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Algae Grower
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
i know this has probably been covered many times but i couldn't find what i was looking for...

i just set up a new low tech tank and i'm a little worried that i'm not lighting it correctly.

tank dimensions: 36 x 15 x 20 (about 46g - they call it a 50)
light: home made 2 x 21w T5NO(36") suspended about 6" above the water
substrate: MTS
plants: anubias, crypts, ferns, ect.

the tank looks to be lit up just as bright as my 29g with a 2 x 24w T5HO light. - that has me a little worried, lol.

how high should the fixture be and how long should i have it on for?

here's a pic of the fixture:



here's the tank: (don't mind the out of place plants - i'm not done yet)



thanks for the help!
 

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I wouldn't worry about the brightness. You are running less than 1 watt per gallon so you are in no danger of having too much light.

I would start out with a photo period of 6 hours and scale it up 1 hour per week and see at what point you start growing algae.

Something between 8-10 hours I would imagine is where you will end up.

Nice start to the layout. Going to be an attractive tank.
 

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home made 2 x 21w T5NO(36") suspended about 6" above the water
Now you have got me thinking that I might come out cheaper making a fixture like yours instead of buy a new 1. So what was the final cost on the fixture? Where did you find the dual fixture. In lowe's I only saw a single light 36in shop light.

Love the layout is simple and has a nice flow. Like how the wood and plants seem to flow together because of the curature.

His idea on lighting sounds good.
 

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Algae Grower
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I wouldn't worry about the brightness. You are running less than 1 watt per gallon so you are in no danger of having too much light.

I would start out with a photo period of 6 hours and scale it up 1 hour per week and see at what point you start growing algae.

Something between 8-10 hours I would imagine is where you will end up.

Nice start to the layout. Going to be an attractive tank.
thanks for your response/compliment . please forget what you know about the "WPG" rule. it doesn't apply here. for reference, my fixture puts out about as much light as a single 96W PC bulb with a standard reflector.

Now you have got me thinking that I might come out cheaper making a fixture like yours instead of buy a new 1. So what was the final cost on the fixture? Where did you find the dual fixture. In lowe's I only saw a single light 36in shop light.

Love the layout is simple and has a nice flow. Like how the wood and plants seem to flow together because of the curature.

His idea on lighting sounds good.
it wasn't necessarily cheaper. i think after having to buy the bulbs and the fixture i retroed into the shop light that i cut down it would have been cheaper to have a 36" coralife T5NO fixture shipped to me. it was fun to make though. they have a number of T5NO items at the home depot. that's where i found what i used. here's a pic:



the finished product:

 

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So the standard WPG equation doesn't apply because of the T5NO fixture?

I am running one of these fixtures on my 26 gallon low tech. The light is not suspended and I'm running about 1.6 watts per gallon.

In my experience this has not been a high light setup. I'm running an 8 hour photo period without any algae problems dosing excel according to the directions on the bottle.

Is there something different about the reflector because your hood is a DIY?
 

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So the standard WPG equation doesn't apply because of the T5NO fixture?
The wpg rule is based on T12 bulbs. The t5 gets about 10-12 more lumens per watt than the t12.

Old punk love the hanging contraption for the light. How did you make it, materials?
 

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Great work on that light, it may have cost as much as a Coralife, but it looks to be much more efficient. Where did you get the reflector?

As for the question if it will overpower your tank, I figure you have two options. One is to raise the light until it looks rather dim in the tank, and slowly drop it over a few months until you start to have problems. The other option is to keep the light low to the tank and let her rip, and only raise it if/when you start having problems.

So the question is, do you want to do it the safe way, or the fun way:)
I'm sure you know this already, but filling the tank with a lot more plants is really going to help get you off to a good start.
 

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As for the question if it will overpower your tank, I figure you have two options. One is to raise the light until it looks rather dim in the tank, and slowly drop it over a few months until you start to have problems..
I disagree. I think if you dose with Potassium sulphate and start with 6 hrs of light you will be okay. For that is like 3 T8 bulbs and I had minimum problem with that over my 30 in long tank.
 

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Algae Grower
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So the standard WPG equation doesn't apply because of the T5NO fixture?
yes

I am running one of these fixtures on my 26 gallon low tech. The light is not suspended and I'm running about 1.6 watts per gallon.


In my experience this has not been a high light setup. I'm running an 8 hour photo period without any algae problems dosing excel according to the directions on the bottle.
your probably at the high end of being low light.the 26g is kinda tall too, right?(26 bow?)

Is there something different about the reflector because your hood is a DIY?
probably, i haven't actually seen one of those fixtures in person though.
 

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Algae Grower
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
The wpg rule is based on T12 bulbs. The t5 gets about 10-12 more lumens per watt than the t12.

Old punk love the hanging contraption for the light. How did you make it, materials?
honestly, that was probably the cheapest/easiest part to make. it just consists of some wiring conduit that i bent out in the driveway and a few brackets. total cost was like 5 bucks. all you need is something to cut the pipe a drill and a pipe bender(had to barrow that from my work).

Great work on that light, it may have cost as much as a Coralife, but it looks to be much more efficient. Where did you get the reflector?
i stole it from an old 96w PC retro i had lying around out in the garage.

As for the question if it will overpower your tank, I figure you have two options. One is to raise the light until it looks rather dim in the tank, and slowly drop it over a few months until you start to have problems. The other option is to keep the light low to the tank and let her rip, and only raise it if/when you start having problems.

So the question is, do you want to do it the safe way, or the fun way:)
I'm sure you know this already, but filling the tank with a lot more plants is really going to help get you off to a good start.
i know i need more plant life in there, i ran out of money. got some more coming though.

thanks for your input - i think i'll start off with lights up a bit more and cut down the lighting period to 7hrs. for now.
 

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Looks really nice!

I agree that some stems and/or floaters would probably help stabilize the tank at first to avoid or minimize algae outbreaks. You could always pull them later...
I agree. I have 130w of CFL light over my 55g low tech tank. I use water lettuce as a fast grower to keep things stable. The rest of the swords, crypts, and anubias all do very well without algae.
 

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Algae Grower
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Looks really nice!

I agree that some stems and/or floaters would probably help stabilize the tank at first to avoid or minimize algae outbreaks. You could always pull them later...
I agree. I have 130w of CFL light over my 55g low tech tank. I use water lettuce as a fast grower to keep things stable. The rest of the swords, crypts, and anubias all do very well without algae.
thanks guys. i totally forgot about probably needing some stems to start off with, ohp's. floaters will just get sucked into the overflow. i still have 5 more crypts coming along with a couple more anubias. i guess i need to start a WTB thread for some Najas sp. Roraima too.
 
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