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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
In your opening post you said the Ray2 was on 6 to 8:30, which is 2 1/2 hours. And when adding more light, you do not double the PAR, that is not the way it works.
Hmm, I don't think I just picked like I was getting double PAR values. Perhaps I miscommunicated? Tell me if this is correct: my assumption is that if I have one light with 50 PAR and I introduce a new light with 75 PAR, combined they would have 125 PAR, no?

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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Here is the chart you linked to:



A 75G is 21" tall, so I would figure the light is maybe 3" above the surface of the water and maybe 3" of substrate, so the light might be around 21" from the substrate (you can measure to be sure). Even it's a bit closer, it would be slight improvement in PAR.

The PAR levels above are taken in open air. The actual PAR under water will be less, from what I have read about 25% less.

So the Planted + at 21" shows 57 PAR, but under water that might be closer to 43 PAR under water. And the Ray shows 76 PAR at 21", but might be closer to 57 PAR under water. Now keep in mind these numbers are only directly under the light. With LED's the drop off is significant when not directly under center. So you are nowhere near 150 PAR, and likely not even close to 100 PAR.

The only way to really be sure if measure PAR with a meter. I can tell you the most successful planted tankers that I follow know what their PAR is, and have purchased/positioned lights to reach a particular value.

And in general, you need to be thinking making plants happy/healthy and not defeating algae. Those stems look to me like what I would expect in a low light tank. Surviving but not flourishing.
So I actually have the Planted+ 24/7, meaning the PAR values are even lower. I did measure the distance from my lights to substrate height, it is almost exactly 18". Regardless though, some wise soul here once told me it is more about biology and not chemistry. So if the plants look like they need more light, then the PAR needs to be increased.

Would you recommend I slowly increase the photoperiod of the Ray2, or just move it to the full 7 hours now? Maybe even up to 8 hours? This past week I bumped it from 2.5 to 4 hours. That's where it is now.

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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Many with larger tanks use a flow meter. The Dwyer RMA-151-SV should be sized right for you tank. It would make adjusting your flow rate much easier. With CO2, the first thing is to get an accurate reading of your degassed pH reading, preferably with a calibrated pH probe. Then you want to get a steady drop through the lighting period. Most high light tanks are dropping pH more than 1 point, more like 1.2 to 1.4. But that is with high light and loads of plants.
Ok, so the flow meter basically replaces your needle vale and bubble counter. The advantage is that adjusting it happens to be much more precise and easier to control?

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Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Your dosing level should all be relative to your light/CO2/plants, etc. If you have those right, along with good maintenance, then you have much more leeway with fert dosing.

If your NO3 is always high, you likely have an issue with overstocking and overfeeding. If you are going to keep that many fish, I would up the water change to more like 70%. And get into the habit of regular gravel vacs, filter cleanings, and prompt removal of any dead or decaying plant matter. The maintenance aspect can not be overstated. An uber clean tank will make your planted tank life easier, there is no question about that.

If this sounds complicated it's because it is. When you see tanks here full of flowery stems, that didn't happen by accident. Those folks take every aspect of their tank seriously, and work harder at it then most.

A good thing for you might be to find some journals of tanks you would like to emulate, then study their methods. The success of others here is like a road map of how to get there.

Good luck and I will be following along.
In the end, though, I still want light to be the limiting factor, right? Is it proper to think of the light in terms kind of like a "resource" that gets used up? I know that's a weird way of putting it. But basically, have X amount of light while having excess CO2 and excess fertz, so that even when the light gets "used up", there is still leftover fertz and CO2 in the system and algae can't grow in that environment, or is at least hindered in doing so.
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
Hmm, I don't think I just picked like I was getting double PAR values. Perhaps I miscommunicated? Tell me if this is correct: my assumption is that if I have one light with 50 PAR and I introduce a new light with 75 PAR, combined they would have 125 PAR, no?
No doesn't work that way. It is not a cumulative effect. And like I have said, the peak level for each light is only directly under the fixture, and falls off from there.

But no way to tell for sure without taking a measurement, unless someone can chime in who has similar fixtures over similar sized tank.


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Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
So I actually have the Planted+ 24/7, meaning the PAR values are even lower. I did measure the distance from my lights to substrate height, it is almost exactly 18". Regardless though, some wise soul here once told me it is more about biology and not chemistry. So if the plants look like they need more light, then the PAR needs to be increased.

