questions of light and nutrients
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questions of light and nutrients

This is a discussion on questions of light and nutrients within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I have a 29 gallon tank that currently has hornwort, two types of java fern, and anacharis (plus 2 mollies and a frog). I'm ...

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questions of light and nutrients
Old 03-05-2012, 04:15 PM   #1
 
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questions of light and nutrients

I have a 29 gallon tank that currently has hornwort, two types of java fern, and anacharis (plus 2 mollies and a frog). I'm totally new at this and ended up accidentally doing a fish-in cycle. I got the plants just to help my fish survive, but now that my numbers are going down to zero, I want to do what I can to help the plants thrive, too. Eventually, I would like a planted tank, with various not quite as easy plants, so the question of light and fertilizer was bound to come up sooner or later, anyway!

My anacharis seems to have new growth at the tips, nice and fresh and green, but the stuff that was there when I bought the plant (2 weeks or so ago) is getting all brown and yuggy. Everything else seems to be doing okay so far. I know I need better than the light that came with the aquarium hood. . . but am not quite sure where to go from here.

What is currently on the tank is a single-light fluorescent lamp manufactured in 1994 (yay for hand-me-downs!) by Perfecto Manufacturing. It says on the bulb Perfect-A-Lamp 20 watt 24" lamp f20t12, but the actual tube measures exactly 23". Not sure if you need any of that info, but I thought I'd include it, as I know less about lighting than I do about fish!

I see Life-Glo 2 tubes recommended frequently - I can only find these for purchase online, so I want to be sure that I'm getting the right thing before I order one. . . is a 20 watt replacement going to be enough light? Can I even GET a higher wattage, or would it blow out the lamp? Or can I/should I get another light fixture entirely? This light isn't built into the hood, it's a separate, perfectly fitting piece with a glass partition between the lights and the actual aquarium hood. As long as it's a standard size, I can replace the whole thing, if that's necessary. I'm kind of unsure as to the best thing to do from here, and would really appreciate input!!

As for nutrients, I've seen Flourish Comprehensive Supplement, and Brightwell Aquatics' Multiflorin recommended frequently. Is one of these preferred over the other? How much and how often should I be putting these in the tank - or does it depend on how many plants and what type are in there?

Thank you for any insight you can offer me on how to keep the plants as healthy as I'm learning to keep the fish, and I apologize for re-posting what I'm sure is a common series of questions. I tried searching for answers, but am either baffled by the more technical answers or they aren't quite giving me the info I'm needing!
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Old 03-05-2012, 08:40 PM   #2
 
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When you PM'd me on this I suggested a thread so others can input [thanks] but to start it off I'll recap what I mentioned in my PM response.

Fluorescent tubes need replacing every 12-18 months (T8) because they weaken quickly as they burn, and by this point they will be too weak for plants and algae will take advantage. I have the Aqueon hood over my 29g and it has a 24-inch T8 tube. The Life-Glo comes in this size, also there is ZooMed's Ultra Sun which is a bit less expensive. I think the basic tubes also come in this length, like the GE, Phillips or Sylvania daylight with a 6500K rating, and from hardware-type stores they will be a few dollars.

This single T8 at 24 inches with a good tube will be moderate light. The photo attached is my 29g with this Life-Glo tube. This will provide sufficient light for low light (Anubias, Java Fern, Java Moss, crypts) and most moderate light (swords, Corkscrew Vallisneria, Sagittaria) plants. Stem plants are usually higher light requirement, but Brazilian Pennywort manages with this. Floating plants will be fine.

Sometimes you need to experiment a bit, try plants and if they make it, fine, if not, forget them. We have discussed at length about moving up from this single T8 in another thread, here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...ow-tech-95006/
so I won't go into all that, but there are some good suggestions on different fixtures there.

I recommend Flourish Comprehensive Supplement (Seachem) and MultiFlorin (Brightwell Aquatics) because they are complete nutrient balanced fertilizers, and a good choice for natural (low-tech) setups. Follow instructions on dose (amount and frequency). I have not tried the MultiFlorin, though I might when my Flourish is gone, so I'm not sure what they recommend. Flourish is once or twice weekly. And yes, this depends upon the plants, light, fish load, water parameters. Nutrients occur from the latter two, so it is a question of finding the balance.

