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Tom,

I have a question on your low light tank. You mention 1 inch of peat. I need to set up a 30 gallon tank as low light, and since I have had problems before with over active soils, I was wondering which peat you use and what is the procedure. Is it Sphagnum moss or regular peat moss from the nursery? Do you soak it, and for how long? How do you keep it from floating up into the tank? Do you pack it wet to 1 inch depth, or lay it in dry? I need a substrate less active than the previous ones that I have tried.

I just bought a 95W AHS kit for it. I based the choice on length of the tank. I think I will need to use the glass top and hang the light 1.5 feet from the lid in order to reduce the light. I want to keep crypts in a low maintenance environment without CO2 supplementation.

Thanks,
Steve Pituch
 

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Tom,

Thanks for the info on the peat. My next question is light. I bought my first AHSupply 96W light kit, for a 30 gallon tank. I bought the 96W setup because of the length of coverage for a 36 inch long tank. I figured that I could always raise the light if it was too much light. Well these lights have got to be efficient. I am burning my retinas looking at this tank. Below is a picture of this tank and to the left is my AGA 7.5 gallon bowfront tank with an old darkened GE 9325 Aquarays 15 W bulb. The bowfront has been my best low light tank now for several years. So right now the 30 gallon tank is a very high light tank. (Yes, the light is on in the 7.5 gallon tank!)

So I plan on raising the light fixture. However I am getting a lot of shadows from the glass cover. I usually don't use glass covers but since it is going to be a low light non CO2 enriched tank per Walstad, I am supposed to use a glass cover to keep the co2 in the tank. It would be best if I got rid of the glass covers though. You are saying that aeration will increase the co2 in a non co2 enriched tank. I thought that the plants would get co2 from the breakdown of the soil and this gas needs to be conserved by the use of a glass cover. But you say its best to aerate the water to get more CO2, and that seems to be contrary to what Walstad has written.

Once again I would like to get rid of the glass covers, especially if it was on a low light tank. I think this would really look cool.


Yes, the light is on in the 7.5 gallon tank!


Top view of the $5 enclosure


Top: 96W bulb, bottom: 30 W T8

Regards,
Steve Pituch
 

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Hi Paul,

Part of the reason is that that the 30 gallon is in the back entrance away from the other tanks, and is not near the co2 tanks. Its the one that my son had salt water in when you were here. I had two 30W T12s on it and was fertilizing the same as in my co2 hi light tanks. The substrate was Schultz. A few weeks ago I added another 30W T8. The becketti, cabomba and hygro grew beautifully for two months. I was very pleased with the results. Then one day I looked at the plants and the becketti has completely melted and the cabomba had no leaves, just rotting stems. Much of the hygro was dropping dead leaves. The only thing I had done differently was to not add Chloramine remover at the last 90% water change since I had no fish in the tank.

I have had entire tanks of plants die after water changes before. (I was using chlorine remover, not chloramine remover). I have even had anubias leaves totally dissolve in a few days. It is like putting all the plants in the 10 minute 1:20 bleach/water solution. Everything dies.

The last time it happened I added more light and nutrients. Since I had been adding the nutrients to the 30 gal tank I figured it was the light. However, from experience I know I do get several ppm ammonia when I use a chlorine remover instead of a chloramine remover. Could the ammonia be killing the plants?

Also the 96W of light is unbelievably bright over the 30 gal tank. Is this what people mean by hi light? To me its like 6 W/g compared to my hi light tanks. What I would do if I keep the 96 W light directly on the cover glass is to move the tank so I can supply co2 to it. But I figure at this intensity I am begging for algae problems.

I figured the 55W or 36 W bulbs would not have given me good end to end coverage.

Steve Pituch

PS: I just put the two 30W T8s back in over the tank, and added a lot of Bolitus, Java fern, and C. Wendtii. I figure the only thing that is missing is carbon, since there are no fish in the tank. I will get some guppies or platies for the tank and start feeding fish food. Since I only have two 175W MH pendants over the 125 gal tank I put the 96W fixture over this tank at the center. The lighting is much more even now over this tank.
 
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