Plant/lighting help

  • #1
hI guys I need your help

I have some amazon swords that are not doing very well

ive had them in my tank for about 2 months now and the leaves are going brown and sort of see through
I put some root tabs in about 2 weeks ago but it seems to have made no difference
I have 3, 4 foot t8 plant tubes in the hood, they give off a pink color which I really don't like
the tubes are 36w, 3400 kelvin, 2100 lm
I run them for about 10/12hrs a day

can anyone help me?

thanks in advance
  • #2
Whats the size of the tank? That is a factor as well. Also Plants need co2 to breathe. Do you have fish in the tank? If not, they may be suffocating. I recommend more research on the plant itself. Temps are a large factor even with plants. Remember, they're just as much alive as you and I, they have their own needs.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3

the tank is 5x2x2 foot and there are fish in it, the temp is 25/26c
  • #4
Iron is in it's diet. It could be lack of iron.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
the root tabs have iron in them
  • #6
The issue is the lighting.

3 T8 bulbs over a 24 inch tank is very low lighting. Sword plants need moderate lighting minimum. You'd be better off using T5HO lighting. Otherwise you will need another 3-5 T8 tubes to generate enough light.

The color spectrum on your bulbs is not in the correct range for plant growth. Plants use light in the 5,000k - 10,000k color temp range.

Root tabs will only help once the lighting has been increased and falls into the correct range. Daylight bulbs run around 6,700K. And appears yellow white to the eye.

You will not need to worry about CO2 if you stay in the moderate lighting range.

Hope this helps.
  • #7
Seconding what Cat said. Your lighting isn't powerful enough, or in the correct kelvin range for plant growth. I'd recommend upgrading to T5HO lighting as well.

  • Thread Starter
  • #8
x guys

thought it might be the lighting

is there any plants it is suitable for?
will have to wait a few paydays until I can afford a new light setup

  • #9
Nothing comes to mind. Plants need a higher kelvin range.
  • #10
48" T8 lighting is what I use on my tank. I have 2 'daylight' bulbs over my 55 gallon (48"x20"Tx12"D). This is plenty to keep my swords healthy, java fern flourishing, hygrophila growing explosively, and a good coat of algae all around.
Trying to use T5 on this tank would have cost about as much as I put into the rest of the tank all around... The T8 setup I'm using ran about $30 altogether and has worked fine for me. Seems like neither of the hardware stores I was in carried 48" T8 Plant & Aquarium Bulbs - why I ended up with Daylight Bulbs.
Fall River
  • #11
+1 to the K range. Check out hardware/department stores for something above 5000K. You can usually find them a lot cheaper than the pet store and they work just as well.
If upgrading the bulbs doesn't work you'll have time to save up for new lighting.
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
hI there guys

thanks for the info
ive been to my local hardware stores and all of them only do 36w, 3400 kelvin in a 4 foot tube

ive had a look on ebay for a t5ho unit

and bulbs

is this suitable and all I would need?
would build my own hood to house it all

thank you
  • #13
I am not familiar with the fixture, so will let someone else comment on it.

However, those bulbs are for a marine tank, not a freshwater tank.
  • #14
Yep, you need to avoid actinic lighting.
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
thank you

will look for some ordinary daylight bulbs
Fall River
  • #16
The very bottom of the bulb ad says that 10000K white bulbs are also available.
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
hI guys

ive found these 2 lights, was going to bid on them, can you tell me if they would be suitable?

3hrs and counting, have messaged the seller as regards to the wattage but he hasnt got back yet


  • #18
The second link mentions marine lights, which will most likely not be suitable, you'll need to find out the kelvin temperature of the lights.
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
he`s just messaged me, they are both 54w, didnt say about the kelvin temperature
  • #20
48 inch 54w is a T5HO light. That would be great for your tank.

