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

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Ben_K, 27 Mar 2009.

  1. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

    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?
     
  2. BINKSY1973

    BINKSY1973 Member

    Messages:
    201
    Location:
    Oxford
  3. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Bursledon, Hampshire
    Thanks Gordon, I'll get onto it now. 8)
     
  4. BINKSY1973

    BINKSY1973 Member

    Messages:
    201
    Location:
    Oxford
    Your welcome. :)
     
  5. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

    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
     
  6. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    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
     
  7. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

    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)
     
  8. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    3,268
    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.
     
  9. Ben_K

    Ben_K Member

    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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