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Old 07-09-2010, 04:20 PM   #1
CLaman
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New User Intro


Hello everyone,

Flying in from the friendly neighbour to the north of most members here. Contrary to popular belief we don't walk around saying eh?! every 10 seconds like the Texans say "y'all" , and we don't live in Igloos....but we do live in grass huts, and Timber log houses. I kid, I kid. So yep, here I am, eager to learn, and jump in the phenomenon known as MTS.

First off, great website with a plethora of information. And I do mean plethora... Have been reading non stop for the past day and a half, looking at things to consider, and learn from others (loved the lessons learned thread )

Feeling a little overwhelmed, but this ok...all part of the learning curve. I have had several Fish Only Tanks previously, and am looking to up the challenge level slightly by trying my hand at a planted tank.

In all of my reading I have come up with three concise (but loaded questions) I'd like to ask, only because exhaustive Google seaches of the site don't render the answers I am looking for.

  1. What is meant by Low - Medium - High Light levels? More specifically are there specific WPG or PAR values associated with these lighting rules of thumb?
  2. Can different light requiring plants be combined? Specifically can a low light plant flourish in a high light setting?
  3. Finally, I am looking for a correlation of the different bulbs types. How does a T5 HO compare to a T5, T8, T12? It is understood to me that 1W T5HO is much more significant than 1W T12, but by how much? eg 1W T5HO = 4W T12???
Understanding these principles will allow me to properly choose a light setup for my tank. I'd rather make one educated purchase, instead of several "I'm learning" purchases.

My goals:

30 - 40 Gal High Light, Pressurized CO2 setup using Flourite Substrate Only. High Light based on the premise that I am looking for that water garden appearance.

My challenges:
  1. I am living in Canada, I don't even know if I am allowed to buy clippings to plant in my tank through the Swap N Shop and have it sent across the border.
  2. My LFS seems to have very limited access to a variety of plants.

- Chris

Last edited by CLaman; 07-09-2010 at 04:23 PM.. Reason: Added a few details
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:53 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site.
You have plenty of questions. I recommend reading our articles http://www.plantedtank.net/articles.php?d or search for posts on these topics.
We also have a paid guide for people to read http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/PlantedTankGuide.html
The planted guide will tell you everything you want to know.

We can't ship plants up to Canada but we do have a Canadian S&S for you
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/canada-swap-n-shop/
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:57 PM   #3
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Welcome to TPT! We're glad to have ya! And I hope you start a journal once you get your new tank up and running- reading through journals is one of my favorite things to do, and I'm always learning something new that way!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLaman View Post
  1. What is meant by Low - Medium - High Light levels? More specifically are there specific WPG or PAR values associated with these lighting rules of thumb?
I can't give you PAR since I've never owned a meter so don't have enough first-hand experience with that, but if you check out the lighting forum I'm pretty sure that's in there somewhere... Hoppy's done a great deal of work with writing up about different PAR levels.

The "old wpg" guidelines are based on T12, T8, and CF style light fixtures, and according to those, "low light" is under 2 wgp, "medium" is 2-3 wpg, and "high" is 3+ wpg.

Quote:
Can different light requiring plants be combined? Specifically can a low light plant flourish in a high light setting?
Absolutely. The classification "Low light" just means that these plants are hardy enough to withstand low light levels. The vast majority of these plants will just grow more quickly at higher light levels, given an adequate nutrient supply (carbon+ferts).

Quote:
Finally, I am looking for a correlation of the different bulbs types. How does a T5 HO compare to a T5, T8, T12? It is understood to me that 1W T5HO is much more significant than 1W T12, but by how much? eg 1W T5HO = 4W T12???
Again, Hoppy and others have done some great PAR studies on these, and if you spend some time in the lighting forum you'll find some of those. Reflectors and bulb spacing inside fixtures are two things that also play a huge role in determining the light level of a fixture, also.

The "rule of thumb" I tend to use, is T5NO fixtures are about 1.5x as more powerful than T8 and CF fixtures, and T5HO fixtures (with good reflectors) are about 2x as powerful.

But the better way to go is just to describe your tank setup and goals and ask for fixture recommendations on an individual basis, as there are soooo many different fixtures on the market these days, and the quality can vary greatly between them, and also different tank dimensions can offer different lighting challenges- so IMO it's always best to get "customized" advice.


