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Old 02-02-2016, 01:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Getting started

Hey

I've been into saltwater reefs and fowlr tanks for years. I have been interested for a while now in starting a fw planted tank.

I will be picking up a 120 gallon tank shortly (hopefully tomorrow) to get started.

I have an extra 60" ati 6 bulb t5 ho I would like to put on the new tank.

Will this be overkill for lighting in a fw planted tank? It would be 480w total.

I will have to change out all the bulbs as they are blue plus, coral and actinic.
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Old 02-02-2016, 04:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Getting started

Welcome to Freshwater. The brighter side.

The lights will be fine when you can tune for 6200K. Easy to achieve in LED.

Opposite marine, you want to encourage a high O2 and a high daily CO2 for the plants.

The emphasis is on the plants not fish.

Best to use aquatic soil. Watch the tube videos from green machine.

So like your Reef, few fish compared to every other life form.

To make your 120G look bigger, look for mini or dwarf plants and small fish. Scale everything down.

It will look huge in photos.
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Old 02-03-2016, 04:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I just watched the green machine videos. Very impressive. The natures chaos aquascape is totally stunning. I didn't realize the possibilities.

I am even more hooked on this now.
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Old 02-03-2016, 03:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Getting started

Would I be able to leave 1 of the actinic bulbs in for some added color to the fish? Would it have any negative effect on the plants?
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Old 02-04-2016, 05:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Getting started

6 x t5HO bulbs can be a lot of light. 480 watts from this fixture is way overkill even if you are getting a fairly deep tank. Cut it in half. Can you turn off some of the bulbs? Just run 3 or 4?

I have not found the actinic bulbs to enhance fish color, but if you want to try one, that is OK.
I would make the other bulbs an assortment that includes the wave lengths that plants use. Some in the blue range, but not as high as actinic, and some in the red range, plus some that show the fish the best such as cool white or daylight.
I ran a lot of tanks with t-12 and t-8 fluorescents at about 2-3 watts per gallon. One plant bulb and one daylight bulb, when I could find plant bulbs that fit the fixtures. Otherwise all daylight or some other mix, but I always tried to get a range of wavelengths. 2-3 wpg from t-12 and t-8 is low light. But t-5HO is a LOT more light.

If there is any way you can check to fixture and the bulbs you are looking into for their PAR ratings that would be a lot better than going by wpg.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Getting started

2 of the bulbs are separate from the other 4 bulbs so it could be run with less then 6. I'll see if I can find some par tests on this fixture.
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Getting started

Ok so this on 150 gallon 24 inch deep tank with the light 5 inches off the water using all 6 bulbs. It is a saltwater new set up all white rock and sand so I think that may make the readings a little higher.

The bulb combo here is: ATI Blue+, 2 ATI Aquablue special, 1 Giesemann Midday Sun, 1 ATI Purple.

Probably not at a good combo of bulbs for plants.
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Old 02-10-2016, 03:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Getting started

Best advice I can gives you: 50 par at the substrate is enough to grow most plants. Wouldn't go higher than 120. If this is your first planted tank, I would advice 50 at the substrate max! Anything more will grow algae instead of plants. When everything goes good, you can slowly ramp it up of you like. Look at the 1000L tank in my signature, 35 par at the bottom. 250 gallon, with 324W T5HO. More than enough to grow any plant you'll find at the normal lfs!

Colorwise, anything from 3000K to 14000K will grow plants. Around 6000-8000k looks most natural with plants. So pick whatever you like, as long as you don't use anything extreme.

Another thing thats very important when you come from a saltwater tank. PO4 and NO3 are your friend read up about them. Skip any article that tells you they induce algae. Thats not true. For the rest, start with simple plants and a lot! And most important, enjoy!
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Old 02-10-2016, 05:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Getting started

I agree with Yohan, and aim for 30-40 PAR at the substrate in my Walstad tanks. I can grow almost all the common plant species, even without CO2.
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