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Questions, Questions, Questions.

This is a discussion on Questions, Questions, Questions. within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I don't know any fools who will admit when they don't know something. T rating is the tube diameter... I don't immediately recall what ...

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Questions, Questions, Questions.
Old 07-04-2013, 08:38 PM   #11
JDM
 
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I don't know any fools who will admit when they don't know something.

T rating is the tube diameter... I don't immediately recall what the fractional equivalents are, someone will... maybe eights of an inch? T5 = 5/8ths, T8 = 8/8ths or 1 inch I think.

LEDs are so much simpler in some senses... I don't happen to have time now to explain, perhaps I'll drag some stuff that I wrote out and post or link it.

Jeff.
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:33 AM   #12
 
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Well, I'll be doing some research as well. I just need to get over the fact that LEDs are expensive but necessary if I want to go for all plants, I think. I'm not sure, since the brighter the lighting, the more I'd need CO2, right? I'm burning myself out with all this thinking, lol.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:23 AM   #13
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This is going to look like a post that should be in my plant thread... but it isn't... maybe I'll copy it over there later too.

"Needing" LEDs is a stretch. Any type of light can be configured to work for plants and, at least until recently, people have been of the opinion that LED would not work for plants.

You won't likely "need" to add CO2 either. That's a whole other setup and expense... at least doing it right is.

The typical LED plant suitable setup will include 1 Watt bulbs in an array that includes some coloured bulbs. The intensity of the overall fixture is determined by the number of bulbs in the fixture and, sort of by default, how much the light from each bulb overlaps the others.

I had 8 white bulbs (8 Watts total) in two rows over a 24" span in my first fixture and they worked over a 22" deep tank for low to medium light plants including swords and a dwarf lily. I could keep some surface plants but not a full covering or the shade probably would have been too great for some plants.

My new fixture has the same 1 Watt bulbs (they are actually a better bulb bulb have the same light ratings) but 23 of them (23 Watts total) over the same 24" span in three rows. The bulbs are closer together and the overlap is a lot more creating a very bright light footprint. I have a very thick mat of plants on the surface and the light level is still higher than it was with the less surface plant coverage and weaker fixture.

The advantages of LED over fluorescent include

-more efficient bulbs
- more efficient focusing method used
- less heat produced
- no replacement bulbs needed
- much slimmer profile (less than 1" in my case)
- nice shimmering and spot effects with exposed moving surface water
- multi-staged light levels in most fixtures with multi-stage timers in some fixtures
- you can create your own more custom fixtures if so inclined

The disadvantages include

- higher up front cost (which is more than mitigated by the long term savings)
- if a bulb goes they are not really user serviceable
- the bulbs cannot be swapped for something different so you want to be right the first time.

The range of Watts per linear foot over typical tank would start at 4 LED Watts per linear foot for low to medium light plants and minimal surface plants to 12 LED Watts per linear foot for very high light plants or lots of surface plants with medium light plants below.

I have not had algae problems using either range and 14 hour photo-periods with minimal fertilization... very low tech. I am going to start pruning my surface plants to increase the light levels at the bottom but don't want to reduce the photo-period... looking for that balance so I anticipate that I will have to increase my liquid fertilizer dosing to once a week or maybe even as much as twice a week. CO2 is not going to be a consideration as the only real reason to add this is to force faster plant growth or to compensate for an unbalance of some other factors.

I would suggest deciding what you think you may want for light levels and go a little higher. You can always reduce the intensity using more surface plants or just physically shading the tank but you cannot increase it later.

I like both of the Marineland products, Doublebright and the Aquatic Plant Light Systems.

Jeff.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:34 AM   #14
 
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I'm not trying to change the subject, we'll get back to lighting but right now I have a quick question. If I were to go with dirt as my substrate, could I put sand over it so my Cory Cat's can be happy? Or will they be okay with the dirt?
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T4V3N View Post
I'm not trying to change the subject...
Your thread, your rules. Better to keep it all under one anyway, more contiguous and better answer streams.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T4V3N View Post
... we'll get back to lighting but right now I have a quick question. If I were to go with dirt as my substrate, could I put sand over it so my Cory Cat's can be happy? Or will they be okay with the dirt?
Short answer... the sand cap is what is done most often and the corys will be fine.

