Planted Tank Basics pt 2 -LIGHTING-

  • Big-Ken
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Big-Ken created the topic: Planted Tank Basics pt 2 -LIGHTING-

-LIGHTING-


Plants need light to grow along with nutrients and some form of carbon, these three things make up points on a triangle. To have a successful and healthy planted tank free of algae you need to balance these things with each other, if one is out of whack it hinders uptake of the others and the plants won't grow but algae will. The worst thing you can do is to provide not enough or too much light for your fertilization and CO2 dosing, now your algae farming.

Plants need light to grow, some plants need more others can be grow by candle light. For the longest time you could use the watts per gallon rule, typically 2-3wpg will create moderate light and allow you to grow most plants, but that rule was devised and works best with T12 lighting. The problem is with the invention of T5, CFL's, Power Compact, and T5ho is that they are more efficent and have higher intensity than T12's & T8's so the watts per gallon rule doesn't apply unless your using T12's or T8's.

The only true way to figure your lighting is with a PAR meter but they cost upwards of $300, luckly there are a some good people in the planted tank world with these meters that has taken it upon themselfs to test most of the lighting types at diffrent distances and posted the results so they we can make educated guesses on our lighting.

Using this chart you can get pretty close

INFO ABOUT CFL'S ARE HERE, post #21
**T12 fixtures can still use the 2 watts per gallon rule


You can use this database to find the plants you want to grow and their lighting requirents
PLANT PROFILE DATABASE

-High lighting: requires CO2 and more nutrients but you can grow anything you want fast also need a decent medium to grow on, also means your trimming the tank twice a week

-Medium lighting: can be done with either CO2 or carbon supplement like Seachem Excel and a moderate fertilizer dosing schedule also needs a decent medium to grow on or use root tabs, less trimming than high lighting but you can still grow most everything

-Low lighting: no CO2 no ferts besides the fishes waste very slow growth and limited on the plants you can grow but you dont have to do much trimming at all and can grow most the plants using gravel and other inert substrates


Types of lights

T12-
Basic lights that come in the older stock hoods and fixtures, not really that great of an option for planted tanks unless you have a dual bulb fixture. You will be limited to java fern, java moss, maybe some swords and anubias unless you run 4+ bulbs
T8-
Basic lights that come in newer stock hoods, better than T12 but you will still be limited to java fern, java moss, maybe some swords and anubias unless you run 4+ bulbs
Compact Florescent(CFL)-
There is not alot known about these yet as they are relatively new to being used in a planted tank. They can grow plants well but it will be trial and error to dial in the watts needed and distance from the substrate for the desired light level
T5-
Same as T12 & T8 just smaller, more effecent, and more intense.
Power Compact(PC)-
These are smaller and more effient than T12 or T8, you can get the same watts from a PC thats half the size. Can be kinda expensive and harder to find. Pretty much the same as T5 just in a U shape
T5HO-
Same as a regular T5 but with special HO ballast. T5HO doubles the output and intensity of regular T5, as of right now T5HO is the best out there
LED-
LED is starting to become more common in the planted tank but still is a very expensive option. Marineland just came out with an "Aquatic Plant LED Lighting System" that has the regular white and incorperates red, green, and blue lights for plant growth but the 48" fixture is $460 :blink:

Bulbs
there are TONS of bulb options and not all bulbs are created equal, more expensive bulbs put out more light than the cheap ones. Bulb choices mostly come down to what kelvin temperature you want, most people run either all 6500-6700k bulbs or a mix of 6500k and 10000k. The higher the number the more blue the lower the number the more red. The different spectrum can make the plants grow differently, blue promotes bushy compact growth where red promotes more tall leggy growth.
here a pic that shows the color difference from 2700k to 6500k
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  • ehall67
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ehall67 replied the topic: Re: Planted Tank Basics pt 2 -LIGHTING-

I feel u snuck this one in on me !! never even saw it .. another good one thanks

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cebosound replied the topic: Re: Planted Tank Basics pt 2 -LIGHTING-

Great Info here.

thanks. :)

My YouTube Channel:http://www.youtube.com/user/cebosound1?blend=1&ob=0
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ehh replied the topic: Planted Tank Basics pt 2 -LIGHTING-

Please tell me if I'm reading this right. If I use low lighting I dont need to worry about using a certain substrate or worry about co2? If that's the case I can just drop the plans in my tank leave the light on and they'll be ok? Not looking for them to grow super fast just survive and stay green.
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  • Big-Ken
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Big-Ken replied the topic: Re: Planted Tank Basics pt 2 -LIGHTING-

Yes and no, low light doesn't mean single bulb t-12 or t-8 that's no light lol. My tank is now low light I'm running a dual bulb t-8 24" from the substrate. Reference the chart above

Also you need to pick out low light plants, java fern, java moss, some swords, anabias, jungle vals, some crypts, lotus, hygros, ect. Swords and crypts also need root tabs if your using sand or gravel substrate, let me know before you buy these i sell them very cheap
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ehh replied the topic: Re: Planted Tank Basics pt 2 -LIGHTING-

Big-Ken wrote: Yes and no, low light doesn't mean single bulb t-12 or t-8 that's no light lol. My tank is now low light I'm running a dual bulb t-8 24" from the substrate. Reference the chart above

Also you need to pick out low light plants, java fern, java moss, some swords, anabias, jungle vals, some crypts, lotus, hygros, ect. Swords and crypts also need root tabs if your using sand or gravel substrate, let me know before you buy these i sell them very cheap


thanks for the reply ken. i go back to work on monday, ill write down which plants im interested in and can you tell me if theyre low light plants or not?
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Big-Ken replied the topic: Re: Planted Tank Basics pt 2 -LIGHTING-

Ya absolutely, start a thread or post in this one

Don't pm me i do everything on my phone and pm's don't scale right so it's a pita
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ehh replied the topic: Planted Tank Basics pt 2 -LIGHTING-

I feel you on the pm. Ok here is the list :
Jungle
Rose sword
Anubias
Baby tears
Rotala
Cryptocoryne

They're are ether going into a ten gallon or a twenty long. What do you think? This is he list because its what we have at the store that I think looks cool.
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