Backing of the light, result - epiphany. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2012, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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Backing of the light, result - epiphany.


My planted tank has been a challenge from the get go, and an expensive one at that, to say the least.

As of this moment, I am running what would be called a 'high tech' tank, 8T5HO bulbs across 2x4foot fixtures. I usually run 3 bulbs per fixture, 4 10's and 2 6500's.

The tank comes in at 6ft long, about 2" high - 95 gallon.

Tank looks great for about a month after another 'attempt', before things get sad.

I have battled algae - by controlling my co2 and methods of diffusion, increasing flow, checking my nitrates, monitoring my PH, adjusting my KH, adding and removing light, and reading Tom Barr.

Originally, I was motivated by what I saw in the Amano magazines etc - countless hours of youtube research, getting to know 5 LFS owners well enough to do me great deals.

I am still battling algae, and what has always been a less than stellar tank.

Never has this tank had the 'wow' factor.

I came close to abandoning the idea of a planted tank, and moving toward a saltwater conversion, silently frustrated that the high tech tank had eluded me.

A mate of mine told me it looked too bright, and by pure chance, turned all bulbs off, spare of 1 per fixture. A total of 2x 6500's over the tank.

Perhaps the WPG rule is no longer applicable given intensity of the light provided, although I believe this puts me at 0.8wpg, rather than the 3.2 I was running previously.

I now have a pink-hued, dull swamp in my lounge room, fantastic.

Two weeks later and my algae problem has improved dramatically, the thick black fur spanning my hairgrass carpet has what looks to have disintegrated, and fallen to the substrate.

There is more green than black through the carpet, the roots look better as seen through the glass, the tank feels happier.

My co2 is still cranked as high as responsibly possible, and I am letting my fortified year old substrate handle the ferts, and have not added anything to the water column in 2 weeks.

My PH still reads around high 6, whereas I had expected it to by burning with all the co2 i have pumped into the tank. I am still questioning diffusion from my dupla reactor 400, or perhaps something is buffering my water?

Drop Check reads lemon yellow, the fluid may need a change, although it is strange I have contradictory readings here compared to the PH.

I have no measurable nitrates, could be the test kit I know, but with a bag of purigen in the filter, I am leaning toward a zero reading.

Obviously I will need to increase the light at some stage, but for some reason, under such low light, my tank seems to be coming back to life.

Have I haphazardly created a 'balance'?

Below I have a picture of the tank while things are happy, I am sure you can use your imagination for the opposite. Needless to say, 80% of background plant mass has been removed.

Perhaps I should have left my ego at the door and started High Tech - Low light from the very beginning.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2012, 04:08 AM
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A lot of us have done much the same thing you did, with similar results. I know I tried for "high" light, feeling sure I could do everything just right so algae would respectfully leave me alone. But, like you, I was disappointed. Now I am using low light and Excel, and I enjoy my tank a whole lot more. I still run into algae problems, but I can think about them for a few days before trying something. Before, if I saw algae I always felt like I had about one hour before the stuff would fill the whole tank - it didn't go that fast, but that isn't a huge exaggeration either.

Congratulations for finally curing yourself of "High Light Disease"!

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2012, 04:29 AM
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You didn't have high light man. You had the second sun over your tank. High light would be two bulbs spanning the tank. Now with one bulb you are probably hitting close to low-medium light. People really overestimate their lighting needs. These days most after market fixtures are adequate. Especially when running co2.

Good job cutting back. If you keep with the co2, and introduce ferts properly I bet you'll hit your goals in no time. You tank looks pretty cool, you need to give yourself some credit.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2012, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jcgd View Post
you need to give yourself some credit.
Kind words from yourself and hoppy.

Valued opinions, although certainly the current condition of the tank may shape that somewhat. Ha.

I am excited that this may be another attempt, perhaps one that restores the fascination with this hobby.

I wonder if any algae came out of running a super lean tank, low light with high co2?

There are good articles about plants light utilization in a low light high co2 environment.

I will stick with current lighting and monitor closely.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2012, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Here is a pic of the 'swamp', as it is today, under its low-light configuration.

There is new growth on the hairgrass, but it is apparent that it took a beating.

You can see still the clumps of BBA and detritus that managed to avoid the vacuum.

I lost all the other plant mass to algae.

Should all go well, I will be re-stocking heavily.

Perhaps when I add more mass I may increase the light a fraction?

If i can get away with this light level with no hassles, I doubt I will change, if only for viewing purposes.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2012, 02:05 PM
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Have a look at the pic of my 29 gal in the introduction forum. (introducing the self).

There are a lot of species in there and I prune a good pound of plant matter a week. I will send you good cuttings of anything you want from there as long as you pay the shipping.

I don't have local fish friends where I live, but when I started this hobby in Seattle there was a guy who had every plant under the sun and sold them for $1 per cutl on CL.

Truth was he was a super nice guy and when I simply told him make a me a meddley for $20 he loaded me up. I had like 5 mosses and a million plants.

He also sold me danios for $4 and the yellow variety of cherry red for $1.5. The story was the same the 10 shrimp bag he only counted the adults it contained more like 20 shrimp? The danios were far larger and healthier than any other i sourced from fish stores later to keep variety.

I only rant all this because I have an urge to pay that start into the hobby forward. IF you are near seattle you should go to him I could get you in touch.

Last edited by felixn; 05-21-2012 at 02:07 PM. Reason: typo city
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