05-05-2013, 09:31 AM
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I think I have the shading sorted out, I have 3 large driftwood pieces you can see in the photo. One is a big hollow L-shaped log that will be Puppy's (my BGK) new home as he has almost outgrown his current tube. It will be sitting on its side not upright like the photo. The second has an inbuilt cave and will sit on its side at the back and reach from the substrate to just under the water line curling forward and blocking the light, I need some low light short plants in front of this pygmy chain sword should do. The last is a flat piece of Mopani about 50x40cm that will sit higher than the substrate like a shelf so fish can swim under or above it. All 3 are very large and will accommodate many caves & hiding places beneath them. The photo is of the 3 pieces with a 33cm ruler. There will also be some leaf litter, lots of floating plants and small pieces of driftwood. Tetras will be a later addition. I do want plants since they will provide natural filtration to bypass the production of nitrate, give shade and security as well as create natural boundaries to territories as well as breaking the line of sight int other territories. I have been having trouble finding South American plants that do well in low light hence my muddled plants list and original question of how many wpgt is low, moderate and high. Plant height is also an issue & since most Echindorus grow to 50cm which would be out of the tank I thought that some stem plants might solve this since they can be cut back easily. I'd be happy with just one type of stem plant, maybe Myrophillum or Bacopa would work? Then there is the issue of availability, the LPS has nothing but stem plants so I have to source everything online.
As to the original lighting issue I have bought another T8, I had to buy the same as the first one since it was the only one I could find with brackets that would fit a 5ft tank (tube is 48in). Its not very flash but it should do the job, its an Aqua Nova and the box says 40w but the tube has 'Degenbao YZ-36w D-HG WATER PLANT AQUARIUM LAMP' there is no mention on either box or tube of kelvins, lux, lummens or colour and the reflector is not even metal ( I only just noticed now as I took the bulb out) it seems to be only the thickness of paper:( As to tube combinations I understand that one could be around 6000 to 7000k range but what about the other one? The original light has been in use for around 16 months so the bulb needs changing anyway.
As much as I would love to have Angels in this tank I still think 18in is not enough height once they are grown (admittedly I have no idea how fast they grow). Puppy can be quite active once the lights are out (sometimes during the day too) I think he would give the Angels a heart attack! When he has outgrown this tank (and I recover financially from doing it up) I will get a much bigger, deeper one which will be more suited to Angels or Discus. I just hope he doesn't outgrow it for a while.