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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So Ive just bought a Fluval Vista 23 Gallon Tank. The dimensions are 30" x 12" x 18" and it comes with a Energy-efficient (800 lm, 8000 K) Soft Start LED lamp. The lid of the aquarium is hinged onto the tank. The LED lights are on the bottom of the lid. For a picture of what im talking about ive included a picture below.

I know that the light that came with the tank is bad for growing plants so I went into my LFS and asked if there was an LED bulb that I could buy to replace the one my tank came with so it would be better for plant growth.He told me that for an LED light, I need a minimum of 2900 lm to grow plants. He suggested that I should just remove the lid and put a Marquis Dual-Lamp T5HO Freshwater aquarium light Fixture on it as it will be the best bang for my buck. He was very much against using LED's as he said they werent good for plants. However, I as I was doing research, I found that a lot of people were suggesting that the Current USA Freshwater Satellite LED Plus was also a great light to use for plants but for the 30" it only has 1000lm which, according to my lfs, is too low ??

So overall im kinda confused as im getting conflicting information. So my questions are basically ....

1) Is there just a LED strip bulb I can get to replace the one my tank came with that would be good fro growing plants?

if not....

2) Is the Satellite LED Plus good for growing plants even though it only has 1000lm?

or

3) Should I get what my lfs told me to get which is the arquis Dual-Lamp T5HO

Thanks for your help and please excuse me for my stupidity. Ive done so much research on lights but I still just dont get it.
 

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The fish store guy is pushing light. As long as the LED has some of the wave lengths needed at each photosynthetic peak it will grow plants and lumens are only a measure for our eyes, not plants. You could have very low lumens and plenty of PAR or you could have very high lumens with low PAR. Unless you are experienced and have CO2 gas running you will run into a lot of algae if you put 2 T5HO bulbs over an 18" tall tank. Read just the first post in this stickied thread.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/10-lighting/184368-lighting-aquarium-par-instead-watts.html

I would trust that the Satellite would work for low light, no CO2. At the bottom of the page the 24-36" fixture does emit 1000 lumens but more important there are PAR readings at various depths. At 18" it will provide 28PAR which is fine. The link also shows the 24" fixture uses 18 watts. How many watts does your LED have? It isn't perfect but I'd assume if it was about the same as the Satellite it probably would work, if much lower then it won't.
Satellite Freshwater LED+ | Current-USA

There is nothing wrong with 8000K. People have successfully grown plants in anything from 2000K incandescent to 14000K marine light. Plants and fish look better under 5000K-7000K is all. Of all the metal halide bulbs I ran I preferred the color of the 8000K bulbs to the 5000-6500K bulbs I tried.

I suggest putting something colorful in the tank, turn on the light and take a photo. Then take that item outside and take photos in shade and sun and see what you think. If YOU like the color then leave it alone for now. I tune my LED [it has 4 color channels] so my orange platies look about the same in the tank as they do in the sun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Kathyy thanks SOOO much for your help and I'll try to answer your questions as best I can.

I am currently dosing my tank every other day with Flourish Excel, I have root tabs, using liquid Flourish and run eco complete substrate. So its not low tech to the point where I dont do anything to do. I may run a Co2 System later on once I gain more experience. I tried looking on the LED that I have and the box that the tank came in but it doesnt say how many watts the light is. Is there another way to figure this out?

So if Im reading your post correctly, I should NOT be getting the 2 T5HO bulbs as it will give me a lot of algae right? and basically find out what my current watts are and if its close enough with the Satellite then stick with what I have and if its not close then get the Satellite?

Is there just a plain and simple bulb I can just buy and replace the current one I have?

Thanks again
 

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The LED light uses 8.4 watts, pretty low for a planted tank light. You could replace that light, but notice how wet it is in that area - condensation on the underside of the lid. I suspect any light you attach there would get too wet to work very long. It doesn't look like that lid does anything else - no filter in it, for example. I think the store clerk was right, and you should just remove the lid and use a different light entirely, one that sits on top of the tank. The tank is 18 inches high, so my light, a Finnex Planted Plus, would be too much light. If you want a low light tank, Kathyy's recommendation would work fine.
 

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Thanks Hoppy, I actually found the fluval official website for my tank and it said that the wattage is 8.4. If I stuck TWO of those strips in would that mean it increases to 16.8? Does lighting work that way? Or would it still be too low?


If it is still too low, youre saying that Satellite Freshwater LED + is the one I should get right?

