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Lighting For Basic ,ow Tech Plants

Discussion in 'Lighting, CO2, Ferts & Flow' started by stacey3272, May 3, 2012.

  1. stacey3272

    stacey3272 Member

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    Ok I have a 55 gallon I have gravel / rocks for now

    I have a big center piece I like to try to put Anubias plant on and maybe try java fern. I am looking for a plant I can put in gravel maybe to. So I need lighting that would work good forthose plants. I kow nohting about lighting terms T5 Tb bla bla. so a link to the bulbs or brand and name and wattae would be great. I have 2 @ 15 watt flourecent in it now.
     
  2. Termato

    Termato Member

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    Assuming you have a 55 gallon stock hood that holds two 24" Flourescent bulbs correct?

    If so, your stock ballast wont let you stock any lighting over i think 22-25Watts. Therefore there is not point in getting a fluorescent light above 22 Watts.

    What you can do here is go out and get 2 new bulbs that are 20Watt and rated at 6500k. This will provide the Blue and Red spectrum for your plants and give you some brighter lights. I can take a picture of the box they came in when I get home in about 2 hours. You can find them at Lowes, Home Depot or even Wal Mart. I will say that Lowes and Home Depot have better selections.

    The 6500k is the Kelvin Rating. This is the color spectrum of the light. 6500k is mainly blue light. It also has a spike in the red section which is perfect for plants.

    This low lighting should be fine for Java Fern, Anubias (as long as its in the middle and towards the top so the light doesnt go too far) and any other low light plants.

    You could really try looking into Cabomba as it grows fast too.
     
  3. FishFanatic04

    FishFanatic04 I'm in Planted School.

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    +1. Just adding...I only have 30watts of light in my 46g which works out to just a tiny bit more then you have now and the plants in my signature are lush and doing well after a few months. You can grow a huge variety of plants at a low light. Low light= slow growth.
     
  4. Termato

    Termato Member

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    I agree. A lot of people will push you towards getting newer hood for stronger lights (before you ever thinkg of doing that think of this: Just put tin foil inside the rim of your hood to reflect more light down there) lol.

    Like FishFanatic04 says, low light=slow growth. The plants will be happy though, especially low light plants like Java Fern.
     
  5. stacey3272

    stacey3272 Member

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    Here is what it says on the back of my bulb boxing



    Lumans 675

    watt 15

    CRl/lRC 67


    Kelvin 9325

    length 18 inch
     
  6. Termato

    Termato Member

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    I was told these are GE bulbs. They don't sell 18" bulbs that are higher output that I know of, those are about as best of bulbs as you can get for that hood.

    You can try to have Java Fern in there right underneath the light and see how it works, I'm quite sure Java Fern will work out for you because its a low light plant. If that works maybe you can try and get something else after, but I would make sure Java Fern works first. Honestly that is not a lot of light at all for a tank that size. I have more lighting than that in my 20 gallon tank which is running an f15 18" 6500k bulb and a 23W CFL 6500k bulb.

    If you want a nicely planted tank you are going to need a new hood that can handle the output OR modify it so you can get new bulbs to support the plants. You have the option to get a hood to support something like this:

    2x32 watt T8s or a single 54watt HO T8

    I would look at some DIY mods, the cheapest way is to modify it to hold CFL bulbs. Those are stronger and will be able to support plants.

    This is what I did to my 20:
    [​IMG]

    Took a desk lamp. Put the awesome bulb in there and just set it over my tank. You can get a glass hood to put this over or something like that. All up to you on how you go about it.

    I hope this helps.
     
  7. stacey3272

    stacey3272 Member

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    Yes the are GE and you are saying no other brand makes a 18 inch bulb that is a higher watt. What is CFL bulbs. Does it say on the box if it is a t8 or t 5 i read about.
     
  8. Termato

    Termato Member

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    Someone could, I don't know anyone who does. I looked for it at PetSmart, Lowes and Home Depot. If you find anyone who does let me know. My hood takes up to 22Watts for 18" so if I had a 20Watt 18" I would get it.

    I don't understand your last question.

    compact fluorescent lamp (CFL)
    [​IMG]
     
  9. ian

    ian plant your tank
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    this thread is confusing me...Don't go changing the wattage of the bulbs, the ballasts are set for one wattage and one wattage only. You'll end up wasting money on blown bulbs.

    Also the K rating of a bulb has no baring on plant growth what so ever, plants will adjust to whatever light you give them.
     
  10. Termato

    Termato Member

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    I do agree I got a little out of hand there, thanks for making note of that.

    Ianho I have to disagree on the K rating.

    The K rating actually does effect growth of the plant. Especially when the intensity of the light is not sufficient. Plant's cannot use green light as they reflect it, it is best to give it blue and red. I have experienced this personally and I am now keeping track of the plant growth in my tank because of the light and nutrients I am giving it. My plants did not grow for almost a month until I got new lights. A week later I started using Flourish and I saw even more growth and less algae.

