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Upgrading lighting help?

This is a discussion on Upgrading lighting help? within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Originally Posted by Austin Maybe I can get away with jungle vallisneria, swords, and crypts. I would be okay with that. But would higher ...

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Upgrading lighting help?
Old 08-09-2013, 03:22 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin View Post
Maybe I can get away with jungle vallisneria, swords, and crypts. I would be okay with that. But would higher lights make them grow quicker? That's kind of my goal. I don't have a huge interest in demanding plants, but the current ones grow fairly slow.

I recently got hygrophila and red tiger lotus to see how they'd do. They probably won't live without the upgrade. I suppose that would be fine though. I just want my current plants to grow faster to keep the tank cleaner.

I probably should just go with replacing the bulbs. They probably are losing a lot of strength. But don't want to invest 30$ (I like life glo) if I should upgrade the fixture.

Hmm.
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Brighter lights alone won't make the plants grow faster but if the lights are hindering the plants then you might some faster growth.

If you are going to stick with those plants then your current setup with new bulbs might work. I don't know thro never had those types of lights on a 50 or in my case a 55 which is about the same.

Word of caution on the Jungle VAL. If you have soft water it probably won't do well for ya no matter the lights. If you have medium or hard water it will or should grow fine but it gets huge!!! Like I had some planted in my 55 and it would grow up and span thellength of the tank and then some! So if you have too many they will work at shading the plants below and already having low lights that might not be best idea unless that's your goal.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:49 PM   #12
 
If algae stops you from upgrading your lighting remember that you can control the lighting time which will affect the algae.

I had brown algae after I upgraded to dual T5 HO. By cutting from 11 hours to to 10 hours the brown algae is gone.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:59 PM   #13
 
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Originally Posted by avraptorhal View Post
If algae stops you from upgrading your lighting remember that you can control the lighting time which will affect the algae.

I had brown algae after I upgraded to dual T5 HO. By cutting from 11 hours to to 10 hours the brown algae is gone.
This is true but you have to remember that there other factors that play into effect other then just light duration. Intensity is one and not every fixture is the same. Tank size, plants, fish, and nutrients all can effect it. I never said that a Dual T5HO wouldn't work just said I wouldnt try it.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:35 PM   #14
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I suck with lighting, but here's what I know from experience.

I have a 29 gallon (so one inch shorter than a 50) with a 2 bulb T5HO fixture from Odyssea. It's a 36" fixture so I have overhang. I can grow a nice variety of stems. When I run out of CO2 algae grows worse, especially BBA. The light is too strong to be sitting on the tank without CO2. That is with some floaters and with the light being on just 6 hours. I only let the light on 7 hours with CO2. I'm actually thinking about downgrading to a Catalina T5NO.

I previously used a Fishneedit dual T5HO on my 29 gallon. Worked well, but I had a 24" fixture on a 30" tank. Stems along the side frequently did poorly and eventually died. That was a much better light for being run without CO2. If I had a longer one I might still be using it. The reflector is just not as good, so less intensity.

Now a 50 gallon is a deeper tank in regards to width. I've never tried to light a tank like that. I have asked around before though and been told one of the best ways is to get a slightly stronger light and suspend it slightly over the tank.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:43 PM   #15
 
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Hey, Austin!

Looks like you've gotten a lot of good input to think on already. I'm kind of subbing in just to learn and hear what the others have to say. . .

I don't have the experience to help with an upgrade, but I can tell you that you can have flourishing plants with what you have right now - you just have to pick the right plants, and stick with them. My current setup is a pretty well planted 55g, and I have the same lighting as you - 2x15W T8 6700K lifeglo bulbs - with a bonus canopy of floating plants, just in case my lighting wasn't low enough already This tank has been running for about a year now, and though growth is pretty slow, it's steady. . .

I can't grow a stem plant in this tank to save my life, unless it's floating. The swords I have would definitely appreciate better lighting, but they keep slowly plugging along. My Crypts, Anubias, ferns, and mosses are happy enough, and of course, the floaters have to be cleared out a little bit every couple of weeks.

I feel like this tank, with these plants, would be happier if I could double the lighting I have right now - but it's doing pretty good just as it is! Sorry I'm of no help with questions on an upgrade, but I wanted to show you that you can get a lot of plants to grow for you with just the lighting that you have now :) Good luck!
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:18 PM   #16
 
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I don't have time to write a more detailed response at the moment but thanks for all the replies. I think I'm going to head to lowes to buy some GE 6500K lights to replace them for now. We'll see how that goes.
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:37 AM   #17
 
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I didn't get the GE because they were only 700 lumens... the Life glo is 960...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Boredomb View Post
Brighter lights alone won't make the plants grow faster but if the lights are hindering the plants then you might some faster growth.

