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sunlit tank?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by irene, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. irene

    irene Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,

    Is it possible to have a tank that is partially lit with sunlight or will this just grow a lot of algae?

    I have a 20 Gal long tank that I'm thinking of moving into a bay window where it would get some filtered sunlight during the summer (we have a large maple in front of the window) and maybe 3-4 hours of more direct sunlight in the winter.

    Currently:

    -lighting is 2x 27watt spiral CF's screwed into 2 desklamps
    -heavily planted- Hygro stricta, hygro polysperma, hygro difformis, amazon swords, watersprite, java moss + broad leaf sag, and some floating water lettuce.
    -as outlined in "EI light for 10-20 gal tanks" macros 2x/wk (dry ferts), traces 2x/wk (seachem flourish)
    -50-60% water changes weekly
    - DIY CO2 run into the powerhead intake., red sea drop checker with 4dKH solution is light green.
    -filtration- aquaclear 30 + sponge filter on powerhead intake
    -stocking: 3 chinese weather loaches, 3 pepper corys, 2 oto cats, 3 very small eel loaches

    So far the I have had minimal to no algae, you really have to look to find some. Tank has been up amd running for about 3 months.

    So, why am I messing with it when things are working? Well, the desk lamps are ugly and have twice fallen into the tank! And it would make more space/look nice in the window.

    Oh, and I plan to supplement the window light with 2x15w T8's as it really is pretty shaded esp. in summer.

    So what are people's thoughts on sunlight? Would fluctuations in light from cloudy days etc. be an issue?

    Thanks!

    Irene
     
  2. irene

    irene Lifetime Charter Member
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    So I went ahead and moved the tank to the window sill and am supplementing the sunlight with 2 x 27 w spiral CFs.

    I've been reading the non CO2 methods thread with much interest though. Can I just let this tank be sunlit only and turn of my CO2, drop the ferts to 1x/wk? Then I could get away with far less frequent water changes? This is seeming appealing as I currently have 4 tanks on the go...

    What about cleaning the sponge prefilter on my powerhead? It does get quite dirty and when I take it out to clean it, I get a puff of debris in the water. Do I need a waterchange after this.

    What happens if I cut the light but leave the CO2 running?

    Sorry so many questions, hopefully someone can help?

    Irene
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The use of shade cloth is wise or screening etc, something to control and reduce th amount by about 1/10th works well.

    We do this at my lab.
    Plants grow much better with lower CO2 and less nutrients when you have lower light.

    So they are easier to keep and have less algae.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. irene

    irene Lifetime Charter Member
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    I do have blinds with which I can adjust the light but it's not actually getting much direct light right now on account of the large tree outside.

    What I was wondering was if I took away the additional fluorescent lighting, if I could get away with no CO2 or maybe just some excel and only fetilizing once a week or so.

    The whole tank is never completely illuminated at the same time, the sunlight hits different areas for an hour or so at a time throughout the day and there's lots of times when there is no direct sunlight hitting the tank.

    Thanks,
    Irene
     
  5. essabee

    essabee Prolific Poster

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    7 years ago I built a sunlit tank. The front of the aquarium is glass and built into the Eastern wall of my room with a hatchet door on the top which I can lift. The rest of the aquarium is actually outside the room, and on open the terrace. I built the bottom and other three sides of the aquarium with granite sheets and it is housed under a 3' cornice projection 2.5' above the aquarium. I have covered this with glass panels in aluminum frame, the Eastern side is hinged and I can also access the aquarium through it. The granite sides have been insulated with 'thermacole' and encased in masonry. The internal dimensions are 72" long, 36" wide, and 24" high.

    The sun streams in through the top in the morning till about 10am local time, and it gets indirect sunlight for the rest of the day. Plant, not needing very high light, used to grow well in it, as I used a substrate based on the local lateritic clay.

    Yes! I did have initial algae problems till the plants took to growing, but no problems after the first two months.

    This year I redid this aquarium. Fresh substrate. Supplementary lights 3 X 150 W MH 10000 K, 5 X 40 W florescent Philip True Light. CO2. Restarted on 15 March 2007. New plants including the high light plants.

    Got over the algae problem in a month, plants growing like mad, weekly trimming. Fishes happy, community tetras, rainbows, barbs, rams, kulhis about 160 in all.

    Sunlit is no trouble but CO2 management in cloudy condition of the Indian Monsoon is a pain.
     
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