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Thread: Setting up First real Planted tank

  1. #1
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    Setting up First real Planted tank

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    Hi guys,
    found this friendly forum the other day, just want to ask a question on setting up my 4 x 18 x 18 tank.
    I come from a discus background, so plants have been on the opposite scale for me for a long time. But now have decided to setup a display tank in my room.

    As mentioned above my tank is a 48x 18 x 18 inch.
    Iron based (3mm approx) gravel
    300watt stainless steel heater.

    Basically the next two items required is lighting (duh!), and co-2.
    Ive have done a bit of research and decided to op with the metal halide lighting. (150 WATT)
    Fluros too much space, and MH being more penetrating.
    But unsure if 150W is sufficient, i know i should be aiming for 3 watts per gallon.

    My questions are:

    1) Does the 3 watt/per Gallon rule still apply for MH or just fluros?

    2) If i do get a 150W MH for my tank, what colour spectrum should i be aiming for 6000K from what i read, but looking online i see colours up to 10,000K (maybe they are for marine)

    3) In addition to the 150W MH, i will need co2 for my plants to thrive.
    In australia co-2 units are costly, come across a "Carbo Plus C02 system" Has anyone come across this unit, and have any comments/suggestions

    4) Are the light tubes for the MH all the same? Because i'm buying the MH secondhand from the paper, and just don't want to have problems later on with buying replacement tubes for it.

    Thanks in advance for the help guys!


  2. #2
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    Hi taybelz, welcome to AQ mate!

    1) yes it shud apply.
    2)yes u shud aim for sumthing ard 6000-6500k. 10000 is for marine I think.
    3)Feedback from some fren is that the distribution of the co2 is not equal. For ur tank size could be a problem. Most of us here uses a cylinder type that houses the co2 in it. Looks like a fire extinguisher tank, u get it? It comes wif a regulator 2 regulate the co2 supply. There's an additional accessories for the tank if u have the
    budget which consist of an electrical solenoid. This solenoid shud be attached 2 a timer so it will switch on the co2 supply at the pre-programmed time.
    4)I do not have any experience on mh so can't help u there. Sorry mate. Maybe someone else will point it out 2 you.

    Hope u find this helpful. Enjoy ur new hobby n go slowly ok.
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  3. #3
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    hi there, perharps u can read thru the FAQ section

  4. #4
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    1. For MH, I try not to follow the 3W/g as MH are definately more efficient than Fluros. You could maybe go for 2.5W/g which I think is about there. May I suggest you use 2X70W MH lights instead. A single fixtures would not give good coverage while casting strong shadows.

    2. as BFG mentioned

    3. Here in S'pore the carbon plates are hard to come by which makes this system not feasable to use. Here CO2 gas top ups are easily and avlailable cheaply. Here we are more familiar with canisters system.

    4. MH bulbs comes in 2 kinds. Double ended and screw type. Both are available here in S'pore. You probably have to see what you're getting and check your local bulb distributor.

    Good luck and have fun.... do keep us updated on your progress.
    Cheers!!

    Sherwin Choo
    [email protected]

  5. #5
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    Thanks for you help so far guys!
    I was talking to pet shop today, and they said i might have problems since the MH gets so hot, and my tank is only 18inch deep. He didn't say to much other then that... can someone help me out?
    I figured it probaly maybe too bright for the fish? or else water get too hot?

  6. #6
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    Dun wory too much about the temp. This can be easily solved by a small fan. How the ambient temp there downunder?
    Cheers!!

    Sherwin Choo
    [email protected]

  7. #7
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    MH penetrate the water well, so I wouldn't go by W/Gal but length of the tank. One MH per 2 foot run. 150W each. This is base on my observation of other tanks... I don't use MH, though have looked up about them.

    MH cast sharp shadows, so you need to plan your scaping accordingly. Also directly below them are really bright, and the peripherals less so.

    If space is a concern, are you able to find PL lights (a.k.a. compact fluorescent, or power compacts). They are more efficient in terms of space, warmer then FLs, but much cooler then MH.

    Since it's only 1.5ft deep, FLs or PLs will do fine.

    For all light tubes, make sure you can get 6500K +/- 500K lights.
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