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Another introduction and a question

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by gruffpuppy, Jul 30, 2007.

  1. gruffpuppy

    gruffpuppy Junior Poster

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    Hello

    My name is jen and I'm new to planted tanks. I'm pretty terrified, but hey what in life that is worth doing isn't terrifying at first? :eek:

    So on that note, here is my first question:

    I bought and set up a brand new 20 gallon tank in march of this year and happily every fish I bought is still alive but my plants have not faired quite as well. Thru forum reading I found out that I needed better light so the first chance I had I rushed out and bought a new light. It has two bulbs in it, a coralife 6700k bulb and a coralife colormax bulb. Upon opening the box the directions/ info sheet was dropped on the floor and my kittens made off with and shredded it while I was messing with the tank. So now i have very little information on these lights. I looked em up on the internet but it was just a sales site I found and it didn't tell me what I was working with. What I am trying to find out is if this light turns my tank into a high light or low light tank and if I need Co2 now. if anyone has had any expereince with these lights your input would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    If it is a 24" then you should have 2 65W power compacts (are these dual power compacts ? ) so that is 130 watts of light or 6.5 watts per gallon on a fairly shallow tank. :eek: Even with only 1 light on that's quite a bit of light. The spectral output of either bulb is fine, but that particular fixture could easily light a 47gal. column (This is exactly what I have on mine, but with 2 6700K bulbs). The lights switch individually so I'd probably just go with the colormax for the time being, and does EI parameters, but with that much output you will want to dose on the high side. Do you have tanked Co2 ? You'll be wanting it with that much light. Personally I'd look into getting a 33H aquarium, and set the colormax for 10 hours, and the 6700K for 5 hours at mid day. That would put the wattage right around 2 wpg W/ a 4 wpg High noon mid day spike. Just a thought. HTH Prof M
     
  3. gruffpuppy

    gruffpuppy Junior Poster

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    It is in fact 24". the bulbs themselves are are two different wattages one being 65 watts, the colormax when I loked it up on the coralife site said it was 14 watts. I checkled out my fixture and unless I modify its both lights on or nothing as they don't have a seprate switch. As of right now I do not have Co2. I am looking into it as we speak now because at the moment I have none.
     
  4. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Something isn't right with the bulbs. Unless one bulb is a "moon light" and the other a CF bulb, they can't be that different in wattage. Are they the coiled, screw in type bulb? Or, are the a 4 pin plug in bulb, with the tube(s) forming a single loop, long and two tubes wide?

    For a CO2 system, one good supplier is Rex Griggs, at Rex's CO2 regulators and stuff. He is just another aquarium keeper, who does this largely as a service to the rest of us. His CO2 stuff isn't the least expensive, but those who have used his stuff all say it is top rate. I have a solenoid and check valve from him and both are very good.
     
  5. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    I'm afraid I am completely unfamiliar W/ this model then. Mine has two individual switches on the end cap. :confused:

    Let me back up and say that It's unlikely I would ever buy another Coralife fixture, or probably just about any strip light for that matter.

    One of the best perks about this board is that the advice you recieve here isn't skewed buy any retail interest. You may not always like what you hear, but it will be honest, and straight forward !

    There are a small group of High Integrity, Reliable purveyors recognized in the community that come to mind, because they are hobbiest like ourselves that simply ran out of patience with Misinformation, and Half Baked retail products, Stood their ground, and struck out on their own.

    Rex Griggs Rex's CO2 regulators and stuff

    AH Supply Compact Fluorescent Lighting Kits

    Greg Watson Aquarium Plant and Aquatic Plants - Greg Watson's Guide to Dosing Strateges

    Alan & Julia Kaufmann Aquarium Plant Food - hobbyist taking care of hobbyist … | Planted Aquarium Fertilizer

    Bill KH Standard

    and of course Tom Barr http://www.barrreport.com/

    Most of us here can attribute a good portion of our success to any or ALL of them.

    This might be a very good time to contact AH Supply and purchase "The Right Lights" and canopy for your tank. You may discover that they actually cost less than the Coralife, and "WILL" exceed their performance for your individual needs.

    A few of us found this out the hard way, and we'd sure hate to see someone else repeat the drill ! :eek:
     
  6. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Here we have a novice plant grower and we are steering her in the direction of high tech lights and injected CO2, with all of the attending complexities that they bring.

    That is fine, if she wants to make that investment of several hundred dollars and a certain amount of labor just to grow aquatic plants.

    But there is an alternative, one that will also grow healthy aquatic plants at a much lower cost with less effort, and maybe increase the chances of her being in the hobby a year from now.

    I use $25 strip lights and a soil substrate. My plants grow well and my fish are happy, and I don't have to spend a lot of time dosing, pruning, and posting questions about algae outbreaks.

    I would never pay Big Al or anyone else $125 to get lighting (although by all accounts Big Al is a quality vendor).

