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Old 12-27-2008, 02:36 PM   #166
bugman2494
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Hey,
Just got a 50 gallon tank. Wondering how many watts per gallons is low light. The tank was my given to me and came with a 30 W Sylvania light which means I have 0.6wpg.
I don't plan to upgrade the light so what types of plants can I keep with this particular lighting?

Thanks
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:22 PM   #167
Christine T
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Anubias
Java Fern
Anacharis

You might be able to grow some Crypts also.
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:02 PM   #168
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I've always wanted a low-light plant list like this. Thanks, James.

I almost got out of the hobby about a year ago, because I was traveling quite a bit and just didn't have time for everything. I was using Tom Barr's EI method. Virtually every stem plant I put in it grew about 2" per day. I would go away for 2 weeks, and when I got back, there was hardly any room for the fish to swim! Ground covers like glosso formed a 4" turf ... crypt wendtii took over the tank ... When using EI, you really need to keep up with the pruning and maintenance.

Well, rather than get out of the hobby, I decided to give Tom's non-CO2 method a try. I do light dosing of KNO3, KH2PO4 and micros (Tropic Plant Nutrition). I do NOT use Excel or any other carbon source, but I do have some serious flow in my tanks. I actually put an airstone in my 29G, which seemed to help a lot -- perhaps it increases the CO2 ppms slightly, not sure. My plants are corkscrew vals, crypt wendtii, java fern, Christmas moss, anubia, and some other type of crypt -- I also have floating anacharis, hornwort and water lettuce. End results: haven't done a water change in months (and my fish load isn't as light as you might think), my CPDs and Cories and shrimp breed like crazy (so I know the water quality is fine). I also set up Rondomatic feeders, so I can be away for more than a week and nobody has to feed my fish. The only thing I do is add a pint or so of RO water every 2 to 3 days and fill my feeders every 9 to 13 days -- since I have glass over all of my tanks, there is very little evaporation. When I'm home, I do a batch of BBS almost every day.

My low-tech tanks will turn into jungles in time (the corkscrew vals spread like crazy), but it takes much longer.

I now have 4 low-tech tanks (1 x 29G, 2 x 20G, 1 x 10G [for fry], and they are much less work than my one high-tech was. Do I miss some of the high-tech plants? Sure I do. And, honestly, I hope to have time at some point to go back to a high-tech tank. Low-tech, however, has some major advantages and worth a try for most folks.

Regards,
Ted
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:32 PM   #169
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James, thanks for the list, as you can tell its a timeless piece of info that I am printing right now to keep a pocket guide on me.

Thanks for your effort, Ive been looking for a common/scientific list like you have compiled for a very long time now.
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:09 PM   #170
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hey quick question, are there any low-light carpeting plants? (other then java moss)
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:06 PM   #171
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homer_Simpson View Post
I credit Tom Barr for sharing his low tech approach and would advise anyone new to the hobby,
Well Diana Walstad is a strong Advocate for the non CO2 method also, as was Dorothy Reimer before her(who's now since passed, she was a very nice sweet high energy gal), and many others. I grew a number of species without CO2 long before I got into planted tanks in earnest.

We each have folks that give us ideas and we modify them.
I was curious if we took the sediment out of the equation, the rate is well known with CO2 vs non CO2, that water column dosing and fish waste should be able to do the trick and then we can measure and look at it closer.

But I came at it from the other end, started with non CO2, then CO2 enriched side, then returned back and applied what I knew from both methods.

Sediment ferts works and can/should be added as well, it will make the method for either non CO2, Excel or CO2 enriched methods work even better.

"My" method is just the water column, but does not negate anything in the sediment either. It complements those sources.

Location is less critical, however, proponents of sediments ferts often claim, falsely at that........we can and have shown otherwise, adding ferts to sediment somehow is some advantage that prevent algae.

No, it does not.

Folks still have troubles with this issue, claim otherwise, even though you add it and see that in many tanks, there's no algae inducement.

