55 gallon saltwater tank lighting

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquarium Lighting' started by fish4life157, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. fish4life157Valued MemberMember

    Hello Fish lore! I was wondering how long I should keep my 48 inch t5 lights on in my 55 gallon FOWLR tank. It does not have any fish yet just the cleanup crew. How long should I keep the lights on before the fish are in and after I get my fish next month. :;thx

  2. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Has this tank finished cycling?
    Does your fixture have actinic lights?

    If you answered no followed by yes, then turn off the actinics. The actinic lights can delay the cycling process by killing the bacteria (UV in actinics).

    As for how long to run the lights, being a FOWLR, the timing is not so important. I would suggest starting at 8 hours per day. Keep an eye on algae growth, if algae grows freely (depending on the type), then reduce the lighting. If it is fine, then you can gradually increase the lighting to around 10 hours a day.

    Also, if the tank has not finished cycling, keep an eye on your hermits, they do not do well in a cycling tank.
  3. fish4life157Valued MemberMember

    My tank has been cycling for about five weeks. Salinity and nitrate levels are normal but my ph is just a bit low. I got this solution that safely raises the ph levels one day at a time. My lights dont have any actinic bulbs so I am fine with that. Thank you for your input and I plan on putting my lights on for 8 hours a day.
  4. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    It's a separate topic, but cycling for 5 weeks does not necessarily mean cycled.
    Your profile states you have ammonia and nitrite = not cycled. If the tank is not cycled, pH will swing around while a tank cycles.
    Your profile also states a pH of 8.3 - if this is accurate, then there is no need to adjust pH.

    If you are using natural sea water, there shouldn't be any need to adjust pH, it will be right. If you are using a salt mix, pH will be reflective of the salinity - the higher the salinity, the higher the pH, but it will still be correct. If you must chase pH, then do so by understanding the relationship of Magnesium, Calcium, Alkalinity - these three major elements will ultimately influence pH.

    If it were me, at 5 weeks, I would not be trying to adjust anything until the tank is 100% cycled (0 ammonia, 0 nitrItes, some nitrates). Even when cycled, I would still not bother with chasing pH, focus on maintaining salinity, and keeping nitrates and phosphates down. The rest will be what it will be.

    Just my 2c - but IME, dosing anything into a SW system can go pear shaped very quickly unless it is done with knowledge and regimented and controlled.
  5. fish4life157Valued MemberMember

    I just forgot to update my levels and those were recorded about one month back. I used already slurred RO water from my local petstore. But what was weird was that my salt was down at 1.017 when I tested it two weeks into cycling! But every thing else turned out okay when I tested it this saturday with undetectable nitrates and I was in the safe zone with ammonia. Ill take your word for it and wait to use the ph solution till my tank has cycling longer. ps-the snails and hermits are doing great wonderfully in my tank. I just cant stop watching them work on the algae ;D
  6. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Just to re-iterate, the only "safe" zone for ammonia is 0 ppm. The only "safe" zone for nitrites (NO2) is also 0 ppm. It is acceptable to have some nitrates (NO3), but elevated levels (above 20ppm in SW FOWLR, above 5ppm in a reef) can be harmful or lead to undesirable effects (excess algae growth).

    Too, as mentioned, I would not chase a pH number. And I would be very wary of using a pH solution.
  7. fish4life157Valued MemberMember

    What I meant by "the safe zone" of ammonia was on the test slide it came out zero. The nitrates were from 0-1 ppm. I understand that it is not necessary to have that perfect ph number but I just want for everything to be perfect before the fish come in. I want to minimize the problems before they happen in my FOWLR tank so they dont get out of control. I believe in the saying better safe than sorry.
  8. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Getting a little off topic, but respectfully, the best way to minimise problems is not to add stuff to hit a number. It is safer not to add un-necessary chemicals/supplements.

    SW parameters should be (For FO or FOWLR):
    Salinity: 28 ppt to 34 ppt (or in Specific Gravity: 1.021 to 1.026)
    pH 7.8 absolute minimum, but anywhere from 8.0 to 8.4
    Alkalinity 7-12 dKH -> keeping in mind the higher the Alk, the higher the pH

    If you feel you must hit a pH value, do it through alkalinity, as this is the most stable way. pH adjusters can cause swings in pH that result in loss of livestock.

    Personally, having just spent 3-4 months recovering from the un-necessary use of supplements, I would not do it again.

    In the end, it is your decision to make, but if it were me, I would not focus on trying to achieve perfect parameters. It will cause more headaches and problems.

    One last bit of food for thought: The ocean is not perfect, it naturally changes with the seasons, hence there is a range for each parameter, not one number ;)
  9. fish4life157Valued MemberMember

    thanks mate i'll take the supplement back to my pet store tomorrow.

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