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Heavily planted, low tech lighting advice needed.

2202 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  scott1234
Hello again everyone, I have a 55 Gal. very heavily planted (all Anubias and Java fern varieties). At the moment (until I can afford to upgrade) my lights are 2 T8, 15 Watt, 18 inch Flo. tubes. The tubes it came with were Aqueon full spectrum daylight. Those seemed perfect, nice and bright, clear. All plants thriving. Had to replace, The company apparantly changed MFG. countries. The new ones were AWFUL, green-yellow hue, couldnt stand looking at them. Then tried 2 other types from MFGR. Pretty much same problem. Then tried Zoomed FloraSun, WAY too dark. Finally went to Home Depot and got Phillips Natural Light bulbs. Seem good and bright but after 1 month the leaves on my broader leaf Anubias seem to be suffering. I totally understand lighting is about how they fit my biotope, NOT about my visual preference! But there has to be a happy medium out there. Currently the Phillips are 5000K, 590 Lumens, Color Index 92. Thats all the info provided. Can anyone suggest a brand or type in that size that would be better. MY TANK; PH 8.0, Temp. 78, GH very hard around 300 ppm, KH VERY LOW 70 or so ppm (4dgh) So Co2 is not an option. I started dosing weekly with API Leaf Zone Fert. Tank has been running 18 months, NO fish losses. Amm.0, Trites.0, Trates. 80-100 ppm. (cannot help that, its in my source water)SO with all that can anyone point me in the right direction. ANY and ALL comments, suggestions or info would be GREATLY appreciated... Thank You:cry:
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Bump - your situation is similar to mine, and I have been thinking of going the Home Depot route. I hope someone chimes in..
Hey, Paperclipgirl. If you go to Home Depot, they have tubes that actually say "for aquariums" AVOID these, they only have 3000K rating! If you do find those "GOLDEN" tubes PLEASE hit me back!!!!!
Have you tried the Hagen Life-Glo bulb? ( : Hagen A1634 20-Watt Life-Glo 2 Fluorescent Bulb, 24-Inch : Aquarium Lights : Pet Supplies ) I was recommended this bulb and I really enjoy the way it makes my tank look - nice and bright and the colors pop. I'm trying to figure out plant issues still - but from what I've heard, people swear by this light. Might be worth the try.
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As I understand it you have a 55g with 2 t8 5500K 15 w phillips lights. and leave are yellowing.

I used 2- 2 tube 4' utility fixtures over my 55g. with 6500k t-8 tubes. If you have room you might try that. Much more light and the 6500k looks really nice.

my .02
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I was going to suggest 6500K or 6700K bulbs. This is the spectrum that plants need for photosynthesis. I use T5HO. Bulbs are cheap but the fixture was over $100. I have a 6700K and a 10,000K bulb. I am also dosing with Brightwell Aquatics FlorinMulti and 6 drops per day. I also just started Seachem Flourish Excel this week. My plants are stating to thrive. What are you using as fertilizer?
Yea, that is actually the exact lighting system I'm planning on, might be another month though.(gotta catch up on other bills first). As far as ferts. I just started dosing Flourish Comprehensive, planning on twice a week. Also got a 15 Lb. bag of Flourite I'm gonna mix with my inert gravel this weekend. As for Excel, like Co2, my KH is too low, only about 3 DKH. my PH is already 8.0, so unless theres a way to raise my KH but not affecting PH, I'm kinda stuck. Already tried Seachem Alkaline Buffer awhile back and PH shot up, even at a minimal dose.
I use Flourite only as my substrate. I use root tabs with FlorinMulti daily at 12 (up from 6) drops with Excel daily. I've notice my pants greener and growing faster.
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I'd upgrade your lighting soon.
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If you've only got anubias and java fern, you shouldn't need incredibly bright light, as they grow well in low light conditions. t-8s should do you just fine...

I've heard a few accounts of such plants being 'burned' in higher lighting, but can't attest to it personally.

EDIT: How do you have them planted? Anubias/Java fern won't tolerate their rhizomes being buried, and don't really gain anything from 'enriched' substrates.
I'm planning to slowly replace sections of gravel w/Flourite, upgrade lighting and start getting other plants (6-Month plan) like jungle val, crypts, and anything else that will do well in proper substrate, lighting and ferts. Most Anubias and Ferns I have now will go into a 10 Gal. Beta setup. Just wanna keep them good till then. Also everything is attached to lava rocks, Rhizomes clearly visible
My 6-month plan is to replace all substrate w/Flourite so I can start on more advanced , Med.-med.-high light, plants like Crypts, Vallisneria, And a few others. Just trying to keep Anubias and Fern goin so they can go into a 10-15 Gal. beta setup. Also everything is attached to lava rocks, All Rhizomes clearly visible.
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