Do I need more light?

dutchy

Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Jul 6, 2009
2,280
4
36
61
The Netherlands
Hi all,

At the moment I'm using 250 Watts of light on my 180 gallon, which is 1,4 WPG. The distance substrate to lights is 22 inch. I don't have algae, except a little bit of GDA, and plant growth is good and managable.

I know the general idea about lights is "less is more"'. Still, it's hard for me to keep long stem plants (20 inch) full of leaves. The HC grows, but doesn't pearl at any time. Blyxa does.

Should I increase my lights? An option is to go 50% higher, which would bring me at 2,1 WPG.

Thanks,
Dutchy
 
B

Brian20

Guest
I dont have 180 Gallons, The most I have is 55G and the high Tech is 29 Gallons but by experience i say more light is better until a point. Up to 2.1 WPG looks like good Idea.
 

Gerryd

Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Sep 23, 2007
5,623
20
38
South Florida
Hi dutchy,

Since you asked.....

If your overall growth is good and manageable, I would need to know:

1. Where is the lack of fullness? Is it under heavy shade or at the very bottom of the stem? Can you get PAR readings from the poor and good sections?

2. Is the flow good through the sparse sections? Is it blocked by heavy growth?

I remember you had excellent growth when the tank started. I didn't notice any sparse areas with your first pics.

What has changed? Is too little light really the issue?

That being said, I would increase light less than your MAX target if possible. Plants need time to adjust to the higher NEED for c02 and other nutrients. They can adjust quicker to a smaller light increase than a large one IME....So start with a smaller increase is my advice.

Remember to increase c02 and other fert dosing along with the increase in light.

Make sure you have enough room between stems for light and current to get to them......It is easy to forget how dark and thick some weeds can get.......
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,695
736
113
I'd not go more than 2w/gal, so sure, if you wanna tr it, make sure you can go back and reduce the intensity if you wish.

Regards
Tom Barr
 

dutchy

Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Jul 6, 2009
2,280
4
36
61
The Netherlands
Gerryd;49414 said:
Hi dutchy,

Since you asked.....

If your overall growth is good and manageable, I would need to know:

1. Where is the lack of fullness? Is it under heavy shade or at the very bottom of the stem? Can you get PAR readings from the poor and good sections?

2. Is the flow good through the sparse sections? Is it blocked by heavy growth?

I remember you had excellent growth when the tank started. I didn't notice any sparse areas with your first pics.

What has changed? Is too little light really the issue?

That being said, I would increase light less than your MAX target if possible. Plants need time to adjust to the higher NEED for c02 and other nutrients. They can adjust quicker to a smaller light increase than a large one IME....So start with a smaller increase is my advice.

Remember to increase c02 and other fert dosing along with the increase in light.

Make sure you have enough room between stems for light and current to get to them......It is easy to forget how dark and thick some weeds can get.......



Hi Gerry,

Thanks for your input. Nothing has changed, I still have very good growth. I'm very happy with the tank. But being a little bit of a perfectionist, I always try to make it better.
The bottom of some bigger stems, like the hygro, lose some leaves. The HC grows, but doesn't pearl.
Flow is at 10 x turnover. (2 canisters + MP40) The canister intakes are behind the biggest plantgroups, that should take care of flow. I don't think I'm crowding the plants.

I don't have a PAR meter, I think it's better to buy one first.

I included an attachment, the empty spot on the right is currently being filled in by P. Stellata.

Thanks,
dutchy.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

dutchy

Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Jul 6, 2009
2,280
4
36
61
The Netherlands
dbazuin;49419 said:
I got 2,6 watt a gallon is that to much then?
The other option is 1,7

Hi Dirk,
On my old tank, I was using 2,5 WPG. When I started reading here, I turned it down to 1,4 WPG. That was a relief. Not pruning plants and remove algae twice a week.

In your case I would surely try 1,7 WPG. You will see the tank is more managable and forgiving. Less work, less algae growth, easier to meet CO2 demand. You have nothing to lose. Just turn off the switch. If you don't like it, you turn it on again. Very easy, but I don't think you will regret it. But give it some weeks time.

Regards,
Dutchy.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
B

Brian20

Guest
looks great the light you can get for MH or T-5HO, I need 4 WPG or more to compare it with my T-12 light. For sure I will go T-5 HO in the future, less watts, gives more.
 

dbazuin

Guru Class Expert
Dec 30, 2009
156
1
16
65
Dutchy,

How do you mean more managable?
I think I have got it rigth now. I increased the CO2 to 40 en keep my N en P higher (25/3.5). And a few days ago I start to use more traces. Yesterday I saw pearling from plants that did not do that before. The A. Reineckii does a good lot op pearling to. So I let it t a week or so go this way.

Greetings Dirk
 

dutchy

Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Jul 6, 2009
2,280
4
36
61
The Netherlands
More managable means slower plant growth so less pruning, less algae and easier to meet CO2 and nutrients demand. Especially CO2 is hard to do with high light.

I really hated to prune plants twice a week.

