Let there be light!

Trio123
  • #1
I have a 65 gallon tall tank (2 feet tall). I really know very little about aquarium plants other than you need more light for moderate to high light plants and at higher levels you need a C02 injector. I don't want to get into a C02 injector. But I want enough light to support moderate plants and to make my tank a little brighter. Right now I have half a watt per gallon (not much, right?). I have java moss which isn't appearing to grow or die and this long thin grass looking stuff a girl recommended for low light (wasn't labeled at the store) that is growing a little. I don't know anything about bulbs other than where to find a wattage per gallon calculator online. I have a valence to put lighting on but there are so many choices I am overwhelmed. What type of lighting should I be looking for? I plan on putting a moon light on there too... any options that come with that? You can just point me to a site and I will be happy . Thank you!
 
Iluvatar
  • #2
Fish.com is good

not trying to spam or advertise
 
Isabella
  • #3
HI Trio I'd suggest for you to read this article - - and see if it helps you in any way.
 
Trio123
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thank you! Very informative, looks like you put a good amount of effort into writing that article. A couple questions if you don't mind. Is a moon light a blue spectrum light... will it increase algae? I use it for several hours every night. Second question, is it reasonable to think that I could supplement with sun light? I have two crypt plants in the front of the tank and they are definitely growing (slowly though, which is fine with me). I leave the window open every day and wipe the algae off the glass pretty regularly (my bamboo shrimp loves glass cleaning time ), the sun does not beam in on the tank but it gives it a little more light without cooking my poor fishes. Last one I swear, if the plants are growing should I still fertilize with the tablets you mentioned or is there a danger, I'm just afraid of giving my plants fertilizer burn because they can't process it with the little light their getting. Thank you for your advise. Again, wonderful article!
 
Isabella
  • #5
Thank you! Very informative, looks like you put a good amount of effort into writing that article. A couple questions if you don't mind. Is a moon light a blue spectrum light... will it increase algae? I use it for several hours every night. Second question, is it reasonable to think that I could supplement with sun light? I have two crypt plants in the front of the tank and they are definitely growing (slowly though, which is fine with me). I leave the window open every day and wipe the algae off the glass pretty regularly (my bamboo shrimp loves glass cleaning time ), the sun does not beam in on the tank but it gives it a little more light without cooking my poor fishes. Last one I swear, if the plants are growing should I still fertilize with the tablets you mentioned or is there a danger, I'm just afraid of giving my plants fertilizer burn because they can't process it with the little light their getting. Thank you for your advise. Again, wonderful article!

Well, I've never done any research on the effects of moonlight on aglae in a home aquarium, but in my personal experience I didn't see any increased algal growth with than without lunar lights. In fact, I've read lunar lighting promotes natural behaviors among fish, especially when it comes to spawning. Also, in nature it's rarely ever "pitch" black in waters around the wolrd as the moon provides some lighting at night too (unless, of course the sky is clouded). I think lunar lighting (when it's very faint and subdued, as real lunar light looks) helps simulate natural habitat for fish.

As for using natural sunlight (as opposed to artificial lighting) to grow your plants, there are people who'd be against it as well as people who'd be for it. If you decide to use natural sunlight, you have to be very specific about planning your tank and you've to make sure it will receive enough sunlight to make the plants grow. After all, plants in nature grow thanks to natural sunlight. BUT ... a home fish tank is not a natural habitat either ... so that's why you need to be careful in deciding whether to use natural sunlight as it can as well end in disastrous algal overgrowth. I think if you're seriously contemplating using natural sunlight, you youd read "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by Diana Walstad. A lot of people have successful tanks using her methods.

As for fertilizing plants ... it really depends on what kinds of plants you'll have, how many of them, and whether you'll use CO2.
 
