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sailnut 11-27-2010 09:53 PM

To much light?
 
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I have a 20gal high (16 inch) tank. Its lit by a 65 watt PC strip light.. The tank which is 6 weeks old is flourishing but I understand that the lighting is much to intense.

I am dosing with Excel and Flourish at the moment but I have been told I should be injecting pressurized CO2. I really don't want to invest a couple of hundred dollars for such a setup.

Would it be better to sell the 65 watt fixture and get a 20/30 watt one in its place?

I have no particular issue with the Excel/Flourish or with DIY CO2.

I would appreciate any comment.

Below is a photo of the tank taken 11/26/10

trit0n2003 11-27-2010 10:07 PM

everyone tells me that if im not running a pressurized CO2 system with my planted tank i should stick with around 1-2 WPG, anymore and I will have algae problems. SO id wait to hear more input from other members, but im guessing people will suggest a less powerful light. Maybe just get lower watt bulb instead of a whole new lighting fixture, and then make a DIY CO2 system.

Mikaila31 11-28-2010 02:57 AM

Indeed. I run same tank with 55 watt power compact and it runs as High-tech.

Can not use a lower watt bulb. These fixtures don't work that way, just like most florescents.

Also at the same time don't fix it if its not broken. If plants are growing happily and no algae problems don't bother. I though can't imagine it would stay that way though. Your going to run out of fertilizers quickly. If your super good at sticking with the DIY CO2 and can get decent levels out of it then it would work. Are you using a ceramic diffuser and 2 x 1L bottles or not?

I would aim for a 40 watt fixture. 30 watts if you do T5's.

Byron 11-29-2010 07:21 PM

As I see you joined this month, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

I agree with previous members that less light would be better. Much better. With the plants you have, you do not need a lot of light, nor do you need CO2 (whether diffusion or Excel). Echinodorus bleherae (the swords) are low to moderate light plants. Growth with less light will be slower, but still strong. You can have a look at the photos of my tanks (under "Aquariums" below my name on the left), the 115g and 90g are full of several species of Echinodorus and I only have two 48-inch 40w T8 (regular) full spectrum tubes over each tank. Over the 115g that is way under 1w per gallon, and those E. bleherae are monstrous and regularly sending out multiple inflorescences. The E. cordifolius on the far left is more than 12 years old.

The other aspect is the fish; the gourami come from dimly-lit waters, swamps and ponds and such, and would be happier with less overhead lighting. Floating plants would also be good.

Less lighting will allow you to reduce fertilization as it must balance. I am not a fan of using Excel, in natural low-tech tanks you do not need extra carbon. Flourish Comprehensive is a very good fert, and once or twice a week will suffice. Substrate tabs for the swords would increase their growth a bit, they are heavy feeders.

Byron.

sailnut 11-29-2010 08:51 PM

It turns out that the bulb is a 65 Compact Florescent. AsI get it these do not have an un-duly hi output if tha'ts so my lighting level is some where between lo and moderate.

Even with that I agree with you on the fish clearly avoid direct light in favor of shade.

The plants with the Excell/Floursh supplements are growing at a fantastic rate in fact it is this rapid growth which caused me to start this thread. The Amazon is planted in Florite and seems to grow before my eyes.

Even with the above all the inhabitants are doing very well including the gourami's who have spawned twice in the 6 weeks I have started the the tank.

From your remarks I calculate that you are advising me to drop to the 30 watt (approx) range. I suspect that would be best accomplished with an incandescent strip populated with those spiral wound fluorescents which screw into table lamps... am I correct?

Thank you for your input

Byron 11-29-2010 09:11 PM

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sailnut (Post 522999)
It turns out that the bulb is a 65 Compact Florescent. AsI get it these do not have an un-duly hi output if tha'ts so my lighting level is some where between lo and moderate.

Even with that I agree with you on the fish clearly avoid direct light in favor of shade.

The plants with the Excell/Floursh supplements are growing at a fantastic rate in fact it is this rapid growth which caused me to start this thread. The Amazon is planted in Florite and seems to grow before my eyes.

Even with the above all the inhabitants are doing very well including the gourami's who have spawned twice in the 6 weeks I have started the the tank.

From your remarks I calculate that you are advising me to drop to the 30 watt (approx) range. I suspect that would be best accomplished with an incandescent strip populated with those spiral wound fluorescents which screw into table lamps... am I correct?

