Might have a lead on a bigger tank...

15 posts • Page 2 of 2

Discuss all topics related to freshwater and planted tanks.

Posts: 4
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 2:02 pm

by jb20high

One quick question. The tank has two 24" light hoods. I have loked a little, but can't seem to find enough wattage for bulbs at that length. Now can get a new lighting se-up if thats te only anwser, but are there 50ish watt bulbs of that length or maybe a way to augment them?

Thanks guys.


Posts: 648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:30 am

by dizzcat

The safest way to do the wood is just to boil it over and over again. The more you boil it the safer it will be. After that, put it in the sink and fill it with hot water, if the water turns brown, you will need to soak or boil it some more! Pain, I know.

The Neon's should be OK in the bigger tank with the Rams. By then they should be big enough for the Angels too. Just depends on the individual fish. I had two groups with two Angles and they ignored them. One Angel was 4" too.

I have a couple little Otto cats and they do a good job. They stay tiny too at about an inch. Cute too. The little kid I babysit calls them vacuum fish.

Posts: 1306
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:24 pm

by yasherkoach

I agree with dizz...otocinclus catfish will do a miraculous job at cleaning up the tank. The only problem with an oto is, if there is not enough algae, they will literally die from starvation. You can supplement their diet with zucchini, but this rarely helps. Unless you plan to have a constant growth of algae, best keep away from otocinclus. But I have found from experience, that the 1 oto I have left out of four is doing quite well in the tank. The oto is almost a year old. The algae in the tank - it is a very clean tank, just enough minerals for the living species to feed off of in between meals - is just enough for this one catfish. And this catfish, though it does its utmost best as 4 or more in a group, appears to be doing just fine by itself. I hate to say this, but if you go the otocinclus route, if you purchase 6 to 8 of them, in time the algae will be completely gone (they are fast suckers, no pun intended) and if you are lucky, 1 possibly 2 will stay alive.

You can get yourself a Pleco but not only can these guys be expensive, they can get pretty large, though there are a few at around 5" adult size.

The best way around this is to, believe it or not, buy live plants. Live plants compete for carbon dioxide int the tank, and the live plants will win in time over the algae.

When I first started the hobby back on May 8, 2008 (first 2 zebra danios added to cycle tank), in the next month, even though I added live plants from the get go, I noticed algae growing on the wood, the lighting glass hood, around certain gravel areas...but as the live plants took hold, the algae, day by day, began to die out. The tank I have now is about 99% algae free - enough for one oto to live off of (barely) - the oto does eat microorganisms off the rocks, plant leaves, etc.

So go the natural way...balance the ecosystem out with what: plants.

Anubias is the best plant to begin with. Most are low lying, only about 1-2" stem plants. Check out anubias, I promise you, you won't be let down.

Lighting only serves 2 purposes: live plants and decoration. If you plan to have live plants - and I think you are leaning to it just don't know exactly which ones you want - then you need to get a plant bulb, the UV is different with these bulbs. Beings you are aiming at a 55 gallon tank, you'll need 24" hoods, 2 of them, with 18" bulbs, depending on the needs of the plants you have, let us suppose you go with anubias, you'll need only 15 watt for each 18", the light will be strong enough to penetrate through the water to the plant.

The key to lighting is, never too hot. The hotter the light the less oxygen is in the tank. Chemistry is key here...well, key in everything with this hobby, but key here: hotter the water the less oxygen is in the water column, the less oxygen in the water column means the fish swim closer to the surface or to the filter outlets to get more oxygen rich air which causes stress on the fish, which in time will break down its immune system to fight off disease, and wha-la, dead fish everywhere.

So we must strive for balance. Balance is key in the ecosystem.

So let us say, your plants do not need too much lighting, get 18" flourescent bulbs, make sure they are plant bulbs, 15 watt each, and you will be fine.

Freeze dried worms are cool little critters...but someday, you will move up to frozen fish food...and possibly live fish food. Oh the excitement! But for now, freeze dried will work wonders, especially bloodworms.

I am very happy you are enthusiastic about this hobby. Keep us posted on your adventure, we'll be happy to hear from you.

Happy fishing!!

Posts: 58
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 5:21 am

by JB20High9473

So the stuff I am reading about 2watts of light per gallon is only if I go standard bulbs and I can drastically reduce that using the specialized plant bulbs? I ask because I do want live plants, and the technical angle of the tank is my first priority. I do use two 24" hoods, so I would assume 18" bulbs. From what I was reading that meant at the least 55 watts a bulb and I am having no luck in finding that. All those stats though were for straight fluorescent bulbs though so not anything specialized.

