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Actinic lighting - any good?

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Carissa, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I'm looking at possibly picking up this new tank:

    AquaPod 24 gallon Nano-Aquarium System: Current

    However, it says it comes with one daylight (6500K and 10000K), and one actinic bulb. What are actinic bulbs? Are they any good for plants or would I need to replace it? I'm assuming I could just switch out that bulb with another daylight bulb if need be. If anyone has experience with Aquapod tanks, that would be great to know too. I'm looking for an all-enclosed setup that I don't have to modify extensively for plants, that will work well as probably a non-co2 setup. It will be going into a wall and the back end will be in a closet, so I don't want a bunch of diy lighting stuff or filters hanging out that could get hooked or tripped up in, that's why I'm looking for a setup where everything is self-contained.
     
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Carissa,

    Actinics are blue colored bulbs normally used for reef tanks.

    I know some folks use them with FW, but I have not and cannot advise if this is okay or not.

    I would replace it (check that this is possible and a replacement exists) with a normal daylight or other tube if possible.
     
  3. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Prolific Poster

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    Actnic tubes help grow grow algae so i would stay away from these, tubes peaking in a bit of blue is ok but not a lot.
     
  4. rusticitas

    rusticitas Lifetime Charter Member
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    How do actinic bulbs help grow algae over other bulbs and color temperatures?
     
  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I think the theory is that the spectrum from an actinic bulb isn't useful to plants, but is useful to algae, so it makes you have high light for algae with lower light for the plants. I'm not sure if this is an assumption or based on experiments.
     
  6. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    After researching a little bit, actinic bulbs have a very narrow spectrum compared to most other bulbs, and the spectrum is located in the blue range. This simulates deep water, as red/yellow wavelengths are the first to get absorbed by the water, but the blue/violet wavelengths penetrate the deepest. So in a very deep tank, I would think having some blue light could be a good thing for low growing plants since it would penetrate well, barring a higher intensity more complete spectrum. Anyway, all that said, it doesn't really answer the question as to whether it would be beneficial to plants or not.
     
  7. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The depths of our planted tanks are not enough to lose much light due to absorption by the water. Compared to what we lose just by the inverse square drop off in light intensity with distance, the absorption is negligible. So, we have no reason to want the deeper penetrating light spectrum. Aquatic plants grow in shallow water in nature so they haven't evolved to need the blue spectrum either, compared to corals, which grow in much deeper water. It makes good sense to provide a more balanced spectrum to our plants. Algae might possibly use that blue light, but that isn't too likely either.
     
  8. Indignation

    Indignation Junior Poster

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    Regarding the Aquapod for a planted tank - I have 2 in my house, a 24 gallon high-tech (co2, EI, modded the lights slightly to get 3.3 wpg) and a 12 gallon low tech my wife set up. Both are heavily planted, and both are beautiful tanks.

    I swapped my actinic light for another Current dual daylight immediately after purchasing the tank, and my wife gets plenty of light in hers with just the single dual daylight, since the 12 gallon uses either 24 or 27 watt bulbs.

    If you do purchase the 24 gallon, i would recommend getting am additional 32W 67k/10k bulb with it. It is relatively easy to replace, 5 minutes with a phillips screwdriver.

    The tanks also include 2 blue LEDs for night viewing, which is very cool IMO.

    I can post pictures of either tank if you are interested. Good luck!
     
  9. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Thanks for all the great info! I've decided to forego the plant tank and instead, start my first saltwater tank. Instead of the Aquapod, I picked up an empty 33g for $33 because my lfs is going out of business. :)
     
  10. jlroar

    jlroar Junior Poster

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    I know each tank is different but thought I would put my 2¢ in here. I have a 125 gallon All Glass brand aquarium (about 6' long). I have extremely hard water and have a Coralife fixture above it that I only use 1/2 of the set of 4 lights that use 96 watts EACH. The lights I use are 50/50 10,000K and 04 actinic bulbs. I have replaced these bulbs once so far (right after purchasing the fixture which was used) with the exact same 50/50 bulbs. This tank has been running for well over a year now with no algae problems.

    The only time I had algae problems was when I started messing with the lights but have learned my lesson. I do currently have a problem with green spot algae on my Anubias nana only and with it being a low light plant figured I just had it in the wrong spot (too much light).

    I do weekly 30% water changes and add ferts only after adding new (aged) water.

    Anyhow I have a hardness of above 300ppm (crushed coral and river rock) a PH of 7.2. I keep the following plants and all have been thriving for at LEAST 1 year and many others for the full year or longer.

    Red Ozelot Sword(ECHINO OZELOT)
    Bacopa Monnieri (Money wort)
    Anubias nana(flowers like crazy).
    Anacharis (Egeria Densa)
    Red Ludwigia (Ludwigia repens broad leaf)
    Rotala Indica (super fast pink and green)
    Giant Hygro AKA (Hygrophila corymbosa) "stricta"
    Anubias Lanceo
    Anubias Minima
    Hydrocotyle leucocephala (Pennywort) Brazillian Pennywort
    Giant Bacopa (Bacopa caroliniana) aka LEMON BACOPA
    (Aponogeton longiplumulosus) XNICE
    Aponogeton natans
    Aponogeton capuroni
    Barclaya longifolia red
    Petita Nana (Anubias barteri 'Petite')
    Anubias barteri var nana 'Yellow Heart'
    Suesswassertang AKA Süßwassertang
    Hygro difformis
    SAG-Narrow-Leaf Dwarf Subulata
    Hairgrass, Giant
    Anubias Coffeefolia
    Bacopa sp. 'Colorata' AKA Bacopa Pink
    Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Tropica' AKA Tropica Crypt
    Plagiomnium Trichomanes

    It may be just dumb luck but I thought I would throw that in for what it's worth.

    James
     
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