Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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stephanieleah 02-01-2010 12:05 PM

how tall is your planted tank?
I'm wondering because I want to upgrade the size of my tank for the current inhabitants of my 29 gallon but larger tanks seem to come in different heights. Does the height effect what kind of lights I will need?

How tall is your planted tank and what kind of lighting do you have for it?

WisFish 02-01-2010 01:39 PM

I have a 55gal tank. It's the same height and depth as your tank, just wider. Not sure what you mean by what type. I use the tripple tube t-8 all-glass fixture. 96 total watts.

There's really two things that come into play for planted tanks. Light intensity usually measured in watts per gallon or a better measure, lumens per gallon. And the lamp color measured in Kelvin (6500K for example) As for type, T-8, T-12, CF (like you have) t-5 HO, etc are the different types you can use. It all depends on the light intensity you're looking for and whether or not you're using Co2.

I'd check the sticky's Byron created to see if he covered this in depth.

Angel079 02-01-2010 02:15 PM

Same here, highest I got set up and planted atm is 55g. You need more light as in wattage on it compared to eg a 5g; like I use 2x4ft fluorescent strips with the normal Daylights @30w each (my standard 55g set up lol).
That set up works for "fragile" plants like dwarf baby tears & dwarf hairgrass too, has for me in various 55g set up (with that light); where you'd see troubles if eg. a 55g with only 1 light and then only 20w or something like that, that'd be insufficient :-) (Or the wrong spectrum that kinda issue)

Byron 02-01-2010 02:43 PM

Technically the depth of the tank is important because water absorbs light waves more than air, so the deeper the water the less light can penetrate unless you increase the intensity. Which is why generally you find aquatic plants near the banks of rivers and lakes where there is adequate light for photosynthesis. Blue light penetrates water better than any other colour, so it is not surprising how important blue light is to plants; red penetrates much less, so you don't see red leaf plants in deep water in nature, only shallow streams, ponds, swamps, etc., because red leaf plants need more red light to be red.

However, a couple of inches will not be that significant, and as WisFish mentioned most standard tanks are within this range; if you were talking a foot or something, it would be a different story. My 115g and my 90g are both 24 inches (outside measurement), my 70g is 20 inches, my 33g is 18 inches. I go with approximately one watt per gallon of T8 on all of them, and all my plants grow equally well in all of the tanks. There is less than 1 wpg on the 115g and 90g (80 watts total on each) and 33g (25w).

As all the regulars know by now, I am an advocate of minimal light over aquaria; the least amount of light to grow the plants is the maximum. My reason is solely the fish. The forest fish as I call them come from dimly-lit waters and I believe will be less stressed with minimal light. On Saturday I happened to be in the Tropical Freshwater Gallery (including the walk-through Amazon rainforest section) of the Vancouver Aquarium and Marine Science Centre, and thanks to recent posts here on this issue I was noticing more than previously how dimly lit the aquatic displays are. The several hundred gallon display housing a couple hundred cardinal tetras, Sterbai corys, Characidium, Silver Hatchets, and a couple others that escape me, has Echinodorus bleheri growing in light sand, and the plants have several runners each rising to the surface with daughter plants all along them. There is less light penetrating that tank than even mine, yet the swords are flourishing as they do in the Amazon basin. The sand substrate, which looks like plain whitish silica, seems dull due to the low light, not bright blazing white as it looks under aquarium lights. And the fish are relaxed and sparkling. The displays in the gallery are authentic, Lee Newman the Curator of Tropical Waters has taken several collecting trips to Amazonia, and is himself an ACA recognized authority on dwarf cichlids. I regretted not having my camera with me, I will next time I go and post some photos. The SE Asian display is similar, very low light, housing clown loaches, Dennison barbs, hygrophila plants, and so forth.


stephanieleah 02-01-2010 03:00 PM

Okay, thanks. Interesting (makes me curious about how wavelengths come in to play, if at all, in water penetration). So a few inches isn't going to make or break it. Let's see what I end up with (probably won't be a three foot deep tank, anyway!).

WisFish 02-01-2010 04:47 PM

The wave lengths come into play probably because the blue wave length is narrower than the red. That's why the "blue ray disk" players are taking over for the old what I'll call "red ray" players. With a narrower wave length, the tracks on the DVD can be closer together. Closer together means the disk can hold move data. Anyway, I'd guess that with a shorter wave length, there's less distortion and resistance for the blue wave length as the light travels through water.

Mean Harri 02-01-2010 06:43 PM

Your questions seem very well answered so I will say this. YAY Stephanie is getting a new tank. You go girl.

stephanieleah 02-01-2010 10:07 PM


Originally Posted by Mean Harri (Post 317392)
Your questions seem very well answered so I will say this. YAY Stephanie is getting a new tank. You go girl.


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