Really low light! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 06-18-2011, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: NE Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 220
Really low light!

So I've got a 45g standard tank(about 36x24x12) and only the standard hood with a 20w(maybe HO) bulb in it. I threw 4 Amazon Swords in pots, filled with org. potting soil and topped with play sand, into the tank a couple weeks ago, and they are actually growing and looking alright. No CO2, but the light runs 12-14 hours a day, looking to cut that back though.
When I do get a new light, probably a shop light with good bulbs, and maybe overdriven, what should I be looking to get as far as wattage? 36" lights are more expensive and harder to come by, but I don't really want a 48" hanging over the ends of the tank...
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 06-18-2011, 02:35 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Greeley, CO
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Low Light

Hello jdm...

Your swords will survive and even grow a little in the lower light and good substrate. The potting soil will provide the nutrients for the plants for several weeks, if not months, so there's no need for CO2 in my opinion.

If plants, in general, are going to do well long term, you'll need to provide at least one watt of light per gallon. Swords however, will need close to 3 wpg. Lighting in this range is good for the plants and good for algae growth.

Tropical plants are used to long hours of daylight, so putting your light on a timer makes good sense. I have mine set to 12 hours on and 12 off. More light than that will result in growth problems for the plants. If you have fish, long periods of light can affect their reproduction cycle.

These are some things to consider before you purchase your new light.

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ho lights, light hood, lights, low light, low wattage

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