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Lighting for 20 long

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#1 Guest_birdermom_*

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:29 AM

sorry if this is not the correct place...I am setting up a 20 long for natives and wanted suggestions for lighting. I will be putting in low light, easy plants from my other tanks that can take a lower temperature but want them to have enough light to survive and grow. The place that tank sits will not allow for hanging, clipping, etc, so I need a "sit" on top. To keep temperatures from rising when lights are on and other reasons I was considering led but have never used them in a freshwater setting and never had a native tank. So what lighting suggestions for the tank that would be good for fish and maintain the plants, and I won't choke on the price...lol?

#2 Guest_tomterp_*

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 07:39 PM

While I amp up the lighting on my tropical fish tanks to fuel plant growth, my 55g native tank just has the two typical cheap flourescent hoods you'd get with a 20g kit. The low light won't support lots of plants but there are low light plants that work - java moss and anubias for example. I didn't have success with a few native plants I tried, but others may have advice on that.

#3 Guest_Irate Mormon_*

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 11:59 PM

Birder, you can expect (in the near future) a treatise on aquarium lighting complete with spectral analysis, diagrams, and the obligatory reference to Diana Walstad. But not to worry - no calculus is required!

#4 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 09:10 AM

Birdermom, I have found through personal experience that hardware stores carry lights that work very well to grow aquarium plants. I use four foot long 32 watt T8 fixtures on my four foot long tanks (just rest them right on top), a clamp on fixture with compact fluorescent bulb, and an undercabinet light with a full spectrum bulb. In general, anything that imitates daylight spectrum and ends up being between 100 to 200 lumens per gallon will grow plants well.

This is what I mean by imitating daylight: The bulb emits light at all points in the spectrum, not just a few sharp peaks of color.

Watts = how much energy it draws from your wall. More watts = more $$$ per month.
Lumens = how much light the bulb produces. More lumens = brighter light.
Efficiency = how many lumens per watt. For example incandescent bulbs make many less lumens per watt than fluorescent or LED bulbs do.
#,000 K = "color temperature", what color the light will be. Doesn't affect plant growth, since any combination of spectra can result in a certain K number

Posted Image

Here's more info: http://forum.nanfa.o...ing-for-125gal/
Ask me if you have any questions. The goal is:
1) Full spectrum bulb.
2) 100 to 200 lumens per gallon for freshwater plant growth.

I put the 6 outlet extension cord with my lights plugged into it on a timer for 3 hours before I leave for work and 5 hours when I get home. Timers are $5 ish.

#5 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 09:20 AM

Oh, if we're going to talk costs, I pay $40 for lights to grow plants in my 55 and 75 gallon tanks and $12 for lights to grow plants in my 10 gallon tank.
4 foot long 32 watt T8 fixture = $10 at Walmart. I use two per 4 ft long tank.
Daylight Deluxe 32 watt T8 bulbs are $10 for two at Home Depot. I use 4 per 4 ft long tank. They make 2750 lumens each so that's around 200 lumens per gallon for 55 gallon tanks and 150 lumens per gallon for 75 gallon tanks. I have lots of tanks, so in real life I buy 10 Daylight Deluxe bulbs for $32. I replace all my bulbs once per year.
Clamp light fixtures are $8 at Home Depot.
Compact fluorescent bulbs are $4 each ish. You can buy 1500 lumen ish daylight spectrum bulbs individually for $4 or a pack of four bulbs for around $10 ish. The price is very fluid on those at the moment and coming down a lot recently as the technology is progressing. Compact fluorescent bulbs are better than LED in my opinion because if an LED burns out, what do you do? Replace it? How? So I use all fluorescent bulbs, myself. Only took two LED fixtures burning out for me to make that decision. *nods*

Yup. Price wise, you'll be fine. Hardware store lights are cheap. A person told me yesterday after I told them it'd cost about $12 to grow plants in their 10 gallon tank my way that they were very glad I'd told them that, since the pet store was looking to charge them around $50. Egads.

#6 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 09:28 AM

Oh, and CO2. You don't need it. There are currently fully a dozen different species of plants in all of my tanks, and I don't use CO2 for any of them. And as for plant density, well, I walked out to my living room and took this picture of my 55 gallon tank five seconds ago:

Posted Image

(It's densely packed because it's a breeding tank. When I'm selling fish every week from a tank, I don't care if it's pretty. I care if it's functional and the babies are surviving. So it looks like that: dense plants to protect fry from being eaten.)

