I decided to create this journal to see how (or if) my plants progress with my new led. The light is an Arcadia Stretch that I was thinking about for some time and when it came up on ebay, I couldn't resist it for the price.
For a year, I've had my 23G lit with only a 3.6w led (due to naivety) and this resulted in the failure to grow even the toughest low light plants. The ones that are surviving, are in the main unhappy and I have a long list of "easy" plants that have failed completely. These are on another thread - maybe some of you remember it...
1. Light: 1.5w leds at 8000k, 10000k and some RGBs. Total 23w. I was concerned that it would look too blue, but it casts a clear light. The type that you might see on a sunny beach.
2. Ferts: none
3. Substrate: Dennerle 6 in 1 - now a year old, topped with inert sand with some gravel in places.
In this first post, I will take you around the tank, showing you how the plants that are surviving have coped with the old light.
It doesn't look so bad in this photo, but when I started, there were a lot more plants and the filters and heater were hidden. The back of the tank looks black but in reality, it's clear - the back view will come further down in this post.
Now I will work across the front showing varying degrees of sadness:
Here are some java fernlets that came from the main fern, they are developing brown patches (same as the main fern). The dwarf sag has done surprisingly well, though it hasn't changed in the 10 months I've had it. It has neither grown nor sent out new runners.
Here we come to the Echinodorus cordifolius fluitans. Believe me, that for this tank it has done fantastically well, and has replaced many plants that were in its place before it. It's about 4 months old now and has only lost a few leaves. As expected, it hasn't grown and a couple of leaves are looking unwell, but at least it's still with us.
Here is the anubias nana that sits on top of the driftwood arch, in a bed of half dead java moss. Both the moss and anubias have been in the tank from the start. The anubias suffers from diatoms/brown algae and these tend to deep stain the leaves over time. The java moss also collects diatoms and is wispy and frail, overall it's pretty dejected.
Another close up of some dwarf sag. It's amazing how it looks exactly the same as it did 10 months ago, no change whatsoever.
The main java fern (with frog):
This is what is left of it. The taller leaves that produced the fernlets were removed after going yellow or brown. As you can see, it doesn't look great.
Now for the back of the tank:
This is a cryptocoryne willisii, and what a mess it is. It's been in the tank for at least 6 months and has reduced to about a quarter of its original size.
Here we have two cryptocoryne petchii. The smaller one has been in the tank maybe 9 months and the taller one about 6 months - hence it being taller!
This poor guy is a cryptocoryne wendetii and has been in the tank from the start. How it keeps its will to live is a mystery. It has become smaller and smaller until it's just a whimper of a plant.
And finally, the Egeria densa:
Now this is a cheat because it's only been in the tank for two days. It's a thinning from my new shrimp tank, where it has tripled in size over 8 weeks. However, some that I put in the main tank at the same time, went a brownish green and was slowly rotting.
It was getting the shrimp tank and seeing what light alone can do, that finally spurred me on to fix the main tank. The light in the shrimp tank is nothing special, it's probably around 5w but the tank is just under 5G. It has no soil and no ferts, but even the java moss is great. One other difference is the gH is 7 whereas it's only 4 in the main tank, but I hope this isn't the reason the plants are doing so well.
So, there we have it. I hope to do some comparison photos later on, showing the above plants looking a lot better!