Too much light and filtration/current?
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Too much light and filtration/current?

This is a discussion on Too much light and filtration/current? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> So, I've got a 20 gal tall (24x12x16) currently moderately planted and housing 4 harlequin rasboras, 6 glowlight tetras, and a farlowella. After reading ...

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Too much light and filtration/current?
Old 07-23-2011, 06:58 PM   #1
 
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Too much light and filtration/current?

So, I've got a 20 gal tall (24x12x16) currently moderately planted and housing 4 harlequin rasboras, 6 glowlight tetras, and a farlowella. After reading some posts here, I'm starting to think it has too much light (T-5 HO, 2x24 watt bulbs) and too much current (Fluval 105) for my fish (or any fish I would like to keep-tetras, corys, rasboras, possibly dwarf cichlids). My fish do seem "restless", constantly swimming and chasing each other around. I've seen videos where the fish, even those that are more active by nature are more sedate and calm.

My question is, would just changing to a larger tank, but keeping my other equipment, "dilute" the light and current enough to make for a better environment for my fish? I'd rather buy a bigger tank than new light and filter and pack away in a closet the $200 worth of equipment I currently have.
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:40 PM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quantum View Post
So, I've got a 20 gal tall (24x12x16) currently moderately planted and housing 4 harlequin rasboras, 6 glowlight tetras, and a farlowella. After reading some posts here, I'm starting to think it has too much light (T-5 HO, 2x24 watt bulbs) and too much current (Fluval 105) for my fish (or any fish I would like to keep-tetras, corys, rasboras, possibly dwarf cichlids). My fish do seem "restless", constantly swimming and chasing each other around. I've seen videos where the fish, even those that are more active by nature are more sedate and calm.

My question is, would just changing to a larger tank, but keeping my other equipment, "dilute" the light and current enough to make for a better environment for my fish? I'd rather buy a bigger tank than new light and filter and pack away in a closet the $200 worth of equipment I currently have.

If the tank does not have CO2 injection then yes,I believe you have quite a bit of light. If algae is problem, then this could be a factor.
I do not believe a filter rated for up to 25 gallons such as the one you have ,,is too much filtration or current for the fish mentioned.
Most of the fish mentioned however do prefer to be in larger groups, and this could be more easily done in larger tank without compromising water quality which can be problematic in smaller tanks with numerous fish.
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:24 AM   #3
 
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First, may I welcome you to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Nice to have you with us.

You have way too much light over a 20g. Even one of those tubes would be excessive. This will absolutely cause algae problems, and this is definitely stressful on forest fish. Floating plants can help, but you need to go further than that.

If you get a larger tank, fine; but how will the light fit? Most larger tanks will be longer, and I would expect the fixture wouldn't fit the tank, or if did sit on top somehow [it needs to rest on the tank frame...] the light would be concentrated in one spot. Any chance you can return it?

Incandescent fixtures/hoods for a 20g tall are not expensive; I just got one for my 20g tall. Incandescent (the screw-in bulbs) are cheaper than fluorescent, and with two 10w Compact Fluorescent daylight 6500K bulbs, provide ideal plant light sufficient for the tank.

The filter should be directional, so you can aim the outflow against the end wall of the tank which dissipates the flow a bit. Or use a simple sponge filter, and save the Fluval for a larger tank. If you're like most of us, more tanks will be forthcoming.

A couple more rasbora would be a good idea, even in the 20g.

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Old 07-24-2011, 11:37 AM   #4
 
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Thanks

Algae is not too bad right now, there is some but not excessive, but it has been a problem in the past (the tank has been set up and running for a couple of years).

I was thinking mainly about the fish and trying to figure out their surprising aggression (rasboras are long time residents, glowlights and farlowella new additions).

I only have room for a tank with a footprint of 30"x12" max (don't want to buy a new stand). So that means a 30x12x18 29 gal, which would hardly seem worth the effort, or a 30x12x22, which is called either a 40 gal or 37 gal, but is actually 34 (if my cubic inch to gal conversion is correct). My light currently sits on a glass lid and I could have the same for the larger tank. There would be some areas in the upper corners that wouldn't get much light, but only 3" per side, I wouldn't consider it if I were thinking about a 36"' tank. The taller tank would give me more room for floating plants or tall growing planted ones that eventually grow horizontally across the surface.

The new hood would obviously be the easier and cheaper way to go and I'll look into it. Are you talking about just a regular incandescent fixture with the regular bulbs replaced with CFLs like the ones from the hardware store or something specific for aquarium use?
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Old 07-24-2011, 12:07 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Algae is not too bad right now, there is some but not excessive, but it has been a problem in the past (the tank has been set up and running for a couple of years).
Do you have live plants? How long are the lights on? Something isn't adding up here.

Quote:
I was thinking mainly about the fish and trying to figure out their surprising aggression (rasboras are long time residents, glowlights and farlowella new additions).
A recent scientific study has proven that even "peaceful" fish can become aggressive when kept in too small a group (the study concluded less than 5 for the species they tested) and naturally-aggressive fish tend to be much more aggressive (angelfish for example). Also, too small a space (to the fish's thinking) caused the same result.

Such aggression is caused by stress. And stress can be brought on by other factors too, like bright lighting and water movement. Aggression is the fish's only way of "fighting back." Put simply, the fish is stressed by having to endure this or that, and it lashes out in sheer frustration.

