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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody, I’m new to this forum! I’ve never had a tank with live plants before and soon will finally be the time. Ive had aquariums for many years, but have never gotten to the point where I’m able to finally get plants. I have a lot of questions in various categories, but I’m starting in lighting haha.

The tank in question is a 54 gallon bow front type tank, kinda shaped like an eyeball but the back panel is flat. It’s really weird dimension wise, so figuring out a light is tricky. I will provide pictures. The length from the very corners is 41 inches, the depth in the very center is 20 inches and tapers down from there, and the height is just under 24 inches. I need a light that has good coverage for the depth and awkwardness of the shape and can provide enough light to the bottom. I was thinking of getting the Fluval plant spectrum 3.0. (36-48 inch, 46 watt)
(I’ve seen a lot of good reviews on it, and I think the ability to fine tune it would be very helpful.) With the height of the tank, would it be effective for low light plants? I will be using inert substrate with root tabs and dosing the water column if necessary. It’ll be pretty densely planted. If you don’t recommend this light or have another recommendation, let me know. And to add, the tank is already established with just a few fish, and I will be emptying and actually scaping the whole thing. Thanks for the help!
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it all depends on what kind of plants you want to add to your tank. if you want to have plants with a very high light demand than you wont get the job done with that fluval light. but if you only want to have low to medium light plants, the fluval will be fine. the tropica site has a great way to look up alot of plants and see if they need high medium or low light. go on there and search for the plants that you want to use. and if you did that and want to search for more light fixtures, keep in mind that the PAR the light gives off is the light "strength" that plants use to grow and get there color from. we humans use lumens to see how "strong" or bright a light is. a high lumen light for example a 10k lumen light will look visually strong for us. but if the PAR levels are 10 for example you still are not able to grow light. if you want to have high light plants aim for a light that has 100+ umols of PAR at the substrate level. and because you are a beginner, i would look for a light that you can controll with an app or an external controller. if you get a high power light and have something wrong in the tank you will get algae so fast that you probaly can't keep up with you maintenance...... and also to keep in mind if you want high light plants and you go for a high power light, you are probaly gonna need to add co2 to your tank. if you dont add co2 to a tank with a high power light and high light plants. you are probally gonna kill your plants because they cant get enough co2. i can go on with this for a while soo if you have any questions feel free to ask me!!

TIP: the lights from chihiros are affordable and have a great amount of power. look for a vivid 2 or wrgb2
 

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There are probably a dozen or so to leds that would work.
As a general suggestion for low/ med light about 50w dimmable led and a wider panel.
I' d second the chihiros suggestion but may not fit well with the u shaped bracket and relatively expensive.

Price, functions, fit and " look" may be important.
 

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There are probably a dozen or so to leds that would work.
As a general suggestion for low/ med light about 50w dimmable led and a wider panel.
I' d second the chihiros suggestion but may not fit well with the u shaped bracket and relatively expensive.

Price, functions, fit and " look" may be important.
Chihiros is pretty cheap compared to twinstar etc

There are probably a dozen or so to leds that would work.
As a general suggestion for low/ med light about 50w dimmable led and a wider panel.
I' d second the chihiros suggestion but may not fit well with the u shaped bracket and relatively expensive.

Price, functions, fit and " look" may be important.
hygger is a unknown brand. I can’t find the par values online. It looks like the lights you see on AliExpress but with different brand names……
The description maybe looks good but I don’t think is is that great in reality tbh
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
it all depends on what kind of plants you want to add to your tank. if you want to have plants with a very high light demand than you wont get the job done with that fluval light. but if you only want to have low to medium light plants, the fluval will be fine. the tropica site has a great way to look up alot of plants and see if they need high medium or low light. go on there and search for the plants that you want to use. and if you did that and want to search for more light fixtures, keep in mind that the PAR the light gives off is the light "strength" that plants use to grow and get there color from. we humans use lumens to see how "strong" or bright a light is. a high lumen light for example a 10k lumen light will look visually strong for us. but if the PAR levels are 10 for example you still are not able to grow light. if you want to have high light plants aim for a light that has 100+ umols of PAR at the substrate level. and because you are a beginner, i would look for a light that you can controll with an app or an external controller. if you get a high power light and have something wrong in the tank you will get algae so fast that you probaly can't keep up with you maintenance...... and also to keep in mind if you want high light plants and you go for a high power light, you are probaly gonna need to add co2 to your tank. if you dont add co2 to a tank with a high power light and high light plants. you are probally gonna kill your plants because they cant get enough co2. i can go on with this for a while soo if you have any questions feel free to ask me!!

TIP: the lights from chihiros are affordable and have a great amount of power. look for a vivid 2 or wrgb2
Thank you for answering in a lot of detail! I plan on just keeping non demanding low light plants. Just a low tech setup, no co2, low maintenance. Gotta keep it simple for start haha. I’ll check out the tropica site and research further. And I think I understand how PAR works at this point. In terms of the Fluval light, based on what I saw from others, it has around 27-30ish PAR at 21”. My tank is a little bit taller obviously but with a raised substrate I imagine it’ll be close to that. And it does depend on the plants themselves. I think what I read was that for example, anubius generally doesn’t like too much light and it’s better to place in more shaded areas. But I’ll research more for all sorts of plants. And I checked out the chihiros lights, they’re a little out of price range, and since I’m doing low light I’ll stick with the fluval. Thank you so much for the help!
 

