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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering if someone could help me out here on my lighting. I would like to know what VISUAL signs I would see that tells me I need to run presurized CO2 or need to decrease my lighting. I dont think it matters what my lighting is to answer this question and I dont really want to here you need CO2 with X amount of lighting because that wont answer my question.

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If some of your plants do not grow or start to show signs of yellowing or thinning you typically need more minerals, or in the case of high light plants, more lighting....which typically means the addition of CO2 to keep algae at bay.

If your plants are growing fine but you are starting to see algae on the leaves, glass, and driftwood, this typically means you can do with less lighting...or you can add CO2, or you have a particular nutrient defiency, depending on the algae present.

Getting the picture? The 3 things needed to keep plants healthy are intertwined. You really need to mention how much lighting you have, what type of bulb it is, the tank size, and how many hrs it runs during the day. Or you need to at least mention how much water you change a week, how much nutrients you add weekly, and what type of substrate you have. On top of all this the type of plants you have and any problems you see, will help answer your "hypothetical" question.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK I am dosing Excel at half dose twice a week mainly because of my Vals, I am also dosing Flourish at full dose once a week, I am doing about 15% WC's every 10 days so lets start with just that and some pics.















These are the best pics I can get and are very close to what they look like in person. I dont want to say what my lighting is because everybody tells me I have to run CO2 but cant explain why alls they say is I have bigh light and need CO2. I am just hoping that somebody can tell me WHY CO2 might be needed because3 if you cant tell I wont change my lighting or add CO2 just because unless I see a problem or can be shown why I need to change. I am useing ECO, Flourite and Oil Dry, I run first lights 9 hrs and all lights 6 1/2 hrs on a 120.
Thank You
 

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...Well you could start off by telling us your total wattage of lighting and how many gallons your aquarium is.
 

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If your plants look healthy and you don't have an algea problem, you don't need co2. Why mess with what aint broken. But if your plants are looking bad or you have an algea issue, then you might need to change something. With co2 you will see the plants growing alot more though. That is what mine did at least.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
...Well you could start off by telling us your total wattage of lighting and how many gallons your aquarium is.
I just want to know what I will see VISUALLY if I need to reduce lighting or add CO2 so my question is why is WPG needed. I see nice bright green on all the new growth but that nice bright green fades in the old growth and or where the plant is nice and thick.
 

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One thing I see right off the bat with your Swords is green spot algae. This typically grows if you have too much light in your tank or not enough CO2. Since you don't want to add CO2, my thoughts are that you need to remove some of your lights. In CO2 injected tanks this typically only happens to really slow growing plants like Anubia and the plants has to be carefully placed in an area that does not get any direct light.

If you are not using CO2 but are using T5 HO lights I would go with less then 1wpg. If you are using standard fluorescents, you could go as high as ~1.2wpg. Minerals should be fine since you are dosing with Excel and Flourish and have good substrate, so the amount and type of lights you use will determine if you should be using CO2 or not. Since the plants you show are not high light requiring plants, I would just remove some lights and keep them on between 8-9hrs a day max.

Your moss may or may not be negatively affected by Excel, however I would continue to dose with excel for the rest of your plants. Excel has been know to kill certain types of algae, and in some cases moss depending on dose, and other water conditions. I would dose with excel 2-3x a week and divide up your normal fluorish dose into half doses 2x a week. I would strongly suggest at least a 25% water change especially if the tank is fairly new since newer substrate might also leech out minerals.

As you see new plant growth begin to trim off the algae covered sword leaves. This will promote even more growth. Green spot algae is almost impossible to remove, so just remove leaves little by little. As for the Vals and similar plants prune them before they get half way up the tank. This will help them to become more bushy and will keep the lower stems from becoming thin.

Keep an eye out for problem spots which may mean you have a "dead" area. This area may need to be be completely pruned away, or moved to another area. The "dead" area is often the result of not enough water circulation or lack of light due to overgrowth...or both.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you Dmaaaaax that was what kind of explanation I was looking for but not the answer I was hoping for. I am running 4 T-5's over this tank and I cant see going down to just 2 bulbs as this would not give me the kind of coverage I would like. I will ask this could I remove the reflectors off of 2 of the bulbs and keep them on the other 2 because without reflectors it makes them nothing more than a PC or what about changing out 2 of them for T-8's. I have about 15 extra T-5 bulbs so would really like to stay with them if I can. I am not able to setup a CO2 system so I need to work at something else and I dont want to have to go with all T-8's because I would need 2 more sets of end caps and would need to pick up 4 bulbs instead of just 2 and replace the end caps. I am sorry for not saying what my lighting was before because I needed something more than just you have high light and your explanation was what I needed so once again Thank You
 

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Can you drop to 2 bulbs by removing one bulb from each unit? I assume each unit is made up of 2 bulbs. This would give you better coverage. Removing the reflectors would help some but not all that much. The other option would be if you could at least raise your lights up higher off the tank. Then one unit would provide enough coverage, and the output would be lower since it is up higher.

Just a few other ideas to get you to your target light output .
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well I went down to 2 bulbs and they are spaced out OK I guess and I seem to be getting decent coverage. I cant raise the lights because they are in my canopy and I can set them up anyway I want because I always buy retro kits and wire them up myself. I know from par readings that by removing the reflectors off T-5's it brings them down to PC par readings but I will run just 2 bulbs for now. Thanks again for the info I was trying to get.
 
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