Lighting for a blackwater moderately planted tank?

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TexasDomer

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I'm interested in growing a few hardy, low light plants in my 55 gal blackwater tank. Currently I have a 48" T5 Dual Lamp (1 6,700 K and 1 Colormax Color Enhancing) () for a total of 56 watts. I have a few bunches of Anacharis planted and one bunch separated and floating in the top. I put root tabs below each of the plants when I first planted them (a few days ago), and I plan to add more root tabs each month. I will also dose weekly with API Leaf Zone (will switch to Flourish, Excel, and Seachem root tabs next time I make an online order).

Should I replace the Colormax bulb with another 6,700 K bulb? As I understand it, the Colormax isn't good for growing plants, so the true wattage the plants are getting is much lower. (P.S. Let me know if anyone is getting rid of/selling their aquarium light fixtures - I might be interested!)

What hardy, low-light, tall, background plants do you recommend? What about plants that can grow on driftwood?
 

BDpups

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The colormax should be fine. But you could replace it if you'd like. I have had a lot of success with a similar fixture on a 55.

Java ferns and anubias work attached to driftwood. Wisteria, swords, vals, onion plants, crypts, sags should all work too.

If you are going for low light, I have had luck with plant substrates,dual T5's like you have, and nothing else.
 

TexasDomer

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Glad to hear what I have is acceptable! I don't have a plant substrate put in, so would the additives (Flourish, root tabs) be a good alternative? Or should I add a substrate to my sand?
 

Bluestreakfl

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Seachem liquid ferts are good for plants that feed from the water column, while root tabs are needed for plants that feed from the roots. I recommend peabodysparadise.com for root tabs as they're a fraction of the cost of the Seachem ones, larger, and the site is run by a forum sponsor here. He also sells tons of live plants, including most of what was mentioned above. His shipping is ridiculously cheap as well. I ordered 2 of the 25ct root tab packs and after shipping for 50 tabs total my price was like $12 and some change. PM jetajockey he runs the site over there. Dolfan is also one of our plant gurus here and if you look under the articles tab, you can see his article on low light low tech planted tanks.


 
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