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Lighting for Plants

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<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"><HTML><HEAD><TITLE>Lighting for plants</TITLE><META content="text/html; charset=windows-1252" http-equiv=Content-Type><STYLE media=screen type=text/css>@import url( ../css/archive.css );</STYLE></HEAD><BODY><DIV id=Htextbox><STRONG><img src="http://www.sydneycichlid.com/title1.gif" border="0">   <a href="http://www.sydneycichlid.com">Home</a> | <a href='index.html'>Index</a> | <a href='topicID=52.topic_1.html'>« Prev Thread</a> | <a href='topicID=54.topic_1.html'>Next Thread »</a></STRONG></DIV><H1>Lighting for plants</H1><DIV id=Qtextbox><P><STRONG>Author: searlesy</STRONG><BR><BR>This is not something I am too worried about, but thought I would ask anyway.. In a 3 foot communtity tank, I have a heap of Java moss, a large lump of wood covered in bolbitus, and a recent addition of some wood with a large clump of anubias. Before the anubias I was just running a single 10000k tube in a white reflector, and the plants have been thriving, and when I bought the anubias I also added another polished aluminium reflector with the same tube for some extra lighting. Does this amount of lighting sound suitable for my plants (not considering they have been growing like crazy for a year), and if so, will the extra light harm the Java moss, or will it still be low enough light but be enough to make it go nuts and take over the tank even more? The tank hardly ever needs cleaning the algae off the glass.

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Not that this is too relevent, but the tank contains 2 marble angels, 2 black line rainbows, a glass tetra (very nervous), a silver shark (small), a platinum gourami, an eel tail catfish, a suicidal killfish (panchax of some kind?) and an upside down catfish.

<p></P></DIV><H2>Replies »</H2><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: hungsta</STRONG><BR><BR>java moss and anubias are low light plants and do fine with 2 light imo...

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they are 2x 30w tubes is that right???

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Have u considered some co2 and fertiliser?

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hungsta@hotmail.com

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Punchbowl,Sydney.</P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: searlesy</STRONG><BR><BR>I had thought about the CO2 and fertilzer, but I dont really see the point. Just with a single flouro, the Java moss needed harvesting every couple of months, and the bolbitus is spreading really quickly. I have only had the anubias for a week, so I will have to see how they go, but if the growth of the other plants is anything to go by, then I dont think I will need any growth aids.

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Yep, they are both 30w tubes.

<p></P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: hungsta</STRONG><BR><BR>just for comparison.. my anubias nana and java moss is doing great in a 2ft with with absolutely no light and they are fine.... just grow a bit slower but the leaves are relatively the same size

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HTH

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hungsta@hotmail.com

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Punchbowl,Sydney.</P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: searlesy</STRONG><BR><BR>Thanks hungsta, I will see how they go with the 2 tubes, the tank looks a little nicer with the 2 tubes, and I am sure the plants wont complain. I honestly dont think I could get too much better growth with fertiliser and CO2.

<p></P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: YeW2001</STRONG><BR><BR>Hi -

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I suspect greater light intensity will = greater growth in java moss. I am growing mine outdoors under 50% shade cloth - which is still pretty bright!

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It grows like a rocket wink.gif. So I think you'll simply find that your plants grow quicker (it won't harm them).

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HTH -

</P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: searlesy</STRONG><BR><BR>The Java moss is great, even in the last week, as you said, the growth has been visible, whereas normally it takes a while to see it spread. About 3/4 of the substrate is covered with Java Moss, at a depth of about 6 to 8 inches and very dense. I was worried about it choking the bolbitus, but it dosent seem to be doing any harm.

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How do you keep the algae out of the outdoors tank under shade cloth? I have a tank on my verandah surrounded by matchstick blinds, and I am continually cleaning out a bright green slimy algae off the plants and glass.

<p></P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: YeW2001</STRONG><BR><BR>Hi -

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In 50% shade I dont have algal troubles - but there are no fish in the tubs with the java moss.

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HTH=

</P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: mtchye</STRONG><BR><BR>Hi guys,

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I honestly believe ALL planted setups will benefit from CO2. Even though slow growing plants can do well without it, they always do better WITH it.

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Algae problems disappear when your plants grow fast enough to outcompete them for nutrients. I would fill a tank with water sprite, add co2, and balanced nutrients, and though its counterintuitive to add nutrients to a tank with algae, the good growth of the plants will actually reduce/eliminate the algae. There have been a few reasons proposed for this, including better algae ability to thrive with a nutrient imbalance, and possible allelopathic chemicals released by certain plants, but anyway in practice it works!

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Give it a try, most ppl who supplement co2 never look back..

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</P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: searlesy</STRONG><BR><BR>The tank on my verandah may perhaps benefit from CO2, but my 3 foot planted tank is fine, I wouldnt want any more growth from the plants, would become a pain in the butt, I dont get any algae growth at all in the tank atm.

<p></P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: mtchye</STRONG><BR><BR>Yes of course you are right searlsy! When i said all plants would benefit i forgot to take into account that fast growin equals more maintenance lol To some ppl fast growth is definitely NOT a benefit lol

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Should have said benefit to plant growth

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But yes, sounds like your inside tank is well balanced

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</P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: searlesy</STRONG><BR><BR>Actually, now that you mention it, extra growth wouldnt go astray, it would give me the oportunity to trade plants if I can get things moving along. You have almost talked me into it!

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So if I set up a CO2 system, will this affect my fish, and will it cause extra algal growth, or as you said, will it make the plants take the nutrients out of the water more effectively, therfore out competing the algae?

<p></P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: mtchye</STRONG><BR><BR>OK, firstly, there are many good guides on this at www.thekrib.com and other such sites.

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Usually when you DIY CO2 via the yeast and sugar method, there is little risk of overdosing your tank. The common sense things apply, such as watching your fish for signs of respiratory distress in the first few days of putting it on, and monitoring the pH. CO2 can affect the pH as it complexes as carbonic acid in water, so, higher co2 levels bring pH levels down. The extent of this effect is dependant on the KH of your water, so if your kH is low, you can just add 1 tsp of sodium bicarbonate to buffer your water so that the added co2 does not change your pH much. Like i said before, most of these concerns are for ppl using pressurised co2 gas where there is a much larger risk of overdose, so don't let these concerns put you off..

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I doubt it will cause any extra algae growth. However, you may actually need to supplement nutrients if your plants grow fast enough to begin to show deficiencies. In this respect I find it useful to have a fast growing plant in amongst the slow growers. By observing the deficiencies which show up much faster among the fast growers, you can keep the tank in balance, and if you accidentally overdose a little, the fast growers can quickly absorb the excess. Bear in mind though that too much fast growers and they can outcompete the slower growing plants. I use riccia fluitans floating in this role, as it is easy to control the mass of it, and easy to see deficiencies.

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HTH

/P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: searlesy</STRONG><BR><BR>Thanks for that, I will keep that in mind, do you think Java moss would be a good fast growing indicator?

<p></P></DIV><DIV id=Atextbox><P><STRONG>Author: mtchye</STRONG><BR><BR>No problem. Java moss can grow relatively quick in good conditions, however, its still considered a 'slow grower' by other plant's standards. What you can try if you don't have riccia is stem plants such as Hygrophila sp, Ceratopteris sp (water sprite), etc.. Just be diligent with your pruning or else these often take over the tank, to the detriment of your slow growers (such as anubias, java fern, bolbitis).

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To give you an example, I have a 'low light' tank such as yours, its a 2x15x15, with around 45W of normal T8 fluoros over it, DIY CO2 1 2litre bottle, planted with anubias in the foreground, bolbitis attached to wood on one side, java fern 'windelov' on the other on rocks, and riccia floating. Whenever the riccia slows down in growth, or grows smaller growing points, or turns a more yellow colour, i know to up the supplements. The riccia mass is simply divided and taken out every time it gets too large... In addition, the riccia being at the surface does not take out as much of the co2, as part of the plants have atmospheric co2 available to them, this is also the reason why plants grow faster and easier emersed than submersed.

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