Originally Posted by SomeDudeAtHome
Thanks Byron. Algae was my first thought but the leaves were looking a little wilted so I figured I'd ask.
Anyway it took a little searching but I found the bulb on the internet. It's a Philips bulb and 2700 K. I bought it at a local hardware store since they are cheaper there than a fish store. Mini Dec Twister 13W Med EL/mDT - 60 Watt Incandescent Equivalent, 13 Watt, 120 Volt Warm White Spiral CFL Bulb | Bulbs.com
The lights are on between 10-12 hours a day and no fertilizer. I started vacuuming the gravel more often if that could make any difference on nutrients in the gravel.
And in my first post I meant 26w between the two not 16 just incase there was any confusion.
OK, your plants won't fare well, and algae will become uncontrollable, under that light with no nutrients. The light is lacking in blue (which along with red is the colour of light aquatic plants most need to photosynthesize), it is too intense (which is even worse when it is the wrong spectrum and not balanced by any significant nutrients), it is on too long (same reasons), and it is not balanced with nutrients. But this is all easily, and inexpensively, remedied.
First, the background. Plants need adequate light (spectrum, intensity and duration) plus nutrients to balance. If any of these are too little, plants slow or even stop photosynthesis (growth), and algae is eager to take advantage. The trick is to provide the correct spectrum and intensity of light, nutrients, and then balance the light duration with the available nutrients. Plants use the light and nutrients and out-compete algae.
First, the tube should be a full spectrum with more blue. You can buy good "daylight" or similar-named CF bulbs in hardware stores. GE, Phillips and Sylvania make them; and the 10w size is adequate, as I mentioned i think, I have two 10w bulbs over my 10g and 20g. Look for a kelvin rating around 6500K.
Second, don't vacuum the gravel in planted tanks, or minimally. I vacuum the "open" gravel to keep it clean for my bottom feeders (corys, loaches), but never around the plants. The detritus is converted into useful organics by bacteria in the substrate, and used by the plants with substrate roots.
Third, you need fertilizer. All 17 nutrients are unlikely to be available just from water, fish food and organics. But you don't want to overdo it, or it will be a nutrient overload of green pea soup. I use and highly recommend Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement. It has everything in balance. It may be more expensive than other liquid ferts, but you use so very little that long-term it is actually considerably less money. For a 10g, I use just under a 1/2 tsp twice a week; it can be once or twice max, it depends upon the plants, fish load, etc. That "balance" issue again.
With the above, reduce the duration to no more than 10 hours; a timer is best as then it is consistent, and this is important for plants and fish. After maybe 3 weeks, if algae is increasing under the above, reduce the duration by an hour or two. You can go down to about 6 hours but that should not be necessary. Provided the light is good, and nutrients are present, the plants will thrive.