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Do I need high light?

ChrisMachell

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Joined
5 Nov 2020
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12
Location
Manchester
Hi, total newbie here, apologies for lengthy post. Recently set up my first planted tank, Fluval Roma 240 litre. Currently stocked with 9 black ruby barbs, 4 sterbai corys, 4 sodalis corys, 2 apistogramma, 6 boesmani rainbows, 1 clown pleco, 1 silver molly (a stowaway but doing well). All fish are doing well. Currently doing 2 water changes per week of around 25%. Planted with a range of beginner - intermediate plant species from amazon swords, crypts, water wisteria, duckweed, etc to alternathera reinicki and just planted a nymphaea rubra bulb. I've just set up co2 injection, have it steady at 30ppm throughout the day, only on during photo period of 10 hours. I'm using clay subst
tank.jpg
rate with a gravel cap round the edges of the tank and using TNC complete liquid ferts and root tabs.

I know I'm probably making lots of mistakes already but would appreciate advice on whether I should get some higher lighting - my current LED light is 1950 lumens, working out at around 8lm per litre, which I understand is low (though it looks plenty bright to me!). Is it necessary to get higher lighting or will the plants be okay with this? I'm conscious of stressing the fish with but also of wasting co2 if the plants aren't able to take it up through insufficient photosynthesising. I'd love to strike the right balance if at all possible - I'd love a tank with healthy, lush plants and happy, calm fish! I've attached a photo to give a general sense of plant density.
 

Siege

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11 Aug 2017
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1,247
Location
Cambridgeshire, UK
At the moment you donot need more light, you probably need less!

CO2 on 4 hours before the lights, light green colour when the lights come on. Move the drop checker to the other side of the tank so it’s away from the diffuser.

Go inline diffuser if you can. It’ll be better for your sized tank.

Getting co2 right is more important than high light. It is easier to grow plants and have a nice looking tank in Low light and high co2 than the other way round.

Lights on for 6-8 hours.

23 degrees temp.

Larger water changes, as big as you can.

More plants if you can, that and floating plants.

Tilt the filter outlet up a bit to create a nice surface ripple. Changing to a spray bar will be better.

in short adding more light is the last thing you do!

👍
 
Last edited:

John q

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6 Jan 2021
Messages
99
Location
Lancashire
Hi, this is exactly the same tank using exactly the same light and it had been running for about 6 weeks. When this was taken the lights were running at about 80%, no co2 and about 10% ei dosing.
Far from perfect but shows how little light is needed sometimes.
20201213_141820.jpg
 

Siege

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Messages
1,247
Location
Cambridgeshire, UK
Hi @John q

without Co2 you Probably want to turn down the lights more, that or add floating plants.

keep an eye on it, The sessiflora is going leggy as it’s bolting to the surface for co2. Now that may be because it hasn’t been trimmed yet but if your other stems show the same it’s defo too higher light in comparison with too little (none) co2.

You‘ll be able to judge more as the plants get older and run out of reserves.

Looking smart though, nice and clean!😃
 

John q

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Location
Lancashire
Hi @John q

You‘ll be able to judge more as the plants get older and run out of reserves.

Haha, have you got a crystal ball 🤣

This picture was taken a few months ago and you're spot on with your remarks. Fast forward another 2 months and the plants did indeed grow leggy and eventually the alternanthera started to melt, then I got a bba outbreak.
Having spent many hours reading through countless informative threads here at ukaps I came to the conclusion that lack of co2 was the problem.

So flow has been increased, liquid carbon added and the lights were dimmed and over the last 3 weeks or so things seem to be improving, hopefully the additional carbon in there will be enough to supply the demands of the light, otherwise they'll be getting dimmed again.

Cheers.
 

ChrisMachell

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Thread starter
Joined
5 Nov 2020
Messages
12
Location
Manchester
At the moment you donot need more light, you probably need less!

CO2 on 4 hours before the lights, light green colour when the lights come on. Move the drop checker to the other side of the tank so it’s away from the diffuser.

Go inline diffuser if you can. It’ll be better for your sized tank.

Getting co2 right is more important than high light. It is easier to grow plants and have a nice looking tank in Low light and high co2 than the other way round.

Lights on for 6-8 hours.

23 degrees temp.

Larger water changes, as big as you can.

More plants if you can, that and floating plants.

Tilt the filter outlet up a bit to create a nice surface ripple. Changing to a spray bar will be better.

in short adding more light is the last thing you do!

👍
Thanks! This is all really good to know as I honestly want to avoid adding more light if I can. Can I ask why less light is better? Is it for algae or is there another reason? The drop checker you can see is actually one of three I have in the tank. The other two are at the opposite ends of the tank, away from the diffuser. All three show light green at lights on. When I first turned on my co2 I was paranoid about gassing my fish, hence placing one close to the diffuser (sort of a canary in the coalmine strategy). I should also add that in addition to the canister filter (outlet and inlet at right-back of tank), I have a fluval u4 internal with the spray bar setting behind the diffuser, which seems to be getting the gas around the tank reasonably equally. I may invest in an inline diffuser, though. I'd like as many plants as I can fit in, so will definitely add some more. Really appreciate the advice, as soon as I think I've got things figured out something else comes along that I haven't considered!
 

ChrisMachell

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Thread starter
Joined
5 Nov 2020
Messages
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Location
Manchester
Hi, this is exactly the same tank using exactly the same light and it had been running for about 6 weeks. When this was taken the lights were running at about 80%, no co2 and about 10% ei dosing.
Far from perfect but shows how little light is needed sometimes.
View attachment 161052
Wow! That looks incredible, I am very envious! Good to know you can get such results without resorting to expensive lighting etc.
 

Siege

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11 Aug 2017
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1,247
Location
Cambridgeshire, UK
Thanks! This is all really good to know as I honestly want to avoid adding more light if I can. Can I ask why less light is better?

The more light you give the plants the more they will want to grow, increasing their demand for co2 - that you are not adding.

All the extra light will do is show up deficiencies in the plant, leggy, pale, prone to algae and they’ll die.
Hope that makes sense!
 

ChrisMachell

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Ah, OK. But am I not adding enough co2 already? I've got light green drop checkers throughout the tank so I thought that meant I had a good concentration with my current level of injection.
 

Siege

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Location
Cambridgeshire, UK
Sorry my fault, I was getting mixed up with the posts above - ignore the no co2 bit.

You are reasonably lightly planted so extra light is gonna go everywhere and cause algae. That and extra light makes everything harder as thing go quicker.

You want light green drop checkers at lights on. Also think about a surface ripple, you have a build up of gases there, making gas exchange hard.

Your money and time will be better spent creating a lovely looking tank. Once you are happy then Consider changing the light. Changing or adding more light is not a miracle cure, in fact the opposite. It’s like just passing your driving test and instantly changing your fiesta to a Ferrari 😂
 

ChrisMachell

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Gotcha, thanks Siege. I am definitely not in Ferrari territory yet, but I might just about be able to handle a Robin Reliant!
 

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