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Hey folks!

I'm converting my 200g reef tank into a planted aquarium and need some lighting advice. The tank is a corner-shaped pentagon (acrylic), and is a 30" deep. My current light set up is 8 X T5s overdriven with two Ice Cap 660's. I also have 2X 48" VHO's. The T5s are different lengths because of the shape of the tank: 2X24W, 2X39W, and 4X54W. They are all on individual reflectors. It was enough light to support a thriving reef full of acroporas, even all the way at the bottom of the tank.

My plans for this tank are to use pressurized CO2 with a reactor in line with a canister filter, and go with moderate lighting. Some of my favorite plants are the anubias species, which I think can tolerate lower light, but I really am just getting started and don't know much about freshwater plants.

Can you all advise me on what would be considered "moderate" lighting over this tank, considering the T5's are being overdriven? My thoughts were to knock it back down to 4XT5s--two 36" and two 48". I could even keep the two VHOs as well (they are on an Ice Cap 430 ballast).

Also, can you advise me on a good T5 bulb manufacturer and spectrum? Thanks!
 

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Howdy, and welcome to plants!

I can only offer the most basic advice for your lighting. For a 200 gal, moderate light would be about 1.5 wpg using t-5 (and maybe even less if they have individual reflectors). Also, actinic light won't help you much for planted tank.

Sorry I can't say more, but it would be the "blind leading the blind".

-Dave
 

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Hi. I've also recently made the switch from reef to plants. I'm surprised that you had good results for your hard corals with the lighting you've cited.

With the lighting you have, you will be in the moderate bracket so don't drop anything back. Just be careful with the color of light you are using. I have 2 x 240W MH bulbs for my tank - and can only get 14000K bulbs for my fittings, so many of my red plants (Lotus, Ludwigia) are going crazy, but the others seem a bit slower - due in large to the dominance of blue in the light spectra. Shoot for about 5000-10000 K on your lights if they are available for your fittings.

In terms of C02 injection, you can try it, but I don't think its going to gain you that much with Anubias. CO2 injection favours much more aggressive plants with higher light demands than you can grow with the lighting you have and I think you would probably just be wasting money.

But like me, you probably have some C02 gear from your calcium reactor days and the corals, so give it a go and see what happens.

Also - I agree with Davemonkey - ditch the actinics and replace with more watts. I personally don't think you have enough.

Cheers
 

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Now this is what happens when you don't read the question properly and have to re-type the response - doh!!

T5 lighting = heaps of light. So you are actually in the bracket of high power lighting. You could scale back but then I don't think it is going to make any difference to the success of Anubias. Just grow them along the sides of the tank where the light tapers off a bit. I have anubias in my tank (with the lighting I quoted above and about 120G) and they grow fine. In fact you would want to keep the light up so that you get better value from the C02 injection you want to do and the other plants you are going to want to put in (but just don't know it yet).

Apologies for my crap post above - but do pay attention to the light color as I think that is important.
 
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