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Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting ready to setup this tank in about a month or so. I've never had a planted aquarium before just used plastic or silk plants. I planned on using Eco Complete for a substrate and am using a single actinic 03 bulb 48". Is my lighting sufficient for low light plants. I was planning on keeping Amazon Swords, Java Fern and Anubias Nana. Are there any other plants I should be considering. I realize the plants I have chosen aren't all from SA but I believe they are low light plants. Or should I go to a 2 strip cover and use 2 - 48" bulbs. Any sugggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Tank is 90g and I wanted to use actinic blue for low light to see the catfish better instead of them hiding all the time.
 

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You can use the actinic bulb in combination with a plant bulb (5500k-10000k), but the plants will not survive with actinic only. You will need at least 135 watts with plant bulbs (the actinic does not factor in) to grow low light plants.
 

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I was planning on keeping Amazon Swords, Java Fern and Anubias Nana.
Hi Greg,

You're right -- those are low light plants. My Anubias nana are under plant lights, but I have Amazon Swords and java fern in some tanks that only get sunlight through the window. Been there for years. They just grow very slowly.

The actinic bulb/low light idea is a good one. On my newest tank, a 6'2" 125-gallon, I have eight bulbs. Each pair has timers that are set differently, sort of simulating the sun going up and down. My plecos come out of hiding when 2 plant light bulbs (the pinkish ones) are on. If you are wanting plant lighting, this could be a good alternative.

Oh -- I also used ecocomplete, and it was so much better than any other substrate I've ever used that I spent last weekend stripping down another tank to replace the gravel/laterite with ecocomplete!

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info guys. Looks like I'm about to get a 2 strip light fixture. Would leaving my blue actinic in with a plant light do the trick. Or does anyone have another suggestion.
 

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Okay I ended up buying a Current USA Orbit. It has 4-65w power compacts. 2 are actinic which I plan on changing out for 2 6700K daylight tubes. 4 Lunar lights will give me that nocturnal effect that I like so much in reef tanks. The 4 tubes will give me 260w on a 90g which I believe to be enough to grow swords, crypts, anubias nana & maybe some kind of moss. How would Vallisneria do under these lights.
 

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With all 4 bulbs running you're looking at 2.7 wpg which is not a low light set-up, more of a high-end medium light/low-end high light range. You should be able to grow most any plant you want, BUT, you need to think about CO2 injection, as algae growth may become a problem....
 

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With 260 watts on a 90 gal, you can grow pretty much what you want (except the light will be weaker by the time it hits the substrate due to the height of a 90 gal) .

If you still want low-light, only use two bulbs (130 watts) and you'll be right on target for swords, anubias, crytocorynes, java fern, mosses, and even some marsilea (for groundcover).

I wouldn't use the actinics because, although the plants may not use that light, it will still add some amount of brightness, in combination with the other bulbs, and your fish may still be reluctant to come out in the day.

-Dave
 

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Plan on putting the lights on timers during the day and using the lunar lights more at night to entice the plecos to become more active. Is 10 hours of light per day the norm for Swords, Crypts, Vallisneria and Anubias Nana. Would something like Excel work instead of a CO2 setup.
 

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Plan on putting the lights on timers during the day and using the lunar lights more at night to entice the plecos to become more active. Is 10 hours of light per day the norm for Swords, Crypts, Vallisneria and Anubias Nana. Would something like Excel work instead of a CO2 setup.
10 hrs is fine. If you are starting off with 260 watts, it would be better to start with a shorter photoperiod (6-7 hrs) and work your way up from there.

I would not rely on Excel only as a carbon source with higher light. DIY CO2 + Excel, or pressurized. If you go with only half the bulbs, maybe you could get by with just the excel. Have you thought about fertilizers (liquid vs. dry) ?

-Dave
 

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No I haven't Dave, I'm new at this planted tank thing. Are those fertilizer sticks you bury next to the plants what I should be using or is a liquid better.
 

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Don't use fertilizer sticks. Check out this extremely helpful article that Niko posted up awhile back (you can find it in the sticky "The Basics" in the New to Planted Tanks area):

http://www.aquatic-plants.org/articles/basics/pages/index.html

Also, read through the stickies in the "Fertilizing" forum. Your plants will need Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (macro-nutreints) and micro-nutrients (iron, magnesium, boron, etc... ) .

There are a few companies that make liquid ferts (Seachem/Flourish, Pfertz, Do!Aqua... ) and you can get dry ferts from many places (like greenleafaquariums.com) . I'm partial to dry ferts using the Estimative Index method, but PPS-pro has worked better for some people and Seachem has a dosing guide/schedule for their Flourish line.

How much fertilizer your plants need will depend on your lighting and your plant density. Figuring out fertilization is where ALOT of us have hit walls, grown algae farms, and read articles/asked question until our brains hurt. Spend some quality time researching this topic before you get going on it. It can save you alot of greif down the road. ;)

-Dave
 
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