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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I recently purchased a Nova Extreme 48" T5HO 54wx2 (108w) Fixture (Seen Here) with the intention of using it on a 55 gallon I am in the process of setting up.

Prior to buying it I was going by watts per gallon, and only now found out that apparently the T5HO's don't exactly comply with the WPG rule.

I was hoping to set up a planted tank with primarily medium light plants (the lower or mid range of that) and maybe some lower light plants.. I would not be doing any CO2, I'm fairly new to all of this and don't want to jump into that quite yet, maybe in the future. I do however plan to use Flourish Excel.

But now, after searching through the forums here, it's totally too much light isn't it? :\

Is there something that I can do to change that, such as removing a bulb (the pink one maybe) or replacing one with a lower wattage bulb? Or should I just exchange it for a totally different fixture - and if that were the case, what should I look for?

Additional specs...
The fixture itself is mounted 4" off the tank. I plan to make the substrate about 2" deep, and I may not fill the tank to the brim (leave some space for wood to peak from the surface. Maybe 2-inches-ish. Have not yet decided on that bit though.). Also, if it makes a difference, the tank will not be an open top, it will have a glass canopy to keep my hatchetfish from meeting a carpeted demise.


Thanks :)

--
Also, Hi! I'm new here :D
Been lurking a bit recently. Lovin' this forum so far!
 

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Each tank is different however a couple things come to mind...
1) I don't think you can ever get too much light... sorry to anybody who disagrees. I've seen tanks with 5+WPG and they are beautiful.
2) I'd be worried about algae spikes with higher light, no co2. Lots of light will do this.. .happened to me.
3) I'm sorry to tell you, you've jumped in. You are posting on planted tank and you bought a T5 light. You are in the deep end my friend and Co2 is your friend. Best investment I ever made in my tank..... Next to Oto's.. Those little guys are cleaning machines.
 

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I have a 75 planted,with a aquaticlife 6 bulb t5 fixture,only use 1 bulb with a burst of 2 for 2 hours then 1 again,no co2,dose excell,algae is not bad,tried 2 for 9 hours started getting lots of algae.
 

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I have that same fixture :smile:
So the reflector and bulb combination is the same.
I've suspended the light above the tank to increase the distance.
w/o CO2 and mounted on the supplied legs it will be growing algae for you unless the tank is fully planted including floaters with a fert schedule keeping the plants happy.
Fiberglass window screening placed on the tank covers help diffuse the light also. Hoppy did some testing on this and it's posted in the lighting section. Having the spectrum provided by the two bulb fixtures was the reason I went back to using T5HO on my low techs but suspending the light or screening the output will be required if you're not going on the gas.

I feel like its a good fixture for the money.
 

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I have a 4x39 watt Nova Extreme T5HO fixture and I learned the hardway to run only two bulbs, even with blasting CO2 gas. I think you should run just one bulb without CO2. You can just remove one of the bulbs or use window screening for two bulbs as others have suggested.
 

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Put some miracle grow organic potting soil under your gravel and thatll supply you with natural C02 and nutriets for your plants. Plant it heavily from the start and you shouldnt have any problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@Drbotts; Haha, I suppose you are right. I did also sell my clothing dresser to make room for this tank :p I just don't know much about CO2 injections, that will be my next research endeavor...

And thank you everyone for your replies! Very helpful.
I think I may try raising the light and screening the canopy and see how that works out. Glad to hear it's a decent fixture as well. :) Oh, I do also have frogbit that I assume will likely spread fairly quick under that light.

@Aesop; Miracle grow is safe for aquarium use? Is there a certain kind that should be used/avoided?
I currently have 60 lbs of Eco-Complete on it's way.
 

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Use only miracle grow organic potting soil or any other strictly organic potting soil and cap it with gravel or sand. Walmart carries it and is fairly cheap We're in the midst of trying to get a subfourm started about using dirt. Fishtanktv.com has a huge supply of info about dirting tanks. Its becomming very popluar. Great abd easy way to have a beautiful tank. Then the whole deal with ferts
Ans co2 isint really a must.
 

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More people seem to be deciding on dirt tanks rather than waiting for the soil to be mineralized, or going with dosing EI, high light and CO2 lately. I think this is cool :proud:.
Hopefully most are reading enough information first and thinking it through.

Two HUGE considerations doing this.
Using 'natural' soils READ the contents on your bag of dirt! I know it contains dirt,,, (duh),,,
but NO COW POO! Small amounts of chicken poo can work but no! no! moo! moo! :smile:.
Also remember PLZ that while natural tanks (dirt base) and seeded filters can be stocked from day one go lightly with your first stocking list. Dirt goes through changes going from dry to saturated (submerged) and the rate of break down on the organics changes too. Sometimes it can be more than the tank and fish can handle.
For the first couple of months whether you want to or not test your water. Every couple of days and be ready to change it if the soil burps (it can happen). You might have a tank like mine that ran straight through the issues quickly and was trouble free from then on. Lots of plants (including floaters), no hard scape to trap the soil gases, control the light (a big key to dodging algae), watch things and let the tank settle (month maybe two). The capping material needs to be small enough to contain the soil yet allow the gas exchange to occur.

