Anyone else have problems with T5 lighting?

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by Themuleous, 15 Sep 2008.

  1. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    I'm having real problems with my new 4ft tank. So far I've lost £50 worth of HC in it, and I've just added a further £20 of glosso, val nann, P.helferi and a little bit more HC.

    Quick setup stats

    Tank - 48x18x18
    Lighting - 2x54w T5 - Osram Lumilux 880 Skywhite Fluorescent and Sylvania Grolux (I did run 3x 54w but when the HC started to turn white and rot I switched to just two tubes as I reckon it was pushing the plants to hard?)
    Substrate - Akadama pre-soaked in water laced with PO4, NO3 and ferts (Could this be the problem?)
    Ferts - EI using 4ppm PO4, 40ppm NO3 and 40ml AE trace three times a week
    Filter - Eheim 2080
    Livestock - Currently only 16 ottos, but will be adding lots of cherry shrimp tonight.
    CO2 - added, bit its tricky getting it stable in such a big tank. It takes hours for the levels to show up after I change the rate. The DC has been from yellow to bottle green (i.e. dark green) but its never been into the 'blue range.'

    To start with the HC grew but slowly (even under the 3x54w) and was very long and thin with few leaves. Following this it turned brown and dont grow before pretty much dieing. This is very similar to the problem I had in my nano which was due to the lighting, which I solved by running one tube instead of the previous 2 and raising the lighting upwards away from the tank to reduce the intensity.

    Needless to say I've removed all the HC, the roots of which weren't 100% dead but it was getting that way, only one or two very very small leaves left. I did suffer with quite a nasty bout of darn green/black fluffy algae (new filter troubles) which did swamp the plants a bit, but the ottos are getting on top of that a last. Could the algae actually have killed the plants?

    Sorry this is all a bit vague, I'm totally stumped. I really think it could be the T5 lighting, its just so darn powerful that the plants cant cope. If only I could switch back to my trusty Freshwater T8 tubes! :lol:

    Any advice, gratefully received!

    Thanks

    Sam
     
  2. a1Matt

    a1Matt Member

    Messages:
    2,518
    Location:
    Bromley
    If I had to hazard a guess I would say it is a case of CO2 level, or more likely CO2 distribution.

    The alage won't have helped and if the plants are damaged from it then any other problems will be exacerbated.

    As I have never had anything above a 3 foot tank I wouldnt feel confident dispensing advice, so will wait until one of the sages drops by this post...
     
  3. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Sam your problem is poor CO2 or poor flow. Increase the injection rate and turn it on earlier. I would refrain from adding more livestock until this is resolved.

    Cheers,
     
  4. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    My thoughts were CO2 when the problem first reared its head, so I ran the CO2 into the yellow to start with but that didnt seem to stop it from happening. The outlet does seem to disperse the CO2 well around the tank and I can see the water moving around the tank so it'll be getting to most if not all places. Also, would this not manifest itself in some areas being affects but others not? I.e those closes to the CO2 should be ok?

    Thanks for the help, once I get it fixed it'll actually be worth starting a journal! :lol:

    Sam
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Unless you can track the CO2 concentration at all points in the tank it's difficult to say. What sort of flow rate do you have, what diffusion system is there and how are the outlets positioned? A picture of the installation would actually help the diagnosis. Forget about aesthetics, we're trying to troubleshoot so give us pictures...

    Cheers,
     
  6. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    I'll get a piccy up later as Im at work (dont tell the boss!). Diffusion is via a glass diffuser directly below a glass lily outlet, the stream of which pushes 95% of the bubbles down into the centre of the tank, with few reaching the surface before they have all but dissolved into the water. The filter is the 2080 you recomended clive, with an intake at either end of the tank.

    Sam
     
  7. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    I have recently added a 600lph internal to the tank, which I guess will be helping with flow rate and diffusion, but that only got added two days ago.