My aquarium comes with a 800 lm, 8000 K 8.4 watt LED strip. If I added another one of these, would it make it good enough to grow at least dwarf grasshair?
 

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There is no way to know how much light you would get with one or two of those LED strips. You would get twice the light intensity if you use two of them, and if you can fit in the little power module for the other light strip. But, without some PAR vs distance data it would only be a crude guess if we tried to estimate what light intensity you would get.

I haven't looked up other LED strips to see what a different one would do. I still believe the area where they are located is too damp for them to have a long life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There is no way to know how much light you would get with one or two of those LED strips. You would get twice the light intensity if you use two of them, and if you can fit in the little power module for the other light strip. But, without some PAR vs distance data it would only be a crude guess if we tried to estimate what light intensity you would get.

I haven't looked up other LED strips to see what a different one would do. I still believe the area where they are located is too damp for them to have a long life.
I just read your article about tank lighting and I want to thank you for your help. I guess I will try and see if this stock light will work first. If it doesnt, I'll just get another LED strip and just plant whatever will work there. I'll stick with the easy stuff (java moss, fern Anubius) and go from there. Thanks so much for your help. My wife has put me on a budget so I dont think I'll spring the $$ for a device that will read PAR. I really appreciate your help. Thanks again
 

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I wouldn't trust someone who is trying to sell you something. He's trying to benefit from you. I trust the guys on the forums because they're not making a penny from me. They're simply providing their experiences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Finnex PLanted Plus is NOT sold in Canada. However there is someone who is selling a year old one for a cheap price. WOuld this light be WAY to much or should I go ahead and get it ? I read in many places that this light is amazing
 

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Finnex PLanted Plus is NOT sold in Canada. However there is someone who is selling a year old one for a cheap price. WOuld this light be WAY to much or should I go ahead and get it ? I read in many places that this light is amazing
There are a lot of data regarding the intensity of this light fixture (specifically 30") online. From your tank dimensions, it will probably put you into or very close to medium light territory. Take a look at the PAR data for it and I think you'll probably arrive at a similar conclusion. Probably not necessarily too much light, especially if you use something like Excel, but it could be close.
 

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I've had a Vista 23 since mid-November. Off the top of my head here's how I have it planted:
-- 2 Rosette swords (that's how the LFS had them labeled at least; they're definitely swords but I can't say for certain they're rosettes).
-- 2 anubias barteri and one petite
-- 1 water wistera
-- 1 banana plant
-- 1 micosword

Lighting is stock. Substrate is just pool filter sand. I dose Excel and Flourish Complete, though I don't really stick to a schedule. Root tabs for the swords, the banana, and the wisteria.

My plants are going nuts. Flowers on both anbubias barteri (the petite is a few days old), all of which are tied to driftwood, and they are thick and lush.

One of my swords has sent up a shoot that goes up to the surface, arches over the top, and starting to go back down the other side. I've taken little cuttings from it for other tanks; that giant shoot has what looks like small full sword plants growing along it. The other sword has a smaller shoot, and I believe its growth is lesser because it's partly in the shadow of the wisteria next to it, which grows like kudzu.

The banana plant is doing OK--lots of pads, but it doesn't have those thick "banana" tubers, mainly because for a long time I hadn't realized that it needed root tabs, and it's coming back since I started adding them.

At the least, you can grow things pretty nicely with the stock setup, at least if you also have ambient light. I'd looked at upgrading my light but I've held off on it. It's in a relatively well-lit room (sunlight is indirect), but Fluval definitely didn't make it easy to upgrade (intentionally, I think, so people would buy their Premium line of similar tanks if they wanted more).

There are two aspects of the hood that I've looked at.

First, the light strip holder in the underside looks like it could hold a second set of LED strips. I'd like to have a look at the Premium series--which is upgradeable--and see if its the same, as I suspect that they might have used the same components to save costs. The 2nd LED strip for the Premium is item #A13181; it looks like the same thing in the Vista 23, but I don't see specs (like length) so I can't be certain. It might be possible to upgrade the Vista 23 with this part.

Second, I was looking to maybe remove the existing hood and add my own plus lights (maybe the Finnex Planted+). But the way it's built, I don't know if the hood can be removed nondestructively (in case I want to go back or things don't otherwise work out), and I'm not sure how close a replacement I can find... I might have to cut plexi and lexan to size, and that doesn't begin to answer whether I would want, somehow, to retain the nice feature of a hinged top.
 

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