You could get away without it and they might be fine but you would probably always have cloudy water as they stir it up. Dirt is pretty much a mud bottom and it will settle out nice and clear... if you never touch it.

I always question why someone would choose dirt when sand, with very little care and attention, is just as good... or close enough that most might never see the difference at least.

So... why do you want dirt?

Jeff.
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:16 PM   #16
 
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I would bypass the dirt personally. And yes, the corys would toss that dirt around like kids in a mud pit. They dig and sift and toss substrate around all day in my tank. Very cute. The sand is really good for them and I have no problem growing plants in any of my sand tanks.
As for lighting for plants. I actually on impulse bought for my 75g the Aqueon Floramax tube(t8) to replace to fullspectrum it came with just to see. It worked well and the the tank is an absolute jungle of every plant under the sun. So that one does work and I also use Flourish and sometimes a root tab here and there. But throughout my house I have Everytype of light fixture you could think of on tanks and rarely have problems getting them to grow.(even have a 12k t5 4 tube light but I'm scared to put that on anything haha) Only thing I don't like about the floramax tube is the purplish hue so I went ridiculous and got the fluval 5200k full spectrum plant & aqualife LED fixture. I like it more because of the white color on the day setting but it wasn't neccesary..in fact it is more in the category of overkill lol(but I love it..plants do too)
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:22 PM   #17
 
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Corys really should not be over dirt without a 1 inch (minimum sand cap. Dirt as someone said compacts, and this means the corys can't get into it. I know of no cory species that live in streams with anything other than sand substrates, but there may be (I would expect these would have a deep leaf layer over the clay). But they have a need to dig into the sand and sift it through their gills, and this is something they can't do with congealed dirt/mud.

It is also worth noting that few if any watercourses in the tropical areas have "dirt" anyway; it is either sand or compacted clay or gravel/rock. The sediment that gets stirred up as when you see videos of these streams is decomposing organics, not true soil.

Byron.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:55 PM   #18
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...
Only thing I don't like about the floramax tube is the purplish hue so I went ridiculous and got the fluval 5200k full spectrum plant & aqualife LED fixture. I like it more because of the white color on the day setting but it wasn't neccesary..in fact it is more in the category of overkill lol(but I love it..plants do too)
I just looked at the specs on those LEDs... quite a bulb count 696 for the 48" fixture. I guess those aren't 1 Watt bulbs

This is what I like about LEDs when trying to compare them

"Size adjustment: 122 cm - 145 cm (48 in - 57 in)
Number of LEDs: 696
Wattage: 46W
Lumens: 3475 LM
Lux: 7827
CRI: 5200K
Lifetime Hours: 50,000
Provides 120 degree light dispersion."

The Lux is a little ambiguous as you need the distance from the fixture for it to mean much but knowing the lumens it's a good relative thing with LEDs. Pricing looks decent but I don't like the wide dispersion, 120 degrees would, I think, produce a lot of waste light.

Very easy to pick this and a few others and just say "THAT one gives me what I want"... once you know what you want.

Jeff.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:56 PM   #19
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The sediment that gets stirred up as when you see videos of these streams is decomposing organics, not true soil.

Byron.
True enough.

Jeff.
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Old 07-05-2013, 03:08 PM   #20
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDM View Post
I just looked at the specs on those LEDs... quite a bulb count 696 for the 48" fixture. I guess those aren't 1 Watt bulbs

This is what I like about LEDs when trying to compare them

"Size adjustment: 122 cm - 145 cm (48 in - 57 in)
Number of LEDs: 696
Wattage: 46W
Lumens: 3475 LM
Lux: 7827
CRI: 5200K
Lifetime Hours: 50,000
Provides 120 degree light dispersion."

The Lux is a little ambiguous as you need the distance from the fixture for it to mean much but knowing the lumens it's a good relative thing with LEDs. Pricing looks decent but I don't like the wide dispersion, 120 degrees would, I think, produce a lot of waste light.

Very easy to pick this and a few others and just say "THAT one gives me what I want"... once you know what you want.

Jeff.
Yep.. it is total overkill category haha. It can pretty much help light the room. Even the night setting is super bright and is a lovely blue light for my dinning room at night. Makes a nice streamline look for the top of the tank and a light that the fish, my plants and people can all enjoy. I have constantly been told "You don't know how to do anything halfway..do you?" lol
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