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Old 04-15-2011, 02:31 PM   #1
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future planted tank.

Hey everyone,

I am planning on some redecoration of my 20g tank and had a few questions as i slowly move to a planted tank. although i will be starting with a low-light setup. and am running an aquaclear 30 filtration system.

1. During this overhaul im planning to change my substrate(current one looks aweful) but i dont plan on having plants for another couple months. would it be worthwhile to put the proper substrate in for the planted tank now? would it hold the required nutrients until i did get the plants? will this cause algae issues?

2. The concept of lighting is still unclear to me for some reason, and i was wondering if it was possible to find adequate lighting to fight my fixture that is currently running a 18" aquaglo florescent, or will i need to upgrade the fixture?

3.Will CO2 be required for this tank?

3. Does anyone have any suggestions for options for other low-light plants aside from java fern and moss?
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Old 04-15-2011, 05:21 PM   #2
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1. change your substrate as few times as possible! lol. if you are planning a substrate like eco-complete, i would personally wait until i was ready to add plants as well (or soon there-after). i'm not sure if it will cause algae issues or lose the nutrients (although i will have to assume that it will not) but always better safe than sorry.

2. light is loosely measured for an aquarium in wpg (watts per gallon). for low-light plants you need ~1-2wpg. there is also something called the k rating, which indicates the color spectrum. plants can only use light in the spectrum from about 6000k-10,000k (6500k being the most common spectrum for plant bulbs). if you are only planning on low-light low-maintenance plants (like java fern, anubias, crypts, etc) then your flourescent fixture should do the trick. before i upgraded, i used the fixture that came with my tank (with 18" 15w flourescent bulb) and just went to walmart and picked up a "daylight" bulb (6500k). i had anubias barteri, crypt wendtii, and java fern that all did beautifully.

3. for low-light set ups you do not need a CO2 system. however, flourish excel can be helpful.

3 (again ) most crypts do great in low light, and just about any anubias.
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Old 04-16-2011, 02:05 PM   #3
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thank you very much for the advice, i suppose i will live with the ugly neon green, baby blue and tan substrate with green and clear glass stones until i can do both the substrate and get my plants.
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Old 04-16-2011, 05:53 PM   #4
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Sorry for breaking in...

What happens to low light plants when you put a 2.4 wpg light?

Also, when you have a compact FL with two 12" tubes 24 watts, is that 24 watts of light or 48?
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspencer
Sorry for breaking in...

What happens to low light plants when you put a 2.4 wpg light?

Also, when you have a compact FL with two 12" tubes 24 watts, is that 24 watts of light or 48?
Depends on the plant some will burn if in too bright of light, others may grow faster than normal, you add your total bulb wattage together to divided by gallons of water to get wats per gallon. (2*24=48).

So you have 48wats but you did not give tank size
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:57 PM   #6
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I have an old Odessa fixture with a 12" 24 watt (two tubes coming out of the 4 pin base) with the designation of 50/50. Am I getting 12 watts of good light? I am having trouble finding a replacement lamp.

I have a 10g, in the next few days, that is heavily planted with 10 low light plants, the usuals, and 3 med light plants which are mostly easy to grow.
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:00 PM   #7
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What is the tank size?

And yes, it is 12W of usable light... the other half of the bulb is actinic, which is not usable by your plants.
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:04 PM   #8
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10 gallon...I know that the wpg is way off for this size of tank but I assume that 2.4 (my light now) is still under the co2 infusion limit...or close.

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What is the tank size?

And yes, it is 12W of usable light... the other half of the bulb is actinic, which is not usable by your plants.
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:06 PM   #9
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WPG means nothing on a 10 gal tank. Even if it did, you have 1.2 WPG, not 2.4 because of your 50/50 bulb.

12W of PC lighting is most likely not going to support any medium light plants.
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:15 PM   #10
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WPG means nothing on a 10 gal tank. Even if it did, you have 1.2 WPG, not 2.4 because of your 50/50 bulb.

12W of PC lighting is most likely not going to support any medium light plants.
I was going to find a full spectrum bulb instead of a 50/50 which would give me 24 watts of light.

What I have being delivered Monday is a 36 watt fixture that comes with a 6000k 18w T5HO which I will use...and a 650k 18w T5HO which I replace with a 18w Actinic bulb for the time being...both would be too much light I was told.
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:46 PM   #11
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sounds like a good plan!
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