substrate and light - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-18-2007, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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substrate and light

i'm getting a 20"deep tank and would like to plant it. i'll be running 4 or 6 48" t-5 bulbs on a 75g tank. anyone have any thoughts on how substrate color will affect plant growth?? will black substrate be ok, or will white be better as white reflects more light?
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-18-2007, 09:57 PM
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I really don't think that substrate color is going to matter at all. White may reflect a little light but a majority of the light is taken in from the top so reflection will play little if any role.

At 28 watts each that is going to be either 112 or 168 watts. Look at THIS site to calculate your light levels. It is suprisingly accurate as to what plants you can grow by the levels given for a certain tank.
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-19-2007, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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good info on that page fish. ty for that. i was curious because farmers have found that can accelerate growth by putting different color plastic sheets under there veggies when growing.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-19-2007, 03:43 PM
When farmers put plastic under their plants it basically for two main reasons. 1.) To help retain moisture, and 2.) to control weeds. I do not think that quality lighting is their reason for this practice. I'm a farm boy myself, we always used black visqueen or clear visqueen. Not only does the plastic do the two things I mentioned, but it also helps the soil to retain heat.

I prefer to use darker substrates. The darker substrate tends to give the fish a little more security. They are more free swimming and hide a lot less.
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-19-2007, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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sup herefishy...this was actually something i saw a long time ago as a study farmers or ag specialists were doing. it was some kindof research show back in the 90's. they were putting colored plastics in the rows between the plants and recording their progress. apparently thet had at least some success w/ certain colors effects on certain plants. i'm guessing there is some kind of cost or waste inhibitor that keeps ur average farmer from participating in this sort of thing. plus it's probably a pain in the arse to lay this stuff out every season...specially if the plants do ok w/ out it.

i know the plastic u speak of for controlling weeds and such. very common in the landscape industry. ty for the input guys. i'd do an experiment, but their would be to many factors to look at, and i have yet to keep an aquatic plant, so i'm not the best candidate for testing stuff like this. perhaps in the future...
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-21-2007, 07:38 PM
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I must agree with F4A. The little bit of light reflected from the gravel isn't going to do anything for your plants, and it will probably have a negative effect on your fish. Plants aren't ignorant of the sun's position; it's above them, not below. Thus, most of the chlorophyll that any plant's cells produce is going to be on the top of the leafy area.

A white (or light) substrate can actually be harmful to your fish. They feel less secure with a lighter substrate than a darker one, stressing them out, and making them more susceptible to disease. I also hold no doubts that, in the long term, it could be damaging to their eyes, just as snow is damaging to our own.
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-21-2007, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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porksnorkel's Avatar we'll nix the white substrate, as i prefer darker anyway. i've done significantly more research since i posted this thread, and i think i'll have enough light w/ the set up i'm going w/, and room to grow if not. ty for the replies guys.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-21-2007, 08:42 PM
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Sorry for being late. I would pick the color to match the fish. They themselves could care less if you decided to do hot pink gravel (unless you have plecos which attempt to color match for camouflage). The thing you want to do is match the color with what color your fish are. Strong colors can drown out the fish's colors. My LFS recently redid their bala tank to be a bright turquoise blue substrate and the fish in the tank looked immensely better because of the contrast. Almost thought about doing a tank like that. :P Likewise, their small fish tank's gravel make most of the fish look pathetic and when I bring the fish home, their colors are so much brighter.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-21-2007, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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i prefer black sand for bringing out most fishes colors. only time this is an issue is w/ black or brown fish...especially plecos.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-23-2007, 09:04 PM
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Black is definately the most natural color. With the light you have you may want to consider a nutrient rich substrate depending on the plants you want to grow. What kinds of plants do you have in mind? Plant substrates are all natural colors anyway- not to be too far off the topic.

You so cool.
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