modifying Arcadia T8 OTL

Discussion in 'Hardware & DIY' started by french tony, 1 Aug 2009.

  1. french tony

    french tony Newly Registered

    Messages:
    22
    Hi all,
    I've been enjoying the forum for a few days and I'd like to ask your opinion / possible experience on the mod I am thinking about.

    I have a 60 x 30 x 35 planted tank (just started) and I am not really satisfied with my T8 OTL which delivers just 30W in total. In order to make the most out of the light produced I have thought of a few options:

    -Surface skimmer: Eheim SK seems a good choice and good value, if not a little bulky. £30

    -The perspex sheet on the OTL I suspect dims the light somewhat, so removing the innards and replacing the fittings with aquaseal starter would allow me to to run without this perspex sheet. £30

    -Go for T5 compact, could easily fit 72W in there I reckon. £50

    I use easycarbo and ferts as needed, no CO2 injection

    Does anyone have an opinion the amount of light I can potentially get, and ease of installing new tubes / clips in OTL?
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Welcome to the forum. :D

    Are these dimensions in cm or in inches? Also it's not clear to me what relationship a surface skimmer has with light production. Could you clarify?

    Manically attempting to throw more light at your tank without considering flow/distribution and CO2 is a recipe for disaster. :crazy:

    Cheers,
     
  3. french tony

    french tony Newly Registered

    Messages:
    22
    ceg4048:

    I should have been more precise. Dimensions are in centimetre, so that's 24"x12"x15" in old money.
    I was thinking skimmer would help with the surface biofilm, which I am guessing (maybe wrongly) impedes light penetration in the water?

    Yes indeed. I don't really want to go down the route of pressurised CO2 but would rather do with easycarbo.

    I guess I need to assess whether my plants get enough light/CO2 first...
    I guess I was getting the upgrade bug.....
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    OK, thanks for clarifying. So this is basically a 20USG tank right? So a 30W T8 is on the lower side but is sufficient to grow just about any plant. Adding more light just makes them grow faster, and will require more of everything, especially more CO2. If I were you, I'd stick with the 30W T8 for now. I would also use the upgrade path of; pressurized cylinder -> better flow/filtration -> higher light. Everyone seems to think that more light is better, and it's the first thing they improve, but the reality is that CO2 grows plants because CO2 is food. It's much better to think of light as merely a facilitator of food production.

    If you have surface film then you've got fundamental nutritional problems that absolutely, neither skimmers nor more light will fix. In fact, if you have surface film then it usually means that you have too much light and probably not enough CO2, so ironically the fact that the film blocks light might actually work to your advantage. :idea:

    Assess whether your tank has enough CO2, period. Surface film, poor growth, brown spots, black spots, translucency, disintegrating tissues, holes, or poor general health are highly correlated to poor CO2.

    Cheers,
     
  5. french tony

    french tony Newly Registered

    Messages:
    22
    That's really helpful. It is 20 USG. I have just set up the tank, albeit with a mature filter (eheim 2213) so I'm hoping flow and filtration will be ok. As the tank as just been set up, plant growth is slow but I'm hoping it will improve quite quickly. If it doesn't I'll look at going down the CO2 path again.

    Thanks for the advice.
     

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