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Is Higher Light Low Tech possible?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by PlantedFishGeek, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. PlantedFishGeek

    PlantedFishGeek Junior Poster

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    Hi all im new to this Forum,but not to fish keeping. I have a 55g set up with a heavy fish load, and i do mean heavy it is a breeding tank for live bearers. i have bulbs coming to me for my fixture because right now my few plants are suffering, as i am at less than 1wpg. The fixture is 4x54 watt T5 HO.

    Basically what i want to know is, if i put 4 bulbs in and run at 3.92WPG do i have to have co2?Or can you do a higher light low tech set it? I do not dose ferts due to my fish load. As i said it has a very heavy fish load most of the time, because even when i do sell off my fry there seems to be replacements born almost instantly.
     
  2. SpeedEuphoria

    SpeedEuphoria Prolific Poster

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    CO2 is mandatory at those lighting levels!!!!

    stick with only 2 bulbs w/o CO2
     
  3. SpeedEuphoria

    SpeedEuphoria Prolific Poster

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    CO2 is mandatory at those lighting levels!!!! Or you will have an algae farm

    stick with only 2 bulbs w/o CO2
     
  4. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    You'll end up with loads of algae. 2wpg is pretty much the limit for a non-co2/fert tank.
     
  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Even 2 watts per gallon on that size tank, with T5 bulbs, is likely to be a problem when you don't have CO2 and enough fertilizing to keep the plants growing at the speed the lights are driving them to grow. If you raise the fixture a few inches above the tank, run only two bulbs, and limit the photoperiod to 8 hours a day or less, you stand a chance of it working.
     
  6. PlantedFishGeek

    PlantedFishGeek Junior Poster

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    not that this prolly makes much difference but it is on mounting legs setting about 3 inches above the tank and about 6 to 8 inches above the water level.
     
  7. PlantedFishGeek

    PlantedFishGeek Junior Poster

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    Algae isnt always a bad thing it will feed my monster placo lol
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    A 55 gallon tank is about 21 inches tall, so with 3 inches of substrate, the substrate is about 18 inches below the top of the tank. A typical light fixture sitting on top of the tank would have the bulb about 2 inches above the top of the tank (wild guess). So, with the 3 inch legs you have, the light bulbs should be about 23 inches above the substrate. That means the light intensity at the substrate with the legs is about 20/23 times what it would be with a "standard" setup, or about 87% or less, but not less than 75%. An average of 87 and 75% is about 80%, so 2 watts per gallon with your light would be about 1.6 watts per gallon when raised that much. But, T5 fixtures give at least 1.3 times as much intensity than AH Supply type fixtures, so that 1.6 watts per gallon becomes about 2.1 watts per gallon.

    All that says is that raising it 3 inches is probably not enough. I would try suspending it and raising it about 6 inches or a bit more. Remember, this is with only two bulbs, not 4. None of those numbers can be assumed to be acccurate, just a crude way to guess at how high the light fixture needs to be.
     
  9. PlantedFishGeek

    PlantedFishGeek Junior Poster

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    Ok well at least i understood most of that, so run 2 bulbs and keep the rest as spares got ya.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The trade offs for each light level conflicts.

    You want low tech, eg no CO2 because you want less work, this also means less light which drives CO2 demand.

    The light and the CO2 are dependent, so the idea is a confliction of trade off goals.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. PlantedFishGeek

    PlantedFishGeek Junior Poster

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    Is it possible for a high fish load to produce enough CO2 for moderate lighting say 2.5 to 3 Wpg? And the plants in turn produce enough O2 for the fish?

    I plan to stay low tech so if it wont work no big deal. Also is it safe to do a "Noon Burst" say run 2WPG all the time and for a couple hours a day run 4 WPG?

    Also what happens if you run High Light without CO2?

    The tank has a fairly high fish load (at the moment, until some of my molly's are big enough to sell) i would guess (and its only a guess) 60 to 80 fish in a 55g, mostly very small fry, under 1/2 inch.

