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Am I better off without glass covers?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by wagz, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. wagz

    wagz Junior Poster

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    Hey there,

    I justed started using the glass covers that I had cut to size to allow room for canister hosing and the fact my hob is on the side, its an hos.

    I have injected co2 and from what I read covers stop some of the loss due to mixing with o2. Obviously it helps with evaporation and jumpers too. Only lost one lf zebra danio a few months ago during an escape attempt.

    I noticed it is not as bright in the aquarium as before. I am working with 2 watts/gallon on my 75g, and not even sure if its that because my odyssea t5 may not put out the rated amount because of cheaper ballasts etc. So I can't afford to lose much light. I do plan to buy an additional light in the future, but I'm still in debt over everything I've done so far.

    I have been researching and have conflicting thoughts. Some say you lose very little 5%, some say more including all UVB rays(I don't know how important UVB is in freshwater plants). Some say they never use them, some say use with no problems.

    Also the glass is green from the side, so it's the typical iron content one, which diminishes more light.

    Does the blockage of light outway the benefits to evaporation, and or co2 preservation using glass covers?

    Thanks.
     
  2. David

    David Prolific Poster

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    There are a number of facets to this that I think youll have to weigh in on to find out what's most important.

    It may be a necessity if you have jumpers inhabiting your tank.

    A glass top helps mitigate evaporation but it will also have an impact on gas exchange at the surface of your water. CO2 degassing shouldn't be significant without a cover so long as your return lines aren't causing the water to break at the surface. Tom and many others on this board keep an open top on their tanks. Getting as much as you can in terms of gas exchange is very important if you're using canisters and have no surface skimming....Might be worthwhile investing in a $10 skimmer to connect to one of your canisters if you don't have one already.

    The iron content in the glass will inevitably reduce the light entering the tank somewhat, you can see this in a comparison of regular glass vs. low-iron Starphire on the front panel; the starphire shows greater colours (i.e. it lets more light through to your eyes) but I don't necessarily think it will have a tremendous effect. You could always try a PAR meter with and without the glass if you have access to somewhere you can rent one (maybe your LFS?)

    Overall I'd say you can run the tank open topped if your fauna permits, tweaking your pump return lines to ensure you have current but no breaking water. It also makes maintenance easier by a bit.
     
  3. wagz

    wagz Junior Poster

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    I have a fluval 406 hooked to a 20" cerges reactor, and a AC 110. I fill the water as high as possible to stop the AC from waterfalling into tank. It creates ripples/small waves, so that is the amount of surface agitation I have.
     
  4. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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    There might be one more consideration is, retaining heat. If your aquarium is in a cool basement or cooler part of the house, your aquarium heater might run more than it would if it had a cover. My aquarium doesn't have a top frame so I can't easily provide a cover. If I did, I would probably use one because the 300 watt aquarium heater comes on even in the summer. If light were an issue, I could burn the third bulb. I lose over 2 inches of water between weekly water changes as well. I don't miss the cover getting in the way during cleaning though.
     
  5. David

    David Prolific Poster

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    Good point. One other thing I should mention is that with high evaporation the glass cover will have a tendency to get covered with algae and scale. Always hated that about the glass cover on a previous tank.

     
  6. hbosman

    hbosman Guru Class Expert

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    Ahh that's right. I forgot about having to clean off algae and calcium. Maybe, I can live with a little higher electric bill after all.
     
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