    This site has a bias toward hi tech plant growing. And that is fine - I am a lifetime member here. But I refer Jen to the El Natural forum at APC for more info on another approach. http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/el-natural/

    Good luck, Jen!

    Bill
     
  7. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Bill, Tom posts regularly about non-CO2, low light methods here. And, he is more and more recommending that we try those methods.

    My next tank setup will be with a soil/Soilmaster substrate, low CO2 and low fertilizing rate, with moderately low light. I think the more of us who try such lower light tank methods, the more we can recommend them to others.

    I plan to do a thread here to chronicle my efforts, but all I have done so far is collect dirt!
     
  8. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Vaughn,

    Yes, Tom often posts on lower light methods. And you post more than he does, and just about always on the mark.

    In this case, the only advice that Jen got was to go the high tech route, and I wanted to be sure that she knew that there was an alternative.

    Bill
     
  9. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    Yes, Of course, You're right, How very presumptuous of me. Terribly Sorry ! :eek: Won't happen aqain sir. ;) Thanks for covering that. :)
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    This site does not have any such bias, some of the folks here do, but I'm not one of them, nor is Greg Watson.

    In general, all sites' membership tend to have such bias if you want to be honest about it, except perhaps Rhonda's(Gupp's).

    I'm very much a Non CO2 user and have been for about 30 years.
    I've been successful at both algae issues and scaping.
    Both soil based and inert based sediments.

    I think the bias in our assumptions can get the better of us all.
    I try to be aware, but the best way to do so is to simply have a nice non CO2 tank.

    They are not hard, nor costly.
    And once set up, they are easier than any of the other methods.

    I have a simple method for non CO2 on the Estimative index forum here.
    There's some discussion.
    Give that a read and if you have further questions, I can answer any on this method or your goals and rational for it.

    I think asking what the person's goal is, then applying a method and giving them the trade offs avoids bias and assumptions.

    We often times can bull dog folks into high light, CO2, dosing etc, when it may not be even remotely their goal.

    I've been on an anti high light kick lately(perhaps the last decade actually) and every so often I'll start in on telling the high tech folks to try out a nice non CO2 tank etc.

    It'll actually get more folks involved in plants if you promote both and not just one method for CO2(excel would be a 3rd option).

    I've posted a number of nice non CO2 tank examples.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Good man!

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tom,

    You have always been supportive of different ways of growing aquatic plants. Hi tech, low tech, no tech - all get good, helpful comments from you.

    But, most of the posters here prefer high light, injected CO2 approaches. That is fine - we low light folks can learn a lot from their experiences. I think the "bias", if you will (or "tilt" or "emphasis"), of most sites is largely determined by the posters and the topics that they introduce and the advice that they give. And here that "tilt" is, naturally, in the direction of higher light, injected CO2.

    In this context, "bias" is not a bad word.

    Bill
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Which is why we should all support using various methods for ourself, as well as for others. Then you can see and appreciate the joys of the various methods and know what they entail.
    Yes, there is a strong bias, I'm not suggesting that bias itself is bad, many have bias and they have done both methods to high level.

    But those folks are rare.

    I know many that talk to me are trying out the lower light tanks, and a few are going the low tech method without CO2.

    We all make some assumptions when some asks a question about "how to grow aquatic plants".

    I resign myself to helping them based on their goals, rather than a method. That's secondary.

    Many folk believe that their method is best. I do not. It's a secondardy consideration. Each has its specific trade offs and goals and is best under a certain set of critieria only.

    It's hard to chose which one to promote. So I suggets both.
    Folks generally promote only what they know and have had success with though.

    What I often suggest and promote is having the CO2 folks try the non CO2 methods, that's not as hard, and the non CO2 folks try the CO2 methods(that's harder to sell them on).

    That way we have lots of folks that can do both methods well and think in those terms. Right now, we are just starting to see this trend happen(both).

    That seems like a wise approach and gets away from bias.
    I know Vaughn has a non CO2 tank up and running and many others are enjoying the low work load and the nice ease of care.

    Non CO2 tanks are super for the nanos and additional tanks if you have less time, tend to neglect tanks for longer time frames or just want a slower growing less intense care tank.

    Hard to argue with that direction:p

    But back to your point, the bias is not just here, it's everywhere.
    APC has plenty of bias, just go look at the newbie sections, no site is immune. Edward had it bad when I argued with him about why not use non CO2 methods if "excess is bad" for nutrients/CO2 or if you want less/fewer water changes. He never once gave an answer to that trade off. It did not support his belief or argument:rolleyes:
    I kept pounding that issue, his pals got mad and started calling me names and getting personal.

    But he never answered that conflict in his advice, the rest does not matter.
    Diana is at least consistent and certainly takes things to a higher level in terms of her logic and approach. I do not agree with some of the things, but she can at least support them and addresses such questions.

