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Old 03-23-2006, 07:27 PM   #1
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Upgrading lights

I have a 24" deep 77 gallon tank that is fairly densley planted, mostly with swords. Right now i have 80 watts of NO light with two Power glo bulbs. I have 4 discus, soon to be 6 then 8, and a large school of neon tetras. I have weighed the pros and cons of each lighting option and have decided to go with PC. My questions are how many watts ( i dont' want to scare the discus into hiding with too much light) and what spectrum of bulbs should i use to get optimum growth and fish coloring. If somone could recomend a specific fixture that would fit my needs that would be great. Also, if i ran three bottles with my diy co2 setup, would that be enough to do me for now with the new fixture until i can afford to buy a pressurized setup? I have the co2 diffusing on hagens ladders. Help with this will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-23-2006, 08:44 PM   #2
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How are the swords doing at that light level?

I would recommend dual 65w 10000k fixtures, That would push you just above where Co2 is absolutely required (so make sure those 3 bottles are goin at all times).. but it should keep the fishes colours.

I'm not sure how senstive discus are to light, but that will put you in a moderate light category.. if you feel like splurging, get 4x65w marine fixture, (2 x actinic for great colour and 2 x 10000k for even more blues. the fish will look absolutely striking, and if you decide you want more light for plants when you get pressurized you can swap out the 2 actinics for 10000k or 6700k.. I think Lonewolfblue posted a good site to get a cheap 4x65w fixture.
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:00 PM   #3
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Do acintic bulbs do anything for plants at all, and do they contribute to algae?
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:03 PM   #4
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Some people have reported that actinic bulbs help promote bushier plant growth, other than that not much. They shouldn't be included when calculating the total lighting over the tank.

Also I hope that you were planning on 1 Gallon bottles instead of 2 Liter bottles. You're going to need a lot to get enough CO2 into that tank. You may even find that you need to add a fourth.
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Old 03-24-2006, 09:45 AM   #5
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Are there any decent co2 test kits available that aren't crazy expensive?
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Old 03-24-2006, 09:58 AM   #6
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All you need is a PH and KH test kit. You can use these to calculate the CO2 in the tank. If there are buffers in your water other than KH, you will have to use a slightly different method to calculate CO2. Check out the CO2 Sticky, there's several links to charts and calculations for CO2 using PH and KH.
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Old 03-24-2006, 10:25 AM   #7
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Okay, so i have almost no co2 in my tank. I'm really confused however, the kh of my tank is 220ppm and my gh is at 120 ppm. Here's where it gets confusing my tapwater's kh is 120ppm and gh is 120ppm, my tank is filtered through peat, so why is the kh of my tank water almost double that of my tapwater, isn't peat supposed to lower the hardness of water, btw i did the tests three times.
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Old 03-24-2006, 10:48 AM   #8
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so you have about 13dkh in the aquarium...and a lot less from the tap. why did you feel you needed peat to lower hardness? 120ppm is fine for both Kh and Gh, unless you have very delicate, softwater fish. Discus may or may not fall into that category (i've never kept them, and i've met many who argue what water is truely needed).

if you really wanted to lower hardness you should use RO water, mixed with tap water, to dilute your hardness levels.

Only reason tank Kh is higher is because of two things:
1. something in the tank is full of carbonate, and is dissolving...like limestone or lace rock as examples
2. you've been topping off for evaporation with tap water, and not doing enough large, weekly water changes. Since only H2O evaporates, topping off with tap water raises your hardness levels

I'm more inclined to think its option 1. Discus keepers I konw usually do water changes twice a week, adn that should prevent hardness from getting concentrated. Plus your Gh is the same, only kh is higher, so something really must be dissolving. What kind of decorative rocks/gravel are you using?
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Old 03-24-2006, 12:57 PM   #9
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i just have geosystem sand, driftwood, and plants in the tank, no rocks at all, so maybe it's option two.

Edit: So I just read the back of the geosystem sand bag and it says that it contains ph buffers, which would explain the high kh and high ph. Why would there be ph buffers in ordinary aquarium sand, i could understand if it was intended for marine use, but not freshwater... argghhhh
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