Enough light? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Enough light?

Hi all, I would like to share my lighting plan so people who know much more than I can poke holes and find the faults in it. Much appreciated.

Firstly, my tank is 150cm x 45cm x 45cm. I picked up a light containing 4x80watt T5HO bulbs. It was a cheap light of questionable quality from China. The light is situated just 4 inches above the top of the tank.

I plan to run my light from 6am to 9am, then again from 6pm to 11pm. I plan to run my pressurized C02 from 4am to 8am and from 4pm to 9pm.

The main motivation for this lighting schedule is my work hours. Note the tank is situated such that it gets little natural light.

Given the close proximity of the light to the water, I'm unsure if I should be running 4 bulbs or just 2.

Plants I'm looking to keep may include:

Bacopa Myriophylloides
Alternanthera Reineckii Mini
Cyperus Helferi
Lindernia Rotundifolia ‘Variegated’
Micranthemum Micranthemoides
Ludwigia Super Red
Echinodorus latifolius
Limnophila Sessiliflora
Flame moss (Taxiphyllum sp.)(Packet)
Heternanthera Zosterifolia
Alternanthera Lilacina
Staurogyne Repens
Lobelia Cardinalis
Alternanthera Rosefolia
Myriophyllum Matogrossense
Vallisneria Nana
Blyxa Japonica
Frontinalis Antipyretica ‘Willow Moss’
Ammannia Nesaea

Thanks again for any advice shared.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 06:50 PM
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2 is sufficient to grow even high demanding plants in a 70+ gallon tank with the light 4in above it, of course with proper plant and tank maintenance. I'd keep another one in stock, just in case.

Those plants will work out, however don't expect the AR Mini, Ludwigia SR, AR Lilacina, AR rosefolia, and ammania nesaea to be fully vivid in color. They will do well, just not at its full 100% potential.

The heternanthera zosterifolia will need more care if you want it to be lush and bushy.

The Lobelia Cardinalis will also need more special care at the bottom part of the plant. Trim the tops of it accordingly to get the most out of it.

The rest of the plants will do just fine. I'm not sure about the Blyxa Japonica, because I haven't had any experience with that plant.

For the lights, umm 8 hours day....hmm maybe you'll have to replace them after 5 years. I'm not quite sure, but I would save up for an led light if you're planning to do a heavily planted aquascape. If not, I think you can get away with it and just replace the lights when they fade out or do strange things.

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience"
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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What do you mean when you say I should expect some plants to not achieve their full potential? Is my plan deficient? Or are you simply pointing out that raising some of these plants is difficult?

Also, is it better to shine 4 bulbs for longer or two bulbs for shorter? I'm not too worried about lifetime of lights, and I've read enough on forums to know not to ask if an LED light would be better
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 07:49 PM
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Need more information on the fixture to figure out if 2 or 4 bulbs is enough or too much. A lot of factors determine the performance of a T5 fixture and the bulb count has pretty much nothing to do with it. What kind of reflectors? (specular or parabolic?) What kind of ballasts? (rapid, programmed, instant?) Power factor of the ballast? Seeing it is a cheap Chinese light it's probably bottom of the barrel components and reflector so you will be probably be running all 4 to get decent output. What kind of look are you going for? The bulb selection is really what determines how your plants will grow.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 03:31 AM
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Quote:
It was a cheap light of questionable quality from China.
That could be almost every one..


"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-13-2018, 03:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Chan View Post
What do you mean when you say I should expect some plants to not achieve their full potential? Is my plan deficient? Or are you simply pointing out that raising some of these plants is difficult?

Also, is it better to shine 4 bulbs for longer or two bulbs for shorter? I'm not too worried about lifetime of lights, and I've read enough on forums to know not to ask if an LED light would be better
They are not going to be difficult. You just won't see the full on coloration in some of the AR's and the leaves at the bottom of most of the plants will be less greener than usual. However, if you trim your plants properly and give your tank the proper maintenance, things will do well.

I would use 2 bulbs at first, then observe and adjust accordingly to what is going on in your tank. I'm not even going to ask you for the specifics of the lighting, since I've seen some people do crazy stuff that strays away from the norm and they grow plants better than my twinstar ss haha

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience"
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