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  2. We are after as many aquarium plant images that we can get, doing so will assist us in completing the aquarium plant database.

    https://barrreport.com/threads/aquatic-plant-images-wanted.14374/
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Is this where you introduce yourself?

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by kid creole, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. kid creole

    kid creole Prolific Poster

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    I hope so.

    I have a 65 gallon with a wet/dry filter, 6x39W (234W) T5, flourite substrate, and pressurized CO2. My main focus is on creating a natural and interesting habitat for the inhabitants of the tank. I have kept fish on and off for about 15 years, but it wasn't until recently that I made any real attempt to make it anything more than a tank full of fish.

    Here is my original setup from 7/2008:
    [​IMG]

    This is where I was a 9/2008:
    [​IMG]

    Here is where I am 12/2008
    [​IMG]


    I'm very happy overall. Fish seem to love this setup, and I'm really enjoying it.

    Here are my current issues that I need to figure out:
    1. The swords are 'holey', and they are not healthy. Their leaves look weak and sort of yellow.
    2. The Valisnaria is turning yellow and not growing as quickly as it did once.
    3. I am not getting any CO2 into the water. I use this reactor: [​IMG]

    I used to have this reactor in the sump but I moved it to the main tank. It still hasn't really impacted CO2 levels.

    I haven't seen any measurable nitrates at all since day one. To try to improve the plant growth and eliminate algae, I have gone up and down on Flourish. I started out with 1 cap twice per week. Then I went to every other day, then about 5 out of 7 days. Then I started using RO water, and this is what cleared up the algae. I continued overdosing Flourish, but I just recently stopped. I am planning to go back to twice per week.


    So, it is nice to meet you all. I love this site. I have perused many, and decided to join this one because of the knowledge and activity that I see here.

    I hope that the pictures and the info will help you guys and gals give me some tips on what to do next. I have read around, and I have chosen the high light/CO2 injection method, but right now I have high light, low CO2, moderately healthy plants. I am currently looking at another reactor, but I'm not sure if that is the issue.

    One last thing, water parameters: GH: 7, KH: 4.5, pH: ~8. The high pH is the symptom of something.... I don't know what it is.

    Nice to meet y'all.
     
  2. kid creole

    kid creole Prolific Poster

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    I should add that the vals are more yellowed than in the last pic. This is a recent development, while the swords have had issues since day one.
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    You have so much more light than is necessary even for what is referred to as "high light". Unless you are dosing heavily with KNO3, KH2PO4, and trace elements, plus, and especially important, maintaining around 30 ppm of CO2 in the water at all times, with good enough water circulation to keep the CO2 concentration high all over the tank, I would expect to see lots of algae, and many plants not doing well. (The more agressive plants would hog the nutrients, starving the other plants.)

    I suggest reducing the light by at least half, and starting from there.
     
  4. bibbels

    bibbels Prolific Poster

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I agree with Hoppy regarding the light, especially if the T5's have individual reflectors for each bulb. I would recommend running only 2 of the bulbs. You may get somewhat slower growth but it will save you many headaches.

    For comparison, I have a 6 foot 125 gallon tank with 6 x 39 watt T5HO with individual reflectors (Tek II retrofits by sunlight supply). Im now only running 4 bulbs on this tank because all six were too much. I have PAR readings 40-70 mmoles at the substrate level with just 4 bulbs - even with them 10 inches above the water surface.
     
  5. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    You may want to try one of the small needle wheel pumps and inject the c02 directly into these. The impeller will chop the c02 up nicely and it then goes right into the tank. Just place it closer to the substrate so the c02 has a chance to spread through the tank. This may work better than the reactor you are using now. You can place these right in the sump so that the main sump pump returns the c02 enriched water back to the tank.

    Or a small DIY reactor can be built very easily and cheaply and can be built to size. A search on the site should show several threads on reactors and injection methods.

    You may want to investigate a drop checker or two to help you guage your c02 levels in the tank. While not perfect they work well to help you get your levels stable and sufficient.
     
  6. kid creole

    kid creole Prolific Poster

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    I just set up the timers to go to an 11 hour total light cycle. 2 bulbs come on from 7:00 to 9:00 in the morning to allow me to feed the fish, then come on again from 2:00 until 11:00. I set the other 4 to come on from 3:00 to 5:00. I know this isn't exactly what you guys recommend, but I'm experimenting. It's a lot less light than what I am doing now.

    I think I need to figure out the reactor next. I cleaned it again for the umpteenth time, and it is just spitting bubbles.
     
  7. shane

    shane Lifetime Charter Member
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    I have a 58 gallon tank. I run (1) 39Watt T5HO for 10 hours a day and then another 39Watt T5HO 4 hours day. Each bulb has its own reflector. Seems to be plenty of light.
     
  8. kid creole

    kid creole Prolific Poster

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    This all is just blowing my mind, to be quite frank.

    I think I am going to have to ask you guys to filter your advice so as not to make me feel very foolish about the money I put into this light fixture. :lol:
     
  9. kid creole

    kid creole Prolific Poster

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    Are the pictures of the tank showing up? Now that I've come back to this thread, I don't see pics.
     