Regards,
dutchy
 

jonny_ftm

Guru Class Expert
Mar 5, 2009
821
2
16
Hi dutchy,

Your tank is really great looking. Of course from the distant shot you posted, we can't see the small imperfections you talk about, neither the algae issues

As you speak about some algae, I'll say, focus again on CO2 and EI. Try to increase CO2 before light to achieve a better growth. I didn't believe a tank can't have algae (visible and needing occasional manual removal) unless I started the nano in my signature.

In my expierience, adding light to solve stems loosing bottom leaves won't solve the issue. It will only give you faster growth, more frequent trimming and retopping. So, before you see leaves decaying, you'll have to prune the plants. On the other hand, increasing CO2 and using shorter plants in front/between stems, will solve that issue. The normal bottom leaves falling issue will be slower and masked with the shorter carpetting plants. If you increase light, you'll have to increase CO2, EI and prune more often.

Give a try to CO2 before light as your main goal is less maintenance. The higher CO2 the lower light needs are (see Tropica stickied article to get what I mean)
 

dutchy

Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Jul 6, 2009
2,280
4
36
61
The Netherlands
Thanks for your input. Maybe I'm expecting to much that a 20 inch tall plant can't lose some leaves at the bottom. Too bad for being a perfectionist. ;).
The link I made to more light is that for example the Alternathera, which is a small single group, stays full of leaves. I can space plant groups more, but until a certain point. The HC, which is not pearling nor shaded or crowded, tells me light is not in abundance. Could a "noon burst" be useful?
To be sure I'm going to buy a PAR meter first. Until then nothing changes. I installed a Vortech MP40 a week ago so maybe more flow will help here. Wait and see.

The GDA is more of an issue, although I already let it go through it's cycle for 3 weeks, it's still there and I really need to clean the glass every week. The UV doesn't seem to help with GDA.

Of course it's like you said. Small imperfections. Except for the GDA, there isn't ANY algae. Enough to be happy about.

Regards,
dutchy
 

jonny_ftm

Guru Class Expert
Mar 5, 2009
821
2
16
Alternanthera is rather a slow growing stem with thick leaves that persist enough a long time, one of the best to keep stems as a low maintenance (I failed them on the long run, maybe CO2 issue, have to try again as I was rather high light then...)

Other faster stems will often loose their leaves between two prunings, seems to be a normal cycle, old leaves decaying and falling

HC not pearling, if it grows, then it is fine. Often is CO2 as it is hard to get a good CO2 in bottom, misting is the best to get CO2 in bottom. Could be also light in your deep tank, but with T5, usually 20in is not that deep

Algae on glass can be limited/avoided but adding a shading band (wood, foam, tinted plexi...) along the front glass (most large tanks have a front reinforcement glass where you can lay the shading band) or playing with reflectors when possible. If it is a hanging light, you can put it backward instead of centering it
 

dutchy

Plant Guru Team
Lifetime Member
Jul 6, 2009
2,280
4
36
61
The Netherlands
Sometimes I think I'd better stop using CO2. My quarantaine tank (53 gallon) has no CO2, just 0,9 Watt per gallon (48 Watts) and ANY algae, not even GDA.

Regards,
dutchy.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

SuperColey1

Guru Class Expert
Feb 17, 2007
503
0
16
46
Lincoln, UK
There is a defining line really here. one tank is a non limited ferts and CO2 tank and the other a non CO2 tank. The low light will work on either but the higher light will only work on the unlimited one.

As stated above by all the higher the light the less room for error you have with CO2. forget ferts there is huge room for error (within reason) there as you can add excess. With CO2 it is hard to add excess the higher the light is because as quickly as you add it it escapes. Therefore circulation becomes more critical the higher you go. You need to get higher amounts of ferts and CO2 to the plants quicker before the CO2 escapes and that means making sure circulation is pushing everything everywhere all the time with no exception.

The larger the plant mass the harder circulation becomes. think of every single thing being an obstacle, leaves, plants, hardscape etc. The more there is the more obstacles to circulation. In an empty tank a 10x turnover may become a whirlpool. In a very heavily planted tank it may seem like it is hardly moving.

For this reason many people are these days using anything up to 30x turnover!!! Both of my tanks are close to 20x

I would suggest what the others above are saying and drop the lights down to a lower WPG. If it doesn't look bright enough for you then choose some 5500 - 8000K tubes so that they 'seem' brighter to the human eye. The plants won't mind.

AC
 

shoggoth43

Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Jan 15, 2009
1,092
11
38
As an aside on the CO2 addition, I found it interesting that in the graph Tom posted in one of the other threads, it took roughly 45 minutes to get the CO2 up to where it was "supposed" to be once he started adding it. Once it was turned off, it was pretty much gassed off within 10 minutes. CO2 really just doesn't want to hang around for very long so it's no wonder it's such a pain to get it right.

-
S
 

jonny_ftm

Guru Class Expert
Mar 5, 2009
821
2
16
dutchy;49499 said:
You also have a 0,9 WPG nano without algae, isn't it?

Eureka!! The solution is 0,9 WPG!! :) ;)

0.9wpg helps with tricking CO2 and clearly won't favor algae. CO2 addition will make it even stable. A non CO2 tank needs low light as you were told, while a CO2 tank can have some room for more light. I really find it more than enough light in my case and I'm so happy with results, others would like faster growth...