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Old 07-13-2006, 01:03 AM   #1
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New Lights Arrive Tomorrow!

My 38-gallon tank has been doing well. Its a low-light tank, and my plants have been doing okay, but are growing slowly. Well, after researching it I know why...

Not only is my (single) flourescent light about 10 years old (with 4 years in daily use), but it is only (as far as I can tell) 18 watts! Ouch...

So, I ordered this light (36" freshwater 6700°K 96 watt version) along with a new glass canopy.

That should be a nice improvement! What do you all think?
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:47 AM   #2
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Looks like a nice improvement. Be sure to have the CO2 and Ferts ready to go when you add the new light.
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Old 07-13-2006, 08:57 AM   #3
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I love Coralife lights! Wonderful addition. Be sure to post before and after pics!
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Old 07-13-2006, 09:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Purrbox
Looks like a nice improvement. Be sure to have the CO2 and Ferts ready to go when you add the new light.
At this level of lighting, will CO2 be required? I hadn't thought so, but of course will add it if needed. I have some CO2 "fizz-type" tablets in any case.

EDIT:
Everything arrived and is working great! The AquaLife mounting legs were a bit of a pain to install, and not quite as sturdy as I'd like, but seem adequate. The overall brightness difference is HUGE, but its not terribly apparent in the pictures below because I had to use my camera's flash to get the picture to look decent...

Here are the pictures (click each to see 1024x768 version):

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Old 07-13-2006, 08:32 PM   #5
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This light will probably put you into the grey area between medium light and high light. In this range CO2 may or may not be necessary. Always best to be ready just incase you find that you do need it.

If you do find that your tank needs CO2, ditch those fizz tabs as they are more likely to do harm than good. DIY CO2 (challenging on this size tank), Flourish Excel (will be expensive long term for this size tank), or Pressurized CO2 are the best ways to inject CO2. I'd probably use Flourish Excel or DIY CO2 as a short term measure while gathering what was necessary for the Pressurized system if it becomes apparent that it is necessary.
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Old 07-13-2006, 11:43 PM   #6
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Why are the fizz tabs bad? I don't doubt you; I'm just curious. I'm appalled by the amount of awful stuff sold by pet stores, especially the big chains...

What do you all here this of this CO2 system? Its not that expensive, at least for the short term (I have no idea how much pressurized systems cost, but I'll start looking into them quite soon)...

EDIT: Will getting floating plants (like the rafts of Anachris I now have, or something like duckweed) help to effectively drop the tank more into the "medium" light range?
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Old 07-14-2006, 12:14 AM   #7
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I have a 38g that I will be setting up eventually and I plan to get that same light. I have even looked into getting the Red Sea Turbo thingy...before even looking at your thread.

I've heard that the Red Sea thing works really well for non-pressurized CO2. I haven't used it yet, myself, but may get it for my 29g soon.

I personally wouldn't get duckweed. It spreads very quickly over the top of the tank and is hard to get rid of. I had some in a bag that a fish came in and didn't notice it got into the tank (like 2-3 pieces). Well a few days later I had about 10 or more pieces...then a week later I had about 30 pieces...so yes, it spreads very quickly. I think its a weed. To shade the plants a little, I'd float some hornwort on top of the water. It will shade very well IMO. Or you can just get the Red Sea Turbo, so that you can prevent algae.

Having that much light will give you a wide range of stem plants to grow...as well as low light plants and swords.
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:05 AM   #8
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The fizz tabs generally fall into one of three categories. They add CO2 by stripping your water of KH which can lead to a pH crash and/or be ineffective depending on the amount of KH in your water. (This is the same reason that you should avoid the carbo plus system, in addition to it being incredibly expensive.) If they actually are effective, they sometimes will cause incredibly high levels of CO2 which are dangerous to your fish. And some just plain don't work. At this time I have yet to hear of a single brand of these that is good, so it's best to avoid them all.

Basically that Rea Sea CO2 system is DIY CO2 in a pretty package with a power diffuser. It may be worth it for the diffuser, but you would need to upgrade the bottle used for generating CO2 to probably 2 x 1 Gallon bottles to get sufficient CO2 levels. Those systems are rated for much larger tanks than they can really be effective on, probably due to having much lower CO2 targets than you will find around here.

You could use floating plants to cut the amount of light that reaches the rest of the plants. You could also replace the bulb with a 50/50 bulb which would effectively half the amount of usable light. It really depends on what your goals are for the tank.
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Old 07-14-2006, 01:03 PM   #9
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How does one measure CO2 levels? I can't seem to find tests for that...

Is the main indicator that I need more CO2 when I see excessive algae growth? Will my plants show symptoms of insufficient CO2?

EDIT: I found an inexpensive CO2 indicator from Drs. Foster & Smith, and ordered that along with 2 liters of Flourish Excel, which should do me at least for a while, until I learn more about pressurized CO2 systems.

Whew! This stuff can get complicated...
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Old 07-14-2006, 01:14 PM   #10
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You can find out your CO2 levels by measuring your KH and PH levels. This calculator will do the math for you. In some cases it does not work, if you have any unusual buffers, but for most folks it works just fine.
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