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Lights for aquatic plants-beginner here!


Josie

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Hi everyone.  I have a 29 gal tank with one goldfish.  I am really interested in getting real plants, but there are so many kinds of lights and I don't know what is what.  From what I have been looking at, I think I like the LED ones best because I have more than one filter and I like that they leave a lot of open space at the top of your tank, also I do not like that the tube lights I have seen so far require a clear plastic top on your tank to protect them.  I want my tank open for air flow and so I can use multiple HOB filters!  I also like them because they have adjustable lengths-I have a 29 gal with one fish now, but I would like to add a second fish, which means down the road I will be looking at getting a 40 breeder.  The LED lights list the length as 24"-36", which means I could use them now, and also later when I upgrade.  I also want to get lights that can grow a variety of plants.  I may be starting out with hardy, easy to care for plants now, but I want the option to add different or more advanced species later on (or maybe that's a bad idea, since the goldfish might eat them???).  I don't want to spend more than $250, and I want to be sure these lights will last me a while in terms of tank size and aquatic plant experience.  Also, if anyone thinks it would be better for me to get tube lights, like maybe T5-HO instead, I would like to hear why!  I have been researching online, but there is so much information out there and I am such a beginner that I cant really comprehend it all.

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Here is a pic of my whole tank, then one of my goldfish Sharky.  My tank is pretty boring right now.  What I want is to have a bubble curtain all the way across the back, then have a few medium/large natural looking stones, and some real plants-not sure what kind yet, I want to start with easy ones, but I also don't want to get to the point where I feel limited because I don't have the right lights/setup.  I like the bubble curtain because it makes it easier to see the black fish on the black background!

 

dpD7XIa.jpgpQeU4e5.jpg

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Oh, one more thing!  I have been thinking about painting the back of my tank white, since my fish is dark colored, but I am not sure yet since I have never seen this on another tank!  Also I noticed some lights have "moonlight" and I thought this might be cool, except I don't want it to bother my fish, because I know he needs his sleep too!  Any thoughts on this?

 

omCsKk6.jpg

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Pretty tank and a great fish.  I love moors.  The LEDs you are thinking about sound like a good choice.  I'm no plant expert, but have managed not to kill anubias.  The golden nanas look particularly nice in a darker tank. 

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The cheaper LEDs most hobbyists buy (i.e. Finnex, Marineland, Up Aqua, etc) are good depending on tank depth. Should light intensity be too high you can reduce it via several methods—floating plants, running half the amount of bulbs if it is a multi-bulb fluorescent, window screen or raising the fixture. Head access shouldn't be a problem with any fixture either, even less should you choose to suspend your fixture. The latter option actually allows for better spread of light, but unless you opt for a fixture powerful enough suspending can be redundant. In the end though, less light equals less problems. Algae is attractive if you want it, but most do not want it growing on their plants.

 

Sticking with easier growing plants like anubias, microsorum, bolbitis and moss will be simpler to maintain. Less pruning is always a plus.

 

By the way I've never heard of any T5HO unit being unusable on an open tank. Lots of people keep open tanks with fluorescent fixtures. :)

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I have the Marineland Double Bright LED and the Marineland Hidden LED running on my tank now.  It grows anubias, anacharis, java moss, phoenix moss, and water sprite very nicely.    You have to buy the largest light for your tank size.  I have a 40 breeder, so I bought the 36-48" fixture for my 36" tank.  If you stick with the smaller fixture, the tank will have dark sides.  These lights do require that the under part of the fixture be covered, but I have two massive filters running, and only part of my glass top.  I have not had an issue in the two years that I've been using it.  I broke the other part of the glass top, and haven't bothered to get a new one. :)

 

Also, I have the Odyssea quad t5ho set.  This set does not require a glass top, and will run perfectly with an open topped (my preference) system.  This requires a much more labor intensive high light setup, which is why I swapped it out for lower light plants.

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Thanks for all the responses!  So it sounds like I wont be able to use the same lights for a 29 gal and later a 40B, darn it!  So that means I will probably have a lower budget for lights since I will have to buy new ones eventually when I am able to upgrade.

 

 

I have the Marineland Double Bright LED and the Marineland Hidden LED running on my tank now.  It grows anubias, anacharis, java moss, phoenix moss, and water sprite very nicely.    You have to buy the largest light for your tank size.  I have a 40 breeder, so I bought the 36-48" fixture for my 36" tank.  If you stick with the smaller fixture, the tank will have dark sides.  These lights do require that the under part of the fixture be covered, but I have two massive filters running, and only part of my glass top.  I have not had an issue in the two years that I've been using it.  I broke the other part of the glass top, and haven't bothered to get a new one. :)

 

Also, I have the Odyssea quad t5ho set.  This set does not require a glass top, and will run perfectly with an open topped (my preference) system.  This requires a much more labor intensive high light setup, which is why I swapped it out for lower light plants.

 

Is this the Marineland double bright you have?  It is on clearance!

 

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=23738

 

Here is another one I would consider, also on clearance.  BTW someone mentioned tank depth, mine is about 18" deep.  Would either of these lights work for me?  Do I need CO2, or some kind of nutrients for the plants, or will my goldfish produce enough?

 

Koko-I saw this aquarium online, and if it had a few less fish and added some plants, I think it would be awesome!

