Looking for you "experts" to help me with my lighting
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Old 08-13-2015, 09:59 PM   #1
wine-o
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Looking for you "experts" to help me with my lighting


I have spent many hours reading about lighting, specifically on a 180 gal planted tank and I have found may variations to what light is acceptable for a medium/low light tank. I have to admit that I do not truly understand PAR or the charts available based on lumens - none show values based on lights that do not cover the span of the tank.

Currently I have a 180 gal tank (72x24x24) with a 75 gal sump on it. I do not want to do CO2 right now but am highly considering it in the near future, however, for now I would like to avoid it.

I am running 1 Hagen Glo 2x 54watt with ultra sun bulbs (it is what I had for my 90 gal before I bought the new tank) on it which I believe is not enough light. I have ordered a 4' fixture to accommodate 4x54 t5ho (Lithonia lighting 4ft 4l t5ho high bay - for budget reasons). I realize that I am 2' short on it and will have the lights suspended ~ 30" from the substrate as Hoppy suggests on a 4 footer in another post.

My question is this - what light range am I in with this setup?

I am hoping that I can lean on your experience to direct me down the right path based on my current specs.

Plant species include (forgive the spelling)

styrogen repens
hygrophila pinnatifida
ludwigia repens
java fern
crypts
Alternanthera reineckii
Amazon Sword

Substrate is miracle grow organic dirt mixed with fluorite and a bottom layer of peat moss and capped with pool filter sand.

I am planning on ordering a EI package and dose (please feel free to comment on EI dosing for my setup as well as I am completely new to this aspect).

Please help me get off on the right foot with what I have. Thank you in advance!
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:23 PM   #2
DaveK
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You already bought the fixture, if you had not, I'd have recommended two 36" long fixtures, and that you suspend them.

The think that keeps me from using EI dosing is that it requires a 50% water change every week. That's a lot of water lugging for a 180 gal tank. My back hurts just thinking about this. (grin)

EI will no doubt give you the best plant growth with minimal algae issues, but I find it too much work with the daily dosing and big water changes.

For my 90 gal planted tank, I test the water and add ferts to bring it up to the levels I want. I figure all the fert stuff I can't measure is about the same as what I can measure. I do this about once a week or so. When I do a water change, I change a lot less and add the ferts to the new water to bring that up to level. I would be the first to tell you this method isn't as good, but it's a lot less wear and tare on me.
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Old 08-13-2015, 10:33 PM   #3
wine-o
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2 3 footers would be better but I am hoping things can/will work with what I have. I actually don't mind the WC as I just let the python do the work and I don't pay for water consumption so the EI method is a good Avenue. I want my only limiting factor to be co2 at the moment.
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Old 08-14-2015, 12:06 AM   #4
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With no co2 you only need about 1/3 EI. Start with your lights on for just 6 hours a day. It takes several weeks to see changes so you want to start conservatively and wait a couple weeks after each small increase. That intensity of light could get out of hand without co2 so approach it cautiously.
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Old 08-14-2015, 10:04 AM   #5
wine-o
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Would running 3 bulbs be a better option or just bite the bullet and return the 4 bulb fixture and go with 2 3 footers totalling 4 bulbs across the entire tank like previously suggested then?

Will I be in the medium light catagory?
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Old 08-14-2015, 05:43 PM   #6
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With just the Hagen Glo light, 30 inches from the substrate, you should have about 30 PAR, which is good low light. But, the ends of the tank will be dimmer, and it will be dimmer near the front and back glass. A 72 inch long light, or two 36 inch long lights would give you much better coverage at the ends of the tank. But, to cover the 24 inch front to back depth of the tank you will probably need 2 six foot long lights, one near the back and one near the front of the tank. As long as you keep the lights about 10-12 inches apart you shouldn't get much more than 30 PAR.

I don't know how you have the "high bay" light fixture set up, so I don't know how much more light it is giving you, but if it is side by side with the Hagen light fixture, the ends of the tank will still be much dimmer.
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Old 08-14-2015, 09:56 PM   #7
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Thank you for the replies. Here is a picture of the tank and lighting.
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Old 08-14-2015, 10:04 PM   #8
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The lighting is 48"x20" each light has its own individual reflector. It is configured as such: 6500k ultra sun followed by 5000k flora sun. There is about 6-8" of blank space the the 5k and 6500k.
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Old 08-14-2015, 10:06 PM   #9
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The 2 large rocks are there as weights to hold down the driftwood. They will be removed as soon as they can be.
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