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Old 08-22-2016, 04:04 AM   #1
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Method for making best Light choice Guide

NONE of this is My work.
credit is to those who compiled the Data in the posted links.

this is a lil overwhelming the amount of reading, how ever it will allow you to have the knowledge to make a good choice for lights as to "YOUR GOAL" of your aquarium.(Not what works for others).

remember its light,nutrients & carbon that drives the plants.
low tech = no CO2 injection & high tech is elaborate high light & auto CO2 etc.
its best if you decide what "YOUR GOAL" is before reading the links so you know when to skip through the Posts.

Any research you have already done & lighting was referenced in Watts/Gal..throw the knowledge away its totally incorrect & will only lead you astray.

IF Watts/Gal work for you then move along there is nothing for you here.(DONT SHOOT THE MESSENGER)

This is a post to HELP newb's exactly like myself to choose a light system for
having decided I wanted a tank I made my choice & then decided I wanted Plants,More reading on what plants need for basics to grow.fast/slow doesnt matter if you remember your GOAL comes 1st.

so i started searching all over for what/how others were doing, and quickly came to the conclusion that this was not going to be easy.
I had already decided that Co2 was never going to be involved so that narrowed the Field however produced other problems,lack of growth etc.

Until I stumbled upon this thread,it was a game changer for how I was to achieve "MY GOAL" and any errors in choosing a Light system would be of my own making.

Lighting an Aquarium with PAR instead of Watts - The Planted Tank Forum

PAR is the correct way to measure tank/plant lighting.
that link has 445 posts which gave birth to this calculator.

Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Light Calculator


enter in what you know about your tank, remembering to add subtract for depth of gravel etc & it will give results in EST PAR value.

Nice I had a Path to persue now.

I also came across this thread prior to the above & that kinda set the stage for how I ended up finding the plantedtank forum.

Massaged PAR Data for T5HO lights - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report
(note this thread was from 2009)

you should read this as well for it gives basic PAR level guidelines as to low vs high tech values & how the light is spread into the tank.
which includes all the Math for you techy crowd.

research & patience is the key.

So back to "MY GOAL"
low-tech low light EI dosing for that platform with the goal for reduced water changes.
Hows it working Out?
Couldn't tell ya yet only just filled the tank 3 weeks ago.
Am I gonna fail?..doubt it
Am I gonna fight off undesirable growth's? Most definately.
Am I gonna have a Good time? you bet.
nothing in life more satisfying than succeeding through your own knowledge & research.


I got a 24w single t5ho with a micro reflector for my 21in deep 38 gal bowfrt.
wat/gal = .63 yet using the Par method I have more than enough light for a Lowtech which is "MY GOAL".
24-45 PAR @ the substrate due to depth changes in gravel bed.

T5HO Lighting - Future Harvest - The Best of Indoor Growing
my light with Nano reflector was under $45 canadian out the door.
where to buy
Distributors - SunBlaster Lighting

Im not meaning to be pushing this product,only pointing out an affordable option.
The Sky is the limit when shopping for Lights (or your Wallet).

choosing the best light the 1st time is a very difficult undertaking.

BUT focus on "YOUR GOAL"

those lights are also designed to be added onto..IE find out not enough light get another & it plugs directly into the 1st.

I am a TOTAL newbie ..period.

however the Facts dont lie & some may not accept the correct way to measure/estimate lighting requirements for tanks. so kinda why Im posting this as a basic starting point.

there is also the factor of the light spectrum to take into account for bulb selection,the above links cover that reasonably well(enough for avg user) to come to his/her own conclusions for "THEIR GOAL"...

Good luck on your choice

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Old 08-22-2016, 08:07 AM   #2
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Thanks for the links. I already have them all bookmarked except the calculator which I have never seen before. Very interesting.

I like the fact that you keep reiterating the point about 'your goal'. This is probably one of the most relevant points when discussing a planted tank.

Choosing the right lighting can be daunting for some. Exciting for others. I got caught up in it for a while myself before I came across some of the work in the links you have provided amongst others.

Now I don't worry about it anymore because if you know that you have unlimited carbon and other important nutrients all that lighting does is control the RATE of growth. It really is that simple. As long as you understand that more growth = more requirement for carbon and nutrients and can impede flow. In any setup non limiting nutrients is key. As long as the lighting is in excess of the compensation point you will have positive growth. Turn the light up and you get faster growth, more trimming, more filter cleaning and more water changes. Flow should not be overlooked either. This is equally as important.

I still find it funny that PAR is the new driver for measuring light intensity yet EI was coined using WPG. Lots of people have way too much light in their aquariums yet as long as there is enough carbon, flow and nutrients you will rarely run in to trouble and in this scenario more light just means more maintenance.

Tell us more about your plans. Which plants and substrate etc.

Sent from my iPhone using Aquarium Advice

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Old 08-22-2016, 02:42 PM   #3
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I have a 38 gal Marineland bow front kit
came with penguin 200 filter
4.6W led white & blue can only be either or.
(I know makes no sense)
200 watt heater
stageIII air driven sponge filter
24w 2ft sunblaster t5ho with nano reflector
wanted Black substrate so I spent alot of time researching that as well,wanted Vitrified coal slag (Black Magic)but seems it not available in my area so I went with Vitrified Copper instead.
as many worry that is is sharp due to being blasting media that in fact is not the case.(blasting media is rated more by durability/reuse than whether it has "sharp" edges).
google "vitrified" before commenting on possible leaching of heavy metals.
product i used was called Kleen Blast Sand #35 particle size 1.5-3.0 mil profile.


also have a 1.5in pvc tube with T/Y ends on it partialy buried to provide a hiding spot.(spent over an hour removing sharpedges & roughing surface for bacteria adhesion.
LFS downed airplane decoration
4lb peice of bog wood,didnt sink when i got it but 6 hrs of boiling on BBQ side burner weighted down fixed that & removed most of the tanin's.(water was clear @ end)
2 8" Amazon swords.I planted these in 4" clay pots for i mixed in some potting soil & wanted to keep it contained.
Java ferns bought 3 & turned them into 8 by dissection. attached to wood & plane.
Anubias nana x3 on plane & bottom
water wisteria came in a bundle of 6-8 cut most in half & buried @ rear.6-12in tall.
whisper 40 airpump

11 Zebra danio's
6 Albino cory's

I know i prob should have had more patience before that amount of fish but I keep an eye on things.

api master test kit
Api gh/kh test kit
1135Lhp lil giant pump with 20ft hose for water changes

topfin 35 bowfrt cabinet.
mis other crap for measuring etc.

chemicals so far
api leaf zone
api co2 boost (i'll explain that later)
Kno3 & Kpo4 powders on order.

Thats about it.

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Old 08-22-2016, 09:42 PM   #4
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guide, light, method

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