Low light level increase;LEDs vs. T5 luminaires (inc. Hagen

Ben_K

Member
Joined
27 Sep 2007
Messages
48
Location
Bursledon, Hampshire
Hello chaps,
My 220l (55 gal)is in need of some upgrading. I always knew it would be slow progress to get to a decent planted state, but after a few rounds of dying off plants, I believe that I really just haver too little light right now. Unfortunately, I bought my current lighting kit before I'd barely started the set-up and had zero planting knowledge. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I have a mere 38w tube in a Clearseal hood. The light is poorly spread and only 0.7wpg.
As I do not have CO2 yet, I decided to keep the light low to keep the photosynthesis to a minimum. However, as the only thing that surviving seems to be the Anubias Nana (and now some slow growing Vallis), I am sure I have too little light even without the CO2 etc.

Until I upgrade to CO2, I obviously cannot go overboard, but I think I have to do something. So...
I've looked around at a few luminaires but was suggested an Aquabeam LED unit by an LFS. Not being one to get sucked in by a shop's suggestions without research, I took a look about and noticed that George Farmer used them recently. Any thoughts? People seem to refer to them as expensive, however, a double unit costs ~£180 for 2x12w (equivalent of 2x24w), and that seems comparable with the price of an Arcadia luminaire. The downside is that they are still low power; 2x24w should prove me with 0.9wpg. I've also seen Hagen Glo 2x54w luminaire for £104. That seems like a bargain. That would be 1.9wpg. A much better level.

What do you all think? Any suggestions?
 

Ben_K

Member
Joined
27 Sep 2007
Messages
48
Location
Bursledon, Hampshire
Update:
I ordered 2x T5 tubes on Weds from LampSpecs (Thanks JamesC) and picked up a Hagen Glo 2x54w luminaire unit on Thursday. £120 for the tubes and unit doesn't seem bad at all. 8) I got the tubes today and set it up. Blimey, it is a hefty jump from a poorly positioned 38w to 2x well placed 54w T5s!! :wideyed: I am hoping that this extra light (now ~2wpg) will help the plants a bit more. At the moment, it is pretty sparse and looks half empty but I am hoping the plants will fill out soon enough. I'll give it a couple of days, water change, then maybe get a few more in there.
Anywho, here are a few photos to show the changes:
(Excuse the quality, they are taken with my mobile phone. Once the tank is running better, I'll do some proper SLR shots)

Original set up:
th_DSC00604.jpg

The plants died off, despite fert dosing and Flourish Excel:
th_DSC00958.jpg

Thursday, I replanted some new bits:
th_DSC02014.jpg

The new twin T5s. Much brighter, much nicer:
th_DSC02018.jpg
 

Themuleous

Member
Joined
6 Jul 2007
Messages
4,124
Location
Aston, Oxfordshire
Nice :)

Are you adding CO2 and ferts? With that much light, the plants will need the extra nutrients to keep up and stop from being starved.

Sam
 

Ben_K

Member
Joined
27 Sep 2007
Messages
48
Location
Bursledon, Hampshire
Thanks Sam. CO2 will be next on the list to get. I was doing ferts before and stopped as it seemed like a waste of time (given that the plants still didn't survive). I'm going to start again now though. 8)
 

Dan Crawford

Founder
Staff member
Joined
21 Jun 2007
Messages
3,266
Location
Daventry, Northants
Congrats on your bargain although i'd be careful with that lighting till you have CO2, too much light and not enough CO2 equals ALGAE! I'd run half the lighting if you can, if not, have a short photoperiod, about 5 hours. It'd be a shame to be nailed by algae before you've even really started.
 

Ben_K

Member
Joined
27 Sep 2007
Messages
48
Location
Bursledon, Hampshire
Yeah, I was curious about that. Funnily enough, the reason I popped here now is to ask what you guys recommend for the photoperiod. I don't think I can run single tube. It certainly doesn't have an individual on/off per tube.
Is it worth me buying my bulk of plants now in order to minimise the algae risk, or would that just affect the plants negatively?
Im off to work in 30mins, but I'm going to take a look on eBay later for a CO2 regulator. Dan, do you still have FE's available?
 
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