Lighting for a Roma 240

willjones

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18 May 2008
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47
I'm pretty new to planted tanks. My set up so far is as follows:
T8 lighting 2 x 40W tubes, 10 hours a day, with reflectors supplied with the unit.
Pressurised CO2 used to bring pH down from 7.4 to 6.9
Flourite substate and JBL Ferropol fertiliser (when I remember!).
Growth seems a little on the slow side, so I was wondering about an upgrade to T5 lights. I can't realistically see a way of screwing extra lighting units onto the setup I've got, so I was thinking of replacing the T8 unit with a T5 unit. The LFS said the T5 unit was 54W and 90 odd pounds.
Any advice please?
 

ceg4048

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Hi,
Well, yes you could upgrade your lighting but you had also better think about upgrading your nutritional supplementation. JBL Ferropol is a trace element mix primarily but it does have Potassium. Unfortunately it doesn't have Nitrogen or Phosphorous which fish feeding and waste alone may not be be able to supply. Once you enter the regime of higher lighting nutrient and CO2 management become much more important. Speaking of which you need a better way to manage your CO2 than just measuring the tank water pH. You may want to consider getting a drop checker and using 4 kH water to measure the CO2 concentration. Check the Tutorial section for articles regarding nutrient dosing and CO2 measurement.

Cheers,
 

willjones

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18 May 2008
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Thanks, I've been meaning to do a bit more research on the nutrient side of things so I'll look into that.
Have seen conflicting information about measuring CO2 levels, the consensus here seems to be that pH isn't very good, and the dropper method seems to be the way forward. Can you reccomend where to buy a dropper and 4KH solution online?
 

ceg4048

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ceg4048

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Hi,
Well, it's easy to recommend the commercial all-in-one solution, Tropica's Plant Nutritions plus (TPN+)=> http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/index.p ... ts_id=1038 This product contains both the macro nutrients NPK as well as trace elements. The advantage of this product is that it's very easy to use, although under higher lighting such as which you propose, the dosages would be much higher resulting in high costs for your size tank.

If you're an intrepid bargain hunter like many of us, you can save ££ by simply going the dry powder route, Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) and Potassium Phosphate (KH2PO4) which are much cheaper => http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/index.p ... th=145_146

Carefully study the following thread on how to use the powders and ask questions if anything is at all unclear=> viewtopic.php?f=34&t=1211

Drop checker use and CO2 measurement article is here=> viewtopic.php?f=34&t=467

Cheers,
 

Wolfenrook

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30 Apr 2008
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336
Location
West Midlands UK
willjones said:
I'm pretty new to planted tanks. My set up so far is as follows:
T8 lighting 2 x 40W tubes, 10 hours a day, with reflectors supplied with the unit.
Pressurised CO2 used to bring pH down from 7.4 to 6.9
Flourite substate and JBL Ferropol fertiliser (when I remember!).
Growth seems a little on the slow side, so I was wondering about an upgrade to T5 lights. I can't realistically see a way of screwing extra lighting units onto the setup I've got, so I was thinking of replacing the T8 unit with a T5 unit. The LFS said the T5 unit was 54W and 90 odd pounds.
Any advice please?
If your Roma is of the flaps and brace bar type, you could try adding a couple more tubes using the same method as I did (thanks to MrAlgae on the PFK forum for the original idea). Just use an external controler (the hagen Glo T5 HO ones are much cheaper than the Arcadia ones by the way) and use cable ties to attach the cables to the lamp holders of your existing unit, put a tube clip in the middle of the tube and then rest these on the brace bar (I used the ones that came with the hagen glo kit, and used the black plastic bits to cable tie them to the brace bar to hold them even steadier.). Also don't forget to use reflectors.

If you can afford it though, you would save yourself a lot of bother by just getting an overtank luminaire type fitting. I got over the not wanting an open topped tank. I ordered some custom cut sheets of 4mm clear acrylic perspex to rest on the lip the brace bar in my Rio 180 attaches to. I don't know if there is anything similar in the Romas though.

