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Growing red plants

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I have a 29 gl with 3 23w 6500k cfls, a heavy bioload, weekly water changes, a worthless hob I plan on replacing, 2 small powerheads, and diy co2 I'd like to upgrade to a 5-10lb co2 late this summer. The tank also gets a few hours of direct sunlight late in the day which I believe to be my saving grace.

I have several red and orange plants that I'd like to get more color out of. They're pretty colored up right now but I'd like some really vibrant reds.

Would increasing my light achieve this? If so what's my best fluorescent option? I have a 4bulb t5ho fixture I could use. I know watts per gallon is considered outdated or at best a rough estimate but my t5ho would give me roughly the same wpg as I have now when you consider I have more watts now with cfls than id have in t5s but the cfls produce a more spotlit effect and t5s would give me better distribution.

I am not willing to go led or metal halide.
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I have several red and orange plants that I'd like to get more color out of. They're pretty colored up right now but I'd like some really vibrant reds.

Would increasing my light achieve this? If so what's my best fluorescent option?
I can only speak from personal experience, but when I upgraded my T5HO's to provide more PAR, the color on my plants changed immediately.

Now that's not to say there could be other factors in your tank, but for me, with no other changes, the change was pretty dramatic.

I have no experience with CFL, but I would imagine that good reflectors with T5HO also helps quite a bit with PAR.
 

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nitrogen starvation will do it.. ;)
Not something i would do or recommend , the folks that do this, tend to be competitive aquascapers that do it short term for photo op..
 

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I have a 29 gl with 3 23w 6500k cfls, a heavy bioload, weekly water changes, a worthless hob I plan on replacing, 2 small powerheads, and diy co2 I'd like to upgrade to a 5-10lb co2 late this summer. The tank also gets a few hours of direct sunlight late in the day which I believe to be my saving grace.

I have several red and orange plants that I'd like to get more color out of. They're pretty colored up right now but I'd like some really vibrant reds.

Would increasing my light achieve this? If so what's my best fluorescent option? I have a 4bulb t5ho fixture I could use. I know watts per gallon is considered outdated or at best a rough estimate but my t5ho would give me roughly the same wpg as I have now when you consider I have more watts now with cfls than id have in t5s but the cfls produce a more spotlit effect and t5s would give me better distribution.

I am not willing to go led or metal halide.
from my experience nutrients will affect the colors way more than the light. I grow richer reds in my low light tank than my high light tank because it was fertz more.
 

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I've been using the EI method for feet dosing using Nilocg Micro and macro ferts. Asking with that I also purchased a bottle of iron from him. I dose extra iron align with my micros and my red plants have really come back to life. You can refer to my 45p journal to have a look


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Hi All,

If you haven't already done so the video that is linked in Post#5 of this thread by Dan is very good and was reviewed by Tom Barr for accuracy - worth the time to stream.
 

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I would like to second the vote against Nitrogen limitation. It works but it is hard to do for beginners; let it run too low and you will notice plants stop growing, old leaves full of algae and plants disappearing. Focus on growing healthy plants first. Then focus at growing healthy plants fast (increased light). Then focus on growing plants for the photo.

Select plants that are normally red. Sure making H. pinnatifida red is fun, but Alternanthera reinekii, Nymphea zenkerii, some Ludwigia sp. can easily achieve a red hue

Provide good iron and traces (together will all nutrients). Plants like M. tuberculatum and L. senegalensis will be red even under good N levels provided they have enough traces.

High light intensity so that the plants need to create protective pigmentation

Lights that have peaks in the red part of the spectrum will make the colors pop. This is something most do not say but this is only an optical cheat that is found in many photos in contests and even here on this site. It will not make plants redder in reality (unlike somebody who is also known for trace toxicity panic claimed). That is, if you take the plant from that high red light and put it in sunlight it will be dull, yellow-brown. Put it under some 6000k mixed with some source of red peaks and you got a stunning plant. Keeping a plant under long red-only light makes it actually somewhat greener as the plant reduces the red pigmentation to allow more photosynthetic "red" radiation to reach the chloroplast.

Lastly, limit the amount of chlorophyll being produced. N limitation is actually one way of doing this. As chlorophyll is green, a lack of chlorophyll in new leaves means that the other pigments would be more easily visible. Lack of chlorophyll also means less photosynthesis, stress, lack of growth and death.

I would like to again underscore... healthy plants are more attractive than damaged, algae ridden red plants.

Regards,
duky
 

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+1 for high PAR and nitrogen starvation



low nitrates really make a difference IME


How low is low in your experience to see a difference?


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How low is low in your experience to see a difference?


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I rarely measure to be honest but when i dose less macro nutrients I usually see more red. I think people accept 5-20 ppm N to be a good target. If you want to try just start slowly cutting back on dosing N and see if you can spot a difference. don't do anything drastic to avoid issues.
 

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I rarely measure to be honest but when i dose less macro nutrients I usually see more red. I think people accept 5-20 ppm N to be a good target. If you want to try just start slowly cutting back on dosing N and see if you can spot a difference. don't do anything drastic to avoid issues.


Would never do anything drastic. I'm usually between 10-30ppm. When I see the red in test is when I know time for wc.


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