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Plant Growth Issues

This is a discussion on Plant Growth Issues within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I would say it's lots of things... If you can use only one fixture, then a single 18W HO bulb is probably okay. (I ...

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Old 11-09-2011, 12:08 PM   #11
 
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I would say it's lots of things... If you can use only one fixture, then a single 18W HO bulb is probably okay. (I have 23W of CFL lighting over one 10 gallon)

I'm also curious to the spectrum of light... It should say so on the bulb. 'Cool white' bulbs don't come in HO.. You might have 'Daylight' which is close enough.

If you're using something close to 6500k, then you don't want much more than 3000 lumens if you're not using co2 and high nutrient levels. (I don't.) Of course in tank with such a light fish load, you might need to stay under 2300.

If you don't want to add fish, then I would dose excel daily, and feed your shrimp a little more than he can eat occasionally, along with the flourish comprehensive. Comprehensive is a bit of a misnomer, since it doesn't contain hardly any of the macronutrients (NPK). Feeding your shrimp generously (gradually work up the amount of food you feed. Leftovers and excess waste will provide the macros)

This will boost the amount of bacteria in the tank without affecting the ammonia levels. (nitrate might go up a tiny bit.)

During this process, add 1/8th a tsp of sugar dissolved in water- (yes, table sugar) to the tank. This will also boost bacterial activity, encourage growth to help produce CO2, and will produce very little ammonia which will turn to nitrate almost instantly.

I've used both tricks, and they work extremely well in my low-tech tanks. The sugar MAY encourage the growth of diatoms, but your shrimp will probably eat it.
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:27 PM   #12
 
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Well shoot. I get so much incorrect info from the fish store it seems... I've taken out one of the t5 strips, the rose colored one. Do you think 18W will be too much still? Is it unsafe to leave the lamp out like that?

I'm confused as to why 36w is too much. Don't some high light plants need 4w/gallon?

I've tried sooo hard to find 6500 K 10w bulbs. Where do you get these??? The best I could ever get my hands on was 5000k 20w cfls. I had two hoods with those for a long time, with (obviously) similar results. Could you point me in the right direction? I'm thinking if I can get those for the ten, I'll put this fixture on my 28 gallon (tall) tank, which also has algae issues with the current lighting setup.

More help please!!!
Others have responded on these points, but I'll just add my comments. First, you cannot use watts per gallon as an absolute "guide." Watts is simply the measurement of how much energy a bulb or tube uses to produce the light. You can get bulbs/tubes that produce say 300 lumens of light and use 25 watts, and others will produce the same by using 10 watts. The light intensity is identical if the bulbs are the same type. And that is another factor; different spectrum light matters too. These days with all the new lighting advances (T5 HO, now T5 VHO, LED, etc) it is impossible to accurately compare these different types via watts because they are producing more intense light (brighter) with fewer and fewer watts (energy or power).

Light must always be the limiting factor to plant growth. This means that you want all nutrients to be available in balance with the light, and the light will be the first thing to give out. Otherwise algae will take advantage. If CO2 runs out and light is still available, plants cannot photosynthesize but algae will use the light to increase.

The Compact Fluorescent bulbs that will fit incandescent fixtures (screw-in) are available in hardware and home improvement stores and places that stock light bulbs. But not in fish stores, at least not where I live.
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Old 11-10-2011, 09:11 AM   #13
 
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6 hours is enough, but u need make sure the time, you shoulld use a timer to control it
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Old 11-12-2011, 01:46 AM   #14
 
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Hi All! Thanks for the feedback...


@ Boredomb:
OK, let me clarify here... Are the 10w bulbs you're talking about the "10w / 40w replacement bulbs? Walmart.com: GE Energy Smart 10W Daylight Compact Fluorescent Bulbs, 2pk: Decor

Thanks for the tip on the ballast. I'll do a little research.

@ redchigh:
The two bulbs are: 1 18W T5 HO 6K Lamp and 1 18" 18W T5 HO 650nm Lamp.

