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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I want to setup a 20 gallon tank, a low-tech one. As far as plants go, I just want to have Java Fern, Anubias, and Java Moss. Would 3x13 watt CFL bulbs be adequate for this tank and plants? The 3x13 CFL bulbs would equal to 1.95 watts per gallon. I don't know if this is too much light because I have heard that CFL lights are inefficient. :alien::alien::alien:
 

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Go with two of those 13 watt cfl bulbs and use a 10.5" domed reflector. What type of fixture(s) were you gonna use?
 

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I use 2x 13w CFL bulbs on a 20g of mine, and has worked just fine for a year now. I use the thinner domes though.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Go with two of those 13 watt cfl bulbs and use a 10.5" domed reflector. What type of fixture(s) were you gonna use?
For fixture, I was planning on using an Aqueon Economy hood, or those clamp on lights that many people keep using, like the ones that you could purchase for cheap at Walmart. If you don't mind me asking, is a domed reflector some DIY project thing I would have to deal with? I don't know too much about reflectors. Is there any link you could provide me as to where I could purchase a 10.5" dome reflector?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
That's a really nice tank and I'm glad you're sharing a picture. Which domes would you advise me to buy and from where? By the way, as for the plant that you have all the way in the back of your tank and in the middle, is that a Dwarf Rotalla? I am a bit of a newbie, and I think that plant is pretty sexy. :D I hope you keep up the good work with your tank.:red_mouth

I use 2x 13w CFL bulbs on a 20g of mine, and has worked just fine for a year now. I use the thinner domes though.

 

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I use 3 brooder domes on my 20 long with 13w CFL's. I rest them on a strip of glass so they are pretty close to the surface. I keep floating plants in this tank also to break up the light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I use 3 brooder domes on my 20 long with 13w CFL's. I rest them on a strip of glass so they are pretty close to the surface. I keep floating plants in this tank also to break up the light.
My question is, is it okay to place those brooder dromes on top of a glass canopy, or is it better to have it them like an inch above? I'm curious because I have no idea how hot those lights get. By the way, what type of plants are you growing?
 

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I rest my brooder lamps right on the glass. I think my domes are the 10" ones or close to it. I watched the temps of mine using an infrared temp gun. If I remember correctly the dome itself only got up to the 80's F so not really "hot". Originally I used a full 20 long glass top but I removed the hinge and did not use the plastic flap so there was an inch or so front and back of open space. Currently I am using just the back section of glass centered on the tank solely to sit the lights on. part of the domes is above open water now but mostly on the glass...no moisture issues but I only keep this tank around 70-72. If I find 10w CFL's I might downgrade. I was getting some green algae on the floramax substrate but between the floaters, ramshorn snails and maybe the ghost shrimp it is mostly gone now.

I don't have much for plants as I was going for more of an open look on this tank and it is still fairly young (started new years eve!). I have frogbit floating, 2 anubias, dwarf hairgrass (looks great but not spreading...somewhat expected in low tech), and then I have a really cool chain sword? -I should have this plant ID'd as I'm not sure exactly what it is. It is very short with narrow leaves that is sending runners and plantlets all over. Some leaves are reddish brown...I'm letting this plant do what it wants as it doesn't seem likely the dwarf hairgrass will carpet fully...Should get a pic up.
 

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For fixture, I was planning on using an Aqueon Economy hood, or those clamp on lights that many people keep using, like the ones that you could purchase for cheap at Walmart. If you don't mind me asking, is a domed reflector some DIY project thing I would have to deal with? I don't know too much about reflectors. Is there any link you could provide me as to where I could purchase a 10.5" dome reflector?
Home Depot or Lowes should have them. If you can't find them locally, order them online:

Bayco SL-302B3 10-1/2-Inch Brooder Clamp Light with Porcelain Ceramic Socket - Amazon.com

My question is, is it okay to place those brooder dromes on top of a glass canopy, or is it better to have it them like an inch above? I'm curious because I have no idea how hot those lights get.
Yeah, you can put them right on top of the glass. The domed clamp lamp reflectors do a decent job of dispersing heat.
 

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I have a 10 gallon with 2 10W CFLs about 4" above the top of the tank. I just lost what I had typed because I went and logged in.:angryfire. 2 13W was too much for my tank. Eh, I'm ambivalent about the wattage you should run. The thing is, those CFLs put out a lot of light in the configuration including a 10-1/2" brooder dome aluminum reflector. I think that where you are using a lot of light, you have to have adequate ferts or the plants will stop growing and the algae will start.
 