Quote:
I only have room for a tank with a footprint of 30"x12" max (don't want to buy a new stand). So that means a 30x12x18 29 gal, which would hardly seem worth the effort, or a 30x12x22, which is called either a 40 gal or 37 gal, but is actually 34 (if my cubic inch to gal conversion is correct). My light currently sits on a glass lid and I could have the same for the larger tank. There would be some areas in the upper corners that wouldn't get much light, but only 3" per side, I wouldn't consider it if I were thinking about a 36"' tank. The taller tank would give me more room for floating plants or tall growing planted ones that eventually grow horizontally across the surface.
I would consider the present light too much for either of these tanks too. My 33g which is 3 feet long by 1 foot wide only has one T8 30-inch 25 watt full spectrum tube, and the plants are doing well. I still have to limit the light duration to control algae. And I have half the surface covered with floating plants. T5 HO tubes are approximately 1.5 times more intense light than the same sized T8 tube in the same type (spectrum and kelvin), so two T5 HO equates to 3+ T8, which is triple the light I use, to put it in perspective. I experimented with T5 HO on my 115g 5-foot, only two 48-inch tubes, and after a week took it back for a T8 with 2 48-inch tubes.

Quote:
The new hood would obviously be the easier and cheaper way to go and I'll look into it. Are you talking about just a regular incandescent fixture with the regular bulbs replaced with CFLs like the ones from the hardware store or something specific for aquarium use?
The "old" incandescent fixtures are now popular again, and on tanks under about 4 feet are extremely practical and workable with Compact Fluorescent (screw-in) bulbs. I use GE "Daylight" 6500K bulbs, purchased from a hardware store for a few dollars for a pair, two 10w over my 10g and the same over my 20g, and the plants are thriving. Algae is non-existant in these two tanks, interestingly enough; I only have it in the larger tanks with tubes.

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Old 07-24-2011, 12:50 PM   #6
 
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Yes live plants (2 anubias, 2 vesuvius swords, 2 rosette swords, 1 java fern with about 10-15 leaves,1 crypt parva, 1 small crypt, and a few dwarf sag), not especially lush and I would like to add more plants. Light is on about half the day. New bulbs are a few months old one 6700K and one 5000K. Algae has been a problem in the past and I guess I now know why. Lately it has been under control, for a long time there were only 4 rasboras living there, maybe not enough nutrients for algae growth?

I had come to the conclusion that the aggession was likely due to stess (light and current) and was trying to come up with a solution while still using the light fixture and filter I had. Going to the 34 gal seemed like a possible route to take plus it would let me get more fish, just wanted to see what others thought.

I may remove one bulb and see how that works and if still too much go with the incandescent you suggested.

Looks like the filter may go also. I tried to create an oulet that distributed the flow over a larger area and the filter itself alows for some adjustment (currently at the lowest recommended level), but there still seems to be too much movement.

What do you think about a small internal filter? Marinland sells one that's adjustable from 13-66 gph, Fluval has a similarlly sized one, but I don't think it's adjustable. I'll have to do more research. I think I would prefer this to the sponge filter if functionally similar (would rather not have an air pump and bubbles).

I will add some rasboras once the glowlights have settled in. I intended to buy some more rasboras first, but the few they had at the store were pretty sorry looking so I went ahead and bought the glowlights. The twig catfish seems to be doing well. I can see where it has been grazing on algae.
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Old 07-24-2011, 04:08 PM   #7
 
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If you want to change filters, then I recommend a simple sponge filter connected to a small air pump. I run these in all my smaller tanks, up to the 33g. With plants this is all you need.

You are providing good light for plants, from what you've mentioned [thinking of the spectrum/kelvin]. I still can't understand why algae isn't worse than what you indicate. Light causes algae, nothing more. Algae will always find sufficient nutrients if light is available, unlike plants that need to be fed in order to use the light.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:55 PM   #8
 
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Do you like the sponge filters for mechanical or biological filtration?
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:58 PM   #9
 
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Do you like the sponge filters for mechanical or biological filtration?
They are excellent for both, but in the planted aquarium it is only mechanical we need, if that. Suspended particulate matter is easily filtered out of the water with sponge filters. The biological is not important with plants, though in fry tanks and such this is good. The plants tend to grab ammonia faster than the bacteria, so long as the filtration is not heavy on the biological.
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Old 07-24-2011, 09:25 PM   #10
 
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I went to a couple of pet stores (big chain stores, unfortunately there are no indepedent fish/aquarium in my area any longer) to see what they had. I was hoping to find a sponge filter driven by a small power head, if such a thing exists, as I would prefer not to have an air pump and bubbles. One thing I like about the canister filter is that it is so quiet. Neither store carried sponge filters of any type. They did have a few internal filters that were essentiallly motor driven sponge filters, the difference being that the sponge was incased in plastic and it had an intake of only a few square inches rather than the entire sponge.

They didn't have much in the way of lights either, just the standard stuff. I found an old T8 (15 watts I believe) that I had packed away in a closet. I may use it, its just so ugly compared to the sleek T5 fixture.

You think I will be fully stocked with what will be (once I get my light and filter situation squared away) 6 glowlight, 6 harlequin rasboras and the farlowella? I would like to add more if I could.
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