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Switching lights


QandD

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I was wondering if you guys thought this was a good idea: I am planning to change my T5HO Aquatic Life Marquis 24" for my Finnex Stingray 30". I think my T5 light is just too bright for some of my plants, and I am not sure if I'm skilled enough to balance the requisite fertilizers for the T5, whose PAR I don't know. The Finnex has a PAR in the 30s I think. Would this be OK for plants like crypts, giant hygro, dwarf lilies, crinum, and banana plants?

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Just musing further: I've also been interested in the Finnex Fugeray Planted+, but I know that this might involve some fertilizing. I just have giant hygro, so I'm a little concerned about it getting enough light. 

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You should be fine unless the tank is quite a bit deeper than whatever PAR 30 was recorded at. With the Planted+ (or any more powerful fixture) it is not so much about fertilisers, but required co2 levels. Fertilising is easy if you stick to one of the already developed systems, but getting the co2 (liquid or injected depending on light levels) right always tends to be difficult.

Have you considered adding some water lettuce or another surface plant? It will diminish the amount of light put out by the T5. Case in point: I have an LED over a nano tank that really shouldn't be used without injected gas, but the surface is completely covered in frogbit. It's been running for a few months now and I've never really had any algae.

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You should be fine unless the tank is quite a bit deeper than whatever PAR 30 was recorded at. With the Planted+ (or any more powerful fixture) it is not so much about fertilisers, but required co2 levels. Fertilising is easy if you stick to one of the already developed systems, but getting the co2 (liquid or injected depending on light levels) right always tends to be difficult.

Have you considered adding some water lettuce or another surface plant? It will diminish the amount of light put out by the T5. Case in point: I have an LED over a nano tank that really shouldn't be used without injected gas, but the surface is completely covered in frogbit. It's been running for a few months now and I've never really had any algae.

 

I watched a video of the Finnex Stingray where the man measured PAR at around 32-4 in a 20-22" deep tank, which is how deep mine is. It's good to know that CO2 is more important than fertilizers; I guess I hadn't been quite understanding where the imbalance had been coming from. It made me quite sad to find that my anubias had literally disintegrated after a 10-day trip. 

 

I would love to get some floating plants, but many of them are illegal in my state (New Jersey) due to people dumping them into rivers and so forth. I can't even buy anacharis (I wish people would read about invasive species!). I've looked for water lettuce but haven't found a good supplier. As I posted before I was thinking about duckweed, but I worry about it messing up my HOBs or the girls just eating *all* of it. 

 

I will think about my options, but this is all very helpful. Thanks!

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If you want to think of it this way, in a tank light is like a car's accelerator and fertilisers/co2 the petrol and tyres. The more you accelerate and the faster you go, the more petrol and tyres you will burn through. I wouldn't say co2 is more important than fertilisers because really they are equally necessary, but the former is the one component a lot of people (myself included) have trouble figuring out. A lot of the time people that dose ferts tend to think they aren't adding enough of X or Y when a deficiency crops up, but it's usually a problem with co2. The ferts are the easy part. ;)

Is it enforced? A lot of plants here are illegal, but are traded anyway. :whistle

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If you want to think of it this way, in a tank light is like a car's accelerator and fertilisers/co2 the petrol and tyres. The more you accelerate and the faster you go, the more petrol and tyres you will burn through. I wouldn't say co2 is more important than fertilisers because really they are equally necessary, but the former is the one component a lot of people (myself included) have trouble figuring out. A lot of the time people that dose ferts tend to think they aren't adding enough of X or Y when a deficiency crops up, but it's usually a problem with co2. The ferts are the easy part. ;)

Is it enforced? A lot of plants here are illegal, but are traded anyway. :whistle

 

Thanks for your explanation: this makes a lot of sense to me!

 

I have to order my plants online since I don't have a car or walkable LFS, and my preferred sources don't ship certain plants to my state. I've tried ordering plants on eBay and they haven't worked out. 

 

I might see how the Finnex does with an outlet timer for a couple of weeks, and if the plants seem to be suffering, I will try the T5 again with more CO2. 

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I use the Planted+ lights. My tank is almost 18 inches high. I keep my lights on for only 5 hours a day (5-10pm). I do the EI method using Excel as the CO2. I only dose the ferts once a week. I periodically put Excel in twice a week (usually just put Excel in once a week) to make sure there is enough CO2 like stuff in the tank so that the plants will uptake the fertilizers. I have anubias in my tank with guppy grass. I've been doing this for at least 6 months and all is well with the plants (anubias are not disintegrating).

 

It has taken me a while to figure out how to maintain a system that has happy fish and happy plants. Many mistakes along the way - like many dead anubias due to nutrient deficiencies. Good job in your persistence to finding out just what will work in your system!

Edited by LisaCGold
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It has taken me a while to figure out how to maintain a system that has happy fish and happy plants. Many mistakes along the way - like many dead anubias due to nutrient deficiencies. Good job in your persistence to finding out just what will work in your system!

 

Thanks! I am not any kind of decent gardener (especially above ground) but the girls love plants so much it's hard not to indulge them. And I also like how they look in the tank. If it makes any difference, this is how the tank is looking as of today. The crinum in front is acting kind of weird but otherwise after some post-trip pruning (I was gone for 10 days recently), everything that survived looks OK to me.

 

20150930_125227_zpsbacpfmvd.jpg

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