29 Gallon Tank Low light with my monte carlo

LouPey

Hi all,

My plants are growing terribly slow and I was starting to get impatient after 7 weeks of waiting on my plants to thicken up! I am noticing some VERY slow growth in the monte carlo, decent growth on the crinum, okay growth for the rotala wallichii, the crypto balansae is slowly dying off. So I've emailed the manufacturers of my overhead LED lights, as it only stated the wattage, to see if my lighting was the problem.

This was what I got:

"the PAR reading at 30cm is 32, and at 60cm is 12."

Browsing on the internet suggests this is a 'low light' set up.

My tank is 55cm deep, and about 60cm from the overhead lights to the top of the substrate.

So the poor monte carlo is only getting about 12 PAR down there. So I am wondering, am I better off ditching the idea of a monte carlo carpet and going for another low light species to cover the substrate (fluval stratum)? Or should I persevere? Are there any success stories out there with approximate time frames with low light and no CO2 injections?! I was thinking if I keep trying, I'd buy more MC and plant more to try bulk it out.
20210104_111711.jpg
Getting a new, stronger light isn't an option right now. Mostly owing to the way the tank is at the top- trying to find a light to fit is a bit much hassle right now

I am currently doing daily dosing of carbon to see if that helps and added some JBL root tabs the other week which seem to be helping the MC a smidge.
 

Fae

I know you said you don't want to get a new light right now, but hear me out: have you heard of the nicrew lights on Amazon? I got mine, which has all colours of the spectrum, is LED, has a 24/7 timer through different time of day lights (sunrise, midday, etc) + customizable mode, has been great for my plants, and is 48 inches long for only $90CAD. The smaller versions of the same light range from $30CAD-$60CAD I think? So it's very affordable.

I use plexiglass I took off an old tv as a cover and it looks terrible lol but I'm planning an upgrade as I saw PetSmart sells glass covers 24in long for $25CAD each, cheaper if you get smaller ones.

Just wanted to throw these options out there in case you hadn't heard of them!

I can come back with advice if you're still not down XD

Btw, I have Monte Carlo and it did NOTHING but grow itself out of my substrate until I upgraded to aforementioned light
 
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V1K

I think that unless you update your lights, your only options for carpet will be plants that aren't that short and grow a few inches tall. I hear good things about dwarf sagitaria, you can also try smaller varieties of cryptocorine, etc. The only idea that could result in similar texture as Monte Carlo is very densely planted and trimmed pearl weed, but even pearl weed prefers medium light and in my experience in low light the old leaves get covered in brown algae and don't look great (but it won't die at least).
 
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LouPey

I know you said you don't want to get a new light right now, but hear me out: have you heard of the nicrew lights on Amazon? I got mine, which has all colours of the spectrum, is LED, has a 24/7 timer through different time of day lights (sunrise, midday, etc) + customizable mode, has been great for my plants, and is 48 inches long for only $90CAD. The smaller versions of the same light range from $30CAD-$60CAD I think? So it's very affordable.

I use plexiglass I took off an old tv as a cover and it looks terrible lol but I'm planning an upgrade as I saw PetSmart sells glass covers 24in long for $25CAD each, cheaper if you get smaller ones.

Just wanted to throw these options out there in case you hadn't heard of them!

I can come back with advice if you're still not down XD

Btw, I have Monte Carlo and it did NOTHING but grow itself out of my substrate until I upgraded to aforementioned light

I have seen those lights on Amazon actually and granted they are very cheap. Only thing is for my tank size (60cm long) it is only 640 lumens but I'd be aiming for at least 1,100 to match my 110L tank (the tropica website say to aim for 10 to 20 lumen per litre for 'easy' plants, 20-40 lumens for 'medium's difficulty plants.

Also my biggest challenge with getting a new light is one to fit the tank top:

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I just have the two small rectangular holes to work with at the back. My alternative would be to put the wooden hood on the top of my tank and maybe attach it to that but then that adds another 8-10cm of height.

You are tempting me to get a new light though
 
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V1K

So your current light shines through the glass? That would reduce its luminosity even further. And there's even something that looks like paper in the bottom right blocking even more light. I think long term you should really consider a different lid that has slots for lights under it. I'd suggest you remove the lid but considering you're from UK you probably have enough humidity in your home as it is .
 
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Kribensis27

Yeah, monte carlo is just a high tech plant. It can be pretty hard to grow in a low tech setup. Unless you want to get that new light, I would just stick with dwarf sag or crypt parva.
 
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LouPey

I think that unless you update your lights, your only options for carpet will be plants that aren't that short and grow a few inches tall. I hear good things about dwarf sagitaria, you can also try smaller varieties of cryptocorine, etc. The only idea that could result in similar texture as Monte Carlo is very densely planted and trimmed pearl weed, but even pearl weed prefers medium light and in my experience in low light the old leaves get covered in brown algae and don't look great (but it won't die at least).

