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Maschka1

Light placement, does it matter for the plants?

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Good morning (or whatever time it is for you),

I have a little bit of a silly question, but I figured I would ask, I mean...why not? :) So here it is:

I have a 50 gal setup and recently I decided that I wanted to plant it. While its not my first planted tank, it is the first time I have tried it in a darker room or with Goldfish in the tank. I added a plant substrate under my old, larger gravel (I didn't want the goldfish to choke on it). I originally had only two, 18" Marineland daylight T8 fluorescent bulbs on the tank (15 Watts a piece, and I am not sure what the color temperature is on daylight, but I think it is around 6500k?). The bulbs are at least 2 or 3 years old and I have heard that they start to loose their spectrum or strength or something, does anyone know anything about this?

So I decided to pick up a pair of Aqueon T5 fixtures. Each one has a 14w Colormax and a 14w 6.7k lamp in them. I am not sure what the color temp of the colormax is, either (they do a terrible job advertising these things. lol) so the total wattage for the T5 lights is roughly 56 watts.

I decided to keep all 4 lighting fixtures on my tank to give me roughly 1.76 watts per gallon (I know its not awesome, but I figured it would get me started with lower light plants). I am not sure if it matters were I place the lights? Currently I have the T8's on the back row and my T5's in the front (on a glass top). Then I thought, I wonder if it would work better to have them reversed so the "brighter" lights could bounce off the wall vs. diffuse into the room? Not sure if it even matters, but I dont want to lose what little light I have. Not sure if you can see what I mean in the very bad picture (taller T8's in the back, low profile T5's in the front)

IMG_5782_zpsc6a0f826.jpg

(picture is from before I started really planting. Once I get it all planted Ill post pictures-still waiting for some to come in the mail)

So, does it matter? or should the light diffuse through and be adequate no matter its placement on the top of the tank? also should I switch out any bulbs?

My anacharis, java ferns, and crypts seem to be doing well and are growing. The Anubas haven't really grown, but also aren't dying, but my sword looks a little "thin" and doesn't have any new growth. (its been almost 2 weeks since I added them)

Thanks everyone!

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There's technically two answers to this question:

In short, no, the diffusion of light or bulb placement is more for your benefit; especially in a tank with lower light plants. Provided you're using full spectrum bulbs and light is being distributed around the tank, placement doesn't really matter. That said, in larger heavily planted tanks with multiple fixtures, it's not uncommon to hear of people sticking more powerful bulbs where they're needed or cycling between different kelvin bulbs throughout the day.

I'm a little surprised your bulbs are still working after 2-3 years, they don't generally last that long. How long of a photoperiod are you providing each day?

I wouldn't worry about your anubias or sword, if they've just been added it's not uncommon for a die off period. They should bounce back in a few weeks. :)

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There's technically two answers to this question:

In short, no, the diffusion of light or bulb placement is more for your benefit; especially in a tank with lower light plants. Provided you're using full spectrum bulbs and light is being distributed around the tank, placement doesn't really matter. That said, in larger heavily planted tanks with multiple fixtures, it's not uncommon to hear of people sticking more powerful bulbs where they're needed or cycling between different kelvin bulbs throughout the day.

I'm a little surprised your bulbs are still working after 2-3 years, they don't generally last that long. How long of a photoperiod are you providing each day?

I wouldn't worry about your anubias or sword, if they've just been added it's not uncommon for a die off period. They should bounce back in a few weeks. :)

Thanks! I am actually surprised they are still working too! But I never replaced the bulbs after buying the hoods and they are at least that old. My photoperiod is about 11 hours, on a timer.

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Thanks! I am actually surprised they are still working too! But I never replaced the bulbs after buying the hoods and they are at least that old. My photoperiod is about 11 hours, on a timer.

No problem, we're here to help!

I am in awe right now. With a photoperiod like that, I seriously can't believe your bulbs haven't died yet. If they're still functioning fine then there's no need to replace them.

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Bulbs can and often does last for years. :-)

The placement of thr lights is dependent on your preference and placement of the plants. Plants that needs more are mostly underneat the brightest points while other lesser plants are elsewhere.

As for the lighting for plants and spectrums, they begin to lose their effectiveness at around 6 months. It depends on what kind of plants you have and how demanding they are. Serious planters replace the bulbs every 6 months while 9-12 months (depending on usuage) is the absolute max. Another option is LED, which lasts seriously longer, which I have over my two tanks.

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