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You might be able to get the 10.5" dome reflectors cheaper from Tractor Supply but they do NOT have on/off switch like the ones from Home Depot. If you put them on a timer then that doesn't really matter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have a 10 gallon with 2 10W CFLs about 4" above the top of the tank. I just lost what I had typed because I went and logged in.:angryfire. 2 13W was too much for my tank. Eh, I'm ambivalent about the wattage you should run. The thing is, those CFLs put out a lot of light in the configuration including a 10-1/2" brooder dome aluminum reflector. I think that where you are using a lot of light, you have to have adequate ferts or the plants will stop growing and the algae will start.
Dang, that really sucks that you lost what you typed. :mad: Are those 2X10W CFLs too much light for your tank now, even though they are 4" above the top of your tank? If you don't mind me asking, when it comes to ferts, which dosing method do you use, and which ferts you you purchase? I just bought some dry ferts, and I'm not sure which dosing method would be best for a 10 gallon tank. I'm trying to go for a method that would be ideal to dose 1 time per week. I keep hearing all these things about the Estimative Index, but I'm not sure if there are other more efficient methods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You might be able to get the 10.5" dome reflectors cheaper from Tractor Supply but they do NOT have on/off switch like the ones from Home Depot. If you put them on a timer then that doesn't really matter.
I don't mind a timer. I bought a time from Walmart. :p How much have you payed for the ones sold at Home Depot?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Isn't it dangerous to use clamp on lights on an open tank? How long does a floramax substrate usually last? Would you have to completely replace it when it runs out of nutrients? Thanks for your reply.

I rest my brooder lamps right on the glass. I think my domes are the 10" ones or close to it. I watched the temps of mine using an infrared temp gun. If I remember correctly the dome itself only got up to the 80's F so not really "hot". Originally I used a full 20 long glass top but I removed the hinge and did not use the plastic flap so there was an inch or so front and back of open space. Currently I am using just the back section of glass centered on the tank solely to sit the lights on. part of the domes is above open water now but mostly on the glass...no moisture issues but I only keep this tank around 70-72. If I find 10w CFL's I might downgrade. I was getting some green algae on the floramax substrate but between the floaters, ramshorn snails and maybe the ghost shrimp it is mostly gone now.

I don't have much for plants as I was going for more of an open look on this tank and it is still fairly young (started new years eve!). I have frogbit floating, 2 anubias, dwarf hairgrass (looks great but not spreading...somewhat expected in low tech), and then I have a really cool chain sword? -I should have this plant ID'd as I'm not sure exactly what it is. It is very short with narrow leaves that is sending runners and plantlets all over. Some leaves are reddish brown...I'm letting this plant do what it wants as it doesn't seem likely the dwarf hairgrass will carpet fully...Should get a pic up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

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Dang, that really sucks that you lost what you typed. :mad: Are those 2X10W CFLs too much light for your tank now, even though they are 4" above the top of your tank? If you don't mind me asking, when it comes to ferts, which dosing method do you use, and which ferts you you purchase? I just bought some dry ferts, and I'm not sure which dosing method would be best for a 10 gallon tank. I'm trying to go for a method that would be ideal to dose 1 time per week. I keep hearing all these things about the Estimative Index, but I'm not sure if there are other more efficient methods.
I have only been dosing Flourish Comprehensive and Root Tabs. My plants stopped growing and I had problems with algae. Now my substrate is MGOCPM and I'll have unlimited ferts for a couple of years.

I think there are at least a few fert methods. You could google "fert method comparison" or just "fert methods."
 

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That's a really nice tank and I'm glad you're sharing a picture. Which domes would you advise me to buy and from where? By the way, as for the plant that you have all the way in the back of your tank and in the middle, is that a Dwarf Rotalla? I am a bit of a newbie, and I think that plant is pretty sexy.
The domes are these:
http://www.truevalue.com/product/60W-Clamp-Light/21800.uts

With regular Daylight CFL 13w bulbs from HD. Mine are at least a year old at this point, and the clamps are super stiff/tight no danger at all for falling into the tank. I started with one per side, tried using 2 per side for a few months last year, and it seemed to be too much light, and felt like it had a bleaching effect on the leave's so i went back to 2.

