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Old 06-27-2013, 07:39 AM   #101 (permalink)
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Default Re: PAR data collection

Did some more digging on T5HO vs. LED. Unless you have a huge LED rig the T5HO still seem to stay ahead.

Here's a video. Don't know how deep the tank is. But if the light fixture is 25 inches long (bulb length 24" + say 1" for end caps) you can judge the depth. I estimate that the water is about 15" deep. Note the PAR at the bottom. At 1:07-1:10 it's about 90. That's with 2x24W bulbs AND not right under the bulbs.

Note that getting close to the front glass actually increased the PAR a little. Also note how fast the PAR on the bottom decreases when he moves the sensor somewhat close to tall stem plants (not even right under them).

So how come carpet plants that grow well in a tank and receive vastly different PAR do grow like an even carpet? How come you don't see areas that look great and areas that look just ok? I have seen an extreme example of that - a tank which had fresh green leaves growing in complete darknes (Java Fern, the back bottom side of the tank was in complete darkness because the thickly growing plant blocked all the light). To this day I cannot really buy the explanation that plants transport and shuffle nutrients and adjust the metabolism so the entire plant gets to live a life full of beauty and joy. Why on Earth leaves growing in complete darkness will be as green as the ones reaching the surface 3" below the light? Bottom line generalization is that when plants grow well they indeed do things that make no sense IF we just look at numbers and look at things from our limited perspective.
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:50 AM   #102 (permalink)
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Default Re: PAR data collection

And since we discuss just numbers here it would be good if we note once again that numbers are not everything.

Here's an example from today:
Remember the tank with the 220W VHO bulbs that produced ridiculously low PAR of 45? The one that I installed brand new killer T5HO rig. Using 1x54W Giesmann Midday bulb and 1x54W Giesemann AquaFlora bulb (total of 128W). But the bulbs have brand new Tek reflectors and are driven by a Fulham Workhorse ballast. You cannot stand by the light fixture and have your face illuminated from the side - the light blinds you.

So that is the light I installed on that tank the other day. The color is beautiful. However what I found floating in the water is against everything I believe. N=30 and P=2.5. Thanks to the "fertilizers in the water must be the solution" mentality I now have a tank with super high light, and a nuclear explosion waiting to happen. Guess where I'm headed today with 2 big pails of clean water?

But why is all that interesting? Because IF we look at the numbers only (high PAR, N, and P) we see a disaster coming. I want to hear from the people that will tell me today that the tank will be just fine and I don't need to worry about it. We all know what will happen in the next few days in that tank. But we will all agree that if the tank had been gradually brought to that same state it will probably be bursting at the seams with extremely healthy plant growth. Without any algae. The point is that if we just focus on numbers we WILL BE way off. I say that because it is the rule to see questions and advice about reaching and maintaining certain values (ppm fert concentration, bps of CO2, wpg of light, gph of flow).

And here's a common sense refresher: From what I see now with that PAR meter very much ANY bulb will provide enough PAR to grow any plant you want IF the tank is shallow. 8 to 10" tank and you can use the oldest bulb you can find at a garage sale at a 100 year old estate sale or something. It will still grow plants. Get you a deeper tank - say 20 inches and it looks like you run at the same issue again and again - good PAR is hard to get to the bottom. So the question is - Do you need a super efficient light with super high PAR if you can run the tank in a certain way and lead it to a state in which it works despite what the numbers tell you is way off?
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:31 AM   #103 (permalink)
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Default Re: PAR data collection

Quote:
Originally Posted by niko View Post
Note that getting close to the front glass actually increased the PAR a little. Also note how fast the PAR on the bottom decreases when he moves the sensor somewhat close to tall stem plants (not even right under them).
I found the same thing. Guess it is from reflection of the glass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by niko View Post
So how come carpet plants that grow well in a tank and receive vastly different PAR do grow like an even carpet? How come you don't see areas that look great and areas that look just ok? I have seen an extreme example of that - a tank which had fresh green leaves growing in complete darknes (Java Fern, the back bottom side of the tank was in complete darkness because the thickly growing plant blocked all the light). To this day I cannot really buy the explanation that plants transport and shuffle nutrients and adjust the metabolism so the entire plant gets to live a life full of beauty and joy. Why on Earth leaves growing in complete darkness will be as green as the ones reaching the surface 3" below the light? Bottom line generalization is that when plants grow well they indeed do things that make no sense IF we just look at numbers and look at things from our limited perspective.
Asked the same question a few days back. My glosso is growing perfectly healthy substrate hugging in the front. But it sends runners below my wood and crypts and it is still hugging the substrate. I planted a few new pieces of glosso in the dark, not in connection with leaves in the light and will see whether this will grow upwards... (it did before but maybe something changed)
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Old 06-27-2013, 05:47 PM   #104 (permalink)
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Default Re: PAR data collection

Talking about plant leaves looking good in darkness or shaded areas... Some years ago a legendary American aquarist visited Amano's house and walked all over the big tank. He said that at that time there were Rotala stems in the back of the tank. Tank is what? 5 feet tall? He said that the rotalas were about 4 feet long if I'm not mistaken. Ok, good, amazing allright, whatever. But what he saw was that every single leaf on these stems was perfect - starting from the leaves by the AquaSoil. Try that at home if you can.
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Old 09-07-2013, 03:43 PM   #105 (permalink)
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Default Re: PAR data collection

