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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok I have started buying a bunch of stuff to setup a new aquarium.

I have some questions

1. I bought a fluval 205 40 gallon canister filter, but i have a 36 gallon bowfront tank. Just today i found out that ur supposed to have a filter rated 10 gallons over ur size?!? Am I fine with the fluval 205 or what??

2. I would like to setup live plants, can they be setup in just gravel or sand only? what is the proper way to put plants in? Is it hard to maintain plants?

3. The most important thing im trying to figure out is the lighting! Im trying to buy a lighting fixture. I want a really bright one, preferably be able to change colors on it, and somewhere under $100? please name some good brands for me if possible

ALSO I NEED SOME SIZE HELP!

The length of my 36 gallon bowfront is " 30 1/4" inches. What size is the lighting fixture supposed to be then??? is a 30 inch one fine??? or does it have to be exact size?

really confused

PLEASE HELP ME IF YOU CAN!

thank you
 

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It is always better to over filter for example:50 gallon =500 gph( gallon per hour) that is what is best but a combination of filters is good as wel

Now for plants you can use sand or gravel but i personally like sand better becuz it looks more natural. You need to get fertilizer tabs for the plants. they are very easy to care for as long as they get proper lighting which i dont much about you would have to wait for someone else to answer
 

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In setting up for a planted tank, lighting requirements will need to be based on the depth of the tank, rather than the length, because light has to be able to penetrate to where the plants are. Ive found that using inadequate lighting, by way of depth penetration causes plants to grow quickly and become long and spindly, trying to reach for the light they need, also it will depend somewhat on the kind of plants you want to have, there are plants with low light requirements 1-1.5 watts per gallon, and some with up to 5 watts per gallon needed. so its best to start off by doing some research on plants that you want to try to have, and checking their lighting needs and go from there
 

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A properly selected plant that matches the light you can provide will be easy to maintain and grow. A plant that really needs more light than you have can be a bit of a pain to keep alive.

A filter rated for 40 gallons is big enough for a 36 gallon bow front. As Josh suggested, a somewhat larger filter can be nice to have in case you are one of the people that overstock your tank, but one matched to the tank will usually work fine.

Substrate for plants is a very personal matter. For me it usually means putting down a layer of really cheap un-enriched potting soil followed by a cap of coarse sand, call it fine gravel if you wish. For extreme plant people, it usually means some kind of enriched plant substrate with or without a cover on top. If all you grow are "easy" plants, meaning low light and little fertilizer, you could use straight sand or gravel to suit your own taste.
 

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I have a 20 long with a few live plants. I looked it up and it seems that Java Fern (don't know the Latin name) is one of the easiest plants to grow. Got 3 plants in Feb or so, attached them to some rocks with rubber bands. After a while they will attach and you can take off the bands. I mounted a standard T8 twin 20W florescent 24" shop light over the tank with a 2x4 (cheap, simple mount). One bulb is an Ecolux daylight bulb, the other is an Ecolux plant and aquarium bulb. Got both bulbs at Lowe's when I got the light there. The plants have grown fine, although very slow. I have never trimmed them and it's been 7 months or so. They haven't died, which is the good part. I don't use fertilizer or CO2. And I only have 3 fish in my tank. Anyway, that's my 2 cents. I'll post a pic if your interested.

P.S. Don't stress to hard about this. Have fun!

Edit: I have T12's not T8's.
 

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The java ferns are quite nice easy plants. Mine do well and grow nicely with no real help from me. Another nice slow growing low light plant is Anubias nana. I also have some Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia but they are really too big for a small tank. If you keep livebearers and need good fry cover, try some java moss. It can just literally be tossed into the tank unrooted and will lay on the bottom of the tank growing with any light that happens to get into the tank. I have some spreading nicely in unlit tanks with just the light that happens to get into the tanks from the room lighting.
Unless you get into the high light realm, the minerals in your water change water and the nutrients in the fish food and fish waste are plenty to keep plants growing nicely. Three fish in a 20 gallon is not much waste to feed plants but will keep them alive and looking good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks for the response guys, where do you buy your plants? does petmart sell any easy to maintain plants?
 

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I think that I have seen some java moss there but not much else that would qualify as low light and easy. A general rule that makes sense if you think about it is to get the cheapest plants you can find because they will be easy to care for. Let's face it, if I am throwing away plant clippings every week because I have something that is very easy to care for, I don't mind selling the trash clippings cheap. If I have to nurse a plant for a year to get a single side sprout from it, I will want serious money before I will part with it. Wholesalers that sell to people like Petsmart are the same way. A hard plant always demands more money. Be careful what you buy at chain stores like Petsmart. Lately there have been lots of plants for sale that are really just house plants that can survive underwater long enough to be sold as water plants, they are not water plants at all.
 

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Be careful what you buy at chain stores like Petsmart. Lately there have been lots of plants for sale that are really just house plants that can survive underwater long enough to be sold as water plants, they are not water plants at all.
Agree.

Maybe try Liveaquaria. I havn't ordered any plants from them, although I think I may in the future.
 

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I never trust the ratings on the filters either. They are hyped up to compete against other brands, are are often tested completly empty with no media in them. Once they are full of media the gph (gallons per hour) drops. I try to shoot for 8 to 10x tank size for gph rating, especially in a planted tank were water flow helps spread nutrients. So on a 50g tank 400-500-gph.

I prefer gravel looking substrate for a planted tank like flourite. As for lighting, there has been a lot of recent talk, so look for those threads.
 
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