Old timer coming back, need pointers to updated info (ferts, lighting)

xxBarneyxx

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So I had got heavily into high tech planted tanks a reef aquariums some years ago but have been out of the hobby for a long time.

We have recently picked up a little 2ftX1ftX1ft (68L) tank and I'm going to set it up as a little planted community tank. Initially I was just going to go for a super low tech simple system but after digging around in my old fish kit I have found all my old CO2 injection kit and have enough CO2 to run this tank for probably a year at least.

So what I have so far:
  • NICREW Planted LED Aquarium Light - I have no idea where this fits on the scale of Low, medium or high lighting which is kind of throwing me off in terms of how I should be dosing.
  • ADA Aquasoil - I have used this in the past with the ADA ferts and had amazing results in a high light/CO2 setup. I was planning on doing this again but would love to find a cheaper solution to the dosing ferts if possible.
  • CO2 injection system - I have the complete system except for a solenoid which I can pick up easy enough. I'm actually ok on this part as things dont seem to have changed much and I actually remember how it works :)
  • Bags of Mono Potassium Phosphate and Potassium Nitrate. I vaguely remember buying these to replace the ADA Brightly K with a homebrew version but I have long since forgotten most of what I knew about Fert dosing.

Plants I have mostly gone for a lot of quick growing, easy, stem plants and a few crypts. I'm kind of ok on this front as I have a pretty good memory and notes of what plants worked well and what didnt.

So if anyone could advise me on the light, would it be considered low, medium or high light, and point me in the direction of a good fert system to use with CO2 and aqua soil that would be amazing. EI still seems to be around but I always found that slightly confusing and a fair amount of faff, there seems to be a few DIY recipes for ADA substitutes but I couldn''t find any simple guides or results of anyone using them so not sure where to go from here at the moment.
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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So I had got heavily into high tech planted tanks a reef aquariums some years ago but have been out of the hobby for a long time.

We have recently picked up a little 2ftX1ftX1ft (68L) tank and I'm going to set it up as a little planted community tank. Initially I was just going to go for a super low tech simple system but after digging around in my old fish kit I have found all my old CO2 injection kit and have enough CO2 to run this tank for probably a year at least.

So what I have so far:
  • NICREW Planted LED Aquarium Light - I have no idea where this fits on the scale of Low, medium or high lighting which is kind of throwing me off in terms of how I should be dosing.
  • ADA Aquasoil - I have used this in the past with the ADA ferts and had amazing results in a high light/CO2 setup. I was planning on doing this again but would love to find a cheaper solution to the dosing ferts if possible.
  • CO2 injection system - I have the complete system except for a solenoid which I can pick up easy enough. I'm actually ok on this part as things dont seem to have changed much and I actually remember how it works :)
  • Bags of Mono Potassium Phosphate and Potassium Nitrate. I vaguely remember buying these to replace the ADA Brightly K with a homebrew version but I have long since forgotten most of what I knew about Fert dosing.

Plants I have mostly gone for a lot of quick growing, easy, stem plants and a few crypts. I'm kind of ok on this front as I have a pretty good memory and notes of what plants worked well and what didnt.

So if anyone could advise me on the light, would it be considered low, medium or high light, and point me in the direction of a good fert system to use with CO2 and aqua soil that would be amazing. EI still seems to be around but I always found that slightly confusing and a fair amount of faff, there seems to be a few DIY recipes for ADA substitutes but I couldn''t find any simple guides or results of anyone using them so not sure where to go from here at the moment.
Back in the day, lighting was available in low, medium and high fixed settings.
The new (-ish) LEDS, such as yours, are way more beneficial and natural in their output.
Whilst you CAN set it so all the little LEDs are on full, that'll be bad for the fish and plants and is unnecessary.
Your light will create a gentle, timely, realistic sunrise...a day with, or without weather effects, such as cloudy, lightning storm, sunny spells...leading onto a gentle, timely sunset. This can be followed by a spell of 'moonlight', before a total lights out, (necessary for fish health).
You can adjust the timings of each of these periods yourself or pick a pre-set program.
One of your programs will be a Plant Boost, which will adjust the spectrum to enhance plant growth.

