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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The main reason I'm having trouble is because I'm still new to planted tanks. Quick sum up - my goal is a medium light, planted accordingly. Right now I have some anubias, sword, water sprite, micro sword, dwarf sag, crypt, etc. It's a 38 gal so it's kinda tall- 19". Substrate is 2 -2.5 in front, 3-4" in back. No real plans on doing co2. I do have some flourish and excel.
Right now it's low light. Plants are ok.
So for lighting. I think it's the odyssea t5 with 2× 39w 6700. I like this because of the price. The finnex planted+ or there's the Current USA Satellite Freshwater Aquarium LED Plus.
Looking for some advice.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Consider light to be the gas pedal, and CO2 + ferts are the gas that drive plant growth.

If you put 2 T5HO bulbs over this tank without running CO2 and dosing a comprehensive fert regimen, it'll be like flooring the gas pedal on a car with an empty gas tank. It's not going to go well.

IMO your key choice at this juncture is whether or not you want to run CO2 on this tank. Dosing Excel every day rather than running CO2 is going to get tedious as well as pricey fairly quickly.
 

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http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=184368
They are both on this link. A PAR chart and a list of light levels and what goes/w them.
Up to a point, I agree/w laurel about that light pushing your tank into the need for
CO2. But it's(the Odyssa) barely into that level. Simply saying it is easier to cut rather than raise light. Suspending it from the ceiling to raise it 3/6/9 inches is far cheaper than buying yet another light fixture. And yes doing Excel in that tank would get expensive after a while. I have that light in a 10g and hair algae even/w Excel as
this is obvious overkill on the light but intentionally so by design in my tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hmmm. I'm really leaning toward no co2. And agree the thought of dosing excel daily does not sound great either. I have to upgrade lights very soon so I need to make a choice.
Are you saying that with lights I listed and no co2 I will for sure have algae issues? I do understand that my stock choices are limited with more of a low tech but that's why I was thinking in the medium range.
I've been reading up on the par and I'm starting to get it but there is definitely a lot of info there. At what par with no co2 be best to limit algae?
Any advice appreciated
 

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What exactly do you mean by "medium"? The differences between "low," "medium," and "high" tech tanks really aren't exactly agreed upon, so I guess what I'm trying to ask is- what are your goals with this tank? What EXACTLY is it that makes you want "medium" rather than "low" if you don't want to run CO2?

What light fixture do you have going right now, and what do you want different from your plants/tank?

If we can get a clearer picture of what you're aiming for, then we can give better advice on how to get there :)
 

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Hi Laura! :bounce:

jas - there are no hard lines between "this par will work" and "this is too much light". Depends on a lot of different things. Plus, unless you have a PAR meter laying around, how would you be able to tell?

Without CO2 (and other added fertilizers) you rely on nutrients that are present in the tank. This works for example if you have a soil substrate, as that ensures a slow nutrient supply. It can be a delicate balance, and the more light there is available, the more likely your plants will run out of nutrients, stop growing, and yep, algae taking over.

So you always want to have all nutrients available. With low light levels, plants grow slowly, and water changes/substrate leaching/fish feeding etc replenish these small supplies. There is also a small percentage of CO2 in the water. If you spring for your 2x T5HO lights, this will be a jump in light intensity, and if not accompanied by adding nutrients, yep... :redface:
 

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You can literally drive yourself crazy with any aspect of this hobby. You don't NEED to be as technical about it as some folks get...although we all benefit from those who really dive deep into things.

A lot of (great) name brands are thrown around the forums but there are cheaper ways. I have a 20long low tech using 6500k CFL lights that grows dwarf hair grass and anubias cheap lighing, easy to change. I have another (main) tank that is a 40b that has a ton of plants in it now that I grew using 2 BeamsWork LED light fixtures. I got the pair of 36" fixtures for less than half what some other fixtures costs and my plants grow great. I can't program them for disco mode but they have the features I need: 6500k, on/low light/full light/off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What I want... tough question I guess. I want the best of both. Let me try to be more technical.
I already listed my rough plant list. (Plus I have some vals too). Substrate is floramax. Filter is ac70 and a penguin 200 (which should be gone soon as the ac is seeded.) Fish: 10 neons,6 har. Rasbora, 1 oto, couple snails and ghost shrimp. (Planning to add another group of 6 (not yet determined)
Lights: 30"t8 ( came with tank. From craigslist. Not sure what it is. 15w has a pinkish hue.) And a 18" 12w cheapy plant t8 from home depot I had laying around. It was always a plan to upgrade but got ahead of myself.
I'm not new to fish keeping - almost 20 years but am new to plants. This tank is more of a family project. My kids have had a lot of input so far. Iwagumi kinda inspired me to go planted but wanted more like a Dutch or natural. So my set up is a fusion of sorts. (We like it)
My plants so far are alive but not thriving. They need better light.
What I want is a visually appealing healthy balance of aquatic life. It's ok if they grow somewhat slow. I said medium because some of the med/high plants are just cool. I realize I am limited though. I planned on doing ferts and excel but not daily. Weekly just to keep things healthy. I have space for a carpet and was thinking glosso but again I understand co2 would aid in a carpet so I'm ok without. Basically I don't want a tank full of anubias. And I don't won't a $1000 setup with award winning rare plants. But I HAVE to change my lights.
On a side note; my java moss is dieing and my sword is doing the best. I just thought that's odd.
Hope this helps and THANK YOU everyone for the help.
 

