Aquarium lighting!!! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Aquarium lighting!!!

OK so i jsut bought an AQUA GLO from petsmart... and the Kelvin reading is 18000... is this good cuz i thght it should be 5000 to 6500 kelvin..... really need help... so confusing... is the higher the kelvin the better or not so good.. it says on the cover that its "IDEAL" for planted aquariums???

GIve me any tips please and what worked for you!!!

thnx
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 03:58 AM
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Does it give off a really blue color?

Post your aquarium setup if you don't mind.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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i mean i didnt put it in yet ill post it tomorrow ok so check back tomorrow... but i sampled it already and yes its more blue-ish white... is this good...

ill post it tomorrow... dont forget...
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 04:03 AM
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If you haven't read an article on the importance of spectrums, I suggest you read this one:
http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...osythesis.html

That being said, you should concentrate on how much light you actually need for your aquarium which is why we need to find out your configuration and what you plan to accomplish.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
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ok thnx for the tip... so helpful!! I wished other ppl would of said this ealier so i would of been more aware, but ill post my aquarium tomorrow so you can actually see how it really is... but yes the light is more in the "RIGHT ZONE" ( blue and red) as described... ill post the information with it... check back tomorrow...
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 08:37 AM
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The real "ideal" plant light produces lots of red, a lesser amount of blue, and nothing else. Such lights exist, and are known as grow lights. While they're great for growing veggies, the pink light they produce is not attractive in an aquarium at all.

So we compromise. We pick a light that looks good, and produces some red and blue. Then we add more light until the plants get enough red and blue.

Your light does indeed provide a healthy portion of red and blue:



But it's not "ideal". Only pink grow lights fit that term. Everything else is just marketing.

So use a light (or combination of lights) that appeals to you. If the AquaGlo appears too blue for your personal taste (and it is for mine), there are plenty of other bulbs which will work, as long as they provide some red and blue.

For comparison, here's the spectrum of the DD Giesemann Midday (6,000K):



A lot of people like this bulb, but some find it too yellow (again, personal tastes vary). The higher proportion of red is in theory closer to ideal for plants than the AquaGlo. In real life, you might notice a bit of difference in plant growth between the two, but it's not enough that it should dictate your choice.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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OMG thanks so much... well yes your correct but i think i will stick to the Aqua glo for now... i mean there pretty pink to me but its just the light given of was more blue or mroe white colored...

Heres the pictures of my aquarium...

MY OLD ONE:
-

MY NEW ONE:
-

Sorry if the pictures are too big... lol
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 04:22 PM
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No problem with the picture size. The AquaGlo looks good there, although it's hard to tell from camera shots; cameras have their own color biases. As long as you're happy with it!

You still should post your tank parameters as agentkheim requested, so we can determine if you'll have the right amount of light. In particular:

1) Tank size (bigger tanks require more light)
2) What plants you plan on growing (some plants require much more than others)
3) Whether you will be adding CO2 and/or Excel (if no CO2, you'll need to limit light to avoid algae, and this will limit your plant choices; if no Excel, you'll need to limit light even more)
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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OK OK OK... so heres some of my perameters..

20 gallon long tank...

- 2 inch gravel... as you can see already from pics...

Fishes : guppies (females and males) & Harlequin rasboras maybe adding more
species in...

Plants : mosses, Vallisnaria corkscrew (there multiplying so rapid thats why im getting a better light for better leaves from new babies)

PH : 6.4 (slightly acidic yes i kno... guppies not dying thgh lol)

NITRITE : 0.3

NITRATE : 0

KH : 8.3

GH : 6

I might be adding some crypts, Babytears, anubias, and some aponogeton...
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Might be more fish too like zebra danios.. They swim so close together

BUT YEAH THAT IS MY TANK PERAMETERS...
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 10:55 PM
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I ran those 18000k bulbs (power glo?) when I first set up my tank. They worked just fine for growing plants. The lower K bulbs make the tank look brighter to my eye, so now I run a 6700k and a 10000k. It's all your visual prefference really.

Red light is absorbed by the water very quickly, so I would surmise that most aquatic plants probably don't receive much of it unless they are near the surface, and in very clear water. Just the same, having more red light is still beneficial, and will certainly make red plants appear more vibrant.

Supposedly 6700k is the best light for growing plants but K readings are so subjective that I don't think you can really determine anything from that number. The GLO brand 6700k bulbs made my aquarium look washed out and yellow when I tried running them exclusively. Adding a 10000K bulb adds more blue, which ends up working with the yellow to make things look more green.

The 18000K bulbs you have now will work just fine, but IMO aren't the best color for appearance. Any flourescent bulb that isn't some weird actinic or ultraviolet light will grow aquatic plants just fine as long as the intensity is high enough from my experience.

