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UV sterilizer/filter and a couple of other questions.

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by ntino, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. ntino

    ntino Guru Class Expert

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    I am setting up a 60G cube which is 24x24x24.
    Not sure whether I need a UV sterilizer or not. I have read most posts on here in regards to that subject and it seems that:
    A)they don’t harm nutrients in any noticeable way - good.
    B)they are only useful for GWA and killing bacteria if you have say... discus.
    Hence my question - with small fish load of mainly shrimp, most of the focus being on plants, do I need one, is it going to be even remotely beneficial?
    I noticed Tom seems to recommend having one, since they cant hurt, and I would get one, except my stand is also 24x24, and I already have a lot of stuff in there - including 2 cartridge filters - (just the OC with a back flush loop is taking a lot of space).
    I do use UV on my 240 planted discus tank, but with 6-4 feedings a day, it needs one. however it seems that with low fish load, its at best a questionable option. Please chime in!

    Also, I have picked a 250 HQI MH pendant for the tank(relatively tall at 24), didn’t want to go with 150 since I didn’t want to keep it too low above water. What height would I keep a 250w so that the substrate level still gets enough light

    Any input would be appreciated.
    Thanks
    Chris.
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    UV sterilizers are unneccessary in my opinion. They can be helpful, but only in very limited situations - green water, bacterial blooms, etc. I think a better place to spend that money is on lighting, filtration, substrate, plants, fish, and the tank itself.

    You can make a very crude guess at the right height for the pendant by assuming: the intensity will drop inversely proportional to the square of the distance to the bulb, and about 2 watts per gallon when located around 2 inches above the tank would be good if the tank were only 18 inches or so deep. You will have 4.2 watts per gallon, located X distance above the tank. The distance to the substrate will be X + 24 - 4(substrate depth), or X + 20. The "standard" tank would have the light 18 + 2 - 4, or 16 inches above the substrate. [16 divided by (X + 20)] squared times 4.2 = 2. Solve for X: about 3 inches.

    That gives you a feel for how high the pendant should be. Obviously the answer is not two feet, or even one foot, but closer to 2 to 6 inches.

    This will give a very high light intensity in the upper portions of the tank, but just high light intensity at the substrate level. Just keep in mind that this is a very crude method for judging the light intensity.
     
  3. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hoppy,

    Took me a while to understand your formula. I wasn't grasping that the 16 ("standard" tank distance to substrate) was a constant. I did the formula up in another way:

    d = sqrt( (256*lwpg)/dwpg )

    d = distance from light to substrate
    lwpg = lighting wpg
    dwpg = desired wpg

    If you fill in lwpg and dwpg and solve for d, you have the distance from the light to substrate. I think I'll put this in a spreadsheet program for future use.

    Thanks.
     
  4. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    In case anybody is interested in calculating what their wpg is at their current distance of their lights from the substrate, here is the formula:

    cwpg = 256 * lwpg / d2 where

    cwpg = current wpg
    d = distance from light to substrate
    lwpg = lighting wpg

    Hoppy (Vaughn) did say this was just a crude method, but it's better than just guessing.

    I did up a spreadsheet with both of these formulas (MS Excel), in case anyone is interested.
     
  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Remember, this was for a 24" cube, and the 16" standard depth was a crude way to include the non-standard geometry of that cube tank. If you were dealing with a 40 gallon tank, for example a bow front tank, this wouldn't be the right relationship. Also, the drop in intensity with the square of the distance is only good for other than tubular lights which span most of the length of the tank. For those lights the drop in intensity is more nearly proportional to just the distance, not the distance squared. When I called it a crude way to estimate, I really did mean crude.
     
  6. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm glad that formula isn't perfect for tube lights because I was looking pretty bad on a couple of my tanks. I don't suppose you have a "crude" formula for tube lights, do you? I tried to find one on the net before, with no luck. I don't know how much those PAR meters cost, but I doubt that I can afford one! That's really the way to go...
     
  7. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    "Crude" Tube Lights Formula:
    Under a tube light or a pair of tube lights the intensity drops off at something between an inverse square and an inverse direct relationship to the distance. In the middle of the tank, you could estimate reasonably well assuming that the intensity drops off inversely proportional to the distance. Tube lights are most likely to be used on tanks of close to standard geometry, not cube tanks.

    So, assume you have a couple of T8 bulbs, with good reflectors, over your tank, giving "I" watts per gallon. A high light intensity would be about 2.5 watts per gallon or above. Assume the tank depth is "D" and that you have 4 inches of substrate, and the bulbs are 2 inches up off the top of the tank. That puts the bulbs D+2-4 or D-2 above the substrate.

    Raise the light above the tank "X" distance. Now the light is D-2+X above the substrate, so the intensity at the substrate is (D-2)/(D-2-X) times I.

    Let "J" equal the new intensity. J = I * (D-2)/(D-2+X)

    Solve for X = (D-2)[(I/J)-1]

    If original intensity is 3 watts per gallon, and you want to reduce that to the equivalent of 2.5 watts per gallon, X=(D-2)[3/2.5)-1], or X = 0.2(D-2)
    If tank is 20 inches deep, X becomes 3.6 inches.
     
  8. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Thanks for the formula. I was just thinking that a friend of mine probably has a PAR meter. Maybe I can borrow it to help set up my new low light tank. Tom once mentioned a low light tank being like 100 micromoles near the top and 30-40 micromoles down lower. Setting that up would be quick and easy with a PAR meter.
     
  9. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    If you try this you will find that it is anything but quick and easy. First, the intensity will vary greatly as you move the meter sensor from the center of the tank to the ends or to the front and back. It will vary greatly depending on the depth of the substrate - if it is sloped front to back, that will affect the reading. And, are you going to judge the light intensity based on substrate level readings or an inch above the substrate or two inches, etc.

    It is very interesting to observe PAR readings in the tank, and you can learn a lot by doing so, but in the end you will still be doing some crude estimating in rating your tank as low light, moderate light or high light. Perhaps we should think in terms of the log of light intensity - much more "friendly" measurement.
     
  10. ntino

    ntino Guru Class Expert

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    so...

    the general concensus is that UV are a waste... I wonder why Tom has on in his cube... Also, Tom has a 150w MH mounted rather high up with a similar cube I believe... dont see how 2-6 inches would be the answer for a 250w, provided HQIs have better penetration at depth than t5s(even though this seems debatable at the 24inch mark). I was thiking more of 10-12 inches. Maybe Tom can chime in with an answer.
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Temporary use of a UV is fine.
    Depends on why and what you might need it for.
    Green water, floating spores of algae or maybe disease etc.
    I cannot really think of anything else really.

    I keep most height's at 12" or slightly more, only bring them down when you want faster growth for awhile.

    The watt/distance thing is a bit different using MH's.

    It's still applicable, it's just the light is a lot more than you might think to begin with, so higher height's are often used.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Wish I had read that BEFORE buying, installing, and removing one (due to leaks) :( Oh well, live and learn...

    BTW, I have 3x150w MH over my 180 and they are currently set 13" above the surface. While some may think this is an unlucky #, my growth has been excellent at this height. However, now that I see the rate, I may raise a bit to slow it down. A great problem to have:D

    Lowering the light increases growth rates in my setup also, as Tom states.
     
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