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Could I use a home Solaria/ tanning lamp to supplement lighting?
I have a Philips Home Solaria HB 171-A, intended for facial tanning. Could I put it up against the glass of my tank for a couple of hours a day to provide extra lighting for my plants? It takes four Philips Cleo 15w bulbs. I figure the UV shouldn't harm the fish, because the glass will filter it out, but the plants should still benefit from the bright light.
It's the same as the one in this link:
SUN LAMP - PHILIPS ORIGINAL HOME SOLARIUM HB171/A | eBay
I wouldn't. I'm not sure that glass will filter out UV rays... but I do know that UV rays are harmful to fish. When I was researching for my article on light and how it affects fish [here: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...er-fish-81982/ ] I came across data that UV did harm fish. I didn't include that in the article as I thought it would generally be irrelevant to an aquarium. I can't remember which of those reference sources cited contained this.
By the way, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:-D
Glass does not filter UV, not unless it has a special coating which no aquarium that I know of has.
I would not use it.
Oh, really? I always thought it blocked UV, cos you don't get sun burn through a window, and when I kept lizards I always read that the UV source must not be blocked by glass - keeping the tank by a window would not do, and the UV bulb had to be inside the tank (which made it difficult to stop the lizards from being able to touch it).
How about if I replace the bulbs with non-UV ones? Would just a couple of hours with the solarium on every day make a difference to the plants?
It blocks some, but not all. Depends on the type of glass as well.
I have experimented with a small planted tank in front of a bright window, with some afternoon sun, and the plants managed but were not as healthy as those in my lighted tanks. The advantage of a proper light over the tank is being able to control the light. The best spectrum for plant response, the correct intensity, and the duration--these together will provide the best light. However, some low light plants can do quite well on bright window light or minimal tank light.
Knowing the tank size, the species of plants, and the ambient (room) light would help.
I have a coldwater 60 litre tank with a standard aquarium 15w fluorescent tube and a 110 litre tropical tank with two 18w tubes. I'm trying to stick to easy, low-light plants, but I thought a couple of hours of the Solarium a day might help the plants look more vigorous and grow more quickly. ATM I have eleoda, cabomba, amazon swords, java fern, hornwort, twisted vall (these are all dying off for some reason) water sprite and a couple of others. I'm on the look-out for more plants, too.
Just the vall, the others are growing.
I don't know how long these tanks have been running with these plants, but if all but the Vallisneria are doing well, the light would seem to be sufficient. Adding more will not likely improve plant growth, and may result in excess algae. Plants grow by photosynthesis, and to photosynthesize they require sufficient light (intensity, spectrum a bit, and duration) plus 17 nutrients. If all of this is available, the plants will grow to their max up to the level that something is no longer sufficient. In most tanks this will be a nuttrient, and usually carbon (CO2). Light should always be the limiting factor because light without the nutrients means algae will take advantage. Assuming you are not having algae issues, you likely have things balanced.
To the Vallisneria. There are a few possibilities so we need to explore a bit. What are your water parameters (hardness and pH)? And are you adding any nutrient fertilizers, and if yes, which and how often?
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