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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am using an Aqueon Economy hood over a 10 gallon tank. I am using 2x13 watt CFL bulbs. My tank is dirted. I just wanted to know if those two lights are too much, and am wondering this because I know the reflectors make a huge difference. I don't know much about reflectors and have heard that the stock ones are not good. I am also going to mention that it's been 8 days since I dirted my tank, and have been having my lights on for 6-8 hours a day. So far I haven't gotten any algea, but I think that's because I kept up with a lot of water changes. Most of my Ludwigia Repens looked as if they were melted and this freaked me out, so I ended up dosing some CO2 in liquid form (API CO2 Booster.)

As far as plants go, I am only growing Java Fern, Java Fern Tropica, Anubias Nana Petite, Java Moss, and Ludwigia Repens. I know that CO2 is useful in any tank, but with my light setup, am I able to get away without dosing CO2? I really want to keep my tank low tech and don't want to have to be dosing co2.
 

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If you will look on the CFL chart on this thread, you will see why most who have used those eventually get down to one @ 13W.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=184368
I'll go/w the idea that your fixture has poor reflectors and the chart is meant for good reflectors. So If this is true...you may still have 250 PAR in there.
One tank that I saw which had no algae but good plant growth had one of those in
a Home DEpot clamp on light fixture($9) which he had taken off the clamp and spray painted the outside black and the inside white and hung it by the cord from a shelf bracket over the tank about 18" from the substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Everyone thanks for the replies. I think that 2x13 Watt CFLs in a 10 gallon tank are only too much if using lamps with those really good reflectors. In a few days, I'm going to stop dosing CO2 into my tank, and let you know how things go with my tank. Personally, I don't think that 2x13 CFLs without those lamps are too much because those bulbs are not efficient.
 

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Carpe Diem
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I am guessing that the bulbs will be mounted horizontally. If yes, then you will be down to ~50% of PAR if they were hung vertically.

In short, with 2 x 13w right over a 10g you will be at the higher end of low light.
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I'm running a single 10w cfl (9 hrs) on my sons 10g grow-out/holding tank that houses giant Vals, Hornwort, Najas (guppy grass), crypts and water lettuce and everything is doing great(3 weeks)

Why do you need so much light? Is a single hanging cfl even an option? We had a conventional hood and decided to not use it even though it would have gave us a much cleaner look.
 

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Before I changed my 10 gallon over to a saltwater setup I was using 2 20 watt bulbs without any co2 and had no issues. I kept my lights on for between 8 and 12 hours a day.
Granted I did get a little algae, but nothing I could not handle with a window scraper once or twice a week.
 

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I use 2 13watt CFL's on my 10g and have not had any problems. At the beginning I had a little algae but nothing nerites couldn't take care off. Once your tank balances out its a breeze.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How were they mounted?
I am using an Aqueon Economy Full Hood. It's one of those fixtures that allows you to put two incandescent light bulbs. In place of the incandescent lights, I use the two CFL bulbs there. I bought that hood for the purpose of not getting a glass top and using those hang on lamps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Before I changed my 10 gallon over to a saltwater setup I was using 2 20 watt bulbs without any co2 and had no issues. I kept my lights on for between 8 and 12 hours a day.
Granted I did get a little algae, but nothing I could not handle with a window scraper once or twice a week.
When you had 2x20 Watt bulbs, what type of fixture were you using for your lights, and what type of plants were you growing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am guessing that the bulbs will be mounted horizontally. If yes, then you will be down to ~50% of PAR if they were hung vertically.

In short, with 2 x 13w right over a 10g you will be at the higher end of low light.
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I think that using par charts for comparison is confusing because some light fixtures have better reflectors than others. I'm thinking of just purchasing a par meter.
 

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Carpe Diem
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PAR is just a reference point for me. I have stargrass, limnophilia aromatica, and a bunch of other plants growing just fine under PAR 12. If they don't, i can always switch to a higher or lower wattage bulb for < $5. That's a lot of bulbs for the $300+ PAR meter that you will use 2 times and that will not give the 'correct' results.

If the plants grow well, a number is just a number.

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Fresh Fish Freak
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IMO you're making this too complicated lol

You can certainly go invest in a PAR meter if you want to play with it, but you honestly don't need it.

