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Plant ID Help (crypt look-a-like with thick tall stem)

This is a discussion on Plant ID Help (crypt look-a-like with thick tall stem) within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I don't think there is much doubt about aquarium plants photosynthesizing best under full spectrum/cool white light. In 1987 an aquarist named K. Richards ...

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Plant ID Help (crypt look-a-like with thick tall stem)
Old 01-02-2012, 01:18 PM   #31
 
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I don't think there is much doubt about aquarium plants photosynthesizing best under full spectrum/cool white light. In 1987 an aquarist named K. Richards authored an article in FAMA (July 1987, pp. 16-20) entitled "The effects of different spectrum fluorescent bulbs on the photosynthesis of aquatic plants." I do not have access to this article but Walstad cites it in her book Ecology of the Planted Aquarium. She reports his findings that under identical conditions save the light, five plant species (one of which was Elodea) produced the most oxygen [i.e., photosynthesized the most] under a combination of full spectrum and cool white. Second was cool white, third was full spectrum, fourth was warm white. The "cool white" produced more green-yellow light.

So far, every planted tank author I know of has written that plants perform best under full spectrum/daylight. The data these sources provide indicates to me that they are comparable to the "full spectrum/cool white" that Walstad advocates. She herself writes that such light has a Kelvin of 5000K to 7000K and/or a CRI between 80 and 100. These numbers correspond with the daylight/full spectrum tubes such as Life-Glo and UltraSun, GE, Sylvania and Phillips, and the CFL "daylight" of the latter three manufacturers. The further fact that this range closely approximates that of the sun comes as no surprise.

The increased intensity of these tubes/bulbs is surely connected to this result, and this can be measured in lumens--and this measuring is done with technical instruments and not human eyesight. Plus, the green-yellow wavelength which is missing from the so-called aquarium and plant tubes. I cited Walstad's surmise about how this wavelength penetrates water better than either red or blue, and the findings of the Richards' study bears this out again.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:16 PM   #32
 
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So a few bucks isn't an issue, would you recommend switching from the Aqueon and going with a standard 6500k bulb? Or is the Aqueon sufficient enough to balance out the pro's (I actually like the dimmer light, the Rasbora and Black Neon's really pop under the light and with the floating plants). The Aqueon still has a decent spike in the Green range. I compared the spectrum at PetsMart tonight (was getting the 2yr old an icecream cone and McDonalds and in the same complex was a PetsMart so she wanted to go see the birds. Who am I to argue with a reasonable request lol. Anyways, after looking side by side I can totally see why the "plant tubes emit a purple hue, there is hardly any mid green/yellow color at all in them.

Also on a side note: sorry, didn't feel like starting my third new thread for the day and we are on a roll here lol. Byron/Quantum, in your experience/knowledge (I know, there are many many other variables here, find the balance, etc) but it seems I've recently gotten myself into a rookie/impulsive mess with loading up on some pretty high light plants. Rather than just ride it out (which I may do) what do you recommend being the maximum acceptable lighting for a decently planted 29g while still staying natural and avoiding having to go High Tech (CO2, dry ferts, etc). Could I go with a glass top and put two T8 Strips on there? That would also help better distribute the light. My current fixture is your standard run of the mill 'All Glass Aquariums, Inc" 30" T8 fixture with white plastic reflector. rated for 20watts. Do they make a 20watt 24" T8 tube or will I be chasing a needle in a haystack there. (again, I know the 1w/gallon is not realistic) but could I get another fixture and run two 15w/17w 6500k tubes over the tank, still staying low tech of course. I understand I will probably have to reduce the photo-period and keep a close eye on algea. To date since I went planted I haven't seen a single strand of algea in the tank and the lights are running 9.5 hrs a day right now *knock on wood*
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:28 AM   #33
 