I'm already using excel and comprehensive in the tank. Excel every other day, and comprehensive twice a week. My KH / pH comparison usually lands close to target on my CO2 chart, do you really think I need a dose of excel every day? How about the comprehensive?

As for the overfeeding, I'm already all over that. The tank is a breeding ground for assassin snails, and I keep a good amount of food in the tank every couple of days. Anything that doesn't dissolve into the substrate or get eaten gets cleaned out once a week so it doesn't get ugly.

At this point, I only have one bamboo shrimp, and diatom growth doesn't sound like fun. I might mess with that in the future though!

@ Byron
Well, I plan to go for the 10w bulbs @ 6500K. I've used these "10w, 40w" replacement" bulbs before, at 5000K. Maybe this is where I'm confused... Isn't a 40w replacement bulb putting out the equivalent of a 40w bulb? I'm going to try them again, whatever the case may be. As far as my excel and comprehensive schedule goes, what do you think? Also, how high above the water would you keep the hoods housing these bulbs in a ten gallon?

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Old 11-12-2011, 02:19 AM   #15
 
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Yes that's them
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Old 11-12-2011, 02:25 AM   #16
 
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Originally Posted by e2paradise View Post
6 hours is enough, but u need make sure the time, you shoulld use a timer to control it
hi e2paradise,

I've always used a timer on my lights, there's just no way around it.

@ Boredomb

Thanks!
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Old 11-12-2011, 05:00 PM   #17
 
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@ Byron
Well, I plan to go for the 10w bulbs @ 6500K. I've used these "10w, 40w" replacement" bulbs before, at 5000K. Maybe this is where I'm confused... Isn't a 40w replacement bulb putting out the equivalent of a 40w bulb? I'm going to try them again, whatever the case may be. As far as my excel and comprehensive schedule goes, what do you think? Also, how high above the water would you keep the hoods housing these bulbs in a ten gallon?
As I explained previously, "watts" is rather meaningless in terms of light intensity. I can say that two 10w compact fluorescent daylight bulbs by GE will provide adequate light over a 10g or 20g tank; I have this myself.

I have never used Excel and probably never will. I prefer to balance light and other nutrients with the natural CO2 in my tanks. This avoids adding another substance to the tank which means more money plus the fact that Excel will harm some plants depending upon the level used. And if it is harming plants, it may not be all that good for fish.

If you do add some form of carbon, the other nutrients must be adequate to balance. Flourish Comprehensive is not really intended as a nutrient supplement in a tank with added carbon. Once you start adding carbon you raise the balance level for everything. Flourish Comp works very well in a natural system where it is the only nutrient supplement. Once a week may suffice, or twice, depending upon the tank's biology and other nutrient sources (water changes, fish foods, fish load, etc).

Byron.
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Old 11-12-2011, 08:29 PM   #18
 
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As I explained previously, "watts" is rather meaningless in terms of light intensity. I can say that two 10w compact fluorescent daylight bulbs by GE will provide adequate light over a 10g or 20g tank; I have this myself.

I have never used Excel and probably never will. I prefer to balance light and other nutrients with the natural CO2 in my tanks. This avoids adding another substance to the tank which means more money plus the fact that Excel will harm some plants depending upon the level used. And if it is harming plants, it may not be all that good for fish.

If you do add some form of carbon, the other nutrients must be adequate to balance. Flourish Comprehensive is not really intended as a nutrient supplement in a tank with added carbon. Once you start adding carbon you raise the balance level for everything. Flourish Comp works very well in a natural system where it is the only nutrient supplement. Once a week may suffice, or twice, depending upon the tank's biology and other nutrient sources (water changes, fish foods, fish load, etc).

Byron.
Cool. I'll pick them up when I have some moolah!

Another thing I was wondering is have you ever used plants on the exterior of the tank to soak up some of the light when there's too much output? I wonder how well that would work: plants all around the back of the aquarium, with the light high enough to supply them as well. Hmmm...

