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Hey plant people. Need advice.
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Moment
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Joined: 06 Mar 2007

PostPosted: 2007.03.08(Thu)21:05    Post subject: Hey plant people. Need advice. Reply with quote

OK I'm going to open my situation to your opinions... please. LOL. I bought new T5 HO set up for my bedroom tank today. It is 30g. Med to heavy planted with java fern, anubis and giant hygrophila. I put dual 24'' over it. Total wattage is 48w. That puts me at 1.6 WPG. I had inadequate lighting before at only .6 WPG from a single 25 strip.

I could have put the 36'' setup over it but that would have been only 39 watts in a single bulb rig (not enough) or a whopping 78 watts in a dual. 78 would have put me at 2.6 WPG and that seemed a touch too much since I don't want to have to get into pressurized C02.

I do intend to use C02 but would prefer to use cheaper yeast setup.

Have I made right decision? To go with 1.6 WPG plus light C02 (15 - 20 ppm) or should I have blown the doors off the light. Consider too that to set up 24'' was $160 and to setup full 36'' dual over tank would have gone up over $200. Yikes! The difference in price will buy me my C02 setup.
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CHAGOVATOLOCO
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Joined: 23 Feb 2007

PostPosted: 2007.03.08(Thu)22:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

I spent money (70) on lighting that was in adequate. I went to home depot and bought strips then, halfassed , built my own hood. I looked like hell and was a pain to deal with. There are people that could do a good job at this, I am not one of them and my tooling was inadequate. A few months later I bought the coralife 2x65 watt light for my tank. I am very happy with it and no longer worry about if I have enough lighting. I have only had my tank for 6 months and still have a lot to learn. But I do regret all the money I spent on things that I know do not use and sit in my garage. It not the money but I hate to be wasteful. If you can afford it but the light you really want and put that concern to rest.
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Moment
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Joined: 06 Mar 2007

PostPosted: 2007.03.09(Fri)7:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I can appreciate what you are saying. "Why spend $160 on some of it when you can spend $200 and have all of it?" Right?

But... Money is not all that is involved here. First of all, way more than $200 could be spent on lights and eventually you would have gone too way too far.

From the research I had done so far plants benefit from additional light because the don't have to work as hard utilizing light and can focus energy on CO2 uptake. The opposite is true in even low light conditions... if you add CO2 the plants don't have to expend themselves absorbing C02 and can focus on using available light more efficiently.

The obvious issue develops. If you drive light to high you will send the plant into overdrive and they will suffer after they use up all available CO2. From what I understand if you you start to get above 2.5 WPG you are running into territory were constant regulated source of CO2 becomes necessary. Really expensive territory.

So back to the finer details of my post. Consider the size of tank (30g), length and wattage of lights, species of plants currently housed, and other details available in original message. Have I made an educated decision? My options here in my small city were 24'' single (24w, 1.25 WPG), 24'' double (48w, 1.6 WPG), 36'' single (39w, 1.3 WPG), or 36'' double at (78w, 2.6 WPG). I purchased the Dual 24''. With the addition of light CO2, I feel this will work well. I should also mention that this is the GLO system and has highly polished reflector. Like a round mirror really.

I would like to get a few different opinions on this so I invite others to reply.
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Rex Grigg
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Joined: 26 Feb 2005
Location: Portland Oregon

PostPosted: 2007.03.09(Fri)9:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you purchased a strip light with the tank you could have gone with an AH Supply www.ahsupply.com 96 watt upgrade kit. That would have ran you about $100 and given you plenty of light. But this would require a pressurized setup or a LOT of work with a DIY rig.
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Moment
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Joined: 06 Mar 2007

PostPosted: 2007.03.09(Fri)11:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tank you for your quick response (spelling wrong on purpose) ,

Exactly, I don't want to get into pressured CO2, too expensive for me right now. I have 5 tanks to think about. One of which is about to cost me tons. The 45g which is cycling is going to need at least 90w or more. It is to be main display tank in living room, amazon only heavy plant, angel tank. The deal at AH Supply is actually about the same as I would pay here. It might save a bit. I am in Canada so convert to Canadian dollars and add shipping and you have nearly what I would be paying here.

So that being said, would you say that 1.6 WPG along with DIY CO2 would be sufficient in 30g tank?

Also Rex I found a chart from one of your links that shows how to calculate CO2 from pH and KH. My pH is 7. My Hagen KH kit reads in mg/l and tells me my KH is 50-55. My conversions say that 55 mg/l = 3.08 dH. The chart show KH as dkH 2.2 thru 10.0. Is what that site calls dkH the same as dH? If so that would put my CO2 at around 9 ppm. Which does make sense.

I haven't installed CO2 yet just so you know so this is to be expected. This would also explain why my tap water being 70 mg/l KH out of tap, is 50-55 in tank. Since in absence of CO2 plants would be utilizing carbonates from buffer.

Does this all ring true? Is so that means I'm on the right track with my understanding of it all. I will have to maintain buffer with frequent water changes as well since CO2 will likely lower pH as well due to carbonic acid build up.

Anyway I soak it all up like a sponge, hopefully I'm processing it well. Please advise.
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CHAGOVATOLOCO
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Joined: 23 Feb 2007

PostPosted: 2007.03.09(Fri)11:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know you want to stay with DIY co2. But I fear that you will have the same thing happen there. And eventually end up with a co2 bottle setup. I do not want to scare you away, but I wish I had just gone to that instead of wasting my time. Yes you can have a budget setup that is beautiful but it can also be a lot more work and frustating. This is just what happened to me, others may be different. You might do well with a budget setup, I did not. I had algae problems and poor growth untill I broke my wallet, and I am very happy with my setup. Read rex griggs guid and just follow it, you will have good results.
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joitoy
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Joined: 06 Mar 2005
Location: Trinity, TX

PostPosted: 2007.03.09(Fri)11:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does this pretty much mean that if you are on a budget you should forget having a planted tank?
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Moment
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Joined: 06 Mar 2007

PostPosted: 2007.03.09(Fri)11:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am heading out to work now, a little later than planned but continue with responses, as I am building an assessment of my situation from your replies. Hope to see lots of data when I return. I get notification on my phone of your replies. Though I can't respond till back at puter.

Also considering that nitrifying bacteria get energy from carbonates I am afraid to drive light to high with out adequate CO2 since this would damage cycle and harm fish.

Anyway I'm out of here till tonight.
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Pete Harcoff
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2007.03.09(Fri)11:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

CHAGOVATOLOCO wrote:
I know you want to stay with DIY co2. But I fear that you will have the same thing happen there. And eventually end up with a co2 bottle setup. I do not want to scare you away, but I wish I had just gone to that instead of wasting my time. Yes you can have a budget setup that is beautiful but it can also be a lot more work and frustating.


This was my experience too. I used DIY for about a year and it was a royal pain in the butt. I had to deal with changing out the mixture every three weeks, inconsistent bubble production, seals on bottles wearing out and having to replace the entire setup... Now I have pressurized and even though it cost a couple hundred to set up, not having the constant maintanence anymore is worth it.
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Pete Harcoff
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2007.03.09(Fri)11:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

joitoy wrote:
Does this pretty much mean that if you are on a budget you should forget having a planted tank?


Not necessarily. There are a number of plants that will do well in lower light tanks with no CO2 or ferts. Granted they won't grow very fast, but they will survive.

And DIY CO2 is an option, it's just considerably more work to maintain.
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