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Quote:
Also on a side note: sorry, didn't feel like starting my third new thread for the day and we are on a roll here lol. Byron/Quantum, in your experience/knowledge (I know, there are many many other variables here, find the balance, etc) but it seems I've recently gotten myself into a rookie/impulsive mess with loading up on some pretty high light plants. Rather than just ride it out (which I may do) what do you recommend being the maximum acceptable lighting for a decently planted 29g while still staying natural and avoiding having to go High Tech (CO2, dry ferts, etc). Could I go with a glass top and put two T8 Strips on there? That would also help better distribute the light. My current fixture is your standard run of the mill 'All Glass Aquariums, Inc" 30" T8 fixture with white plastic reflector. rated for 20watts. Do they make a 20watt 24" T8 tube or will I be chasing a needle in a haystack there. (again, I know the 1w/gallon is not realistic) but could I get another fixture and run two 15w/17w 6500k tubes over the tank, still staying low tech of course. I understand I will probably have to reduce the photo-period and keep a close eye on algea. To date since I went planted I haven't seen a single strand of algea in the tank and the lights are running 9.5 hrs a day right now *knock on wood*
First point: Take stock of what you have yourself just written (last sentence above) about the current situation. Obviously things are basically balanced. If you double the light intensity which is what two tubes will do, you are going to have to somehow double nutrients. And that is more than likely going to be impossible without adding CO2. Reducing the duration significantly may work, hard to say, as I have no idea what the actual nutrient level now is. Each aquarium is a bit different biologically.

Second point: I have the same tank, a 29g with the Aqueon single tube T8 hood. I have a Life-Glo tube [I've previously written that I always use Life-Glo over my single tube tanks]. And I have the surface covered with floating plants. Eight hours duration. Seems to work.

On the tube watts. Fluorescent tubes have always come in standard wattage for the tube length, though this is changing as I'll explain in a moment. For example, a 48-inch tube was 40 watts, period. These were the "original" T12 fluorescent tubes. "T" being the tube diameter in eighths of an inch, so 12/8 or 1.5 inches. Then T8 tubes appeared; smaller diameter, and more energy-efficient due to the method of manufacture. These were initially also 40w for 4-foot length. But then the industry developed a process of using less energy for the same intensity, and 32w tubes appeared. These are becoming standard. I have Life-Glo 2 tubes that are still 40w, and Phillips tubes that are 32w. ZooMed makes 32w (or it may be 34w) now in T8. Hagen is bound to follow, or may already have. Anyway, the point is that the various tubes come in a standard wattage for the length. So once you decide on the tube (Life-Glo, Ultra Sun, Daylight, etc) it will be whatever wattage they make them. The only way to increase intensity is to add more tubes, or select a higher-intensity tube. There is variation among intensity in tubes, this is why I use the Life-Glo over single tube tanks and not one of the cheaper tubes. The highest-intensity tube I know of is Hagen's Power-Glo, it is a tad more intense than Life-Glo, but on the downside it creates a pinkish hue that I find unpleasant. This tube is the only exception to the intensity/hue issue.

Last edited by Byron; 01-03-2012 at 11:32 AM..
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:07 PM   #34
 
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Obviously, my take on the intensity issue is different and at the risk of beating a dead horse, I'll try once more to make my case.

I'm not saying that lumens are unrelated to light energy, it absolutely is. But it is also the case that it is adjusted to account for human vision. So, regarding scientific instruments, let's take a lux meter (measuring illuminance) since lux is derived from lumens. First, the meter will measure light energy (in joules). Second, it will calculate watts by measuring the energy for a specific amount of time (watts = joules per second). Then, it will convert watts to lumens a process that accounts for the variable sensitivity of the human eye where some colors are 'worth' more lumens per watt. Next, using the area of its sensor, it will calculate lumens per square meter, which is lux. Again, it is adjusted according to the variable sensitivity of the human eye. The better measure, and the one used by scientists when conducting experiments on plants and other photosynthetic organisms, is irradiance (SI unit being watt per square meter). I appreciate the fact that we are not talking solely about plant growth in a laboratory setting and that we also need to consider the display aspects of aquariums, and that involves human perception. The main point I want to make is that lumens is not a direct measure of light energy and in the context of plant growth can be misleading.