    At a certain point if you provide enough light, the spectrum no longer matters ,as I said above, leaving the K rating completely useless, as ianho said. In this case as you are limited on your output, getting a bulb with the right k ratting, as you already have, will absolutely help the plants in their growth.

    I do not encourage you to modify your hood, I personally haven't done that and it is not needed. I did not mean to make it sound that way. There are many options and ways to approach this. I may have gone overboard on the amount and direction of information I gave because this is a very complex subject.
     
  11. stacey3272

    stacey3272 Member

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    no worrys it is a subject withnay many ways to go about it. Thank you very much for helping and sharing what you know :)
     
  12. FishFanatic04

    FishFanatic04 I'm in Planted School.

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    One option which I support, Is to buy just a few plants and add them. Wait and see how they do, what are they telling you basically. Then you will know if you can do what you want with the light you have.

    I think someone mentioned cabomba above...thats a great stem plant for your substrate, grows fast even under my low light...few inches a week in fact. good place to start and learn what your plants will need.
     
  13. ian

    ian plant your tank
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    I'm afraid it has very little to nothing to do with plants growth, Kelvin ratings are purely for aesthetic use.

    Kelvin has no sway on light intensity, this is know as Photosynthetically Active Radiation also known as PAR. This will measure light intensity. Kelvin ratings will not make the bulb brighter for a plant, it may look brighter, due again to asctetic reasons. Kelvin although is a legitimately way of measuring colour it was picked up in the 80-90's as a way of marketing 'plant' bulbs, which would cost you $30, and a household/factory bulb would cost you $5.

    The Kelvin scale is more of how your tank will look to you/us and is totally subjective. It is true that the lower Kelvin ratings like 3000K will have more red light and a 10,000K will have more blue light. Lumens are meaningless for plants, as green plants do not utilize green light for photosynthesis. A higher lumen rating at the same wattage often means greener light. Lumen is a rating weighted entirely towards human perception. It has little to do with the value of a light for either growing or viewing plants. Again leaving it down to PAR. Plants uses any light energy in the visible spectrum. Therefore if you can see the light then plants can use it.

    some recent interesting reading...from aquatic botanists and scientists.

    http://www.barrreport.com/archive/index.php/t-4768.html


    Again, i'm sorry but this has nothing to do with Kelvins. Most aquatic plants are grown out of water and it takes 2-4 weeks for the to adapt to there true aquatic forms, IMO your plants have started growing as they have now adapted and you are giving them some food. Plants are further down the evolution chain than algae and thats why you're seeing less algae.
     
  14. Mcbenthy

    Mcbenthy Member

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    Ian, I am afraid I have to disagree with you again :sad:

    Whilst the phosphors arguement is completely true, the Kelvin scale is not a 'marketing ploy'. It is a scientifically derived spectrum built from a black-body radiator model (examples include our sun). The kelvin rating given to bulbs is the spectrum that they are closest to (and it is actually pretty #40## close). Whilst aquatics companies do rip off consumers for 'specific plant bulbs' they are ripping you off by virtue of the Aquarium tag, not the science behind it. You can buy 6500K T5 bulbs for a couple of quid (I did so last week and they are working fine)

    Whilst plants will use any and all radiation that is in the correct part of the spectrum for them (this includes reflected light that may have lost energy and therefore shifted), they do have an 'ideal' adsorption spectrum that is well documented. This spectrum is dependent on the chlorophyll that is present (typically Chlorophyll A and B in varying ratios).

    Myself and Ian had a good discussion about this on a previous thread (http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?/topic/385846-chit-chat-lurker/page__p__3242080__fromsearch__1#entry3242080) that I would recommend reading.

    The short and long is, lights are good, regardless of kelvin; HOWEVER a bulb with a spectrum closer to the adsorption spectrum of your plants will deliver better results - not by a lot perhaps, so go with the most aestetically pleasing.

    Sorry if this seems pinikity, but I am a scientist, so I couldn't resist putting up the correct information :lol:
     
  15. ian

    ian plant your tank
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    We have had this discussion before McBenthy, so i'm not going to go to far into it again, thanks for highlighting the previous thread. I'm not a scientist, but have a good grounding on plants (aquatic ones, which are a lot different to the terrestrial plants), the guys in the Barr report link are all mainly botanic scientist or aquatic plant specialists. I have also used nearly every K rating possible to grow these plants and i have had the same result for K ratings from 2600 - 2x 1000k available.

    I will maintain that the K rating and aquatic plants have no baring into how well the plant will grow. The Par levels will...aquatic plants WILL adapt to any light thrown at them.

    remember what the great Lam Gallagher once said ''Don't believe the hype!'' lol

    ^^^this statement is almost agreeable, but i can probably bet my liver on it that these were not practiced on aquatic plants, but there different terrestrial friends.
     

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