That's the first trade off for not waiting for the dirt to finish the mineralization process. Attention starting out, more or less high maintenance in the beginning., Things can get busy if a bump in water parameters occurs. All the organic material and the bacteria that chew through it do give you free CO2 for a period of time. :bounce:

The second major trade off you make is that rooted plants are there to stay. Removing plants with a good root structure is a HUGE PITA. I had an Amazon Sword that had to go. Cutting around the root ball directly under it I killed the plant taking it out and left all the root runners in place. Thinning a field of crypts means a water change and repairing the cap adding more material. Soil tanks are a set it and forget it type of tanking (imo). If you like to change things around, re-scape, swap out plants then NPT is not for you. If you want to top off the tank when the water gets low, trim to make room for the fish to swim and not dose for months it might be what your looking for.

cheated to provide an easy overview by pulling this from my thread
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/low-tech-forum/86457-55-gallon-low-tech-soil-sub-9.html
 

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I hope you can get a subforum about dirt subtrates - I did this recently with my 55g, and so far so good. I have been moving my plants around a lot, but the MGOC that gets disturbed settles fast. Every couple of days I poke around in a different part of the tank, releasing gas. I make an effort to poke under my rocks as far as I can. I just wish now that I made the layers thicker, my entire substrate is only about 2" deep. After the tank ages more and the compost breaks down more, I may go back in & add additional FloraMax. I have a substrate of 1/2 pea gravel & 1/2 FloraMax in my 4ob (which is what the cap is in the 55). It will be interesting to compare the two - although the differences in lighting have to be considered. I have no plans to ever add Co2 injection, and I'll be curious to see how it goes!
 

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You can have too much light, where "too much light" means it becomes a big job, as opposed to a hobby, to keep algae from taking over the tank, and it becomes hard to grow a mix of fast growing and slow growing plants - in fact slow growing plants may never be free of algae.

Soil substrates cannot possibly provide enough CO2 for high light tanks. It is even tricky to get such substrates to provide enough CO2 for low light tanks. Walstad type tanks sometimes require 2 hour midday "rest" periods for the CO2 to catch up with the plant growth, and those are very low light tanks.
 

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Speaking of low light and Co2, when I was in Petsmart today I was talking to a salesclerk about the liquid dosing supplies they had - I believe it was API liquid Co2, some micro nutrients by a brand I can't recall, and Seachem Flourish. I have yet to grasp the ideas of liquid dosing - as the organic subtrates degrade do you begin adding liquid nutrients? How do you know when it's time, and can the Co2 be started with a new setup? I am running low light on both my 40b & 55...
 

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Speaking of low light and Co2, when I was in Petsmart today I was talking to a salesclerk about the liquid dosing supplies they had - I believe it was API liquid Co2, some micro nutrients by a brand I can't recall, and Seachem Flourish. I have yet to grasp the ideas of liquid dosing - as the organic subtrates degrade do you begin adding liquid nutrients? How do you know when it's time, and can the Co2 be started with a new setup? I am running low light on both my 40b & 55...
When someone asks questions like that, then says they are running low light, I have to ask for more details, like exactly what lighting are you using on those two tanks? Not the wattage, but the type of lighting (T8, T5HO, T5NO, PC, etc.) and the brand. The amount of light you use determines everything else that you need to do to grow good healthy plants.
 

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On the 40b I have a single bulb T8 - if I remember correctly it's 36" long. The bulb is a GE AquaRays. The reflector is white (and small) - its an AllGlass fixture that sits directly on the versa glass top. This tank & lighting fixture are 13 yrs old. As are the 55 & it's original hoods, which I ditched. (the hoods!)
The 55 has a polished aluminum shop light sitting directly on the versa glass tops, 2 bulbs, T8s. One is a Phillips 6,500k from Home depot, the other is an Aqueon 8,000 from Petsmart. I just bought the stuff for the 55 today, so we'll see how it goes. The plants in the 40 are doing surprisingly well after 2 months or so. Both tanks have anubias, crypts, wisteria, pennywort, hornwort, a variagated baby's tears that may be dwarf (can't remember) and I have one red melon sword in the 55 and Vals.
The substrate in the 40 is a mix of pea gravel & FloraMax, the substrate in the 55 is an underlayer of MGOPS, topped with the pea gravel/FloraMax mix.
Distance from substrate to lights is approx. 19" - 20" in the 55, and 14" in the 40. : )
 

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I'm in a similar boat as the OP. I'm in the process of setting up my 65g tall tank (36x18x24) after having no tank for 20 years.

Beginning to think that I went a bid overboard on the light. I bought a 36 inch 2 bulb T5HO fixture that will sit on the glass canopy. Don't really want to raise it since the tank is in my living room and I dint want the glare from the raised light. As a result the light will be about 22 inches above the substrate.

From what I read around here, that will put me in the "high" light range.

I don't plan to run CO2. If I understand things correctly that will be too much light without CO2 and I will end up with an algae problem.

What are my options, short of mailing the fixture back for an exchange?

Can I remove one bulb? Or put some window screening between the light fixture and the canopy to dim light output into the tank?

How about replacing the T5HO bulbs with T5NO bulbs? Can that be done without replacing the ballasts?

Sorry for the many noob questions in my first post here :)

Seems like keeping the light fixture but limiting light output for the time being will give me more options if I do decide to run CO2 down the road.

Edit: the dual bulb fixture has 2 39W bulbs. Aquaticlife freshwater 36" dual T5HO
 

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The fixture works fine with just one bulb.

I'll try the window screening tomorrow , with both bulbs on.

The bulbs have different temps, so it would be good if the screening blocks enough light to allow me to run both bulbs.
 

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Each tank is different however a couple things come to mind...
1) I don't think you can ever get too much light... sorry to anybody who disagrees. I've seen tanks with 5+WPG and they are beautiful.
The fact that you're referring to watts per gallon indicates you haven't been paying attention.
 
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