Maybe another example will further demonstrate my point. Consider my earlier numbers regarding the conversion of watts to lumens: 1watt 555nm light = 680 lumen and 1 watt 500nm light = 200 lumen. Here, 5 watts of 500nm light is needed to produce 1000 lumens, while only 1.47 watts of 555 nm light is needed to achieve the same 1000 lumens. Considering that 420 nm and 670 nm account for much fewer lumens per watt you can see how there could be two tubes with the same lumens but very different light energy output and conversely, how two tubes of similar light energy output could have very different lumen counts. The relevant example would be two tubes of similar wattage where one tube produces blue/red light energy and thus has a low lumen number and another that produces green light energy with high lumens.

The relationship between spectral output to plant growth is much less clear. It is well established that red and blue light more effectively drive photosynthesis than green light. This, obviously is the theory behind the 'plant' tubes; after all, if red/blue light is good for photosynthesis, more is better, right? But even with a cursory look through some of the scientific journals, one can see how this theory can fall apart. There is just so much more involved. The botany courses I took were more field and systematics based, not plant physiology so I can't get much past the abstracts and introductions, but this one seems like it may provide some answers to the questions at hand:

http://pcp.oxfordjournals.org/content/50/4/684.full

A more thorough investigation is needed. But, the bottom line, and I think we at least agree here is that a good 6500K or so bulb is the best of all worlds regarding aquarium use: usually cheaper, provide for a nice display, and support good plant growth.

Having said that, I see no reason to change your bulb if you like it and the plants and fish like it. A simple bulb change will not mean the difference between a low-light environment and high- light one, regardless of spectrum. I have a ZooMed Florasun, and it has the pink hue, but it doesn't bother me. I may try a 6500K when it comes time to replace it, but its good for now. Though if you want to add more light without getting into the 'high-tech' realm, using two single tube T8 fixtures may work. It would take some experimenting, but with this arrangement you would have the flexibility to have different photoperiods for each fixture.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:26 PM   #35
 
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Originally Posted by Quantum View Post
Though if you want to add more light without getting into the 'high-tech' realm, using two single tube T8 fixtures may work. It would take some experimenting, but with this arrangement you would have the flexibility to have different photoperiods for each fixture.
I actually kind of like that idea. Keep my Aqueon and get a 6500k. Run one near the front for 3 hours. Both of them together for a couple hours mid day, then switch the front off and only run the back for 3 hours. lol that is tricky. I wonder if it would spaz the fish out. It would give it that "high noon" cycle. Or perhaps with a digital timer I could get it to the second so the dimmer Aqueon comes on for the first 1.5 hours, switches to the brighter 6500k for another 1.5 hours, then both for 2 then reverse the process. Giving it a cycle such as Off-Ambient Room-Dim-Bright-Noon-Bright-Dim-Off I'm probably going nuts wiht this though, might be fun for ****s and giggles though. Do either of you see any drastic downside to the plants and/or fish with something like this
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:02 PM   #36
 
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Originally Posted by kangy View Post
I actually kind of like that idea. Keep my Aqueon and get a 6500k. Run one near the front for 3 hours. Both of them together for a couple hours mid day, then switch the front off and only run the back for 3 hours. lol that is tricky. I wonder if it would spaz the fish out. It would give it that "high noon" cycle. Or perhaps with a digital timer I could get it to the second so the dimmer Aqueon comes on for the first 1.5 hours, switches to the brighter 6500k for another 1.5 hours, then both for 2 then reverse the process. Giving it a cycle such as Off-Ambient Room-Dim-Bright-Noon-Bright-Dim-Off I'm probably going nuts wiht this though, might be fun for ****s and giggles though. Do either of you see any drastic downside to the plants and/or fish with something like this
This might not work if the tubes are different. One may be providing more of something and perhaps missing something else. I'm also not seeing any benefit... Photosynthesis is affected by the light intensity fluctuating.

