help making an aquaticlife t5 ho lamp work for a low tech - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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help making an aquaticlife t5 ho lamp work for a low tech

I have had this particular setup for years, to this day I can't make plants grow. It first started out being high-tech, I gave up on that, took a bulb out of the light, tried growing plants again, still horrible algae and plant growth failure. I was thinking if I can slide something behind the light bulb and cover the mirrored back it would help, what would be safe to out back there to stop the reflection? I can't raise the light anymore up off the tank, its already on legs. The substrate is flourite, I have a canister filter and I added an aquaclear filter for more filtration and water movement. I have more luck with plants in my other tanks that have far less superior lighting. I would rather keep this nice fixture and make it work than replace it with a normal light. The tank is a 50 gallon. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 05:38 PM
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Go to everything plastic and get a sheet or two of #5 mesh plastic canvas.
Cut to fit the top of the tank and just use that to cut the light.
You can also just use regular window screen wire in top of the tank.
I think most 50g tanks have that divided top/w the center brace. Cut whatever you choose to fit into those squares. You do need some type of glass top to do this of course. I don't use factory tops. I just get a glass cut at a glass place. I get one
that is 4" too short for the length so on one end the heater line and air line can go in and room for messing/w the tank on the other end. My plastic canvas is cut the same size as the glass pieces are cut.
If you can take out a bulb and it will still light up the remaining one and you have 7-8 hrs on it that should be well enough.
You did not mention ferts. Not having any added could be part of/most of your problem.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 05:40 PM
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Reduce light time. You can split the day, say on from 8-12, then off, then back on 4-9pm. That way it's lit when you're around, but total light is reduced.


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think there is an everything plastic anywhere near me but I can check for that or window screening. I also did just set the lights on for only 6 hours, maybe that will help as well. I only have a couple plants in that tank right now but I do have seachem flourish I use, as well as excel sometimes. When I tried the high tech I did the macro and micro nutrient dosing to no avail. I still have all that crap, a huge waste of money I will never get back.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 12:42 AM
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Another option would be to find a way to raise the fixture higher up off the tank.





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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 01:06 AM
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http://www.everythingplasticcanvas.c...2.aspx?k2=c260
The #5 mesh has the largest holes.
But without food your plants will not grow. The Macro/Micro is not a high tech thing.
It is complete food for the plants. If you want to pay more you can get all of the nutients in them from store bought liquids.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 01:57 AM Thread Starter
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The tank is in my basement, if the beams lined up right I could hang it higher, but I have the tank in a corner at an angle, didn't think about that when setting it up! I still have dry fertz from when I was doing high tech, I could always dose with them still I would have to obviously dose way less than I was though. I have plants grow in my other tanks with just some seachem flourish every month, I used to not use any fertz at all, plants would still grow. I'm not good about dosing obviously. I was also considering getting some root tabs to put under the bigger plants to help. I might try the mesh, between that and cutting the photo period to 6 hours and adding fertz of some sort I maybe have a chance? I am afraid to put in more plants.....
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 02:57 AM
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Fish food/waste will sustain a few plants. It contains all the nutrients but is very low on some of them. This mostly means that any larger amount of plants will quickly use up all which is available. A funny thing about plants...if one nutrient runs completely out it will stop or almost stop the plant from growing. So a plant the uses a higher amount of one nutrient and stop all the plants from growing by using up that particular nutrient in the tank.
You can use regular screen wire in place of the plastic canvas. It is what people regularly use for that. I just happenned to have the plastic canvas around.
And actually if one piece of screen wire isn't enough you can just double it.
If you are not familiar/w the fert calculator, for now you can list what plants you have
and close is good enogh but give a picture with it and someone on here will be glad to suggest a dosing amount for that tank. I am not familiar enough with the calculator yet to do this. I finally figured out what I needed for my 10g tank and then found that I was using too much. You are right about using way less withoiut injected CO2.
You probably should put something like that in thefert section.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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I think I will go with window screening then. Thanks. Also yes everything you say makes perfect sense. I will possibly post about the fertz in that section at some point. Right now I only have one bolbitis and one crypt in that tank. They are covered in algae but still alive, which is an improvement. I am also going to add a Bn pleco to the tank to clean up the years of accumulated algae. I gave up on this tank years ago, I would really like to try and grow plants in it now. I might just make a general post of how much dry fertz to add to a tank based on size since I have multiple sizes, and increase or decrease the amount depending on how many plants I have in each tank.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Also.....do you put the window screening on top of the glass over the tank, or covering the the glass over the light?
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 01:57 PM
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Some of the fixtures have a "shield" for the bulbs out of clear Sterite plastic(fairly brittle) and you could cut the piece of screen to fit in it. I just lay it on top of the glass tank top. Pleco's are know to damage some kinds of plants and some kinds of them "require" that you have some driftwood in the tank. It is for their digestive system.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-05-2014, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Yes my light fixture has a covering like that, it might be better looking if I put the screen inside on top of that clear covering. Bristlenose plecos are very good with plants, I haven't ever had a problem, I have two pairs of them. I think if they were starving they might. Munch on some plants but I feed them well. I also have driftwood in all my tanks, its essential in my opinion.
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