Lights and plants

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by Sharpie, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. Sharpie

    SharpieValued MemberMember

    Hello folks,

    As some of you already know I replaced the stock 17w t8 light fixture with Coralife t5 setup.I switched 10000k and actinic light bulbs that came with it,for one t5 6700k and another colormax light bulb (both 31w) so I get just shy of 2w per gal on my 36g bow front.I did some plant shopping yesterday as well as some liquid fertilizers.From bellow picture,can you please advice which one i should use?or maybe combo such as api co2 booster + seachem flourish excel? Would that be too much?Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Here is the picture of light bulbs i got ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1404666345.955027.jpg

    This is what i have available to use ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1404666373.073120.jpg

    This is my tank ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1404666402.733412.jpg

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  2. OP

    SharpieValued MemberMember

    Edit: I am currently keeping lights on from 12:30 to 8:30pm,is that too much?

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  3. matsungit

    matsungitWell Known MemberMember

    If you notice on the bottle of Tetra Flora Pride, it says 0-0-3. That's N-P-K rating for fertilizers, meaning Nitrogen (or nitrate), Phosphorus (or phosphate), and Potassium. 0-0-3 means no nitrogen, no phosphorus, and 3x Potassium. This means Flora Pride is a Potassium supplement for plants. But it also has Iron added. It seems to be identical to API Leaf Zone. Both products assume you already have lots of nitrates and phosphates being for aquarium use. If you want a comprehensive liquid fertilizer you can buy Flourish Comprehensive.

    For API CO2 Booster and Seachem Excel, these are really not fertilizers per se. As you know, all photosynthetic plants utilize CO2 aside from fertilizers. CO2 is a carbon source needed for photosynthesis. API CO2 Booster or Seachem Excel is an artificial carbon source not based on gaseous CO2. It helps the plants photosynthesize and grow when there isn't enough CO2 saturation in the water.

    There is much trial and error when it comes to what your plants prefer. Every tank is different so you will have to find your perfect balance of ferts and lighting.

  4. Dolfan

    DolfanFishlore VIPMember

    +1 to what Matsungit said.

    One thing I will add, is that API CO2 booster and Seachem Excel are virtually the same thing. So if you just bought them both, I would take one back and get your money back, as you will only have have need for one of them. I prefer Seachem products so I would suggest keeping the Excel.

    Also, as Matsungit suggested, some Seachem Flourish Comprehensive will work well for you as an all around basic fertilizer for most plants in a low light setup like yours.

  5. OP

    SharpieValued MemberMember

    Thank you guys for the replies!

    I was wondering if I needed a pressurized co2? Or I can keep hardy plants with this light setup and just add excel? If not what am I looking for? i am completely new to that,what is a good brand/model for 36g bowfront?
  6. Dolfan

    DolfanFishlore VIPMember

    You shouldn't need a CO2 injection system. They are mainly for high light setups or when trying to grow specialized more difficult plants. Your tanks is in the low light range and will do great with some liquid CO2 substitute. When just starting with plants it is best to go with a "low tech" tank like yours with low light and no CO2 injection. After time and figuring out what works, what doesn't, etc, you may opt for a high tech tank with a CO2 tank and regulator, more light and more difficult plants. Baby steps though, start with the easier stuff.
  7. OP

    SharpieValued MemberMember

    So I bought some seachem root tabs to use along with a liquid seachem flourish excel and cut the on time for lights from 10-11 hours a day to 7 hoys and plants is doing great!

    I want to add a co2 to make them thrive even more, as i mention before my tank is 36G medium/heavy planted and I have aprox 2wpg T5 lighting.

    What is my options for co2? How much does a good co2 reactor cost to buy? How much does it cost to refill? Can you recommend any specific model? Brand?

    Thank You

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  8. renthusWell Known MemberMember

    Uh, a few things.

    You're not heavily planted, lol. You're sorta at a medium/standard planting level. I've heard that the PAR from that particular light setup is pretty awful/low, in part because the reflectors are so bad. With that in mind, there is really nothing to be gained by injecting co2. The primary ingredient in photosynthesis is light. More light means more photosynthesis, etc etc. If you have low lighting, excess co2 isn't going to do anything but suffocate your fish, ferts will just act as algae steroids, etc etc.

    If you really insist upon getting a CO2 injection system, I suggest that you start with disposables, like this. I use the 88g kit on my 20 since my school won't let me have my 10lb canister in my room -_-. I don't use their diffuser, though. Instead, I DIY'd one with a cheap powerhead, some pvc piping, vinyl tubing (will need replacing over time due to corrosion), and some brass fittings.

    A couple pictures of my little reactor system:

    ^ In-line (top) of reactor.

    ^ The whole reactor. The top and bottom are identical, except the bottom is outflow and the top is intake. It's also full of ceramic rings for filtration benefits. I would suggest using a filter sponge instead, honestly.

    ^The pump hooked up to the intake. Right next to where the hose is connected, there's a nipple to connect an airline. That's where the co2 connects. To the right is the outflow, held in place by a couple of suction cup hangers. I still need to come up with a better way to hide that whole... mess. Hopefully it takes care of itself as my vals and such continue to grow.

    The piping above. What a mess.

    The whole venture cost me about $10, accounting for the fact that I got bigger piping than I needed (by about 4-15 feet each) due to future projects.
  9. matsungit

    matsungitWell Known MemberMember

    Is that a Rex Grigg based DIY reactor?
  10. renthusWell Known MemberMember

    I'd never heard of Rex Grigg, but it looks like the same concept. Sure.
  11. OP

    SharpieValued MemberMember

    Well maybe I am going to leave it at fert tabs and liquid flourish excel for now.
    Plants doing fine,way better than it was with a stock light that came with the tank,my plants were dyeing with that,and now I see beautiful bright green color and i have to do some cutting because i dont want to have them take all the space super heavy planted tank is not my taste.

    ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1405886366.252893.jpg

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