I have read and reread the threads am am a little confused about lighting. I thought I had it figured out, but now I am not so sure. I have a 55 gal aquarium that I planted with some swords and other plants that I do not remember the names of a month ago. I have 1 t8 8000k bulb in it atm, but wanted better plant growth without using co2. I ordered a new fixture with 2 65 watt CF in it, Is this moderate light or high light, I was told it was moderate, but the calculator says it is high. Will I have problems with algea growth? Your thoughts and help are greatly appreciated
130 watts is definately some pretty good light. Calculating for the CF it is closer to 170 watts. Tis puts you at the verge of high light if not beyond it.
As for CO2, it will help but may not be necessary if you dose right. The plants will use a lot of nutrients at that light level and not having enough could result in a lot of algae.
You could always use Flourish Excel as a carbon substitute and will stave off algae.
Another thing you can do is get a floating plant that will cut down the amount of light that gets to the tank. You can also raise the lights above the tank by 10-14 inches and that will cut the total light penetration.
The key thing here is to try it. I know some that use even more light and don't use CO2 and don't have algae. Others who use the same or even less and have major problems. Never know until you try.
Just keep asking questions and providing updates with your progress and we can help you get the bugs out and make it work with or without CO2.
I certainly appreciate your reply. I know you have a vast understanding of aquarium keeping, I dont understand how 130 w translates into 170w, but I am not doubting you. Would diffuseing the glass on the hood cut the light? Thank you in advance
CF lighting is a fairly new technology, so when people are talking about wattage for aquarium lights they tend to be talking about the light output of older flourescents, like T8 lights. CF lights are more energy efficient than T8's, so even though your CF's only consume a total of 130 watts of power, they're going to have the light output equivalent to 170 watts of T8 lights.
so algae requires less nutrients to grow, I thought just the opposite. How does excel prevent algae growth?
Will the addition of Flourish Excel lower the pH of the water like CO2 would?
Nope, flourish is mostly micro-nutrients that won't lower pH. Simply put, co2 brings down your ph because it combines with the water to form an acid. CO2 + water = carbonic acid.
The plants will use a lot of nutrients at that light level and not having enough could result in a lot of algae. I thought algae needed nutrients to grow and not the opposite
Excel kills algae. They won't advertise it but it does and does it very well.
The lighting comparison is from T12 lighting. http://woo.gotdns.com/Aquarium/Lighting.htm
Read that article, it explains it better than I ever could. Also input your tank dimensions and see where you stand for your lighting level. It is much more accurate than W/G.
As for nutrients, when I dosed my tanks using the Estimative Index I had little or no algae. EI is based on dosing excess of everything that the plants needs so there is never a shortage. When I would miss a couple days dosing of anything, I saw algae start to get a foot hold. I don't know how it works but as long as I dosed all my nutrients in excess I never had an algae problem. Yah I had algae but never more than a few spots here and there and never a problem to keep up with it.
FYI, the worst thing you can do is change the way you do things in the middle unless you need to. If it aint broke don't fix it. Big changes in anything including ferts and CO2 can cause worse problems than anything.
Oh and don't worry about questioning me. If you don't understand you have to question things, it is the only way you will ever understand the way things work and why. Remember also that just because I can do it and I give you the exact way I did things doesn't mean it will work for you. Tap water, regionh, plant types, substrate, feeding schedule, gravel vaccing, food types, and basically anything else can throw a curve in the equation. The best way to make it work for you is to get as much information as you can and make the parts come together the way you can make them work. Is how I had to do it.
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