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Agranized
08-21-2009, 08:22 PM
I'm going to try and set up my first planted freshwater tank and need a little advice on lighting requirements. My aquarium is 30" deep and I'm just looking for mainly low light plants to fill in the landscape and provide refuge for fish. I am wondering if T5's would do or T5 HO's or do I need to go the halide route? I'm leary about halide's as I'm running an acrylic aquarium and the heat aspect is worrisome. How many watts?
Ideas?

sphelps
08-21-2009, 08:44 PM
I'm no expert on freshwater put I was under the impression you could get away with a couple T8s for most plants.

Agranized
08-21-2009, 11:36 PM
What about LED lighting?

trilinearmipmap
08-22-2009, 12:10 AM
There is no need for halides even for high light plants.

You could get a 2 x 24" T5 retrofit kit.

Then if you want to upgrade to a high-light, CO2 injected system later you could add on two more 24" T5's.

Myka
08-22-2009, 12:18 AM
For a 30" depth I would think that you would want to use T5NOs for low light plants. Halides are used on planted tanks at times, but usually only for exceptionally deep, high CO2, high light demand plants.

ElGuappo
08-22-2009, 01:38 AM
imo a single tube t8 may be enough, at least for low light plants

PuffLuv
08-22-2009, 03:38 AM
It definitely depends on what plants you want to keep. For plants that aren't very light-demanding (java, crypt, anubias, water sprite, etc.), I'd recommend a double T5HO (~3W/gal). However if you plan on keeping some cabomba, pennywort, cress, swords, etc., I would get at least a 4-bulb T5HO(~6W/gal) and use CO2 if you want them to thrive.:biggrin:

Myka
08-22-2009, 03:12 PM
He would be struggling with algae if he used 2xT5HO without injecting CO2.

sphelps
08-22-2009, 04:11 PM
It definitely depends on what plants you want to keep. For plants that aren't very light-demanding (java, crypt, anubias, water sprite, etc.), I'd recommend a double T5HO (~3W/gal). However if you plan on keeping some cabomba, pennywort, cress, swords, etc., I would get at least a 4-bulb T5HO(~6W/gal) and use CO2 if you want them to thrive.:biggrin:
6W per gallon sounds like a lot for any plant, I use that much for my reef tank and it uses higher K bulbs than typical planted tanks and contains SPS corals.

PuffLuv
08-22-2009, 10:20 PM
He would be struggling with algae if he used 2xT5HO without injecting CO2. Maybe...I don't. Mine is lightly-moderately planted with lots of fish and weekly water changes. I think at first when I switched to T5HO's I had an algae bloom, but after a month or two, it balanced out. In addition, there's a flourite base and I add fertilizer. If you have faster growing plants that can out-compete the algae for nutrients, using better lights, you should be okay(I used to have some Val. that I would trim a shopping bag full every week or two).

6W per gallon sounds like a lot for any plant, I use that much for my reef tank and it uses higher K bulbs than typical planted tanks and contains SPS corals. It does sound like a lot, however if you've ever tried to keep cabomba or microswords with <4W/gal., I think you would be surprised. Also, Agranized's tank is 30" high, in my opinion, you would need higher intensity lighting to have plants thrive(strong growth), not just survive.

By all means Agranized, try growing some plants with low output lights, but unless its just anubias or something, but from my experience, you might be growing more algae than anything. You can always upgrade your lighting if you experience what I have in the past. I'd also recommend (not required by what your looking for)a little CO2 (20-30ppm), you could try a DIY'er, super cheap and easy, but not too reliable, or pickup a used CO2 reg., solenoid, bubblecounter, diffuser, cylinder from someone on the site. All that being said, I have seen some low-light tanks with java, crypt and val. that seemed to do very well at <2W/gal. its just the tanks weren't 30" tall. Again, just my $0.02.:biggrin:

Myka
08-22-2009, 10:39 PM
Yes, he would definitely need some low-light fast growing plants (like Hygros) to out compete the algae, but that's not going to fix overpowering lights. Of course we don't actually know how big his tank is, being 30" deep it may be a fairly large tank in which case the 2xT5HO would probably be ok. Don't ever forget the fast growing plants though...unless you're experienced because it's quite a challenge to keep a planted tank algae-free with only slow growers.

It's all about keeping the balance between nutrients, light, and CO2. If he has low light, then he needs low CO2 and low nutrients. Although I have to find an amount of CO2 that is too much (within reason and during the photoperiod). I can say that EVERY time I have battled algae of one kind or another it has ALWAYS been CO2 too low in comparison to the light and nutrients, which can be as simple as having poor water flow to distribute the CO2.

BlueAbyss
08-23-2009, 09:16 PM
It definitely depends on what plants you want to keep. For plants that aren't very light-demanding (java, crypt, anubias, water sprite, etc.), I'd recommend a double T5HO (~3W/gal). However if you plan on keeping some cabomba, pennywort, cress, swords, etc., I would get at least a 4-bulb T5HO(~6W/gal) and use CO2 if you want them to thrive.:biggrin:

+1. I've found even some of the easy plants (cabomba, hygrophila, etc.) need the extra light to do well... I wouldn't do another planted tank without at least a pair of T5HOs over it. Algae problems aside, T8s just don't have the output for high light plants (IMO, any NO fluorescent will not be enough for a good planted tank, unless you're planting with mosses and ferns).