Lighting for a 72g bowfront
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Old 01-30-2004, 12:53 AM   #1
fandsw
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Hey there,

newbie here, been lurking for a while, lots of great info on this site......really have enjoyed it. Got a question:

I have a 72g bowfront that's been setup for about 3 weeks now, cycled with bio-spira. Community tank with livebearer & tetras, as well as a few bottom dwellers. Only tank in the house, so I wanted a nice mix of fish & plants. Got a nice selection of plants from a internet mail-order house, planted into Flourite. Light is a 2x55W CF AGA 48" light strip, which I now realize is not enough, especially for the depth of the tank (> 20"). Plants were holding their own for about a week, when I had some fish come down with Ich. Treatment with Rid-Ich+ and the insufficient light is starting to cause the plants to die. Rid-Ich+ is temporary and will go away in a few days, however the light problem must be solved.

After I started to investigate replacement lights I discovered that having the 72g bowfront limits one's options, especially if I don't want to lose the functionality of the glass tops as well as having to deal with a lack of canopy. The maximum room for the lightstrip is about 7.5" deep, so that makes it another limiting factor. Checking out all the usual sources and suspects (AHsupply, JBJ, hellolights, etc.) as well as reading different forums I've settled on the following: Coralife Aqualight 4x65W double strip 6700K bulbs. While this is 3.6 wpg, I do not plan on using CO2 (the thought of a pressurized CO2 inside a house with 2 pre-schoolers has not been viewed favorably, i.e. WAF). However, considering the tank depth, as well as using a dawn/noon/dusk lighting pattern (130W for 3 hours/260W for 6 hours/ 130W for 3 hours) I plan on using I figure I should be okay since I'm averaging 195W (2.7 wpg) on top of the depth.

So, my question for the experts: will this lighting work for my setup? Does using the lights in a d/n/d pattern prevent me from overlighting the tank?

Thanks in advance,

Frank
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Old 01-30-2004, 02:32 AM   #2
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Hey Frank! Welcome to the board! We are glad to have you as a member!
I am sure you will more information than you could have possibly imagined very soon!

Let me start by saying: I am no expert!

I think you have your lighting hashed out. The 4x65W should be just right! You are not over lighting that aquarium. Your D/N/D pattern is creative and quite clever, but I think works against your equipment. Maximize you lighting, don't hold back. I stagger my lights about 40 minutes and have no problem.
The only problem I can foresee is your lack of CO2, and I think you realize that. You are running over 3.5 WPG. No CO2 and you will most likely run into some real algae problems. I can understand the initial fear of a pressurized CO2 system, but they are far safer than you can imagine. However, I understand that you might not be the only person in your household responsible for making decisions ( ). You may be able to rig up a DIY CO2 injection system. try reading some posts by Wasserpest on the subject. better yet, drop him a PM. He is running DIY on a 100G! If anyone can give you some pointers on the subject, he can!
When you get a chance, post your water parameters. Let us know the pH, KH, GH, Nitrate and Phosphate levels in your aquarium. Hopefully, the gang here will help you work out a fertilizer regime also!

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Old 01-30-2004, 06:24 PM   #3
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Let me repeat what Mike said in that I too am no expert.

I lighting you have chosen should be a great choice for your aquarium. I have the same Coralife Aqualight over my 80 gallon bowfront. (Should be same dimensions as your tank except a couple of inches taller) The lighting is more than adequate for growing pretty much any plant that is out there.

Regarding the CO2 however, I'll have to agree with Mike. I'd try to get at least some sort of CO2 addition to the tank both for the sake of the plants and to keep algae away. With this level of lighting the plants will definitely be hungry for it. I once had to go about a week and a half without my CO2 tank, and by that time it was easily noticable that some of my more finicky plants were suffering quite a bit.

-Jeremiah
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Old 01-30-2004, 07:25 PM   #4
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Appreciate the replies Mike & Jeremiah. I hear what you 2 are saying on the CO2, and choosing this light helps me out in the future if I decide to go that route. For the interim, however I believe I will follow the d/n/d light cycle as I discussed to see how it will go, in addition to supplementing the water with some Flourish Excel.

As for the water parameters, I'm at 78F, 7.6ph, 0 ammonia, 2 nitrite, 10 nitrate at the moment. My nitrites jumped to 2 when I started the rid-ich. The last fish became ich free yesterday, so 2 more days of treatment before I stop it. Then it will be time for a 20% water change and some bio-spira to help straighten out the biological colonies....

