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Old 02-19-2004, 09:31 PM   #1
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Question for Rex

Hey Rex, got a quick one for you. I knwo you say dont use actinics on a planted tank, and I know why. Yet I have run actinics on a couple of tanks, and have tanks with out them on it. So far, after 6 months on one tank, I have better color, and even more growth out of some of my plants than I do on the tank with out these bulbs. Same fixtures, same bulbs, same dosing schedule. Not tryin to be trite or nothing, just wondering if ya can explain it to me? The params on both tanks are 0ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrites, and between 10 to 30 ppm on nitrates, depending on water change time. I use DIY co2 on both tanks, regular gravel, both tanks are a 20 gal, with 72 watts on it, 36 watts 10000k, 36 watts actinic. I have a heavy heavy bioload on both tanks, run a hob filter and a hot magnum. Is this rare, or can the plants really use the actinics?
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Old 02-19-2004, 09:43 PM   #2
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Im not a plant guy at all but here are a few questions.

Are the plants that are doing better under the actinic light plants that would be found in deeper water?
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Old 02-19-2004, 09:47 PM   #3
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Not really sure, I have hygro, rotala, swords of two different kinds, and some ludwiga repens in the tanks. They are all growing well in both tanks, but in the tank with the actinics I seem to have more color in the plants, and they are growing slightly faster. I know the grow more compact because of this bulb, which I kind of like, but was just wondering about this, as all common advice is to not run actinics in planted tanks.
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Old 02-19-2004, 10:57 PM   #4
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I have personally never run actinic on my planted tanks. I have heard from enough people that have had problems with them to not even want to try. Plants can use a bit of the light spectrum from the actinic but not a lot. I know that when I switched my 55 gallon tank from 220 watts of 5500k bulbs to 220 watts of the GE 9325k bulbs that the difference was quite dramatic.

In essence if it works for you then go with it.
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Old 02-19-2004, 11:51 PM   #5
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Hey, LAGlocker... no criticism, but if you want to ask Rex a question, you can just PM him. But I imagine you were looking for some other comments, too.

Well, I've never done this, but have just switched out my 10,000K 55s to accomodate 2 65W (I know, no more lumens than 55) Actinics and 2 65W 10,000Ks. I'll let you know how it works for me.

I've heard objections to Actinics in the past for planted tanks, as they apparently cause more algae. Anybody actually experienced this??? I've got some amanos in my tank ATM, and they're really doing a great job getting rid of the algae; maybe this won't be an issue...
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Old 02-20-2004, 08:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
as they apparently cause more algae
Interesting, since actinic bulbs peak their light output in the UV spectirum and emit very little reds and yellows. From what I understand actinic bulbs are basicly the opposite of what is used by plants for photosynsis and I can only imagen the same would be for photosyntehtic algae.

My theory on the plants being deeper water plants is that the further you go down from the surface the more the Reds, yellows and greens are defracted and absorbed by the water and the only specitrum left is the blues. So plants that live deeper in the water might have more sensitivty to blue light than the standard daylight bulb spectirum.
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Old 02-20-2004, 09:32 AM   #7
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Yeah, Aaron. I understood that from your last question. It's a legit theory, certainly. One disadvantage to FW fish-keeping is that the depth at which a plant or fish lives is seldom mentioned in the literature (exception: African Rift Lake Cichlids because of thermal stratification). So, ultimately, we can only assume that most of these plants come from decently shallow waters, though I know this can't be correct!! I've seen plenty of movies with huge long stems of plants waving around at the bottom of a 50-foot deep lake. Now that's where actinics would start to come into play!

My roommate was an Environmental Biology major, and says that plants can certainly use blue light (he seems to know his stuff, especially about secondary pigments such as Beta Carotene), so perhaps an actinic is more useful that we have thought in the past. Certainly it doesn't waste any time shining out the useless green light that most plants reflect!

If my plants start going to pot, I'll let y'all know NOT to try this at home. Right now, the tank looks absolutely amazing with the actinics on in the morning (dawn) and at night (dusk). I'm keeping both sets of lights on for 11 hours in between.

Sadly, my camera is really not picking up the incredible effect of this light. So pictures look rather drab.
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Old 02-20-2004, 09:37 PM   #8
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I have noticed myself that the actinics really bring out the colors in my fish, especially the opalines and pearl gouramies I have in the tank with the plants, and I do like the way it brightens up the tank. I havent noticed a algae problem in the tank, yet, but I do keep a watch on it. Of course it may be that the plants I have hog the nutrients I dose, but who knows. And no it wasnt just for Rex, but more for anyone and everyone to answer, but I did want his opinion on this subject, sorry if the subject line was out of place. I guess if I do get a major algae bloom, I will remove the actinics, but so far I really like the way it looks on the tank.
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Old 02-20-2004, 10:21 PM   #9
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Yeah, I thought you might be looking for several opinions, but know that Rex is prob. the best source. Line wasn't out of place, though!
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