I've recently started my second tank and am trying out Tropica Aquasoil. My first tank was Ye Olde Traditional river gravel.
Both tanks are getting their prescribed doses of Tropica Premium Nutrition liquid plant food and, so far, I've had no 'melt', which is unherd of in my experience.

My Journal shows what I've done, from start to now).
 

realzalio

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i don't know the specifications, but i highly doubt that a cheap little amazon light is going to cut it for a high tech setup
i use fluval 3.0, but have heard good things about the cheaper finnex lights too (they're less powerful though)
 

realzalio

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ok i just searched the PAR for the nicrew light, apparently it's 80 at 12", so you're probably fine with that light, although it has bad spread and the PAR goes down significantly the further the plant is from the center of the light
so, the plants on the far front and back of the tank won't do well (i think)
i'd go with a fluval or finnex light if you want a denser planted tank
 
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xxBarneyxx

xxBarneyxx

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ok i just searched the PAR for the nicrew light, apparently it's 80 at 12", so you're probably fine with that light, although it has bad spread and the PAR goes down significantly the further the plant is from the center of the light
so, the plants on the far front and back of the tank won't do well (i think)
i'd go with a fluval or finnex light if you want a denser planted tank
Thanks that is exactly what I was looking for, just for future reference is there a good website for this kind of info or just a good google search? I had tried searching but forgot about using the phase PAR instead of LUX.

I wasn't expecting it to be amazing but most the plants I have gone for are lower/medium light requirements anyway so should be ok. I have the light mounted up near the back of the tank so will have to keep in mind and maybe leave the foreground more open. This is something I can add to later, I just didn't know if it would get me by for now. Seems like it might do.
My Journal shows what I've done, from start to now).
Thanks. I was actually looking through your journal last night when I was skimming through for inspiration :)
 

realzalio

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I wasn't expecting it to be amazing but most the plants I have gone for are lower/medium light requirements anyway so should be ok.
then you don't need CO2 if you're going with the nicrew light
if you inject extra CO2, you need to increase light and nutrients otherwise everything will be unbalanced and cause problems
or inject CO2 so minimally to the point where, IMO, it isn't worth the hassle anymore
 
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xxBarneyxx

xxBarneyxx

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then you don't need CO2 if you're going with the nicrew light
if you inject extra CO2, you need to increase light and nutrients otherwise everything will be unbalanced and cause problems
or inject CO2 so minimally to the point where, IMO, it isn't worth the hassle anymore
If the Nicrew light is rated for 80 Par@12" is that not considered to be upper medium/Lower high lighting?
Not sure if things have changed but generally we used to consider 65-70 PAR at substrate to be "medium" and 80+ to be "high". If it is in the medium/high category then wouldn't not dosing/no CO2 cause problems as well?

That was based on T5 and MH lighting though so not sure if that is still valid or the consensus is now different?

Hope this comes across ok, I'm not trying to be argumentative, honestly just trying to wrap my head around it. I miss being able to just work out a rough WPG and figure the rest out from there :)
 

realzalio

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it's not in the high light category if half of the tank is going to have only 60 PAR because of the bad spread
if the light in the mid tank is going to be 80+ PAR, you need CO2, if it's 60 PAR on the front and back, you're on the fence between little CO2 and no CO2 - your mid tank plants (the ones directly under the light) won't do well either way
in short, you should either go with evenly high light for the whole tank or medium light for the whole tank - not both

try looking at a finnex planted+ or planted+ 24/7 ALC, those are the 2 with highest PAR according to their website and isn't that much more expensive, but it'll do VERY much better than the nicrew
 