Butterfly
  • #6
In a closed system like an aquarium direct sunlight or very bright indirect sunlight can cause your tank to overheat. Even though the filters are moving the water and the heater turns off when it reaches a pre-programed temp the water will continue to heat from the sun. In my experience bright sunlight encourages algae to grow (just like it does in the lake).
Carol
 
Trio123
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Thank you for all your feed back. I have Crypt Wendtii, Hornwort, Java Fern, and Java Moss. I plan to get an midground sized Anubias species and spread out the hornwort more. The Crypts are the only ones I am thinking about fertilizing. I pull a wilted leaf off of them like once every week or two but they seem to be growing well other than that. The sunlight is not direct by any means... I am on the third floor of an apartment with a porch. The porch door shades is what I open. It just lets in more light, not direct light... my view out the porch is the next apartment building on the right and a large Oak tree on the left, to give you a more accurate perspective of what I am doing. The temp. doesn not change during the day (I got one of those temperture loggers that records the top and low temps during the day). The highest it gets is 80 and the low has been 77.

The crypts are up front on either side of the tank. I really just wanted to attach a pretty pics
 
Isabella
  • #8
Your tank really does look pretty - good job . Thanks for the pictures - we all love pictures here, lol ;D.

Your plants are mostly low-light plants. Hornwort, Java Moss, Java Fern, and Anubias won't need any special fertilization at all in my opinion - being low-light plants, they do not metabolize fast, meaning they don't use up nutrients fast. So if you'll be adding more nutrients than they can consume in a certain period of time, you'll have a lot of extra nutrients available for algae to thrive on. If you'll have low-light, there low-light plants should do OK feeding on fish wastes alone (fish wastes are excellent natural fetilizers by the way). However, if you want to try, you can add some liquid fertilizer(s) every once in a while and see if the plants will do better with or without it. In my personal experience, frequently adding fertilizers to a low-light tank with mostly low-light plants only caused more algae for me. Lastly, Java Moss, Java Fern, and Anubias - all grow attached to tank decor (ex. driftwood) so obviously no substrate fertilization is necessary for these 3 plants. Hornwort can be left floating or gently tucked into the substrate but it doesn't have an extensive root system like true rooting plants do (ex. like Crypts). Crypts can sometimes do well in lower lighting conditions, but I personally would say they require higher lighting than Hornwort, Java Moss, Java Fern, and Anubias. Maybe you could add a plant tab, every once in a while, buried around the roots of the Crypts and see how that would work out for these plants.

Good luck .
 
Trio123
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Ok I think I will do that and see what happens. I guess adding one tab to see what happens won't completely kill the plant, I'm paranoid Thank you!
 
au01st
  • #10
And it was good.

Normal Daylight

404.jpg

Actinic

405.jpg

Both

406.jpg

Both, with a good view of my sump setup (I was just looking at overflow box, of course it's not going on there). I picked up my acrylic yesterday and will be gluing those in this weekend. Then 48 hour wait to cure, then go around with silicone. Then drain the tank into plastic tubs and mix salt, run for a while, and order my live rock. Cabinets on the side house supplies and test kits, etc, etc. The auto top off will fit behind the tank in a 5 gallon narrow trash can and use the Kent float valve. I need some more plumbing stuff and I should be set.


407.jpg
 
Shawnie
  • #11
wow the actinic looks cool! ive not a clue about saltys but love the pics ! can't wait to see its progress
 
au01st
  • #12
Actinic is light at 420nm and is used for coral/invert growth.
 
Shawnie
  • #13
its amazing and I bet its even more cool watching it at night!
 
agsansoo
  • #14
Are you going to put that skimmer in the sump ? Not hanging on the outside. Right ?
 
au01st
  • #15
I was going to hang it on the outside. It actually sits at the correct height of the tank so that it's not hanging, it's standing? Is there a benefit to actually having it inside the sump It's the same length of tubing whether it's in the sump or sitting on the side like that.? Same with the phosphate reactor, it will just hang on the back of the sump.
 
sgould
  • #16
If it overflows while hanging on the side, the mess goes all over the bottom of the cabinet and floor. If it is inside the sump, any overflow just goes right back into the sump.
 
agsansoo
  • #17
Just like sgould said. Both would be safer in the sump. No wet floors.
 
au01st
  • #18
If it overflows, it runs into the 4 gallon container that will be inside the small cabinet, which is where I'm running my overflow hose.

