Question: 29 gallon tank lighting question for live plants.

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Sarutobi, 11 Aug 2009.

  1. Sarutobi

    Sarutobi Newly Registered

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    Location:
    Okinawa Islands, Japan
    Hello.

    I am new here, and I was wondering since I have a 29 gallon tank and a 10 gallon tank and I have live plants and fishes (of course xD) and I was wondering. Would 20 W 6,500k be strong enough light for my amazon swords? It is also a high intensity lamp. I have an Aqua Clear filter (both tanks) and my 10 gallon I use two 15 watt incandescent lights, and I keep a few plants in there..

    I also use Flourish Trace as a type of plant fertilizer for my two tanks. Usually helps with the plant growth.. Although should I fertilize my tank every single day or once every two days? I do a water change and gravel wash weekly. I have some fishes that do love to eat my plants. Including my Amazon Swords, which I am very concerned about because they don't grow back very fast.

    I hope anyone can help me with the problems.

    PS. I only have one Fluorescent light for my 29 gallon tank.
     
  2. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

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    Location:
    Surrey UK
    Hi Sarutobi
    Your set ups sound like what are called low tech or low light set up. Your Amazon swords will be perfectly happy in a low light setup, they will just grow slowly but still remain perfectly healthy (apart from getting munched by your fish :lol: ). Ferns, Anubias and Swords will all tolerate low light. So you certainly have enough lighting for these plants.
    You do not mention whether or not you are injecting CO2. I will assume you are not.
    Plants need CO2 (Carbon) to survive but do adapt to low levels of CO2 eventually. It is suggested that a plant takes about 3 weeks to fully adapt, where they have to produce a different set of enzymes to function in the low CO2 environment.
    So with your current maintenance regime you are creating a problem for the plants. Tap water contains CO2, so at water change you are introducing CO2. The plants then stop adapting to the low CO2 environment because it is now available, but the CO2 gets used up by the plants in the first day or so. The plant then has to use it's energy to now try and adapt to the low CO2 environment that it is now living in. You are doing this once a week so your plants don't know whether they're coming or going by adapting to the fluctuating CO2 levels.
    The best thing you can do for your plants is to stop the water changes completely (maybe a water change annually or 6 monthly at best), but still carry on with monthly filter maintenance and gravel vac. occasionally (not a gravel wash as you stated in your post).
    Sounds strange I know, but I've now been doing this for about 5 months, on 2 tanks, and fish are fine and plants are healthy and not a drop of algae in sight. :D
    I also only feed my plants once a week. This does not cause any problems for the plants in a low light set up. Obviously you would have to multiply your daily dose by 7 if you want it to last all week. ;)
    An added bonus to all this is that the healthy plants will also utilize some of the waste products from your fish too, so you now have a natural recycling plant in your tank :lol: .
    So do not be too concerned about your slow growth rates, this is the plants way of adapting to the environment they are in.
    If you have a browse around this forum under the EI Natural and Low Tech section you will find loads of useful information there.
    So in summary, my maintenance regime for my low techs are as follows:
    Lighting only on for 6 hours a day.
    Feed the plants once a week.
    Clean the filter once a month.
    Gravel vac. when I think of it :oops: (most times at filter maintenance).

    So there you have it in a nutshell, less work = lovely looking tank, healthy fish and no algae 8).

    Chris
     
  3. Sarutobi

    Sarutobi Newly Registered

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    Thanks. Yes I don't use C02. I've used the Reverse Osomosis water for a long time and then I stopped. So I don't know if that has C02 in it. My plants seems to be very nice and green, but the older leaves are dieing and newer ones are coming up.

    Is there stronger wattage for my aquarium? Like can I get a 30 or 40W light? I don't like the 20W lights since other people have told me before that I have a low light setup like you stated on your post. Also, a water change annually? Isn't that not really good though? Since we all need to do a water change as much as possible especially if you have lots of fishes...

    someone on youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/gerardrander she has a 55 gallon and a 20 gallon long tank (both are long) and she just uses the regular 40W light for her 55 gallon and Flourish (one overflowing cap full) and she's had her amazon swords for a long time. Like since 1999. Also, she does a weekly water change too and always adds in Flourish whenever she puts in more tap water.
     
  4. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

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    Location:
    Surrey UK
    Hi Sarutobi
    Just break off the dying leaves at the base and this will promote new growth.
    You probably can, but without tank details we would only be guessing.
    When the balance between plants and fish load is correct, nature will keep your water quality good. Trust me, it works :D, but if you have lots of fish, you need healthy plants to do the recycling for you. ;) The more the merrier.
    40W over a 55 gallon still makes it a low light set up. But, as you can see from the clip, you can still grow healthy plants in a low light set up.
    If she's adding Flourish at water change, then she is feeding her plants once a week, just like me ;)
    She also states in her video clip that she changes 10 gallons at a time, less than 20% of the tank volume. People round here change at least 50% weekly. There is one person round here, mentioning no names :lol: , who will not bat an eyelid at changing 90% :wideyed:.
    Obviously, changing less than 20% instead of 50% per week will have less of an impact on the CO2 levels in her tank, therefore have less of an impact on her plants.
    Credit where it's due, her plants are in good condition.

    Chris
     
  5. Sarutobi

    Sarutobi Newly Registered

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    Thanks for replying to me Chris.

    So you are saying that 90% water change is bad for the plants? I only change about 2 gallons of water in my 29 gallon. I don't know if that is good though O_O The person at my local pet store says that you should use Flourish twice a week. So I've been doing that, although my plants are still alive. Although I don't know what I should do to prevent leaves from dieing. I introduce new plants all the time into my tank and they are usually Amazon Swords, and within a week or so the plant leaves (old large ones) start to die and then newer leaves start to grow.

    What do you mean by that?
     
  6. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Surrey UK
    Hi Sarutobi
    That's less than 10% therefore you will only be changing the CO2 levels very slightly in your tank. You will have to forgive me, but when we talk about water changes round here we automatically assume 50% minimum. ;)

    A 90% water change in a lo tech tank is a definite no no. It would certainly be bad for the plants because of the massive change in CO2 levels.
    The person who changes 90% round here has a high light tank, pressurised CO2 injection and a huge fert regime, massive difference to that of a low tech tank. As his tank has CO2 injected there will be no problem changing 90% of the water as he is maintaining relatively stable CO2 levels, regardless of how much water is changed. Can't do that on a low tech tank with no CO2 injection.

    I would imagine the change in water conditions might be causing your plants older leaves to die off, although I may be wrong on that. Imagine the plant growing away nicely in the store and you come along and rip it up and put it your tank that has probably got different GH/KH, different temperature, different lighting, different dosing regime. It's hardly surprising the older leaves give up and die. As long as you can sustain your new growth I wouldn't worry about that. :D
    I was saying you probably can get a higher wattage lamp for your tank but unless we know the size of your tank we would only be guessing. :D

    Chris
     

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