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Easy Red Growth from Amazon bulb

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by ForTheHalibut, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. ForTheHalibut

    ForTheHalibut Member

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    All of my tanks are dirted, with no pressurized CO2 or liquid ferts. In my 30 gallon scape, which is lit with a Finnex strip line, limnophila aromatica looks like this:

    5V3RSduhv4wvQH6_rrL7FddrQSMg92sbEw-MjPjwDm2a-lyGHtZBIaG-N166SYL-1mgkc8Kn0KjAcAmE8-n=w778-h584-no.jpg
    [See left. Pardon the moss grow-out hoochy - getting ready for a rescape]

    I am completely satisfied with this growth. I also planted cuttings from the very same batch of L aromatica in my nursery tank. Be warned, my nursery tank is a mess. Everything is kind of scraggly at the moment, I believe because the substrate is too thin in this planting area (which was only meant to ever house foreground plants).

    53EaV_4KyFREMegWcT83Sbvf1QWB6xD0L1zvUYS6OZAl8YnPBamsqwsc61-W3yk5ZtUjDlY97Jy4LN-Ssnh=w778-h584-no.jpg
    Bright magenta. Both tanks are dirt+pool sand. Both rarely get water changes. Neither benefits from pressurized co2 or liquid ferts. The only difference is that this part of my nursery tank is lit with a random lightbulb I got off amazon.

    Can someone who knows a little about lighting spectrum explain this to me? Folks in the forums often seem to argue that red plant growth requires nitrogen suppression, iron supplementation, fert-regime obsession, and CO2 saturation, but I'm getting zero-effort results from a hopped up shop light and some potting soil.

    Second question: this light burns a little on the warm/yellow side. Could I add a few blue LEDs to get things looking a little whiter/cooler, or would that not end up looking so great?
     
  2. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    Beautiful results. Are those red jewel Cichlids I see? They don’t tear up the plants?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. ForTheHalibut

    ForTheHalibut Member

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    Thanks! I'm looking forward to transplanting them into a real scape - I hate having to show pics of my nursery like this.

    Nope, dollar sunfish. Really lovely, social fish. Not closely related to cichlid, but they have convergently evolved many cichlid-like behaviors. I don't use heaters in any of my aquariums, so I typically keep native, temperate water fish.
     
  4. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    The bulb is heavy on red spectrum, so it will make red plants look redder. Your plants are red because of the conditions you've given them. If you really want to monkey around, switch the lights on the tanks and see what happens.

    And, no, you absolutely do not need tons of fertilizer and high CO2 etc. to get red colors. Yours is a great approach. It's time-tested, effective, and relaxed.

    Great choice of fish, BTW. Did you collect them or buy them?
     
  5. ForTheHalibut

    ForTheHalibut Member

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    I was thinking that, but it seemed too intuitive to be true. I have been a long-time member of a different planted aquaria forum where users debate endlessly about how to create red plants, and it surprises me to learn that the answer, at least for this plant, is just red light. I've also noticed that the new growth on rotala magenta is quite vibrant.

    That's a good idea, but unfortunately I can't swap the lights because of the shape/size of their housing. When I put together my new 30 gallon scape, I'll be moving all of my cutting of limno aromatica into the same tank, so it will be interesting to watch them merge.

    I've been wondering recently if my success with dirt has had anything to do with the fact that I do not use a heater. Cooler water can absorb more CO2, and I believe most of the CO2 in my tank comes from decomposition of soil, so maybe there's something to that?

    Thanks! Purchased from Sachs Systems Aquaculture. They have been an absolute joy to keep; spawned twice last summer. I am trying to reduce my bioload though, to keep maintanence down so I can focus more on plants (and law school), so I am considering giving them away. Interested?
     
  6. Pikez

    Pikez Rotala Killer!
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    Your CO2 comes from fish respiration, substrate and detritus decomposition, and about 3 or 4 ppm from the atmosphere. And of course, plants product CO2 at night. All of that keeps things chugging along nicely. So...if you suddenly take the fish away, you might find that the plants aren't doing quite as well because that's where part of the CO2 is coming from.

    If you're intent on getting rd of the sunfish, let me know. Shipping it across the county may be a pain in the a$$.
     
  7. ForTheHalibut

    ForTheHalibut Member

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    Shoot, good point :(

    I could always supplement with liquid ferts (I still have a big stockpile leftover somewhere), but I've already invested too much in my self-riteous identity as a low-tech dirted tank ideologue. I was going to use getting rid of the sunfish as an excuse to acquire a fourth neocaridina breed, but that really wouldn't help my carbon problem. This is something to think about. Thank you for the heads up!

    If you're really interested, I'd be happy to send them to you for the cost of shipping, but it might be cheaper for you to find a closer source. There are 5 total. They benefit greatly from a schooling dither fish, though it can be hard finding a good match: their mouths are bigger than they look, and larger fish will sometimes end up dead with mysterious bruises and lacerations. 30 gallons is probably way too small for them - I feel bad.
     
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