Thank you, I've had a look at the Cryptocoryne parva and it might be the way forward. I might get a couple of pots to plant around my bogwood and see how it goes and if its successful I can just plant it over the monte carlo later.
I might stay away from the small leaved ones with soft roots like the MC now as I am finding it tricky to stick into the substrate and often find it floating about the tank.

So your current light shines through the glass? That would reduce its luminosity even further. And there's even something that looks like paper in the bottom right blocking even more light. I think long term you should really consider a different lid that has slots for lights under it. I'd suggest you remove the lid but considering you're from UK you probably have enough humidity in your home as it is .

Yep it does have to shine through the glass lid, something I did think about yesterday- as the lid is always usually full of condensation to make matters worse!
You are definitely right about the humidity too haha. Yesterday I took the lid off for a couple of hours and did so again this morning when I had the light on to see if that makes a difference.
The paper at the bottom was where I had moved some christmas cards to for the photo...they were originally sitting at the back of the tank... so eitherway, you are right, they won't be helping Christmas decorations are coming down tonight and tomorrow though thankfully

But you also raise a good point about the long term of the lid... If I can find a flat LED bar then I could superglue it to the underside of my lid. Or superglue hooks on that will take the LED bar so I can take them off when I need to open the lid up.



Lots of food for thought here everyone. I like it, thank you!

Either way I think I will stop wasting money on buying more MC!
 
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LouPey

I know you said you don't want to get a new light right now, but hear me out: have you heard of the nicrew lights on Amazon? I got mine, which has all colours of the spectrum, is LED, has a 24/7 timer through different time of day lights (sunrise, midday, etc) + customizable mode, has been great for my plants, and is 48 inches long for only $90CAD. The smaller versions of the same light range from $30CAD-$60CAD I think? So it's very affordable.

I use plexiglass I took off an old tv as a cover and it looks terrible lol but I'm planning an upgrade as I saw PetSmart sells glass covers 24in long for $25CAD each, cheaper if you get smaller ones.

Just wanted to throw these options out there in case you hadn't heard of them!

I can come back with advice if you're still not down XD

Btw, I have Monte Carlo and it did NOTHING but grow itself out of my substrate until I upgraded to aforementioned light

Quick update- I've been looking at you suggestion of a nicrew light again and I think the ones I happened to look at before were the smaller ones as I've found a decent set (the
NICREW SlimLED 32 Watt, 58-75 cm that look better than my current set up but only draw back is they aren't fully waterproof so they will have to go above my hood but I am sure they will still work out better than my current light.
Thanks!
 
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Fae

Quick update- I've been looking at you suggestion of a nicrew light again and I think the ones I happened to look at before were the smaller ones as I've found a decent set (the
NICREW SlimLED 32 Watt, 58-75 cm that look better than my current set up but only draw back is they aren't fully waterproof so they will have to go above my hood but I am sure they will still work out better than my current light.
Thanks!
That's awesome, glad I could help! Get some plexiglass or glass while you're at it and you can do away with your hood entirely
 
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Mouska

Another plant you could try is pearlweed it has carpeted pretty nicely for me in my opinion at least, my tank is not high tech at all and the pearlweed tripled in size the first month and since then seems to double in size every month. To keep it low to the ground just trim it frequently and replant the trimmed parts to make the carpet spread faster. The light I have is a vivagrow 24/7 light I’m not sure the par of the light. My tank is also 29 gallons.
 
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Cherryshrimp420

Monte Carlo needs Co2 injection to "carpet" and no, liquid Co2 dosing won't work.
 
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LouPey

Monte Carlo needs Co2 injection to "carpet" and no, liquid Co2 dosing won't work.
Haha good luck to my poor MC then (currently just adding daily drops of carbon and NO intention of getting a carbon dioxide injector in the future.

Another plant you could try is pearlweed it has carpeted pretty nicely for me in my opinion at least, my tank is not high tech at all and the pearlweed tripled in size the first month and since then seems to double in size every month. To keep it low to the ground just trim it frequently and replant the trimmed parts to make the carpet spread faster. The light I have is a vivagrow 24/7 light I’m not sure the par of the light. My tank is also 29 gallons.

Pearlweed as a carpet looks nice but honestly I know what I am like and not sure I'll be able to keep up with the regular pruning to keep it on shape. I will put it on my list for my review in a month. I'm going to get one of the NICREW lights as kindly suggested by Fae And then see how it goes in a month before entirely ditching the monte carlo.

That's awesome, glad I could help! Get some plexiglass or glass while you're at it and you can do away with your hood entirely
It has a glass lid at the moment. It is just always covered in condensation so it doesn't look much like glass I was wondering if I should get one of the NICREW submersible bar lights and attach it to the underside of the glass and the have my current overhead light too. Hopefully between the two of them the plants will get a decent amount of useful lights...
 
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