-tech planted tank with CO2 and even more demanding plants, you could add a second double bulb T5HO fixture.

Keep in mind, when you are planning your lighting up-grade, you will have to verify if the lights will work with your current hood

I have one of the below fixture and I really like this one.

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/review/showproduct.php?product=335&cat=22

Perhaps it might be a good idea to develop your plant stocking list first before you up-grade your lighting.

Hopfully others with more lighting experiance can offer some advice as well

battlehawk77
03-15-2011, 01:27 PM
I have a clear acrylic cover for my tank, so as long as I can place the fixture so as not to interfere with my feeder, I'm happy.

Cliff, you mentioned getting a list of plants together before picking a fixture (which is a good idea). I'm looking at getting a good mixture of no- to low-maintenance plants with low to medium lighting requirements. I am open to suggestions. I'm also looking at getting at least one piece of driftwood for my plecos to enjoy.

Goes to 11!
03-15-2011, 02:39 PM
I'm looking at getting a good mixture of no- to low-maintenance plants with low to medium lighting requirements. I am open to suggestions.

Here's (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/low-tech-forum/56042-excellent-list-low-light-plants.html) a list of low light plants for you to check out.

battlehawk77
03-15-2011, 02:50 PM
Here's (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/low-tech-forum/56042-excellent-list-low-light-plants.html) a list of low light plants for you to check out.
Thank you for that. thumbs2:
Now comes the tough part of deciding what I should get. :hmm3grin2orange: