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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 29 gallon tank with some loaches and other fish, which will be moved into a 75 gallon in a few months. I'm thinking about keeping the 29 set up but turning into a riparium, about 2/3 full, and keeping hillstream loaches in it.

The light is 2x24W T5HO, is this adequate?

Do I need to use a glass lid to maintain humidity?

I'll post more questions if I think of them

thanks
 

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The light would be ideal for a riparium if you hang it about a foot above the tank, to give room for the plants to grow up out of the tank. No glass lid needed unless you want to grow crypts or other aquatic emersed plants, in which case the water level should be about 40% full, not 2/3 full.
 

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What Hoppy said is it as far as I know. If you want to fill the tank most of the way then you should just plan to let the plants grow up and out of the top, and select plants that can handle normal household humidity levels. Here are a couple of journals for setups like that in 20-gallon High tanks, which are almost the same dimensions I think as a 29, but 6" shorter in length.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/tank-journals-photo-album/99099-marks-2010-restful-hideaway-20g-riparium.html
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/tank-journals-photo-album/88287-20-gallon-riparium-6.html

Here's a shot of the plants growing from the top of that second one.



You can also do a setup with a closed or nearly closed canopy to retain lots of humidity inside, which is the best way to keep plants that demand moist air, such as emersed Anubias and Cryptocoryne.

That was what I had done for my 55.



Here is another variation. A layout in a rimless, open-top tank that is filled to just about 40% of depth.



I agree that that light fixture ought to be plenty bright. I think that a riparium with hillstream loaches could be really cool and create a pretty good representation of their natural habitat. You could put a Koralia or two in there to create a nice flow.
 

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Hillstream loaches main source of food is algae/things that live in algae that grows on rocks (so the light would be great :)), they also need lots of Oxygen in their water. and very high flow a good way to do this to to plumb a power head like thiswith the tubes being under the substrate you might also want a bit more than 3" of water, 5" would be better

I'm not trying to put you off getting hillstream loaches, I think this would be an awesome tank if you manage to pull it off:bounce:

and if you are going to get some hillstream loaches, you have to get some Sewellia lineolata :icon_mrgr
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Will too much light cause problems for the plants?

If I end up doing this I will get a canister filter and maybe add a powerhead with the rivertank manifold design.

Hillstream loaches main source of food is algae/things that live in algae that grows on rocks (so the light would be great ), they also need lots of Oxygen in their water. and very high flow a good way to do this to to plumb a power head like thiswith the tubes being under the substrate you might also want a bit more than 3" of water, 5" would be better
I meant two thirds full, it was a typo in the original post.

I don't have any algae in the tank right now, even though I don't dose fertilizer or CO2.
 

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That 2X24 T5 ought to be OK. You plan to hang it up, right? If it seems too bright you can raise it up a bit higher, and the light that spills will help illuminate the room.

I have seen that a single 24-watt with a good reflector is good for a 20 Tall wit moderate light plants. With that somewhat brighter light you should be able to get some plants to bloom, and it would also be real good for growing carpeting plants.
 

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A 29 gallon tank is 18 inches high, so with the light 12 inches above the top of the tank, the lights are about 30 inches from the substrate. At that distance a single T5HO bulb gives about 30 micromols of PAR, so two would give about twice that, which is well within the medium light range. Most aquatic plants will do fine with that, but dosing Excel is probably a good idea to be sure they have some carbon. The emersed plants at the top will be very well lighted, and the few plants that can't take that much light would react badly, but I doubt that you would have as much intensity as open sky shade outdoors is, so I think the plants should all be ok.

If the light fixture doesn't use individual reflectors for each bulb, you will get less light, but not enough less to shortchange the aquatic plants, in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's a nova extreme SLR fixture. I'm not having any algae problems right now, and the plants are growing pretty well. Rotala rotundifolia, mostly. The "freshwater" bulb always looked very dim compared to the 10k bulb, and it just burned out, so I need to replace it.

I can get a geisseman aquaflora bulb for $20 or a GE starcoat for $12 from a local reef shop. There is a PAR comparison of different bulbs somewhere, I couldn't find it though.
Are the geissemans worth the extra money?
I'm a bit worried I'm going to screw up the balance of the tank by adding a bulb that produces a lot more light.



The fixture is on ~3" legs right now; I doubt my parents will let me drill holes in the ceiling, plus I the fixture isn't set up to be suspended, so I may just use book shelf supports that attach to the wall.
 
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