Are you CURRENTLY having any issues with your tank/plants?

You said you had a Ludwigia meltdown. How are they doing now? (Ludwigia happens to hate me, personally... I gave up on them. I suspect they don't like my lean water columns, but could be any number of different factors, really) You'll always have plant species that do better or worse for you than for other people with seemingly comparable setups... it's just the nature of the beast.

As long as you aren't having any major issues right now, I'd leave well enough alone.

If you run into algae problems, then you can start experimenting to see what helps; there's usually lots of options to try and see what works best, between shortening photoperiods, raising fixtures up off tanks, adjusting dosing, adding Excel and/or algae eaters, etc etc etc

Intial plant dieoffs and algae blooms are pretty much par for the course with new tanks (and since you just did a major substrate replacement, I'd consider your setup "new."). It takes a while for a plants to adjust to new settings and tanks to achieve stability.

Patience is really the MOST important "ingredient" with planted tanks, IMHO. :fish:
 

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IMO you're making this too complicated lol

If you run into algae problems, then you can start experimenting to see what helps; there's usually lots of options to try and see what works best, between shortening photoperiods, raising fixtures up off tanks, adjusting dosing, adding Excel and/or algae eaters, etc etc etc

Intial plant dieoffs and algae blooms are pretty much par for the course with new tanks (and since you just did a major substrate replacement, I'd consider your setup "new."). It takes a while for a plants to adjust to new settings and tanks to achieve stability.
yep, exactly how i feel. not everyones tanks are going to respond in the same way, if the tank is doing fine then follow the old saying "if it aint broke, then dont fix it." once you notice a problem is when you need to start seeing what can be adjusted and so forth.
 

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My first tank was a 10 gallon with the 2 cfl hoods. I never dosed anything nor had fancy substrate. I had plain old river rock gravel. My plants did just fine. I know this is a broad statement, but if the OP goes down to just 1 light, then they'll only have half a lit tank. The other half will be completely dark. The way the bulbs are mounted UP INTO the hood, the light doesn't go side to side very well, mostly front to back so 2 bulbs would be needed. I used the 13w "now smaller than ever" sylvania bulbs from Lowes ..

I occasionally got spot algae but that's because I didn't' dose anything.

Sorry I can't find a picture of the bottom of this hood, but this is the top of the one I refer to...

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
IMO you're making this too complicated lol

You can certainly go invest in a PAR meter if you want to play with it, but you honestly don't need it.

Are you CURRENTLY having any issues with your tank/plants?

You said you had a Ludwigia meltdown. How are they doing now? (Ludwigia happens to hate me, personally... I gave up on them. I suspect they don't like my lean water columns, but could be any number of different factors, really) You'll always have plant species that do better or worse for you than for other people with seemingly comparable setups... it's just the nature of the beast.

As long as you aren't having any major issues right now, I'd leave well enough alone.

If you run into algae problems, then you can start experimenting to see what helps; there's usually lots of options to try and see what works best, between shortening photoperiods, raising fixtures up off tanks, adjusting dosing, adding Excel and/or algae eaters, etc etc etc

Intial plant dieoffs and algae blooms are pretty much par for the course with new tanks (and since you just did a major substrate replacement, I'd consider your setup "new."). It takes a while for a plants to adjust to new settings and tanks to achieve stability.

Patience is really the MOST important "ingredient" with planted tanks, IMHO. :fish:
I'm not trying to make this complicated. I understand that it's good to experiment a bit to see what works and what doesn't, however, two months from now, I will be gone to Australia for a whole month, so I want to remain with a low-tech setup because I don't want to have to ask my sister to dose CO2 into my tank. At the moment, I am dosing CO2 in liquid form Yes, my Ludwigia at first did melt a bit. After I researched about the Ludwigia meltdown, I read that it's usually a bad thing to plant Ludwigia in a freshly dirted tank that hasn't been stable yet. I was worried about my 2x13 Watt CFLs being too much light and wanted to avoid algae issues. My Ludwigia are growing too fast now. The old leaves still look melted, but the new leaves are looking super healthy. My plant is growing about a little leaf per day. Other than that, I haven't seen any growth on my Java Fern. However, my Tropica Java Fern is growing quite a bit, and my Anubia Nana Petite is growing really fast.
 
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