The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I am very new to aquariums and am in the process of planning a 30 gallon planted aquarium. I've been reading a lot and researching but mostly on fish, plants and cycling.. And snoozing through the light sections..

Well I may have made a mistake, but I plopped 330 bucks down on a 4 bulb T5 HO AquaticLife 30" light system. And now I'm thinking I may have made my first "in the LFS getting excited and going for it on the advice of someone selling me something".. blunder.

Then I found this site and read about over-lighting, algae, etc. :confused1:

Did I over-do it? It's still in the sealed box, my tank hasn't got water or anything in it yet I'm going slow. So I could probably return it for at least store credit (for fish and plants and lower light)..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
302 Posts
Take it back! you only need a two bulb and you could spend the extra cash on a co2 system, substrate, ect.

Oh and I see this is your fist post so Ill be the first to welcome you here. I have only been here for a few weeks and its the only place I go for plant info. A week or two and you will already know more than the people at your lfs. Hows about a pic or a list of what you are working with so far?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Below are my notes.. Note that the plants and fish were decided upon about 6 weeks ago.. And since then I've changed my mind like 1000 times :tongue:. I even thought about ditching this whole tank and buying a bigger one.. I think I'm going crazy!

So what then, would one do with 4 bulb T5 HO setup like that? Maybe if I research it I'll want to go with it and not do the "medium light" I researched below?


Project: My first tank, 30 Gallon Planted Community Tank
Tap Water Ph: 6.6

Lighting: Unkown (thinking medium light)
Substrate: Seachem Flourite
CO2: Unknown
Filter: Aqua Clear 50

Plants: (probably won't use all these plants)
  • Floating Plants: Lemna minor aka duckweed (floats)
  • Tall Plants: Vallisneria, Anubis, Ceratopyllum demersen
  • Medium height Plants: Microsorium pteropus
  • Grassy plants: Echinodorus tenellus ??
Fish:
  • 6 Galaxy Rasbora (after cycle)
  • Unknown Shrimp (after cycle)
  • 8-10 Cardinal Tetras (after 1 month)
The tank after I got it: (Originally was UGF filtered)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,907 Posts
if u want that much light then u need that much c02 :) in a general form.. 2 lights would be acceptable/ (most likely prefereable) and much easier to maintain as far as plant trimming, algae control. fertilizers, and the amounts of c02 needed.

when it comes to light. as a general rule. less is better i just bought a 4 bulb tek fixture that hangs. the kicker. im hanging it so it reduces intensity and i can control between two and four bulbswith separate timers for precise control... i've also been through the ringer with two coralife fixture having two bulbs each algae, c02 problems and so on...

IMO start out light/ simple.. work your way up into understanding of balancing light/c02/ and ferts and then go into the big stuff if you decide u want to
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
No Way. Keep the Lights and save up for CO2.

Is it possible to make it that you put some timers on there that make it do something like...

Bulbs 1 and 2 come on with timer letting them come on for 5 hours. But 2 hours after they come bulbs 3 and 4 come on for 5 hours.

Then you have a 3 hour peak in the middle of the light cycle...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Andre B. It is my understanding that the light kit comes with a built in timer and the ability to adjust how many bulbs activate and when.

That was my rationalization for the purchase because, even though I was going for medium light with some floating plants, I could take this one light setup and adjust to whatever I might need if I changed my tank later.. my reading has shown that the plants I list there are mostly low light (and maybe a medium) and the cardinals can handle either as long as they have some floating plants to shade areas.

To BlazingWolf's point, what I didn't consider at the time was Co2 and algae and the balance that can offset there. I had wrote DIY Co2 and injection off as mad-scientist plant growth that was only necessary for special purposes. :hihi:

Another misconception I believe i had was that I was going to be spending a lot on lights either way for plant growth.. And now that I read more of the low-tech posts here it seems I could have gotten away with less expense!!

One thing I'm absolutely sure of, I don't want to hang this light.

