1. Tank size
48 1/4" x 12 3/4" x 21"
2. Watts and type of lighting
24" 20 watt GL soft white flourescent T12192A2 (if that helps)
3. Number and types of plants
One sword plant of generic type that you could get at Petsmart (cause thats where I got it)
*edit* after doing some looking around it might have been an Echinodorus macrophyllus, Large-leaved amazon sword? Looks about right
4. Substrate type
Uh...it was in the tank when I got it...looks like sand mostly, there are these red clayish bits that settle on the top.
5. Age of tank
Tank has been running for oh....5 or 6 months
6. CO2 injection
No CO2, thats way beyond me right now.
7. Water Parameters
Using API freshwater master test kit:
b. Last night approx 24 hours after changing 10 gallons.
8. Detailed description of plant problems
"very small leaves, even semi-transparent/yellow, leaves turn brown/clear and die"
So after reading a couple articles under the plant informations sticky (mostly the lighting chart) I realized that the bulb in my lighting is old...VERY old...like 2 years old. Mostly this part stuck out:
"a T8 bulb has an effective lifespan of 6-9 months before the phosphors that are responsible for making the spectrum required by plants breaks down. This leaves the bulb producing erratic light for the plants. You will NOT see this, it effects only the spectrums that the plants use to photosynthesize. When they become erratic they can produce excessive blues, or more typically reds, this can lead to algae and other unwanted growth. Effectively you should replace your light bulbs after 6 months, but no later then 9.."
Facepalm :roll: No wonder my poor little sword plant was doing so bad, it was huge and glorious when I bought it and its been languishing at the bottom of the tank looking more like a dagger-plant or a butterknife-plant, very small leaves, even semi-transparent. So, I replaced the bulb. Wow, even a visible difference, that old bulb was very blue. So now the question. Do you think this will make enough of a difference or do you think that I should do something more? More lights? A single 20w bulb isnt much... fertilizer maybe.... Thanks!
As far as your question regarding lighting: I'll leave that to the experts to answer!
I do know that sword plants are heavy root feeders so once I month I stick root tabs under mine.
API makes a good brand, as does Seachem.
Picked up some API tabs, shoved one in there, we shall see! How long do you think it may take to see any improvement?
you may want to look into upgrading your light fixture, good light for a 55 gal. would be in the 165 watt neaborhood, And you want bulbs that say 6700 K or 6500 K on them. Fertilizer and CO2 also are very helpfull but not required. There are several lighting options depending on what you want
FuzzAz is right on about the lighting. It's what I have for my tank.
I am looking at Compact Fluorescent Lighting Kits for lighting, I hear they are highly regarded. Would a 2x55 be considered "enough" as they boast that their 55w are reflected more or should I go for a bigger setup?
Also I am trying to decide if I need to do a sunrise - daytime - sunset deal with different lights coming on during the day. Does this really have an impact on plant/fish life? Suggestions?
substrate sounds like its a flourite or flourish possibly mixed with sand question is how deep is it? as stated swords are heavy root growers and absorbers
c02 is not required but i believe (im not sure) when you get into the higer wattage of lights its beneficial to keep algae growth down. you water params look good. the details on the plants as you found out sound like a lack of lighting/nutrients from ferts. certain bulb colors burn out faster then others so they need to be replaced, again as you found out. anything around the 6500k range full spectrum is good for plant growth.
thank you for taking your time to include a detailed report of your situation, it really helps. i didnt see how long daily you leave the lights on.
hope that helps
The substrate is 2" at the sword plant and up to 3" elsewhere depending on where the pleco wants it.
The lights are usually on for about 8 hours, Im going to buy a timer one of these days...
Thanks onefish2fish! Everyone is so helpful :)
Yeah my lighting is woeful, its just what I had on hand...for 6 months xD
Came off my old 30 gal tank.
i prob. would not exceed 8 hours of light. 6-8 hours is a good time frame.
walmart sells brinks timers for like $15-20, reason i dont advise coralife azoo ( i think thats the brand ) is because ive heard of them causing random smoking problems and even fires, yes fires!
it only has 1 plug in spot but they seem quality and i think the battery recharges itself as its plugged in so when the power fails the time stays saved. its worth checking out but keep in mind there are other options
Is 2-3" of sand enough? I have some more I could add thats been cleaned.
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