What sort of bulbs should I be using?
So, I just read A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium--Part Four and to be honest I'm still confused as to which bulbs I should be using for my tank.
My tank is 72" long and 30" high. It is 220 gallons. The light fixture holds four 36" T8 bulbs.
The ones that came with it are Marineland F30 T8 Natural Daylight, which I assume are not appropriate for plant growth.
I just planted some amazon swords and some crypts. I also plan on getting some anubias and java fern.
What are the light requirements for a tank of this depth, with these plants, and a T8 setup?
Would 36", 6,700K bulbs be sufficient? Having read Byron's guide I confess the entire lighting process is a little over my head.
Dual T8 is also sufficient intensity. The only issue could be if you have thick floating plants it won't get much down below (my problem in my 125g tank).
Fluorescent lights need replaced once a year, they lose intensity that the plants notice even though they still work to our eyes.
Is there a Kelvin rating on the tubes you have? The word "Daylight" would suggest something around 6500K, but can't be certain. Perhaps a link to some online data on this tube?
As Geo said, light in the range 5000K to 7000K works well. With multiple tubes, you can mix the colour a bit. The lower the K number,the warmer the light, and the higher the cooler. Just make sure the same colour is across the tank end to end. To illustrate, if you have two 36" tubes in parallel on the left side and two on the right, both front tubes should be the same, and similarly both rear tubes the same. This creates an even colour distribution.
I used to use a combo of 6700K and a higher cooler tube, say 10,000K or 11,000K. This creates a sharp crisp cooler white. Using a 6700K with a 5000K would be warmer, more yellowish. On all my single-tube tanks I use a 6500K (actually 6700K).
I have been unable to find any online specs for the Marineland F30T8 Natural Daylight bulbs. I actually started a thread to see if anyone knew the specs on them.
Maybe I could get get two 10,000k bulbs, and run them with two of my current bulbs. The guy at my LFS said to get the power I need to penetrate to the plants in my deep tank, I will need a T5 lighting system. This is the guy who just sold me the tank set up with the T8 system included. No way am I buying another lighting system. I'd rather go back to plastic plants.
I'm using liquid ferts, I'm going to pick up some tabs tomorrow and start using them as well. If the fertilizers coupled with my current lights aren't enough to keep the plants healthy, I will try a couple of the 10,000k lights like you use, maybe that will help.
Thanks for the info! I love the live plants so I hope it works out.
A comprehensive liquid fertilizer once or twice weekly is necessary. Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement or Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti both do the job. Substrate tabs I only use for the large swords and the Tiger Lotus.
If you consider combo tubes, see if you can find the Lightning Rod series; I had one SuperDaylight 11000K combined with a Life-Glo 6700K, and I liked it. Can't get LR here any longer, so on the other tank went with the LG 6700 and a ZooMed ReefSun 50/50. Can't get these locally any longer either.:roll: Just realize that this is a crisp white. I like it, but not everyone does. Now that I cannot get these others, I use a 6700K and a 6500K combo.
Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement is actually what they sold me at my LFS. Jakiebabie told me to use it twice a week, starting the day after a water change, not before, so as not to negate the effects of the fertilizer.
I e-mailed Marineland and posted a query on their Q&A page to find out the Kelvin rating of those bulbs. I tried calling their customer service number with two different phones, but it doesn't register when I press 1 or 2 for options. It just keeps repeating the same message over and over, ignoring my attempts to press 1. Lol. Customer dodging.
The tank should be done cycling any day now. Ammonia is down to zero. Nitrites aren't quite there yet, but soon. Exciting.
Check it out, it is coming along nicely:
The three big plants in the back, and the two smaller ones of the same type by the big driftwood are obviously fake, but there are 4 real crypts and 4 real swords in there. Once I have the hang of the plants I will remove all the artificial. My tanks have come a long way from my original 20 gallon, thanks in no small part to the help and encouragement I have received here.
They got back to me, and the bulbs are only rated 5200K.
Should I replace all 4 of them then?
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