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Discussion Starter #1
i saw this light at my LFS and was wondering if it would be good to replace my generic out of the kit light. it was a 50/50 6500K w/ actnic. would that be good for plants?
 

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the kelven is good but actnic uhm thats more for freshwater. your out of the box light is probobly around 3000k just like any other standard household light. you want to aim for something between 5500 and 6700 kelven and look for really high bllue and red since the plants need those spectrum more blue than red to go through photosenthisis and do what they do. your also going to want atleast 2-3 watts per gallon even for most low light plants to be healthy along with a regular fert dosing schedule. Money
 

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I agree (except on the wattage) with MoneyMitch; actinic does not promote good plant growth, it is a saltwater light [I think that's what MM meant when he typed freshwater].

I would not go above 1.5 watts per gallon without CO2 added, which you don't mention. I have about (or less on the 115g and 90g) than 1 watt per gallon of full spectrum 6700K light on my three larger tanks and the plants are thriving as you can see in the photos under My Aquariums. The light must balance the available CO2 and nutrients or algae will proliferate. The light should always be the limiting factor, never CO2 or macro- and micronutrients. Plants cannot use the light if it is in greater supply than the CO2 and nutrients, and this refers to intensity, not duration; duration beyond a certain point is meaningless if the light is not of adequate intensity and again encourages algae.

Byron.
 

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Light light light

Byron

I am so not sure there is an actual rule of thumb on lighting
Given an example I had a 30 gallon tank with a light that had 18 watt
the KV was unknown.... The bulb didnt say and my plants FLURISHED
The plants that are in my 120 gallon came from the 30 gallon
I have read alot of information on planted tanks and the info you stated
is Dead on what I have read..... but I can also say that its not the Rule of
Thumb.


Byron.... do you use LATERITE? or any other substrate to enhance the
growth of your plants?
 

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Byron

I am so not sure there is an actual rule of thumb on lighting
Given an example I had a 30 gallon tank with a light that had 18 watt
the KV was unknown.... The bulb didnt say and my plants FLURISHED
The plants that are in my 120 gallon came from the 30 gallon
I have read alot of information on planted tanks and the info you stated
is Dead on what I have read..... but I can also say that its not the Rule of
Thumb.


Byron.... do you use LATERITE? or any other substrate to enhance the
growth of your plants?
The wattage is not a rule, but it is a safe guide that has proven the test of time. But we are talking regular fluorescent light (not T5 HO or compact fluorescent which produce greater intensity at lower wattage so don't fit the mold at all), no CO2, and normal fish loads. Increasing any of these is going to impact the equation. I have obviously found the balance with light for the level of CO2 from my fish and the nutrients I add weekly. Algae is present but not excessively as it would be if I were to increase the light intensity or, somewhat less, increase the duration. The balance is critical, and the light should always be the limiting factor as it is the most easily controlled.

I use regular gravel, wth Nutrafin's Plant-Gro sticks next to the larger Echinodorus (swords) which are heavy feeders. I use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium twice weekly (down to once in the 90g currently as the fish load is less and that balance I spoke of is a bit out) and i've noticed some plants reacting to an excess of certain nutrients. In 1996 I set up my 1125g with laterite under the gravel, but saw no difference in lant growth during the following 3 years from the 90g that had identical light, fish load, plants, but no laterite. It may not hurt, but adding nutrients to the water column from a substrate or substrate additive that cannot be removed without tearing down the tank has a risk factor I prefer to avoid. The sticks work fine; I first put in 3 or 4 next to specific swords, and after 3 months the growth of those plants by comparison to the other identical species was remarkable; the plants were 3 times the size (leaves).

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
my specific needs... a ten gallon freshwater tank. just bought CO2 injector like with tablets and am hoping to get java moss, java fern, dwarf hair grass, and mabye hornwort. what is you suggestion?
 