Would you recommend I slowly increase the photoperiod of the Ray2, or just move it to the full 7 hours now? Maybe even up to 8 hours? This past week I bumped it from 2.5 to 4 hours. That's where it is now.
All this depends on your goals. My guess is having both lights on will not even get you to really high PAR, so I would try it and see what happens. My guess is more color and faster growth....but also a need for more ferts/CO2. Only one way to find out.

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Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
Ok, so the flow meter basically replaces your needle vale and bubble counter. The advantage is that adjusting it happens to be much more precise and easier to control?
Exactly the flow meter allows for more precise control of relative flow. If I am at 30 cc/min, I can bump it up slightly to 35 cc/min to see what happens. If it's not good, back it down to 30 cc/min. Almost impossible to do that with a needle valve/bubble counter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
In the end, though, I still want light to be the limiting factor, right? Is it proper to think of the light in terms kind of like a "resource" that gets used up? I know that's a weird way of putting it. But basically, have X amount of light while having excess CO2 and excess fertz, so that even when the light gets "used up", there is still leftover fertz and CO2 in the system and algae can't grow in that environment, or is at least hindered in doing so.
I would think of light like the gas pedal. The harder you push it, the more ferts and CO2 the plants will need, and the faster and more colorful they will grow. It turbo charges everything.

And keep in mind a high light tank with stems is not for everyone. Again it's how far down the rabbit hole you want to go? Many stay with medium/low light, but then choose their plants based on what they are providing. Nothing wrong with that at all, and overall easier to care for.

But plants you have like L. Cuba like lots of light. In a low light environment, they will not show much color, and if light is really limited will just melt away. Those weak unhappy plants are algae's favorite target.

In general you want to be thinking about growing happy/healthy plants, as it's easily the best defense against algae.

Here's a thread it might be worth checking out. Many of the more successful folks here have posted their tank parameters there, and many times along with a picture. If no picture, you can click on their name and find more of their posts which will likely point you to their journal thread. You can get an idea of what others are doing and how they manage their tank. Take note of the last columns with PAR values and pH drop, and you will get an idea of what folks here with a tank full of stems are doing.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post11178275
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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, that's lots of info for me to digest. Thank you for that.

PAR meters look expensive, I recall someone (Hoppy?) having a DIY thread about it or something? Does that sound familiar?

This past week or two I've been following some tank journals. Was poking around in yours just recently as well. I'll also start going through that dosing thread. I'm constantly on my phone reading the forums in my downtime. Rabbit hole for sure.

Wednesday (tomorrow) is one of my maintenance days. 50%+ WC and trimming. I'll post some pics afterwards.
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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by jcoulter View Post
This past week or two I've been following some tank journals. Was poking around in yours just recently as well.
Just remember whatever I posted there I believed to be true at the time!

And not to bring in more confusion, but color of light has a huge impact on how your plants/fish will appear. See the same plant under three different color of lights, and you might see three different things.

I mention it as the Ray II is a fixed 7000K daylight which means very little color. I don't use LED, so no expert, but there are fixtures out there which allow you to adjust the color tone. With T5's we do the same thing by mixing different colors of bulbs.
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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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A little more than 50% water change today and pruning/trimming on a good portion of the tank.

I uprooted all most of the S. Repens and AR mini and trimmed off any leaves that had any algae or otherwise didn't look good, even if it was minor. It was quite a bit 😕 Both of them had really good root systems, so that was a plus. The AR mini was originally a tissue culture, grew rather well (nice and bushy) despite lacking some color. As I uprooted them, I felt like I had originally planted them too closely together. Perhaps that was causing some problems competing for nutrients. I put some new root tabs near both the AR mini and the S. Repens just to be sure. I know they're stems plants, but just covering all bases.

I thinned out the rotala rotundifiola - it was just a giant, intertwined mess. I'll need to do this again on Sunday's WC. Generally what is the theory behind when it is a good idea to start trimming the plants back so they become more dense?

Added some Buce and some crypt albida. Neither of those have perked up yet...it'll take some time. That'll be it for plants for now. Probably 80% of the substrate and half of the hardscape is covered. Roughly. Have a flow meter coming and a pH pen arrived today. I'll get that thing calibrated tonight and also post some pics of the tank. Edit: done

The Ray2 light is now on the center of the tank and the Planted+ 24/7 is right next to it on the backside. Some PAR readings I found on here show the Ray2's PAR drops off less than others when moving away from the center point, so that can go over the DHG and S. Repens. The Planted+ has some red LEDs in it, so that can go over all of the Ludwigia's.

https://imgur.com/pzA8hDK.jpg
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Last edited by jcoulter; 06-05-2019 at 10:34 PM. Reason: Adding pics
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post #21 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grobbins48 View Post
Very nice start! How long has this been a planted tank now? I would echo a lot of what was said above, especially the maintenance. I learned a lot of these lessons about a year ago when I started with my first planted tank.

