I want to upgrade from low light

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kidster9700

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whats a blackwater tank? i've never heard of it. and I just want to make sure its enough to be considered medium light since I want to keep ludwigia...
 

junebug

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A blackwater tank is a tank where the water is purposely darkened by tannins, stained brown. These tanks have low pH, very low conductivity, and usually a low water flow, as the fish that live in those environments in the wild are from stiller waters.

Since I changed to this light in this tank (that video is right after I switched out the lights) the broken crinums on the left side have almost completely regrown, and the crinums on the right size have grown even larger.

I guess the key point is that darker water means less light reaching the substrate, and you can see in the video and from the plant rehab taking place, that plenty of light is reaching the substrate in my 20g.
 
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kidster9700

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holy cow that tank is beautiful.... I love it! looks like the bottom of a lake haha. although the water really doesn't look like its any darker than mine... of course, my water is literally yellow when taken out of the tank. so many tannins.
 

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Yeah, I need to add some more leaves and peat to it. It actually is pretty dark though, the tank is near a window so there's extra light from that brightening things up (which the feature fish, Microctenopoma ansorgii, really really strongly dislike lol poor guys). Plus I have all of those purposely shaded spots as hides for them. They're a leaffish-like climbing perch, so dark, large-leaved hides are a must.

Anyway, that's what the light looks like in practice, in a blackwater tank. I think you'll have plenty of light to grow your stem plants, and see everybody You could also very easily place the light over the gap in your hood if you don't want to replace it with a glass lid, or if you can't replace it yet.
 
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junebug said:
Yeah, I need to add some more leaves and peat to it. It actually is pretty dark though, the tank is near a window so there's extra light from that brightening things up (which the feature fish, Microctenopoma ansorgii, really really strongly dislike lol poor guys). Plus I have all of those purposely shaded spots as hides for them. They're a leaffish-like climbing perch, so dark, large-leaved hides are a must.

Anyway, that's what the light looks like in practice, in a blackwater tank. I think you'll have plenty of light to grow your stem plants, and see everybody You could also very easily place the light over the gap in your hood if you don't want to replace it with a glass lid, or if you can't replace it yet.
yeah, that's what i'm planning to do (place it over the gap). I just have to wait for it to be august so I can transfer my money lol. then I'll buy that led light off eBay. thanks sooooo much. I really think this is going to take my tank to the next level. (along with my new fluval filter of course)
 

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No worries I'm actually planning to buy this light in various sizes for most of my tanks, particularly the ones with terrible fluorescent lighting at present. I like it best out of all the lights I have (including my fluval lights, my finnex planted+ clip, and my other off-brand LEDs).

It's also going to be lighting my next major build, my 40breeder native tank. That's actually going to be a rather lengthy project, as I'll be using a higher-tech setup than my current Walstad tanks.
 
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kidster9700

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so what exactly makes a tank qualify as "high-tech" vs low tech?
 

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Not like it's a specific term. High tech generally refers to tanks that require a lot of maintenance. Pressurized cO2, high lighting, more plants than fit comfortably in the tank, tons of ferts, (lol) and bazillions of water changes.

Low tech just means low maintenance. Low-mid light plants, no cO2 unless it's liquid substitutes, low or no ferts, regular water changes.
 
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kidster9700

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junebug said:
Not like it's a specific term. High tech generally refers to tanks that require a lot of maintenance. Pressurized cO2, high lighting, more plants than fit comfortably in the tank, tons of ferts, (lol) and bazillions of water changes.

Low tech just means low maintenance. Low-mid light plants, no cO2 unless it's liquid substitutes, low or no ferts, regular water changes.
okay, so if I started doing regular water changes (which I have now discovered can be quite easy) mine would probably classify as somewhere in between. I always wondered if high tech was just the "next level" of fish keeping or what. now it just sounds like a different type of fish keeping. its sort of where i'm headed, too.
 

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I define a high tech tank as a high light tank with the addition of ferts and pressurized cO2. <-- this is what makes the frequent water changes necessary. I'm talking 2-3 times a week, depending on the bioload.

