trying to achive 2.5 - 3wpg in a 55g tank.
hello, first and foremost, you guys have a wonderful site. i would like to start my own planted aquarium, i used to have plastics. my question is, my tank came 2- 15 watts flourescents and obviously not enough for my application. what is the best way to achive my 2.5 - 3 wpg goal without blowing the budget? is there a replacement bulb or pretty much replace the whole hood?
You would have to replace the whole light setup. Keep in mind, if you're going with 2-3wpg, then you will probably require pressurized CO2 and additional fertilizers, which would considered as a high tech tank and would also probably blow your budget. Otherwise, you could use your current lights and buy low light, easy maintenance plants, which would be considered as a low tech tank.
so you are saying that my 2 - 15watts flourescent bulbs will be fine with low light plants?
All depends on the size of the tank. I am running about 1wpg on my shrimp tank and L-046 zebra tank and I have Naja grass, Taiwan moss, Sunset Hygro, Java fern, and Swords in them. Lights are at about 12 hours per day and all I do is just perform water changes only and feed the fish/shrimp in the tanks. I am not getting any fast growth, but they are growing. With the exception of the naja grass, moss, and sunset, since they will grow like crazy no matter what kind of lights. I just wish my plants in my 125 do as well, but somehow, they aren't and I have 1.5wpg. I used to have the lights at 12 hours per day, but cut it down to 10 due to the staghorn algae on the plants and dust algae on the glass.
What's the size of the tank?
How deep is your tank?
A picture of the tank and a picture to the lamps would be useful.
Hi and welcome aboard, Dakrat.
Glad there is a fellow Filipino here.:mrgreen: Eddie would be glad.:crazy:
Ideally, get yourself a 130 watt Compact Fluorescent strip light. Of course, that's 200 bucks new, so you'd want to find a used one. Good luck with that. This is what I have on my 55, and it works so well that I recently had to thin my plants out (over and above normal trimming. I got enough plants out to plant another entire 50 gallon breeder.) CO2 is really helpful, but there are super cheap DIY CO2 solutions that would be best gotten into in a different thread.
If you're up to a DIY woodworking and electrical project, you can get a Compact Fluorescent retrofit kit here for much less than half the price of a strip light (back up to half when you buy the bulbs.)
For other planted tanks, I have found that replacing the hood with a glass top, and getting a second low end hood light to put on it works pretty well to get it up into the 2 to 2.5 WPG range. You should be able to find these used, or, for the money, you could probably just buy a second hood and use just the light.
Or, get an incandescent hood and replace the incandescent bulbs with full spectrum compact flourescents. I had to take out the reflector and paint the inside of the light white to fit the bulbs in, and then build a quick stand off arrangement to get the bulbs up off the glass (cut up an old hood that I had replaced with a glass top), but it gets 46 watts of 5500K light over a 20 gallon tank in one light fixture.
I am or have been in what I believe to be a situation similar to yours.
My Tenecor tank came with some "high end" lighting but the ballast generated sufficient heat such that Tenecor placed the ballast in the wet/dry sump area of the aquarium (big time "slobber up" by them as the ballast did not last two months).
When I reentered the hobby approximately 8 months ago after 35 years I had thoroughly researched the literature wrt plants and purchased many "high end" plants. Alas plant death soon followed as IMHO this "planted tank business" is "way more knowledge gained from experience than knowledge gained from the literature".
CE and others have way more experience than I do but you may be trying to accomplish "something like in the photograph of my aquarium" (please excuse the looks as it is in experimentation mode with the canopy and wet/dry access hatch off).
The "watts/gallon" rules which you are quoting are "rules of thumb".
My tank is 20" wide and 36" long.
It is also 30" deep.
When the "old ballast" went out I purchased a 24"
with one blue actnic bulb. (the lunar light on these does not function).
The plants in the upper portion of the tank "did good" (Reason I was asking you about the depth of your tank) but the "planted" plants started dying.
I purchased a 2nd one and as you can tell from the photograph all the plants are doing good (I am currently experimenting with 3 white bulbs and 1 blue bulb as well as lighting periods.)
The goal of the experimentation is "the nicest looking plants possible" with minimal or no algae.
While Ce and others have more experience than I do I have never used CO2 but have used "Flourish" (The correct dosage of Flourish will actually decrease the quantity of algae in the tank!)
I am trying to gain experience in order to grow more exotic (and nicer looking) plants.
If you have any questions please post.
Ron Jones your tank looks great. It certainly was not that "filled in" about 4 months back, the last pic I saw.
Everybody knows I'm a lighting freak but I'm going to stay out of this one unless the advice starts to get bad. It seems fair enough. I'll keep my high end lighting to myself. But for that price of $200 for PC lighting I can set you up much nicer...
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