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

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Please verify my final lighting choices!

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by gryffin, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. gryffin

    gryffin Junior Poster

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    I've spent a lot of time reading the information on this and other sites. I am making final decisions on the lights I need to purchase so that I can grow low - medium light plants in my tanks.

    I do not want to add CO2, I don't mind some ferts and possibly excel, but I want to keep the maintenance requirements low.

    Here is what I have selected:

    28G (18H) bowfront - 24" Coralife 2x14W T5
    29G (18H) standard - 30" Coralife 2x18W T5 (1.24 wpg)
    36G (21H) bowfront - 30" Current Nova Extreme 2x24W T5HO (1.33 wpg)
    46G (20H) bowfront - 36" Current Nova Extreme 2x39W T5HO (1.69 wpg)

    I think 29G and 36G tanks are right where they need to be.

    I'm a bit concerned that the 28G will be too low though it does hit the minimum 1 wpg for T5's.

    I'm most concerned about the 46G- 1.69 wpg is likely too high, my other options are 42 wpg (T5NO's) which I am concerned is too low, or 96 wpg CF which is more expensive than either T5 option.

    Any advice would be appreciated!
     
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    The nova's cram their lights in like most rigs, but at least they use individual reflectors. You'll probably get a bit of a bump up from the equivalent wattage in CF.

    The coralife have semi-individual reflectors last I checked; sort of wavy. Odds are your quality of light isn't going to be quite so hot as on the nova's per watt.

    All the same I'd say your lighting rig looks appropriate for mid to low, considering your use of prefab lights. You could get better quality of lighting if you ran individual strips spaced out from each other; there would be more light hitting lower parts of the leaf, making for healthier growth. Your issue with all of the tanks will be ground cover, since while its lighting requirements aren't anything special, they'll be the most shaded and receiving the least light. If you're doing tall plants in the back, be sure to move your lighting fixture into the front 1/3rd; the tops of the tall plants closer to the light don't need the light directly over them.

    For the 46g, if it's giving you trouble, try a big batch of DIY CO2 and some excel. If that isn't your think, go compressed. Personally I'd consider doing one less tank and getting compressed CO2 on all the other tanks if they're close together via a 3-way manifold.

    One thing to note is that high light plants aren't really high light; they're high CO2 demand. I've got some very healthy H. difformis that tropica once listed as high light, but now considers medium, sitting in less than 1wpg. Even brilliant red plants and picky ground covers can be grown in low light, so long as the light gets to them. The issue is getting that low light down low in the tank through good light spread, and keeping the CO2 up.

    -FST
     
  3. gryffin

    gryffin Junior Poster

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    I was thinking of putting Currents 2xT5HOs on the 28G bow and the 29G- I was just concerned about the light being in the 1.65-1.71 range. The price difference between these and the Coralife fixtures is negligible.

    The tanks are all in different rooms- so a single CO2 cylinder wouldn't do it. All the tanks are currently artificial or low light planted with stock single strip lights. I want live plants both because I think it looks better and so that my fish can benefit. From all I have read- I need to upgrade my lighting so that the plants will survive (though I am getting growth on my crypts and swords under the stock lights).

    Time is the limiting factor for me- hence why I wanted to go with off-the-shelf lights and low tech.
     
  4. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    The light you need depends on what you want to grow. What are your plans here? Are you looking to do a packed out, high density tank with ground cover? Are you trying to just add a few simple background plants to make things look a little better? I grow less sensitive stems under stock light in my breeder and grow-out tanks all the time.

    -Philosophos
     
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