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Low Tech 5.5g GU10 LED test

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I was always curious if GU10 LEDs are able to keep plants alive if not grow them, I used GU10's for about 2 years on my reef tank with great success but with a planted tank I'm very old school and bias when it comes to LED. I prefer to stick with the tried and true T5HO. However I decided to do a test, I wanted to keep it simple since I already have 8 other tanks running. For this tank I will not use co2 in any form, there will be 0 dosing of any kind.


5.5g Hagen Glass tank painted black on the side
Aqua Clear 20 with fluval prefilter sponge --> Tom Rapids mini Canister filter with fluval prefilter sponge --> Tom Rapids mini Canister filter with dual large sponge filter
Media in the filter is Seachem Matrix and filter floss
Akadama small grain soil
Modern Glass Hang on Thermometer --> Digital External Thermometer
Mag float glass cleaner
DIY Gu10 LED 6 bulbs 1wx3 60 degree optics removed, 18w total --> 5 bulbs 1wx3 and a red/blue 2wx3 grow bulb, 21w total
Cheapo analog timer


Akadama small grain soil
Dragon Stones
[STRIKE]Ceramic Shrimp Tube[/STRIKE]


11 CBS Michlings

Plants Current:

Rotala Rotundifolia
Bacopa Coroliniana
Blyxa Japonica
Staurogyne Repens
Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini'
Brazilian micro sword

Plants Removed:

Four Left Clover
Dwarf Sagittaria
Anubias 'nana'
Needle Leaf Java Fern

March 23rd 2017

I'm not feeling it, something about the scape that screams too much. Just so the test is done right there was no DSM all plants are grown start to finnish with GU10's. I will never use Akadama small grain again, it's lighter than fluval shrimp stranum, it's crazy hard to keep any plants in.

April 16th 2017

11 CBS added for at least a week to week and a half now, decided to take out a 1wx3 and replace it with a 2wx3 red/blue grow bulb. Removed Dwarf Sag, Four leaf clover, and the anubas/java fern on the tube, I don't feel that these plants fit in a small tank like this. Also added some S. repens to divide the main carpet, moved the micro sword from the left to right. Added what few Bacopa I had. Added a Mag Float and change out the filter to a Tom's Rapids Canister filter, left the old filter floss from the AC 20 just incase the tank goes into mini cycle. I used the old Seachem Matrix and added some more from the old filter. Took out the HOB glass it keeps falling in the tank....Tossed in a small IAL because well, Why not?

May 6th 2017

Added more Bacopa from my main DT tank, decided to put in Blyxa in between the Rock. Added AR 'mini' to divide the S. repens. the Rotala is growing great. The blyxa has been in the tank for a
while now I'm suprised it didn't melt. 2 Shrimps are berried, but I"m pretty sure 2 shrimps has died :frown2: the cycly of life I guess. Also took out the old Filter floss.

May 16th 2017

Almost 2.5 months has passed and my dual large sponge filter finally arrived from china, replaced the fluval prefilter but kept the old prefilter in the tank for the time being. Digital Thermometer
arrived form China after almost 3.5 months. Everything is growing slowly but surely as expected. One of the berried shrimps dropped her eggs :crying:

The BBA on the micro sword didn't develope in this tank, it was already there when I took it from my DT.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
May 21th 2017

Good news I found new born shrimplets. I thought big mama dropped her eggs because she only had 5 or so eggs and that seemed a little odd to me. So when I inspected her and saw no eggs I just assume she molted and drop the eggs. I found 4 new borns so far, I hope they make it pass 2 weeks. Removed the fluval prefilter that was lying there and also added another IAL.


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