But anyway, my point is this: you don't need CO2 to grow true aquatic plants. You don't need CO2 for plant variety or for plant density. What is the difference between an aquatic and a terrestrial plant? A membrane. The membrane helps keep water in when above water exposed to air, but underwater it suffocates terrestrial plants and makes them not get good gas exchange. That's why true aquatic plants shrivel up and die within only a few minutes above water. They lack the membrane that keeps the juices in for terrestrial plants. Get true aquatic plants only (there's thousands of species of them, lots of variety) and you won't need CO2 injection to grow them.

Does CO2 make plants grow faster? Yes.
Do I think it's worth doing the extra maintenance? No.
I am lazy, though. If you want super fast plant growth and are willing to add CO2, you can. It can kill fish, though. And it's a lot of work, forever. And they'll grow without it.

I think the major thing I'm trying to convey is flexibility. There are a lot of ways to do things without the standard $70 planted tank light and the $70 planted tank substrate, the extreme maintenance of CO2 because the plant species you keep are actually not aquatic, and the horrible pain of having to dose weekly with liquid ferts. There are other ways to do it. I use hardware store lights, pure clay kitty litter, don't fertilize or use CO2. And like I said I've got fully a dozen different species of plants. Some of the tanks are actually pretty, unlike ceratophyllum tank up there. Be flexible, and do what works for you. There are alternatives to the standard way of doing things.

#7 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 11:09 AM

Oh, and red plants aren't all that special. This myriophyllum tuberculatum red was grown in a 55 gallon tank under four 2750 lumen Daylight Deluxe T8 bulbs without CO2 or any fertilization on my part. Substrate was an inch or two of pure clay kitty litter (no clumping chemicals or fragrances added).

Posted Image
http://gallery.nanfa...um red.tif.html

#8 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 11:20 AM

By the way, if you join NANFA we have a trading dock section of the forum where we swap aquatic plants. I think you'll find the low temperature of native tanks to be too much for some of the more tropical species of plants to be able to handle. I wiped out my rotalla wallichii twice before I sucked it up, bought them a heater, and now with the same substrate and lighting they're doing excellent where before they were just dying. A lot of the plants that do great at 85 F don't like 60. With that being said, very few of the plants we grow in this industry are obligate heated tanks. It just turns out rotalla wallichii is one of them. The myriophyllum tuberculatum red above isn't. It grew in my unheated tank, it grew at 90. It doesn't care. :)

#9 Guest_Irate Mormon_*

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 10:47 PM

OK, so I was wrong about the Walstad thing.

#10 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 10:54 PM

I saw this post when it was first made and wasn't going to comment on it until you said that. ;)

#11 Guest_AMcCaleb_*

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 11:55 AM

Check out aquatraders.com, they have good light setups for cheap. More bang for your buck with them. I have their lights on all of my tanks.

#12 Guest_Erica Lyons_*

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 01:08 PM

I would like to point out this model so people can avoid it. I bought two Odyssea 4 x 54 watt T5HO with blue LEDs and
1) The leds burned out nearly immediately in one fixture and within a few months on the other.
2) The one whose LEDs worked longer decided it liked to eat through bulbs as if they were candy, burning through the T5HO 54 watt bulbs once every other week.

http://www.aquatrade...ure-p/52305.htm <-Avoid

Those Odyssea fixtures single handedly drove me to never pay $100 or more for lighting for my fish tank again. I went from lighting my tanks for $40 or less and never having any mechanical problems to buying two 'nice' fixtures for $100 each for my two 75 gallon tanks and then watching them degrade extremely rapidly over time. Within 6 months they were barely functional. Within a year, completely not. Those 54 watt bulbs are $10 each to replace, you know. $20 per bulb if you want them pretty actinic blue. A hundred dollars of bulb replacements in three months makes me very unhappy. It was not a hard decision to return to my hardware store lighting for $40 per tank and $20 maintenance cost in bulbs a year. If I want blue light color, I put on a blue T8 bulb cover and call it a day.

#13 Guest_Yeahson421_*

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 06:08 PM

My Odyssea fixtures work just fine. One of my ballasts stopped working, but I think it was because I didn't give it enough ventilation.

#14 Guest_AMcCaleb_*

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Posted 23 January 2014 - 08:19 PM

I have had my 4x54 watt odyssea light for over a year now with no problems at all.

Day5FishTanks. Any other native YouTubers on here?

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