T8 Shop Light Question
I have a 55 gallon tank with a few Amazon swords, a couple Red Melon swords, wisteria, egeria najas and dwarf sagittaria. I have also recently gotten a small amount of duckweed which I realize should turn into a large amount of duckweed fairly quickly. I have two shop lights each with two 48 inch 6500K bulbs. There is a small amount algae on the front glass. I fertilize with Seachem's Trace, Flourish Comprehensive and I also have Excel
Is this too much light for this tank and these plants?
The first question is where are the lights mounted - How high above the tank? Light declines as a square function of the distance from the light, so a little elevation really decreases the light levels. Shop lights have poor reflectors, so that reduces light levels also.
Four bulbs? My opinion is that's probably 2 bulbs too many! The excess light won't hurt your plants at all, but it will certainly encourage algae. If it's a new tank, you may go without algae for a couple of months and then - boom! Algae explosion. I recommend using 2 bulbs for a couple of months on about an 8-hour/day cycle. If no algae, then you might try increasing the number of lights if you really want to, but I don't think you'll need to.
With the help of everyone on here, I have narrowed down my lighting to 1 48" fixture with 2 T8 bulbs, each bulb is 6,500k by GE
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I would leave the fixture with the two tubes that is closest to the water. You mention Wisteria which needs good light; I cannot grow this plant with two tubes, it does fine (incredibly fine) for a few months, then begins to fail. Mind you, the low GH I have may factor into this too.
I would certainly reduce to two tubes, about 8 hours as someone suggested. Monitor plant growth. Flourish Comprehensive Supplement twice weekly. Flourish Trace, depends. This may not be needed with less light, and also we don't know your GH which is important for the hard minerals in balance.
Excel I would not use, solely because it is a toxic chemical that carries too many risks in my view. I've written elsewhere on this. If you don't touch the substrate there will likely be sufficient CO2 naturally to balance the suggested light.
I have taken one of the fixtures off of the tank and have the timer set for 8 hours. The GH is 79 which I believe translated to 4 of something. I will use the Comprehensive on Monday and Thursday.
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