Hey... Last night I was staring at my green box. Actually, it's my 2.5-gallon tank whose sides were *completely* crusted with green spot algae, and inside (if you looked from the top) you could see the hair (or thread?) algae blanketing everything in the tank and pearling
!!! The plants that were still in there were totally covered with green spot, as well. So I considered for a moment the liberating thought of smashing the whole thing with a baseball bat, but remembered that we don't own a baseball bat (at least that I know of).
So impulsively, I started pulling up the pathetic-looking stems of Bacopa and C. pygmaea and proceeded to take down this tank completely. I moved the fish out, I wadded up the algae and threw it in my stash tank for my shrimp to enjoy, and I transferred all of the Flourite into a bucket and washed it with hot water and scraped the green spot off of the tank sides with a razor. Now I'm starting this tank ALL over again.
So here's the deal... I was always the odd one who believed that you could grow MOST plants quite well with an 8 watt normal-output fluorescent light over a 2.5-gallon. The simple reason for this was that it was TRUE for a while. Then it occurred to me, as I looked back, that this changed when I switched out the bulb. I have two 12" All-Glass strip lights. Both came with bulbs included. Both grew many, many plants quite well. When I had to switch out the old bulb on one and went with a Coralife Colormax (5000K, I think), I could see from the start that it was a crummy bulb. Suddenly, I couldn't grow anything, and sometimes I couldn't even tell if the light was on. Then I switched to a Hagen Power-Glo. I liked the look (very blue - 18,000K) and the plants started growing, but then the algae took over. The other strip light is probably on its second bulb (whatever it is), but it's lighting a tank that's not really planted, so it doesn't matter.
Anyway, I'm thinking that there must have been something to that original bulb. So I just went to the All-Glass site and happened to find under "new products" that they're making the lights available, including the 12" 8W one. It explains on the page that the normal-output fluorescents are 8000K; seems reasonable to me. Now I'm on a mad quest for this bulb. It's so weird that all this time, they were manufacturing strip lights but not really making replacement bulbs available to the public - just those screw-in PC ones for their incandescent fixtures. Has anybody else here noticed really good growth with an All-Glass bulb that came included in a fixture, then have things go south when you replaced it with a different brand?
In the meantime, my tank is in "temporary retirement." But as always, the fun part is planning it out...
Sorry for my long story