 

tfh-goldfish1.jpg

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Many of us like that setup. :)

 

Yes, that is the light that I have, just remember to order the larger light for your tank size, so that the light will reach from side to side.  I supplement with the Hidden LED, which I attach to the front wall of the tank, and it grows my low-medium light plants very nicely. 

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Ooops, sorry.  Here is the link to the other one I was looking at.  Not sure if it would be better, especially since I would rather have just one light if I can get away with it!  One more question, I think someone already answered this, but do I still need to buy one of those clear glass tops to protect the lights?

 

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=28562

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Yay!  I am ordering the Marineland double bright 36-48 right now, it looks like the 24-36 will be shorter than my tank, even though my tank is only 30".  This way if I upgrade to a 40B later I can still use the same light :) 

 

I think I am totally going to paint my tank background white!  I will probably keep it bare bottom, but with some bigger rocks.  If I find rocks that I like, how do I clean them to make sure they are ok to put in my tank???

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That looks cool to and maybe easier than painting!  I think that one would be cool if I put light colored sand in the bottom of my tank.

 

I wish they made clings that were solid colors-I kind of like the minimalist look.  Also painting the back might be a huge project for me, since the tank is in use and I will probably have to do multiple layers-yikes!

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Oceanvisions Aquarium Backgrounds.  Solid colors.  Best backgrounds ever.  :D

 

http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet-supplies-search#!&ea_q=oceanvisions

 

 

When I put one on my 75 I did a step by step of my husband and I applying it . . .

 

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/113843-how-to-apply-an-oceanvisions-aquarium-background/?hl=oceanvisions

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Oceanvisions Aquarium Backgrounds.  Solid colors.  Best backgrounds ever.  :D

 

http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet-supplies-search#!&ea_q=oceanvisions

 

 

When I put one on my 75 I did a step by step of my husband and I applying it . . .

 

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/113843-how-to-apply-an-oceanvisions-aquarium-background/?hl=oceanvisions

 

 

And there you go :rofl

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Oceanvisions Aquarium Backgrounds.  Solid colors.  Best backgrounds ever.  :D

 

http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet-supplies-search#!&ea_q=oceanvisions

 

 

When I put one on my 75 I did a step by step of my husband and I applying it . . .

 

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/113843-how-to-apply-an-oceanvisions-aquarium-background/?hl=oceanvisions

 

Haha!  What I meant to say was I wish they made clings in solid colors other than black or blue LOL.  Like white!

 

Anyways, I have decided to paint my aquarium background white tomorrow!  I am super excited about the new lights, and I am inspired by the picture to do a whole aquarium makeover.  It turns out my mom had some really nice large-ish river rocks in her yard, just like in the ones in the picture.  Does anyone know a good way to clean them so I can make sure they are safe for my tank?  As far as the painting goes-I will be following the directions I saw on Tithra's youtube channel, but if anyone has additional tips/tricks I would love to hear them!

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I personally painted a tank background with white paint and it looked horrible IMO.  The glass doesn't appear "invisible" like it does with the dark paint.   If you plan to try it out anyways, I'd suggest trying it on a small part first to see if you like the way it looks since scraping off paint you change your mind on is a HUGE PITA.    Clings definitely are a much better option when going with lighter colors.

 

Check out frosted privacy window film from your local hardware store.  It gives the glass a beautiful sandblasted/opaque look and lets some of your rooms light in from the back which definitely brightens it up.  Most of the award winning aquascapes I've seen do a frosted background so you should be able to see a tonne of examples from google images if you type in "frosted aquarium background."

 

Another option I've done with a different project with glass is to very lightly spritz your glass with water and apply the shiny side of wax paper to it, then use a hair dryer on low setting to "stick" it to the glass while pushing bubbles out with a flat object such as a ruler.  Soaking the paper with water is all you need to do to remove it if you change your mind down the road.  It won't be as white as snow, but in my experience it looked much better than the paint.

 

Either way, your fish is adorable so a lighter background will be so nice to show off his little face. :)

 

As for your river rocks, scrub all the dirt etc off with a stiff brush, then boil them.

 

Can't wait to see some pics!

Edited by Reds12
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Awesome, thank you so much for the tips!  Do you happen to have any pics of your tanks with either the frosted film or the waxed paper?  Both of those options seem much simpler than going with paint!

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Most craft store sell vinyl now that you can stick on the back.

 

I have a brother that made vinyl signs/clings (like the car-wrap kind) professionally, I've always wanted to ask if he could do aquarium backgrounds...

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Hey everyone!  So I put a frosted glass cling on the back of my tank, it looks awesome!  I also just finished boiling my rocks, and I am waiting for them to cool down.  I am thinking about getting the moonlight sand, but have never used it before.  I am guessing I need to rinse it first, and I will probably remove Sharky from his tank while I am adding it.  Will it settle quickly to the bottom, or does it tend to cloud the water?  Any tips on using it?

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Hey everyone, so I had a bit of a problem with my goldfish which caused me to abandon this thread.  Sadly, he passed away :(

 

The good news is I cleaned and sanitized everything, set up the tank and did a complete makeover on it, and now I have three new telescopes.  I ended up getting the marineland double bright LED as well as a hidden LED to brighten the front of the tank.  I used a frosted glass cling for the back, put in the rocks, sand, and added some plants, and I think my tank is looking pretty good!  I just wanted to thank everyone who gave me great advice here, and post a picture so you could all see the outcome.  I also started a thread in the goldfish blog section if anyone is interested in seeing the progression of this tank!

 

7pkLBhT.jpg

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