  10. ntino

    ntino Guru Class Expert

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    the pics arent showing up for me.

    btw, dont be discouraged about the light.
    I think that the light you have now is fine, but I would try rasing it abit - try 8" off the top of the water - this will give you good light for your tank - you could do 2 lights for 10-12 hours and the other 4 for a 5-6 hours burst - as long as co2 levels are good and you dose corrently, you should not have algae - I had over 900w of t5 with individual reflectors on a 240 tank and very little algae, the real problem with that tank was managing growth - it just went out of control every 5 days of not pruning.
    its also important how deep a tank is - you will need more light to reach the bottom of a taller tank, anything over 25" will need good light to get good growth at the bottom.
     
  11. kid creole

    kid creole Prolific Poster

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    Please let me know if you are seeing the pictures now.

    Thanks for all of the advice.

    I don't think I'll be able to lift my light at all because I don't have a hood, and the fixture sits on the top of the tank. I asked for the ok to hang the fixture from the ceiling and was denied. :)

    I'm going to stick with my current plan for the next couple of weeks, 2x weekly flourish, every other day excel, 11 hour light cycle as described.
     
  12. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Why do you think a 28 inch deep tank will take a lot more light than a 24 inch deep tank? Water absorbs very little of the light at either of those depths. All that is happening is that the substrate is about 17% farther from the light, which should only require something less than 17% more light for the same intensity. (Some of the light reflects off the glass to augment the direct lighting of the substrate.)
     
  13. ntino

    ntino Guru Class Expert

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    I was only using the 25" mark as a guide, but T5 are not very good at penetrating, due to the fact that they are not a point source of light, and due to the way the reflectors are(they cannot focus light, only reflect it on 2 sides, so they are not 3 dimentional. A high powered point light like a 400w MH is much better at penetrating farther. Test it out sometime with a meter.
    T5s are great in tanks up to 25", but not more. Then again, it really depends on how much light you want.
     
  14. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I disagree. (That's half the fun here!)
    A point source light loses intensity proportional to the square of the distance from the bulb, but a lineal tube type bulb, T5 for example, only loses intensity proportional to the distance, except near the ends of the bulb, where the intensity drops faster. In either case, some of the light striking the inside of the glass is reflected down to the substrate, which makes the loss less than that. But, the "point source" bulb will always lose intensity with distance faster than a linear bulb does.

    No light we can use can have a true parabolic reflector that focuses the light into a parallel beam, because that would require the bulb to be so small as to closely approximate a point source, and no bulb does. In fact most of the MH or HQI fixtures I have seen use reflectors made of flat planes, usually with surfaces that diffuse the light somewhat to spread it out better. By contrast T5 lights use linear 2 dimensional parabola-like reflectors that reflect most of the light towards the water, and the reflector surfaces are mirror finished, not diffusing.

    MH/HQI lights are 150, 250 or 400 watt lights because those are the only ones available. (A few 70 watt ones are available, but I haven't heard of many people using them). A couple of any of those lights is a lot of watts being used to generate light, compared to T5 fixtures. It is the intensity of those lights, due to their high power, that causes them to provide more intensity at the substrate. An equal power T5 fixture would be brighter because T5 fixtures are more efficient at converting power to light. An added plus for T5 fixtures is that a well designed one will have the bulbs spread out across the top of the tank giving much more uniform light, and light that strikes the plants at different angles, avoiding some of the shading of understory plants by the tall ones.
     
  15. ntino

    ntino Guru Class Expert

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    I was like you once

    I thought the same like you once, this is what all planted folks think. Building a large reef system I learned differently. There are a number of nearly true parabolic reflectors for MH lights - look into Lumenmax Elite, or Lumenarc III, these are the good ones, they are large though - 14x14 and 21x21 inches, they are also deep, one is 8 inch the other is 5.5. Its impossible to make a good reflector for a T5 bulb, it only reflects from 2 sides and alot goes back into the bulb. A true 3d reflector focuses the light A LOT better.

    Btw, I have both 3x400w separate pendants and 12x80w t5 fixture over a 25tall tank, if you were to take a look at my PAR meter, you would be surprised at the difference between only T5s on and only MH on, not to mention that the MH pendants are highter up (I was testing those out since I plan on using that setup for a 36" tall reef tank.))

    Dont consider stock fixtures that look like a t5 fixture with MH lights in it, these mostly suck since the reflectors are small in them, except for Sfiligoi fixtures, that run about 1200$ for a single bulb pendant.

    There are no reef people that will use T5 on anything deeper than 25", and these are people who will pay top dollar for a good fixture.
    Of course the needs of stony corals and plants are different, plants dont need nearly as much light, but the technology stays the same - right now MH are better on deep tank, and in my opinion, better on any tank, the only problem is that you cannot mix bulbs and no sunrise effects.

    Dont forget that this is about PAR numbers also.
    I am not sure which one wins as far as watts per PAR(if you spend quite a bit of money on a fixture good enough to light a deeper tank, the minor wattage difference is not very noticeable even over a course of 5 years - you will need to replace a lot of T5 bulbs though, whereas an MH bulb is cheaper and lasts quite a bit with a good ballast), but there are NO T5 fixtures that penetrate deep about for taller tanks, simply because you cant make it more intense than about 1w per inch of length, you can cram a lot of them under a hood, but that's also limited.

    You can easily test this out with a PAR meter, if you have a t5 and a MH fixture with similar wattage.

    A combination of both is usually preferred for dusk and dawn as well as color.
    This discussion makes more sense for reef tanks, since not many folks have big tall planted tanks, but I am sure those that do, use MH lighting, Tom might chime in, since he has done bigger tanks for clients.
     
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