I see you are using the Oase thermometer 600. How do you like this filter? Pros and cons? Is it quiet operation?

I see them popping up all over YouTube these days!
One OASE 600 reply for me here.
I collapsed by the Hype and grabbed some 600 models.
Pics pointing out features may help.

This is not my thread, but I can make a vid some day to those who do not show all the really significant features to pay attention to.

These are pretty well built. Look for the sales.
I grabbed two Biomaster 600 last week.

FOAM:
TRAYS
The blue foam lower trays have a bypass gap using the Oase blue open ppi foam.
- I believe it (the gap) may be incase users turn down the filter speed by turning the "choke" restricting flow TO-the-tank.
- The speed of the pump may still be running through the canister itself at this point.

The orange tight ppi foam can be stacked to mimic the blue open ppi foam thickness.
The orange foam ALSO fills the "gap" on the outer edge of each media tray set up for bypass. You'll see.
The only tray manufactured without the "bypass gap" is the top tray which is MEANT to house the orange tighter foam.

Basically, stack orange Oase foam for a tighter nearly zero bypass set up where ever you desire and keep your hands off the valves running it at full go.
- get clever with water distribution patterns instead of choking pumps.

Prefilter Foam
Buy the orange black or blue.
The PPI is going to be tailored to how many times you touch foam in the tanks and how many fish etc.
That is what this filter can be about.
Everything is out of the tank, so you may enjoy the 2x plus times per week wring-out of a mechanical filter for example.
I'd bet a simple planted tank may only need the tight foam.
This trial of the prefilter foam choices is what may really help love or hate the filter.



Oring:
Main ring -

Sseems super thick. Built very well.
Use nail clippers that have a lever with a very smooth contour (no sharp edges) to pry orings if you can't find o-ring tools.

Prefilter Oddball ring (actually a gasket) -

Very very proprietary or company specific seal.
Must pay close attention to fit and how it seals.
They state nothing I can remember reading about the use of silicon in the manual.
Most divers/diving products are said to use diver's silicon on these parts.

The UK forums have some hearsay of bleeding water from this area whn pressing that big blue priming button.
The parts are plastic not metal. The pressure to press a big button with a big spring hidden MAY warp just enough of a gap to see a few drops.
I have only a suspicion.

Valves on the "U pipes":

I'd either keep them, using them fully open or use an Ehiem style candy cane hook.
I need time to tell.
Bulk Reeef did an elaborite video on using 90s on your pies for sumps and came to a very scientifically done test to show low speed pumps don't show any reduction that we'd cry about.
Hey, I'm just the messenger. 'No comment on that from me, as BulkReef's video is likely correct.

Pump:
Very nice job on the moving parts.
Clever design.


Heater:
- I grabbed the other model.
- I use Inkbird controllers on Tianium heaters with a black guard.
They hide well and always work.

Sorry, I could not get over the heater troubles threads/vids for Oase.

I am betting that these users may have turned the filers off while getting silly over "orders-of-operation).
Please turn off all HEAT and WAIT.

Turn the moving water off NEXT.
HOT running heaters sitting in a small channel is not the best method.
-Keep that water running until you think the heater may be done doing its thing.


Overall, the company makes a huge amount of Pond supplies and high tech pond electronics.
I hope this hobby grade Biomaster series stands over time.

This is coming from a Eheim 2217 HotRod modded canister lover.
(Try to seal/glue the bottom 90 tube and top hose of a 2217 a bit better and it should last a looong time without any scares).

Sorry for the filter gheeke talk, enjoy your weekend folks!!!













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post #22 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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Does this new growth look alright? Leaves appear to be curling. Plant is Ludwigia Natans sp. red I believe. It has been in my tank for right about a week.



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post #23 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 02:31 PM
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I may be able to shead some light on approximately how much Par you have. I went through a similar experience in my first year with a planted aquarium ; battling BBA and wondering why my plants didn't look as good as the pictures I see on this site. It's all fine now though and I just set up a second 60 gallon tank designed for lower/med light plants and made my original tank a high light tank with T5s.