But if it comes with a blue actinic bulb you should replace it.
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
thanks guys

the auction ended before I got your comments so I took a chance and bid and I WON got it for £23
it comes with 2 spare white bulbs what have had little use so will run 2 white ones
will this be considered med/high lighting?

plants here I come
  • #22
When the fixture and bulbs arrive, let us know what is printed on the tubes. We need to determine the color temp of each tube to know if they are usable for a freshwater planted tank.

Congratulations on the new fixture!
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
will do

thank you
  • #24
Congrats. I'll just throw my 2c in here.

When a fixture has been used for marine, you'll often find that the white tube will be around 18 or 20,000k which is generally too much for a Freshwater planted.

So you should consider changing both tubes. It'll allow you to life the tubes if you start from fresh, so that's an added bonus.
  • #25
I use 2 t-8 flor lights,Aquaglo,48" long on a 75 gal tank.I also use flourish plant fertilizer.1 cap full twice weekly.I have great results for plants
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
hI guys

finally got my twin 54w 46 inch t5 ho light today but unfortunately the bulbs are all marine bulbs so am going to get some new ones

ive been having trouble finding suitable 1`s

I know I need at least 6500k but some of the 1`s ive been looking at don't give the kelvin range

ive found these

will these be ok?

I'm going to phone them in the morning to see if I can get the k range of them
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
hI guys I'm a bit confused

ive got a twin t5ho 54w 4foot glo light unit

I uprated to this one as my 4foot t8 unit wasn't up to the job regarding the plans I have

the thing that's confusing me is
the t5 has marine bulbs(I'm assuming this as it was advertised as marine)

I know they need replacing with new bulbs with around 6700k as marine can go up to 20,000k

the thing is that the light off my old t8 unit is much brighter than the t5ho unit

the t8 bulbs are 3500k but the t5ho doesn't have any numbers on them, could it be the bulbs are just used up? don't know how old they are

I thought marine bulbs with 10,000k+ would be a lot brighter than my 3500k t8`s

so confused

any help appreciated

  • #28
I have Amazon plants before.

Just use bulbs with 6400K or higher color temp lights. Or Just simply called DAYLIGHTS.
No need to boost with ferts.
High ferts + Low (Incorrect) light= Algae and you don't want this to happen.
After you fixed your lighting cut the old dying leaves. Decaying matter if too much can cause some problems too. Provide Co2 too.
  • #29
10,000k bulbs should be very bright. Do the ends of the tubes appear to be turning grey in the glass? That's how my lights look when I replace the bulbs. This discoloration might be a way to determine if they've been overused or not.

As for the color temps, you will want to use tubes in the 5,000-10,000k tubes. Outside of this range and algae has a much easier time taking over.

Sounds like you may need to replace the tubes very soon. At least you have a better light fixture to work with!
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
thanks for the info guys

the tubes do have a grey band around the ends, so I'm guessing that's why they arnt bright, will replace them with 2 6700k daylight tubes

whats lumens? and do I need to know about them?

  • #31
HI everyone!

I've got two anubias nana and one anubias hastifolia in my 5.5g tank. Right now the light over it is a 15w incandescent. I've got two mini-issues and I'm wondering if they can be solved by altering my lighting.

First is that the nanas have a sort of brown dust on them. It flies off when I brush/gently shake the leaf, but in short time comes back. I assume this is algae? I have heard that lighting that is too high will sometimes burn anubias and cause algae to grow on them, and since it is worse on the one that is more directly below the lightbulb I feel like this is what is happening to me.

Second, I've seen some really nice, clear or blueish looking tanks. Mine has kind of a yellow tint, I assume because the lightbulb is incandescent.

So these are really more cosmetic concerns than anything, and I think changing light bulbs would fix it, but wanted some input from the gurus ;D So... What kind of bulb should I get? Hood will fit one bulb rated up to 15w. I have read a lot about this in various places but wanted to see if I had it all straight... I'm thinking I need around a 10w compact fluorescent rated for about 6500K? Or would this still be too strong for my plants? And of course I don't want a bulb that would harm any fish/frogs, if that's even a thing (I will probably buy two more of the same bulb and put it in my 10 gallon that is not (yet) planted). Any good brand recommendations? And is it cheaper if I go to a hardware store than say petsmart?

