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Ellen Frigo
New Member
Username: emfdvm

Post Number: 1
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 02:45 pm:       

Hi-
We have a 46 gal bowfront that's about 8 weeks along. I got some less-than-stellar advice when setting up and have only gravel for substrate. The LFS sold me a Coralife Aqualight T-5 when I said we wanted to put live plants in, although she told me to wait until everything was going before adding plants ( which I now believe to be a bad idea). Anyway, I added 2 ludwigia repens, 3 corkscrew val, and 1 water wisteria at set up. I used plant plugs to anchor some of them. Everything's growing like topsy except the vals, which are spreading willy-nilly but don't get very tall. The tank is not in a sunny area and gets almost no direct sunlight. We've had some diatoms, not enough to feed the 3 otos I bought (and now recently deceased :-( .) No green algae to speak of. I use Flourish and Flourish Excel at label doses to fertilize and provide CO2. My question (finally!) is - should I have a better light? Current fixture is 42 watts which seems low, but I don't know if I need it. My husband would like to add a bluish light to accent the colors of the fish, especially in the evening when we are looking at the tank. A reasonable increase in investment would be fine, but $300 would not. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!!
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Erin
Moderator
Username: shay

Post Number: 1004
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 03:05 pm:       

Welcome to Badmans. Congratulations on your new tank.

I would leave the lighting alone until you get a better sense of what your goals are for the tank. Lighting can be an expensive upgrade and not always necessary. The plants you have chosen should do allright for the time being with the lighting you have. There are also a lot of shade plants that would do fine in your tank. Anubias, java fern and java moss and cryptocorne wendtii.

If after some time, you find that you would like to grow a larger variety of plants or light demanding plants, you can always upgrade.

I prefer to load the tank up with as many plants as possible from the start. It helps to avoid algae blooms because the plants are sucking up all the nutrients.

I'm not sure what your level of experience is with aquariums in general. Do you know what a cycled tank is and are you testing the water?
Member of Delaware Valley Aquatic Gardener's Association (www.dvaga.com)
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Randy
Regular Member
Username: milesteg

Post Number: 138
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 03:13 pm:       

Hi,
the general rule for a basic planted tank is 2-3.5 watts per gallon. I have been buying lights from this guy:
http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQfgtpZ1QQfrppZ25QQsassZfishman911QQssPageNameZSTRKQ3a MEWAQ3aMESOI

If you can find a 130 watt that fits you tank that should work out nicely.

You also might want to put some substrate plant fertilizer in the gravel.

And as for the blue'ish light - you can get tinted covers for the existing light and use it for show.

Erin has good points too.
If you go through a day without learning something new, you wasted it!
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Ellen Frigo
New Member
Username: emfdvm

Post Number: 2
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 04:13 pm:       

Thanks (already!)-
I'm actually not completely new - my former log in info was deleted for reasons I'm not sure of (I think I've behaved myself online!).
Anyway-yes, I'm familiar with cycling, etc. and we basically were cycled about 2 weeks ago - ammonia and nitrite have been 0 and nitrates pretty consistently at 5ppm. All the other fish (6 zebra danios, 3 dwarf gouramis, and 7 neons) are doing well) We also added cherry shrimp about 2 weeks ago and when we see them they look bigger and healthy.
Would you consider this to be a lightly planted tank? What I read said get a bunches of a few different plants and let them fill in, which is what I tried to do.
Thanks-
Ellen
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Erin
Moderator
Username: shay

Post Number: 1005
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 04:36 pm:       

Thanks Randy. :-)

I'm a big fan of lots of light. I have a 55 gallon tank with 260 watts of light over it. I'm also in the process of building 120 gallon tank with two 250 metal halide lights over it. I like light. :-) I like the challenge that it brings. However, I usually don't recommend high lighting from the start for a reason. It is a constant balancing act with nutrients and a lot of pruning. High light usually necessitates injecting co2 at some point.

On the other hand, lower light tanks are sustainable and very rewarding without the need for constant tinkering. I hate to see people invest in high lighting because they have been told they have to and don't know what they are getting themselves into.

Here's the usual progression. They go out and buy an expensive high light fixture but they fail to inject co2. Then they realize they need co2 but they fail to adequately fertilize. Algae takes over and they do a blackout or take other drastic measures or quit.

There is no rush. Your money would be better invested in buying a good book on planted tanks and how to maintain them. You will end up a happier long-term hobbyist in the end if you take some time now. Here's a couple of books that I have found helpful. Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants by Peter Hiscock (it has a great practical section explaining the anatomy of plants and the operation of respiration and photosynthesis in aquatic plants) and The Simple Guide to Planted Aquariums. There is also a link to a free beginner's guide by Ben Belton that I posted somewhere. I will try to dig it up later if you can't find it.

On the other hand, if you like excitement and learning by the seat of your pants, by all means upgrade the lighting. There are plenty of experienced people here who can help you along.
Member of Delaware Valley Aquatic Gardener's Association (www.dvaga.com)
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Erin
Moderator
Username: shay

Post Number: 1006
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2006 - 04:40 pm:       

You didn't misbehave. At least not that I am aware of. :-) We are having some log in issues that we are working on straigtening out.

It sounds lightly planted to me. Care to post a picture? Of course, I don't really need one. I just like looking at other people's planted tanks. :-)
Member of Delaware Valley Aquatic Gardener's Association (www.dvaga.com)
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