New to Plants and Need a Few Questions Answered - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 01:28 AM Thread Starter
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New to Plants and Need a Few Questions Answered

Figured this site would be the best resource for getting answers in regards to aquarium plants and lights.

The Tank: I have a 38 gallon tank measuring 36" x 12" x 20" (LxWxH), with a small rock pile and about 3/4" of fine silica sand . The tank has a small colony of Juliodochromis Marlieri consisting of three adults, fry and a few tiny pond snails. Current lighting consists of a 24" t8 18 watt fixture 12 hrs/day (no other info on light). The current plants in the tank are anubias, java fern, and 2 vallisneria (corkscrew I think). The Anubias is doing good and the java fern is slowly bouncing back from being moved but the vals arent looking so great. The vals were planted about 3 weeks to a month ago and each has one leaf that is melting and one has a couple leaves that are getting a couple spots on them.

Will sand work as a substrate for these vals?
I was considering getting a 36" dual T5 light (78 watts). Would this be a good light or is there a better option for lighting?
Should I be fertilizing? if so should it be root tabs?

My goal is to have the vals actually growing instead of appear to be dying. I do want to avoid getting into C02. I'm new to this and any suggestions as far as light upgrade etc is appreciated.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 03:26 AM
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The dual t5 is too much unless you want to raise the filter above the tank. I think a dual t8 would be a better option too avoid the co2.

And if you want to maximum growth out of your plants in a low tech setting, I would consider dirt capped with sand.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 04:20 AM
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vallisneria are root feeders so some root tabs would help. t5ho lighting is pretty strong, and your tank doesn't have any plants that require intense lighting. i'd just add another t8 fixture or a dual t5no fixture.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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I'll get some root tabs to put in the sand to start out.

Prior to posting i was planning on getting the Odyssea 36" dual t5 w/ 6500k lights since it would only cost about $50 and I could use it if I upgrade to a bigger tank in the future.
Could I still use this light if I reduced the number of hours/day it was on?

Odyssea has the same fixture but with a 10,000k bulb and a actinic bulb. Would this bulb configuration reduce intensity and support plant growth?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 08:40 PM
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From what you have told us, you need low light. The Odyssea light will be medium light, with CO2 almost essential for avoiding algae. The FishNeedIt or Coralife 2 x T5HO lights would be low light, with no CO2 needed, although CO2 is always beneficial to the plants.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 04:21 AM Thread Starter
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Would it be possible to run the Odyssea fixture with only one bulb in? Or add some sort of floating plants to obstruct some of the light? I'm most concerned with the vals growing.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 05:19 AM
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Vals are low light plants. More light makes them grow faster, but they also grow with low light.

I don't think the Odyssea light will work with one bulb, but I'm not at all sure. Read the description of it and see if it tells you.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-29-2012, 04:34 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate your help Hoppy.

Alright I have a new option that I'm considering, a spiral CFL setup. I found a few fixtures and 2 26w 6500k bulbs laying around and am thinking about using these.

I found a couple threads on retrofitting a standard aquarium hood light fixture that houses a t8 bulb into a cfl hood using sheet metal as a reflector. They seem a little unsafe. Will these bulbs get hot enough to burn the plastic hood? I really want to avoid burning down my place. Does anyone have advice on retrofitting this standard light fixture(reflector material, fire prevention, ventilation)?

Also, I was reading through the spiral cfl sticky and am still kinda confused as to how many and what size cfls I should use to reach the appropriate light intensity. The tank is 20" tall. If I cant successfully retrofit my current fixture I may just make a diy wood canopy with a glass lid on my tank.

Thanks for the feedback in advance
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