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parrdog

Lighting question

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G'day All,

I am in the process of setting up my first planted tank. The tank is an octagonal tank. The diameter is 18 inches and the height is 64 cm. The volume of the tank is 108 litres.

My question concerns lighting. The hood is only small so the most T8 15 watt tubes I can fit is 2. My other option if it is possible is to go with compact fluoros. I am not a home handyman so I'm not interested in DIY.

I know my tank has unfavourable dimensions for a planted tank, I am therefore simply interested in growing low light plants such as Val, Crypts, Java Fern and maybe some Anubias or even Swords.

At the moment I am thinking of having a double fluoro reflector with a 6500K tube and a 10000K tube. I may also put in 2 Halogen spotties for the bottom of the tank. My other option as I said is to go the compact way however I am not sure of availability, setup etc.

What do you planted experts think I should do? I really appreciate your advice, I don't want to go out and buy some lights to find out I have stuffed up.

Jamie.

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As you say the dimensions of your tank are not favourable for a planted tank, however 2 x 15 watt flouros will get down deep enough and allow you to keep some low light plants. Your biggest problem with such a small surface area could be a lack of CO2, so you must ensure you use either a small cannister filter or an internal filter that does not break the water surface (as this will disperse the CO2 in the tank). A great plant for your tank would be Rotala rotundifolia also known as pink rotala. It's a beautiful medium light plant which will reach the surface in a norrow cylindrical shape.

With 2 x 36watt compact flouros, you would actually have enough lighting to do a high lighting CO2 set up.

cheers

Daniel

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Thanks for your help Daniel, much appreciated smile.gif .

How much would these compacts cost and where would I be able to get them?

Thanks,

Jamie.

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I would really suggest you do 2x15 watt regular flouro set up and not compact flouro's as they would not be worth the potential problems without CO2.

Here is the compact flouro;

http://www.aquaria.com.au/catalog/product_...roducts_id/7247

Aquaria are very expensive, Ben from AOA will do you a much better price if you must know. As I said, stick with the regular flouro's though.

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Hey Daniel, thanks again for taking the time to help me thumb.gif .

I am prepared to go the CO2 route to get the most out of my tank. If I did get CO2 would the compacts be the way to go, or do you think I'm asking for trouble. I don't want to go in half bummed just for the sake of saving a few bucks.

What do you reckon?

Thanks again,

Jamie.

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Is there anyone else who can chime in with their 2 cents worth smile.gif ?

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If your prepared to go the CO2 route then the compacts would be worthwhile. However, why don't you start off with a double fluoro set up (about $80 with 2 tubes included -aquaone) without CO2, and see how it goes. Then if you want to go CO2, just get another double regular fluoro fitting. This will be a more practical to way to do it., and you will have more flexibilty with your set up. You will learn more that way also. Heck, I had run planted tanks for a few years before I finally went CO2. You can have a pretty nice planted set up without CO2.

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Thanks Daniel. The trouble with the shape of my hood is that the most standard fluoros I can fit is 2, otherwise simply adding another 2 down the track as you said would have been too easy. If I go with standard fluoros (2 of 'em) I won't even have 1 watt per gallon. I'm just worried this won't be enough. Anyway, if I get the compacts, the light won't be too extreme.

Thanks again for the advice, I have taken on board what you have advised, and I'll consider my options,

Jamie.

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Don't listen to all those Americans with their watts per gallon crap. In Australia and the rest of the world the formula is watts per litre. You need around 0.3 to 0.4 watts per litre for a non CO2 set up. For CO2 set up you need 0.4 to 0.8 wpl depending on the size of your tank, My mate has a 1000 litre planted tank with just 300 watts and running CO2, the tank is breathtakingly beautiful ! I have a 200 litre non CO2 tank with 60 watts, and it is filled with plants. You have 108 litres gross and after gravel and glass displacement you would have around 90 litres. 30 watts / 90 litres is 0.33 watts per litre. You will be able to grow some plants with 2 x 15 watts for sure !

But the decision is yours. Good luck

Edited by Daniel

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Watts per gallon or litre is an old and useless way of determining light, being that this method is based on old old T12 tubes, which we no longer use.

A new method based on T8's, or T5's or MH's is yet to be found.

anything over 72 watts is a good start, just try and stick with a kelvin range of approx 6700k

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Watts per gallon or litre is an old and useless

Not sure I agree with this, Watts/gallon is not as informative as I would like but it is the best guide I have found so far, short of using an underwater light meter.

30W standard fluoros over a 90l, 60cm deep tank is low light and will significantly limit the types of plants that you can grow. I have seen plenty of beautiful low light planted tanks, but plant selection needs more care. A bit off indirect room ligth can make a lot of difference to these "skinny" tanks (such as near a window).

More light will give you more options , with or without CO2. It is much easier to block out some light than add in extra later on. bigsmile.gif

Cheers

Brett

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Thanks Brett and others,

I decided to go with a double compact fluoro reflector with two 36 watt compacts. The globes are half 6500K and half 10000K. I figured that 72 watts will give me more options than 30.

Thanks again for the advice, and thanks Daniel for the lead,

Jamie.

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