Quote:
My goals:

30 - 40 Gal High Light, Pressurized CO2 setup using Flourite Substrate Only. High Light based on the premise that I am looking for that water garden appearance.
Based on those goals I'd look for a dual bulb T5HO fixture, or perhaps even running dual T5NO fixtures (so 4 bulbs total) if you choose a deeper** tank (such as an 18" deep 40gal breeder vs a 12" deep 30gal tank).

[**When we refer to a tank's "depth" we're referring to the back-to-front measurement rather than height.]

Quote:
My challenges:
  1. I am living in Canada, I don't even know if I am allowed to buy clippings to plant in my tank through the Swap N Shop and have it sent across the border.
  2. My LFS seems to have very limited access to a variety of plants.
www.aquariumplants.com is one distributor that I believe does ship across the boarder. But you have to beware that increased shipping time increases the chances that your shipment won't arrive on a timely basis, and long delays can result in a shipment of mush rather than live plants.

I know that there are some really active local aquarium societies in Canada, so I'd start asking around to find one near you. Most aquarium societies have regular swap meets, and you can get some great deals on plants and livestock at those. That may be worth a few hours' drive, especially since networking with other hobbyists is so much fun and has so many "fringe benefits"!
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:12 PM   #4
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What Laura said is a good write up.

Welcome CLamen! Good family atmosphere here and there is never a dumb question, so don't be bashful.

This can be a tough hobby for the new comer but with proper dilligence and research you can make an elegant planted tank without much effort.

Mistergreen eluded to the planted tank guide which was written and produced by a member from this site. Its an amazing collection of information and hits on many of the beginner questions that are quite common.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
What is meant by Low - Medium - High Light levels? More specifically are there specific WPG or PAR values associated with these lighting rules of thumb?
That's a difficult one to answer honestly. The reason being that the game changes depending on which light you choose. Different bulb types produce more PAR than others. Everyone is also shying away from the WPG standard that creeps up so very often in the hobby. Thanks to people like Hoppy (another member here), he's doing some pretty good research on just how arbitrary those WPG numbers can be.

What is meant by high low medium light levels is the amount of wattage of a certain bulb type over a tank.. with consideration for the tank size (especially depth).

Quote:
Can different light requiring plants be combined? Specifically can a low light plant flourish in a high light setting?
Most certainly can. When we talk about low-light plants, we just mean that the plant will still grow if the plant doesn't receive high-light. Most will simply grow better when given more light, CO2, and ferts.

Quote:
Finally, I am looking for a correlation of the different bulbs types. How does a T5 HO compare to a T5, T8, T12? It is understood to me that 1W T5HO is much more significant than 1W T12, but by how much? eg 1W T5HO = 4W T12???
Your last question is pretty tricky because there are a lot of variables involved + it's been shown to be much more linear than bulb X is Y times greater than bulb Z. While I'm sure it is possible to plot out in a graph very good approximations, it most likely isn't practical. Most people here prefer T5HO's as their light if they are going for pressurized CO2 and ferts.

How much light over 30-40 gallons? I'm going to say a single 65w to 96w bulb would do the trick, but the question will remain if it will distribute the light well enough over the tank and that will only be answerable when you've picked your tank and thrown in some dimensions.

There are people far better than I to answer the more detailed aspect of lighting, but they will also need a little more details to give specifics...and I'm sure you'll hear from them too.

Welcome to the forum
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:21 PM   #6
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Ninja'd! lol

You're better off with Laura's advice than mine anyhow.
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:02 PM   #7
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Welcome to TPT. Best site ever!
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:53 PM   #8
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The first thig I learned when I started getting into plante tanks was that everyone (myself included) has a tendency to way overdo the lighting when they're new to the hobby. I have 2 36" T5HO lights over my 65 gallon tank (18" deep, 24" tall) and they're about 4" over the water surface.. Thats 80 watts of light, or 1.2 watts per gallon. By the archaic watts per gallon rule I shouldn't even be able to grow algae. Fact of the matter is that it's more than enough light for any plant I've come across so far to thrive. When I first set up the tank, I had originally planned to put 2 more T5HO bulbs on the tank after cycling, which I know now would do nothing but blind my fish and use more electricity.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:53 PM   #9
CLaman
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WOW, thanks for the friendly invite, and the concise information!

I have downloaded the book, this morning.

Have since read through numerous threads started by Hoppy.

@ Laura...Yes I will keep a journal of the tank like I have with my previous tanks. Will be sure to post it up when I get started.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:09 PM   #10
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Is there a minimum post count to be able to view the articles?

Oh and aquarium plants . com have a distribution centre in Canada which is great because a) saves me on expensive taxes and duties
b) no delays at the border mean better chances of healthy plants!
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