Thus it cannot be possibly be a correct speculation/hypothesis
Folks can huff and belly ache all they want, but they cannot avoid this fact.
That is the observation, and it's a demostratable result.

This is true for non CO2, Excel and for CO2 enriched methods.
That's a bold and true statement that took some time to arrive at and lot of tanks, testing and folks trying it to realize.

Still, many get algae and blame the nutrients.
But if that was the really the cause, we would have to see in all cases, or at least 95% or so. But we do not, we have newbies or folks where the CO2, water changes, plant densities, etc are not truly independent. So they look for the old myths and dogma since they really do not know.

Then it gets repeated.
Some folks promote methods all the time.........and they work, the real question is why they work.

This is critical. This can prevent myths and solve more issues for the folks that have not had the success that perhaps others have had.

Nutrients are less important, CO2 stability/light are really much more critical.

This is still true here for non CO2/carbon enrichment methods.
So not doing those water changes seems to stabilize things for many, having higher plant density, why do some plants do well while others not? CO2 competition mostly(we can provide good light and nutrients easy enough). Allelopathy can be ruled out via activated carbon etc. So it leaves us mostly with CO2 stability as a root cause for issues=> algae, which is indirectly related to poor plant health that leads to algae. So it's all about the plant's health, when that is disturbed, then we have algae.


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Tom Barr
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:22 PM   #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert H View Post

The definition of low light to most people new to the hobby is whatever light came with their aquarium, and then maybe bumping that up to between 1 and 2 watts of flourescent light per gallon of water. I don't think half the plants on your list would grow in those conditions, and even if they do survive, what kind of condition are they in?
Tongue biting?
Name a single species of any plant that cannot be grown to a high level at 1.5-2w/gal of PC/T8T5 lighting?

Low tech will include CO2 or not? If so, then it's not the light, it's the CO2.
If Excel is included, then there's little issue.

The light level in this tank is the same as it is it is in the other:



HC:


Light was measured using a PAR meter at various points in the tank.
What does well in that tank, is independent of light for the other.......

Adding CO2/Excel will certainly extend and promote plant health/growth at lower intensities of light, this is well documented and Tropica has a good article on that subject.

You cannot get away from the holistic aspects of growth, light, CO2 and nutrients, not just one of these parameters.

Non limiting CO2/nutrients allow less light to be used and extends the lower range of lighting.

That's right smack in the middle of the range you suggest is unacceptable for plant growth for the specific plants you mentioned, HC, Gloss, Stem plants etc.

Maybe for non CO2/Excel, but not in the broad sense.
But if you add CO2/Excel, then it's not independent of lighting is it then?

So it's either both light and CO2, or not lighting alone. Something else is limiting, hampering growth etc, not light.

Otherwise, the above examples cannot be possible, and yet......they are.
Several hundred folks in the Bay have seen those same tanks.........

I have never been particularly keen on calling aquatic plants low light vs high light. They all do pretty well at some rather low light levels and the low light plants grow pretty fast at higher levels of light as well.

Regards,
Tom Barr
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:28 AM   #173
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Well I havent been on in quite some time due to high school(finally graduated), looking for work, my new pets(2 new parakeets, and 4 new finches wich I love for all they are), and I am now back in the hobby after a short absense. I get on to get a PM from someone asking if they could use this list on another iste and I thought I should see what activity has been here. Thanks Tom for the excellent advice and information that you have given in the above two posts.
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Old 07-09-2009, 02:42 AM   #174
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I can't believe this list is even still here after all this time, its been deleted off of other sites it was posted on. Tom i do not take issue with you that many plants can be grown under special circumstances with so called "low light". I have been a supporter of Diana Walstad for years, and YOU could YOU should write a book on what constitutes "low tech", and I totally agree that if you factor in C02 and other conditions that you can get many plants to grow. The "Walstad" approach is a whole detailed system that involves many factors.

