Originally Posted by SumptnFishy
Thanks! now I need to start looking into the safe fertilizers I should use for my plants. I have read some people dont and some people do. What is the verdict. I also have seen most people use Flourish for their brands of additives, is this the brand I should look into or are there others just as good?
I use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Plant Supplement with excellent results, as do others here. In the past I've used the Kent line, and there are some others that are recommended but I've not tried. The important thing is to use a comprehensive, one that contains all the nutrients plants require and in the correct porportions. Dosing with several different nutrients (iron, copper, magnesium, zinc...) gets very expensive and you need to know how much of each one. Unbalanced nutrients can be detrimental. The Flourish Comprehensive has everything, you can see the list on their website.
I have a suggestion on your proposed light. You don't mention CO2 so I will assume you don't intend to add it. The present 120 watts of light is in my view more than adequate, and ading another 40 watts I would not recommend. It all depends upon your plants of course; stem plants require more light and if that is your focus and they are not doing well, then an additional tube may help; but at that point I would expect CO2 to be the limiting factor. If on the other hand you have/want mostly rooted plants (swords, crypts, anubias, vallisneria, sagitarria, aponogeton...) I would not add more light, and I would probably remove one tube now. I have a 115g aquarium that is 5 feet in length and 24 iches deep, and two 40w 48-inch tubes is more than enough light; I don't use CO2 and don't intend to. I realize your 30-inch depth is greater, but not enough in my view to warrant another tube. Algae will be easier to control without more light.
A word on T5 tubes. I recently tried one of these and after a week took it back; it was far too bright. Only two 54w tubes, 48-inch, and 108 total watts, but just too much light. They are much more intense in output. You may find it acceptable in the deeper tank, but I am a believer in providing as little light as necessary for the sake of the fish; most of our aquarium fish occur in dark waters, not water in bright sunlight, or water shaded by plants and overhanging vegetation (and frequently devoid of plants as a result). As long as the plants have sufficient for their needs, it is enough.
And a last comment, on the type of tubes. Full spectrum are considered the best for planted aquaria. The mid-day sun has a kelvin of approximately 6500K and full spectrum matches this; tubes like Hagen's Life-Glo or Zoo Med's Ultra Sun are 6700K and peak in the blue, red and green colours. Plants require mostly blue, then red; they reflect green but having green balances the blue and red avoiding a purplish spectral tint to the aquarium. Plant and fish colours are natural under this type of light.
I took a photo of my 115g today, here it is so you can see what I'm talking about. The 80 watts of full spectrum light is sufficient for these plants (all sword species plus the stem plant Brazilian Pennywort which does very well in this tank even though not bright), and this has been my practice for more than 12 years. The Echinodorus macrophyllus, the long-stemmed sword with large leaves at the surface on the left side, is 12 years old and from the last flower spike I have 4 young plants started, 2 in this tank. I have one Life-Glo 2 tube 6700K and one Lightning Rod Ultra Daylight 11,000K tube over this tank; the latter is high in blue, the colour plants most require (and it penetrates water better as it happens) but this is balanced by the Life-Glo full spectrum.
P.S. While I was getting the photo attached, I see Rohland posted; thanks for the compliment.