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Old 02-13-2013, 12:59 PM   #1 
BettaDays
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100g heavily planted tank in-the-making: Lighting Question?

So this is not my first heavily planted tank, but I've always done 10g or 20g, 29g was my biggest I think. And the biggest tank I ever owned was a 55g, and all I did was throw a clump of java moss in there and 30 ghost shrimp to have at each other and nothing else(I was feeding baby catfishes at the time ;3).

And so \o/ This will be my biggest tank yet, and all I want to run is a heater when it is complete. I have ordered a plant package(220+ plants, rooted, bunched and floaters, getting moss later) and a 50ct of Malaysian trumpet snails. I am going out later today to get organic soil and sand for the top layer.

This tank is for breeding guppies(I spoil my bettas with their fry and I also sell to my lfs for store credit) and breeding neon tetras(easy money makers ^^). It will also house a small number of catfishes(Catfishes are a close 2nd on my list of favorite fish, Bettas being first and Khuli Loaches being third).

My questions:

How many pounds of soil do you *estimate* I'll need?
For a 100g heavily planted tank, what kind of lighting should I look for? My husband wants to just go to home depot and buy an LED and stick it over my tank(which will have a glass top), will that work? If so, how many lumines should I get? If not, why?

I may have more questions, but I think I got everything else covered. If I forgot anything or any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated ;3

-BD
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:37 PM   #2 
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Awesome....

What I use for my 4ft tanks-I bought the shop lights that hold 2 tubes-cost $10.00 at wal mart. I hung them over the tank using chains connected to rods so I could move them up and down to work on the tank and adjust the lights.

I bought a switch to plug the shop lights in-so I wouldn't have to unplug them every time I turned them on/off. Unless you find shop lights that have a switch already on it. You can usually find everything you need at either wal mart or home depot or lowes-Shop lights, bulbs and the switch and it shouldn't cost more than $50.00 more or less....

I buy the GE "Daylight" 6500k 40w florescent bulbs to replace the bulbs the shop lights came with. Color temp is what is important for growing plants and 6500k is close to the noon day color temp of the sun. Since florescent light color temp can be used up over time-The bulbs need to be changed out every 6-12 months-you can see the light but the plants can't to use for photosynthesis.
You may need to use 2 of the shop lights to total 4 bulbs and adjust them as needed based on plant and algae growth. I have mine open top so I get good light penetration to the plants-Lights are about 3-4 inches above the water line. I stay on a 12h/day photoperiod in the warmer months and 10h in the cooler months for best plant growth.

If you can-set it up by a East or West facing window for some natural sunlight-These soil based really respond well with some natural sunlight.

Unless you get LED lights rated for aquatic plants-I wouldn't use them and the aquatic LED's can run in the hundreds-especially for a 100g tank. Personally, I can't afford that...lol...wish I could since they look so nice.

You can also build a canopy to use with the shop lights so you can't see them-I don't think mine look too bad hanging from the ceiling from rods/chains-You can also paint the shop lights so they blend better-A lot of different ways you can go with them.

Soil, not sure on how many pounds, but in a 100gal-I would go at least 3in deep with the soil and 1-1.5in on the cap.

In a 100gal-you will need some type of water movement-especially in the beginning. It is best to use something that doesn't cause too much agitation at the surface, that can drive off the CO2 that is naturally in the water, created naturally over time with decomp, from the livestock and plants themselves.

Look forward to watching this tank develop....So much fun setting up a big NPT.....

Will this be your first soil based planted tank-they are a bit different than a inert substrate planted tank....If you haven't already, I wrote a sticky on NPT and I have a thread on the 55gal I setup-that you might find helpful and I also recommend getting Diana Walstad book "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" its a great read...
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:53 PM   #3 
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Thank you, that was very helpful!

Yes, I actually forgot to mention this is my first soil based tank. And I already read your sticky, I am currently using it as a guide,even prior to your response ;3 It just didn't mention LED lighting, so I had to ask. My husband is into electronics the same way I am into my animals(I'm mental about my pets btw),so he would not mind paying for LED lighting, as it's his favorite kind of lighting lol (Trust me, he thinks a new hard drive or video game is a like a cute new betta or puppy o-o)

Would Home Depot carry led lighting meant for aquatic use? If not, would a hydroponics store? We have one in the same lot as our favorite lfs d:

And I've never built a canopy before, is there a guide here on this forum or else where?

Thanks again!

Edit: I forgot to mention, I have 3 wonderfully curious and trouble making cats, so I need a lid ^_^

Last edited by BettaDays; 02-13-2013 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:33 PM   #4 
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Laffs...I have 30 cats...lol...my cats like to use my tanks as their water bowls and entertainment....lol.....I have had a few fall in-but otherwise never caused any problems with the open tops.

I am not sure if we have a sticky here or on our sister forum TFK on building a canopy. Here is a good video on youtube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN4Y9AYuwcQ

Not sure if Home depot would have the correct LED's-I would google first and research-I don't have any personal experience with them other than the research and what I have read on the internet. The one I found that would meet the needs on my 75gal cost nearly $1000.00 and that was way more than I could afford and that didn't include shipping-But that hydroponics shop might have what you need. Must be nice having a hubby into electronics-he will have a good understanding of how LED convert for the correct color temp to grow plants and even better if he is handy with a hammer, nails and lumber to build you a canopy to go over the 100gal....lol...
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:55 PM   #5 
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Yes I lub him to bits :3 He's been there for me through fancy rat/mice/rabbit/hamster breedings, building racks and homes for them as well as making cat towers and condos for our spoiled kitties, and built our puppy her own agility course. He is currently working on Betta Racks - racks meant to hold 6-8 10g tanks(probably 4 or 6 for me as I am short and wont be able to reach any higher d:). I plan on dividing them all 3 or 4 ways and making them all heavily planted tanks if possible, and that is where my personal babies will go :3

Thank you for the link! I will watch it when I get a moment, doing household chores atm.

And thank you for all your help, I will be sure to ask you if I have anymore questions (: I will let you know if they do sell led lights and if it's a decent price at that hydroponics store.
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:18 AM   #6 
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So we ended up not going to the hydroponics store since it was so cheap to get what you said lol We got the shop lights and bulbs, decided against a switch. We are probably also going to build that custom canopy :3 Very good video btw. Taught me how to make a stand and everything lol

Thanks again! I will post pictures up once the plants get here and what not :3
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:35 PM   #7 
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I'm gonna keep an eye on this thread :D
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:57 PM   #8 
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The kind of organic soil my husband bought me says it has a natural fertilizer in it, from the poultry litter in it (chicken poop).

Is this fine?

Edit: pasteurized poultry litter is what it says on the bag exactly, miracle-gro brand

Last edited by BettaDays; 02-16-2013 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:57 PM   #9 
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Lol kwomais, your avatar looks hilarious
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:27 PM   #10 
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Lol thanks! It's my boy when he was little. Idk, but I'm sure that that soil's fine.
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