Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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reds21 03-19-2009 10:39 AM

lighting issues
Hello all,

i am having some lighting difficulties. i have a 55 gallon freshwater tank. right now im using the stock hood that carries (2) 17w daylight fluorescent lamps. i have some live plants and i think they are starting to turn brown due to lack of light.

im not sure the exact names of plants i have but.......................for most plants, what is the required light output that is required?

i am in the process of getting a 54wT5HO 2x4 fixture and would like to use that as the new light source. is that too much light for live plants? if so, what is required?


1077 03-19-2009 11:49 AM

Most recommend at least two watts per gal of light with bulbs carrying 6500K rating.If your substrate is gravel or sand then root tabs that are placed at the base of plants monthly might be helpful. I'm no plant guru but For most plants this should help.

WisFish 03-19-2009 02:49 PM

I agree with 1077. You need more light. I have a 55 gal and just recently added this fixture Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: Triple Tube Strip Lights

reds21 03-19-2009 04:21 PM

ok then, with that in mind.

i now have a (4) lamp 54wt5ho fixture. will this definitley work now?

(4 lamp - each lamp is a 54w high output lamp)

if this doesnt work, i quit !!!! :lol:

WisFish 03-19-2009 05:00 PM

That should be plenty of light. With that amount you may need to use CO2 injection. But I'm not an expert.

Byron 03-19-2009 05:31 PM

Yes, that's going to be a lot of light, looks like 4 watts per gallon. Can you remove two of the tubes to keep two on? As the tubes wear out in one year (they will still light but the light is not strong enough for the plants, so most aquarists replace the tubes every year) you can use the two you remove as the new ones, so they're not wasted. Two watts of light, on for 10-12 hours each day, will enable you to grow a number of plants, providing the nutrients and water parameters are acceptable. Depends upon what plants you want, sokme need more light and nutrients and CO2, others don't.

reds21 03-19-2009 09:19 PM

thanks guys. right now i have a bunch of wisteria growing in gravel. i do have the option of taking two lamps out if need be.

im not to fimiliar with the CO2 part of it. is that expensive?

last question. im not going to have a fish fry am i? im afraid that the heat of the lamps/heater will boil my fish. will this happen or does the light not effect the fish at all?

1077 03-20-2009 03:30 AM

Co2 can get pricey and a little complicated at first. Were it me ,(and it ain't) I would focus maybe on growing low light plants or plants that need moderate light (research them) and as I became more successful,, I might then look into CO2 injection. I would remove the two bulbs in your fixture as mentioned for too strong of light will encourage algae. Too few plants will encourage algae as well I would prolly put lots of plants , Swords,anacharis,more wisteria, Java fern,and vallisneria in the tank as I could to help keep algae at bay.
Check your water temp after light has been on for a couple hours to see if it is rising. If so adjust your heater a little. Be careful of buying floating plants for they may block the light that your plants that are rooted need. Good luck.;-)

flight50 03-25-2009 07:13 PM

good post. i will give you my scenario. i have a 55g heavily planted. 260w of light, 20-30pp co2 and the whole seachem line for fertilizers. you have to either get plants to match your lighting or get lighting to match your plants. at the same time co2 and nutrients play a major role. its a balancing act to limit algae. it will come, in some form until you get it under control. and to be honest, i am still trying to find mine.

Byron 03-26-2009 12:06 PM

Good advice in the posts by 1077 and fight50. As an example of what is easily achieved with minimum light and without CO2, have a look at the photos of my 70g and 90g tanks (just click on "Aquariums" under my name). I've maintained tanks like these for over 15 years with 1w of light per gallon (two 40w tubes full spectrum 6500K over each tank, on 13 hours a day), no CO2, and liquid fertilizer weekly after the 40% water change; the substrate is regular aquarium gravel, no additives. There are some stem plants I can't grow successfully (probably due to too little light plus no CO2) so I don't attempt them. I have thriving plants and I like the look, so I'm satisfied without spending a fortune on gadgets.

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