Plants dying, concerned with lighting. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Plants dying, concerned with lighting.

I have a 20 gallon tank, I have eco-complete about 2-3inches deep. A Bio wheel filter and a pH about 7.6-8.0. A community tank with about 9-10 small fish. I read about WPG recently and from the math I did my two bulbs equal only 28 watts which means 1.4 WPG barely half the required 3 WPG Correct? Someone help me out, its a Solarmax HE T-5 Dual 24" fixture I bought for about 40-50 bucks. I have a bunch of Amazon Swords, some Java fern on driftwood and java moss floating around. With the tank at 78-74F Range.

Is it the lighting? What am I doing wrong the plants seem healthy while others are melting away or yellow.

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by CandleMaker View Post
I have a 20 gallon tank, I have eco-complete about 2-3inches deep. A Bio wheel filter and a pH about 7.6-8.0. A community tank with about 9-10 small fish. I read about WPG recently and from the math I did my two bulbs equal only 28 watts which means 1.4 WPG barely half the required 3 WPG Correct? Someone help me out, its a Solarmax HE T-5 Dual 24" fixture I bought for about 40-50 bucks. I have a bunch of Amazon Swords, some Java fern on driftwood and java moss floating around. With the tank at 78-74F Range.

Is it the lighting? What am I doing wrong the plants seem healthy while others are melting away or yellow.

first of all...what are the kelvin of the bulb and are u dosing ferts

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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first of all...what are the kelvin of the bulb and are u dosing ferts
How do I tell the kelvin of the bulbs?

I use half the recommended amount the bottle says for both Flourish and Flourish Excel because I always worried of overdosing because of weak bulbs.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 05:37 PM
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How do I tell the kelvin of the bulbs?

I use half the recommended amount the bottle says for both Flourish and Flourish Excel because I always worried of overdosing because of weak bulbs.

usually it say something like ...5000k or 10000k on the bulb...usually on the left or right side

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 05:49 PM
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The Watts Per Gallon rule isn't something to concern yourself with, as it doesn't apply to modern equipment.

Is your tank a 20 tall/high or 20 long?

Either way, you've likely got too much lighting, aren't providing CO2 and could be providing less ferts than you need.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Its 14W 10,000KK Day and the other one says 14W Acitinic 03


Tank is about 24'' long and about 17"high
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 06:26 PM
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Yep, your lighting is likely too strong.

You've either gotta start providing CO2 and dosing or cut that lighting down. You can do so by raising the fixture or by using fiberglass window screen to diffuse the lighting.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 07:39 PM
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Its 14W 10,000KK Day and the other one says 14W Acitinic 03


Tank is about 24'' long and about 17"high
if im wrong..i thougth acitinic was for saltwater?

Most of the plants u have don't really require any liquid fert... they don't take in that much nutrients from teh water column..

The amazon sword need root tab and the others just need a small amout of fert...

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Hmoobthor View Post
if im wrong..i thougth acitinic was for saltwater?

Most of the plants u have don't really require any liquid fert... they don't take in that much nutrients from teh water column..

The amazon sword need root tab and the others just need a small amout of fert...
I would replace the actinic buld, that's for growing corals, and get a bulb near the 6500K instead.

Michel.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 09:04 PM
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Yea the actinic bulb doesn't do much for photosynthesis, in plants or coral. It makes the colors pop though-so you have 14 Watts of lighting, which should be fine for most of your plants. I agree with Michel swap that for a 6500k. I'm guessing it's your sword is the one yellowing?-as Hmoobthor suggested, get them some substrate ferts.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 09:11 PM
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Yup. Yer two 24" T5 bulbs should put your light as high as you want to go for your setup, but you need 6500K bulbs for freshwater plants. Don't raise your light and don't stop using excel unless you want an algae farm. Light is measured in par. Google a "PAR lighting chart" and you will probably find one of Hoppy's excellent threads here on TPT and be able to figure out your approximate PAR . Your excell makes up for some CO2 and allows you to go up to around 50umol (PAR), but you must understand that if you go above this "low-medium" light level without CO2 supplementation you will get algae problems.

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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 09:13 PM
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If you don't have a light timer get one from a hardware store for $12 and set your lights for 8-10 hours/day.

Ver. 1.0 80 gallon dirt goldfish tank (defunct)

Ver. 2.0 bare bottom same tank another approach (defunct)

Ver. 3.0 Pool filter sand same tank now

Farming Algae

Goldfish are among the worst fish for beginners.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 09:29 PM
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If the sword plants have yellowing leaves and were recently bought from a fish store then it is likely the plant was grown hydroponically. Those air adapted leaves won't live long underwater but the strong crown of the plant has plenty of reserves to grow new water adapted leaves. The air leaves of the most common sword plant have long stems and short thicker blades while water adapted leaves have short stems and long translucent blades. I haven't bought java fern from a store, perhaps they do the same thing. Very often new plants in a tank will have a lot of die back. Look for new growth rather than worrying about the original leaves dying back. Do get some root tabs though, they really appreciate them.

Get a different bulb for your fixture, something between 5000K and 10000K. Make sure it has the same length and wattage as T5 also comes in HO which probably wouldn't work with your ballast. A 14 watt 24" bulb is T5NO. 24" T5HO bulbs are 24 watt - each.

Do read the sticky on the lighting forum although I do like the rough generalization of the second chart on this thread. It shows your fixture to be providing medium low light which is great for your particular plants.
PAR vs Distance, T5, T12, PC - New Chart
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 03:04 AM
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When I had a 29 gallon tank I had 3 sword plants in it, with water column fertilizing and inert substrate - no root fertilizing. It was a high light setup with pressurized CO2. Within about a month one sword virtually filled the tank. I removed it. Another month and the other two swords filled the tank. Never any root fertilizing.

I concluded, and later found that I was correct, that the sword plants can feed from either the leaves or the roots or both. In fact virtually all plants can do that.

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-21-2012, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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If the sword plants have yellowing leaves and were recently bought from a fish store then it is likely the plant was grown hydroponically. Those air adapted leaves won't live long underwater but the strong crown of the plant has plenty of reserves to grow new water adapted leaves. The air leaves of the most common sword plant have long stems and short thicker blades while water adapted leaves have short stems and long translucent blades. I haven't bought java fern from a store, perhaps they do the same thing. Very often new plants in a tank will have a lot of die back. Look for new growth rather than worrying about the original leaves dying back. Do get some root tabs though, they really appreciate them.

Get a different bulb for your fixture, something between 5000K and 10000K. Make sure it has the same length and wattage as T5 also comes in HO which probably wouldn't work with your ballast. A 14 watt 24" bulb is T5NO. 24" T5HO bulbs are 24 watt - each.

Do read the sticky on the lighting forum although I do like the rough generalization of the second chart on this thread. It shows your fixture to be providing medium low light which is great for your particular plants.
PAR vs Distance, T5, T12, PC - New Chart

I am going to conclude from this that If I had HO rather than regular HE that i'd need real co2.

I am going to change the Actinic bulb for a regular t5 daylight bulb and keep the same dose of Flourish Excel Co2 and purchase root tabs for the swords.
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