    You have to face the music at some point. You cannot have all the benefits and arguments for, without giving something up in return. If so, you are just promoting agenda, not the hobby. Yet light limiting is not discussed(actually Edward suggest adding as much as possible which is backwards based on plant growth requirements, it all starts with light which drives CO2, which drives nutrient uptake etc), only ferts and CO2 and then if you accept that the argument less is better, then why isn't Edward supporting non CO2 low light methods exclusively?

    If that is your arguement and you want to hold it up as the defining aspect(less is better), then go all out, none of this something in between, that sounds too much like a "range" or an "estimation". Non CO2 tanks have extremely little variation in CO2, nutrients such as NH4 and NO3 at often immeasurable levels.

    Add only sediment ferts since less is better in the water column, again, he supports inert sediments exclusively.

    Diana does not, she suggest the opposite, however, I've done both well to a high degree. So knowning both sides really helps get a better perspective. But simply trying it without successful execution is worthless also, you have to master the method, not merely try it .......to speak with less bias.

    Convincing folks that is tough to say the least, they "believe" otherwise, but you can falsify their belief's easily by providing a nice example of a method that they failed at. That gets them madder however:p

    I've never bought into the notion that less is really better, that was the idea behind algae limitation methods. That's not what I'd argue for as evidence suggest otherwise.

    I've long known the trade offs, that several methods work well. I'd rather have several tools in my tool box than being a one trick pony. I think folks that grew plants well long before the net/the web appeared are quite different.

    Every method has a set of trade offs, the person's goals therefore should define those trade offs, not the other way around.

    This is actually less plant science and more social science.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Corrrection: I used to have a non-CO2 nano tank going, but I found I wasn't taking good enough care of it, so I gave it away. Now I will be trying low CO2, moderately low light and tilting towards root feeding instead of high water column feeding. The worst thing that will happen is that I won't like it and will decide to try something else next.
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Check out the New to plants section, set your goals, then take a look at what methods can get you there.

    I think you likely hve 2x 40-65 w powercompact lights, a very very intense lighting. If they are normal output, 15 or 20 water normal FL's bulbs, you are in luck for a non CO2 approach(or CO2 depending on your goals which may change as you progress in the hobby).

    See the Estimative index sub forum and see the non CO2 approach link.
    http://www.barrreport.com/articles/433-non-co2-methods.html

    Enjoy

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  16. gruffpuppy

    gruffpuppy Junior Poster

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    Hi again everyone,

    I've been away for a while dealing with life issues but now I am back and I would like to thank you guys for all the replies. I am still a little confused about the light but for right now my plants are alive and even growing a little and this is a drastic improvement over the original light.

    I just went back and reviewed the goals post and I've got my mind pretty much set on the explosive growth tank. As it is now, I look for any little excuse to be elbows deep in my tank every day as it is, that may give me a reason to be, and I think that was the thing that goaded me into buying that light in the first place. The day I bought the light , I also bought one high light plant and added it to the tank, this plant is still alive. but so are my low light plants. this is what I added --> http://www.aquahobby.com/garden/e_ludwigia.phpve

    I love the idea of high tech, the more complex the better. But on that note high tech is high stress to me because I don't normally have enough info, and often find myself limited by the cost. Hence the hugely intense light and me twiddling my thumbs saying "whats CO2?". I end up doing a lot of things backwards, I am used to it by now. So what I am trying to figure out now is should I try and get the fert dosing down before I add co2? or is that, again, backwards?

    *edited for content*
     
  17. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    RE: Backwards... Well, Yeah Sort'a ???:confused:

    Good Nutrition is good nutrition, but in the absence of adequate Co2, and Excess light the Algae would make more efficient use of those nutrients. Might be time to decide on a Co2 system "before" the Algae gets the upper hand. Based on your concept of Explosive Growth I'd recommend investing in Quality components from the git go. When saddling comets it's best to get a Real Firm grip ! ;) HTH, Prof M
     
  18. charlie

    charlie Guru Class Expert

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    Hello, i highly suspect you have a coralife 2x14 watt T5 NO fixture, are the bulbs linear or are they U shaped, if the bulbs are linear / are they very small in diameter, is it like the one in the link below

    24" Coralife Freshwater Aqualight T5 Dual Lamp Fixture
    Regards
     
  19. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    I hope you're right, that would be perfect ! :) It would also allow her to run Co2 at a much more manageable level. A basic Co2 setup, and EI dosing away from High Cotton...:cool:
     
  20. gruffpuppy

    gruffpuppy Junior Poster

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    Yes! that is exactly what I have! no u shape, straight small diameter bulbs and it is the same box even that it came in! oh I am SO excited! That's great!

    As for algie, I haven't seen any at all yet and its been set up with this light for a month. I am constantly checking for it and so far if I have any algie at all I have to assume that my algie eating fish got it covered because I haven't even had a bacteria bloom yet and the tank has been running since this past march. would that have anything to do with an really light fish load?

    ok. So high end from the get go. I was toying with the idea of diy, but yeah I would so much rather a Co2 setup the way it was meant to be. alright well that answers my question thanks so much!
     
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