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I have 30" planted plus and I like it very much. I have DIY CO2 and soil capped with gravel. My plants are taking off crazy and i'm getting good color on them. However, I have green hair alage issue in the tank, I think planted+ is making it worse.
 

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You asked about what PAR is the most you can use without having to use CO2 to avoid algae problems. If you stick with "low" light you don't have to use CO2, but Excel (or CO2 for that matter) will always be beneficial to the plants. Low light, based on that, is around 20 to 35 PAR. I now have about 40 PAR on my tank, no CO2, but I dose Excel at twice the recommended dosage, and my plants are doing much better than when I used just the recommended dosage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hoppy - thanks for info. I may just have to play around a bit. My big concern is buying something that requires the use of co2 for sure. As I said I can use excel but wanted to avoid daily use. The odyssea mentioned I suppose could work and I can always swap a bulb with a lesser. The led choice was just me looking at the more techy stuff. I guess I'm after a low tech after all.
 

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I have a Finnex Planted + on my 29g. I don't use CO2 or Excel and only dose a small amount of ferts after my water change. The light level is medium. All of my plants have taken off, growing 2-3" some of them, since adding this light about 1 month ago. I get a small amount of algae on the glass but nowhere else. It's nothing special, but requires very little of my time. It's just a shrimp tank.

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Jr man - tank looks good. Looks like everyone has a pro and con with every option. I guess it's going to come down to me spending $50 or 120. Just trying to not learn the hard way on something like lights. Plants are one thing.
 

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Hi Thomas!! :bounce:

Spend some time in the low tech forum- you'll find that you do have a lot more plant options than just Anubias and Java ferns even without running CO2. There are a also few species that will carpet in low light- a few small chain sword and Sagittaria species (though it's sometimes hard to find the species that stay 2-4", they ARE out there), Marseila minuta, and Lilaeopsis mauritiana are all options.

All of the tanks in my signature were set up low tech, low light, no CO2. 29gal on the left, 46gal in the middle, 90gal on the right. On the 29 and 46gal I ran the older brand of these fixtures: Amazon.com: Aqueon AQE40201 T5 Dual Strip Lighting Hoods for Aquarium, 30-Inch: Pet Supplies
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Been reading in the low tech forum quite a bit. The plant list seems fine for what I want and it appears some people get away with med/ high light plants as well. It also seems people's lighting is all over the board. The reason I said planted + was because I saw it mentioned a few times. I think it was described as a low/med light..? Am I wrong there?
I'm well aware that the watt per gallon is not a good measurement but I was told to be no lower than 2wpg. The odyssea is just that for me.
So... to keep me at a good low light setup, what would u recommend? ?
And thanks for the comments. I'll be an expert in no time and probably totally change to a super high tech:red_mouth
 

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The old WPG guidelines really only apply to the older T8 and CF fixtures that aren't used nearly as much these days. A T5HO fixture with a decent reflector behind the bulbs can easily produce almost 2x the usable light at substrate level as those older fixtures.

Have you already purchased the Odyssea? If so, you can probably work with that and not need CO2, if you take other steps to reduce the light- such as suspending the fixture higher up off the tank or using something to obstruct some of the light, such as mesh, floating plants, etc.

If you haven't purchased the fixture yet, and want the option of possibly going high tech with your tank down the road, then I'd encourage you to consider three bulb fixtures with the bulbs on different switches (giving you the option of running any combo of 1, 2, or 3 bulbs at a time). Not sure what all is on the market with three bulbs ATM, but I know Catalina will custom make one for you for a very reasonable price (I happen to really like these fixtures, personally... I have no affiliation with the company, however lol): http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/store/index.php?cPath=71_136&&page=1

I'm not a big fan of Odyssea brand... but I do hear they've gotten better quality than they were back when the ballasts used to constanty go on the fritz?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Laura thanks for taking time. I have not purchased any lights yet. (Being the fact that I'm trying to learn the best options and I am extremely indecisive.) As far as going high tech in future I'm not sure. I tend to go overboard on things and I'm trying to keep this kinda simple so let's just say I'm staying on the low side.
I'm not stuck on odyssea, it was recommended by a member and I like the price. And that's it. What about t5 2x 21w. I think coralife has one for a good price. Would that be enough? I just keep thinking that since it is a taller tank I need more. Again this is my novice mind thinking here.
All I know is my current lights are horrible and I can't decide to save my life.
But to go back on what u said about upgrading later. If I spend $50ish now and decide to go big later, I'm ok with that. I could find a use for a spare light fixture.
Ps. I can't hang the fixture., its in a hood.
 

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I purchased the odyssea 4x24watts t5ho for my 20 gallon tall planted tank. When I first got it I did not have my co2 equipment yet so I only ran two bulbs...obviously algae took over. I then experimented with window screen to help cut the light and it helped dramatically. Now...the tank has pressurized co2, dirt substrate with black diamond cap, modified ei dosing, and that same light fixture but I run all 4 bulbs for 6 hours. I'm trimming some plants every week! It's awesome. My point is...get the odyssea and there are a lot of ways to cut back the light without hanging from the ceiling. Once you get started with low tech and you become successful, you're going to want to try harder plants that require more effort.

Enjoy!!
 
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