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Marineland Reef Capable on a planted.

1856 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  le0p
Ok so I'm pretty much a newb on in this hobby but am learning a lot...mostly the hard way. So back in mid march when I got myself into all this I did research on lighting but I guess I didn't do enough. There is a lot of conflicting information out there and sorting the B.S. can be a little dauting.

Anyways, my original aquarium kit came with a single 18" 17w T8 Daylight bulb from Marineland for a 24 x 12 15gallon tank. I knew I would need more light for a planted tank so I looked into getting something better. I though LED would be the way to go since I've read that florescent bulbs need to be replaced every year or so.
I looked around and found Marineland had some LED lights for my budget. The options at the time were the single bright, double bright and reef capable(this is before their panted series came out.) I bit the bullet and bought the reef capable since it had many more LED bulbs than the other's plus it was rated at 10000K.

Here is a pic with my original T8.

Here is a pic with the Marineland Reef capable.

I thought I was set for my lighting.
Fastforward to July.
My plants were growing somewhat but not as much as I had hoped.
Even worse some of my plants started to become transparent and some died.
I thought it was a nutrient or co2 problem so I started adding root tabs and dosing excel. I even had the fluval mini co2 going. Things did't improve.
Even my Anubias and Java ferns were turning transparent.
(FYI my substrate is seachem flourite red.)
After doing research it seems like this can happen when the chloroplast dies.

So sorry for the long post but here is where I need confirmation.
Most people only talk about plants needing lights that are 6500K - 10000k.
My Marineland Reef Capable is 10000k so I though I would be fine.
But the kelvin is just how we humans will perceive how the plant will look and
more important than color temperature (kelvin) is the wavelength that the lights emit. In my case my LED is as follows:

It gives a lof to 400nm range (chlorophyll b ) but very little 600nm range (chlorophyll a.)
From what I've read plants need both choropyll A and B.

Would supplementing my led with my original 17w T8 be good enough or should I toss the LED and just get lights that are meant for plants such as T5.

Thanks for reading and any input is greatly appreciated.


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You can find a lot of the information on what kind of light you need if you search the lighting forum. There's a sticky with par values to various led lights available.
I use the reef capable light on my 20g planted. I haven't had any issues growing anything so far. Granted most of my plants are fairly easy to grow but there are a few more difficult plants (such as rotala macrandra) in there that have flourished. I have found for my tank that the light has a relatively narrow but intense beam and if I don't move it front to back (and vice versa) it's a little too much for most of my plants to survive. I generally give the front and back about 6 hours a day of high light. I'm not running pressurized co2 yet but I do dose excel and flourish.
Oh, and I also run a Ecoxxotic Ecopico over my Fluval CHI 5 gallon (with 2 LED strips currently) and everything in there is healthy as can be and growing just fine. The Ecopico is 12000K/453nm. So I'm not too sure how much wavelength matters but I haven't seen an issue in either of my tanks.
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
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