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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone!
My 36 gallon tank has been up and running now for a cpl of months and about half of my plants arent happy. Some are just turning brown or black some are losing leaves and then some are just fine. My fish are doing fine. For lights I have a solar max Ho 72 watt plus a strip it came with and 3 led lights I bout from Wingo that total 24 watts(these are more like spot lights). Ive been looking for a co2 thinking thats why my plants arent happy. I posted here and on planted tank. I received several different responses and they are about 50/50 half think I dont need co2 with my set up the other 50% think I do. I thought I had come up with the solution go buy low light plants(this time from pacific they have really nice plants) and order the fluval co2 that way I would have the best of both worlds but then I realized I cant turn that co2 system off and the replacement bottles are really expensive to replace. Can someone please help me figure out what I should do.
1. just go buy low light plants and replace the ones I have?
2. Buy a real co2 system since my set up in now considered mid to high light now? (my tank doesn't look bright could be because of the wood turning the water brown)
3. Buy low light plants to replace the ones dying and order one of the fluval 88 co2?
Pacific says they have on order a real co2 with tank and everything around 250$ will be in withing 3 weeks.
thanks for your in put.
patrick
 

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Your lighting and CO2 are probably not enough for what you want to grow. What is the kelvin rating of your lights? 5500k-10000k is the optimal spectrum. The best falling in the middle around 6500k.
More important than watts is overall lumens and PAR. Growing good plants first requires good light, then nutrients like co2 and fertilizers. Have one without the other or neither and your plants will melt away, except for really tough plants like anubias and some mosses.

I would guess that your lighting is insufficient. If your java fern is dying, something is definitely wrong with the setup.
 

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Who said your setup was high light? I have a 30 gallon with over 100 watts on it, 6700k, and it hovers about 12 inches above the waters surface. My par levels aren't that strong.

You have remember depth can play a huge role in how much light is actually reaching your plants.
I would also add a carbon source of some kind, flourish excel or DIY co2 would be enough to keep your plants from melting away.
 

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Are u fertilizing???????? Seems to be a major contributing factor. I would consider u high light with the led spot lights added on.. and scags u ca add 1million watts of light and raise it 100 inches above the suface and have low par. Thinnk the sun.. its very far away. Light intensity isnt linear when u move near or close. Its logarithmic. The further u move away the move even it is but u cut ur par down a lot..
C02 is most likely a must in this tank unless u wanna go down to about 36 watts
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks scags
I really think whats killing th java is the snails I had. I had 4 apple snails and I noticed small holes in the java. I added lights to my tank 24 watts of led the guy that made those lights told me with the 72 plus the 24 watt strip and the 24 watt led that I was in high light
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks HD ibacha
Im dosing excel 1/2 cap every other day. So if I get the co2 will my lights be ok? I just bought them and dont want to buy another set.
 

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Good point BlazingWolf. I never thought of it like that.

I definitely second the excel or co2 though, plus maybe some ferts.
 

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Hi Everyone!
My 36 gallon tank has been up and running now for a cpl of months and about half of my plants arent happy. Some are just turning brown or black some are losing leaves and then some are just fine. My fish are doing fine. For lights I have a solar max Ho 72 watt plus a strip it came with and 3 led lights I bout from Wingo that total 24 watts(these are more like spot lights). Ive been looking for a co2 thinking thats why my plants arent happy. I posted here and on planted tank. I received several different responses and they are about 50/50 half think I dont need co2 with my set up the other 50% think I do. I thought I had come up with the solution go buy low light plants(this time from pacific they have really nice plants) and order the fluval co2 that way I would have the best of both worlds but then I realized I cant turn that co2 system off and the replacement bottles are really expensive to replace. Can someone please help me figure out what I should do.
1. just go buy low light plants and replace the ones I have?
2. Buy a real co2 system since my set up in now considered mid to high light now? (my tank doesn't look bright could be because of the wood turning the water brown)
3. Buy low light plants to replace the ones dying and order one of the fluval 88 co2?
Pacific says they have on order a real co2 with tank and everything around 250$ will be in withing 3 weeks.
thanks for your in put.
patrick

This diagram may help.

The dead spots in the Java Fern are probably do to excessive iron uptake. If you have iron in the substrate stop adding extra iron. If not greatly reduce the amount you are adding.

In nature co2 runs constantly. It won't hurt anything to let co2 run constantly. I know from experience. Carbon is the most important nutrient, without an adequate supply nothing else you do will improve the situation.

Most plants are low light.

Do you have a wielding supply store in your area. If you do you can find what you need there. I bought a single stage Airco co2 regulator with solenoid and needle valve over 15 years ago and it still works like new.
 

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A major part of the reason you're getting conflicting answers is because you're providing incomplete information.

