Best type of lighting for 120 Gallon Tank???
I was just curious. What's the best type of lighting to use for a 120 gallon tank, for live plants? My live plants don't do too well in that tank. In my 50 gallon, they thrive thoiugh, and I care for them just the same. They seem to die quickly in the 120 gallon, so I usually take the dying ones, put them in the 50 and then they start to grow again.
The 120 gallon tank has a homemade stand and top, so the lights are higher than normal. About 8 - 10 inches above the water level. I don't know if the lighting is specifically the problem, I just wanted to make sure they were sufficient. As of right now, I have 2 40 watt, 4500K. Thanks for your help.
Edit: I am currently reading Lupin's sticky, "Chart for Lighting", so sorry for the thread. But still, any input would be helpful. Thanks.
I will let you go ahead and read through and get advice from the sticky, just wanted to mention that your issue sounds like the depth of the 120. Always remember that depth makes such a huge difference, but also distance of light from water's surface.
One other little addition for you... the amount of light needed for live plants is greatly dependent on the species of plants. For better success in the 120 without having to replace lighting, try seeking out plants that have lower lighting requirements, such as java fern, anubias, crypts, etc.
Everyone on here who has a planted tank which looks incredible, seems to have ATLEAST 2watts per gallon. Any suggestions on what I should have?
If you can tell me what types of plants you are attempting to keep in the 120, then I can better advise on what wattage and type of lighting you should be seeking.
I actually had amazon sword, Vallisneria and this one type that I could never find the name of. It was an off green, with some white spots. Tall stem with a few leaves at the top if that helps. As of right now, since nothing has really survived in the tank, im not really looking for any specific types of plants yet. I just want to make sure I have a tank where they would be able to live first.
If you made the tank stand/ hood I'm assuming you wired the current lights in? To grow plants your tank needs more light. Due too the size of your tank I would aim for 1-1.5 WPG. To increase your light I would go to a home improvement store and look for a cheap fluorescent lighting fixture for a garage or something similar. Preferably it should take T8 tubes, but T12 tubes would be fine. (this refers to the diameter of the bulb) Buy something that is easy to gut out and install it in your tanks current hood. You may need to do some modifications to the hood to deal w/ the increased heat. Also I only suggest doing this if you have something protecting the hood/bulbs from the water(glass tops or something).
I suggest that the new bulbs have a high kelvin rating. Your current ones are OK, but I wouldn't go much lower than that.
It does depend upon the type of planted aquarium you want in the end, whether or not you need more light. You can grow a lot of plants with what you now have, but you need better tubes (type).
I have a 115g aquarium, five feet in length, and only two regular 40w tubes of full spectrum and cool white mixed. And I have phenominal plant growth. Check out the photos of my 115g to see what I mean. And I have no CO2 and no enriched substrate. The Echinodorus macrophyllus on the left side is more than 10 years old. So 80 watts of light over your 120g is not insufficient for the majority of plants, but you will need to improve the tubes. Full spectrum at 6500K works best, combined with cool white (a higher K rating for the additional blue). But if your aim is for a tank of high-light requirement plants, you will need more light and then CO2 will be an issue.
Without knowing what type of fixture you're working with, this is difficult for any of us to offer you a solution to your problem. We can suggest many different bulbs and wattages for you, and all of them may be capable of what you need... but that doesn't mean they will all work with your custom hood and whatever fixtures you're working with currently. There is also the issue of heat, as was already mentioned.
I think the key here is going to be in making sure you are working with full spectrum bulbs. If you increase wattage, chances are you will also increase the heat output, so additional ventilation may be needed. Distance from light to water's surface is also important, as is reflectability.
Is it possible for you to share with us some photos & details of your current lighting set up other than just the bulbs you are using?
Sorry, the only pics I currently have of my tank are here
The only pic which is of the whole tank is the first one and it's pretty dark.:-?
I think Im going to go ahead and try the full spectrum, higher W and higher K bulbs!
Also, it couldn't hurt to get something for fert right? Or is that necessary?
If there are two tubes, go with the combo I mentioned preivously.
As for ferts, they are needed because the nutrients that occur naturally from the water (minerals) and fish food and biological processes are normally not sufficient to support good plant growth. There has to be a balance. There are 17 nutrients required by aquatic plants, and in specific porportion to each other; excess or deficiencies can cause real problems and lead to plant degeneration and death. In my experience the best solution is a comprehensive liquid fertilizer, once that contains all of the required nutrients in the correct balance. I have had excellent results with Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium (which I use now) and also Kent's Freshwater Plant Supplement which I used for many years. Once a week, following the partial water change, is the best time to add liquid fertilizer. Observe the plant's response, and if needed a second dose can be added weekly. But it takes a couple of weeks for things to change after fertilization is started/stopped, so be patient and observe. Existing leaves, especially on swords, sometimes die off. As long as new growth emerges from the centre of the crown, the plant is healthy and probably responding to the fertilizer.
Substrate fertilization is useful with plants like swords which are heavy feeders, and in their natural habitat they are mostly bog plants so root absorption of nutrients is strong, and putting the nutrient supplement in the substrate next to the roots is beneficial. A good substrate fertilizer is Nutrafin's Plant-Gro sticks; Seachem also have a root tab in the Flourish line which is good, but more expensive. I use the sticks and have been amazed at the improved growth just from these after about 3 months.
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