Help with Luminaire

ice

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14 Nov 2008
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ok i have a rio 400 5ft tank with two light bars twin 54w t5 and the original twin t8 36w (I think), Anyway although i am not really unhappy with things access is a nightmere i have to remove 2 flaps and one light unit to get in, so decided i would get the arcadia 5ft with 4x 54w t5's only slightly up on my old lights so it would be an easy to deal with change, but every one has now run out of the old type which were between £210 -£270. The new ones are 4 x 80w t5 is that like really overkill on my tank, would i be asking for major problems if i went down that route?. Not exactly sure what my wpg is at the min as i never know weather to use us gallons or uk gallon for the calclation but think i am around 2.5wpg and the new arcadia would be around 3.5wpg. I have cheap luminaires on other tanks but with this being the main tank and being so large i had hoped to get a branded one. Any advise would be greatfully recieved. thanks Karl
 

ice

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ok just looked into wpg calc and found it to be us gallon (Sorry should have checked first) after displacment i think 100g is about right so new arcadia would be 3.2wpg, the old arcadia would be 2.16 and my currant lighting would be1.8!!! never knew it was so low !!. Is the wpg rule still relevant with the tank size, what should be aiming for?? Help!!!!!!!!
 

GreenNeedle

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Your current lighting is high light. The old version of the luminaire is very high light, the new version is USA dreamworld!!!

I would look into a luminaire with a little less and somewhere close to what you have at the moment. Suspend it from the ceiling if needed to get a better spread and some distance to reduce the WPG.

AC
 

ice

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thanks for that, never thought it would so difficult to figure the best thing, (So many contradictions on the web) I was thinking that i maybe better getting the new version and future proofing a little. Someone has advised me to get the new one and use only two bulbs for the full photo period and utilise the other two for a few hours midway through, What do you think? i suppose it means i do have an option to adjust the lighting to get it right. I know at the moment i struggle with some plants especialy anything red?, and have tended to stick with easy to grow stuff.
 

Dan Crawford

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ice said:
Someone has advised me to get the new one and use only two bulbs for the full photo period and utilise the other two for a few hours midway through, What do you think?
I think he a good looking guy and knows what he's talking about ;) :lol:
Give us some more detailed info on your tank mate and we'll thrash it out.....
 

GreenNeedle

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If you have the spare money and the new one has the facility to use tubes seperately then go for it. I would still suspend it though. That way you have more options than many to get good light spread and change lighting/tactics by using more/less tubes and raising / lowering.

I would think turnover, circulation and CO2 would be the hardest thing to get right on a tank your size.

AC
 

ice

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ahhh i have a stalker lol :lol:
Ok right rio 400 as you know 400lt probably actual 375lt 151L x 51W x 62H cm. Ei dosed with co2 inj. Substrate playsand, had been using root tabs, Unfortunatly turned to planting sometime after the tank was set up hense no decent substrate. Was planning on freezing some substrate in small slabs then trying to slide it under the sand but not sure about all that at the min. Plant wise nothing exciting but that was another point of the upgrade, I was hoping to get to a point that i could have almost anything i wanted without worring over light. I do between 40-50% weekly w/changes and trim plants if need be, I do not mind having to prune each week i actually enjoy it (Very sad i know). I just have in the back of my head at the minute that if 4x 54w is still limiting then i can not do much about it, But if the 4x 80w is to much then i at least i can turn 2 off. I like most folk have purchased things in the past thinking that plenty good enough, just to end up rebuying it 6 months later. Thats not to say i must have the best or the biggest far from it!! , Just want to be sure i get the best for the purpose without to many limitations. i have learned that buying while thinking of your wallet is a sure fire way to get things wrong.
 

ice

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SuperColey1 said:
If you have the spare money and the new one has the facility to use tubes seperately then go for it. I would still suspend it though. That way you have more options than many to get good light spread and change lighting/tactics by using more/less tubes and raising / lowering.

I would think turnover, circulation and CO2 would be the hardest thing to get right on a tank your size.

AC
Thanks for that I will look at hanging light rather than sitting on the tank, at the minute two tetratec ex1200 and hydor 1 p/h. Co2 via two diffusers each end of the tank, circulation i think is ok, i did have a problem with it sometime ago (BBA) but since adding the powerhead seems to have solved itself. Will post a pic if i can figure out how to do it!!!
 

GreenNeedle

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You need to be a member of PFK website to view that. lol

Can you not open a photpucket account. You will be using it I can assure you once you get going on here.

Your circulation and CO2 sounds fine to me. What problems were you having that made you think the light was limiting?

Don't factor in the displacement. Just take the tank dimensions and then do the calculations. WPG is only a guide and therefore nop point in minusing substrate etc.

