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Old 02-10-2013, 11:44 PM   #1
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Lighting for a 35gal Hex Planted Tank

I've been looking everywhere, reading lots of conflicting information on lighting for planted tanks. What else is there to do when snowed in? The trouble here is that the tank in question is quite narrow and I'm confused as to what type of light would be best. I'm trying to make the 35gal hex tank the star of the show and the plants in there are doing OK but I think I could really make things happen with more lighting. I can probably rock some kind of DIY setup if someone could just point me in the right direction for a tank that is so narrow and deep. Thanks!
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:16 AM   #2
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How many inches is it from the light to the sand?

I had a similar question about adding the waterproof strips of LED lighting just under the lid or attach some to a lower back section with double sided mounting tape, to get the light into the lower section of the tank.

Which would only look good if you had one side up against the wall for a "back" side so you didn't have to see the light bar/strip there.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:03 AM   #3
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I have about 20" between the top of the gravel and the surface of the water. I'm still rocking the original T8 fluorescent hood with a supposedly plant friendly bulb but I know that it isn't enough.

Waterproof LED strips you say? I'm intrigued. That sounds awesome but shouldn't the light come from above the plants?
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:05 AM   #4
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I had a single t-8 17w bulb and swapped it out with a ZooMed Flora Sun plant bulb; returned it because the coloring was not pleasing to the eye and realized that the output was still pretty low. Went with a dual t-5 normal (17w x 2) output instead of the high output type (because I have a shallow tank) and it's working out fine for a low light tank.
Given the distance in your case you might look toward the Finnex series of LEDs. I don't own one but many on this forum have them.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakeman View Post
I have about 20" between the top of the gravel and the surface of the water. I'm still rocking the original T8 fluorescent hood with a supposedly plant friendly bulb but I know that it isn't enough.

Waterproof LED strips you say? I'm intrigued. That sounds awesome but shouldn't the light come from above the plants?
I have a great deal of experience with garden plants...but aquatic plants much less, and real lighting issues, almost nada! But the point is plants need light.

They can use light from where ever it comes from. I have been successful for two months at keeping low light plants very healthy in buckets by adding my aquarium light to the sides of the buckets as well as sitting it over the top of the buckets. They are the square cat litter plastic buckets (no cat litter). One is almost clear and the other is slightly opaque.

They are getting good light but from the side bottom where I lay the light hood on the floor facing into the bucket bottoms. I did this since they weren't getting light down there, and also they had bunches of duckweed and Salvinia Minima covering the top for sure blocking light altogether in one bucket! They are extra plants, I don't have room for in the tanks atm.

They are lower light plants, so it isn't exactly a miracle or anything just that they weren't getting enough light and now they are.

The leaves of aquarium plants and depth of the tank can make you loose the majority of available light once you reach the substrate.

If you have seen PAR charts for light fixtures and tanks you can easily see the dramatic loss from the top of the water then every, say 8-10 inches.

By the way there is a nice Finnex PAR chart thread here somewhere, I was looking at it last night.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:07 AM   #6
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Thanks! I never knew that. I always thought plants required aerial light. I went out and got an LED fixture that was on crazy clearance and I added it to the top of the tank along with the existing fluorescent. If my plants don't show significant improvement, I'll look into adding lighting toward the bottom of the tank. At that point, I'll have to get into the CO2 game because algae is not an option.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:04 AM   #7
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I am getting ready to buy a new light and Algae is not an option here either!!!
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Old 03-06-2013, 02:26 AM   #8
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ALGAE. So, I had to go to a trade show this past weekend for work and I slipped on dosing liquid carbon. Two days without and I already have algae growth on the glass! I'm hoping the Bristlenose Pleco and Zebra Nerite Snail will chow down on the existing algae and continued dosage will stop the outbreak. It's not too bad yet but I have another thing this weekend (a seafood show...the irony!) so I'm worried that it's going to get worse. Short of recruiting a friend to dose the tank, is there any way to slowly release the carbon into the tank without my being there?

Pic from last week, sans algae
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