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Hello everybody this is my first post on here. I really like this site, nice info. Well back to my ? I have a 55g tank that I am starting to grow plants in it. I had upgraded my lighting with 2 48" T-8 fluorescent lights rated at 40 watts a bulb for a total of 80 watts. One bulb is a Hagen Sun-Glo and the other is a Hagen Power-Glo. Well while doing my math I figured that 80watts really wouldn't be enough light to adequately support plant life. Yesterday while I was at Wal-Mart I noticed that they sell replacement fluorescent tubes that have a K rating of 6,500 and are 1600 lumens at 32 watts a bulb.
- My ? is would these bulbs be a good addition to my current light set up to help support plant growth. Thanks
 

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No you need to put 40 watt bulbs into the fixture. that is what the transformer is rated at, the bulbs won't work. With your lighting system you have now you have 1.45 watts per Gallon (WPG) you can grow any low to mid light plants you want, as long as you have good gravel or plant sub. and you may want to look into some ferts for the plants and adding some form of CO2 to the tank system. If you want to have a planted tank. If you just going to have a tank with some live plants than you could get by with using a liquid ferts that have a CO2 additive in them. Excel from florish has this property.

Your lights should be around 6700K for best plant growth and fish viewing. You can use a slightly higher K rating if the tank is unsually deep.
 

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The biggest misconception is that plants just need MORE light to grow. The real story is that plants need an equal amount of light, CO2, and nutrients. If any one is too low you can actually get worse growth (yellowing, weak stems) and an unwanted algae bloom. If you increase your lights you are driving plant growth, but if you don't up your CO2 and nutrients, one or both of them have just become limited. Unless you increase all 3, I would keep your lights at or below 2 wpg.
 

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You have 3 methods. You can make your own CO2 gas, you can buy a CO2 canister and pump it in, or you can supplement an alternate carbon based compound to CO2.

Look up DiY CO2 reactors. They use yeast, sugar, and water to pump CO2 into your tank. Hard to regulate and limited to certain tank sizes.

For canisters you can use a paintball canister or small tank used by most to make their own beer at home. You need a regulator, needle valve, and bubble counter.

For supplement, Seachem makes a chemical called Excel. I use it but I am not sure how well it works on its own if you were to increase the light.
 

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Excel works very will in conjuction with normal seachem plant fert....The excel has enough CO2 to effectly kill black bearded algea..... Which seems to turn up with a lack of CO2.... Still researching this, but I know it kills BBA.
 

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I see. I am planning on adding co2 and I am adding Seachem Flourish. I plan on growing some sword plants, java ferns, aponogetons, dwarf lily and maybe some others. I have been doing my homework abit and trying to have an equal playing field (plants, co2, nutrients, and lighting). I figured that 1.49 wpg wouldn't be enough to have flourishing plants which is why I thought around 2.5 wpa would be sufficient; especially for the plants I want. Is there really that much difference between a 6,500K bulb to a 6,700K bulb in growing plants? Once again thanks for help
 

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Excel works very will in conjuction with normal seachem plant fert....The excel has enough CO2 to effectly kill black bearded algea..... Which seems to turn up with a lack of CO2.... Still researching this, but I know it kills BBA.
At how many wpg though? I know excel is good at killing BBA, but can you increase your lighting to 2.5wpg, 3wpg with just Excel was my question. I would guess no. Plus people trying to kill BBA usually up the dose of Excel to 3x recommended. How long would that be safe?
 

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I see. I am planning on adding co2 and I am adding Seachem Flourish. I plan on growing some sword plants, java ferns, aponogetons, dwarf lily and maybe some others. I have been doing my homework abit and trying to have an equal playing field (plants, co2, nutrients, and lighting). I figured that 1.49 wpg wouldn't be enough to have flourishing plants which is why I thought around 2.5 wpa would be sufficient; especially for the plants I want. Is there really that much difference between a 6,500K bulb to a 6,700K bulb in growing plants? Once again thanks for help
Well then the first thing I would do is to add the CO2 system and start dosing with Flourish for about 2weeks. Note the change in plant growth over that amount of time. Then if you want faster growth feel free to add more lights and note changes in growth. Most of the plants you mentioned really don't need much light though.
 

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Will excel can not increace WPG what it does increase in the CO2 carbon in the tank. It seems safe enough for most fish.... now I'm not saying the loachies don't go alittle crazy but the neon tetra don't die. IMO commercal bred Neon are the weakest fish you can buy anywhere, but they are also a good indicator if poor water quailty or water chemistry problems as they die off quickly.
 

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Will excel can not increace WPG what it does increase in the CO2 carbon in the tank. It seems safe enough for most fish.... now I'm not saying the loachies don't go alittle crazy but the neon tetra don't die. IMO commercal bred Neon are the weakest fish you can buy anywhere, but they are also a good indicator if poor water quailty or water chemistry problems as they die off quickly.
I don't think you understand what I am saying. The poster is asking if he can add more lights. I know Excel is used as an alternative to CO2 in a tank. I listed it above #3. However, I don't think he can increase his lights without consequences if he was just using Excel alone and no other CO2 injection....that is my point.

Hopefully that makes more sense. :) I use Excel daily along with pressurize CO2 but have never use 2-3x the recommend dose for more than a few days.
 
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