Starting Low and Getting High - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2004, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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Starting Low and Getting High

Is it possible to start a planted tank with relatively low lighting (1-2 wpg) and then as you get a feel for what you're doing and understand the schedules and system a little better migrating to higher light (2-3 wpg)? Are there things you would want to incorporate in either kind of system (i.e., substrate, CO2 injection and whatnot) that would crossover from one lighting configuration to another? Reason I ask is that I'm thinking that when I convert my reef, I'd like to start on the lower end just to get a feel for what I'm doing. Once my feet are wet and I'm feeling more confident, I'm thinking I'd like to increase to higher light system and plants. I just don't want to have to rip out all of the substrate or make any drastic changes to the system in order to accomplish it if at all possible.

Any insight would be appreciated!

Paul

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My old 100 Gallon SeaClear established 11/7/2004. 4 GE Daylight Ultras on IceCap VHO ballasts. 3" Eco-complete substrate. Eheim 2028, pressurized CO2, external reactor. 18 watt Turbo Twist UV.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2004, 03:04 AM
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First if your are converting a reef tank to a freshwater tank you will need to tear it down and clean the tank out with a mild bleach solution and/or vinager to remove any residue. Then you will need to replace the substrate with a plant gravel like Eco-complete or a small regular natural gravel.

Yes, you can start out a planted tank with under 2WPG; with this amount of light you will not need C02. Make sure to use low light plants like Hornwort, Crypts, Anubias, java Moss and Java Fern.

If you are using a actinic blue light for your reef tank you will need to get a bulb for plant growth (5500k-10000k).

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2004, 03:06 AM
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Of course it is possible!

Your substrate and equipment, less the lighting of course, would transfer over. As your lighting goes up, the amount of CO2 you need may go up, as well as the amount of fertilizers you are using and how often you are using them.

It will be easy to go from low lighting levels to higher lighting levels, you are just going to have to tweak a little as you do it!


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2004, 03:09 AM
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Lighting won't affect the substrate you chose at all, so that's the same.

Even at 2 wpg you will do better with CO2, so that's the same.

Even at 2 wpg, you will fertilize, that will change but in dose and frequency, not the stuff you use.

If you have lights that are on two light timers, you can make the transition easily. I have a 4x55watt solar hood from PetSupplyLiquidators with two power switches. One bank gives me 1.8 wpg, near noon I turn on the other bank for 3.6 wpg. Then reverse in late afternoon. I don't like to run at 3.6 wpg for long as the swords get funky and worn out while the stem plnats go crazy and take over the tank in a week, and I am not into dosing every day now. So, the two banks allow you to back off the lighting, a nice thing to be able to do.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2004, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Exactly what I needed to know. I'm glad I can start low and move up as I feel more comfortable.

Thanks!
Paul

Paul

"I'd like to think oysters transcend national barriers." - Roger Waters

Eheim Pimp Club Member #64

My old 100 Gallon SeaClear established 11/7/2004. 4 GE Daylight Ultras on IceCap VHO ballasts. 3" Eco-complete substrate. Eheim 2028, pressurized CO2, external reactor. 18 watt Turbo Twist UV.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2004, 09:36 PM
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This is an excellent approach... starting with lower light levels helps a lot to get a new tank stabilized without major algae blooms. Once everything is established you can slowly increase the light to be able to grow more demanding plants.


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