I've been thinking about building a overhang using electrical conduit piping, and hang 3 across the top, but for now it's 1 per side, and because of how it holds onto the tank both are angled to point to the opposite side of the tank. I don't like using glass tops as they require cleaning all the time, and my objective of this tank was to keep it as simple as i can. Obviously it's doing just fine, keeping it simple.

Naw, just a regular Rotalla, i think indica, it's been awhile i forget. I trim a lot, so those were tops of a previous trim tend to put the rooted parts in a grow out tank since they like to multi branch after trims.

Eco-complete substrate, no root tabs, flourish once a week, and a 50% water change once every 1>2 weeks. I don't vacuum the substrate, just manual removal of any debris. The tank has 12 amano's that do a pretty good job of cleanup, and 11 cardinal tetras now a days, and around 30 pumpkin shrimp.
That tank is on a dual 20g stand, and i keep the trim grow out tank below-ghost shrimp breeding tank, and use the same setup for the most part, except i added regular black petco sand into the eco-complete, and so far it's working great, and i like the tighter feel of the substrate, and i think roots are growing better, faster then using just eco-complete by itself. I used Floramax in one of my older tanks, and didn't seem to do as well, but i guess we all have our own experience's :)

I would of posted a more recent picture, but i'm in the middle of redoing things in it, and adding more plant species, and been doing a lot of trading in the last month so it's trimmed to all hell so it isn't up to par for me to share :p but it's doing just fine.
 

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Isn't it dangerous to use clamp on lights on an open tank? How long does a floramax substrate usually last? Would you have to completely replace it when it runs out of nutrients? Thanks for your reply.
In my current setup, the majority of the dome is resting on the one larger section of the glass lid I am still using. I took the front section off of the glass off and have the remaining section centered on the tank (I meant to take a pic last night, sorry). The lamp itself is completely blocked from the water by the glass. There is a very small chance the lamps could fall partially into the water but my tank is in a place where the cords and such are not touched or bumped. I don't have any small kids, do have dogs but they stay out of things. The lamps don't move but I may still look into making something to hold them in place for piece of mind. Ideally I would make something to hang them from and not use the glass at all. I have floating plants and to much humidity can start to break down the surface foliage which is why I took most of the glass top away.

I don't think floramax will become totally inert...at least not in the lifetime of the tank. I dose EI on my main tank and will sometimes do one dose each of EI macros and micros on my 20 long depending on how things are looking. I also am up do dosing 2.5ml of metricide on this tank now. The floramax is very porous so it can hold nutrients that are not consumed.

I was actually wrong above when I said my dwarf hair grass wasn't spreading. Upon closer inspection last night, I AM actually seeing some new growth away from the original plugs I planted so that is neat for a low tech tank with no real CO2.
 

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Thanks for your reply. Based on your personal experience, like how much do those lights increase the heat of the water?
They don't increase the temperature of the water at all. The amount of heat produced by the 14 watt cfls I use doesn't really affect anything. Besides, all the heat escapes upward and is dissipated by the aluminum reflectors.
 

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I don't mind a timer. I bought a time from Walmart. :p How much have you payed for the ones sold at Home Depot?
I didn't buy mine from Home Depot because on their website the 10.5" lamps were almost $15. While at Tractor supply they were only $8.99. Here's a link to the ones at Tractor Supply: http://www.tractorsupply.com/webapp...ory_rn=&top_category=&urlLangId=&cm_vc=-10005 ... I see now Home Depot online has a 10.5" for $9.97 but says online only so not sure what they actually have in the store.

I just like the 10.5" ones since it seems I get more even light not only under the center of the bulb but out a bit from the center. That really small 5.5" one will focus a lot of light in a narrow area and drop off more quickly the further out from center you get. The 8" ones are somewhere in between. I could be wrong .. I'm really not an expert.

Right now I'm using 2-10.5" fixtures with 13 watt Home Depot brand 6500k bulbs hanging about 3" above the top of my 20 long. But I don't really have many plants in it anymore as most were moved to my 75 gal tank.

Oh .. for timers I've been using the dual grounded outlet ones from Harbor Freight that I got for $5. Been using same ones for more than 2 yrs with no problems. I like having 2 grounded outlets in one timer.
 
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