08-07-2011, 07:50 PM
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Nubster's 75g log
Figured might as well keep a log. I like reading others and hope others will enjoy reading mine. I have been keeping fish for a while but this will be my first true community tank. I plan on making it a fairly natural setup as far as decor. I will also be planting the tank as soon as I find a decent source for plants. Not sure on what I plan to stock with yet, I know I want cory cats, shrimp, and large schools of small fish. Still lots to figure out but that's part of the fun I think. I am in the process of cycling now, using the fishless shrimp cycle as I always do. Ammonia last night was off the chart which is exciting, hoping nitrates and nitrites will show soon. I know some don't like the idea, but I did seed with some gravel from a friends tank so hopefully the cycle will not take as long as they often do. Anyways...that's about it. I'll give a little break down of what I am using and get some pics up as soon as I clean the outside of the glass.
Tank - 75g with glass top, sides and back painted black.
Lighting - cheap shop lights with four 32watt GE Plant and Aquarium bulbs.
Substrate - at the moment there is 40 pounds of Petco brand black sand and I have 40 more pounds of Tahitian Moon sand on the way.
Filtration -AquaClear 110 with two foam blocks.
Heating - Ebo Jager 200watt
I think that is it. Not much on water parameters at this point. Temp is around 78, ammonia off the chart, pH is 7.6, no idea on hardness...need to get that checked.
08-08-2011, 12:26 PM
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I will assume the tubes are T8. The "T" number refers to the tube's diameter in 8ths of an inch. So a T8 is 8/8 or 1 inch diameter. A T12, the older and thicker tubes, is 12/8 of an inch diameter. T8 are better because they are somewhat more energy efficient, so they produce the same or slightly more intensity with less energy.
T8 tend to "give out" after 12-18 months. While you may not notice this, a light meter would show a drastic decline in intensity. And when you replace the tubes, you will see a difference. The tube will continue to "light" long after this, but the light is so weak it is almost useless. And at some point, usually 12 months or shortly thereafter depending upon the way the tube was manufactured, the light will have decreased so much the plants are no longer able to photosynthesize fully, and then algae takes advantage of the weaker light and will proliferate.
As to which type, the "daylight" 6500K tubes are better. They will produce a light close to mid-day sun, so fish and plant colours will be true. You will see a real difference, from the "purplish" hue of the aquarium/plant tubes (which are high in the red and blue wavelengths). It may take some getting used to, but the daylight tubes are better.
But here we come to another issue, too much light. Are the 4 tubes full length, i.e., 48-inch tubes? Four of these over a 75g tank is too many; only two tubes will be required, if they are 48-inch tubes. If your fixture takes smaller length tubes, that is different, and may be fine.
By the way, you might want to give a read of the article series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of the Aquarium Plants section of the forum.
08-08-2011, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Nubster
Actually the current tubes are T5 I believe...32 watts each. But I guess that is a mute point as it seems they need replaced anyways. The new tubes I looked at yesterday are T8 and 40 watts each. And yes, they are full length 48" bulbs. I have the four tubes because originally the lights were over a heavily planted dart frog setup and the plants did very well...to well in fact as I was trimming sometimes twice a week. I'll see if I can find some pics of that setup. I'll reduce the lighting though as suggested...I remember when I had bichirs in this tank a couple years ago the two bulbs were pretty dim, even when brand new.
T5 usually requires different fixtures; they are not interchangeable with T8/T12. However, I have seen tubes made smaller than T8, I think they were T6 but may have been T5, and made for the same fixture (T8 or "regular" fluorescent). If you have shop lights it is almost certainly going to be regular, and they will take regular tubes (T8). And T8 used to be 40w but manufacturers are now making them in 32w; my Phillips Daylight Deluxe 48-inch tubes are 32w. So this is probably what you have, T8 fixtures. The 32w T8 tubes will work fine, and use less energy (electricity) compared to the 40w.
I would reduce to two tubes if possible. Then buy the daylight 6500K, made by Phillips, Sylvania, GE. These are inexpensive by comparison to fish store "aquarium" tubes.
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