Starting again

Jen

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Hi all. I'm trying to get my tank back in shape after 2 kids and a bit of a depression.
It's a 55g freshwater planted, presently just 15 harlequin rasboras as the last of my angels died from Hexamita.
Pleco, Cory's and a shrimp or two.
Snails are out of control so I got 6 assassins yesterday that started feasting immediately!
I used to use co2 but stopped when dosing and tank fills became too time consuming with a newborn.
BDBS substrate, flourish and flourish excel

I used to use this light (https://www.bigalspets.com/ca/aqueon-optibright-plus-led-lighting-systems.html?sku=68305), but stopped as my crypts weren't doing well so we assumed it wasn't enough light. I went back to a very old t8 fixture with bulbs that weren't doing anyone any favours but kept my low light plants (crypts and ludwigia) alive.

I want to use the aqueon again and am wondering if I need a longer photo period. I was only keeping it on for 6.5 hours plus fade in and out. Do LED fixtures need to be on longer?

(Don't mind the bubbler... We let the toddler choose a gift for the fish lol)
 

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xxBarneyxx

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Welcome back into it. Tank is looking lovely.

Regarding the lighting. Are the plants doing good with the T8, if so how long is that currently on for?

The issue with LED can be that there is very little real data on their actual output so its a bit of trial and error to figure them out. Some are definitely better than others. They also have a much more "aimed beam" lighting effect with quite a lot of light drop of between the light and dark parts. T8s and t5s gave a much wider spread of light so when making the switch it's worth keeping in mind.

It's not very precise but if you T8 light is doing the job then put your LED on it and try to eyeball if the LED is brighter or darker. If its brighter, and it probably will be, try and dim it a little to match the output from the T8. Also match the same photo period as the T8 with maybe 30 minutes either side for sunrise/sunset.

Give it a few weeks to see how it goes and try adjusting the light up or down if you need to. Crypts are fairly low light demanding plants so it could be the change in brightness was too much. T8 output, especially if its on old tube is pretty low.
 

Fishmanic

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Very nice tank. You should enter it in our February Tank of the Month contest which will feature tanks sized at 31 gallons and larger.
 

FishHobby99

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Lovely tank!
I keep my tank lights on for ~10 hours a day. Except the axolotl tanks which have no lighting at all. They don’t like it.
 
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Jen

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Thank you both for totm recommendations. This is how it has looked for 3 years after I trim the ludwigia, so that really gives me reassurance that I haven't lost my touch!
 
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Jen

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Welcome back into it. Tank is looking lovely.

Regarding the lighting. Are the plants doing good with the T8, if so how long is that currently on for?

The issue with LED can be that there is very little real data on their actual output so its a bit of trial and error to figure them out. Some are definitely better than others. They also have a much more "aimed beam" lighting effect with quite a lot of light drop of between the light and dark parts. T8s and t5s gave a much wider spread of light so when making the switch it's worth keeping in mind.

It's not very precise but if you T8 light is doing the job then put your LED on it and try to eyeball if the LED is brighter or darker. If its brighter, and it probably will be, try and dim it a little to match the output from the T8. Also match the same photo period as the T8 with maybe 30 minutes either side for sunrise/sunset.

Give it a few weeks to see how it goes and try adjusting the light up or down if you need to. Crypts are fairly low light demanding plants so it could be the change in brightness was too much. T8 output, especially if its on old tube is pretty low.
Thank you for the great words.

The LED is definitely dimmer than my old fixture. You can see the difference in the whole tank vs cat picture. Looking up my old journals here, I had a T5 fixture with 2x54watt bulbs.

The plants weren't doing well at all. Ludwigia tall and lanky and needed to be trimmed back all the time. My Java fern is going brown and holey. It was on for 7 hours. I set up the LED a few days ago and set it for 6 hours plus sunrise/set thinking it was brighter. I'll increase that today to match.
 
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Jen

Jen

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This was back in 2017, at the height of CO2 and interest. Ive always been a jungle style girl. I know I'll won't have time for this for a long time, but I like looking back and remembering :)

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xxBarneyxx

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Looking up my old journals here, I had a T5 fixture with 2x54watt bulbs.
Ahh yeah that changes things a little X2 T5's is actually pretty bright (brighter than T8s) and probably has a better light spread and brightness than the LED as well.

Honestly I like LED's for the look and energy saving but unless you are spending a ton on them the quality can be pretty iffy. I bought two for my current tank. The first one was pretty dim with really bad light drop off, also the power supply has died and I have used it for less than 100 hours. The second one is brighter but still has terrible light spread. I still think even cheapo T5's with a decent reflector setup work a lot better unless you are buying one of the top of the range LED units.
 
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Jen

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Good to know. I'll start with upping my current photoperiod with the LEDs and see what happens. If I don't see any improvement soon maybe I'll replace 1 bulb and see if that helps enough to grow more than just the basic low light plants. I really don't want to get back into CO2 and high dose ferts again; I just don't have the time with 2 little littles.
 

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Welcome back, wishing you a happy journey Jen :) .
BTW, I haven't noticed anyone else joined as early as 2003...you might hold a record?! :hooray:
 
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Jen

Jen

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Welcome back, wishing you a happy journey Jen :) .
BTW, I haven't noticed anyone else joined as early as 2003...you might hold a record?! :hooray:
Lol I'm pretty ancient, and came out of hibernation for sure. I was pretty much an expert on plants back in the day. I miss it. George farmer was a bit of a mentor of mine and I taught so many others. 2003 seems like a lifetime ago... 22, not a care in the world except fish lol. My son is 2 and obsessed with the fish so he's helping me get back into it. ❤️
 

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