Coralife T-5s & a Question re: increasing lighting
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Old 03-27-2006, 03:52 PM   #1
uncskainch
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Coralife T-5s & a Question re: increasing lighting


I recently upgraded my lighting on my 29 gallon from a 20 watt stock fluorescent to two of the new Coralife two-bulb T-5 fixtures -- I added one fixture at Christmas and a second in February. I had a PM asking for photos, so I thought I'd post a couple here.

I'm very happy with these fixtures -- the light is nice and bright, I'm seeing good plant growth, and I love the slim profile and the ability to fit two fixtures over my tank without building a custom hood. I run them 12 hours/day on a timer.

I also have a quick question -- I went from 20 watts of lighting to 72 watts pretty quickly and (predictably) I am having an algae outbreak -- some black fuzzy stuff on the gravel and plants and some green spot on the glass, in particular. I am using Excel for carbon because my cats destroyed my DIY CO2 system twice in the past, but I haven't yet figured out a good fertilization scheme. I have some Kent Pro Plant, Freshwater Plant, and Blackwater Expert and have dosed that per the label once a week with a 30% water change every 7 to 10 days. I'd welcome any suggestions for a combination of Excel, fertilizer, and water changes (or other strategies) that can help me with the algae. I'm just not yet on top of managing a non-low-light tank. Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-27-2006, 04:44 PM   #2
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I found that the cheap braided neoprene "fuel line" at the local auto parts store was enough to up armor the CO2 line. Just make sure they donít knock the bottle over (tactic #2 in the cat manual for DIY CO2)

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Originally Posted by uncskainch
I am using Excel for carbon because my cats destroyed my DIY CO2 system twice in the past.
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Old 03-27-2006, 05:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tip on the fuel line -- if I get brave enough to try the DIY again, I'll look into it.

Will it be possible to have a reasonably algae-free tank with good plant growth with the Excel as the sole carbon source? I just want to know if I can adjust my fertilizer dosing to achieve good results with the Excel or if I should be adjusting my expectations instead.
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Old 03-28-2006, 05:13 AM   #4
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I'm thinking you prolly should get that DIY running again. Maybe knock the photoperiod back to 10 hours a day. It seems I remember Buck saying somthing like: over 10 hours just helps the algae. You are just a little over 2WPG so you should be OK with just Excell and some DIY CO2. Maybe lighten the fert dosing and or fish feeding if possible and a few extra water changes to get over the hump?? Also, the black fuzzy stuff sounds like BBA. Try a skirt with an oral syringe of a tiny bit of excell directly on the algae with the filter off for five minutes or so (no current). If it turns red in a day, you have a cure. See the Excell sticky in algae, if you haven't already. HTH
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Old 03-28-2006, 12:00 PM   #5
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Thanks for the Excel tip for the algae. I'll give that a whirl. Oddly enough, the swordtails and clown loaches are eating some of it, but not enough to make a big difference, so maybe the Excel will be the key.

I'll also go through my supplies and see if I still have everything I used for my DIY CO2 in the past and think about restarting it. I had such a dramatic problem in the past that I'm hesitant to go down that road again -- I wound up with chewed up lines, knocked over bottles, and yeast mix in the tank that stressed out my fish and looked awful for weeks as the yeast worked its way out of the tank. Maybe I can try the fuel line to cover the air hose and rig up something with velcro straps to hold the bottles upright and cat-proof against the side of the tank stand? I was getting good CO2 levels with my homemade bell diffuser and DIY CO2, so maybe if I can make it cat-proof, it'll work well for me again.

I may not be able to get to doing this for a couple of weeks, though, so any other thoughts on trying to rid my tank of algae, get my fertilizing scheme in order, and managing the higher light without the CO2 and just the Excel would be appreciated.
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Old 03-29-2006, 04:21 PM   #6
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Default Cat Proofing DIY CO2

I came up with a strategy for cat-proofing my CO2 setup, and will post it in the DIY section. I would still welcome suggestions for controlling the algae with my higher light set-up -- thanks all for the help!
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29 g planted community tank, 2.48 WPG, DIY CO2, Greg Watson ferts -- Tank Journal Here! -- 5 gallon planted Marineland 5 gallon hex with 15w 6500k CF, Excel, 100% flourite substrate -- RCS & male dwarf puffer -- Tank Journal Here! -- 2.5 gallon planted MiniBow w/10w 6500 k CF, Excel -- mystery snail & RCS -- Tank Journal Here!

Last edited by uncskainch; 03-29-2006 at 04:29 PM.. Reason: Decided to move post was more appropriate to another area of forum
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Old 03-31-2006, 12:28 AM   #7
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The Excel did, indeed, turn the black fuzzy stuff red. Oddly, once it turned red, more fish decided they wanted to eat it, so it's going away fast. I'll keep up with the Excel to get rid of it. Thanks for that tip.

And I'm noticing a bit of BGA so I guess I'll try the Maracyn cure for that, which worked really well for me when I had BGA in my other tank.

I think that my very low lighting for all those months allowed me to get a little lazy about fertilizing my plants, being careful not to overfeed my fish, and so on. The increased lighting looks wonderful and is making the plants happy, but it's challenging me to come up with new routines for tank maintenance and to be a bit more on top of things. I think I'm getting a handle on it all, thanks to the good folks on the forum. I should have that CO2 running by the end of the weekend and then, I hope, I'll be able to really enjoy the new lighting!
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