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How to light a 55 gallon blackwater tank and still grow plants?

This is a discussion on How to light a 55 gallon blackwater tank and still grow plants? within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Thanks Byron. I am surprised that only 1 t5no tube fixture would be sufficient. How do you think a dual t5NO would be? I ...

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How to light a 55 gallon blackwater tank and still grow plants?
Old 06-30-2010, 06:56 PM   #11
 
Thanks Byron.

I am surprised that only 1 t5no tube fixture would be sufficient. How do you think a dual t5NO would be? I am dosing with Seachem Flourish weekly.

The lighting fixture looks very nice. Can you supply a link to the manufacturer?


Thanks again,

Dan
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:51 PM   #12
 
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Thanks Byron.

I am surprised that only 1 t5no tube fixture would be sufficient. How do you think a dual t5NO would be? I am dosing with Seachem Flourish weekly.

The lighting fixture looks very nice. Can you supply a link to the manufacturer?


Thanks again,

Dan
"All Glass" is the name, they make various aquarium stuff, you can find their products through DrsFoster&Smith and prob others. Go there, click on fluorescent light fixtures, and you'll see them in various sizes.

I think two tubes over a 55g is too much for a low-tech natural system. I use Flourish Comprehensive twice weekly, I have to or my swords start yellowing, and in my 115g I only have 80w at 4-feet over a 5-foot tank. It's the fish that need less light, they are forest fish (the type we tend to keep in planted tanks) and most of them occur in very dimly-lit waters. Put them in a tank with a dark substrate, plants, floating plants and subdued light, and watch them sparkle; because they are less stressed. I won't get into all the scientific reasons now.

Another member, Angel079, a while back took one tube off her 55g, leaving one 4-foot tube. She couldn't believe the increase in plant growth within a week. I told her it would. These plants simply do not need all that light. Tom Barr mentioned this to me a while back too; he maintains that one should start with minimal light and balance the nutrients and fish with it. This way you avoid algae problems, which only occur when light is beyond what the plants can use with the available nutrients.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:49 PM   #13
 
Thank you Byron for your answers. Muchly appreciated and will heed your advice.


Dan
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Old 07-03-2010, 03:43 AM   #14
 
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Thank you Byron, always look forward to reading your posts.

One reason I wanted to go with t5, was the compactness of the fixture and since it is show tank, hardware store fixtures wont cut it for me...way too bulky and ugly. at least what I can find here.

I;m a little surprised you mentioned only a single tube t5.. would that have enough light to penetrate to the bottom of a stanadard 55?


Dan

As always, I would defer to Byrons judgement with respect to plants in general for truly,, he has some very nice examples of what can be achieved with low to moderate lighting and without CO2 injection and all the bells and whistles that often accompany such tanks.
I might try the lighting scheme he suggests and see how plants do, while keeping in mind that in new tanks,plants will need time to adapt and may not get off real well until mulm,fish foods,fish waste,and or root tabs have a chance to benefit the plants.
I have grown most of the plants you mention with low to moderate lighting but not in blackwater tank where lighting might have to be a bit more than one tube be it T5 NO or T8 in order to penetrate to depths needed.
Blackwater,depending on how stained the water is,,, may need more light to achieve perhaps better growth.
Have grown crypts and anubia in tanks that were nearly absent of light other than what came through windows across the room and found that they did fairly well, while swords (heavy root feeders,, did much better under moderate lighting and addition of root tabs, Same with wysteria. Both did much better initially in already established tanks where substrate was mature.(never tried floating the Wysteria)
I believe Byron utilizes both substrate ferts and water column dosing as well, and I would try and duplicate his methods if possible.
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