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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Its been a while since I've been on the forum due to school and a heater fiasco, but my tank is finally back to regular and I am in the mood to change some things around in my 29gal.
I want to build my own hood and am wondering about lighting. How many watts per gallon can I use and maintain a low tech tank, can I go up to 2w/g with out co2? I have a t5 regular (not ho) but running that and a diy co2 setup was to much work for me, and things got out of control fast. I only want to dose once (maybe twice) a week with no co2, unless its flourish excel or something.
So if I mount the t5 higher from the water surface will that reduce/eliminate the amount of algae growth? I think I have a 30watt florescent light ballast in my basement I could use instead of the t5, or if worst comes to worse I could find something to run the cfls.
Sorry for the long question just trying to weight out my options, just trying to keep the cost as low as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have the 20watt 24" bulb, I forget what K it is but its the "brightest" petsmart had at the time. So I am roughly at .69 w/g I will assume its about the right value kelvin. Although I am building a new hood regardless, so I wanted the highest wattage but maintain low tech status. Will it be possible if I mount the t5 higher it will not make the out of control algae boom.
 

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How long did you have an algae bloom? With my low tech and high tech tank I had an algae bloom that lasted a few weeks but not they are both looking beautiful.

Raising the light should change the amount of penetration power it has, but I think you will still run into problems with algae since it will grow through the whole water colum. If you raise the light to far, the plants you want to grow might suffer.

Have you thought about planting some fast growing nutrient hog plants that can hopefully steal nutrients away from the algae?
 

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Queen Platy
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Low lighting would be 1-2 w/g. I got an algae bloom when I hit 2.5-3wpg and thats when my pressurized co2 didnt come in yet and I was still on DIY CO2. I tested my tank with DIY co2 and I never noticed a change in ppm of co2, I even used 3 linked bottles of it. I dont think the algae you are having is because of lighting, it must be the excessive nutrients in your water column or something else. I made my own hood, you can look at it in my album. I used my ceiling fan light sockets, CFL 6500k spiral bulbs from Lowes and an old vacuum extension cord. I give off 69 watts total (3.45w/g) over a 20 gallon long tank. If I upgrade to a bigger tank, I would just add more sockets. You could try that route, I think everything costed me 10 bucks or less.

And btw... I love EXCEL!! I dose it once every day. I think 3 times the required amount along with the pressurized CO2 at 35-40ppm. No side effects on shrimps/fish/plants.
 

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As a caution, certain plants will melt when using excel. Vals are the most common ones I can think of to experience this phenomenon, so just be aware if you plan to use it. Mounting the light higher is certainly an option, and yes it will reduce the in1tensity of the light. W/G is not really a very good rule, especially when talking about t5 lighting (much more efficient) and adjusting the height of the bulbs.

Also, the K rating has nothing to do with the brightness of the bulb. It refers only to color temperature. For planted tanks you really want something 6-7,000 K (usually referred to as "Daylight Bulbs"). Bulbs over 10K don't usually produce the proper spectrum for photosynthesis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
squirrelcrusher- it lasted around 4 weeks until I did a black out and change back to the old light I have now, maybe I did not give it enough time. Still I don't want to bother with co2.

NursePlaty- I was looking at yours a few nights ago and thats where I got the idea to use the cfls, I no longer have algae problems, I am thinking I might build my hood with the plans of using the t5. I miss how bright it is. and the reinsurance by obscbyclouds kind of lead to that.
Although I have a regular bulb a 10kK bulb as it was for a reef I believe, what ever it worked well. I may look into leds, but I want to wait until the price drops.
 

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Like mentioned above you need to determine what type of lighting you want before you can really determine the WPG. If you had a T5 HO set up you could be at 1 WPG and it would be like haveing 2 wpg of standard flourecant lighting. I have just under 2 wpg CFL bulbs and have some low and med light plants that do fine without CO2.
 
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