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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a low tech planted tank containing some java ferns, anubius and crypts. The lighting is very low, only 17 watts t8 on this 38 gallon tank. While I enjoy not having to deal with algae or trimming the plants are not as green as they could be. Actually they are turning brown. So I'm thinking of upgrading my lighting. Nothing drastic though, as I only want to maintain healthy plant life and not after vigerous growth of my low light plant choices. I'm looking at a t5 that is 24" and a single bulb for 24 watts. Although my tank is 36" is this a factor since it's not going along the entire length of the tank? The 36" version would give me more light than I'm after. I'm looking at t5's versus say a higher watt t8 because of efficiency and a t8 would require a double strip and wouldn't fit onto my integrated hood/cover. Would this be a good choice?
 

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I think you will still need more light than 1 single T5 bulb @ 24W... it is no problem to only light part of a tank... plants go under the light!
If you have money, then a LED retrofit using 3W bulbs would be fantastic!
Also expensive...

if that isn't in the cards, then the single 24" bulb will have to do... what you would then want is the best reflector on the planet... You might be required to go with a DIY retrofit kit as opposed to a commercially available setup. how handy are you?
 

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Plants need the correct balance of light, nutrients and co2. If you add more light, you need to address nutrients and co2, or you will have an algae farm. Check out PPS Pro and Tom Barr's EI for dosing. I takes me literally 3 mins a day to dose 7 planted tanks using PPS PRO. Adding 4 mL a day of Seachems Excel will add co2 to your tank.

I'm not sure you need more light with those plants. I have an anubius in a jar tied to a rock, no light but ambient, this jar has been set up over a year now. I do weekly WC's, dose Excel daily, the anubius is slowly growing. No algae. How long has the T8 bulb been on the tank. Maybe just a new bulb will do the trick.

If you really want T5 lighting, go with the single bulb. I like catalinaaquarium lighting. I have several of their fixtures. They will modify any system to your specs. I always have them put each bulb on a separate switch, giving me options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, I do dose excel daily and that's all I do. CO2 is not a route i want to take. I actually got the 36" fixture with a single 39 watt t5. It is extremely bright in comparision and I'm not sure if I like it, the angels were hiding and actings as if a ufo was about to land on them. Every little scratch, algae, poor condition plant, debris etc really sticks out. Maybe a hardscape or decorative(fake plants) is more my thing. Still undecided.
 

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There is an intial burn in period for any new bulb and after a couple of weeks, it'll be set at the true light level. I would give it a few weeks and then make up your mind. Even then, I wouldn't mess with that light. You can diffuse light fixtures pretty easily!

The 36"T5 will produce plenty of light for the crypts and such... I would move forward not back. By the by, you are using CO2... you mean injected CO2 :wink: Personally I would stop with the Excel. I've had that cause browning as often as it has helped a low light tank. What I woudl do is create a healthy natural CO2 level for the tank with a combination of a broken photoperiod and great circulation.

I can't agree with the notion of trying Tom's estimative index. The EI trick is really handy once you know what your plants nutritional needs are, but until then, you can really mess things up. Tom often under estimates the averae human's ability to NOT follow instructions correctly . :lol:
 

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Number6 said:
Personally I would stop with the Excel. I've had that cause browning as often as it has helped a low light tank.
That's interesting. I've never had a problem with Excel browning my plants. I don't have any "low light" tanks tho, 3 tanks are CF's, 2 tanks are T5NO's and 3 tanks are T5HO's.

Good luck with your new fixture. Hopefully, the Angels will adjust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
THe only way to use the brackets to raise it is to remove the lid becasue they clamp onto the edges. Since it's not rimless, has a centre brace, and a hob filter, and is generally caked with gunk where the lid would be it's not a clean look so I'm going to have to play around with it. I've seen that chart and sitting only an inch or so above the lid would be alot of light so I'm going to have to figure something out
 

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I hang my fixtures from the ceiling when I can with black decorative chain. It looks decent, and enables me to move the fixture up or down. Hydrophite over on plantedtank.net went to Home Depot and rigged his lights to hang. Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ya that would be cool, problem is the tank is in my front forier which is two storys high. Maybe I can mock something up. Thanks

Also regarding the chart in the link...based on the chart a single t5 on a tank of 20" would be low light at 4" above the tank and also low light at 12" above the tank. So is that to say that whatever you like better or works for you, either or is the same thing basically?
 

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There are other ways to hang a fixture...check out plantedtank.net. Some take metal bars, bend them in an L shape, attach the metal bar to the cabinet, and suspend the fixture from these bars. Looks decent also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well there was no real practical way of mounting this without building something to hang it off. Even with the top removed using the brackets the most you can get is 4" from the top which was still way to bright. I personally feel that s.american fish dont' show best in such bright light. I was perfectly happy with the 8000k 17 watt t8 bulb looks wise, just wanted healthier plants. Even though they are not in perfect shape, they are decent enough for me so I ended up returning the fixture the following day. Just looked very unnatural to me, and showed every little scratch, algae, dirt etc in the tank bright as day. I could see the light glowing through my frosted glass window on my front door from down the street! Seeing as I only have some java ferns, anubius and a couple of crypts(the crypts actually grew in here), I think i'm just going to leave it be for a bit and see what happens. If in a few weeks everything has died then I'll have to decide between a simple woods and rocks hardscape or a tastefully done decorative scape(plastic plants).
 
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