Ade
 

willjones

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18 May 2008
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47
Thanks again for your advice ceg4048, and Ade. I think I'm coming to the conclusion that the biggest deficiency in my set up is fertilsation of my plants (some of them have now started turning white, I suspect because there aren't enough nutrients!).
I've read the very informative article on EI salts on the website, and will probably go down this route when I'm a bit more organised (slightly daunted by buying half a kilo of potassium nitrate - think that might last me a while!).
In the meantime, ill try the TPN+ (was wondering what this was, TPN means total parenteral nutrition to me!).
I've also connected my CO2 system up to a 2kg cylinder fire extinguisher today, which seems to be working like a dream, much easier than the expensive to refill and short lived 500g bottle!
Thanks again for the advice, LFS don't seem to have much idea when it comes to planted tanks!
 

Wolfenrook

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Most LFS, IME, don't! Mine has recently set up a planted show tank, complete with the JPL profi 3 CO2 kit and Eco Complete substrate. Thing is when I visited either their solenoid wasn't attached to the pH controller, or the cylinder was empty! The JBL permanent test was a lovely bright shade of blue, and they didn't even have enough lighting on the tank for it to qualifty as a low light set up! :lol: The same store keeps it's plants for sale in small tanks with even duller lighting than they have in the fish display tanks. They are even managing to kill the java fern they have.

I find one thing about buying dry ferts very amusing (I don't, just started using Tropica Plant Nutrition +, and yeah ex psyche nurse here so until recently TPN meant the same thing to me as it did to you. lol. Kind of reminds me of the medical and the IT use of #, medical it means fracture, IT it means number. lol) is the fact that when you buy potassium nitrate in large quantities it has to be reported to the police. :D One of the reasons is that it is used in the manufacture of explosives. :? So if you don't like the police holding your details EI etc is even less attractive. :p

Ade
 

Wolfenrook

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30 Apr 2008
Messages
336
Location
West Midlands UK
Most LFS, IME, don't! Mine has recently set up a planted show tank, complete with the JPL profi 3 CO2 kit and Eco Complete substrate. Thing is when I visited either their solenoid wasn't attached to the pH controller, or the cylinder was empty! The JBL permanent test was a lovely bright shade of blue, and they didn't even have enough lighting on the tank for it to qualifty as a low light set up! :lol: The same store keeps it's plants for sale in small tanks with even duller lighting than they have in the fish display tanks. They are even managing to kill the java fern they have.

I find one thing about buying dry ferts very amusing (I don't, just started using Tropica Plant Nutrition +, and yeah ex psyche nurse here so until recently TPN meant the same thing to me as it did to you. lol. Kind of reminds me of the medical and the IT use of #, medical it means fracture, IT it means number. lol) is the fact that when you buy potassium nitrate in large quantities it has to be reported to the police. :D One of the reasons is that it is used in the manufacture of explosives. :? So if you don't like the police holding your details EI etc is even less attractive. :p

Ade
 

Wayney

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20 May 2008
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Wolverhampton
Wolfenrook said:
Most LFS, IME, don't! Mine has recently set up a planted show tank, complete with the JPL profi 3 CO2 kit and Eco Complete substrate. Thing is when I visited either their solenoid wasn't attached to the pH controller, or the cylinder was empty! The JBL permanent test was a lovely bright shade of blue, and they didn't even have enough lighting on the tank for it to qualifty as a low light set up! :lol: The same store keeps it's plants for sale in small tanks with even duller lighting than they have in the fish display tanks. They are even managing to kill the java fern they have.

Ade
I know which shop your on about there Ade. Their plant section is pitiful at best :rolleyes:
 

swackett

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29 May 2008
Messages
439
Location
Epsom, Surrey
Hi,

I have Roma 240 tank and recently upgraded it to T5 lights by using an Arcadia 2x54w electronic control unit and 2x 54w arcadia J5 plant pro tubes (Juwel length tubes as they are the same length as the old 40w T8s and fit inside the hood). I removed the old T8 magnetic control units from the centre bar and placed the Arcadia unit in there.

If you are interested I can post instructions showing you how I did it.

Steve
 

willjones

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18 May 2008
Messages
47
Hi Steve, thanks for the reply, I would definitely be interested in hearing how you installed the T5 unit.
 
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