Aquarium size: 3.5 Gallon - 34.5 cm x 20 cm x 23 cm (L x W x H)
Type of light fixture AND reflector: Finnex FugeRay: Ultra Slim LED + Moonlights 12"
Number of lamps, bulbs, or tubes, and wattage: 1 lamp, 3*16 LED
Age of lamps, bulbs, or tubes: 1.5 years
Other information: 7000K bulbs + moonlights
Distance from light fixture to surface: 2"
Distance from light fixture to substrate: 8.5”
PAR VALUES MEASURED AT UNDER WATER SURFACE: 100
PAR VALUES MEASURED AT SUBSTRATE: ~50 +/- 5

Aquarium size: 2 gallons - 18.4 cm x 22.9 cm x 25.4 cm (L X W X H)
Type of light fixture AND reflector: Finnex Energy Saving Epoch Cliplight + Moonlights
Number of lamps, bulbs, or tubes, and wattage: 1 lamp, 26W, 1 bulb, 3 tubes
Age of lamps, bulbs, or tubes: 6 months
Other information: 30,000k - 10,000k, 3U Type, Energy Saving Blue/White bulb, 2 LED Spot Moonlight
Distance from light fixture to surface: 10.2 cm
Distance from light fixture to substrate 26 cm
PAR VALUES MEASURED AT UNDER WATER SURFACE: 75 +/- 5
PAR VALUES MEASURED AT SUBSTRATE: 20 +/- 5

Aquarium size: 2 gallons - 18.4 cm x 22.9 cm x 25.4 cm (L X W X H)
Type of light fixture AND reflector: Fluval LED
Number of lamps, bulbs, or tubes, and wattage: 1 lamp, 31 LED
Age of lamps, bulbs, or tubes: 7 months
Other information:
Distance from light fixture to surface: 8.3 cm
Distance from light fixture to substrate 23.5 cm
PAR VALUES MEASURED AT UNDER WATER SURFACE: 40 +/- 4
PAR VALUES MEASURED AT SUBSTRATE: 5 +/- 2

I have one last tank to test it on but I haven't filled the tank...need to drill some holes...
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:45 PM   #106 (permalink)
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Default Re: PAR data collection

I played with two kinds of bulbs - a 100W halogen bulb and a 100W Mercury Vapor bulb. Measured PAR with a meter that doesn't belong to the club.

Readings for the 100W halogen where mind blowing:
250 PAR at 3-1/2 ft. (air only)
110 PAR at 4 ft (through 14" of water)
Super high PAR. No LED or Fluorescents come even close.
Shocking shimmer when the bulb is 3 ft. above the tank.
Rated for 4200 hours only. Runs hot but not hotter than a powerful LED.
Color of the light was beautiful - very natural.

Readings for the 100W Mercury Vapor where mind blowing too:
Barely PAR 20 at 3 ft. through air. But you could not look at the bulb, it is so bright.
Apparently quite a bit of the light these bulbs produce is in the UV spectrum or something like that.
There are no ballasts being sold for these bulbs any more. Bulbs yes, ballasts - no. Either way - super bright with a super low PAR.
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:58 PM   #107 (permalink)
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Default Re: PAR data collection

We are still trying to define "high light" and "low light" in terms of PAR measurements. Here is an interesting tip from George Farmer that originally appeared in an article in Practical Fishkeeping http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.u....php?sid=5633:

"As a tip, buy or borrow a PAR meter to measure your current lighting levels. If it’s over 50 µmol at the substrate you’ll need CO2 injection and regular fertiliser additions. If you have suspended lighting raise or lower the unit to adjust the intensity. Lighting over 100 µmol at the substrate will demand high CO2 and nutrient levels and is only recommended for experienced plant growers."

This advice gives us a possible criterion for the CO2/no CO2 decision.
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Old 09-19-2013, 09:16 PM   #108 (permalink)
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Default Re: PAR data collection

"As a tip, buy or borrow a PAR meter to measure your current lighting levels. If it’s over 50 µmol at the substrate you’ll need CO2 injection and regular fertiliser additions. If you have suspended lighting raise or lower the unit to adjust the intensity. Lighting over 100 µmol at the substrate will demand high CO2 and nutrient levels and is only recommended for experienced plant growers."

That advice should also make you ask yourself 3 more questions:
1. "Can the substrate help in any way in feeding my plants?"
2. "Do I want a tank that is stable and low maintenance or not?"
3. "Is more always better?"
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:42 AM   #109 (permalink)
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Default Re: PAR data collection

Quote:
Originally Posted by BriDroid View Post
I'm not using glass tops and I'm using a Toms surface skimmer to keep the surface clean.

PAR DATA COLLECTION
March 31, 2013

Aquarium size: 72 bow front
48"L 12"W on the ends 18"W at the middle and 24"D

Type of light fixture AND reflector: Finnex Ray 2 DS 48" 7000K LEDs

Number of lamps, bulbs, or tubes, and wattage: 384 LEDs, 39 watts

Age of lamps, bulbs, or tubes: about 4 months old

Other information:

Distance from light fixture to substrate: 22"

PAR VALUES MEASURED AT SUBSTRATE: Directly under fixture, 43 par
6" off from center, 33 par

Comments:
Directly under light
At surface, about 1.5" under light 630 par
6" 200 par
12" 100 par
18" 68 par
22" at substrate 43 par

6" out from the center of the light
At surface 35 par
6" 73 par
12" 77 par
18" 47 par
22" at substrate 33 par
I'm now running this light over my 33 long. I'm getting about 100 PAR at the substrate. I think I'm going to raise it up a few inches just to get myself into the 80's.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:45 AM   #110 (permalink)
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Default Re: PAR data collection

Of all the ready-made LED fixtures, the Finnex ones seem to be consistently useful for planted tanks.
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