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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 8 years, I'm getting out of the "heavily planted" aquarium hobby and getting into the African cichlid aquarium hobby. Here are the lights I was using on my planted tank:

48" Finnex FugeRay Planted Plus LED
160 - 7,000K Daylight LEDs
88 - True 660nm Red LEDs
16 - Actinic Blue LEDs

48" Finnex Monster Ray Color Enhancing LED
Has lots of low-intensity color-enhancing RGB LEDs (exact specs not available)

Would these lights be good for a 75g (48x18x20) mbuna tank, or should I start shopping for new lights?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
No takers on this question? No one familiar with Finnex lights? They're very popular among planted tank enthusiasts.

On the one hand, 7,000K LEDs should be a good color, right? On the other hand, 160 of them is a lot more than most other LED brands have; and the 88 660nm red LEDs are for boosting plant growth (I think). So, while it might be a good color and should be plenty bright, I'm worried it might result in excessive algae growth.

Compare:

ledcompare.JPG
 

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The pros will come by I hope but from what I know Mbunas don't require or like very bright light. In my 48 inches tank I use my 24 inches Fluval 3.0 and program it a low intensity and it's more than enough. I'm hoping to grow algae for them to forage on. Algae on the rocks is a good thing in a herbivore tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, that's what I'm planning.... a 48" (75g) mbuna tank. I originally planned to just keep using my Finnex Planted Plus LED, but now I'm starting to think it might be over-powered for a non-planted tank, especially if what you say is true -- that mbuna don't like it very bright.
 

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I've been hesitant to respond to your post. Because basically, I wasn't sure what you were asking. I mean sometimes people just want lights that make their fish look good (*ahem* The African Cichlid crowd?).
But, I think your lighting interest in this case is a bit more well, interesting. That's because there are multiple parts you can unpack on this question.
So, lets see where this goes....
- Purposely Growing Algae. Yes, I've done that. And yes, those plant growing lights you have are definitely gonna help promote algae growth in the tank. The idea being of course, to grow some free 'nibbles' on the rocks for your Mbuna. Be Advised: There is a cost to that idea though. The Mbuna will certainly graze on every possible fleck of green color they can imagine on the rock pile. On your 3D background (if you have one). On the aquarium glass? Oh, not so much.... If you want to grow algae, beware what you are asking for. You WILL get it! Weekly (or more) glass scrubbing chores to remove algae buildup on the glass, could be an additional part of the regular maintenance routine.
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- Will my algae-growing lights be too bright for the Mbuna? In a word - NO. I mean sure, for up to a half hour or so when they flick on, your fish may sulk in the tank for a bit. Soon enough though, they'll be out chasing, nipping, lumping, bumping and doing well, Mbuna things. You know that the best way to grow plants (and Algae) is to place your high-performance lighting on a timer system, right? So, have your 'high beams' shut off to less eye-scorching levels when YOU want to see all of that non-stop Mbuna activity and excitement in the tank....
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- Which Rocks Grow Algae Best? Oddly enough, that is one question that isn't given much consideration. And should be, if you seriously want to encourage algae growth on the rocks stacked in the 'pile'! So what doesn't work very good? Lava Rock! And why is that? I'm not exactly sure. But, I do know that Lava Rock will leach out alkaline solids in a freshwater tank. They are also high in iron. These are things it seems that algae doesn't like much, or just needs a small amount of. The smooth landscape rocks that 'DJRansome' likes best, grow excellent crops of algae. Oddly enough, pieces of 'Texas Holey Rock' can get green pretty fast without Mbuna to detail clean them - maybe it's the very white color? Mountain Lace Rocks do okay as algae growers. Maybe the rough surface (Like Lava) makes it harder for algae to get started on them?
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In ending: I like your old plant-grow lights. In the algae growing application you intend, they should work pretty good. I would recommend getting some softer, dimmer lighting to GO WITH your high-powered grow lights. Set up and use timers for all your lights. Set 'em to your schedule, so your tank is lit up to look its best when you're home to enjoy it! :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Auballagh said:
I've been hesitant to respond to your post. Because basically, I wasn't sure what you were asking. I mean sometimes people just want lights that make their fish look good (*ahem* The African Cichlid crowd?).
But, I think your lighting interest in this case is a bit more well, interesting. That's because there are multiple parts you can unpack on this question.
So, lets see where this goes....
- Purposely Growing Algae. Yes, I've done that. And yes, those plant growing lights you have are definitely gonna help promote algae growth in the tank. The idea being of course, to grow some free 'nibbles' on the rocks for your Mbuna. Be Advised: There is a cost to that idea though. The Mbuna will certainly graze on every possible fleck of green color they can imagine on the rock pile. On your 3D background (if you have one). On the aquarium glass? Oh, not so much.... If you want to grow algae, beware what you are asking for. You WILL get it! Weekly (or more) glass scrubbing chores to remove algae buildup on the glass, could be an additional part of the regular maintenance routine.
-
- Will my algae-growing lights be too bright for the Mbuna? In a word - NO. I mean sure, for up to a half hour or so when they flick on, your fish may sulk in the tank for a bit. Soon enough though, they'll be out chasing, nipping, lumping, bumping and doing well, Mbuna things. You know that the best way to grow plants (and Algae) is to place your high-performance lighting on a timer system, right? So, have your 'high beams' shut off to less eye-scorching levels when YOU want to see all of that non-stop Mbuna activity and excitement in the tank....
-
- Which Rocks Grow Algae Best? Oddly enough, that is one question that isn't given much consideration. And should be, if you seriously want to encourage algae growth on the rocks stacked in the 'pile'! So what doesn't work very good? Lava Rock! And why is that? I'm not exactly sure. But, I do know that Lava Rock will leach out alkaline solids in a freshwater tank. They are also high in iron. These are things it seems that algae doesn't like much, or just needs a small amount of. The smooth landscape rocks that 'DJRansome' likes best, grow excellent crops of algae. Oddly enough, pieces of 'Texas Holey Rock' can get green pretty fast without Mbuna to detail clean them - maybe it's the very white color? Mountain Lace Rocks do okay as algae growers. Maybe the rough surface (Like Lava) makes it harder for algae to get started on them?
-
In ending: I like your old plant-grow lights. In the algae growing application you intend, they should work pretty good. I would recommend getting some softer, dimmer lighting to GO WITH your high-powered grow lights. Set up and use timers for all your lights. Set 'em to your schedule, so your tank is lit up to look its best when you're home to enjoy it! :thumb:
Very interesting indeed! :)

Actually, I don't want to intentionally grow algae. After 8-9 years of constant pruning a "heavily planted" tank, I was hoping for a break from green growing things. If I get a little bit of algae to serve as a snack for mbuna, that would be neat; but I don't want to encourage it to a degree that it becomes a "weekly or more" chore to clean it.

I think I hear what you're saying: that if I'm careful I could run my Finnex Planted+ on a very limited schedule to grow a bit of algae, and then use a less intense light during peak viewing hours. So, either way, it looks like I'll need to buy a light of some kind, because running my Finnex for long hours would almost certainly result in more algae than I want.
 
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