DIY CO2 for 65g?
Would the typical DIY reactor (2-liter bottle) be enough, not enough, or too much for a 65g? Right now I'm running two 65w twin-tubes and two 30w T8's both 6500k, but plan on upgrading the T8 fixture to another twin-tube.
I'd be concerned over so much light over the fish. Is there a reason? This is more than double what I have over my 115g and full of plants I still have some algae. Not to mention the intensity of the light that will affect the fish.
It doesn't look that bright to me, plus I want to get some hornwart or something floating to save some fry.
No it doesn't, but the numbers speak differently.;-)
I have to toddle off to do my water changes now, but maybe you could post the tank dimensions (length, width & height) and the length of the respective tubes. Also, just confirm if they are all T8 or T5, and if T5 are they HO or NO. The plants you have are all moderate light requirement, and if that is Vallisneria CO2 will not benefit it.
The tank is 36L x 24H x 18D
(2) 4-pin T6's... either 16" or 18", twin-tube, 65w/ea
(2) T8 36", 30w/ea
In my view, the two 36-inch T8 30w tubes will be more than sufficient. I have one 25w 30-inch tube over my 33g which is also 36 inches long though only 12 inches wide, and it is adequate. For the plants you have, I would not have more than these two tubes, in a 6500K full spectrum. With two tubes you could have one full spectrum and one cool white (slightly more blue). I like this combo when I have two tubes.
I certainly would not use the other lights in addition. As for the CO2, if you go down that road, then I would rethink what I've said above. I am not familiar with the (new) T6 lighting, I saw it mentioned somewhere only the other day, can't remember if it was a magazine or plant forum; anyway, 65w is a lot of light intensity, and I would have to research it before I could suggest it as suitable with CO2. I tried the T5 HO 54w last year, and took it back because it was too bright; went back to T8 40w and my fish are much happier.
Originally I had just the 2-bulb T8 fixture, and my plants were dying faster than they were growing. They are doing much better with the added T6's, so might I be better off with just thoseand getting rid of the T8's?
What fertilizer do you use, and how often and how much?
What are the plant species?
How long is the light on daily, and it was then the same full spectrum 6500K?
How often do you do a water change, and how much water is changed?
I was engaged in a discussion with Tom Barr (a plant guru as he calls himself, whose name you probably know) on light and he made the statement that with a natural (low-tech) setup one should always start with the least amount of light that will grow the plants, and then balance that with sufficient nutrients. This he says avoids algae issues, which only occur due to light, not nutrients as some think. My own experiences bear this out to be sure.
I have plenty of evidence as to the detrimental effect of bright light on fish health. Both from my research, and my own tanks. This was the reason for my use of low lighting (as some would consider it), and while there are some plants that do not do as well, I avoid them. If you take a look at my tank photos under "Aquariums" I think you will agree that the plants are thriving. Aquarium plants do not require the high amount of light that some would have us believe; they do not have it in their natural habitats, so why should they need it in the more perfect (to them) environment of an aquarium where the light is constantly "good".
Anyway, that explains why I persist in less light. It also saves a lot of money--running tanks eats up electricity, so cutting the light in half is significant from that aspect too.
I'll hopefully be able to suggest possible causes for the plant demise with the above info.
Right now I have Hygrophila, Wisteria, and what I THINK is Giant Hygrphila based on pics, but I'm not sure. The Giant Hygro has done the worst of the surviving plants. I started with about 6 species (don't remember names) but the Hygro was the only one that made it through. The Wisteria & Giant Hygro were added later.
I try to keep the light to 8hrs/day, but I work a 12hr shift, so about 7 days/month they're on for about 13hrs. I started with just the T8 fixture, but all my plants were melting. Once I added the T6 fixture the melting stopped, but the plants don't look that healthy.
I read somewhere that water changes weren't recommended for low tech tanks, but I tend to change about 1/3 of the water ever other week.
Light; I would increase this to 12 hours daily. Almost every authority recommends 12-14 hours. My tanks run for 11 hours now, any more and algae becomes troublesome. This can vary with water parameters, plants, ferts, etc. Years ago, in another home and with a different fertilizer, I ran the lights 15 hours each day. Where I am now, I've had to cut it back to 11. One of those things. But I would suggest 12 and then monitor plant response and algae, being prepared to adjust accordingly. A timer is best, as consistency for fish and plants is beneficial. Ensure there is light in the room, whether daylight or room lights, when the tank lights come on and go off, to avoid startling the fish.
Water changes: I change 50-60% every week without fail. But I do this primarily for the fish, I stock my tanks heavy. With a moderate fish load one could have a biologically balanced tank with no water changes ever. I have too many fish for this tactic. And I have not noticed anything particularly detrimental about water changes affecting plant growth.
Plants: You unfortunately started with the more difficult species. Stem plants are fast growing and thus require more light and more nutrients. And the two have to be in balance, more of one without the other will not improve plant growth. I'd like to see a photo of the Wisteria if you could post it; the leaf shape would tell me a lot about light.
Giant Hygro is Hygrophila corymbosa; this species is now in our plant profiles, you might want to take a look at the photos to see if it looks the same [note, there are several leaf forms and sizes to this species, some have "names" as mentioned in the text in the profile] and the info provides the requirements,etc. Wisteria is also included in the profiles; this is also a Hygrophila species, H. difformis is the name. These are the two most common hygros seen today; another, H. polysperma, is rare, as I believe it is banned in the US but it is still common in European aquaria. I had it back in the 1980's.
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