Need advice un upgrading lights and CO2

  • #1
HI all!

I recently decided I want to upgrade my lighting and add CO2. I used to run CO2 from a DIY hook-up to my old Keg-o-rator CO2 tank that still had gas in it, but wasn't able to be recharged due to age. While I was running it, my tank was lush and stunning! Since then, the plants aren't nearly as full and green as they used to be. SO I want to purchase a nice one, meant for fishtanks. I had read somewhere that they have electronic regulators that monitor the PH and turn off the CO2 injection when the PH drops below a certain level. Does anyone here have experience with these, and have any recommendations?

Also, I want to upgrade my lighting. It is 22-24 inches from where the light rests, to the dirt-capped sand substrate. What is a good "High Light" tank setup for lighting in a tank this deep? It's a wide tank, and holds roughly 85 gallons.

Although money IS an issue, I'd like to see the cream of the crop, and any close seconds and thirds! My tax refund is still burning a hole in my pocket! lol!

Thanks in advance for any help you guys can give!

  • #2
Have you looked into getting a new tank? They might sell new CO2 tanks to fit?
  • #3
Thread moved to the Aquarium Plants/Plant CO2 forum as this is not an advanced topic.

I do not experience with a pH Controller, but have been wanting to purchase one. They aren't cheap. The lowest price I've seen is around $200. Spending that kind of money I would rather spend a little bit more and get a good unit.

What I know about this units is that you set the min and max pH levels which will turn the CO2 gas on or off.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thanks catsma! Do you have any brand names, or sites where I can find such things. Also, any thoughts on the lighting question?
  • #5
I don't know enough to recommend specific brand of controllers. Hopefully someone will come along soon who can.

As for the lighting question, I would look into T5HO lighting with 2 tubes. Color temp of the tubes should be in the 5,000-10,000k range.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Awesome, thanks! What color temp should I be aiming for if I want to grow a carpet of dwarf hairgrass, or something similar? closer to 5k, or closer to 10k?
  • #7
It really depends on the depth of the tank. If 24 inches or more, I would use one 6700k tube and a 10,000k tube. The higher color temp has an easier time penetrating the water to reach the substrate.

Otherwise it is personal preference.

I have always used all 6500-6700 (known as a daylight tube) or one 10,000 with a daylight tube. But this time I ordered a pink grow light with daylight. I've heard good reviews with this mix so thought I'd give it a shot.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Awesome, thanks so much. Do you happen to know a comprehensive source of this kind of stuff, I'd love to learn more about lighting and what is recommended for a planted tank! Thanks again!
  • #9
There really isn't a comprehensive resource as there are far too many variables. Effectiveness of the reflector, color temp of the tubes, type of light, distance from substrate, depth of tank, amount of ambient lighting, light from being near windows, etc. This list can go on for ages!

Here is a chart that I like to use that was developed using equipment that can measure PAR and Lumens of light that reaches the substrate. It takes many of the known variables into account.

  • #10
The composition of light you 'feed' the plants is important, but plants only use a small part of light for photosyntesis, namely a bit of orange and red and some deep blue, violet and ultraviolet.
The graph below shows which waveleghts/colours clorophyll absorbs, or uses to convert (sun)light into what becomes plant growth.

(Document available for public use in wikipedia)

The light we must give plants, should be the peaks in this graph. If we could reproduce these in a fluorecsent tube, the plants would absorb it all and no light reflected, so the plants would seem grayish - therefore we light them with yellow, green and light blue so we can see the plants in the colours they do NOT use, and reflect back.

The best option for plant growth AND plant viewing is a 'daylight' or 'full spectrum' with peaks in the wavelengths in the graph...
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Awesome! Thank you!

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