All other requirements for healthy plant growth depend on light. Watts per gallon alone cannot be used to determine your lighting levels. The difference in usable light produced varies significantly. There are those here who can make an accurate determination, but only if provided enough info to exactly replicate your lighting setup.

So can you provide a link to the Solax Max fixture you're using? If not, does this fixture use T5HO bulbs? Is it a single or dual bulb? If dual, are you still using the blue actinic bulb it likely came with?

Also, what is the distance between your bulbs and substrate? Details on this extra strip light (replacement bulb type, length, wattage, color, etc.)?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone!
The only thing Im adding is ecell 1/2 cap everyother day. The solor max is a dble strip T5ho bulbs. I changed out the blue bulb for one the salesman was needed for plants. The other strip is a white (day light) 24watt strip. The lights are 18 inches from the bttm. The soil i used is CaribSea Floramax Planted Aquarium Substrate
 

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Excellent, thanks Partrobe!

So now we go to the lighting chart:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lighting/105774-par-vs-distance-t5-t12-pc.html

And find that a single T5HO bulb will produce about 80 PAR at 18" from the substrate. "PAR" is Photosynthetically Active Radiation, the amount of usable light your plants receive.

You have two bulbs, so we have to double that to 160 PAR. And since the reflectors don't look too efficient on that fixture, I'll be generous and knock off 20%, leaving you with 128 PAR.

That's already above high light. And we haven't even added in the strip light or LED spots.

The more light you have, the more plants are stimulated to grow. The more they try to grow, the more nutrients they require. If those nutrients aren't available, the plants become unhealthy instead of growing. Like flogging a horse to run when it's starving, it doesn't end well.

High light tanks absolutely require CO2. Excel provides carbon, like CO2, but it is not actual CO2. The amount of carbon Excel can provide is limited, regardless of dosage, and insufficient for a high light tank.

High light tanks also require complete and heavy fertilization, to make sure all nutrients are present in at least adequate quantities, at all times. If even one nutrient is inadequate, things can go wrong in a matter of days. EI dosing is typically used for high light tanks, where all nutrients are added in excess to make sure that none can become depleted. Then a 50% water change is done once a week to remove what wasn't used, to keep it from building up.

Successfully running a high light tank requires commitment and a bit of a learning curve.

And the more light you have, the more difficult it is to do. As you currently have more than high light, it is unnecessarily difficult. Even if you get your CO2 and fertilizers perfect, you're providing more light than plants can successfully use. The excess only causes problems.

If you are committed to running a high light tank, fulfilling the CO2 and nutrient requirements, and using your current fixture, then remove the strip and LED lights. See if you can mount your Solar Max fixture a few inches higher, so that you fall in the middle of the high light category according to the chart I linked. If that's not possible, you can mount one or more layers of window screening underneath it to block a bit of the light.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks the temp is 75-76 degrees. I have to hob filters and I can see the plants gently moving through the tank.
Dark Cobra If I remove the one strip and raise the solar strip would that lower my light level? Its so funny my tank doesn't look bright at all it looks dark to me. I really dont want to do water changes each week so is there a way around that? What typs of fert should I get? Ive decided to get the co2 system. Im going tomorrow to order one.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
And find that a single T5HO bulb will produce about 80 PAR at 18" from the substrate. "PAR" is Photosynthetically Active Radiation, the amount of usable light your plants receive.

You have two bulbs, so we have to double that to 160 PAR. And since the reflectors don't look too efficient on that fixture, I'll be generous and knock off 20%, leaving you with 128 PAR.
One of the lights is in the solar strip is 48 watt the other is 24 watt for total of 72
 

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Dark Cobra If I remove the one strip and raise the solar strip would that lower my light level?
Yes.

Its so funny my tank doesn't look bright at all it looks dark to me.
It looks a bit dark to me too, but hard to tell from a photo because you never know how a camera has adjusted the picture.

Did you previously keep a saltwater reef tank? If so, a planted tank will look dark because they require much less light.

Also, if one of your bulbs is a pink/purple "plant grow" bulb (which it sounds like it may be), these look dim because they're tuned to colors plants can use best, rather than what looks bright to the human eye.

I really dont want to do water changes each week so is there a way around that? What typs of fert should I get?
The EI dosing system I mentioned typically uses dry, powdered ferts. Since they're added in excess, it does require regular water changes to keep them from building up.

There are other fertilization schemes that require less or no water changes, like PPS or substrate ferts; but those aren't my area of expertise, so I can't give accurate advice there.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks DarkCobra
Yeah I just sold a salt water tank with mh so thats prob part of it. I will ask the salseman tomorrow about the pps(not sure what this is lol)
One of my bulbs is def purple. So the lights have been raised a glass hood has been put on and the third strip has been removed. Im going tomorrow to pick up a co2 system
 
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