All 4 bulbs on at once or stagger?
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Old 01-06-2015, 03:41 AM   #1
Zarqy
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All 4 bulbs on at once or stagger?


Hi there,

This is my first post to TPT.

I have an Aquaticlife 4 bulb t5ho fixture over a 55gal high tech planted tank.

Running co2 at 3 bubbles per second and dosing following the EI method. Not sure what the co2 saturation is, drop checker is in the mail.

My fixture offers programming to control two banks of two bulbs as well as led moonlights.

I have 2x5000k bulbs and 2x6700k bulbs.

I have a 12 hour photo period

My question is this:

Should I have all 4 bulbs come on at once for the entire 12 hours, or, should I have 2 come on for the entire period and the other 2 come on for a shorter duration?

For example, 2x5000k on from 8am to 8pm, 2x6700k on from 9am to 5pm

When I ask "should" please note I'm asking what's best for the tank. Aesthetics come second the general health of the tank.

Thanks in advance guys & gals.
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Old 01-06-2015, 03:57 AM   #2
TRENT
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Hello, not an "expert" by any means. That being said I have read a lot lately on T5's and seems most people stagger. I think your photo period is a little on the long side too. When I set my T5's up I was thinking something along the lines of the first 2 lights come on at 11am the other two come on from 1-5 then all lights off at 8pm. That may even be on the long side but it will be a good start point and I'll adjust from there. The type of fixture also has a lot to do with how long you can get away with running the lights. So in shot yes stagger.
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Old 01-06-2015, 05:28 PM   #3
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If you are experienced enough, and are disciplined enough to maintain the tank in near perfect condition all the time, you might be able to use all 4 bulbs for more than an hour or so a day. But, your post doesn't suggest that you are that experienced, or you would know that getting the CO2 adjusted to the optimum for the very high light you will have with all 4 bulbs is a difficult process and neither the bubble rate nor use of a drop checker will be enough to do that. So, I suggest you use only 2 bulbs at one time, and even that is a lot of light.
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Old 01-06-2015, 06:22 PM   #4
Zarqy
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Hoppy,

Thanks for your reply. I am an experienced reef aquarist, so I am used to maintaining tanks to pristine conditions.

It is true, as a planted tank aquarist I am a rookie, and have a lot to learn. Good thing I have a thirst for knowledge. Please elaborate on how better to know my co2 concentration. In all the reading I've done during the 6 months I spent planning this tank and the few months since it was flooded I have yet to know another way than by using a drop checker or ph controller controlling the co2.
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Old 01-06-2015, 08:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarqy View Post
Hoppy,

Thanks for your reply. I am an experienced reef aquarist, so I am used to maintaining tanks to pristine conditions.

It is true, as a planted tank aquarist I am a rookie, and have a lot to learn. Good thing I have a thirst for knowledge. Please elaborate on how better to know my co2 concentration. In all the reading I've done during the 6 months I spent planning this tank and the few months since it was flooded I have yet to know another way than by using a drop checker or ph controller controlling the co2.
So why are you waiting on the drop checker to determine CO2 saturation? You can just test ph and dkH.
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:13 PM   #6
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Alright. So I have a dkH of 6 and a pH of 6.6. The tests were done in the middle of the photo period.

According to this chart: http://aquascapinglove.com/wp-conten...9/co2chart.jpg

that would put me at 48ppm cO2 and considered "low"

sound right?

So does that mean that I have a choice to either reduce the photo period or increase the cO2 then?
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarqy View Post
Alright. So I have a dkH of 6 and a pH of 6.6. The tests were done in the middle of the photo period.

According to this chart: http://aquascapinglove.com/wp-conten...9/co2chart.jpg

that would put me at 48ppm cO2 and considered "low"

sound right?

So does that mean that I have a choice to either reduce the photo period or increase the cO2 then?
I thought 30 ppm was "aprox" the proper level?
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:20 AM   #8
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Okay. So let's see if I understand.

If I change the c02 the hardness won't change, right?

According the the chart pH of 6.8 and hardness of 6 gives 30ppm c02.
So...
that says to me just reduce c02 a bit each day until pH rises to 6.8?

Is it that simple or is there more to it? Will I need to do a WC each day to reset the pH? Or should I buffer with carbonate?

Or something else?
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:25 PM   #9
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Ok. Well thanks anyway I guess I should post my water chemistry related question in the proper section.
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Old 01-09-2015, 05:44 PM   #10
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Sorry, I have been busy and forgot to get back to this. Those who have the best success with high light have learned to adjust the CO2 system by observing the plants. They also make sure their water is well oxygenated, so the fish can tolerate higher CO2 levels. You can see changes in CO2 concentration by monitoring the tank water pH, and you can get your initial level of CO2 high enough to begin the adjusting process by using a drop checker, but neither the pH/KH method, nor a drop checker give good enough results to use either one as the final answer to how much CO2 is in the water.

As far as I can tell, there still isn't any universally accepted PAR number that defines "high" light, or even "low" light, for that matter. Some people have remarkable success with what I consider to be very high light, but I think most of us would have a hard time avoiding severe algae problems if we tried that. (I know I'm in the "most of us" category!)

My advice is to start with what is clearly "low light", then, after learning a tank maintenance schedule that works well for you, move on to higher light. After refining your maintenance procedures so you are always successful with the higher light, move on to still higher light and repeat until you too can use "very high light" with repeatable success.
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Old 01-09-2015, 05:52 PM   #11
Zarqy
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Sounds like great advice . Thanks for taking the time to reply. I have already taken your advise about reducing the photo period and only 2 bulbs on at once. I currently have the 5000k bulbs on for 5 hours, then off for 2 then the 6700k bulbs on for 5. Co2 comes on 1 hour before and off 1 hour before. Ph isn't moving but I'm also dealing with higher pO4 that I think is interfering. Trying to sort that out first with wc and gfo in the canister


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