Nubster's 75g log
Figured might as well keep a log. I like reading others and hope others will enjoy reading mine. I have been keeping fish for a while but this will be my first true community tank. I plan on making it a fairly natural setup as far as decor. I will also be planting the tank as soon as I find a decent source for plants. Not sure on what I plan to stock with yet, I know I want cory cats, shrimp, and large schools of small fish. Still lots to figure out but that's part of the fun I think. I am in the process of cycling now, using the fishless shrimp cycle as I always do. Ammonia last night was off the chart which is exciting, hoping nitrates and nitrites will show soon. I know some don't like the idea, but I did seed with some gravel from a friends tank so hopefully the cycle will not take as long as they often do. Anyways...that's about it. I'll give a little break down of what I am using and get some pics up as soon as I clean the outside of the glass.
Tank - 75g with glass top, sides and back painted black.
Lighting - cheap shop lights with four 32watt GE Plant and Aquarium bulbs.
Substrate - at the moment there is 40 pounds of Petco brand black sand and I have 40 more pounds of Tahitian Moon sand on the way.
Filtration -AquaClear 110 with two foam blocks.
Heating - Ebo Jager 200watt
I think that is it. Not much on water parameters at this point. Temp is around 78, ammonia off the chart, pH is 7.6, no idea on hardness...need to get that checked.
Lights...quick question. How long will they last before needing replaced? The ones I have more than a year of use on them. Will they be ok to use for plants? They seem just as bright now as they did when I got them.
Also, they are the GE Plant and Aquarium bulbs commonly found at Wal-Mart. How do these compare to the 6500k daylight bulbs also at Wal-Mart? The daylight bulbs come in a pack of two for around $6 whereas the Plant and Aquraium bulbs are about $7 each. Naturally, if my lights need replaced, I'd like to use the less expensive ones or at least a combo of the cheap and expensive bulbs.
I will assume the tubes are T8. The "T" number refers to the tube's diameter in 8ths of an inch. So a T8 is 8/8 or 1 inch diameter. A T12, the older and thicker tubes, is 12/8 of an inch diameter. T8 are better because they are somewhat more energy efficient, so they produce the same or slightly more intensity with less energy.
T8 tend to "give out" after 12-18 months. While you may not notice this, a light meter would show a drastic decline in intensity. And when you replace the tubes, you will see a difference. The tube will continue to "light" long after this, but the light is so weak it is almost useless. And at some point, usually 12 months or shortly thereafter depending upon the way the tube was manufactured, the light will have decreased so much the plants are no longer able to photosynthesize fully, and then algae takes advantage of the weaker light and will proliferate.
As to which type, the "daylight" 6500K tubes are better. They will produce a light close to mid-day sun, so fish and plant colours will be true. You will see a real difference, from the "purplish" hue of the aquarium/plant tubes (which are high in the red and blue wavelengths). It may take some getting used to, but the daylight tubes are better.
But here we come to another issue, too much light. Are the 4 tubes full length, i.e., 48-inch tubes? Four of these over a 75g tank is too many; only two tubes will be required, if they are 48-inch tubes. If your fixture takes smaller length tubes, that is different, and may be fine.
By the way, you might want to give a read of the article series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of the Aquarium Plants section of the forum.
Actually the current tubes are T5 I believe...32 watts each. But I guess that is a mute point as it seems they need replaced anyways. The new tubes I looked at yesterday are T8 and 40 watts each. And yes, they are full length 48" bulbs. I have the four tubes because originally the lights were over a heavily planted dart frog setup and the plants did very well...to well in fact as I was trimming sometimes twice a week. I'll see if I can find some pics of that setup. I'll reduce the lighting though as suggested...I remember when I had bichirs in this tank a couple years ago the two bulbs were pretty dim, even when brand new.
I would reduce to two tubes if possible. Then buy the daylight 6500K, made by Phillips, Sylvania, GE. These are inexpensive by comparison to fish store "aquarium" tubes.
They could be T8. They are much thinner than the standard T8 so that is why I was thinking they were T5 or something other than T8's. It says 32 watts on the bulb and wide spectrum. They were labeled as Aquarium and Plant bulbs when I bought them a while back. I'll be replacing them soon. I'll start with two and see how that does. My fixtures don't require both bulbs so if two isn't enough I can add a third if needed.
Now that I've seen the photos. Nice setup, I like amphibian terrariums and vivariums. That light looks pretty good spectrum-wise. I'd like to see the spectrum graph though to be sure, can you find it and post it or a link? I just did a search and couldn't track down info, other than retailers, although some references to the colour being 3050K swhich is warm and needs some cool to balance. One of these with one of the daylight might work well. I have a combo (not these) on my dual-tube tanks.
I'll see what I can find. The packaging doesn't even say...just states it is "wide spectrum". I wonder if they are not just 6500k lights repackaged as Plant and Aquarium bulbs so that they can charge twice as much to the unsuspecting buyer. What ever they are...they seem to work. I can't imagine they are twice as good as the regular 6500k bulbs though. I am going to start with those and see what happens. If I decide to add that third bulb maybe I'll make it one of those plant bulbs.
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