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Lighting
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FishyFishyFishy
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Joined: 02 Aug 2006
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: 2011.04.16(Sat)21:11    Post subject: Lighting Reply with quote

I apologize in advance for what is probably a repeat question. I have a standard 55 (US) gallon with the typical cheap basic hood and light combination. I've been able to really slowly grow the two types of anubias and one type of crypt. Basically these plants are alive, but they don't really thrive because the lighting is so bad. They look pale in some cases and they get covered with this almost black colored algae. (At least I think it's algae and not dust from the ecocomplete.) Anyway, can you give me some very specific recommendations for a set up that will bump me up to low/medium light? I don't think I want to go the CO2 route-- but I don't want a crazy algae attack either. I've been looking around and I see HO T5 lighting which seems to be the very most powerful, right? A link that sends me in the right direction would be appreciated. I'm in the U.S. Thanks.
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Darkblade48
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Joined: 21 Jun 2004
Location: Yokohama, Japan

PostPosted: 2011.04.17(Sun)3:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

What kind of lighting do you currently have?
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carpalstunna
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Joined: 25 Mar 2011
Location: Canton, OH

PostPosted: 2011.04.18(Mon)13:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it depends on what you want to spend.
This a good price for T5
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3733+16770&pcatid=16770
Look at the 48" freshwater one, this would definitely be a good lighting system. The trick with T5 is to not run it too long if you don't want to add CO2.
I would put them on a timer for 8 hours a day and then slowly increase until you see algae problems to find the correct timing. It will probably be between 8-10 hours a day.
You will also need to dose with a carbon source such as Flourish Excel and I would add a small amount of liquid fertilizer once the algae is under control such as seachem flourish. If you get a small syringe you can directly apply the excel to algae trouble spots. Just turn off your filter to stop any water flow and squirt 5ml (one recommended dose) of the excel on wherever you have algae, wait a half hour and turn your filter back on. This is good for your plants bad for algae. I have had much success with this method.
Manually remove as much algae as you can. For the algae growing on your plants that have large leaves such as the anubius, just take you thumb and index finger and gently rub the leaf to manually remove some of the algae. This will help it with absorbing available light. Any rock or wood that are covered in algae, remove from tank and add to a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water for several days. Rinse and scrub, repeat process once more then return to tank. This will kill algae on those surfaces and not be harmful to fish. You can also soak in a mild bleach solution for faster results, just be sure to rinse very well and soak in a declorinator as this is harmful to fish.
The extra light and excel will make the biggest impact. You could also look into DIY CO2 as it is very cheap and there are many instructions here on this forum.
I have a 55 gallon planted tank and these methods have worked for me successfully for several years. Your plants should begin to significantly improve and spread.
One more thing, make sure you are doing weekly water changes to keep your nitrate levels low (this is food for algae). Your plants will also need nitrates but if there is more in your tank than your plants can absorb (very likely in your case) algae will thrive.

Do you know your nitrate levels? Have you tested your water?
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