So how do you personally balance your CO2? By decomposing goodies in the tank, or some sort of injector? What about adding organic matter, like sanitized leaves or something? I would certainly love to stop spending money on excel! I'll have to stop dosing for a week and see what my CO2 level looks like.
My 28 gallon always has a low CO2 level, even with a heavy fish load and minimal disruption in there... But the ten gallon is usually pretty close to perfect (with the excel )
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Old 11-13-2011, 01:52 PM   #19
 
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Cool. I'll pick them up when I have some moolah!

Another thing I was wondering is have you ever used plants on the exterior of the tank to soak up some of the light when there's too much output? I wonder how well that would work: plants all around the back of the aquarium, with the light high enough to supply them as well. Hmmm...

So how do you personally balance your CO2? By decomposing goodies in the tank, or some sort of injector? What about adding organic matter, like sanitized leaves or something? I would certainly love to stop spending money on excel! I'll have to stop dosing for a week and see what my CO2 level looks like.
My 28 gallon always has a low CO2 level, even with a heavy fish load and minimal disruption in there... But the ten gallon is usually pretty close to perfect (with the excel )
I never measure CO2, I did try many years ago with a test kit but couldn't figure it out anyway. And I have since learned that there is a lot of natural CO2 in a healthy tank, more than sufficient for the majority of aquarium plants.

CO2 occurs from fish and plants during respiration which is non-stop. But more occurs from the breakdown of organics by bacteria, and this is mainly in the substrate, which is why those of us with planted tanks recommend never "cleaning" the substrate. There is actually a lot of CO2, more than one might think. I have had plant-only tanks (for growing adventitious plants, spare plants, etc) with no fish, and for several months the plants grew well with only a weekly dose of Flourish Comprehensive. Obviously they were getting CO2 from somewhere, with no fish present; and algae was never an issue so there must have been sufficient CO2 to balance the light (8 hours). The plants didn't grow as fast as those in the fish tanks, but they didn't die either. This is clear proof of the availability of natural CO2. Obviously one can encourage more by adding dried leaves to increase the organic load. But not removing waste from the substrate is sufficient on its own.

I have never added CO2 in any form, and you can see how my tanks look in the photos [click "Aquariums" below my name on the left]. I have had to adjust the light duration a few times, due to algae increasing, in order to balance. I am now at 8 hours daily, and it seems to be balanced. And this brings me to your light; you have a lot of light over this tank, and that will quickly exhaust natural CO2. It's all about balance.

Byron.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:39 PM   #20
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
I never measure CO2, I did try many years ago with a test kit but couldn't figure it out anyway. And I have since learned that there is a lot of natural CO2 in a healthy tank, more than sufficient for the majority of aquarium plants.

CO2 occurs from fish and plants during respiration which is non-stop. But more occurs from the breakdown of organics by bacteria, and this is mainly in the substrate, which is why those of us with planted tanks recommend never "cleaning" the substrate. There is actually a lot of CO2, more than one might think. I have had plant-only tanks (for growing adventitious plants, spare plants, etc) with no fish, and for several months the plants grew well with only a weekly dose of Flourish Comprehensive. Obviously they were getting CO2 from somewhere, with no fish present; and algae was never an issue so there must have been sufficient CO2 to balance the light (8 hours). The plants didn't grow as fast as those in the fish tanks, but they didn't die either. This is clear proof of the availability of natural CO2. Obviously one can encourage more by adding dried leaves to increase the organic load. But not removing waste from the substrate is sufficient on its own.

I have never added CO2 in any form, and you can see how my tanks look in the photos [click "Aquariums" below my name on the left]. I have had to adjust the light duration a few times, due to algae increasing, in order to balance. I am now at 8 hours daily, and it seems to be balanced. And this brings me to your light; you have a lot of light over this tank, and that will quickly exhaust natural CO2. It's all about balance.

Byron.
Measuring CO2 is pretty easy, but you're right, it's not really a big deal I suppose. I think you may have actually answered every last one of my questions!!! Thanks so much for the help on this. I will be trying no excel and only comprehensive, with a new lighting scheme. I'm hoping that the lack of growth from the plants that usually go berserk is exactly what you said, a lack of balance. I'll report back at some point.
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