I suppose I'll need to think about this some more and find out what bulbs came with the unit and how much I can adjust the timer/settings to get the light I want (medium light at least initially).

Heck if it came to it I would try fish/plants that require high light, I'm not set on any particular species (there's so many that have caught my eye)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,012 Posts
You have way too much light for a planted tank, unless you use only two bulbs, with the light about a foot above the top of the tank. One bulb alone at 16 inches should give you high light, so 4 gives an insane amount of light.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,399 Posts
Don't feel bad, I am always asking lighting questions. on the fish though I can shed some more light haha, pun intended. I would strongly recommend not starting with galaxy raspboras. they are a beautiful fish, but unless you found someone who has successfully bred them your going to spend a pretty penny. also they are only available like once a year. would be shame if you got them and they didn't live =( however if someone is breeding them rock on and give me their number!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Cool thanks everyone, I'm going to take them back this weekend. Luckily I didn't open the box or anything so they should take it back.

It is frustrating that she allowed me to do that (even though it was my decision) I did tell her I was looking for low - medium light but wanted flexibility if I needed it. And she never mentioned Co2 or algae at all. It wasn't on my radar at all. They know this stuff I know because they have an awesome array of plant tanks there and she's the co-owner.

Since I feel a bit bad though, I will tell them I will take store credit rather than cash back. I'm sure I'll spend it. And 2 bulb unit it is..

NWA-Planted: My fish list is always changing, it seems like it'll be forever before I actually buy fish. I have to get an electrician out to check my wires. I tried to install a GFCI and it immediately tripped telling me something was amiss down the line (and I know the wiring in my house has always been squirrelly! So I'm rolling with a half the house on breakers off till Tuesday due to my little electrical installation turned big job) Anyway, I will post an updated plant / fish list here when I know some more but the galaxies are so two-weeks-ago. I've been checking out other fish like fork-tail-blue-eyed-rainbow (Pseudomugil furcatus)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I returned my T5 HO 4 bulb today and now have 329.99 store credit bucks to use as I see fit. :red_mouth

The store had no 30" fixtures which house 24" bulbs in stock so they said their normal shipment would come in 2-3 weeks.

However... That got me thinking about what I'm looking for now. Basically a 30" fixture with 2 normal output bulbs. The 15 year old tank that I got had a fixture (shown below) with just 1 bulb. It is a Perfecto with a "Perfect-a-lamp" F20T12 20 watt 24" lamp. I'm not very thrifty so I had already consigned this to the throwaway pile in my home.. On second thought I fired it up and it still seems to work.

Now I just assumed that this would not be near enough light to grow plants, but what if I purchased a better bulb? I looked up Perfecto hoods online and they seem to be still making these fixtures. Can I assume any standard 24" bulb would work? Might I get 1 of these?

Sun-Glo T8 20W Fluorescent Lamp - 24"

http://www.bigalspets.com/dp/B0002A...zilla+Datafeed&utm_medium=Comparison+Shopping


The old Perfecto Light Fixture:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
So one question though.. If the 4 bulb T5 HO is overkill for a 30" tank setup.. What are they used for? Coral Reefs?
I was wondering the same thing. I am looking at a Coralife unit because it has the lunar lights, but yeah four bulbs for a 20 high seems crazy. How else can I get the lunar lights? And what do you use four bulbs for?! :confused:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Aquatect: I'm only speaking from all the posts I've read about the subject but it seems that you use high light. - 4 bulbs on a 30 gallon (Yours is 20 so not sure) - when your housing plants that have very high light requirements and your injecting Co2 and your timing it in ways to prevent Algae.

On my 30 I'm going to start with a normal output flourescent 20 watt bulb. Later I may upgrade to a bulb that is more "full spectrum".

Again that's how I have rationalized what I've read. So I encourage others to help if I'm off base!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
I got 15 watts on my other 20 Gallon and that just seems like way too little light. I got a full spectrum light but they never look as good a "daylight" bulb, that why at the very least I think you need two bulbs
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top