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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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When using LEDs, what constitutes "high light"?

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by evangemeren, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. evangemeren

    evangemeren Junior Poster

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    Newbie question here ...

    I'm following Tom's guidelines and doing my homework, but before choosing a method I want to follow it is clear I need to understand how much lighting I am really working with. There is a TON of data when dealing with fluorescent fixtures or metal halides, but I'm using LEDs which clearly seem to be different.

    I purchased a 24" Current USA Satellite Plus PRO, which is supposed to be good for "high light level plants" (according to the manufacturer, anyway). Since I don't have a PAR meter, I am going by the manufacturer's specs, which claim the unit puts out 30 Watts and 2,000 Lumens, and has a PAR value of 100+ at 12" water depth.

    I have a 40 gal tank that is quite deep (15" from surface to top of substrate) and the light is 7" from the surface.

    While I'm still trying to nail down which method I will follow, I am currently using CO2 injection, and my drop checker shows a consistent 30 ppm. I've also cross-checked this based on my alkalinity (6 degrees) and pH (6.8).

    Questions:

    1) I see lots of recommendations on what PAR level I need to produce, but I am confused as to where to measure that. It makes sense that one would measure this at the substrate for low-lying foreground plants, but I also have things like Wisteria and Amazon Swords which grow quite tall - for these plants wouldn't it be more relevant to measure the PAR level at the depth where the foliage occurs?

    2) Is there a simple guide that lists the required PAR levels for each species of plant? I see that this is listed for the few species that are in the "Plant Database" on this site, but only shows a few entries. Is there another resource I should look to?

    3) how reliable are the manufacturer's stated performance figures for PAR levels? Can I use the data provided as-read, or is there another resource I can use that provides PAR levels based on independent testing? I found a few videos of this on YouTube, but not sure how reliable the sources are.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. AquaK

    AquaK New Member

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  3. Dale Hazey

    Dale Hazey Junior Poster

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    Manufacturer claims about performance are probably sugar coated

    Rotalabutterfly.com Has a light calculator

    Tropica.com has some detailed information about individual plants

    I have read here many times that low to medium light, and good co2 is the way to go. When you step up to high Par and push the envelope theres a better chance to crash.
     
    AquaK likes this.
  4. Christophe

    Christophe Subscriber
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    I started out with a 40 breeder running a Current USA Satellite+ -- this was before they introduced the +Pro. I believe their PAR claims, I suspect I was getting about 30 umol at the substrate. It worked well for the staurogyne, mosses, and java ferns I was growing at the time. I tend to think that a manufacturer would be dumb to do anything other than report actual measured values from a sampling of their products.

    I wouldn't necessarily trust the light calculator, the assumptions it is based on seem like a stretch at best. So many things (components, reflectors, ballasts/LED drivers, etc) affect the lighting efficiency of a system for the amount of power put in, it's a REALLY difficult thing to model compellingly.

    Ultimately, I think the light you've chosen will work well for anything you'd want to grow -- don't overthink it! The most typical assumption we see around here is

    "I want to grow plants, so I need ALL of the light! ALL OF IT!!"

    I bet you'll do best running that Satellite +Pro at 60-70% for starters. There are relatively few plants that require more than that.
     
    jpkara, VaughnH and Dale Hazey like this.
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