But thats not what we are talking about here. This is not a list of plants that will grow with the Walstad method, or a list of plants that will grow with the Tom Barr method, it is not even a list of "low tech" plants, it is a blanket list of so called low light plants which in and of itself is totally misleading and ridiculous. Tom, if we go by what you just said, and assume it is true that most any plant will grow under "low light" as long as you have elevated C02 and any other factors you want to throw in THEN YOU DON'T NEED ANY LIST OF LOW LIGHT PLANTS BECAUSE IT APPLIES EQUALLY TO EVERY PLANT!

Just my humble opinion. I'm not trying to be mean, but this just really seems so flagrantly... oh whatever

Quote:
The light level in this tank is the same as it is it is in the other:
Ok, but you only have java fern, moss, and micranthemoides in there right? And your pumping in your 40 ppm of C02!! Micranthemoides in an open space with C02 grows like a weed.

Quote:
have never been particularly keen on calling aquatic plants low light vs high light. They all do pretty well at some rather low light levels and the low light plants grow pretty fast at higher levels of light as well.
Well thats the whole point here as to why his list is so misleading. Most people who are looking for low light plants have a 15 watt bulb on a 55 gallon and are not pumping in 40 pppm of C02 and they look at this list and say oh boy i can grow tonina and ludwigia glandulosa with my anubias nana and java fern, YiPPie!

When you call a plant a "low light" plant, you are giving the impression that it is a tough, resiliant, "hard to kill" plant that can prosper in less than favorable conditions. That is the image that comes to mind, I guarantee you 100% for sure. I would say 90% of the plants on his list DO NOT fall into that description. Many of them are quite delicate in nature, and very easy to kill. Do you understand what I am saying now?
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Old 09-09-2009, 05:33 AM   #175
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Default Low tech/Low Light Tank definition and Plant Choices

This is a very interesting post and so is the added debate of what is a low tech/low light tank.

I chose to define a low tech/low light tank as having 1-2W/gal, no CO2, and no constant additives required (no Excel or fertilizer). Less $ and work.

My tank is 24 gal with 32W dual daylight bulb that I keep on around 12-14 hrs/day. I used Fluorite black sand and since I came to the concepts of Diane Walstad after my tank had been up for several months I did not start with a soil substrate. Later I used her modified approach to add some substrate to an existing tank (without tearing down my solitary tank). I have the additional problem of pretty basic water with a pH of 8.0 (my kH is 4) so the below list of plants that I chose and that worked for me were chosen with that in mind:

1. Crypt wenditii
2. Crypt ? (Florida Sunset)--this doesn't quite thrive as well.
3. Vallisneria spiralis
4. Java Fern
5. Hemianthus micranthemoides-- forms a dense thick carpet that I have to trim aggressively or it would cover the entire tank bottom. It has however been controllable and I limit it to a focal foreground area. This plant was a hitchhiker to my tank but I thought it might be a good alternative to Java Moss sa the latter has been said to be difficult to control. It might serve for the above post regarding a "carpet" plant.

Its been great as I like the plants as much as the fish
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:38 PM   #176
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This thread is getting rather old, but I have to agree to disagree. To a newcomer to the planted tank hobby (like I was a year ago) NO JOKE I had a third of a watt per gallon of "marine glo" light over a 60 gallon tall, and I thought I could grow java fern and java moss, because they are often said to be low light. "But it looks bright" ... I actually thought it looked bright until I added 2 more 39 watt bulbs.

Admittedly, it was probably the spectrum of light and the inhabitants of the tank (tinfoils) that hindered the most, but a newbie thinks that a low light plant means less than one watt per gallon, because that is what their tank came with. They also don't want to get pressurized CO2 or dose any fert at all (though like ROBERT H said, they would rather dose a fert than change the light) and expect results!



