New to plants, low light 20 gallon long- a few questions
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New to plants, low light 20 gallon long- a few questions

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New to plants, low light 20 gallon long- a few questions
Old 07-22-2012, 12:40 PM   #1
 
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New to plants, low light 20 gallon long- a few questions

Hello!

I jumped over from the betta forum, I am setting up a 20 gallon long sorority tank and plan to do some low light plants. I am thinking anubias, wisteria, java moss and java fern.

My question is, I am getting the tank with a mesh/screen lid, the kind used mostly for reptiles, is this lid ok for adding a light on top of it? I dont mind having to buy another lid but would prefer to just buy a light to put on top. Im trying to keep my costs down as much as possibe (Im a student lol).

Also, for these low light plants should I just be looking for something in the 6500k range or is there a more economical lighting set up that I could do that would keep my plants alive? Im not the best gardener so I want to start off right with this tank.

your help is appreciated :) I tried googling but didnt find much about the lid, and some lighting info is a bit advanced for my little brain.
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Old 07-22-2012, 06:17 PM   #2
 
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Hi, i'm not the expert here but I can help you some. First you should read the sticky on top of the aquarium plants threads on the low tech method. 6500k is ideal for plants with two T8 bulbs being ideal. I use two T5s which are a little bit to intense but you have the light to grow anything and I have to work at cutting it down with surface plants. Aquatraders.com have some pretty good deals on lights if you are on a budget. As far as I am concerned most tanks do not need a lid.
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Old 07-22-2012, 06:33 PM   #3
 
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most strip lights will have something printed on the box or somewhere that they are not intended for open top aquariums or only to be used with glass lid, depends on your fixture whether or not it will work with the screen

the Kelvin rating is a qualitative not quantitative measure, 6500K is good for plant growth and natural appearance

a single tube fixture with a 24" T8 tube will likely be the cheapest you will find and it will be plenty for the plants you've listed over a 12" tall tank
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Old 07-22-2012, 06:51 PM   #4
 
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I agree. One comment on the plants, the Wisteria is not low light. You may find this difficult, but you can try it (being a stem plant it will not be too expensive) and see. One advantage is that it will grow along the surface, and even completely floating, which is beneficial for Bettas. And the other plants mentioned are low light/shade plants, so they will still manage below.

The problem with bare tubes over water without a glass cover is water evaporating and condensing on the tubes and the fixture; the fixture may rust at the ends, and the tubes might crack when hot if splashed. Some fixtures have a glass cover built in. But compare the prices, for a 20g long you may find a full hood is no more and that will have the glass. If you go with the hood, less expensive yet will be the incandescent rather than fluorescent, though perhaps not much. The CFL Daylight 6500K bulbs are excellent for plants, I have these over my 10g and 20g tanks with good plant growth.

Byron.
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:13 PM   #5
 
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not that it matters much, but I should've said Kelvin is a qualitative measure 'in this context', i.e. fluorescent lighting
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:49 PM   #6
 
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I have no lid on my tank but my light has legs that raise it about 4" off the top of the tank. It works very well and I like the tank better with no top on it. You do get some evap but you got to do a water change anyway so it doesnt really matter. My light also has a protective acrlic cover that keeps moisture from coming in contact with the bulbs and electronic pieces.
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:30 PM   #7
 
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Thank you :) Very helpful and appreciated.
Im thinking buying a hood may be the best and most economical way to do it, Im going to do some shopping around and see what I can find.

Are there any low light floating plants that would be recommended over the wisteria?
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:29 PM   #8
 
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I have both Red Root Floater and Dwarf Water Lettuce growing under similar light to what you are planning (in different tanks). The water lettuce has very long roots that would reach the bottom of a 20 long and probably not the best choice. The red root floater would be very good, as its roots are only a few inches long. Brazilian pennywort might be an option, though I have no experience with it.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:38 AM   #9
 
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Those are fine, and I would add Water Sprite to the list. Being floating, whatever the light this plant will manage, and I have it floating in all my tanks now.

I'd like to try the dwarf water lettuce, and think I spotted it in a display tank in one of my better local fish stores the other day, and intend to ask the owner (who was not there at the time) about it. It bears a striking resemblance to Salvinia at first glance.
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:32 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
I'd like to try the dwarf water lettuce, and think I spotted it in a display tank in one of my better local fish stores the other day, and intend to ask the owner (who was not there at the time) about it. It bears a striking resemblance to Salvinia at first glance.
I think you should be able to tell the difference. I've never had salvinia, but my understanding is that the submerged portion of that plant is a modified leaf, If so, I don't think it would be as long as the roots of the dwarf water lettuce - some of the roots on mine are over a foot long:

IMG_0213.jpg

Still not sure about it, it seems to be dieing back after rapid growth, but this is in a fairly new tank with low nutrients - only one fish - it may have just exhausted the available resources
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