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Old 04-27-2020, 11:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Plant/light observation...

Haven't been here in a while, but with the pandemic, I seem to have a lot more time these days , so thought I'd drop by

A few months ago, my 50 breeder's main light died. The tank was lit by a 96W CF (for the other oldies out there, it was an AH Supply kit) and a 30W standard strip. The 96W died. Rather than trying to find parts which would probably have been hard to get, I decided to try one of the Finnex LED arrays. I never had a PAR meter to measure, but it seemed to be about the same brightness as my 96W light.
So the tank now has the Finnex and the 30W strip as light sources.

The tank is CO2 injected, and has been established for many years. The plants are various Crypts, Anubias nanas and petites, pearlweed, and some Ammania stems. One of the Crypts is Crypt spiralis dwarf variety. It used to grow to the water top with the old set up. With the new lighting, it only grows about 3/4 of the way up, and now there are 2 spathes coming from the stand. I doubt the spathes will break the water surface, but still, it had never done this before in the past.

Anyone with similar experiences?

I don't know if this means that the spiralis is not as happy as it was with the old fixture, or it's happier. FWIW, the Ammania is more red than it ever was.
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Old 04-27-2020, 05:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plant/light observation...

My guess is that you have more light than before, and the plants are thanking you for it.
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Old 04-27-2020, 05:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Plant/light observation...

I was in a similar situation. About two years ago the fluorescent shop light fixtures over my long-established 29 died and and I couldn't find replacements. I decided to get a LED. Knowing nothing about them, I got advice from someone here. He recommended a certain fixture and said that it worked fine on his 55 gallon salt water invert tank, but that I'd probably want to use the fixture's integrated dimmer. I bought it.

He was right about using the dimmer! That tank, which had been a low light, never fertilized, NPT, always had good plant growth, but with the new fixture, it really took off! Good? No. I need to prune it weekly, and since I don't fertilize it, eventually it's goimg to go through the nutrients that it has built up over the years. (I am aware of the several ways to reduce the intensity of a light besides using a dimmer.)

My big problem with LED's is that I haven't found a way to determine what is right for my particular application. With fluorescents, the disparaged "2 watts per gallon rule" worked fine for me, with tubes of a Kelvin of 5000 to 6500 and a CRI in the mid-90's, but that data doesn't seem to be available for LED's. One is reduced to seeking advice. That's always wise, but if the advice giver's application is different from yours, it can cause big problems.

Bert, to your question: One way to compare aquarium light is to use lumens. It's readily available. This is a measure of light produced. It says nothing about the quality of the light, or how much of it is delivered to the plants. It's better than nothing.

Lux measures the light delivered to a spot. In the 5000 - 6500 K range it can be an equivalent of PAR. A lux meter is needed to measure it, but they are inexpensive. A problem: I don't know if they produce valid results for LED lighting.

Good luck!

Bill
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