I'll keep y'all informed to see how things are going.....

Thanks again,

Frank
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Old 01-30-2004, 07:59 PM   #5
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I would just leave it at 130 watts for the whole lighting period and use excel. I wouldn't go to 260 at all without co2 and heavy fertilization, IMO what you're planning would be algae heaven.
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Old 01-31-2004, 03:10 AM   #6
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IMO It would be a waste of money to raise your tank lights to 2.7w per gallon and not inject CO2. Also, if you buy a pressurized system from aquabotanic.com it will run fine and its not going to explode.
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Old 02-01-2004, 04:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Willms
I would just leave it at 130 watts for the whole lighting period and use excel. I wouldn't go to 260 at all without co2 and heavy fertilization, IMO what you're planning would be algae heaven.
Thanks for your input George......if it does turn out to be algae heaven, I'll head down another path.....
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Old 02-01-2004, 04:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walpurgis999
IMO It would be a waste of money to raise your tank lights to 2.7w per gallon and not inject CO2. Also, if you buy a pressurized system from aquabotanic.com it will run fine and its not going to explode.
How am I wasting money by trying an option that allows future expandability??? 2.7 wpg is successfully by quite a few without CO2, and I can increase the lighting to a higher value later if I ever do decide to use CO2. Doing nothing at this point would be a waste of money.....

...and yes, more than likely most pressurized CO2 system will never explode, but 1) never say never & 2) just the possibility, however slight, is enough to cause concern with my spouse, enough so that I'm trying to find a feasible solution that works for everyone, including the tank.
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Old 02-01-2004, 04:31 PM   #9
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Does your spouse drive a car or even ride in a car? The chances of being injured in a car accident are at least a million times higher than a CO2 system cause any problem at all. Does your spouse worry about rocks from space hitting the house? The chances of that are much greater than a pressurized CO2 system spontaneously exploding. Even in a fire the system won't explode. It will just pop off the pressure relief valve. And CO2 gas is non-combustible so it can't explode.

Any place that serves soda pop has a pressurized CO2 system. And every place that prepares food on a commercial basis has a pressurized CO2 fire extinguisher system. How often do you hear about any of these exploding? Never. Because it just doesn't happen.

On a side note has anyone here read Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World?
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Old 02-01-2004, 06:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
On a side note has anyone here read Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World?
On a side note - yes . I've read all of Sagan's books. He's usually a 'group-hug' type, but in the Demon Haunted World, he takes off the gloves a few times :twisted: . IMO, his best book.

My signature quote is actually a blurb from "Cosmos". Can't remember who gets the credit for it - I should look that up - not nice to quote, without credit ops: .
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Old 02-02-2004, 04:10 PM   #11
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It's quite possible you won't have an algae problem with your lighting regime until the plants reach the surface of the tank. If only the upper part of the water column receives the most intense part of the light then the only thing you will have to worry about is green water. Most of the other algae prefer to grow on something. However, I also would highly recommend getting a CO2 system for your tank because of yout lighting system. I switched my tanks to 3 wpg and absolutely had to have CO2 to allow the plant to outcompete the algae. Finding a way to hide it from the kids would be a good idea too.
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Old 02-02-2004, 07:13 PM   #12
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You can do what I did, put it in the stand and put one of those child-proof latches on it. It keeps my nephew away from the CO2. Of course anytime I open the door he comes running over trying to get in there.
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Old 02-03-2004, 12:18 AM   #13
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If you have problems with children playing with things they should not then the practice of avoidance therapy works quite well.
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Old 02-03-2004, 02:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Willms
You can do what I did, put it in the stand and put one of those child-proof latches on it. It keeps my nephew away from the CO2. Of course anytime I open the door he comes running over trying to get in there.
I've already done that, too many chemicals for them to get into, almost more than under my kitchen sink. It p'd off my 3 year old when I installed them , as she thought that stand was such a cool hiding place......

The more I read, the more I agree......CO2 will be inevitable if I want a nice planted tank. Just trying to hold off another expense for at least 6-9 months as I've started this 72g bowfront from scratch in the last 6 weeks to the tune of over $1200 total so far. My wife's eyes are almost in a permanent roll pattern, the "What do you need to buy now!!" look......
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Old 02-03-2004, 02:59 AM   #15
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Well you are right in the range of what planted tanks cost. You could have saved a ton of money however by buying a standard tank. That curved piece of glass is very expensive.
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