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Thank you for answering in a lot of detail! I plan on just keeping non demanding low light plants. Just a low tech setup, no co2, low maintenance. Gotta keep it simple for start haha. I’ll check out the tropica site and research further. And I think I understand how PAR works at this point. In terms of the Fluval light, based on what I saw from others, it has around 27-30ish PAR at 21”. My tank is a little bit taller obviously but with a raised substrate I imagine it’ll be close to that. And it does depend on the plants themselves. I think what I read was that for example, anubius generally doesn’t like too much light and it’s better to place in more shaded areas. But I’ll research more for all sorts of plants. And I checked out the chihiros lights, they’re a little out of price range, and since I’m doing low light I’ll stick with the fluval. Thank you so much for the help!
No problem the fluval will do the job great for what your plans are with it!! If you need more help you can always reach out to me!!
good luck with your tank and send me a picture when you got the plants in!
 

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hygger is a unknown brand. I can’t find the par values online. It looks like the lights you see on AliExpress but with different brand names……
The description maybe looks good but I don’t think is is that great in reality tbh
Never said it was great, just it will do for your demands.
:)

Overall, led construction is simple.
Hyggar being "water proof" puts it a step above most " cheap" lights.

Fluval 3.0 is a good choice
Many find the color not the best even though adjustable, to a certain extent.


See post 22

addendum:
 

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I use Beamswork LED's with Nicrew ramp timer/dimmers for low tech. I grow Crypts, Water Sprite, Java Ferns, Java Moss, Anubias, Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus, and Dwarf Chain Sword with these with no trouble. I use Easy Green From Aqua CO-OP. Beamswork has their own timer/dimmer with a few more options, but I found it to much of a PITA to setup. I have Beamswork lights that are over 4 years old and still work like the day I unboxed them. Unless you want a lot of bells and whistles, then this setup should work for you. As always just my opinion. Also they come in different lengths so you could get one size for the back and a longer one for the front.
 

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Just because..and you asked.
I set up my new aquarium mid May, brand new plants from Aquarium Plants Factory and this 48" Hygger HG-957 light. I do not inject co2 so I wasn't expecting very rapid growth. The exponential growth of all my plants has blown me away. I absolutely love what this light has turned my tank into!

Pros: Full spectrum lighting, fully customizable programming, decent automatic default programming

Cons: Light does get hot to the touch if left on for many hours, the programming instructions are awful, the PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) value isn't listed anywhere on Hygger's website or this listing and so far, I've been unable to find it anywhere online.

For those who do try to change the programming- in my experience, the light follows the original settings for that day. New settings will not apply until the following day. For example, if you set it to turn blue at 4:30, it won't apply that setting until the following day for some reason. I haven't figured out why, but if you have patience until the next day, it will start working to your programming!
7/6/20 Update: The manufacturer finally responded to my PAR rating request.
26W [email protected]''in air 77
36W [email protected]''in air 98
48W [email protected]"in air 119
60W [email protected]"in air 129
72W [email protected]"in air 152

since I build my own lights I have no brand attachment soo.. just an FYI.
 

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CJL, I just finished setting up a tank very similar to yours. Except mine doesn't have the flat back, it goes all the way to the corner. With that said I'm on the cusp of high light in my tank as I'm running 2 chirios A series over the tank. I honestly like the color and the plants are coming back. It's only been 2 weeks. I was contemplating writing a small build type post cause it was hard to get some infor on lighting a tank like this.

What the other guys have said is good info and if staying with low light then stick with the fluval and save for brighter ones or scaping materials. Here is a picture of how I have it set up. Tank is a little cloudy as I just finished filling it up.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No problem the fluval will do the job great for what your plans are with it!! If you need more help you can always reach out to me!!
good luck with your tank and send me a picture when you got the plants in!
I do have a few small questions to ask

1) What should I expect soon after getting plants? I imagine they’ll probably melt back as they adjust, but what should I expect in terms of algae? Would my tank being established have any affect on algae growth?
2) Is it better to have a larger number of fish when I add the plants? For example, I already have 5 black neons in the tank, and I’ll add them back in after, but would it be better to add a lot more fish in with them to help with nutrients and co2? Or does it not matter. If so, I would need to load up my quarantine tanks so I have a lot of fish ready haha
3) How much flow is too much? The main filtration is just a Penguin 350 hob filter, and it works great but the flow is pretty high. The water hits the front of the tank and flows down and straight back towards the intake which is pretty far down. You can kinda see the fungus/algae on the driftwood blowing backwards. Also, I may potentially have black beard algae on the furthest piece of wood. And I read it could be caused by excess flow. I’m really not sure though. How should I go about managing flow in this tank that would be best for plants
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CJL, I just finished setting up a tank very similar to yours. Except mine doesn't have the flat back, it goes all the way to the corner. With that said I'm on the cusp of high light in my tank as I'm running 2 chirios A series over the tank. I honestly like the color and the plants are coming back. It's only been 2 weeks. I was contemplating writing a small build type post cause it was hard to get some infor on lighting a tank like this.