Thank you for your input

Watts is not a particularly accurate determination as to suitable light intensity. Watts is merely the measure of energy used by the tube/bulb to produce the light. The new compact fluorescent bulbs use much less energy to produce equivalent light to a higher-wattage bulb. For example, a 13w CF has the light output (intensity) equivalent to a 60w normal bulb, but obviously is using almost 1/5 the energy (the watts number).

More important is the type of light and its brightness. My 20g (not high) has two 10w CF full spectrum (6500K) bulbs, here's a photo of current plant growth. The photo is not the best, I just took it a few moments ago as I don't have any shots of this tank. If your present light is a 65w CF, that's three times what I have. Balancing that with sufficient nutrients to keep the plants ahead of algae would be my concern.

Byron.

sailnut 11-29-2010 10:17 PM

Could you give me the exact make/model/wattage of the bulbs and exactly what do you have them mounted in?

Thank you..

Mikaila31 11-30-2010 01:41 AM

I shall give you the example of my tank too, which I already mentioned is setup very similar to yours. 20 gallon High, 55 watt power compact, GE 9325K bulb, flourite substrate, pressurized CO2, EI fertilizing. It is a high demand high maintenance tank. Pruning must be done weekly, daily fertilizing, 50% weekly water changes. They don't work well with neglect. I honestly can't see your tank holding stable with all that light. If I cut CO2 on mine I have about a month then my plants get really upset with me. Unhappy plants=happy algae. I enjoy the daily visible growth I get with my plants, but as I stated above that comes with a lot of extra work. I can see your tank working until you run out of a nutrient. Excel and flourish are not going to be enough to keep that tank going for very long. Also swords are monsters under high light. They look so nice and pretty at the store, but a 12" sword can outgrow my 55 gallon in a month even with weekly pruning. I've simply told myself I'm not allowed to get swords anymore:-?. Then when you go to all the trouble of getting that fast and sustained growth you then need to find something to do with the excess plants.

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b3...1/P1180201.jpg

sailnut 11-30-2010 10:42 AM

I really don't want to get involved with pressure CO2 and the rest of it.
Is the following the best approach?
1: Install a couple of ordinary 10/12 watt CFL lamps (6500K) in a 24 inch strip light. Should I line the strip light with Aluminum foil as a refelector?
2: Start water changes 20%/day to restore the nutrients
3: Continue with the Excel and Flourish.

Should I prune the plants or leave them as they are?
Should I start DIY CO2?

Byron 11-30-2010 01:16 PM

Mikaila31 has given you an example of a very beautiful tank, and mentions the maintenance issue; mine is quite the opposite, I do nothing but add Flourish Comprehensive twice weekly. Only you can decide what "look" you want, knowing what is involved in getting it to work. I do have algae in this tank, but very minimal.

As for the bulbs, they are GE daylight 6500K 10w, and there are two of them in a normal 24-inch aquarium hood. I have a thick mat of floating plants too as you can see in the photo, but even with that I have sufficient light reaching the bottom for the pygmy chain swords to be sending out copious runners.

A comment on Excel. I do not recommend using this carbon supplement. At the risk of repeating myself, there has to be a balance in any planted aquarium between light, all 17 nutrients, plant and fish loads. There is a lot of CO2 produced by fish and bacteria [and I refer to aerobic bacteria in the substrate more than the more commonly-thought of nitrifying bacteria], and most comes from the bacteria. I have maintained that 20g with no fish in it for several months, which indicates that carbon is coming from somewhere besides fish.

As soon as you start adding more of any nutrient, you change the balance. When it is a macro-nutrient like carbon, the balance can change drastically. On a different note, some plants react negatively to Excel, and some will melt; Vallisneria sometimes does this, sometimes not, and I understand there are others. I would not waste your money on Excel.

The Flourish Comprehensive is excellent; it contains all essential nutrients (except carbon, oxygen and hydrogen--all of which occur naturally in the aquarium) and once a week may be sufficient. Nutrients also come from other sources, like tap water, fish foods, organics. But in most tanks some of these are likely to be insufficient to balance, so using a good balanced fertilizer ensures everything is being provided.

As for trimming the plants, I don't see any need except for the couple of yellowing leaves--if they are yellowing, it may be the light in the photo.

Byron.


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