My bf and I are about to flood our tank at the end of next week. Either on the 30th of this month or the 1st of Oct. and will let it cycle for 2 weeks before adding in CRS shrimps. We have been growing emersed plants in the tank since August 1st so the ammonia/nitrate cycle should be well off as well as the bacteria from what we have read.
All the plants have grown well, but what worries us is the lighting once flooded. Right now, we are using two clip-on lights from Finnex (the lights we are using are shown below). We took out the original bulbs and replaced it with the Lowe's 13W CF "Mini Spiral" that is equivalent to 60W in 6500K temps. So in total that is 26W of CFL equivalent to 120W (or so they claim). At the moment the lights look very bright, almost as bright as any 36" single T5HO I would imagine.
With all that into play, we have very good growth in our HC, HM, Glosso, MM, and Mini Pellia so far. With the added height from our Shrimp Fluval Stratum Substrate we are using, the light is only 8-9" from the sub. on the high end and 9"-10" on the low end.
So the important question. With this fixture, type of lighting and distance from the plants, is this considered high lighting, medium lighting, or low lighting? We tried to compare this to a few charts we often see as "PAR" but its so hard to tell...
We will be running pressurized CO2 in this setup for awhile to ease the transition of all the emersed plants once flooded, but will slowly wean off it once they have stabilized so we can raise shrimps successfully, however, with this lighting, will CO2 be necessary?