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|Planting a 55 gallon tank.|
Stop up at the lfs today to pick up some bulbs for my 55 gallon tank. I cleaned it out good today and want to try planting some plants along with my fishes this time.
I asked which bulbs to get and they told me I would have to get on of those T5? light fixtures. This is way out of my price range.
I have the 55 gallon and it has two lids on top with one 18" bulb in each. They lady at the lfs told me that the bulbs they had would not provide enough light to plant any plants.
Now my tank is in the ba
I have 3 harlequin rasboras which I plan to bring up to 8 and I was planning on getting some black ruby bards to go along with them.
Any help would be appreciated.
PS Its been awhile since I posted on here but I still love this site for all my fishtank questions!
|Posted 11-Oct-2009 03:29|
I have a planted 55g tank in a room that has a couple windows, so there is some ambient light. But, it's still a dim tank. I have hoods just like yours, with the 18" bulbs, mine are 15W each, that's all I could find.
I have wisteria floating in the tank, I have jungle vals, contortion vals, amazon swords, a moss ball and had even had luck with Anacharis, floating amongst the wisteria.
I have Silver Tipped Tetras, a ton of Tiger Barbs, 2 panda corys, a left over harlquin rasbora, odessa barbs...
So, it's an active tank but it stays fairly dim and the plants do well...
I was hoping to find some higher wattage/output bulbs that fit the ballasts, but so far I have had no luck. But, my plants seem to thrive. I have however, not had any luck with bulbs...
I will be curious to find out what you decide to do, and how it works out!
|Posted 11-Oct-2009 14:25|
I have a 55 gal. I can't afford the expensive lighting set-ups. I went to the local HD and got the shop light. I purchased the (2)40 watt, 8K alto daylight bulbs. My tank thrives. When we forget to turn off the lights,(which is often) beard algae blossoms. For plants I have, Amazon swords, dwarf anubia, frill, anacharis, cabomba, java fern, java moss and crypt. The crypt is doing so well, it sent off a baby clear on the other side of the tank!
In my 40 gal tall, I tried to keep it simple. Just Brazilian sword, variegated amazon sword, amazon sword, and a single crypt. The lighting is just the regular hood light, with a F20T12 natural sunlight. I have yet to have a problem with algae in this tank. (to be fair, I also have a ton of pond snails, that most likely won't give algae a chance)
|Posted 11-Oct-2009 18:30|
Ok I haven't gotten my new bulbs yet but I changed over my substrate to actual aquarium gravel. I was using pea gravel before and I have heard that this can cause problems with plants. I am thinking of picking up a bag of the actual plant substrate that is a little more exspensive.
As for the bulbs that will have to wait to next week's paycheck!
|Posted 11-Oct-2009 18:33|
Actually pea gravel is no worst, if not better than the ornamental gravels you get for the tanks. The better substrates are the ones made specifically for aquatic plants. In my 55gal I just have regular pea sized ornamental blue gravel. In my 40gal, I have flourite as a ba
|Posted 12-Oct-2009 03:38|
Some low-light plants include Cryptocoryne, Anubias, Java Fern, and Java Moss. You should be able to grow those with just the normal fluorescent lights that come with the tank hood.
The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian.
|Posted 12-Oct-2009 04:04|
Apparently it wasn't my bulb that went bad but one of the light fixtures... I have to try and find a replacement now... hope they are not too much.
I have planted a few plants: A amazon sword, 3 vals and a plant that excapes my memory right now but it looks like hornwort? but is fuller and more sturdy.
|Posted 19-Oct-2009 01:21|
On the anvil...
This may be a good opportunity for you to upgrade if you can afford it. I can promise you the patience will be well worth it in the end and it doesn't need to be bought all at once.
I assume that your 55g has a center brace along the top. This means you have 2 hoods that are 24" each. My method comes with a few options. First I recommend all glass tops. This allows for more light to come into the tank with almost any fixture you put over the top. Those can be found at the link below.
These are the Twin Tube Versa tops and cost about $2 more than the original versa tops, but have a wider back glass panel to accommodate twin tube light fixtures.
24" Twin Tube fixture: These have gone up in price since I bought mine, and each fixture now runs as low as $45 each.
The nice thing about this specific light is that it comes with a 6700K bulb already installed. That is the color temperature that plants thrive on. You can use your own eyes to see if the combined light of both bulbs appeals to you. To each their own in this case. Another plus about this fixture is that it uses T-5 lighting, by most accounts a better, more efficient way to light an aquarium and it is also cheaper than any other twin tube fixture that I found.