Thank you! And sorry for the novel... I try to be thorough XD
iZaO Jnr
  • #32
This could be algae, or the flesh of the leaves shedding away in attempt to protect itself. You are right that this problem can be easily solved by changing your lights Incandescent are unfortunately horrible for any kind of aquatic purpose, especially plants.

As lights for live plants, you definitely want to look at 3 things.

1. Type of light
2. Colour of Light
3. Output of Light (in lumens, not watts)

1. I would recommend you get a small T5 Light, or a CFL light. I have used both successfully on my 8G hex in the past, which is 15 inches deep. For the T5 light, I would recommend the NO type (Normal Output) as compared to the HO (High Output). Ball Park would be 6, 8 or 10W. The reason I say this is because HO will be WAAAY to much light, whereas NO will be perfect. For the CFL, I Would recommend either a 6W, 8W or 10W, depending on the depth of your tank. The deeper it is, the higher you should go.

2. Colour, simple. Warm and Cool Whites always work well on the tanks. Cool White is a very bland colour for water purposes but works best for plants, and warm looks better but isn't exactly what i've found works well on plants. The colour Temp you are looking for is 5800 - 6500 Kelvin. It should say on the bulb box or something.

3. Your output is determined most of the time by Wattage, but is inaccurate because 10W of T8 Light is nowhere near the strength of 10W T5HO or CREE LED. Try to find out your lumen output. The higher the better of course but don't overdo it.

On a side note, if you want to go all out, CREE LED's are the way to go. I only run these on my tanks now and are great. No algae in the tanks, planted or not. The plants also look great.

Good Luck.

Hope you found this helpful
  • #33
Yes, very helpful! Thank you. I ended up getting a Zoo Med Ultra Sun 6500K/10w/5" CFL. It seemed to fit the bill. Do you think this will be an improvement in look and plant health over what I have? I wanted to get something with maybe a little less watts and temperature but this was all they had, besides a 50/50 Zoo Med bulb for reef tanks. I haven't opened it so I could still take it back if this won't improve the burning and such.
  • #34
Yes, that should be much better. Incandescents don't do anything for plants. Stay away from those 50/50 bulbs; 50% daylight and 50% acintic which doesn't do anything for plants.

That brown dusting sounds like Diatoms. Causes could be the previous lighting or if your tank is under 6 months old it's the natural Diatom phase that new tanks go through and eventually go away on their own.
  • #35
I have the same light over my 5 gallon tank. It's perfect for aponogenton, anubias, and lilies in my tank.
  • #36
Thanks to you guys, I decided to put the bulb in my hood... and wow, what a difference! I definitely did not expect it to look this nice (sorry about the weird floating watersprite, I'm hoping it'll come back XP):





The yellow tint is definitely gone! I don't think the pictures do it justice.
iZaO Jnr
  • #38
Yes, very helpful! Thank you. I ended up getting a Zoo Med Ultra Sun 6500K/10w/5" CFL. It seemed to fit the bill. Do you think this will be an improvement in look and plant health over what I have? I wanted to get something with maybe a little less watts and temperature but this was all they had, besides a 50/50 Zoo Med bulb for reef tanks. I haven't opened it so I could still take it back if this won't improve the burning and such.

No problem, glad to have helped.

As for the brown dust, it is probably dust. The CFL won't vurn your plants anyway so it won't be a concern.

As for the bulb, it seems perfect. Your tank will be much better!
  • #39
Thank you for the kind words

I am not dosing with anything as these are my first plants, and I didn't want to try anything too complicated. Plus learning about all the different supplements and methods and all that is a whole nother world XD
  • #40
They will need nutrients to keep them healthy.

It's simple and doesn't have to be on a daily bases.

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