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- - Lighting Questions (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-planted-aquarium/lighting-questions-397826/)
I'm looking at having a fully planted tank and was wondering what lighting was recommended? I've heard of the 6500k range, but will plants in a 20 gal tolerate 10,000k lights? I haven't managed to find one in that range that have the proper light sockets, though I did see 5,100k and 5,000k bulbs.
I have the Aqueon 50/50 daylight/bluelight in there now that is 50% 10,000k daylight and 50% True Actinic bluelight. Is that too much in a 20 gal tank, not enough or perfect? What does the actinic bluelight do? Also, the hood I have has a two bulb setup, are there issues with having two different bulb types, should I find another of the 50/50 or look for a gentler one to put into both sockets? The one on the other side was the 15 W 'plant bulb' from Wal-Mart and have not a clue how much its giving off, but it is definitely softer and weaker than the 50/50.
This is my first tank that is my sole responsibility ever, the first in a very long time, and my first planted tank so while I've been trying to get up to speed I'm stumbling around in the dark a bit here...
The 10.000K plus the Actinic blue are lights for saltwater.
T5HO is the way to go for plants. All I have for plants is 6.000k in combination with a roseate (it has a specific absorbtion peak at 640 nm I believe) very suitable for plants. I have a 10g tank with some bulbs that say 6500k (not T5) and only Anubia can survive there. Another tank with some T8 lights for plants, not a lot better even for low light plants. I have some sad looking java fern and java moss barely hanging there.
I have a T5HO unit with 6700k and 10,000k bulbs. From my understanding almost anything over 6500-6700k is wasted light. The 10,000k I have is more to balance out the look as 6500 looks a little blue. Of course in the 10,000k, there is light that does help with growth.
Is your fixture T5, T5HO, T8?
My plants are growing and not dying. It used to be the other way around. The one thing you should know is that every tank is different and that what works for one may not apply to you. It will take a lot of experimenting especially with fertilization. I am still learning and have often thought about giving up but I like the challenge of getting it right. So far it seems to be going ok for me. In the end the reward will be worth it. You should find all the answers to your questions here. If you haven't already, you might want to read some of the existing threads. You never know what you will find.
I'm not certain what kind of fixture it is, the sockets look just like regular light bulb sockets. Yeah, I was worried about being a special snowflake, lol. Still if I can get things close enough that some unique tweaks are all that's needed I'll be happy.
I used flourite as the gravel so I shouldn't have to fertilize much, right? Doesn't the nitrates from the fish work like fertilizer as well? I'm used to terrestrial plants that don't or rarely need fert so its a new topic on the whole for me.
The fixture I have is fluorescent bulbs. T5HO are tube not incandescent. You may already be using a T5HO fixture but need to replace the bulbs. Can you post pictures of your light fixture and bulbs?
I set up a 10 gallon tank with an incandescent hood using 2 6500K CFL (spiral) bulbs at 13 watts each. This may change if my plants don't do well there.
I use solely Flourite for a substrate. I would be hard pressed to find someone who will say that extra fertilization is not needed. According to Seachem's website it is not needed but I use Flourish Tabs and a liquid fertilizer.
The light that come with the hood of the tank are almost never good enough to grow plants. Anubia, maybe, but it will be covered in algae. Replace the hood with glass top (even better without it if humidity around doesn't bother you or fish are not jumpers) and spend some money on a T5HO fixture for freshwater. Measure the tank first to see what length you need. Go dual so you can combine bulbs.
Aquaticlife makes good fixtures. Giesmann is also good (never tried the fixture but I am seriously considering their bulbs next time). Once you have the fixture, all you need is to change bulbs every year or so.
Don't buy what LFS is pushing you. Do your own search. Ask the right questions
So they are incadescent bulbs, I've found out. The aqua culture 15w aquarium plant bulbs that came in a twin pack. I can't seem to find out any more information on it though: k, lumens, anything. How often will I need to fertilize? It's only been three weeks so far... Unrelated question: I have a friend who said her tank took 7 weeks to get set up and get the nitrites and everything down, but mine seems good at 3 weeks. 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. Another question: What is recommended for nitrate levels in a planted aquarium?
Oddly, the kit didn't come with bulbs at all, but I figured they wouldn't be good for growing plants so I grabbed plant bulbs, but didn't quite understand what I needed...
Here's the setup:
I as most would recommend ditching the hood and lights you have and getting an all glass hood and T5HO fixture. Something like
Aquarium Lighting: Marineland Glass Aquarium Lighting Canopies
Aquarium Lighting T5 Fluorescent Light Fixture: AquaticLife T5 HO Dual Lamp Light Fixtures
You will need either 20 inches or 30. You haven't specified if your tank is long (20) or high (30). Easy way to figure out is measure the front glass left to right.
In either case this should help give best plant growth.
For that light, no need to fertilize. Fish food/fish waste will be enough.
How did you cycle the tank in 3 weeks? Fishless cycle? Did you use ammonia? Did you seed bacteria from other tank? How do you know its cycled?
10ppm nitrate is acceptable in a planted tank.
Alright, I'll have to look into getting one of those lights and glass tops.
I guess I really don't, I just know that the ammonia and nitrites are at 0 which is pretty good since the water that the tank started with a small amount of nitrites in the first place. How else would I tell? Sorry, first time at this. >.<
So... 30 ppm nitrates means its changing time... and that I'm overfeeding them by a lot. *jots down notes*
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