The phosphate reactor is a sealed system, it should not overflow. One hose in, one hose out, no overflows or collection cups.
 
lipadj46
  • #19
I just put a dual bulb 48" T5 HO fixture (108 watts 6700k) on my daughter's tank and holy moly that is bright. I do realize I'm going have to watch for algae and maybe add CO2 but I don't care the tank looks so much better with the brighter light. I took a chance on the "budget" Odyssey fixture (to go with my budget sunsun canister), but for $60 shipped it was hard to argue with the price/watt.
 
toosie
  • #20
HI lipadj46, is this light for the 55 gallon tank in your aquarium info? Do you have any plants in this tank?

T5's really are icredible light source, aren't they. I really like them. I do have a couple of concerns in your case though, but providing the above info may help to put my mind at ease. Thanks.
 
lipadj46
  • #21
yes the tank is pretty heavily planted and I use flourish excel and comprehensive.
 
lipadj46
  • #22
here is a pic without a flash:

 
toosie
  • #23
Oooo, pretty!! So is this the 55 gallon? If it is that fixture is like having 4 wpg. You'll be able to grow some very light demanding plants in it. Soooo many more selections to choose from. You probably know that though.

With that much light, you might want to start looking at DIY CO2. Your plants could start needing more carbon than what the Excel can provide them, or you may have to dose more frequently, but you'll know that by watching them for a while.

Very nice tank!!
 
lipadj46
  • #24
yep it's a 55 gallon so that would make it 2 watts per gallon. I would not mind setting up a CO2 system if needed.
 
toosie
  • #25
LOL, actually because you have T5 HO lights, it really is closer to 4 wpg, because these lights provide a lot more light than the standard T8 and T12 that the wpg method was based on. If you only want 2 wpg, you'll need to remove 1 tube, and put it in safe keeping.
 
lipadj46
  • #26
LOL, actually because you have T5 HO lights, it really is closer to 4 wpg, because these lights provide a lot more light than the standard T8 and T12 that the wpg method was based on. If you only want 2 wpg, you'll need to remove 1 tube, and put it in safe keeping.

Interesting I never heard that before. I called around to fire extinguisher refill shops around here and a 10lb tank of CO2 is $75 and then $12 each exchange so that plus a regulator diffuser and hose should not be too bad if it turns out its needed.
 
toosie
  • #27
Well atleast you're getting prepared! It'll be nice to see pics in about 3 to 6 months time.

You'll probably find some info on this type of light quality if you google it, otherwise this forum is pretty good for providing that kind of info. You could pose the question with a different thread if you choose.

Best of luck with the new lighting and the plants.

Did I mention? That is a very, very pretty tank.
 
lipadj46
  • #28
Yes I just read this link and I see now.



Thanks! we really like the tank too
 
psalm18.2
  • #29
May I ask where you got the lights at such a good price? Did that include everything, fixure, tubes? Looks great! Now I want a cannister & lights. Haha, no, my fish need both.LOL. you can pm supplier, that would be great, thanks.
 
lipadj46
  • #30
aquatraders, I think they sell on ebay too, and yes that was $60 for everything including bulbs and shipping. Now mind you these are budget models and the "serious" guy is going to want something with individual reflectors and whatnot but I mean $60 you can't go wrong.
 
toosie
  • #31
Wow, that's a real read! Thanks!

I guess the nice thing is, you got even more bang for your buck than you realized! And it will leave a lot of planting options open to you.

LOL, I know psalm, that's a wicked price isn't it! And I do mean wicked in a very good way.
 
psalm18.2
  • #32
I don't care about fancy, good price for the plants is all I care about. My tank has makeshift lights w/ tin foil as a reflector. LOL looks like I'm baking a cake up there.
THANK YOU for that link, I'm going to buy this for $40
 

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