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xxBarneyxx

xxBarneyxx

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it's not in the high light category if half of the tank is going to have only 60 PAR because of the bad spread
if the light in the mid tank is going to be 80+ PAR, you need CO2, if it's 60 PAR on the front and back, you're on the fence between little CO2 and no CO2 - your mid tank plants (the ones directly under the light) won't do well either way
in short, you should either go with evenly high light for the whole tank or medium light for the whole tank - not both

try looking at a finnex planted+ or planted+ 24/7 ALC, those are the 2 with highest PAR according to their website and isn't that much more expensive, but it'll do VERY much better than the nicrew
Ahh I get you. Thanks.

I already have the nicrew which is why I was going to use it. No money to spend on new lighting right now so will just have to see how it goes I guess.
 
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xxBarneyxx

xxBarneyxx

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try looking at a finnex planted+ or planted+ 24/7 ALC, those are the 2 with highest PAR according to their website and isn't that much more expensive, but it'll do VERY much better than the nicrew
Just wanted to say thanks again for the help. I spent a stupidly long time looking up data on all the lights that I could potentially get and the finnex definitely seems like the best option.

The only issue is I have to import it from the US so is going to take a little while to get here and I'm gonna have issues if it has any faults. Other than the Fluval 3.0 though (which is out of my price range) there aren't many budget options that seem to be available in the UK at the moment. I even looked at T5 lighting but the pricing is not a lot better and soon works out worse once you replace the tubes once.
 

imw

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Hi,

I have some plants (ones that do not require high lighting) in my qt tank - no added light - just daylight from a window above tank - plants are fine. I also recently watched a you tube video where they tested sorts of lights, - may worth a watch-

HTH
 

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This tank is only 12" deep. I run a Nicrew LED (not the planted version) in a 36x12x12" tank and for low tech I have turned it down to 40% as the max intensity. Not sure what the planted version comes with but the Nicrew controllers are dirt cheap on Amazon and pretty good.
 
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xxBarneyxx

xxBarneyxx

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This tank is only 12" deep. I run a Nicrew LED (not the planted version) in a 36x12x12" tank and for low tech I have turned it down to 40% as the max intensity. Not sure what the planted version comes with but the Nicrew controllers are dirt cheap on Amazon and pretty good.
Yeah just a bit of an update to add that I really didn't think this light was doing a very good job at all.

However.....

Last night I looked at a photo I took when I set this tank up and compared it to how it looks now. In 2 weeks most of the stem plants have doubled in height.

This is with less then optimal conditions. It only has aquasoil, no additional ferts, I haven't been doing water changes, there is not enough water flow and the temp was up and down a lot for the first week as I had heater issues.

I'm still glad I'm switching it out. It doesn't have a good enough spread for what I want, the plants at the edges are growing inwards towards the light and the dwarf hairgrass at the front is almost all died off. Also the stem plants are very "leggy" where they are trying to maximize for light collection.

BUT it probably would work just great for a lower light setup on a slightly smaller tank. If I had got the next size up it probably would have been fine on this one too.

This does mean though that I do have a spare light ready to go...... would be a shame to just have it sitting around when I could have another tank running....
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Each of those 'leggy' stem plants can be chopped and the cuttings placed around the base of their 'parent'.
The cuttings should do as well and note that you'll get more growth, possibly even branching, depending upon the plant, so don't be afraid to cut well down the stem, (just above a leaf junction).
 
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xxBarneyxx

xxBarneyxx

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Each of those 'leggy' stem plants can be chopped and the cuttings placed around the base of their 'parent'.
The cuttings should do as well and note that you'll get more growth, possibly even branching, depending upon the plant, so don't be afraid to cut well down the stem, (just above a leaf junction).
Yeah that's what I was planning on doing. New light turned up today but need a US to UK adaptor which I forgot to order. Going to do a bit of testing on it to compare with the nicrew before I set it up.
 

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