Doing a regular water change schedule is not what makes a tank qualify as "high tech".
 
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junebug said:
I define a high tech tank as a high light tank with the addition of ferts and pressurized cO2. <-- this is what makes the frequent water changes necessary. I'm talking 2-3 times a week, depending on the bioload.

Doing a regular water change schedule is not what makes a tank qualify as "high tech".
Yes, but I'm using fertilizers, upgrading my lighting, and using liquid co2. That's why I mean somewhere in the middle.


 

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As mentioned above, high tech refers to the method of caring for plants. Meaning the addition of a high PAR value light system, CO2 gas injection, and strict fertilizer regime. It has nothing to do with amount of water changes.

Now often many people who run high tech tanks, use the Estimative Index fertilizer method, or EI for short. The basic premise is to flood the water with more nutrients then the plants could use. This way there is never a nutrient deficiency. With that, you can use light and CO2 as the controlling methods to run the tank, adjusting them to find the right balance, as balance is the most important thing with planted tanks. Normally when using EI the idea is to do 1 large water change a week, that way the nutrients never build up too much. Here is a link that explains EI pretty well...



Many people have adapted a custom EI method for their own purposes. It's hard with planted tanks to find a cookie cutter approach that works the same for everyone. You have to adjust and find what works for you.

For most people I highly recommend sticking to low tech tanks. They are much easier to care for, have more wiggle room, cheaper/less equipment, etc. You can have a wide variety of plants with a lot of plant mass in your tank, all while still running a low tech tank. Once you have mastered the low tech tank, found your balance, gotten a grasp on the easier to deal with plants, then you may want to consider taking the next step and adding more light and CO2 injection. Even then, I still think it's easier to go without all that hassle.

Here is a link to my article that explains the basics of getting started with a low light / low tech tank, the photo at the top is my 40 breeder all grown with low tech....

https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/resources/how-to-set-up-a-low-light-low-tech-planted-tank.24/

kidster9700 - there are some links in that article to some pages and info from Sudeep Mandal with good info on the difference between low tech with no CO2 and low tech using liquid CO2 substitute. But it's still a low tech tank. Liquid CO2 like Excel is not the same as CO2 gas injection.
 
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I'll get there eventually. But for now, I'm just going to continue with the liquid co2 and liquid ferts. Higher lighting will help me with the plants I want to add. But it sounds like I wouldn't really be able to keep filter feeding shrimp if I was having to do large water changes to keep algae growth down. And I really like bamboo shrimp. Anyways, I think I'm definitely getting that led light from eBay in a few days or so.


 
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I forgot if I got confirmation on this, but do you guys think that with that new light i'm buying, along with liquid ferts, I will be able to grow ludwigia? definitely one of my favorite plants but I have not had much success with it.
there's the link again. I would be getting the 129 leds.
 

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If you add more light, you have to add more nutrients and more CO2 to keep the balance. Otherwise you will have problems like algae. Doing lots of water changes has nothing to do with algae growth.

With that said, your new light will probably put you in the low to medium light range, so shouldn't be an issue with daily use of Excel. Ludwigia repens grows well in tanks with that amount of light. Grows great for me with Finnex Planted Plus which is in the low to medium range. While that light you linked may be a bit cheaper, I would highly recommend going with the Finnex. They are designed for plants. The light you linked is designed more for the human eye and to make the tank and fish look good.
 
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Do you have a link to the finnex planted plus? If you really think I'll have better luck with it, then that might be what I go with.
Right now I use flourish and API liquid CO2. I'm doing what the bottle dose says for each. If I upgrade my lighting, would I dose more or more often? I do use carbon filter cartidges in my Aqueon filter, but I'm only using sponges in the fluval as suggested to me by my coworker. I'll probably up to weekly 30% changes unless that really does nothing. (And that would be with a 60% every month)

edit: is that it? oh dear lord over $100...

