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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am so confused about what I need to get my plants to grow better, that I joined this forum so hopefully someone can point me in the right direction.

My tank is a 55 Gallon 4ft long 21in hieght 12 depth, it has (2) hoods with a single 5500k tropical daylight bulb from zoo med in each, a magnum canister filter, a sugar/yeast CO2 generator, and a couple air stones.

My problem is that my broad leaf plants keep drying (become see through or brown). My other plants seems to be doing alright, but not great. How can I correct this?

I read on the interweb that CO2 is the key, but the local pet store guy said that he doesn't use CO2 all you need is the proper light. So I looked that up and now am confused on the whole NO, HO, VHO bulbs. I can't find any HO lights that will fit where my current lights are sitting. Also how important are the lunar lights?

TIA
 

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discus_dude
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the conventional rule say that kprovide 2-3 watts per gallon for a planted tank.at the same time for a heavily planted tank we will alaways recommend to use co2 diffuser.moreover there are some useful fertilisers for the growth of plants..i think if you use co2 diffuser along with proper lighting and fertiliser then your tank will be an aquatic garden...
 

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Planted tanks are all about balance. The more light your provide, the more CO2 and nutrients (fertilizer) that is required. Also, certain plants require more lighting/fertilization than others.

What kind of plants do you have? Also, what lighting are you using? How many watts are the bulbs? Do you have two 48" bulbs or only 2 24" bulbs? If you only have two 24" bulbs it's likely that you have too little light for the plants to get any benefit from CO2 you are providing. Also, sugar/yeast DIY CO2 doesn't generally work for tanks 50G and up. In addition try to limit surface agitation, as this will cause you to loose a large amount of CO2 into the air.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have some (amazon?)swords that are doing real bad. Subulata, Dwarf (looks like grass to me) it's doing alright. A few bamboo plants that are doing good. And maybe Java fern. I dunno but they are doing awesome. grown like 3 inches since planted 2-3 months ago

My lighting is 2 18in 5500k bulbs. the top of my tank has 2 hoods that are each 20inches and each holds 1 bulb
 

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Couple things to note here:

Lighting...too low....even for low light standards but low light plants will do....ok. You want to look for daylight bulbs around the 6700k range. Try shooting for 2wpg. The depth is what gets ya concerning light. More light is needed to reach the lower end of the tank.

DIY CO2...the only way this will really benefit this tank is if you run multiple bottles at the same time.

Now...the more light you add..say > 2wpg...you should look to add CO2 and ferts. Best method would be pressurized. It is a larger cost up front but in the end it will pay for itself.

Lunar Light...no value to plants only asthetics. I have one on my larger tank to run a couple hours at nigth just so I can watch the night time fishies for a while.
 

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discus_dude
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if you look for a planted tank you need all fertilisers,proper light and co2 injection...then your tank will be an aquatic garden.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks. I will try and get some better bulbs today. I know the lunar light wont help the plants, but I want to make my fish happy to.

What is a good website for lights? I couldn't seem to find any yesterday that had 18" bulbs that would fit where my current lights sit. The fixtures themselfs are about 21 1/4" by 4"


If I can get proper light or at least better light, will should I still get CO2 right away? I only have 5-7 plants.
 

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Not sure as websites to get lights from. Maybe Dr Fosters and Smith? I just go to Lowes or HD and get shop lights now. Cheaper. *#3
 

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Thanks. I will try and get some better bulbs today. I know the lunar light wont help the plants, but I want to make my fish happy to.

What is a good website for lights? I couldn't seem to find any yesterday that had 18" bulbs that would fit where my current lights sit. The fixtures themselfs are about 21 1/4" by 4"


If I can get proper light or at least better light, will should I still get CO2 right away? I only have 5-7 plants.
Keep in mind if you want to shoot for 2 wpg in this tank, you'll need more than two 18" standard fluorescent aquarium bulbs, regardless of there temperature (K) you still won't have enough light for plants really grow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
thanks for the help. I think I am going to get some glass hoods from Dr Foster and some new lights. I would use shop lights from HD, but I don't want to mount them to my wood stand. I'm leaning toward some PC 2 24" lights 65 watts each so 130 total along with the glass hoods I'm lookin at about 200 bucks and some shipping. Wow
 

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You might want to consider T5HO lighting instead of PC. It has a few advantages: bulbs are cheaper, it produces a more penetrating light than PCs (able to reach the bottom better), and the spectrum doesn't shift as much towards the end of the bulbs lifespan.

You could pick up a fixture like this 48" Freshwater Nova Extreme T5HO for just over $100. Then all you'd need would be the glass cover (if you want one). This specific one produces 108 watts would put you right at 2wpg.

Whatever you do steer clear of Actinic and 50/50 bulbs as they really won't help your plants grow. Many PC fixtures come with a setup that includes Actinic.
 

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With HO/VHO bulb you can throw the wpg rule out the window. These bulbs have higher lumens or penetration power. Once you add over 1wpg, I would seriously consider pressurized CO2 and daily nutrients.

By doing this you will now have a high-tech tank. This means faster growth but more work. You have to keep up on the nutrient dosing and pruning weekly, and larger water changes or you have the potential to grow more algae. It really depends on how much time and money you want to put into the hobby and how fast you want these plants to grow.

If you keep everything as is right now...maybe add one more normal bulb at 6700k or higher and get to 1wpg, your sword will still do ok IMO. You just need to trim off the dying leaves and add nutrients/root tabs with iron. The clear looking leaves is usually due to a lack of iron and potassium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have a 55 gallon tank with the middle support bar. That is why it has the (2) 18" bulb fixtures in it now. I thought about just getting a 48" light, but wouldn't the center support mess with the light? Or could I just brace it on the ends to it sat higher than the center support? Will the lights get hot enough to melt/disform the plastic?
 

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Yep...that'll do ya fine. As for sitting across the brace, it should not be that hot to cause it any harm. I have a 110w sitting on the 46 with no issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for all the help. I think I will get the light obscbyclouds recommended. After that I'll look into the CO2 set ups
 

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I have a 55 gallon tank with the middle support bar. That is why it has the (2) 18" bulb fixtures in it now. I thought about just getting a 48" light, but wouldn't the center support mess with the light? Or could I just brace it on the ends to it sat higher than the center support? Will the lights get hot enough to melt/disform the plastic?
Many lights also come with mounting legs to support the light fixture 3-4" above the aquarium. You might want to check whichever you buy to see if they have these, then the center brace is no problem.
 
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