    Sam
     
  8. a1Matt

    a1Matt Member

    Messages:
    2,518
    Location:
    Bromley
    Actually I think the 'warts and all' journals are the best ones :!: :)
     
  9. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Yeh I realised that. Once I get is sorted and have the motivation to get excited about my tank I'll start it, with a 'warts and all' account of what happened.

    Does anyone else find that their motivation for this hobby (and forum) rely heavily on how well their tanks are doing? :lol:

    Sam
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Well, you know what I think of lilly pipes in a big tank. I'm sure I would have also recommended using 3-4 feet worth of spraybars mounted at the back. The 2080 is still 1000 LPH short of the recommended flow and even with the 600LPH internal your distribution patterns are far from ideal (but it should help.) I reckon 4 ft tanks and above need at least 2 diffusers and I'm convinced that external diffusion works best unless you have truly epic levels of flow.

    Cheers,
     
  11. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    I'm with Ceg on the low flow theory. I did a quick rummage and most 4 foot tanks are in the 300l area, I'd want to run 2 filters on a tank that large as I've first hand experiance with terrible flow and the algae than ensues.
    Regretting selling your 2400 yet? :p
     
  12. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Righty ho, I'll move the diffuser so the CO2 goes directly into the intake so it diffuses in the filter, rather than in the tank.

    I can add a powerhead if you think that might help? How should I position it?

    Thanks again.

    Sam
     
  13. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    Pre-soaking Akadama with PO4 and NO3 won't really do much as they are anions (positively charged). It's only cations that Akadama holds on to. But saying that it won't do any harm unless you've got masses in there. I mainly pre soak CA++ and Mg++ to stop the water's KH dropping. As a side note I'm experimenting with Osmocote in the substrate and having good results.

    Are you adding 4ppm PO4 and 40ppm NO3 3x a week? That's 12ppm PO4 and 120ppm NO3 in a week.


    Never thought that internal diffusers work that well in large tanks TBH.

    James
     
  14. a1Matt

    a1Matt Member

    Messages:
    2,518
    Location:
    Bromley
    Thats the million dollar question! I assume that is why Clive was after pics of your layout so that you can address where the flow is low\poor.
     
  15. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Right cheers for the clarification James, I wouldn't bother pre-soaking the akadama next time!

    Yes adding the dose 3x a week. I much prefer to have too much than not enough.

    Sam

    PS - Gareth - nope not at all, it was too darn noisy for my liking! I might be able to talk my wife into getting two eheims but I think that'll take some doing! It'd also mean I'd have four intakes in the tank! Madness! :lol:

    PPS - tank is 255lt if you go on the diemtions, however it didn't take much more than 200lt to fill it once the substrate was in.
     
  16. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    :O They're noisy?!
    4 intakes wouldn't be a bad thing, just think of the flow, also I bet you wouldn't see them if you placed them creatively.
     
  17. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    Here's an idea, rather than another filter why not get an external large turnover pump and attach it to a co2 reactor then attach a set of lilys, you'd never know it's got no filter there and it'd be cheaper.
     
  18. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    WOW that is a lot. Shrimp will start dying at those NO3 levels. Having NO3 levels that high is detrimental to the plants IMHO. I dose 10ppm NO3 a week compared to your 120ppm. Standard EI adds about 24ppm NO3 a week and I'm sure I read somewhere that Tom B. doses 1/2 EI which equates to 12ppm per week. I see no reason to go above the standard EI dosing levels which are more than adequate except for the most extreme lighted tanks.

    James
     
  19. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    I've taken to running EI high due to previous problems with HC not getting enough NO3. I'll swap back to half that dose. It's not like the plants are growing at the moment anyway!

    Sam

    Edit - Gareth - yes very! Well certainly too noisy to be in my sitting room which is where the tank is. I guess you've got to expect a bit of noise from a filter that is supposed to run at 2400lph!

    I'll look into your idea about the pump, as you say it wouldn't matter if it didn't actually have a filtering aspect to it and it'd be easy to hide as well. Cheers.
     
  20. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    Is it at all possible that they're going through a transformation? I lost my first batch of HC this way and it soon sprung back.
     

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