Low light suggestions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Low light suggestions

Hello everyone, I am new here and am looking for some advice. I did not see an introduction thread, so please forgive me if I missed it. I'm a mechanical engineer in SC and have had quite a few tanks over the years, but this is my first serious attempt at a planted tank.

I know you probably get these questions constantly, but I figured a generic answer doesn't do much good without some specifics on my setup.

I recently had to downsize from a larger tank and am currently running a 20G tall tank with a pair of dwarf gouramis, 3 cory cats, and a pair of aquatic mud crabs. The substrate is gravel. I am only running a single T8, which gives me .75W/Gal, but the tank is in a window and receives full sunlight around 4 hours per day in addition to the T8. I also have a DIY yeast C02 generator with a small eBay sourced diffuser. Currently I have Java Ferns, Moneywort (or some kind of wort, not 100% positive that my LFS knows what it is), and several marimo moss balls. All have been doing very well for around 6 months now with lots of new growth.

I want to add some more plants, possible some type of carpeting plant or grass, but I love the way the lighting is packaged on my current setup, and don't want to change the hood.

So here comes the questions:

1) Will removing the clear plastic lense from the stock hood (between the bulb and water surface) increase light output significantly?

2) Is reflective tape a suitable medium for increasing the reflector's efficiency?

3) Finally, what are your recommendations for hardy, low-light plants? I'm particularly looking for some low-level or carpet type plant suitable for foreground planting, but am open to recommendation for any type of plants.

Sorry for the long first post, and thanks in advance for any input you can give me.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 07:45 PM
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1) Removing them won't be a good idea, it protects them from water especially evaporation. I have a 30g tank with 2x 9w E28 LED bulbs and an acrylic panel to cover it, floating plants, and everything is growing like crazy. Most of the time, we over estimate the needed light for aquatic plants.

2) Aluminium foil is fine, as well as cans cut into half.

3) I have plenty of low light plants : anubias, crypts, vallisnerie, java fern and moss, and they all thrive even with very low light (18w LED, 2000 lumens over 30g).

But i'm an advocate of Walstad tanks
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-21-2013, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response! I ordered some anubias and a crypt from aquaticmagic on [Ebay Link Removed] My LFS has a very poor selection of plants. Hopefully they arrive OK.

Good point about the evaporation/condensation issue on the light... I hadn't considered that. I have a dual-T8 fixture that I may try to retrofit into the single-T8 housing.
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