If you are going to stick with those plants then your current setup with new bulbs might work. I don't know thro never had those types of lights on a 50 or in my case a 55 which is about the same.

Word of caution on the Jungle VAL. If you have soft water it probably won't do well for ya no matter the lights. If you have medium or hard water it will or should grow fine but it gets huge!!! Like I had some planted in my 55 and it would grow up and span thellength of the tank and then some! So if you have too many they will work at shading the plants below and already having low lights that might not be best idea unless that's your goal.
I have hard water. I think they appreciate the carbonates? I love that it gets huge!

I'm not sure of the exact species of vallisneria I got. It has about 1 cm thick leaves so I figured it was jungle. I've never really seen a jungle val in real life and had it identified to me though. For $3 i figured I'd see how it does. Maybe I'll attach a picture. It was pretty beat up though, but got 3 plants in the bunch. One was an off shoot. I think it's grown about an inch in the past 2 days already.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Boredomb View Post
This is true but you have to remember that there other factors that play into effect other then just light duration. Intensity is one and not every fixture is the same. Tank size, plants, fish, and nutrients all can effect it. I never said that a Dual T5HO wouldn't work just said I wouldnt try it.
Hmm, even if I can turn down the light photoperiod, don't want to significantly lower it. I'd rather view my fish longer. :D


Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwaterguy View Post
I suck with lighting, but here's what I know from experience.

I have a 29 gallon (so one inch shorter than a 50) with a 2 bulb T5HO fixture from Odyssea. It's a 36" fixture so I have overhang. I can grow a nice variety of stems. When I run out of CO2 algae grows worse, especially BBA. The light is too strong to be sitting on the tank without CO2. That is with some floaters and with the light being on just 6 hours. I only let the light on 7 hours with CO2. I'm actually thinking about downgrading to a Catalina T5NO.

I previously used a Fishneedit dual T5HO on my 29 gallon. Worked well, but I had a 24" fixture on a 30" tank. Stems along the side frequently did poorly and eventually died. That was a much better light for being run without CO2. If I had a longer one I might still be using it. The reflector is just not as good, so less intensity.

Now a 50 gallon is a deeper tank in regards to width. I've never tried to light a tank like that. I have asked around before though and been told one of the best ways is to get a slightly stronger light and suspend it slightly over the tank.
Do they have t5no? I can't seem to find those anywhere. :(


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chesh View Post
Hey, Austin!

Looks like you've gotten a lot of good input to think on already. I'm kind of subbing in just to learn and hear what the others have to say. . .

I don't have the experience to help with an upgrade, but I can tell you that you can have flourishing plants with what you have right now - you just have to pick the right plants, and stick with them. My current setup is a pretty well planted 55g, and I have the same lighting as you - 2x15W T8 6700K lifeglo bulbs - with a bonus canopy of floating plants, just in case my lighting wasn't low enough already This tank has been running for about a year now, and though growth is pretty slow, it's steady. . .

I can't grow a stem plant in this tank to save my life, unless it's floating. The swords I have would definitely appreciate better lighting, but they keep slowly plugging along. My Crypts, Anubias, ferns, and mosses are happy enough, and of course, the floaters have to be cleared out a little bit every couple of weeks.

I feel like this tank, with these plants, would be happier if I could double the lighting I have right now - but it's doing pretty good just as it is! Sorry I'm of no help with questions on an upgrade, but I wanted to show you that you can get a lot of plants to grow for you with just the lighting that you have now :) Good luck!

Hmm, I guess it would probably be okay with just replacing the light bulbs. I just don't wanna spend 40$ to try it out and decide to upgrade. With the current lights the sword seems to be struggling, but maybe they've just lost a lot of intensity. One of them seems noticeably dimmer than the other...
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Old 08-10-2013, 01:04 AM   #18
 
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They do still have T5NO but they aren't as common anymore. You can order them online. How old are the current bulbs you have now??

Ohh the Petsmart near me has T5NO through I don't know how good they are??
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Old 08-10-2013, 01:29 AM   #19
 
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Hmm idk if I'm the only one who has trouble finding things online. I couldn't hardly find any t5no. Maybe I'll keep searching.

I can't even tell you how old the bulbs are. I had a period of a year to a year and a half where I took a haitus from fish keeping. So I can't remember how long they ran before that. I had a brilliant idea and tried to use them to grow some tomato seedlings at one point. I wish I could remember. My memor is terrible. I cant' imagine it was that long though...


Will the cheap ballasts ever affect the intensity? They came with the tank.
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Last edited by Austin; 08-10-2013 at 01:35 AM..
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Old 08-10-2013, 01:50 AM   #20
 
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I have no clue if the ballast can or not. I can tell ya if those bulbs are older than a year and it sounds like they could be. They lost most of their intensity and start effecting the plant growth. They should be replaced every year when growing plants.
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