Byron.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:50 PM   #3
 
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Thank you for your advice! After reading as much as I could (again) I think I'm starting to understand it a bit more! These things seem to go from SUPER simple to WAAAAAAY complex really quickly, and I tend to get lost. Ha! I don't need to worry about all that yet. I'm still a baby in the fish world!

For now, I've figured which Life-Glo 2 will work in my 30 gallon tank, and got the Flourish Comprehensive Supplement. I'm excited to see if it'll save my Anacharis (read bunches that lead me to believe there is a 50/50 chance with that plant) and how the other plants react to getting some good light and yummy nutrients!

From there. . . THE WORLD *mwa-ha-ha* I'm sure I'll have to replace the entire hood light sooner or later, it's pretty old. But for now, I don't HAVE to worry about that aspect, so I won't.

Thanks again for your advice. I'm very happy to soon be able to have moderate light needing plants!
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:41 PM   #4
 
She mentioned the tube was a T12. I know I saw a thread dicussing the tubes and what fits in what fixture. Do those bulbs come in T12 or does a T8 fit in a T12 fixture.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:03 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
She mentioned the tube was a T12. I know I saw a thread dicussing the tubes and what fits in what fixture. Do those bulbs come in T12 or does a T8 fit in a T12 fixture.
I have a couple of older fixtures in which I now use T8 and they work. I recall reading something about ballast issue and maybe shorter tube life, but can't remember exactly.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:17 PM   #6
 
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While I'm on the subject... I also have a 10 gallon tank running right now. It also has the hood that came with it, but in this case the lights are built in, and I can't replace the fixture without replacing the entire hood. I've noticed over the last few days that the lights are making the water HOT. It can get up to 82 degrees when the lights are on, and drops as low as 74 overnight. This is not good!

It takes two bulbs, and states on the label "ONLY for use with tubular lights, no more than 25 watts"
Can you recommend good replacement bulbs for use in this tank that won't add so much heat, and also be decent for plant life?

Thanks so much for all the info! I'd be lost (with a lot of dead fish) without this site!
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:24 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chesherca View Post
While I'm on the subject... I also have a 10 gallon tank running right now. It also has the hood that came with it, but in this case the lights are built in, and I can't replace the fixture without replacing the entire hood. I've noticed over the last few days that the lights are making the water HOT. It can get up to 82 degrees when the lights are on, and drops as low as 74 overnight. This is not good!

It takes two bulbs, and states on the label "ONLY for use with tubular lights, no more than 25 watts"
Can you recommend good replacement bulbs for use in this tank that won't add so much heat, and also be decent for plant life?

Thanks so much for all the info! I'd be lost (with a lot of dead fish) without this site!
The best bulbs for incandescent fixtures (screw-in bulbs) are the compact fluorescent daylight. GE make these in 10w and 13w (and up), they call them daylight and they have a kelvin or 6500K. I have two 10w over my 10g and it is perfect light, and not hot. These are spiral-shaped bulbs. The 10w is sufficient. You can get them at hardware-type stores; I happen to use GE, but I believe Phillips and Sylvania make similar. Just make sure they are 6500K and no more than 10w.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:29 PM   #8
 
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Oh, I LOVE it when it's EASY!
You are my hero. Seriously. Thank you!
I can't wait to get both tanks set up with their new bulbs and see what a difference it (plus the nutrients) makes!

Last edited by Chesh; 03-06-2012 at 09:36 PM..
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:37 PM   #9
 
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Oh, BOO! Just spoke to my husband, he says that the twirly lights won't physically fit into the space inside of the hood. They HAVE to be long and narrow.

Any other suggestions?

<----- is bummed out.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:44 PM   #10
 
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Originally Posted by Chesherca View Post
Oh, BOO! Just spoke to my husband, he says that the twirly lights won't physically fit into the space inside of the hood. They HAVE to be long and narrow.

Any other suggestions?

<----- is bummed out.
Not so fast... the 10w GE CFL bulbs I have do fit the basic fixture over a 10g. But there are also narrower CFL bulbs should they not fit. If you buy these from a hardware store, ask them about returning them; if you explain the situation, they should understand. I often return bulbs and tubes. Get the ones I named first and see.
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