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Another thread about growing plants with a single T8

1690 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  HolyAngel
I'm a long time aquarist that hasn't been able to set up a tank for a couple years. I once had a planted 29 gallon I had quite a bit of success with using 2 24" T-8 bulbs, DIY CO2, some ferts and a flourite. I am in the process of setting up 20 long I plan to plant and since I'm in college I'm planning on staying very low tech with this tank. My setup will be as follows

17w 24" T-8 (specific yet to be decided)
20oz bag of Laterite mixed in with previous aquarium gravel
Some small amounts of ferts to be added as needed

I don't have super high expectations for what I can grow, but I want to make sure I'm not vastly under lit. My logic was if I had decent results with 2 bulbs on an 18" deep tank, 1 should be able to grow some plants in a 12" deep tank, right? I'd be happy with just a few basics like Anubias and Crytocorne, but I was really hoping I could atleast grow saggitaria as that was my favorite plant in my last tank. Any thoughts on how limited my setup is and what sort of results I could expect, or suggestions as to what I should change?
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Using a standard aquarium fluorescent light, with white plastic parts inside, you should get around 20-25 micromols of PAR, which is the amount of light I am having very good success with, using DIY CO2 too. For sure H. polysperma will do well with that, but we aren't supposed to trade in that plant since it has been designated as a noxious weed illegal to traffic in. It does very well for me. And, red lotus is doing equally well, as is anubias nana.
A stem of H. corymbosa 'siamensis' I got from another user on here has been growing pretty well with an 18 watt bulb (poor reflector) in a 20 long, well enough to take a 2.5 inch trimming once it started getting too tall for the tank, and be back near the top again fairly quickly. (the cutting has rooted and it's been growing at a similar pace) It's losing it's old growth, though.

The usual culprits are faring well (java fern and java moss, though the ferns I bought from a LFS seem to be losing their emersed growth now, but putting out plantlets at the tips), and the water sprite I got is bouncing back after an unusually rough start. Even the windlov java fern with what is possibly the lowest-light corner in the tank (a miscalculation on my part) has been showing a bit of growth.

Ludwigia repens x arcuata has been growing steadily while losing it's red leaves after being transferred to a low-light tank, same thing with the Rotala rotundifolia. I had the latter floating while I decided what to do with it, and it lost all its pinkish leaves and put out shoots; I seperated all of those and planted them, and it's been growing slow and green, but growing nonetheless.

This is also in eco-complete and some low-bioload live stock (juvenile mosquitofish that were replaced with 6 otocinclus a few days ago, and some ghost shrimp), no additional ferts and no CO2.

Basically, I wouldn't expect anything with reddish hues to hold it's color, but you'll still get decent growth depending on what you chose.
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I also use the same setup and while I don't have fast growth stuff still grows! I have java fern and moss, crypt wendtii, wisteria, cabomba, dwarf sag money wort, ludwigia repens, rotunda sword anacharis and marimo moss balls.

My stems, moss and crypts have been growing best. No co2 but I do dry dose once a week. I also have soil and use root tabs.

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I grow limnophila aromatica and wavy, S. Repens, rotola rotundifolia, blyxa japonica, R. Inundatus, amazon swords, E. tenellus, all in a 29gallon with just 1 24" t8 bulb over it. No co2, but I do dose all ferts, bout half to 2/3rds of standard EI for this size tank. Plants grow great!

I also have a 20Long with just 1 24" T8 as well with hygro pinnatifida(sp?), all kinds of moss, creeping jenny, both limno species from the 29, some Erio's. All grow great but I do have a bit of GSA, but that's because it's a shrimp only tank and I don't dose EI like I should.

Either way, T8's work great. I feel ashamed that I bought a 4 bulb t5 fixture and have nothing to do with it/don't ever need it lol
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