What the other guys have said is good info and if staying with low light then stick with the fluval and save for brighter ones or scaping materials. Here is a picture of how I have it set up. Tank is a little cloudy as I just finished filling it up. View attachment 1032530
Wow your tank looks amazing! I think it fits the shape very well. And a post about your tank would be cool, I haven’t seen a single post or discussion for scaping these kind of tanks until you. I do have some questions regarding scaping mine. It probably won’t be anything close to how good yours is, granted I’m a beginner and we all start somewhere haha, but I need some advice. The shape of mine really stumps me. For example, usually stem plants and taller things go in the back, but the back is the smallest part of my tank. I know a very basic idea of what I want but don’t know how to execute it haha. I plan on some kind of driftwood (thicker and larger than my current manzanita) as well as some kind of rock. And I want the whole tank pretty well planted and busy, maybe kind of jungle like (lots of crevices and swim throughs) I could definitely raise substrate level a lot in a certain corner or make pathways kind of like yours. I really have trouble visualizing it though. Any tips or ideas for a tank like mine? I really appreciate the help!
 

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Getting and keeping a planted tank in balance is a patience thing. You can't make any changes too fast once the tank is stabilized .... be it adding fish, changing ferts, etc, etc . I would add all the fish your tank can handle in the beginning and then put in as many plants as you want, and then some more. Plants will help with the fish load, but yes they will have to adapt to your water or being submerged. If you like that filter then go with it. My only advice would be to search YouTube for how to fashion an empty water bottle to spread the flow around more. Flow is a great thing in a planted tank. Now about Black Beard Algae, There are as many causes/reasons for it as there are questions about it. I have it and have given up trying to eradicate it and just try to keep it in check by spot treating with peroxide and trimming plant leaves that are overwhelmed with it. I don't use CO2, and am only "low tech " so I can only speak to that. Just don't get overwhelmed with it all. Have some plants and give them care and patience and in time you will get a handle on it. We are all here to try and help you if we can.
 

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I do have a few small questions to ask

1) What should I expect soon after getting plants? I imagine they’ll probably melt back as they adjust, but what should I expect in terms of algae? Would my tank being established have any affect on algae growth?
2) Is it better to have a larger number of fish when I add the plants? For example, I already have 5 black neons in the tank, and I’ll add them back in after, but would it be better to add a lot more fish in with them to help with nutrients and co2? Or does it not matter. If so, I would need to load up my quarantine tanks so I have a lot of fish ready haha
3) How much flow is too much? The main filtration is just a Penguin 350 hob filter, and it works great but the flow is pretty high. The water hits the front of the tank and flows down and straight back towards the intake which is pretty far down. You can kinda see the fungus/algae on the driftwood blowing backwards. Also, I may potentially have black beard algae on the furthest piece of wood. And I read it could be caused by excess flow. I’m really not sure though. How should I go about managing flow in this tank that would be best for plants View attachment 1032553


Wow your tank looks amazing! I think it fits the shape very well. And a post about your tank would be cool, I haven’t seen a single post or discussion for scaping these kind of tanks until you. I do have some questions regarding scaping mine. It probably won’t be anything close to how good yours is, granted I’m a beginner and we all start somewhere haha, but I need some advice. The shape of mine really stumps me. For example, usually stem plants and taller things go in the back, but the back is the smallest part of my tank. I know a very basic idea of what I want but don’t know how to execute it haha. I plan on some kind of driftwood (thicker and larger than my current manzanita) as well as some kind of rock. And I want the whole tank pretty well planted and busy, maybe kind of jungle like (lots of crevices and swim throughs) I could definitely raise substrate level a lot in a certain corner or make pathways kind of like yours. I really have trouble visualizing it though. Any tips or ideas for a tank like mine? I really appreciate the help!
It is better to start with a lot of plants and a small amount of fish. In your case because the tank has been running for a while, you can add more fish from the start. But keep in mind that melting plants create ammonia just like the waste from the fish, your bacteria culture needs to adjust for that. If put a lot of fish in with your plants and your plants starts to melt you get a huge ammonia spike. I would suggest you to start with a small amount of fish and all the plants that you want. Look up all the plants for their needs and give that tho them. After a week or so you can slowly start to add more fish. And keep in mind that algae will appear if your plants aren’t healthy even if your tank is balanced. And you probably will get some algae in the beginnen because you are changing a lot of things at ones. And that is no problem as long as you keep it under control. And about the flow you have to much when your plants and fish starts to fly away. I have a biomaster 600 thermo on my 60 liter aquarium fully openend and that works great. So as long as your plants stay in place and your fish are able to swim you are good!! And don’t over react if you see some algae, and if you get a lot of algae try to adjust 1 thing at a time. If you change 5 things at once you have no idea what fixed the algae and sometimes you create only more problems.

if your run in some problems feel free to ask me for help or make a new post so everybody here can help you!!
 
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