Looking to add more light and better conditions for plants. Tips?

Discussion in 'Planted Aquarium Tech' started by JButkus, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. JButkus

    JButkus New Member

    Hey all, so I've had my 75g planted tank up for about a year now and while I am decent growth out of the current set up I feel this tank and equipment is lacking a bit, or could be producing more/growing faster (specs below).

    Im thinking about adding another two 54watt t5 ho bulbs to total at 4x 54watt 6500K bulbs.

    Any reccomendations or any tips on where to find a cheap 2 bulb fixture? I'm tempted to venture to homedepot or lowes and find a shoplight to throw on the tank.

    Secondly, I'm considering trying the EI dosing system for macro and micro nutrients. Has anyone tried this system before and mind sharing your opinion?

    Lastly, I feel like I need a better method of diffusing the co2. The kinda crappy fluval co2 diffuser was just what I had on hand, and want to hear others opinions on what diffusers to try or look into.
    Here are the current specs.

    light: currently 2x54watt t5 HO 6500k (on for 10 hours/day)

    filtration: fluval 306 canister filter with return spraybar.

    co2: Aquatek co2 regulator with solenoid valve, bubble counter and cheap co2 ceramic diffuser
    (roughly have it at 2bubbles/second. On an hour before lights, off an hour before lights shut off).

    stock: 6x Peru Pterophyllum pf. scalare angels
    15x black neon tetras (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi)
    3x whiptail cats (Dasyloricaria filamentosa)
    2x Corydoras duplicareus
    6x Nannostomus beckfordi
    2x Silver hatchets (Gasteropelecus sternicla)

    Flora: Ludgwigia (unsure of species), crypts, Rotala indica, Sagittaria subulata, Telanthera sp., plus a few other clippings and other odds and ends. Nothing demanding I know, but would like to get into the more sensative stem plants or expand the diversity of plants in my tanks.

    Ideas, tips, comments on anything you would do differently would be appreciated.

    Aquaticus likes this.
  2. Vshrimp

    Vshrimp Member


    Here's a great read on EI dosing. There's also PPS pro dosing. Either way of dosing well grow plants well. Just have to pick the system that will be best for you. As for trying to grow more demand stem plant. It will depend on your currently setup. Mainly lighting, co2 levels, and importantly substrate. A good substrate will grow anything.
    JButkus likes this.
  3. kb9skw

    kb9skw Executive Board

    You don't have enough light getting down to the floor of the tank. Don't look in the rear view mirror at anything that has to do with flouracents and do yourself a favor and get some LEDs. If you want something inexpensive take a look at the Finnex Planted+, the 48" model can be had for around $120 on Amazon and will get you good PAR levels at the floor of the tank.

    I would also try adding some nutrients to the substrate. Get some Flourish Tabs by Seachem and insert into the sand as per the instructions. Six weeks of that plus the increased PAR lighting should show you a difference.
  4. Marine590622

    Marine590622 Advisory Board Staff Member

    I would say that for ~ $20.00 you can get a cheap 2 tube 4 foot fixture and 2 6500K bulbs at walmart or home depot This will increase the par at depth, but you end up with added cost running the system. You will spend about 3 times as much in electric costs plus you have to replace the bulbs.

    LED fixtures, or DIY led fixtures are the way to go for long term low cost lighting.

    CO2. loose the spray bar. it is counter productive to increasing the co2 available to the plants.
    Do you know how to judge your co2 level by testing ph and carbonate hardness? test with the spray bar running and then test without the spraybar.
    switch to an inline co2 diffuser or co2 reactor on the return line from your canister filter. (the diy gadget contest is coming up in April, you could look at DIY co2 reactors online and try that.)
  5. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member

    you might try The Barr Report for EI dosing
    JButkus likes this.
  6. JButkus

    JButkus New Member

    Definitely in the plans to start EI dosing once I get some better lights soon! Thanks for the good read!
  7. JButkus

    JButkus New Member

    I figured the two bulbs werent doing much in terms of depth. I have finnex leds on other tanks and love the light output on them, I've been using this 48" t5 HO simply because I already had it laying around, but for the desired results I'm looking for, it would likely be worth the cost to just add a finnex planted plus and eventually sell the t5 fixture and get a second finnex.

    Looking at this model https://www.amazon.com/Finnex-FugeR...4-40b1-8da6-7c1c9eb81d33&pf_rd_i=desktop&th=1
  8. JButkus

    JButkus New Member

    I've always liked the subtle flow that the spray bar produces, however I see what you mean in terms of flow and relieving co2 from the tank with the spray bar, I'll be changing to the single return nozzle when I get done with classes later.

    I started looking into inline co2 diffusers as I really dislike the diffuser in the display, looks like something I will have to DIY since it does not seem like there are many commercially available/decent models available and they also do not seem terribly complicated, just need to work out how to attach it to the hosing on a fluval 305 canister.

    Looks like I'll be scrapping the 48" t5 HO light for a finnex in the next week! Just gotta work that college budget a little lol
  9. JButkus

    JButkus New Member

    Thanks Chuck, thats what I've been referencing for dosing recently
  10. JButkus

    JButkus New Member

    Has anyone tried osmocote plus tablets as far as root tabs go?
  11. Mike F

    Mike F Advisory Board

    I bought gelatin capsules and osmocote to give it a try but never got around to it, i can bring in a baggy of empty capsules to the next meeting if you want to make some. Can't find the osmocote, probably stuck under all the gardening supplies in my shed so you'd need your own osmocote.
  12. JButkus

    JButkus New Member

    That would be awesome but unfortunately I will be in Tennessee during the next meeting for a collecting/fishing trip!
    Chuck likes this.
  13. Dragon159

    Dragon159 Advisory Board

    I have found the blue light penetrates the water column. I have a 10000K and an actinic T5 over my 20 gallon and seems to be doing very well. Years ago I used the old T12 bulbs over my 55g, two cheap "grow tubes", one cool white, and one actinic with good results. As of lately, I have been using LED flood lights that are working nicely, but you need more room over the tank for them. Blue spectrum light promotes leafing and red spectrum promotes length and flowering. This is the reason most "grow" lights are heavy on the red spectrum. The yellow/green spectrum is for us to see.

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