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Old 11-20-2015, 01:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default First tank any advice ?

Ok so Hello first of all new to these forums and posting about aquariums so bare with me, I've only been doing this for about a month and kinda jumped in at the deep end but think I'm getting there. Been trying to get everything balanced the water mainly I've been doing rain water changes weekly do get my gh and my kh lowered and getting my water tested every Saturday. I finalised the planting of the tank 2 days ago after having it half planted for two weeks while waiting for plants to arrive via the post.

Anyway to the point I'm concerned after reading many forums that my lighting isn't up to scratch I'm running t8's in a trigon 350 everything seems to be growing fine but wondering if changing lights will boost growth that much? My crypts I planted a fortnight ago are shooting up so hoping the others will catch up. I'm running co2 inline diffuser and would be willing to spend well to led if it will benefit me. Thanks a pic of my tank is attached below.
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Old 11-20-2015, 05:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: First tank any advice ?

Welcome to APC!

Your tank looks really good! To answer your question about lighting, we need some more information. What size is the tank, specifically how tall is it? How many T8s are you using, and does the fixture have good reflectors?

T8s used to be the standard aquarium lighting, before T5 HO and LED became dominant. T8 tubes are the basis for the old rule of thumb about "watts per gallon", so you can use that rule for a rough estimate of your lighting. You can be successful with T8s if you have enough of them.
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Old 11-20-2015, 07:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: First tank any advice ?

Thanks for the reply, my lights don't currently have reflectors I was looking into them but didn't want to get them then end up replacing my lighting with a led system. The lighting that comes with this tank as standard are 4 T8's I believe I've got 2x45w and 2x24w. Would it be worth getting a new set of bulbs and reflectors or would I benefit more from replacing the whole lighting unit to either T5s or LEDs. I've attached a image showing the tanks dimensions Thanks again.
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Old 11-20-2015, 09:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: First tank any advice ?

That puts you at ~1.5 watts per gallon, which is usually considered low-medium lighting. Improving the reflectors can increase the efficiency a great deal. The best reflectors are highly polished metal, but these are expensive and you may not want to spend the money to upgrade T8 lighting.

Assuming there are no reflectors at all, anything is an improvement. Lining the inside of the hood with aluminum foil or metal foil tape helps, or even painting the inside of the hood with bright white paint.

Your tank has only been set up a month so don't rush into any expensive changes. You aren't having algae problems and the plants look OK so far. Try some of the inexpensive improvements (foil or paint), and let the tank mature for a few months. You can always add more light later if you really need it.
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Old 11-20-2015, 02:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: First tank any advice ?

I agree with Michael here!

White paint and or reflectors can go a long way.
Wait to start the algae farm.

I began with LED DIY and I have always been dimming down.
Dimming is the only reason I don't have an algae farm.

Tank looks good! It is new, give it some time.
Seems like good decisions so far.
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: First tank any advice ?

Welcome! Hope you have a good journey in this hobby.

Be very careful of popular advice on the English speaking forums. Note that most discussions are about chemicals and equipment. That is not what will let you have a planted tank that you enjoy having. You need to use common sense and not follow advice that a few hundred anonyomous internet characters say it works.

To make this clear: The nutrients in your tank must be enough to feed your plants. But they also need to not be available to feed algae.

The above two mean one thing - you must hide the nutrients from the algae. That is done in two ways - hide them under the substrate + provide just enough so the plants eat them quickly and 20 hours out of 24 the water contains zero nutrients. <--That is what the Asians do. And that is what "El Natural" does.

I am talking about nutrients first because the plants will adapt to any light you give them. High or low. The popular notion on American forums is that more light grows better plants. But if you look you will see that American aquascaping is barely there compared to other countries. What happened to the "more light grows better plants", where are they?

Michael here is one of the few people that you will find on the internet that can actually give you the right mindset about running planted tanks.
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: First tank any advice ?

Niko, I blush!
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Old 11-26-2015, 04:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: First tank any advice ?

Now that is a compliment!

I have learned much from both of you- Thank you
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Old 11-29-2015, 01:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: First tank any advice ?

Hey guys thanks for the advice I followed it I went and got reflectors and fitted them it worked brilliantly increasing the light output a lot more than I thought it would actually. Anyway a week after I install them both my balasts have blown in my lid on both lighting units. First my big back unit went then my little front unit both hold 2 t8 s so I'm now stuck and going to have to play a hand.

So I wondered what blew them both have you guys any ideas?

My big front unit blew 5 days before the other I checked both after the first failed the front unit had water in so I figured the seals on the bulbs have cracked, then water has made it's way to the ballast (I could hear water inside the unit sloshing from side to side). Immediately I turned the power of to the back unit and checked that he same hadn't happened. All seemed fine no water had breached the unit and the bulbs were bone dry. So I put the big unit down to water getting inside and me being new to this didn't even think this was possible to happen, so I thought lesson learned an expensive one but hey it happens.

So I carried on using just the back unit while I reasearched on the next lightning unit to buy seeing as I had to my main light was out and all my plants were growing towards the back light, so went to a local fish store to price up so led replacements yesterday, didn't end up purchasing one I thought I'll wait till Monday and get some more funds to possibly replace both. I got home sat down for thirty mins then without a sound my back light unit went off, I thought the worst straight away and to no surprise the same had happend no lights damn.

So I'm baffled I've now put it down to the energy unit I'm using to split my plugs, please click the link to see what I'm using, it has 4 built in timers and they seemed fine for a few weeks now, after reading up am I correct in thinking digital timers don't fare well with fluorescent tubing, or the ballasts for them It's pretty urgent as I'm running a real dim t5 now from a different tank until I know which lighting unit to go for. Thanks again.

https://energenie4u.co.uk/catalogue/product/ENER019.
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Old 11-29-2015, 03:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: First tank any advice ?

sorry its early- are you saying that the electrical load is to much for your equipment?
#1 grounding
# 2 get a surge protector
#3 - Catalina Lighting makes great lights at a very fair price. The CS is awesome. If you go this route - call & he will talk you threw what you did not know you needed

LEDs- love the look but they do not do it for me alone. Many here will tell you different. Lighting is a PITA if its to much. Notice the use of dimmers with LED...hmmmm

good luck hang in there it will shape up :- You have a great start
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