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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
in my 85 gallon a 30 watt led/ and a 40 watt im trying to decide best for my Java fern, anubias, and a pretty good amount of fish... looking for solid advice for my low light plants with lighting and if co2 is needed. i use liquid fertilizer weekly . my substrate consists of (top) medium sized gravel( middle) black sand (bottom) laterite. plants are budding but the sprouts arent flourishing any suggestions
 

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Hey Gladiator,
I'd start off by saying that if you haven't already pulled out the melting crypt leaves, I'd go ahead and do that now.

How long has the tank been set up? I'm high light/CO2 so I don't have a lot of experience with low light tanks, but I'd imagine that it's going to take quite some time for your plants to really take root and start to show significant growth.

And I'm a little confused on your request. Are you looking for alternatives to your current lighting or are you asking how to make your current lighting setup work better?

(P.S. - this was more of a filler reply until the experts show up...)
 

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Not an expert by any means, however it seems from the first picture there that your logs are creating a shadow over that plant in the left corner there. Try moving it until it grows a bit longer to where the majority of leaves can get some light.
 

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Hmm. Definitely not enough light. The sword plant with all the dead leaves is case and point. The java and anubias are doing ok for now because they are extreme survivors and can tolerate low light for a long time. Eventually they will probably suffer the same fate as that poor sword plant. You really want to get more light on that tank with an even spread across the entire top. The LED light you have would probably be ok for a 2.5 or maybe 5 g tank but for an 85g... around 110 w minimum using power compacts from ahsupply.com or t5 high output with individual reflectors. Personally I would go between 110-220 watts of this type of light. This will allow you to grow all your plants and other types as well.
 

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Yes, definitely not enough light. But also the light spectrum (wavelengths) is most like way out of wack. You can achieve better results with an $10 shoplight fixture from home depot. Or any 3' fluorescent light you find.

Also keep in mind that if you have to compensate for the lack of nutrients in the substrate by using liquid fertilizers you are well on your way to algae problems. The cleanest tanks that require little or no maintenance are done with substrate that feeds the plants and water void of nutrients. One benefit of such a setup is that it requires very little light too, especially for Crypts and Anubias. The algae get shortchanged at least twice and you never have problems.

In the US it is very popular to use liquid fertilizers. But that's just as reasonable as drinking Phosphoric acid (swimming pool acid) mixed with a sugar substitute which we all know and enjoy as "soft drinks".

Just giving you a perspective on how this hobby is. Good luck with your tank!

--Nikolay
 

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+1 on the $10 shop light if you want to stay in the low light range and research before going for a high-light setup. Right now you have "permanent twilight" as far as the flora is concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK thanks guys, a local pet store associate told me that anubias and ferns do well with the low light I do have a 40w flora glo already equiped along with a 3 substrate system(med sized top gravel, middle black caribsea aqaurium sand, then bottom laterlite>>> in which see should be the top layer.... but i removed the crypts and ow I have runner in the below pics should I let them stay attached to the budding sword?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)


should I plant it or let it go?
 
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