I appreciate the info and guidance :)


Posts: 1306
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:24 pm

by yasherkoach

Regular Flourescent Light
These are the type of lights that come with most starter tanks and are very affordable. They typically range from 15 to 40 watts and have Kelvin ratings from 3,000° to 10,000°. Kelvin is the scale used to measure the color temperature. They are very cheap to run and replace.
Compact Flourescent Light Bulb
These are a step up from the regular flourescent lights. They typically range from 10 to 100 watts and have Kelvin ratings from 5,000° to 10,000°. They offer really bright and intense light but they do put off some heat that may raise the tank water temperature. Running power compact lights will require special hoods and because of the heat produced, they often come with installed fans in the hood.

High Output (HO) Flourescent Light
HO flourescent lights typically range from 20-60 watts and have Kelvin ratings from 6,000° to 11,000°. They are more expensive than regular flourescents and usually last longer. These lights require a T5 light fixture.

Very High Output (VHO) Flourescent Light
VHO flourescent lights typically range from 75-160 watts and have Kelvin ratings from 10,000° to 20,000°. These lights are very expensive and produce a lot of heat. They require a ballast and/or special fixture especially for VHO lights. They have fans incorporated into the lighting unit to help keep the lights and aquarium cool. Even though they come with fans you may need to equip your tank with an aquarium chiller to prevent your tank water from overheating.

Metal Halide Light Bulb
Metal Halide lamps typically range from 175-1000 watts and have Kelvin ratings from 5,000° to 20,000°. This type of light is closest to the sun in terms of luminousity but they are very expensive to buy, operate and replace. They produce a lot of heat and usually must be fan cooled. Ballasts with fan units included are widely available. This is often the preferred method of lighting a reef tank setup with anemones and corals that need higher intensity lighting.

LED Aquarium Lights
Is this what we have in store for the future of aquarium lighting systems? Prices as of 2007 are still very high and they will need to drop significantly in price before more hobbyists will transition to them. They offer many advantages over previously mentioned lights. Some of the advantages of LED lights over convential flourescents and metal halides include:

LED lights run much cooler than standard flourescents and metal halides
LED lights consume less energy than the other lights
They have a much longer life span
There is no filament to break, so they could be considered more durable
They can be configured in many ways due to their small size.
Many of the light fixtures being sold now include moon lights which are LEDs. So we're starting to see them more often, but even though these LED's are very promising we are probably still a few years away from using them as the primary light source on most home aquariums.

The light type you need depends on several factors:

Depth of the tank
Plant species you plan on keeping
Growth rate desired

Typically, plant keepers try to provide anywhere from 2-5 watts per aquarium gallon. Research the plants you want to keep beforehand to determine if you can provide the light needed. ~~~~ source: http://www.fishlore.com/aquarium_light.htm

This is an excellent breakdown for you from fishlore.

24" inch hoods (2 of these), each hold holds 18" bulbs...some hoods come with 1 or 2 light fixture. MOst beginners have only 1...I had 1 per hood at 15 watts for anubias.

Key is, first you must decide which types of plants you want to keep.

Anubias need very little light. So when I first started out, on one side of the tank, I had only live plants, I used a plant bulb that was 18" at 15 watts, on the other side I used a regular flourescent light at 15 watts. The plants are still alive today.

Anubias are very slow grows, but they last for many many years, and I only desired low leveled plants.

Also you need to fit your plats with your fish. Not all fish need the same type of plant to thrive.

So at 15 watts per bulb or 30 watts for 2 lights or 60 watts for 4 bulbs, this is plenty for growing anubias.

Now if you want to go to 110 watts total or 55 watts per bulb:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/p ... atid=13628

All-Glass Compact Fluorescent Oak Strip Lights
Quality engineered, high-output compact fluorescent strip lights

These high-output compact fluorescent straight pin Strip Lights are quality engineered to be the best on the market. Because All-Glass has put them through such stringent testing, they have received a coveted UL listing. Their clean design is sleek and it features an electronic ballast that is UL-Listed for high humidity locations. Includes 8000°K bulb(s). 55 watt utilizes one bulb. Bulbs included

24" 55W, CD-931196

The model number is CD-931196 at Dr Fosters & Smith...still the best online aquarium store in the world in my book.

If you need further help, do not hesitate to ask

Might have a lead on a bigger tank...

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