I had TWO Current Planted pro plus fixtures over a 19" front to back, 24" deep tank. These lights are at least equivalent to what you have I think.

Here are the Par readings with both lights at 100% on all channels with the lights sitting on the tank rim just 1.75" from water surface:

At substrate about 21" from light : 60 par.

Measurement 4" up from substrate, so about 17" from light : 75 to 80 par.

With two fixtures with 120 degree reflectors I didn't have the drastic drop off Greggzz talks about . But from my readings it's evident that your one light isnt enough. Burning both your lights is worth trying as long as everything else is in order. I relate to your hesitation on increasing the light while battling BBA.

I'm sure you've read that most LED fixtures lack the red spectrum. Yours are in that catagory. I switched to T5s and it's like going from black and white to color TV imo. My stem plants now look the way theyre supposed to and my tank is much more colorful, which is what I was looking for after keeping Reefs for 20+ years. It just took me a year to figure everything out. Keep at it!
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post #24 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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I may be able to shead some light on approximately how much Par you have. I went through a similar experience in my first year with a planted aquarium ; battling BBA and wondering why my plants didn't look as good as the pictures I see on this site. It's all fine now though and I just set up a second 60 gallon tank designed for lower/med light plants and made my original tank a high light tank with T5s.

I had TWO Current Planted pro plus fixtures over a 19" front to back, 24" deep tank. These lights are at least equivalent to what you have I think.

Here are the Par readings with both lights at 100% on all channels with the lights sitting on the tank rim just 1.75" from water surface:

At substrate about 21" from light : 60 par.

Measurement 4" up from substrate, so about 17" from light : 75 to 80 par.

With two fixtures with 120 degree reflectors I didn't have the drastic drop off Greggzz talks about . But from my readings it's evident that your one light isnt enough. Burning both your lights is worth trying as long as everything else is in order. I relate to your hesitation on increasing the light while battling BBA.

I'm sure you've read that most LED fixtures lack the red spectrum. Yours are in that catagory. I switched to T5s and it's like going from black and white to color TV imo. My stem plants now look the way theyre supposed to and my tank is much more colorful, which is what I was looking for after keeping Reefs for 20+ years. It just took me a year to figure everything out. Keep at it!
Thank you for this, and I think you hit the nail on the head.

I've started running both of my lights for the duration of the photoperiod. The PAR may be sufficient now but probably just barely and definitely lacking in color. The Planted+ does have some red though I don't think it's anything substantial. I still have a little BBA here and there although I think I'm winning the battle on it. Lower, older leaves do develop some around the edges but not much. My more frequent water changes must be helping.

I think I'm jumping into the rabbit hole as I've ordered 2x AI Prime Freshwater lights. They should be here in a few days. Pretty excited!

---
Edit: looking over the plants this evening, I can see lower leaves dying and fuzz algae (bba I think) starting to grow on those leaves. Sigh. All of these leaves are near the substrate surface so I'm hoping it is due to a lack of light since AI Primes should be here tomorrow. Fertz should be in excess, CO2 is cranked right up to the wall where fish start gasping, twice weekly 70%ish WCs and I believe I have good circulation. Will post a picture in a moment. Would love your thoughts!





Even the bba pearls -.-
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Last edited by jcoulter; 06-11-2019 at 11:51 PM.
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post #25 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 05:39 PM
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AI Primes will be awesome. I had them on a reef not to long ago.The only thing you may not like about those is the potential spillover light into your living room.
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post #26 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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So I installed the AI Primes today and I feel like it's a mixed bag.

They don't appear to be any stronger than the lights I previously had. This could just be based on how I'm perceiving the light though... I'll need to get a PAR meter to check for sure.

The gooseneck mount that I bought is, well...awful. The gooseneck itself feels VERY strong but the mounting clip definitely feels low quality. I'm nervous the clips are going to fail and the lights will go for a swim.

This makes it incredibly difficult to get the lights in a good position over the tank, and both lights are at slightly different heights with slightly different tilts. My god that is annoying lol. I am for sure returning the goosenecks and will be getting either the square brackets or hanging mounts. Going to have to think about it.

Also, the app and instructions are atrocious 😞 The app isn't intuitive at all and the instructions have been translated incredibly poorly.

Enough negatives! I do very much like being able to control the color spectrum and I can tell the light is of a better "quality" than my previous lights, if that makes sense.

The new mounting brackets should solve most of my complaints.
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