help pls..confused and wondering if it's a lost cause
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Old 12-14-2003, 03:01 PM   #1
AussieTanker
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:?

hi all, .... hope that someone can help with this ....

i would like to get a nice planted tank going ....

i think that i have my substrate and nutrients right, ......i am using a high quality nutrient layer below my gravel substrate..... i dose with JBL Ferropol only after testing iron levels .....

i have added a pressurized co2 unit set @ approx 90 bubbles per minute...., so the co2 levels are pretty good.....

but my plants seem to be melting/ disintergrating (mainly the Vall ) ... or at the very best,... doing nothing (the tank is now about 3 weeks old ) ....

i did not see any observable change in the condition of the plants after adding (approx 10 days ago ) the pressurized co2 unit... so since snooping around this forum .... (thanks to all those that seem to contribute so much to help newbies on this board)....i have begun to suspect that this is not "normal" in a newly planted tank.... and that it is a lighting problem ...

the lights that come with the aquarium are 2 x 23.5" (not the standard 24"... but an extra special... translate as limited choice .... 23.5" fla :evil: ) .. they are 20w ... and have the markings ....

Degenbao 20W
D-HG, WaterPlant Aquarium Light

when i bought the aquarium the lfs told me that the lights that came with the unit were not that great ... so they sold me some different lights....they have the following markings


Ai.M (back to nature)
Extra Day-hi-glow
20W



as these lights seem to be inadequate.. i went to a different lfs ...

they said that i did need better lights ...he also seemed to disagree with what i had read here...he said that all tubes of a given length are the same wattage ...in the case of my tank that is 20 W ... and as it only has two tube spaces in the hood... i can never get my lighting beyond 40W total...he then informed me that "watts per gallon" is not important anyway... but that something called kelvin (light "strength" or intensity? ) was ... guess what... two more lights to the collection... this time they have the markings ...

Z Amp 14000k
20W T8

altho i havent tried them for any length of time they dont seem to look any brighter to me than the old set .... hopefully they will look brighter to the plants :roll:


i have tried to read up on this subject in more detail on this and other forums again .....but all i have achieved is confusion and a wopping big headache

concerned about only having 40w on a 35gall tank i rang another store ... they said that it would be best to ditch the very nice looking hood all together ... put some glass accross and then put these super-dupper extra special lights that are "specially made" for plants... they come in a standard 24" holder or reflector....which is called an Aqualina 24" Compact twin tube holder ... model # C24 ... made by AquaLife ....which i think is an aussie company...i went to have a look at them ...the tubes are funny looking ... kind of like a twin tube arrangement coming out of the one socket...they are 55W and 10000k plant growth..... i think that the bulb/tube is called a catalina compacts 50/50 plant growth/10k... it is 22" not 24"..... the box that the tube comes in looks "american" ....(all the other tubes appear to be made in china...altho none really have it marked on them anywhere..... each reflector/holder unit only takes one of these funny tubes and the whole gizmo ( tube and holder) is approx $150 au ...pricey... but two would give me 110W....getting closer to what you guys recommend .....altho it would mean ditching the nice looking hood if i decided to use them ....

can anyone give any info about these or any of the other tubes?


he let me take one home to try it... said i could get a refund if i decide not to use it... but much to my surprise ....it seemed NOT as bright to me as the 2 x Z AMP 14000k lights ....

how can 40W seem brighter than 55W ... or have i finally hit the jackpot and these are lights that the plant can see ...but are just not bright looking to me????

or is it just simply that my tank is too deep for any lights/plants .... are there any plants that would be more suitable for me ...or do i need to ditch this tank altogether and get a shallower one?

help pls ...getting very confused....sorry this post is so long

regards

rod


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Old 12-14-2003, 04:13 PM   #2
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those twin tube 55watt bulbs are called power compacts, and are all the rage for aquarists. You can only get 30 watts or so out of an over driven 20watt normal fluorescent bulb...which is like 24" long. A 22" long power compact is 55 or 65 watts, and actually produces more light than 3 20watt bulbs (light output is measured in lumens..watts is how much power the bulb consumes).
Generally speaking you want the color temperature to be between 5000K and 10,000K for a good spectrum. 50/50's aren't great because they're 50% actinic, which isn't very usable by plants. The color temperature can also make a bulb look not as bright. My 8800K looks brighter than the 6700K, though both are 55watts. Its just that the 8800k is whiter light, so it appears brighter.
Your tank is only 4" deeper than my 29gallon, and my plants grow like weeds...but I also have 110watts of power compacts. You have 40watts over 35gallons, which means your CO2 setup is almost a waste of money. IMO you need 2watts per gallon before you start thinking about CO2, and at 2.5wpg you MUST add CO2 to fend off the algae.
So you're not too deep...but you do lack light.