Aside from that, you seem to have missed the crucial issue of nutrient balance. Any significant increase in light will cause algae, unless there is already more nutrients that what the plants can utilize with the present light--and this could be, though not too likely, as CO2 is most probably the limiting nutrient. Light should always be the limiting factor to plant growth.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:07 PM   #37
 
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Yeah, I wouldn't try to cycle the bulbs on and off multiple times in each 24 hour cycle, I was thinking more like your first scenario, just to give a midday-like boost. Like this:

with the fixtures A and B

(A only for 3 or 4 hrs)--(A+B on 4 hours)--(A only for 3 or 4 hours)--(12 to14 hours both off)

So you would have one tube (Aqueon) on for about 10 to 12 hrs straight, and then the other on for about 4 hours right in the middle of that 10 to 12 hour period. This would replicate a dawn-midday-dusk-dark cycle of varying light intensity. The durations could be adjusted if you get algae. I don't think having two dissimilar tubes in this way would be any different than having two dissimilar tubes in one fixture, most of the dual tube 'freshwater' fixtures have one 6500K and one 'plant' tube.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:24 PM   #38
 
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Yeah, I wouldn't try to cycle the bulbs on and off multiple times in each 24 hour cycle, I was thinking more like your first scenario, just to give a midday-like boost. Like this:

with the fixtures A and B

(A only for 3 or 4 hrs)--(A+B on 4 hours)--(A only for 3 or 4 hours)--(12 to14 hours both off)

So you would have one tube (Aqueon) on for about 10 to 12 hrs straight, and then the other on for about 4 hours right in the middle of that 10 to 12 hour period. This would replicate a dawn-midday-dusk-dark cycle of varying light intensity. The durations could be adjusted if you get algae. I don't think having two dissimilar tubes in this way would be any different than having two dissimilar tubes in one fixture, most of the dual tube 'freshwater' fixtures have one 6500K and one 'plant' tube.
Now that you've spelled it out so I can fathom it I do see a problem with this. It goes to what I mentioned about nutrient balance.

In a natural system, the one nutrient that is usually first to run out is carbon. CO2 can be quickly depleted. The brighter the light, the faster it depletes. Tom Barr told me that in most average-stocked tanks, CO2 is probably exhausted by mid day--thinking here of the light period, i.e., if tank light is on at say 9 am and off at 7 pm, mid-day is around 2 pm; by this time the CO2 is probably gone, and the plants look for alternate carbon. Some use bicarbonates, so if the water is medium hard they have a source of carbon, which is why the GH lowers. When this is also gone, the plants cannot photosynthesize fully (remembering some CO2 is constantly being produced but by comparison it is very minimal to what the plants in a heavily-planted tank require). Increasing the light further by turning on the second tube will now definitely cause algae to explode as it has no competition for the light or the other nutrients.

This is why the siesta approach works to prevent algae. It is not actually the light, but the CO2. Turning off the lights for 2-3 hours midday allows the CO2 to build back up, and then turning the lights back on allows the plants to photosynthesize more. Algae remarkably takes longer to get going, fortunately.

So I would not try this.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:19 PM   #39
 
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Thanks guys you are both awesome. Hope you don't think I'm "questioning" you or being argumentative. I'm just enjoying absorbing your input. ;) Quantum thanks for clearing that up, I was posing two different options there. From both of your posts I do agree "alternating" (option 2) would probably be counter-productive.

Byron, I wasn't ignoring the balance, I feel very lucky I can run 9hrs/day right now with no algae and the plants are doing well. Since I have not had any algae yet I figured I'd come up with some "different" alternatives that I personally have not seen discussed to "push/test the balance a bit by slightly increase the lighting without going T5 or excessively extending the duration. The bit about the light intensity having just as much if not more effect over CO2 depletion is very helpful. I recently added 3 more Black fins and and a few more ghost shrimp (stocking is currently capped IMO at 8 Harlequin, 8 Black Fin, 1 Blue Gourami, 3 Emerald Cat's, 15 Ghost Shrimp and a minor amount of snails (although they are still breeding). During my learning process I know the 16 schoaling fish produce minimal bio-load so probably not too much CO2, but am not sure exactly how much. I guess that's where experience and trial/error comes in with Algae control.

I in no way want to try the siesta method, while sounds amazing for 'plants only' the fish most likely would not appreciate it too much, and after all they are the reason for having a tank.