I really wish manufacturers would list some standard measurement such as PAR at 1' or something similar. Lux and K ratings just don't help much.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-16-2011, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I kno right... there is jsut too little information on the label for the perfect buy... but thats wat most shops want you to do.. just buy and waste your money one them... lol
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 05:11 PM
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Snsdfan, it appears you have what's called a low-tech (actually zero-tech) tank. Which is not really my specialty, I'm more of a high-tech guy. But I'll comment where I can.

In brief, let me start by saying that the biggest limit to your plants right now is not the kind of bulb you have installed.

Gravel is adequate, but not optimal. Some plants appreciate a finer substrate that they can really sink their roots into. In addition, gravel is completely inert, it does not adsorb or hold on to nutrients where the roots can get at them. Substrates made of fine, fired clay chips are a common alternative; they are both finer and hold on to nutrients. Fluorite is a popular choice. There are other and cheaper alternatives too (Soilmaster Select, Schultz Aquatic Plant Soil, etc.) I used a variety of substrates in my tanks, including some with gravel.

Fish and current plants are fine.

pH is oddly low. Some people claim at this point or a bit lower, it will start to interfere with the biofilter's ability to process ammonia into nitrite and then nitrate, though I haven't noticed it myself at this pH.

Nitrite should always be 0 unless the tank is cycling, or undergoing a mini-cycle as the result of new fish additions. Other possibilities - tank is overstocked, filtration or filter media dirty or inadequate, pH interfering with biofilter, bad test kit, etc.

As for the plants you're considering adding, I would skip the baby tears given your current tank, as they prefer high intensity lighting. Also, anubias are naturally slow growers, and may grow so slowly in your tank that they might not appear to grow at all.

Now to the real meat of the matter. Plants require light, nutrients, and CO2 to grow.

You currently have low light, and appear to have no added nutrients (other than fish food/waste) or CO2. Naturally with low light, your plants are going to grow slowly; and they are probably suffering from some nutrient deficiencies which further limit their growth and health.

Your plants will benefit from some added nutrients to eliminate deficiencies. As long winded as I am, that is a huge topic in itself that I won't attempt to describe here - so I suggest checking the articles section here as well as various posts and stickies.

Your plants will also benefit from some added CO2, as there is very little natural CO2 in aquarium water. Producing it from yeast and sugar (DIY CO2) is a cheap and easy method for small tanks like yours. As an alternative, at this light level plants can use Flourish Excel instead of CO2 to some degree, although real CO2 is definitely more effective.

Want even more growth? Add more light. But as you add more light, then adding more nutrients and real CO2 (not Excel) to match becomes much more critical. The further light goes up, the greater the chance of any deficiency - even a transient one - to cause algae problems.

More light opens up new possibilities as far as what plants you can successfully grow (like the baby tears and anubias), but also requires more skill and effort on your part.

More specific advice really depends on your personal expectations and comfort level. Some people are perfectly happy with zero-tech tanks.

Decide where you want to go, read up a bit on the topics I've summarized that interest you, then post any specific questions you have. We'll be here.

Last edited by DarkCobra; 01-17-2011 at 06:55 PM. Reason: Typo. There is no FLOUR in FLUORITE. ;)
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 06:17 PM
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That light makes your substrate look really blue :p The color spectrum is not that important as far as plant growth goes. Plants will use whatever spectrum light they can get. What is more important is the way it looks. Most people stick to 5000k-10000k but from your picture that light looks fine.


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thnks for the advice from everyone... thgh i believe my substrate is perfect.. my substrate is already mixed... the bottom layer is soil... (garden soil) and the middle is sand and then at the top is the blue gravel u see... the front of my tank is regular gravel but then the further back the more soil and sand there is... thats why in my picture it looks like its sloping down... cuase the layered substrate is mostly in the back of my tank... thats why i might not be growing any plants in the front... ITS a soilplanted tank... TO me personally it doesnt matter to me if the plants grow fast or not... that would just be harder work to deal with for me... so i would prefere my plants to grow slowly... thgh my vals are growing fast, thats why i plan on cutting them apart so they stop growing... MY gravel is two inch in the front but in the back is about 4-4.5 inches... thats how i planned to set up this tank in the first place...

Then about my fishes... im just going to add one more species cuz it really is getting full... I do add fertilizer to the tank for the leaves in there and my soil in the bottom layer is a ground fertilizer too... Co2 comes from all the fish i have.. my vals seem to be doing perfect from all the natural Co2 thats comes from my fishes...

My two types of harlequin prefer slightly acidic water so they're doing fine (exept one.. shes not eating.. in my other threads i believe) but my guppies are having babies and doing fine in this acidic water so i mean im not going to change a thing thgh...

My temperature is 78 degrees F... everything is going fine thgh i might need to check or maybe replace my filter... with new things in it so it would maybe perform better.. but everything is fine in this tank... my lights i will keep and ill try any other kind of plants that are the same lighting as my vals... if my vals grow then its a possibility that others will grow too... thgh thanks for the replies...

20 gallon

* two years setuped
* Cycled
* Nitrogen Cycled
* maybe in small cycle like you said since i added new fish in november 2010...
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