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Challenging my black thumb

Waterstrider

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Ok so I should start by saying this is for a future project not my main tank now, though if I got it figured out who knows.
I’m looking for tall plants ( for either a 55 or 90 gallon tank) that can do limited light and ideally a sand substrate. Current light is a Satelite LED, which is not really a plant light but mixes whites and blues. I have several filters so I’m open on which to use. I don’t really feel like killing plants so be honest, if you think this won’t work say that lol.
reason I haven’ttried plants in this tank yet is2 bn plecos and a firemouth, seemed problematic. Ideally the tank would be for small schooling fish
 

Retired Viking

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Anacharis grows to be 2 1/2 -3 feet tall, I have it in my tank, it does need some light of course but it is not expensive and looks nice as a background plant
 

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Vallisneria spiralis sounds like it would do the job, it grows well in sand and moderate light. Bristlenoses wont be a problem for val but the firemouth might enjoy digging them up.
 
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Waterstrider

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Vallisneria spiralis sounds like it would do the job, it grows well in sand and moderate light. Bristlenoses wont be a problem for val but the firemouth might enjoy digging them up.
Any preferredfert treatments that stand out for you? as sand isn’t gonna offer much
 

Munroco

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Mine grows great in sand, I am forever pulling out new plants. You could use root tabs in a new set up but other than that they won't need anything extra.
 

Byron

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The light is your primary issue here. I'll come back to that, after first agreeing with others that sand is an ideal substrate, the best to be honest when it comes to plants and fish that are suited to having plants. Nutrient supplementation (supplementing what occurs naturally from fish food and water changes) masy be needed, depending upon the fish load, water GH, and plant species and numbers. Back to the light.

Aquatic plants require red and blue wavelength light to drive photosynthesis. They also need a minimum intensity in that light to drive photosynthesis. Plant species differ, with faster growing plants requiring more intensity and slower growing plants less. The nutrient availability has to balance the light intensity and duration; if it does not, then algae takes advantage because it is not as fussy as higher plants.

Spectrum (the colour wavelength) can be dealt with by knowing the CRI (colour rendering index) or the Kelvin (colour temperature). Using light around the 5000K to 6500K range in Kelvin is ideal. This light is high in red, blue and green; red and blue (primarily red) drive the photosynthesis as I said, but green does improve plant response. Light around 6500K does this, or with a high (close to 100) CRI.

The problem with so much of the LED lighting is the low red and high blue. This is terrific over marine tanks growing corals, but not over freshwater planted tanks. If you have any data on the present light, or can link to a site, we might be able to assess it better. I too still use T8 fluorescent because I understand it and I know it works in my situation, and my five tries at finding LED all failed.
 
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Waterstrider

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The light is your primary issue here. I'll come back to that, after first agreeing with others that sand is an ideal substrate, the best to be honest when it comes to plants and fish that are suited to having plants. Nutrient supplementation (supplementing what occurs naturally from fish food and water changes) masy be needed, depending upon the fish load, water GH, and plant species and numbers. Back to the light.

Aquatic plants require red and blue wavelength light to drive photosynthesis. They also need a minimum intensity in that light to drive photosynthesis. Plant species differ, with faster growing plants requiring more intensity and slower growing plants less. The nutrient availability has to balance the light intensity and duration; if it does not, then algae takes advantage because it is not as fussy as higher plants.

Spectrum (the colour wavelength) can be dealt with by knowing the CRI (colour rendering index) or the Kelvin (colour temperature). Using light around the 5000K to 6500K range in Kelvin is ideal. This light is high in red, blue and green; red and blue (primarily red) drive the photosynthesis as I said, but green does improve plant response. Light around 6500K does this, or with a high (close to 100) CRI.

The problem with so much of the LED lighting is the low red and high blue. This is terrific over marine tanks growing corals, but not over freshwater planted tanks. If you have any data on the present light, or can link to a site, we might be able to assess it better. I too still use T8 fluorescent because I understand it and I know it works in my situation, and my five tries at finding LED all failed.
this is the light I have on that tank, yeah no real red that I know. It does have a fade setting which is nice so you can set it to imitate clouds and lighting changes. It’s strong enough to reach bottom but probably not full spectrum
 

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Retired Viking

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I also use T8 Fluorescent in my main planted tank and plan on changing my old fluorescent in my other tank to T8 soon. I also like the look it gives verses the old fluorescent.
 

Byron

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this is the light I have on that tank, yeah no real red that I know. It does have a fade setting which is nice so you can set it to imitate clouds and lighting changes. It’s strong enough to reach bottom but probably not full spectrum
This might well be OK. If this link is the same fixture you have. The white is said to be 6500K which is ideal. But do not use the blue with it, as this will weigh it on the blue (cool) side and likely encourage algae. All the other bells and whistles are unnecessary, and some can also cause issues, so be careful. Blue "moon" light for example has no benefit, it can bother fish, and algae may respond. A half hour or so at night before total darkness is OK, but not much beyond.

 
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Waterstrider

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This might well be OK. If this link is the same fixture you have. The white is said to be 6500K which is ideal. But do not use the blue with it, as this will weigh it on the blue (cool) side and likely encourage algae. All the other bells and whistles are unnecessary, and some can also cause issues, so be careful. Blue "moon" light for example has no benefit, it can bother fish, and algae may respond. A half hour or so at night before total darkness is OK, but not much beyond.

Nice! Yeah this is what’s on my 90.
fish seem pretty calm with it. I don’t use the thunderstorm setting because... it’s weird. It hasdifferent intensity of white or blue light. And the fish seem to respond positively to the setting that allows the light to slowly fade on and off. Less startle effect then when lights are just switched on and off I think.
I appreciate all the ideas. I might have to experiment with a smaller tank first lol, my firemouth and 3 rainbow cichlids might be too rough on a baby plant. I guess the other benefit of sand is the ability to move plants?
 

seangee

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LooksI pretty decent to me (purely based on their published specs)
I have LEDs in all 3 of my tanks so I have no issues with these. I have discovered the super budget one that came with one of my tanks is simply not bright enough.

I don't bother with all the funky effects for the unit that does support it and it just stays on plain white. The community tank on my signature pic has a seperate blue channel. I set the blue to come on 5 minutes before the white goes out and it only stays on for 20 mintutes. This allows the fish a gradual transition and does not seem to make any difference to plants or algae.
 
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