Hello everyone, I am new to to the sight. I am currently fishless cycling my 46 gallon bowfront, I have had a smaller tank for many years but this time I decided to go planted. I was wondering if anyone had some advice on a good lighting system? I currently have java fern and swords, I would like as much light as possible but not so much that I need to add co2 to the tank. I only have a 30 watt T8 and I don't think it's enough light as my plants seem to be struggling. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
It depends on the type of plants you decide to have in your tank. The plants you have now are considered low tech plants so they don't require much light to begin with. But not many pants out there will survive with just T8 bulbs long term. I would look into high output T5 light bulbs, two would be adequate, ranging from 6500k- 10,000k for a 46 gal set up. As far as CO2 , this does not depend on you light usage, it depends on what your plants will require. Light,CO2, and oxygen are the main components plants require to photosynthesize and grow. Sometimes the CO2 in the atmosphere that already mixes with the water in your aquarium is not enough to supplement the need for your plants, hence the need to inject CO2 into the tank. My advice is to research the plants you plan on adding to your tank and see what the requirements are. You want to make sure you provide the proper range for all plants, it's not ideal to have plants that require high light/high CO2 and mix the with plants that are low light /low CO2, such as java ferns. It's a good idea to set your lights on a timer or at least control your light source anywhere from 6-8 hours daily. Too much light may spark unwanted algae growth in the long run.
Also, proper nutrients and fertilizers affect the quality of your plants as well. Look into
- Seachem comprehensive supplements for aquarium plants
- Dry fertilizers for aquarium plants
- Root Fertilizers
Hope this helps, it should get you started in the right direction at least.