If we were to do any displacement we would only do from the substrate to waterline ignoring everything else as it doesn't matter how much water is in there. It's more a how large is the 'area/volume' I want to 'illuminate'

AC
 

ice

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Some of the signs that make me think i was struggling with light on some plants were:
Leaves are pale green to yellowish. Red foilage just get faded and yukky looking
Stems seem very weak.
Stem plants have few leaves with long spaces between leaves, growth near the light is vigorous and the lower portion of the stem is very ltd.
Any low growing plants very very poor growth even when not over shadowed.

EI dosing is ok, so doubt it was fert related but could be wrong
 

GreenNeedle

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I would ask the question in plants or fert dosing. I think you have enough light to do anything really. Maybe at present they aren't giving enough 'good' light in that being so close to the water the 'spread of light' isn't very good.

There was a thread on barrreport recently where they had tested 6 of the top scapes this year and found they were actually low light yet these had carpets of HC etc.

I would start on ferts first and they may direct you to CO2. lol

Is often the way. People always think lights first because so many are using more light than they need and suggesting others need it. Then the problem is 2 fold because if it wasn't the lights the ferts or CO2 etc becomes even more defficient.

AC
 

ice

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ahh makes sence, i do see what your saying and i know i am as guilty as anyone in thinking lighting must be the problem first of all but, i did have an issue with not enough ferts at one point and thought i had resolved it, the same with co2. Seems like this has been one long series of mistakes!! Must admit very nearly gave up on plants but i hate to fail at anything and am determind to get this right even if it sends me cookcoo which ain't far off incidently!! I am confident i have ferts and co2 resolved now and most the plants i have grow fine but they are all undemanding easy to grow, have ditched a lot of plants that just did not do much of anything except look a mess. The lights was kind of last on the list of things upgrade for access mainly and so i had thought increase plant choice. I had just talked myself into the arcadia ot2 now talking myself out of it again.!! Should have taken up something easy like brain surgery!
 

GreenNeedle

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The problem with most people (as it was with me too) as that so many people focus on the lights and so we then associate the problems with lack of light. The reality is that virtually all plants will grow in what is perceived as low light, maybe not to the colouration or 'style' that we are after but they will grow.

We then chase after light upgrades which in turn asks for more CO2 and thus more nutrient. Problem being that if you can't grow under low light then it is the CO2/ferts that are the problem and we then increase the defficiency. Once we know we can grow under low light we can then move upward if wanted to higher light and thus add more CO2 and more nutrient.

Another problem is that we don't give each 'change' time to work or fail so we end up doing several things. Wether the tank then fails or succeeds from these several changes you don't know why it has failed or succeeded!!!

Therefore we think upping the CO2 and ferts and the tank is working. Great but what if one of these was already right? What about the fact that now everything is working that the plants are getting bigger. The mount of plantmass in the tank is growing. We then need to consider that like children getting older and bigger that they now require more food.

Not many up their ferts and CO2 accordingly. this is why EI is so good because it doses excess CO2 and ferts at the start.

Therefore it is the plants that are playing catch up and not you having to increase ferts and CO2. However with the high plantmass comes another problem. The circulation which was good now has more obstacles. Is the circulation still as good?

So many variables. lol

Once someone has checked your EI levels then you will be directed at the CO2 / circulation issue. Once this is sorted then after a few weeks you should be able to see if the 'system' is working.

At this stage you can go for more lights knowing where you went wrong before and having a better understanding to deal with anything that arises from the light increase.

AC
 

ice

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Thanks to everyone for the help and after what must be 48hrs of reading, I had decided to get a lower light luminaire, pretty much on par with my currant lighting (Nearest i can find is the old arcadia 4x 54wt) But sods law the only one i had found is now sold. I can not find another branded one anywhere in a low wattage, they all seem to be really high light even higer than the new arcadia. Can anyone recommend a brand that has good warrenty, and reliabilty track record, and where i might find one. I did not really want to get one from ebay knowing if it goes wrong i will most likly have no help what so ever and end up having to buy another one.
 

ice

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Thanks for the link unfortunatly, i'm after the 60" which they do not have in. I will be hanging the light hopefully as you suggested but i rent a house at the moment and have to get permission before hanging something like that, and my landlord is in spain for 2 months so it will have to mount on the rim for now, but thanks for going to the trouble to look for me i'm greatful for your time.
 

GreenNeedle

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You can make your own 'stand from conduit' without drilling in walls:

Check out this thread where the chap makes his own stand rather than drilling holes in ceilings or walls. when raising the light you don't need to have the 'exact' width either as you get a better 'spread'!!! That 52" should be OK at about 12" or more above the waterline. Have a look at his in the thread. His is MH though so I wouldn't suggest anyone should have a 3ft fluoro fixture above a 6ft tank. lol
http://www.bcaquaria.com/forum/shawns-2 ... ug-31.html

Just another option to think about :)

AC
 

ice

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thanks for that, really good idea. Will have a scout round see what else i can find that may be adaptable.
 

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