UG filter driven by back-hanging power filter? - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 14 Old 11-22-2010, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by RCinAL View Post
Thanks, Byron. Your knowledge is impressive and your willingness to share it is appreciated.

I do have the standard light fixture that came with the hood. It houses one very old 48" full spectum bulb I bought at the aquarium store. These bulbs last a very long time and work great for showing off the fish for years, but I was under the impression that in order to grow full, healthy plants you had to change them often - something I am just not willing to do. They do seem to lose their "luster" after 6 months or so.

It is also a constant struggle for me to keep the glass underneath it clean enough to allow maximum light to penetrate the tank. Not a problem for viewing fish, but I felt not doing this all the time had to be bad for plants.

Am I wrong about any of this? How often do you change a bulb that is not completely blown?

Ralph
I will assume the fixture is a "regular" fluorescent [the newer T5 types are different but fairly recent]. The tube is probably the old T12 type, the original fluorescent tubes. The "T" number refers to the diameter in mm I think it is; anyway, T12's are being phased out everywhere because the slimmer T8 tubes use less power and last longer. The T8 tubes last 2-3 years before they should be replaced [T12 are done in less than 1 year]. As you have noticed, the intensity of light depreciates as the tube ages, and quite drastically if you were to measure it with a lux meter. But a package of two full spectrum T8 tubes at a hardware store is only a few dollars [here in Canada they are $8 for a pair] so that's 5-6 years of good plant light for $8. Just make sure you get the tube with a 6500K rating or around that.

Aside from the plants, a weak tube actually encourages algae. One clue that your tubes need replacing is an increase in algae. Of course this is in planted tanks; in non-planted tanks any light will cause algae if steps aren't taken to deal with it.

As for the cover glass, yes, that should be cleaned every water change. As the water is siphoning out of my tank, I clean the cover glass. If not done regularly, and depending how hard your water is, the mineral deposit can be quite difficult if not impossible to remove after a time. Weekly cleaning with a paper towel suffices; vinegar can be used if it is really bad at first, but I only use the water on the glass with a paper towel, then a small cloth towel to buff dry. And clean it both sides, dust collects on the top surface.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #12 of 14 Old 11-22-2010, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
I will assume the fixture is a "regular" fluorescent [the newer T5 types are different but fairly recent]. The tube is probably the old T12 type, the original fluorescent tubes. The "T" number refers to the diameter in mm I think it is; anyway, T12's are being phased out everywhere because the slimmer T8 tubes use less power and last longer. The T8 tubes last 2-3 years before they should be replaced [T12 are done in less than 1 year]. As you have noticed, the intensity of light depreciates as the tube ages, and quite drastically if you were to measure it with a lux meter. But a package of two full spectrum T8 tubes at a hardware store is only a few dollars [here in Canada they are $8 for a pair] so that's 5-6 years of good plant light for $8. Just make sure you get the tube with a 6500K rating or around that.

Aside from the plants, a weak tube actually encourages algae. One clue that your tubes need replacing is an increase in algae. Of course this is in planted tanks; in non-planted tanks any light will cause algae if steps aren't taken to deal with it.

As for the cover glass, yes, that should be cleaned every water change. As the water is siphoning out of my tank, I clean the cover glass. If not done regularly, and depending how hard your water is, the mineral deposit can be quite difficult if not impossible to remove after a time. Weekly cleaning with a paper towel suffices; vinegar can be used if it is really bad at first, but I only use the water on the glass with a paper towel, then a small cloth towel to buff dry. And clean it both sides, dust collects on the top surface.

Byron.
Yes, it is a T12 fixture and made to fit my rather old, plastic hood which I like really well. I'll probably keep it till I have to do something different and then go with something that takes T8's.

Thanks again.

Ralph

38 years in the hobby and counting
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post #13 of 14 Old 11-23-2010, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by RCinAL View Post
Yes, it is a T12 fixture and made to fit my rather old, plastic hood which I like really well. I'll probably keep it till I have to do something different and then go with something that takes T8's.

Thanks again.

Ralph
T12 and T8 are interchangeable, the same fixture takes either. Sometimes the new T8 tubes will "flicker" a bit when first turned on, but otherwise I have had no issues with either tube in the same fixtures, some of which are 15 years old.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #14 of 14 Old 11-27-2010, 12:26 AM Thread Starter
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Update

The filter trick did work great for a period but I have now converted the UG to reverse flow and have 2 powerheads working again.

38 years in the hobby and counting
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