So here comes the follow-up which I hope neither of you find argumentative :) Other than the expense of a new hood (which I'd probably like anyways as mine has the whole rear removed leaving a big gap from the old HOB's) and a new fixture, just for testing/experience what actual harm other than a possible algae increase could be caused by running a second light mid day for a few hours? I figure if algae starts to kick in I know I tipped the balance (which to my understanding is always changing anyways) Which in that case I could cut the second light back, cut both lights back, or remove the second fixture going back to the way it was and save it in the event the ballast ever goes out on the original.

I'm thinking as long as there is no detrimental effect to the fish and/or plants, algae is all part of experimenting/learning/further testing the balance (IE: just how much nutrients I do have available?) I do have medium-hard water and dose flourish comp every 4 days. I won't use excel or any other "synthetic supplement", I like to use minimal chemical influence as possible.

p.s. both of your beer count is nearing pony-keg status LoL
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Old 01-04-2012, 04:29 PM   #40
 
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Thanks guys you are both awesome. Hope you don't think I'm "questioning" you or being argumentative. I'm just enjoying absorbing your input. ;) Quantum thanks for clearing that up, I was posing two different options there. From both of your posts I do agree "alternating" (option 2) would probably be counter-productive.

Byron, I wasn't ignoring the balance, I feel very lucky I can run 9hrs/day right now with no algae and the plants are doing well. Since I have not had any algae yet I figured I'd come up with some "different" alternatives that I personally have not seen discussed to "push/test the balance a bit by slightly increase the lighting without going T5 or excessively extending the duration. The bit about the light intensity having just as much if not more effect over CO2 depletion is very helpful. I recently added 3 more Black fins and and a few more ghost shrimp (stocking is currently capped IMO at 8 Harlequin, 8 Black Fin, 1 Blue Gourami, 3 Emerald Cat's, 15 Ghost Shrimp and a minor amount of snails (although they are still breeding). During my learning process I know the 16 schoaling fish produce minimal bio-load so probably not too much CO2, but am not sure exactly how much. I guess that's where experience and trial/error comes in with Algae control.

I in no way want to try the siesta method, while sounds amazing for 'plants only' the fish most likely would not appreciate it too much, and after all they are the reason for having a tank.

So here comes the follow-up which I hope neither of you find argumentative :) Other than the expense of a new hood (which I'd probably like anyways as mine has the whole rear removed leaving a big gap from the old HOB's) and a new fixture, just for testing/experience what actual harm other than a possible algae increase could be caused by running a second light mid day for a few hours? I figure if algae starts to kick in I know I tipped the balance (which to my understanding is always changing anyways) Which in that case I could cut the second light back, cut both lights back, or remove the second fixture going back to the way it was and save it in the event the ballast ever goes out on the original.

I'm thinking as long as there is no detrimental effect to the fish and/or plants, algae is all part of experimenting/learning/further testing the balance (IE: just how much nutrients I do have available?) I do have medium-hard water and dose flourish comp every 4 days. I won't use excel or any other "synthetic supplement", I like to use minimal chemical influence as possible.

p.s. both of your beer count is nearing pony-keg status LoL
On the CO2, considerably more is produced in the substrate than from fish and plants directly. Fish and plants continually--day and night--use oxygen and give off CO2. But this is less than the CO2 occurring from the breakdown of organics in the substrate, which is why I suggest leaving the substrate alone (no cleaning). The more gunk in the substrate, the more CO2. Plants assimilate CO2 in photosynthesis, and as I have previously mentioned, they will go all out until something is no longer available; that's when trouble can start.

Back to the light, I really would not add any light "partially." The balance is very delicate, and getting algae started is not always that easy to stop. I believe the CO2 issue will not allow this to be beneficial to the plants. Then there are the fish; the less light over fish, the better. Which is why I promote minimal light planted tanks. I explain the effects of light on fish in the article:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...er-fish-81982/

I fully concur with Tom Barr's position he once stated to me: always start with the absolute minimum light for the plants you intend to have in the aquarium. Then match it with sufficient nutrients. Then control the duration so that all this is balanced throughout. When this is achieved, algae will never be seen as a problem.
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