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The wattage is not a rule, but it is a safe guide that has proven the test of time. But we are talking regular fluorescent light (not T5 HO or compact fluorescent which produce greater intensity at lower wattage so don't fit the mold at all), no CO2, and normal fish loads. Increasing any of these is going to impact the equation. I have obviously found the balance with light for the level of CO2 from my fish and the nutrients I add weekly. Algae is present but not excessively as it would be if I were to increase the light intensity or, somewhat less, increase the duration. The balance is critical, and the light should always be the limiting factor as it is the most easily controlled.

I use regular gravel, wth Nutrafin's Plant-Gro sticks next to the larger Echinodorus (swords) which are heavy feeders. I use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium twice weekly (down to once in the 90g currently as the fish load is less and that balance I spoke of is a bit out) and i've noticed some plants reacting to an excess of certain nutrients. In 1996 I set up my 1125g with laterite under the gravel, but saw no difference in lant growth during the following 3 years from the 90g that had identical light, fish load, plants, but no laterite. It may not hurt, but adding nutrients to the water column from a substrate or substrate additive that cannot be removed without tearing down the tank has a risk factor I prefer to avoid. The sticks work fine; I first put in 3 or 4 next to specific swords, and after 3 months the growth of those plants by comparison to the other identical species was remarkable; the plants were 3 times the size (leaves).

Byron.
Byron
You have helped me out in the past ..... and If I knew about the sticks ( that you use )
I would have never have used the laterite substrate..... ( ITS A PAIN )
but thats just me....
I will say this to any one else that asks. When I set up another tank.. ( ANY SIZE ) I
will not use LATERITE OR FLOURITE

Ron
 

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my specific needs... a ten gallon freshwater tank. just bought CO2 injector like with tablets and am hoping to get java moss, java fern, dwarf hair grass, and mabye hornwort. what is you suggestion?
Java Moss and Java Fern are low light plants; while CO2 won't hurt (if balanced by light and other nutrients) it isn't necessary to grow these successfully. And others have commented that bright light hinders both (I've not had this problem, but then my tanks have always been lower light because i've never had CO2). Hornwort I believe will grow well in ether setup, though higher light and CO2 should be positive. Dwarf hair grass is the touchy plant, from what others here have written, difficult without high light and CO2/nutrients. As I'm not a CO2 person I'll leave it for those who are to comment.

Byron.
 

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Here is a website that will help everyone wanting to grow live plants.
this website gives alot of information on alot of different plants.


Google Image Result for http://naturalaquariums.com/plants/hornwort2.jpg
Yes, I second this site, it is very informative. Rhonda Wilson (currently the author of the monthly planted tank column in TFH) is a main contributor. A couple of other sites are also good:

The Planted Tank: The Planted Tank - Articles, Forums, Pictures, Links

Aquatic Plant Central: Aquatic Plant Central

Aqua Botanic: Aqua Botanic Aquarium Plants Sales and Library

Byron.

P.S. Just noticed I typed 1125g instead of 115g in a prior post; wish I had a 1125g tank...
 

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so what would you suggest?
What size is the tank? And what type of plants? By the latter question I mean the sort of "look" you want in your aquarium; different plants require more or less light (and nutrients to balance).

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
i want kind of a cover like "lawn" look mabye a plant that reaches the surface and something else...i have a ten galon going to get sand mabye unless something else is better for plants and a peice of driftwood and i will be puttin CO2 in there
 

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Byron :

I have the opportunity to get yet another fish tank...
its a 125 gallon already set up.. with fish ( but I dont those
fish ) will prolly make yet another trade to the LFS.
its a 72 long
18 deep
22 tall.....
with 2 emperor filters all for $300.00
sounds like a pretty good deal..
the stand is dark wood.. very nice looking......
but what do you think about the cost?
 