24" Twin Tube Versa Top: $18 (need 2. $36 total)
24" Coralife F/W T-5 Aqualight Double Strip Light: $46 (need 2. $92)
Total for all: $128 + whatever for shipping. This is much cheaper than many lighting systems I've seen. The only thing that concerns me is that this is still a relatively low light system at barely 1 WPG whereas most plants thrive in the 2-3 WPG range. Perhaps someone with much more experience than me can chime in on this.
|Posted 20-Oct-2009 03:12|
As some have already stated, there are many plants that will thrive in low lighting. The main concern imo is not watts per gallon, but the bulbs themselves. Make sure you are using full spectrum bulbs for plants. As for new lighting, you can build your own enclosures from scrap wood and spend the savings on good compact fluorescent lights. I have always had "low lighting" in my planted tanks growing most anything I wanted. I have various swords, vals, crypts, anubias, ambulia, even baby tears all thriving in low lighting. The bulbs that come with the basic light hood are not for plants and will not meet their needs!
|Posted 21-Oct-2009 13:30|
Basic lights can meet the needs of an aquarium. I currently have two planted tanks for breeding and grow out with stock lights at less than 1wpg of stock T8. Species flourishing in them include H. difformis, R. rotundifolia, L. repens, a couple of types of java fern and anubias, several mosses including fissidens spp, and H. sibthorpoids. Nothing really advanced, but you can certainly grow plants with stock lighting. The big mistake is skipping out on nutrients.
The best price for quality I've found is the sunblaze T5HO single strips. They're made by the same people who do Tek lights, and they have nice 6700K Geissman bulbs. You should be able to pick two of them up for $100-$150 shipped to your door with a hanging kit and reflectors if you're doing compressed CO2, or $65-80 for one.
|Posted 22-Oct-2009 22:05|
You might drop by a Home Depot, or Lowe's and check out
their "shop lights" or even their kitchen lights.
They come in two or four tube sizes and the fixtures
come in a size that should fit over the top of your
55G tank. You could hang them over the tank, or set them
on the plastic edges of the tank.
The bulbs for those fixtures are generally T-8 or T-12
in size and come in 40 watt power. Four, 40 watt bulbs
would give you 160 watts, total for 2.9 watts per gallon.
Should you decide to opt for that, purchase only DAYLIGHT
or SUNLIGHT tubes. The warm or day glow, or white lights
are designed for reading while the DAYLIGHT or SUNLIGHT
are around 6700K and perfect for planted tanks.
The bulbs are easily obtainable at any hardware store
and cost pennies on a dollar compared to the so called
plant bulbs at your LFS.
Just a thought...
-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
|Posted 23-Oct-2009 22:40|
DIY upgrade to programmed start should depend on what prices look good to you, and whether you're going with CO2.
If you don't intend on using compressed CO2, I wouldn't advise 3wpg. I will even predict what will happen; your plants will show stunting regardless of fertilization, algae will break out all over the place, and BBA will become your new most frequently used acronym.
I would recommend moving down to the 2wpg range with T8 or CF if you feel like doing a double batch of DIY, otherwise push perhaps 2.5wpg of the same with compressed. There's honestly not much sense going higher wattage than this when starting out; you'll be able to grow everything you want, and most likely just about anywhere you want to if the lighting spread is good. Focus on good light source spread rather than high intensity.
If you're opting out of added CO2 altogether, try to keep it about 1-1.5wpg and keep a bottle of excel handy. You may want to opt for air stones given that they'll keep CO2 at atmospheric saturation levels. Contrary to popular belief, your few grams of cold blooded little fish aren't going to me
-Veteric (now better known as Philosophos)
|Posted 24-Oct-2009 04:14|
I haven't come up with a solution to the broken light fixture yet. A new one costs about $45 dollars so I am thinking I might try to build something to cover both sides by myself. The problem... I'm not very handy
For now I have my plants on the side with the light still working. I have a small light on the otherside from my 1.5 gallon hex tank, but that is more just for light.
My plants are doing ok except for the sword which seems to be dying. My vals and cabola (sp) plants are doing ok.
I am currently laid0-off so any solution will have to wait.
PhoenixFirewall I like your Idea but I have a hang on back filter so how would the all glass top work?
|Posted 16-Nov-2009 20:18|
I had a similar situation- and came up with a cheap fix, thought you might be intrested.
Had a bad light fixture that was PART of the hood. Dont know if your is or not- if it is- it can be easily cut out with a utility knife, and replaced with plexiglass- which is also easy to cut with a utility knife and ruler....I used aquarium silicone to help hold glass in place.
i had planned on hanging lights over the tank, but it wasnt going to work.... soooooo
I got a black clip on desk lamp from w...mart. with a bendable neck. Got a daylight CF bulb- 26 wts, 6500k, and its working great.( lamp was 9.00 ea, 2 bulbs was 8.00. this was for a hex tank- that is 23 in tall, and the wisteria is growing in there.
Whenever Ive had wisteria grow, I could also grow swords, and then of course the low light anubias, crypts, java fern and moss....
I've got the light clipped onto the back of the tank, Its a heavy duty type clip, and the cord/ electrical parts arent anywhere near the water.... No prob with heat ect on the plastic hood....
|Posted 16-Nov-2009 21:29|
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