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Substrate question

This is a discussion on Substrate question within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Claudia, its not your water for one and neither lack of nutritions. For the "specifically for growing plants" I actually spent some time just ...

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Old 01-21-2010, 11:20 AM   #11
 
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Claudia, its not your water for one and neither lack of nutritions. For the "specifically for growing plants" I actually spent some time just the other day at a chain petstore looking at their lights (cause mine are all set up from the home store), and I came to notice there's one bulb sold as "plant lamp" that's totally impropper spectrum for growing plants.
If you chose to try plants again I'd suggest a flourecent that is 1) Full Spectrum 2) Rated around 5-6500 Kelvin 3) And guessing you have a 28g tank on your hands, I'd get something like a 35-40w bulb over it.
Then once you run out of the current fert you're having I'd try a different brand, pers I'd get Seachem's "Flourish" a comprehensive all in 1 liquid fert. And continue the root sticks for the Swords.

From what you're saying, I am honestly convinced it was your lights that 'broke' you on the old set up.

The tall grass like you have there may be Vallisneria type Vallisneria

For your new set up there 2x 96 watts over a 60gallon tank is too much IMO for the plants. For comparison I run 2x30w over my 55g's. Higher wattage will not make up for lack of spectrum and that's where many planted set ups fail. And with a proper stock of fish there'll be sufficient CO2 to not need add CO2.

Any set up will need to be balanced between the lights- CO2- Nutrition. If you have for example super high end light, you'll then also need more CO2 and more ferts. Contrary the lower end set ups like Byron's or mine with full spectrum lights like from GE, Phillips etc do fine with little fertilizers to non and no CO2 systems. And I think both of our tank pictures with the plants speak for themselves there
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Old 01-21-2010, 01:13 PM   #12
 
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Angel has covered things, so my post is more in the line of seconding her recommendations. Please don't have that much light over a 60g, you will have problems with the plants and algae. On the light, the "bulbs" mentioned I'm assuming are fluorescent tubes. On your 60g 36-inch by 18-inch tank, I would have two T8 tubes at whatever length the fixture that fits across the tank will house. My 33g that I posted a photo of previously is 36-inches long, and the tube in the hood is 30-inches which is 25w; two of these would be perfect.

You might be thinking that I have low-light plants in there and that's different. But that tank was torn down last Spring, and now it is a spare plant tank in which I have pygmy chain swords growing like mad, along with some of the larger sword plantlets from flower spikes that I am rearing. And the top is covered with floating plants, Ceratopteris and Amazon Frogbit. Same light (one 25w Life-Glo 2 full spectrum 6700K), no fish in the tank, once a week liquid fert using Seachem's Flourish. There is not even CO2 from fish, yet the plants are thriving. It really does not take all this fancy gagetry to have healthy planted tanks. And the higher you go with all this, the more effect it has on the natural balance.

One can always move up if necessary; but starting out minimally at much less expense and having success is very rewarding.

Byron.
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:03 PM   #13
 
Thank you all for your help.

How about one 96w bulb? (should I fetch a pillow for you to cushion your head as you bang it against a wall lol)
I'm trying to rig a system that will go to a reef system in the future without wasting hundreds of dollars which is why I'm trying to stick with the 96 w bulbs if possible, and reef systems are generally 3-5 watts per gallon.
What a mess, right? lol
Really, I appreciate all the help. My future plants will too!
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:21 PM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claudia1002 View Post
Thank you all for your help.

How about one 96w bulb? (should I fetch a pillow for you to cushion your head as you bang it against a wall lol)
I'm trying to rig a system that will go to a reef system in the future without wasting hundreds of dollars which is why I'm trying to stick with the 96 w bulbs if possible, and reef systems are generally 3-5 watts per gallon.
What a mess, right? lol
Really, I appreciate all the help. My future plants will too!
Someone else was doing this last week I think... No matter.

Same advice to you as to that member; for a successful planted tank you have to have things in balance. I am afraid there is absolutely no way around that, no matter what the approach (low-tech, high-tech).

Tubes for planted aquaria are not that expensive; as Angel has often written, and I too, you can get them at hardware stores for a few dollars. Your 96w tubes can be saved for when the tank is a reef tank. Provided of course the fixture is capable of holding them, and that means the type of tubes with respect to end pins, ballast, heat. The type of light (intensity and colour spectrum) that will work over a planted tank is not the same as what will work over a reef tank. [And when I say "work" I am meaning be successful for the health of the fish and plants and corals with (in planted tank cases) a minimum of trouble and problems.]

Byron.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:41 PM   #15
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Someone else was doing this last week I think... No matter.

Same advice to you as to that member; for a successful planted tank you have to have things in balance. I am afraid there is absolutely no way around that, no matter what the approach (low-tech, high-tech).

Tubes for planted aquaria are not that expensive; as Angel has often written, and I too, you can get them at hardware stores for a few dollars. Your 96w tubes can be saved for when the tank is a reef tank. Provided of course the fixture is capable of holding them, and that means the type of tubes with respect to end pins, ballast, heat. The type of light (intensity and colour spectrum) that will work over a planted tank is not the same as what will work over a reef tank. [And when I say "work" I am meaning be successful for the health of the fish and plants and corals with (in planted tank cases) a minimum of trouble and problems.]

Byron.

It's probably me. I've been researching this for a while now. Kinda the measure twice, cut once rule?
Anyhow...
I don't plan to use the same bulbs, just the same fixtures.

If I have a fixture for a 96w compact fluorescent, I can put in a lower watt fluorescent bulb and it'll be okay? I can get compact fluorescent in 55 watt no problem. I had assumed I had to match the fixture output with the bulb.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:40 PM   #16
 
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Like I said before just go to your next best Lowes or Home Depot, pick up what's generally labeled as "Daylight" from Phillips, GE, Bright and rated at 6500 kelvin effects in whatever size you need there and pick up 2x30watts and put them in, that's gonna cost you round about 10 bucks and it will not burn up the plants.
A properly planted 60g should run you about $50-70 I'd hate myself if I was to burn up all these plants just to safe few bucks on lights.
I really don't wanna sound harsh, but there's multiple differences between SW & FW set ups and there's a reason for that because both have very different needs and you just simply can't combine this; its kinda like trying to combine the habitat for a Cow with the habitat of a bird, it just ain't gonna work well.

For your fixture, yes I'm sure it MAX 96w, the maximum warning label is designed so people but anything BUT a higher rated bulb in there, so anything lower then that will be ok.
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:29 PM   #17
 
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I have pool filter sand in my 55 gal. tank. I have 2 15watt bulbs overhead and leave the lights on a timer for 9 hrs. I do not use C02 and all my plants are doing great. No special fertilizers. I guess the fish waste in their fertilizer. I use plant tabs for the plants that need more fertilizer. I have the plants below in my tank:
Hornwort
Java Fern
Java moss rocks
Vallisneria
Spiral Vallisneria
Cryptocoryne Wendii Red
chain sword
sword plant
dwarf sagittaria
Anubia

My other tanks have eco-complete/Black sand and they have some of the above plants in them and just basic lighting and are doing fine without C02 or anything special. Higher light plants will need a stronger light but might cause a big algae bloom. I have Bushy nosed plecos in all my tanks even the smaller 3-5-6-10 gal tanks some are tiny babies about the size of a dime now. I rehome them when they get to big for the tanks. I find that C02 can be very expensive and that the plants do benifit from it but then you have to trim them every week or so because of fast growth. I like the low maintainence tank set up for easy care. It just depends on what you want in the look of your tank and the cost of that look.
Good Luck!
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