 

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Stop using carbon in planted tanks... that completely defeats the purpose of doing ferts. Might be why your ludwigia didn't do so hot.

As for the light... well the one I linked is designed specifically for aquatic plants. Even supposedly has the correct wavelengths for the RGB and hot pink lights with aquatic plant growth in mind. It's doing very well growing/healing the crinums in my 20 long. Crinums are a root-feeding, moderate light requirement plant, much like ludwigia (obviously they are a bulb-like plant, not a stem, but the requirements for care are about the same).

I still prefer it to my finnex planted+ . While finnex is a superb brand, their lights don't contain the hot pink bulbs which some googling/talking to plant fanatic people tells me is the light color best absorbed by plants. Even so, the green and white lights in the one I linked will likely still bring out red in ludwigia, assuming it grows tall enough.

I had heard good things about the beamswork lights, so I did some research on them. I liked them a lot less after I was done reading about them... they don't appear to contain light in the correct spectrum and corresponding wavelength for optimum plant growth. My conclusion was that they would be no better than my fluval fixtures (that are kind of "meh" in terms of plant growth) and probably would be a bit worse than those, so I didn't end up buying any.
 
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junebug said:
Stop using carbon in planted tanks... that completely defeats the purpose of doing ferts. Might be why your ludwigia didn't do so hot.

As for the light... well the one I linked is designed specifically for aquatic plants. Even supposedly has the correct wavelengths for the RGB and hot pink lights with aquatic plant growth in mind. It's doing very well growing/healing the crinums in my 20 long. Crinums are a root-feeding, moderate light requirement plant, much like ludwigia (obviously they are a bulb-like plant, not a stem, but the requirements for care are about the same).

I still prefer it to my finnex planted+ . While finnex is a superb brand, their lights don't contain the hot pink bulbs which some googling/talking to plant fanatic people tells me is the light color best absorbed by plants. Even so, the green and white lights in the one I linked will likely still bring out red in ludwigia, assuming it grows tall enough.

I had heard good things about the beamswork lights, so I did some research on them. I liked them a lot less after I was done reading about them... they don't appear to contain light in the correct spectrum and corresponding wavelength for optimum plant growth. My conclusion was that they would be no better than my fluval fixtures (that are kind of "meh" in terms of plant growth) and probably would be a bit worse than those, so I didn't end up buying any.
I only just started using ferts, so that wouldn't have anything to do with the ludwigia haha. and I don't really know what to use in that filter instead. a cut sponge thing? idk. also I asked on a planted tanks thing of fb and someone was saying they had that one from eBay and it didn't help at all. so that's why i'm torn now. I don't want to buy the fine because its far too expensive for me right now because i'm about to buy a TON of plants (petco aquatic sale next weekend) as well as the SDTFS auction. :/
so the eBay one you think is definitely better? I like it more I think anyways. cheaper too. but yeah, let me know what I should use instead of the carbon. its in the aqueon quiet flow HOB or whatever. I just buy the bio bag cartridges (basically sponge like bag with carbon inside, you know the ones). my fluval I just use the plain sponge and i'm going to add crushed coral in a bag in there as well since my GH is super low.
EDIT: just wanted to add that I am hoping to purchase my new lighting tomorrow so I think I am going with the LED you first suggested.

oh, also, my 55 has carbon filters but i'm not going to use ferts on it. and its just going to be really easy plants since its technically under the care of my boyfriend who is still fairly new to keeping a fish tank.
EDIT: oh, and my 10gal shrimp tank, I am giving it CO2 to help get the moss wall growing, but it just has a sponge filter. that's fine right?
 

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Well I like my light That's all I can say lol.

As for the filter issue, any biomedia would be okay, or mechanical filtration. As a general rule, you don't want to use carbon in any planted tanks unless it's to remove medication. Carbon removes the stuff the plants feed on, whether you're adding ferts or not (carbon removes ammonia AND micro/macronutrients). These are present in fish waste as well, so unless your tank is very lightly planted, carbon is counterproductive.
 

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