    If i could afford a Pressurized CO2 unit i would get it in a heart beat, but right now its just not in the budget.
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    About as possible for snow balls in Hades.

    Algae, poor plant growth etc........try it and find out:)

    See answer above.
    Use less light, that's the common sense method.

    No way around it.

    Well, use all floating plants etc(blocks all the light).......but not submersed......

    Do not use high fish loads and non CO2 methods, that's the trade off, balanced fish loads, no water changes, stability is the key and balance.

    No water changes= more stable CO2 levels along with low light=> which means less CO2 demand from the plants, more light=> more CO2 demand.

    Plants will adapt well over time to low stable CO2, or high CO2 etc.
    Adding high light without CO2 is a recipe for algae and disaster.
    Fish add virtually none for the plants.

    I'm curious as I've heard this 1001 times before, how can you afford high light, but not CO2? I can finaggle a CO2 system for under 100$, but 3-4 W/gal of light for a 55 gal or higher?

    Rather tough.

    Place the $ on CO2 gas, and add more light once you are ready or really understand that goal and what the work entails.

    More light is not better, it's just more work, pruning, dosing, less room for error.
    Which few folks really want in their a method, and it does apply universally to all methods, more to non CO2 than most any other.

    Why add more work for yourself?
    Patience...........

    Pick a goal and stick with it and understand the trade offs.
    You do not get to chose a particular method and then misapply it without paying a price. No way around it.

    Wait for CO2 gas, or go non CO2.
    Either way, patience is all you have for now.
    Might try Excel for now.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. PlantedFishGeek

    PlantedFishGeek Junior Poster

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    That part is easy, i have a 4 bulb fixture that i bought back when i was gonna set the tank up as SW, but Due to money problems the idea of a SW tank got scraped, I have a Charity that is sending me 4 bulbs, because at the present time my tank doesn't even count as low light, its under 1 wpg.If i run all 4 bulbs im at 3.92 Wpg.

    How can you do a CO2 set up under 100???? Heck the cheapest 5lb tank i can find is 79.00, and i haven't seen a decent regulator under 100.00, then you figure a defuser that is at least 20(If your doing it DIY) and around 30.00 if your buying it. Right there alone is over 200.00 If you have links that i can get the stuff cheaper by all means post them please, but i have looked and looked and that is about the cheapest i can find. And im sure the regulator i found for around 100.00 is prolly crap, but it was cheap.
     
  14. tinkerman

    tinkerman Subscriber

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    have you checked your local fire exstigisher place in my town I could have got a used 5 lb tank for 40 dollors. I got a beer reg for 80 in town probably not top notch but has worked good for a yr without problems knok on wood.
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I get tanks for 40-50$ filled as mentioned, and ebay reg's can go for 20$ or less even. a needle valve for 10-20$, you are set.

    so about 100$........

    If you ain't got much $, you gotta find other ways. Google, ebay, ask folks here etc.

    Sell plants etc, get a small loan from someone and learn how to grow, then sell them via USPS on line etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  16. PlantedFishGeek

    PlantedFishGeek Junior Poster

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    See thats still over 100.00, i wanna know how anyone gets it set up under 100.00.
     
  17. tinkerman

    tinkerman Subscriber

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    No its not but it was under 150.
     
  18. PlantedFishGeek

    PlantedFishGeek Junior Poster

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    Wont do ebay, got ripped off big time by ebay, not the people the site. i have googled to death, and even people getting out of the hobby that i have see usually want over 200 locally there is one store that carrys CO2 tanks over 150 for a 5lb tank and they have no used tanks, already checked. its the fact that i live i a very small town, under 10,000 people, the demand for these things just isnt there i even checked craigslist and couldnt find anything,I wish i could you have no idea.
     
  19. PlantedFishGeek

    PlantedFishGeek Junior Poster

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    now if i only had 150 lol
     
  20. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The old standby for those with time but no $$$ is DIY CO2. It is a royal pain to deal with, eventually costs a lot of money for the sugar, and requires multiple bottles with staggered start times to give a reasonably constant supply of CO2, but it can be made to work. And, the start up cost is really very low.
     
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