Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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bigk_54 08-04-2009 02:53 PM

Red Ludwigia
Hello all, need some help/advice with my Red Ludwigia. I have it in 2 of my tanks one is a 20 gal the other is a 55 gal, both tanks water are almost identical except for nitrates with run a little higher in 55 and ph runs 6.8ish.

55 gallon tank has 110 watts I believe plant spectrum bulbs on like 11ish hrs a day
20 gallon tank has 25 watts GE plant aquarium bulb on exactly 9 hrs a day

55 gal has colored gravel
20 gal has some brownish pebbel gravel from Wal-Mart

Problem is, in my 55 gallon tank plant is not growning well/at all. In my 20 gallon tank stuff is growing good colors look great seems to be growing taller. I give 20 gallon NO additives as far as fertilizer, 55 gets Sea Chem root tabs and sometimes some Flourish. Anyone have any idea why in my 55 gallon tank it is not growing? Sorry if I left any needed info out!

Byron 08-04-2009 06:48 PM

This is the opposite of what I would expect--it should be better in the 55g which has more light and nutrients. Rhonda Wilson, who authors the monthly "The Planted Tank" column in TFH, says ludwigia is easy to grow but requires good light (2 watts per gallon minimum) and nutrient fertilizer. It will grow in soft or slightly hard water, but prefers soft and slightly acidic. All of this is what you describe for the 55g, but that is the tank in which it is not doing so well.

The type of tubes over these tanks may have a bearing on this; not all "plant' light is good light for plants, unfortunately, and plant light tubes tend in my experience to be less intense so it penetrates deeper tanks less adequately. I'm wondering if the single tube on the 20g may perhaps be a better one (or newer?), and in the shallower tank the light is more intense. Light is the single most important factor in aquatic plant growth. Fluorescent tubes need to be replaced at least once every 12 months, and some sooner. The intensity of light output decreases quite rapidly during the first few months of use. I recall Karen Randall once suggesting that every 6 months would probably be better, but of course that gets very expensive, so she advocated replacing the two tubes alternately to partially offset the decrease in intensity from both tubes during the last half of their time.

Another suggestion would be to check the spectrum graph for the tubes you have; the Drs. Foster & Smith website has the spectrum graphs for many (perhaps all) of the tubes they list, yours may be there, or try the manufacturers' websites. Plants require blue mostly, then red (which is why the "plant' tubes give that purplish hue); green is useless to plants but usually added to make the colours appear natural to us.

One last suggestion would be to replace the plant lights on the 55g with full spectrum. The Hagen "-Glo" series is good, and there is the less expensive Zoo Med series, and the Lightning Rod series. Choose full spectrum like the Life-Glo or Ultra Sun, the closest to mid-day sun (which is 6500K).


bigk_54 08-05-2009 07:19 AM

Ok I might have mis-spoke or not remembered correctly and this is the best link that I have to the bulb. Slimpaq T5HO | Current What's Next I have the 6700 daytiime bulb.

Yes the fact of the lighting and fertilization boggles me in the 55 vs the 20!!! Im ashamed to admit that the light on my 20g is a light off a spare 55 g that I have that sits on a hood "place-a-light type, and is about 12" too long for the tank lol, but hey it serves the purpose! Don't even know how old the bulb is!

Byron thank you for the post! Maybe with this new info you can help me out further! Thanks!

Byron 08-05-2009 08:34 AM

I checked out that link and couldn't figure out the spectrum so I went to Fosters & Smith and from what I found there about these tubes they seem intended for marine reef tanks. Here's a link to that info: T-5 HO Aquarium Lighting: Daylight SlimPaq T-5 HO Fluorescent Tubes

I've never tried these as other posts have indicated they are not as good for freshwater plants. Alld the plant authorities I read recommended full spectrum so that's what I've gone with for 12+ years with good success [see my tank photos for what they look like]. I would replace the tubes with Full Spectrum Life-Glo or comparable around 6500K, and would expect that to improve things. Liquid fertilization once a week (or twice, depending upon the results, you can monitor this) will be necessary, and the substrate fertilizer you mentioned will be good.

You have T5 HO tubes which are brighter (more light) than standard, so this is also odd; but this only leads me to think that it is the type of light that is the problem. I tried T5HO recently, had to replace an old fixture, and got one with two Life-Glo T5 tubes. It was way too bright for my taste, so I returned it for the standard. Looks much nicer, plenty of light for my plants, and the fish don't need sunglasses!;-)


bigk_54 08-06-2009 06:48 AM

Byron, thanks once again! I couldn't find my bulb at Foster's but from your link I found them! I have these ones T-5 HO Aquarium Lighting: T-5 HO Freshwater SlimPaq 6700K Fluorescent Tubes not the ones that you found. Also the link that I posted at the very bottom they have the little spectrum layout thing. If I remember right it is the 2nd one from right (6700 daylight). Man since I have posted this it has boggled me even more!!! THANKS!

Blaxicanlatino 08-06-2009 09:17 AM

i had problems with my red ludwigia too for about a month where the leaves would just fall off then the stems would brown and die. but over time with the help of ferts (liquid and solid) the started to flourish. no the tops sport a beautiful waxy look to them along with a great reddish purple color. It seems you have the lighting right though since the grow best in brigth light. hope this helps

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