Do I have too much light? Too little?
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:57 PM   #1
FriendsNotFood
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Do I have too much light? Too little?


Trying to dial in a low-light, no CO2, Excel only tank. I haven't had any luck with plant growth lately and my hygro tiger looks like the elephant man from lack of CO2 so I've been slowly decreasing the lighting, hoping that would help with the CO2 deficiencies. Just trying to balance the light and CO2 so I can have HEALTHY, steady, if slow, growth.

My tank is a 36 gallon corner tank, with 2x24W t5HO and 3 layers of window screening underneath. (I was upsold on the lighting and ended up with way more light than I needed, like every other newbie on here) Still too high? Too low? Anyone have a PAR meter I can borrow? :P
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:16 AM   #2
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Specifically, what light fixture is it - who makes it? And, if you look at the bulbs, do you see a reflection of each bulb on each side of each bulb, so it looks like you have 6 bulbs? Or do you see just one reflection on the outside of each bulb, so it looks like you have 4 bulbs? Of course, using a PAR meter is the best way to find out how much light you have.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:37 AM   #3
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It's a Coralife 4x24w t5ho, this bugger http://cse.f3images.com/IMD/feeds/AK010352_50.jpg which I'm getting tempted to sell since I didn't need it in the first place. But I do like the built in timer. It has reflectors on both sides of each bulb I think. Thanks for helping me tackle this Hoppy.
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:16 PM   #4
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Does anyone know if there's a way to rent a PAR meter? Obviously I know they're incredibly expensive to buy.
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FriendsNotFood View Post
Does anyone know if there's a way to rent a PAR meter? Obviously I know they're incredibly expensive to buy.
I am not aware of any.


Yea, I personally don't think a T5HO should be on anything without Co2. A pair of old T8s would suite you well. Can you run a single bulb?
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:27 PM   #6
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Nope, two or four bulbs only. Hence the 3 layers of window screening :P The tank looks pretty damn dim now but what do I know, I have no idea how to tell visually if something is low light or not. I can post up pics but it looks a lot brighter in the pictures for some reason.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:29 PM   #7
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Do you dose nutrients or have a soil substrate? Is there evidence of algae? I think 2X24 watts is still within the manageable range. I have metal halides over soil/non-CO2 tanks without issues, though the light is about 2 feet above the water. Over-dosing excel can also melt plants, so there are quite a number of factors that could play a part other than light.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:21 PM   #8
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What depth is the tank?

I have 2 x24w HO @ around 2.5feet, good for low light ish.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:38 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the answers guys... I've gone back and forth on this tank so much and nothing seems to help. I dosed tons of stuff... didn't help. Lowered the lighting, raised the lighting... didn't help, all my stem plants fell apart anyway. Even the crypts and amazon frogbit I have seem unhappy.

The tank is 18" tall. The lights sit directly on top and I have no way to raise them.
The tank has Aquasoil malaya topped with sand, with a boatload of rootmedic root tabs.

I have zero algae. None. I would almost welcome algae at this point because that would mean something is growing! :P Well, that's not fair to say. My java ferns have exploded and taken over the tank. That's about it though.

This was the tank back in MUCH happier days:

I think in this pic it had all 4x24w t5HOs on with a window screen underneath.
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:33 AM   #10
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I don't recognize that light, so I don't know if the reflectors are any good or not. Being a Coralife light I doubt that they are any good. If that is correct, you probably have 20-25 micromols of PAR with two bulbs on, and the triple layer of window screen, or twice that with all 4 bulbs on. I think I would run all 4 bulbs to see how that works. You may not have enough light now. If you removed one layer of window screen, and used two bulbs, you might get enough light that way too.
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:55 AM   #11
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Some of the local aquarium clubs will rent out PAR meters.

I am sure that SCAPE or one of the LA area clubs for reef or planted tanks should have something available to you somehow.
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:17 AM   #12
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I run 3 6500k cfl using ugly shop lamps from Lowes, which is considered high light in my 20g and see growth in everything.

If the javas are doing exceptionally well, and the light seems to be putting out way to much light... Perhaps its not so much a problem with lumens but with the Kelvin range.

have you considered changing the bulbs for something different?
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:32 AM   #13
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Here it is now... the hygro is still getting holes and growing kinda twisty but still growing.
Too dark? I kept lowering the light because my stem plants started getting holes and falling apart no matter how much potassium I dosed.

Oh and the bulbs are one Aqua Flora and I think one Midday 6000k?

No lights in the room


Lights on
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