As far as the watts per gallon rule...it only applies to tanks of about 30 gallons up to 90 gallons...after that it breaks down. And it's really only a rule of thumb. However, you need more lighting if you wanna grow the wicked plants. Try www.ahsupply.com and their 2x65watt power compact kits. Yes lighting is expensive, but for smaller tanks like yours, power compacts are about the best route.
If you had a 55 you could get 4foot long twin tube shoplights, that have 40watts per bulb, modify them so you can put 4 bulbs over the tank for a lot cheaper than PC's.
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Old 12-14-2003, 07:23 PM   #3
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If that 110 watt set up has a good reflector, get it. But do read up on the AHSupply site to try to compare it to their products.
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Old 12-14-2003, 11:37 PM   #4
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hey, thanks for the replies folks , ... very helpful and greatly appreciated! ... I think that i'm beginning to see things a little clearer now :lol:

i gather from the replies that the compacts will penetrate down to my substrate ... and hence to the plants .... better than the 2 X "special" Z Amp 14000k 20W T8 Fluoro's .... sorry to ask again ... but can anyone else confirm this please! ... no doubt on the prev posters .... just making sure i understand it right! ops:

.....so it sounds like the compacts are the way to go ... i will contact the supplier ... the box that the bulbs came in says that this 22" 55W is also made in the following "varieties" ....

1. 10k ultra-sunlight; i think it's for marine and reef as it says strong in blue and red spectrum

2. 6500k ultra-bright triphosphor fluoro; again, contains actinic blue ... more for reefs?

3. 50/50 ultra actinic/10k; this is the one i have ... combines 10ktrichromatic daylight phosphor and actinic 420 phosphor --- best for marine reef ?

4. ultra-actinic; says excellent source of long wave uv radiation.

5. Catalina Tropical Island -Plant Growth .... Fresh and Saltwater super enhanced light for vibrant plant growth ... uses 6500ktriphosphor to generate a full spectrum high intensity output , high in PAR

they also have a 20k blue 450nm , but there are no further details on the packet .... but i am guessing that the one that i want is # 5 ..... is this correct? i will have to check to see if we can get them here in aussie ....fingers crossed......

i have looked at the ahsupply site ... i did find it helpful ....i will look again in more detail ... but i think that they will only ship to usa and canada.... also our lighting electricity supply is 240 volts ...which is very diff from what you guys use in the usa ... i'm not sure if that affects the "usability" of any kits that i was able to get from the usa .... does anyone have any knowledge of this point... any aussies on the forum that have tried to use kits from the usa? ... sigh .... you guys seem to have soooo much choice .... (cherish it!) ...

i'm still not 100% sure that i understand the difference between the "right" light for the plants and the ability of that light to penetrate to the depth of my tank!... ie does higher wattage or more light or more lumens necessarily mean it goes deeper ... or am i still just going to have lots more light that doesn't reach where it is needed

if anyone can help clarify this point i would appreciate it ... does anyone on this forum have links to deep tanks that are planted? ... i so want to get this working... the aquarium itself is really beautiful and will look great with lots of lush plants!! ...
anyway thanks for all the help so far ... hope the replies to this keep coming ... and that they help other newbies as much as they have helped me ...

regards rod
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Old 12-15-2003, 12:00 AM   #5
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also one more question ... while i am trying to get this sorted ...

would i be best to put the 2x Degenbao 20W D-HG, WaterPlant Aquarium Lights or the Ai.M (back to nature) Extra Day-hi-glow
20W or the Z Amp 14000k 20W T8 back into the existing hood ... or are they all the same thing?

thanks for your patience ...

regards ; rod
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Old 12-15-2003, 01:27 AM   #6
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Generally speaking: more wattage=more penetration. K or kelvin refers to the color a piece of carbon appears to the naked eye when it is heated to a certain temperature. Higher color temp= more bluish, lower color temp =more reddish. Contrary to what you've probably read, color temperature only vaguely describes the appearance of the bulb to the naked eye, it really doesn't mean crap to your plants.All-Glass aquarium makes a 55 watt fixture that comes with a GE 9325k bulb that is awesome for growing plants. You might conclude that a 10,000k daylight bulb would therefore fit the bill.... WRONG. In the lighting section of this board there are many reccomendations for bulbs as they relate to plant growth. I suggest you poke around that section and read up on specific brands of bulbs that members of this board have had great results with. A little homework in this area will pay off. Hint.... you want a bulb that is high in the red and blue spectrum and low in green. Most manufacturers and retailers don't have this info but we do. Do a search on this board for "PAR". The catalina bulbs are not that great, save your money and find out what really works.
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Old 12-15-2003, 03:12 AM   #7
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But, of those choices, #5 is it, 6500K triphosphor full spectrum
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Old 12-15-2003, 08:10 PM   #8
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Anona: I'm gonna have to disagree with you there. I've used those Catalina bulbs and I've had better growth using a regular daylight bulb. Out of the above choices I'd probably pick #1) the 10K. Not because its 10K, but without even seeing it I know its got to be better than the Catalina Plant Growth bulb. The reason I know that is that just about every bulb I've used has been better than that bulb.

10k high in red and blue seems to fit the bill. If he'll take them back, buy one of each and see for yourself which one the plants like best, and return the one you don't want.

Marcel
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Old 12-15-2003, 11:28 PM   #9
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Well, hey, then one should go with the person who has actually used the bulb!

I bow to your greater experience!
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:03 AM   #10
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Default Ai.M Back to Nature light for aquarium

Hi there,
I was wondering if you ever found a replacement tube for your tank - as I have the same AR-620 Ai.M Back to Nature tank from China and have blown a light tube. I am also looking to replace the Extra Day-Hi-Glow 20w tube which is only 58 cm long as opposed to the standard 59cm from any aquarium!! Do you know of any site where I can find these lights??
Many thanks
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:18 AM   #11
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This thread is from 2003. Just so you know.
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