Alternate Lights?

NeoDevin
  • #1
HI everyone, I'm sorry if there's already a thread on this, I did a quick search and didn't see anything about it. If there is, just let me know.

I have a 10 gallon freshwater aquarium, and I wanted to get some plants in it. My problem is I only have the lousy incandescent bulbs which came with my aquarium. The people at the local pet store suggested getting a new hood, but that's expensive, and given a choice, I'd prefer not to. I looked around at the lights they have there, and found these, which are designed for reptiles, but light is light, right? I don't know precisely which frequencies I need for my plants, so I don't know which to choose. I tried them in the (same model) top at the store, so I know that the 13 W ones of each will fit. It has 2 sockets, so I can put 2 bulbs in, which would give me 26 W or 2.6W/Gallon, should be more than enough for a few plants, right?

Will this work? Or is there something fundamentally different about the light from the bulbs designed for reptiles as for aquariums. The website lists the spectrum of each of the bulbs, and I can put two bulbs in. Should I get two different ones, two of the same, which ones? Or is this a bad idea all together and I should just get the whole new top that they want to sell me. The one they are selling would fit one 14W bulb, so it seems to me I should be better off with the 2 13W ones. Any advice would be welcome.

Also, with this light level, would I need CO2?

Thanks in advance
 
Wolfgang8810
  • #2
I would skip out on the reptile lights. they tend to give off more heat then aquarium compact flourescents. I also have a 10 gallon that is going to be planted. I went to home depot and looked at their compact fluorescent bulbs and there are 23 watt ones. I have 2 23 watt spiral compact fluorescents in my 10 gallon and its fine. you would not need to use Co2. just look at your hood and it may say the maximum wattage it can handle. Mine is 50 watts and with my 2 cf bulbs I'm at 47 watts which is equal to 200 walls of incandecant lighting. Good spectrum for plants would be 10k or 6.5 k. If you do decide to go with more lighting you should get a better substrate that has extra minerals for plants like eco complete or flourite. And adding the right amount for your tank of Flourish will enhance the plants growth. Hope this helps.

Mark
 
NeoDevin
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
These are compact fluorescent, so I don't imagine there is much heat produced...

Is there anywhere online that sells compact fluorescent bulbs for an aquarium, which will ship to canada? I haven't seen anything like that in the stores here, only the reptI glo ones...

2 23 Watt bulbs on a 10 gallon tank? From everything I've read on this site that seems excessive.
 
sirdarksol
  • #4
Yes, I have fluorescent compacts for aquariums.



Drs Foster and Smith have them, not sure if they ship to Canada, though.

I will add one caveat to this. These bulbs did not do well in my tank. However, my tank also gets a good amount of indirect sunlight. I believe that, because of this, my plants got burned. I think that if the aquarium had been in a darker room, these would have been great.
 
NeoDevin
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
This is your site you posted?

So with two of those, I should be able to grow plants with low light requirements without trouble? Which would be a better choice? The 50/50, or the colormax? There doesn't seem to be an option there to put in a canadian address.

Also, with regards to substrate, right now I have this coloured gravel that I got at wal-mart, don't know if that is any good for plants or not. Should I take that out and put in something new? Or will that be fine?

Thanks again

PS. I'm new at this, so you'll have to forgive any stupid questions.
 
sirdarksol
  • #6
There's no such thing as a stupid question. We all have to ask them, either of other people or of a book, in order to find the information we're looking for.

I think the colormax are better for plants in a small tank. I think the actinic blue light recreates deeper water conditions. Please correct me, anyone, if I'm wrong on this.

As far as the gravel goes, it's fine for plants, but you need to supplement. I just got some fertilizer spikes made specifically for aquariums. Gravel doesn't provide any iron or other minerals, and your plants will eventually suffer without these. The spikes I got provide the needed nutrients for one year, and it cost me $8 (US) for eight of them, I think.
 
neverendingninja
  • #7
Ok, first thing, read the Low Light Planted Tank FAQ in this forum. I'm too lazy to link right now. Anyhow, after you read that, you'll know the basics and then some(Thanks Isabella).