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I fail to see why we don't all work in lumens instead of watts.
Since aquaria are a hobby that can be enjoyed by everybody it makes sense to keep it in layman’s terms. And probably because most bulbs don’t state their lumen output. Aside from that unless you accurately figure in reflector efficiency, water depth and turbidity, decay of the bulb, then you’re still just talking ballpark figures. In an ideal world everybody would own light meters and we would be talking in Lux. But that’s allot to ask for to somebody who just wants a few nice plants to look at. So it might make things clearer to a few but it would just confuse most people even more.
 

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Since aquaria are a hobby that can be enjoyed by everybody it makes sense to keep it in layman’s terms. And probably because most bulbs don’t state their lumen output. Aside from that unless you accurately figure in reflector efficiency, water depth and turbidity, decay of the bulb, then you’re still just talking ballpark figures. In an ideal world everybody would own light meters and we would be talking in Lux. But that’s allot to ask for to somebody who just wants a few nice plants to look at. So it might make things clearer to a few but it would just confuse most people even more.
There is an article that I read I believe it was on the internet or my new Aquarium magazine
that talked about the Tank Depth not being a problem until you went past 3 ft...
Now I am not to sure if this is totally true.. but it does seem to me
the majority of people have tanks that are less than 2 ft deep....so
that would be a common factor for most..
I have been told the LESS the KV the better it is for plants then I read that the more the KV the
bulb has the better it is for the plants..
I swear.. I wish there was a RULE OF THUMB to go by.. so I guess I am like many others
TRIAL and ERROR... I will say this I have had some really good luck with the smaller tanks
that I have its the bigger tanks that I have worried about..
my 120G only had one lite strip when I got it..... and it was like that for about 3 weeks till
I was able to buy the second lite strip. so I bought one that has 2 lights in it and I bought
2 floura bulbs... they only have 32 watts each,,,???? I dont understand the bulb companies
WALMART sells a bulb . thats a for plants Cost a mear $7.00
and its puts out 40 watts.. SEEMS to me to be better.. ( BUT ) dont know how much the KV
out put is or what type of spectrum ? I know when lit the bulb is a yellow color and the new FLOURA
bulbs are bright BLUISH color.. BIG DIFFERENCE.....
what kind of bulbs are everyone else using? and how much do they cost and were did they buy them at?
Thanks
Ron
 

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6500-6700K daylight (full spectrum) bulbs are generally the best all around bulb to use. The 4 foot bulbs come in 32 or 40 watts. My fixture uses T-8 but some accept T-8 or T-12.
 

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Byron :

I have the opportunity to get yet another fish tank...
its a 125 gallon already set up.. with fish ( but I dont those
fish ) will prolly make yet another trade to the LFS.
its a 72 long
18 deep
22 tall.....
with 2 emperor filters all for $300.00
sounds like a pretty good deal..
the stand is dark wood.. very nice looking......
but what do you think about the cost?
I'll assume you are in the US, so I'd have no idea on cost comparisons. What would a new 125g tank cost there (or online in the US)? If this is to be planted I would only use a good canister filter (I'm assuming the Emperor are HOB). For me, this would probably not be much of a deal. B.
 

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i want kind of a cover like "lawn" look mabye a plant that reaches the surface and something else...i have a ten galon going to get sand mabye unless something else is better for plants and a peice of driftwood and i will be puttin CO2 in there
Some of the "lawn" groundcover plants are difficult to grow without more light, CO2 and (perhaps daily) fertilization. All about that balance again.

Sand is not the best substrate for plants, although plants will grow well in it. There are planted tank enthusiasts who recommend plant substrates like Eco-complete, others recomend a layer of plain soil with a small-grain gravel layer on top, others like me only use small-grain gravel with root fertilizer tabs or sticks for the larger swords. All have success for what they want to achieve. It depends upon the look you want (your lawn groundcover pretty much points you in that direction) and how much money you want to spend in setup and regular maintenance. I have definitely gone for a low-tech approach, I have (to me) phenomenal plant growth for very little cost, but there are a few plants I know won't grow in this environment and I won't even attempt them.

Byron.
 
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