I have had plants sit there doing nothing for a couple weeks in such light levels, they are indeed not healthy and disintegrate after the fact. I had cabomba in 0.67 watts oer gallon and it sat doing nothing for a month, then it sent up a side shoot, (it "grew!") then it lost all it's leaves. I think really it is the water parameters and the nutrients that matter for most plants. I grew milfoil quite well at 1.4 watts to the gallon, with no CO2 or dosing ferts, though it was native (so the PH and hardness were similar...) and there was little competition for nutrients. Eventually it crashed, the tips shrunk, turned highlighter-yellow and disintegrated, but that was likely from too few minerals in the water. AT the time, I thought 1.4 wpg was medium light.

ANYWAY, I dunno what to think right now... Adding tons of CO2 seems to make sense, probably at low light some plants are better at getting enough CO2 than others, so pumping it in helps them get some... But I don't think 1-2 is low enough to be called low light. Even so, I have a few plants I would add to yonder list:

Ultricularia vulgaris
Chara sp. (macro-alga)

BOTH were grown to decent amounts in 1.4 wpg with no ferts. No CO2 either.

SO my diagnosis is: If you have 0.6 wpg, want a microsword carpet and don't want to upgrade, TOUGH. Upgrade it, get CO2, and do the EI method. Otherwise, stick with java fern and java moss.

PS: I have never EVER owned any crypt or anubias or hygro, so don't hate on my 2 cents.
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:34 PM   #177
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I just love this.

Is there anywhere I can get more details on this tank?

Thanks!
Jeremy
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Old 01-11-2010, 06:58 PM   #178
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Hi,
I just read this whole thread for the first time. Very relevant to me, since I am about to set up a 75 gal low-tech (med light) tank, and want to pick the right plants the first time around. I am most interested in the debate about what plants are really low-light, and which merely survive. If someone (anyone!) has the time and expertise, it would be fantiastically helpful to someone new like me to see the list compiled here broken into two sections (or two designations), one for "true" low-light plants that prefer and are fully suited to low-light, and the other for "adapted" low-light plants that may survive and grow slowly in low light but probably prefer and are better suited to higher light. Having these two categories might satisfy many aquarists, who want a wide selection to choose from, and also the purists, who caution against being overly optimistic. Just a thought.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:35 PM   #179
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I hear where you're coming from, but, in truth, it's just about impossible to do that. There are just about an infinite # of factors that play in...

IE- Some plants will grow in "low light" as long as they're CLOSE to the light. Some plants will grow in low light if they're being supplied CO2 and/or ferts. Some will do OK if they've got a good substrate or root tabs, others don't need that. Some plants do better in hard vs. soft water. Some plants just won't grow in certain tanks no matter what you do...

No matter what I've tried, I can't get Ludwigia to grow for me. Several other friends who live fairly close by have no problems whatsoever, even in practically identical setups...

My 2 cents- start your own thread detailing your tank specs and ask for some recommendations.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:50 PM   #180
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
I hear where you're coming from, but, in truth, it's just about impossible to do that. There are just about an infinite # of factors that play in...

IE- Some plants will grow in "low light" as long as they're CLOSE to the light. Some plants will grow in low light if they're being supplied CO2 and/or ferts. Some will do OK if they've got a good substrate or root tabs, others don't need that. Some plants do better in hard vs. soft water. Some plants just won't grow in certain tanks no matter what you do...

No matter what I've tried, I can't get Ludwigia to grow for me. Several other friends who live fairly close by have no problems whatsoever, even in practically identical setups...

My 2 cents- start your own thread detailing your tank specs and ask for some recommendations.
+1 on the whole thing.

Another example is that I still have trouble growing Java ferns which are supposedly "truly" low light plants, however, sunset hygro which some people will argue is more of an "adaptable-to-low-light" plant won't STOP growing for me AND turns bright pink even in my measley 17w T8 fluorescent lighting over 30gs of tank.

So as LauraLee suggested, I recommend starting a journal about your tank and see what you come up with for suggestions.

To be honest, I would prepare yourself for trial and error. You're dealing with live plants and a mini-ecosystem of sorts, you'll more than likely end up needing to swap a few things out or move things around. Learning which plants will or won't work in YOUR specific tank is just part of the learning process that we all have to go through.
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