If you didn't click the links, what you need to know about lights is that plants are responsive to mainly red and blue spectrums. This information can be found in the spectrums you were referring to on the website you linked. Kelvin temperature is negligible, and can only be used as a reference for two things. One, how the light will look to your eyes, and two, VERY roughly, and only as a fall back if a spectrum isn't provided, as a guide to what the spectrum may be.

Now, you're going to run into a problem here. WPG does not apply on 10gal tanks. They're too small. 30 watts of light is probably sufficient for low light plants, but according to the WPG rule, that's high light. Ignore the WPG rule. Its silly and has flaws. We have to refer to the minimum light threshold, which is the absolute minimum amount of light plants need to grow. Using the , optimal lighting in your tank would be 65 watts. You could probably settle for about 30 watts or so and have excellent results.

The best means of getting this over your tank is going to be a retrofit. You can see AHsupply.com for that, if you have some cash to burn, OR you can do a standard spiral compact fluorescent retrofit. Its just slightly risky due to the fact that you're messing with wiring, but if you have any ability in this field at all, its very advantageous.

I can not find the link at the moment, but what you would do is gut out your old fluorescent tube setup, wire in two standard ballasts(the thing you screw your incandescent lights into), mount them to the inside of your hood, and put in two compact fluorescent bulbs. I'll try to find the link for it, but you'll have to excuse me if I can't.

Anyhow, that's the jist of lighting.

When it comes down to your substrate, you'll be fine growing in standard aquarium gravel, but the plants would be much happier with a plant specific substrate like eco-complete or flourite.

I grow plants in clown puke in my 55gal, and they're very happy. I have to prune just about every 12 days with no co2 injection.
 
Wolfgang8810
  • #8
I have eco complete in my tank and am also using co2 injections with 50 watts of cf's
 
NeoDevin
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I picked up two of those fluorescent compacts for my aquarium earlier, which puts me at 20W, and then get back here and find you tell me I should have 30-65W? I've blown my lighting budget until after christmas at least, so I guess I'll try introducing a low light plant on the weekend and see how it does. Worst thing that happens is that it dies, and I wait until after christmas (when I might be able to afford better lights) to get another one. This is already MUCH brighter than the 2 incandescents I had in there before. I may still be on the low end, but it's all I can do for now. 65W of fluorescent lighting seems like it would be very bright for such a small tank, but maybe I'll try to upgrade when I can afford it (unless my plants do fine with this, in that case I'll leave it and save my money for a new/bigger aquarium).
 
Wolfgang8810
  • #10
You Can Grow Plenty With 20 Watts Of Cf Lighting. The Bulb Aquarium Plants At Walmart Grow Great Indert Those Things. Also Java Moss Or Fern Would Be Good. THIS LINK MAY HELP.
 
NeoDevin
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I found the kind of gravel I have, it's . This is ok for growing plants? I just want to make sure I've got everything ok now, because the last plant I put in there died a horrible death and left my aquarium way to high in nitrates (that and I didn't pull it out soon enough).
 
jsalemi
  • #12
I have that type of gravel (the whitish stuff) in my 10g, and my plants are doing ok. Make sure you have at least an inch and a half to two inches of depth to give the roots someplace to grow. You may also need to add root tabs to get the nutrients kick-started.
 
NeoDevin
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
What are these root tabs? I'm not familiar with them. Would they have them at PetSmart?
 
neverendingninja
  • #14
Yes. Flourish Root Tabs, by SeaChem. They're excellent for root and stem plants, but don't do anything for java fern or anubias, as these plants are not planted in the substrate. You can also get Flourish Comprehensive, a complete micro nutrient supplement.

Also, just so you know, you're going to do a lot better with fluorescents than incandescents, because fluorescents pump out a lot more lumens per watt than incandescent bulbs.
 
Barbrella
  • #15
Is there anywhere online that sells compact fluorescent bulbs for an aquarium, which will ship to canada?

For future ref., if you have a Dollarama near you can get Sunbeam 11 watt compact flourescents for 1$ each.
 
NeoDevin
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
For future ref., if you have a Dollarama near you can get Sunbeam 11 watt compact flourescents for 1$ each.

Are those ones good for plants??
 

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