Advice on making my tank work for plants.
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Advice on making my tank work for plants.

This is a discussion on Advice on making my tank work for plants. within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I have a 16 gallon bowfront community aquarium. The hood, and light fixture that came with the aquarium only has one bulb, and so, ...

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Advice on making my tank work for plants.
Old 04-04-2010, 07:53 PM   #1
 
Advice on making my tank work for plants.

I have a 16 gallon bowfront community aquarium. The hood, and light fixture that came with the aquarium only has one bulb, and so, if i replace the bulb with a 15watt bulb, it would be lowering the amount of light it gets to 1watt per gallon. With most moderate light plants at least 2 watts per gallon are needed. I would like to know how i could make this tank work for plants. I really need to figure out how to make it have about 2 watt/gallon. Could someone possibly link me a light fixture or hood that would allow for such a bulb? It is a bowfront.

Thanks!
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:06 PM   #2
 
me and some of my friend's try to get at least 3-4 watts per gallon
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:18 PM   #3
 
Then tell me how i can get that much light for my aquarium? I need a 20" fixture, with 18" Bulbs. I cannot find something that does that. Single bulbs usually pull only 15w, or so i have seen...
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Old 04-04-2010, 10:37 PM   #4
 
You should not look at the amount of watts per gallons but more have the proper balance of spectrum and Kelvin being provided to your plants. Some plants will need more light but other will need less. The trick is to get the proper balance. Also you have to keep in mind the amount of light provide to the fishes, they might not approve a higher intensity.
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Old 04-05-2010, 12:37 AM   #5
 
3-4 is high light and you will not be able to do that without CO2. I use CO2 and have never had any need to go above 2.75wpg for swamps I keep. IMO 2wpg is a great light level for a tank, with or w/o CO2 it works well either way.

Your fixture is stuck to using 15 watt bulbs, it will not support anything with higher wattage. And any T8 18" bulb is going to be 15 watts. You are either stuck at 1 wpg or you need to upgrade your light strip. If you are interested at all, in the DIY section of this forum I have a thread on how to retrofit a light strip like yours to give you about 2wpg.
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Deathscythe617 (04-05-2010)
Old 04-05-2010, 01:30 AM   #6
 
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PErsonally, I'd try 1 wpg.
Make sure it's cool white 6500k, and just get easy low-med light plants.

I have 2 wpg, but I really think it's too much. (I have algae problems)

I think plants like Java Fern, Java Moss, Hygrophillia Difformis, maybe vallisneria, anarchis and several others would probably do OK.
You'd likely never need ferts either.
(Much easier to get 1 wpg than get 2wpg and end up letting plants cover the surface of the water to make the fishes happier)

Or just buy a cheap incandescent hood and use CFLs (those spiral bulbs)
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Deathscythe617 (04-05-2010)
Old 04-05-2010, 12:22 PM   #7
 
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One watt per gallon of good regular fluorescent T8 or T5 NO light is perfectly sufficient for the majority of plants in an aquarium. I only have 80w of T8 full spectrum over my 115g and look at the phenominal growth in the photos. The other tanks are the same. And I have thick cover of floating plants to further shade things.

One 15w tube over your 16g will be more than enough for almost any plants. Have a look at the section on light from the basic approach series at the head of this section for more info on how this works. http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...um-part-34862/

The aim is balance; nutrients have to be balanced with the light, and the more light, the more nutrients needed. And the more algae will appear.
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Deathscythe617 (04-05-2010)
Old 04-05-2010, 07:44 PM   #8
 
Thank you so much for the info! It really helped!

I was planning on buying this light For my aquarium, because i have read that it works very well for planted aquariums. I hope that i can get this thing together! I don't have any special substrate, so i know i am limited on my plant choices, but do you think you could throw together a list of possible plants i could get?

Thanks!
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:00 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deathscythe617 View Post
Thank you so much for the info! It really helped!

I was planning on buying this light For my aquarium, because i have read that it works very well for planted aquariums. I hope that i can get this thing together! I don't have any special substrate, so i know i am limited on my plant choices, but do you think you could throw together a list of possible plants i could get?

Thanks!
I have not personally seen that tube over an aquarium, so I can only base my comment on the spectrum graph and data from that site you linked. I think this would probably work, but it might have a bright yellow look which not everyone likes.

If I may suggest what I think would be a better choice, and for less money, either

the ZooMed Ultra Sun tube:
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...89&pcatid=4489

Or the near-identical Hagen's Life-Glo 2 tube:
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...5&pcatid=12765

Both are less money but I honestly think either of these two would be better lights on a single-tube tank. All three of my larger dual-tube tanks have a Life-Glo 2 as one of the tubes, and on my single-tube 33g it is the only tube.

Substrate: gravel is perfectly fine as a substrate. Smaller-grain size is best, the larger "pea" size less so. And a dark colour or shade is easier on the fish and shows off the plants better. I have never used anything except small-grain gravel. For plants, your options are almost wide-open. With either of the above tubes you will grow lush swords, crypts, vallisneria, sagittaria (substrate-rooted plants), or you have plants like Anubias and Java Fern that attach to wood or rock so these have a use. Stem plants are generally faster growing which means regular pruning/trimming to keep them neat and within limits. Stem plants can also be used floating, in addition to regular floating plants, which is useful to provide some shade (yes, this will be important, for the type of fish you would have in a 16g bowfront, smallish forest fish, cory cats, etc.).

Byron.
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:38 PM   #10
 
Wow, thanks! I guess one of those bulbs would be my best bet then! Other than that, do you know of a good website to buy aquarium plants from?

Thanks!
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