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Old 08-09-2008, 04:01 PM   #1
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Lighting, T8?

Hi all,

I havent been on AA for a Very! long time! It's changed since!
I'm sure i'll get used to the new layout though.

Basically, i've changed my 20gal around, took out some plants, put some new ones in, but i would like better lighting and maybe some CO2 aswell.
I tried going down the high light road, but i didnt have the patience or determination to make it a success!
I'd like to grow plants in the "Medium" or "Middle of the road" section.
I dont want to grow spectacualr red plants but i dont want to limit myself to Crypts and Anubias.

At the moment i have the standard bulb that came with the tank and have Java fern, anubias and various crypts.
I saw a T8 light today which had 2x 40 watt bulbs, that maybe a bit much for my 20gal but i'd like to possibly have some groundcover with carpet plants. I saw some Pogostemon Helferi today aswell and thats a nice looking plant that i'd like to try.

Any suggestions on what i do?

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Old 08-09-2008, 04:09 PM   #2
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Ground cover for the most part needs high light, so you would need the diligence of maintenance involved in that to be successful at growing a carpet. There is one type of ground cover plant that can grow in lower light settings, although the name escapes me right now.

If you exceed ~2 WPG (meaning more than 40W on your 20g tank) you'll need to seriously consider CO2 and fertilizing. Having that much light without doing these things typically yields algae outbreaks that can be extreme.
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:15 PM   #3
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I think i'd like 1.5 - 2 WPG or nothing that requires me to need a strict routine on fertilizing.
I'm not lazy, i just dont trust my own self organisation!

I did have 3.5 WPG on my old tank! That was a shambles though, i had pressuried CO2 and was adding dry fertilizer's (cant remember which ones now) but that never took off and i had an algae infestation, my pleco and shrimps got rid of some, but the challenge was too much for a newbie with high light.

I saw a low light tank today which looked great, it had CO2 but it was one of these:
CO2 NATURAL PLANT SYSTEM FOR AQUARIUMS on eBay, also Other Fish Supplies, Fish, Pet Supplies, Home Garden (end time 10-Aug-08 21:27:09 BST)
I like the look of one of these kits, i just think my lighting could do with a little boost.
Nothing extreme i just want to open up my options a little more.
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:24 PM   #4
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1.5-2WPG is a good range. It opens up a lot of plant options, and keeps you below the high tech/higher maintenance kind of tanks as well.

I'd shoot for 30-40 watts, just like you said, and start there. You could go with a PC 1x65 W fixture, and run a 50/50 bulb. This would be a good light level, and give you the option of doublling the light by just changing the bulb if you decide you want more lighting.
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:47 PM   #5
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Yeah, i like the sound of that.
Hopefully aswell with the lower levels of everything it will be easily manageable, and lower the chances of any problems.
Also if i do come across troubles or problems, they wont spiral out of control, as they might with high levels of everything.
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Old 08-09-2008, 07:47 PM   #6
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The plant that Neilan was probably trying to think of is Marsilea sp. (Four Leaf Clover, Dwarf Clover, etc.). It's not near as demanding and can make a nice foreground plants, however you shouldn't expect it to quickly form a nice thick mat.
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Old 08-10-2008, 05:11 AM   #7
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Marselia is Glossostigma isn't it?

I looked at that for my high light tank, but decided on Hemianthus C instead.
I thought Glosso looked a bit leggy and not really true ground cover.
By true ground cover i mean barely off the substrate, and literally a 'carpet' plant.
I understand how difficult groundcover can be, I had the Hemianthus for about 6 weeks and it was not particularly fast growing.

I dont expect to have true groundcover in my tank with 2WPG i might try some, maybe glosso in a corner or concentrated area of the tank but i wont approach it with expectancy.

My main goal with higher light is just to have more choice. I look at some plants that dont do well in my tank, like Amazon swords, Hairgrass, Cabomba's, even Vallis. I'd like to be able to grow those and i'd like to try Pogostemon inparticular.
I'll have to refresh my knowledge of these plants, and whip out the encyclopedia of plants before i seriously start thinking about my next move.
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:35 AM   #8
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Glossostigma and marselia are two different plants though they look similar. Glosso requires high light and is very fast growing. It is a carpet plant but it needs to be trimmed out often or it will branch upwards. You won't be able to grow it with 2wpg unfortunatly.

Marselia minuta is probably the most common clover and still requires med high-high light to grow right. In lower lighting it tends to grow upwards. It looks similiar to glosso but is a darker green.

Swords will grow ok in 2wpg but most will get a little big for a 20gal tank. Hairgrass will need more than 2wpg. Not sure about cabomba. I grow spiral and jungle val well in 2wpg. Other plants that I know of that grow good in that light range are ludwigia repens, hygrophilia polysperma, egeria densa, lobelia cardinalis (small form), Sagittaria subulata, Limnophila sessiliflora, and bacopa carolinia to name a few.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:29 AM   #9
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Ahh, thanks for clearing that up Peyton.

I've always liked Swords, I did try growing one when i first set up my tank and surprisingly it did ok. It was already healthy and had a lot of leaves, the new leaves were smaller and my tank did stunt its growth but it did alright.

There are dwarf swords arent there? Im not sure how big they get, but i've seen them as foregorund/midground plants and they look nice. Probably still too big for my 20gallon.

Thanks for that list Peyton, i am actually interested in some of those...Hygrophilia Polysperma's inparticular also Limnophila and Bacopa's.
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Old 08-10-2008, 02:55 PM   #10
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It sounds like you have two very different goals for your aquarium. You want to be able to grow some very specific demanding plants and to have a nice low carpet plant, but you also want to have a low tech aquarium. Unfortunately, for the most part these two goals are mutually exclusive. I think you're going to have to decide which is more important to you and plan your aquarium accordingly.

For something that is similiar to Swords, but more appropriate in size for a 20 gallon, I highly recommend taking a look at Crypts. Many species are very undemanding and small enough for your aquarium.
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Old 08-10-2008, 07:36 PM   #11
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You can have sagittaria subulata as your foreground plant maybe. In lower light it stays relatively small.

There is at least one dwarf sword that I know of. Echinodorus tenellus aka "micro chain sword". I believe it is labeled a med light plant. I've had them get to be about 12" across but that was under highlight and co2. It sent out runners like mad.

I agree with Purrbox also that crypts are worth considering. There are plenty of different types of them. Your bound to find at least one that you like.
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