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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an open top 29 gallon tall tank; 30" long and the depth from light to substrate will nearly hit 18". My current two T5NO bulbs put out a combined 36w and it's just barely doing the trick on my low light plants. I want much higher output so I can grow just about any plant I like at my LFS.

I've seen the Finnex PAR charts (not for 30" though) and I don't know if a Ray2 would be sufficient. I've seen a chart that shows many plants like a minimum of 100 PAR with 125 often being more ideal. A Ray2 does not put that out approaching the 18" mark. I'm new to planted tanks so I could be misunderstanding the issue. Those plant's suggested PAR values were the values at substrate level, right?

I had planned on dumping my current T5NO setup and just using one Ray2. Is that feasible for my tank and goals? I guess I could get two Ray2 fixtures but since I have no experience with them (and I'd like to spend the coin elsewhere), I was hoping one fixture would do the trick.

TIA.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Do you already have a pressurized CO2 setup for your tank? Most likely any plant that needs 100-125 PAR is also going to need very good CO2 and at least weekly if not daily fert dosing.

If you don't yet have a pressurized CO2 setup, that would be the better investment BEFORE upgrading your lighting.

Many plants that have the reputation of being "high light" actually will do quite fine in lower light... if they are supplied with good CO2 levels and a balanced fert regimen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, I do have a pressurized C02 set up going. It's the fert regime that might need some work. I've used root tabs a time or two and I dose Flourish micro and trace as recommended on the bottle.

The ability to grow a wider range of plants is just a plus. The real issue is the plants I have now (two kinds of crypts, an anubias, java fern and sword) don't look as good and healthy as they should and I think lighting is my weak link right now.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Could you post some pics of your plants?

The species you're keeping are very hardy in low light, so there's a good chance that you've got a nutrient deficiency rather than light. It's likely you need to start dosing macros.

If that's the case, putting more light over the tank would just make the problem worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
The tank was set up almost two months ago. I have a clear brown algae problem but I've struck out looking for Oto cats and Amano shrimp at the local shops.

I trimmed off some of the dying parts of the leaves when I first got the plants but some are just not doing well. Again, sorry about the formatting.







 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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OK from those pictures, lighting is not your problem.

You definitely have a brown algae issue- extremely common for new tank setups. Keep doing water changes, gently run your fingers over the crypt leaves to manually remove as much as possible before each water change. If any of the leaves are showing holes, you might as well go ahead and prune them away. Otherwise, your crypts all look pretty good.

Otos, Amano shrimp, and/or nerite snails definitely also would help.

Your swords are all transitioning from emersed to submersed growth. So all of those leaves WILL die now that they're underwater. Are you getting any new growth, though? If not- it looks like they might be planted too deep? Make sure that the corm (where the leaves all meet) is pulled up out of the substrate.

You also have the rhizomes (the thick green "stem" that the leaves are growing out of) buried on your Java ferns and Anubias. This also needs to be pulled up out of the substrate. Both of these plants are actually ferns, and do not need to be "planted" at all- they can be tied to rocks or driftwood and will put out roots primarily just to anchor themselves.

Any chance you have any test kits? I'm curious about your nitrate levels.

Do you have any livestock in this tank yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I just got a pretty deluxe test kit today. I'll get to use it tomorrow night after work, if you wouldn't mind checking back then.

I've had growth on everything except the swords. They really haven't done anything at all.

And no, I've got no livestock in there now. I wanted to learn how to get the plants going well and be able to make any necessary changes without worrying about killing off any fish.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Ah- in that case (no livestock), your tank is definitely nutrient-deficient. Better start dosing macros! If you have any fert tabs left, I'd stick one under each of your swords to see if that helps.

The Java fern plantlets aren't necessarily a "good" sign. I mean, it's nice to have some new plants to work with, but Java ferns also will throw out new plants as a survival strategy when they find themselves in unfavorable conditions. The "mother leaf" will die and the new plants will float downstream, hopefully landing in a better place to grow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Will do. I only bought a bottle of micro last time I was at the fish store because macro was sold out. I'll get there asap and get that macro going. Apparently a typical bottle of macro will have the nitrogen and phosphate that it looks like my swords need badly.

Thanks.
 
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