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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I a very informative post earlier today and it seems to be gone? Anyway I asked a couple days ago what would be better for lighting T5 or LED.
Thanks to all who helped out as this is my first time diving into a planted freshwater setup, and I have decided to go with T5'S :)
Now I am wondering, exactly how much lighting will I need do my tank, what bulbs, watts ect? I currently have a 48" Aquaticlife dual, with one 6500, and one 10kk bulb. My newly purchased tank, is a 144 gallon half circle. Its 5 feet long, and 2 and half feet deep (30 inches). What would be a sufficient lighting system for me setup.
I wont be using CO2, so i am not sure if the current system is enough lighting to penetrate that far down? Do I upgrade to a 4 tube system?
I will be planting easy to med to grow plants, and I also seen people saying to use a flourite gravel, which I am open to. Hoping my fellow hobbyist can lend a hand.
Any and all help is greatly appreciated and will leave feedback for any assistance.

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30 inches is pretty high. on my 90 gallon which is 24 high I have dual t5ho and I can grow stuff pretty easy. But that extra 6 inches you have might make a huge difference. Depending on your plants, the dual t5ho might be enough, but you might also have to double it if you have plants that need more light. With 4 bulbs, I would recommend co2 most likely or at least a shorter on time.

I personally use 6500 k bulbs only, you might get extra algae using 1 10 k bulb.

Your tank description sounds very interesting, would love to see a pic.

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Just to Clarify are you using T5HO or just T5 there is a major difference in amount on light the T5HO will provide?

Also try to narrow the plants down that you wish to grow. You may not need overkill equipment if you are happy with easy growers or plants that require little light. Off the top of my head I am thinking Java Fern, Amazon Swords, Anubias

Also a great reflector is very important as it can nearly equal an extra bulb compared to one without a reflector. You have a deep tank and there really is no way around getting the light to the bottom. You will need more than a tank with the same footprint (length and width) that is shorter in height.

What it all comes down to is what plants you intend to grow? Your equipments weakest link (light, co2, substrate, ferts will dictate this).

Seachem fluorite is good substrate I have grown many types of crypts and swords with this. Infact it even gets better with age (CEC cation exchange as it kind of acts like a magnet and sucks up nurtrients). It is heavier than the organic based substrate so easier to plant in than the lighter organics. It is also easier to vaccuum. Something to consider is that it compacts easier which generally plants dont like so you may have to break it up from time to time.

I even still use some fluorite red in my current bottom layer of substrate and on top I use ADA amazonia and Fluval Stratum with peat granules.

I have used my exact same set up; High Lights 4 x 39 T5HO and Co2 on 65 Gallon - 4 ft length) Tank and root tabs and liquid ferts with seachem and not been able to grow some of the plants I wanted to like Syng Belem, Tonina Fluivitalis Ludwigia Cuba erios etc. Once I swicthed to a more organic based substrate like Peat/ADA amazonia/Fluval Stratum plants grew like crazy. SUbstrate is important it was my limiting factor.

However you can make your own substrate using online recipes using re mineralized soil, or using Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil. These may be messier and take time and effort to prepare over the substrates being commercialized but cost is cheaper.

ADA amazonia is one of the best substrates for growing most aquarium plants its full of nutrients but needs to be cycled for about 2 months before adding fish due to an initial ammonia cycle. Plants can be added right away as the ammonia cycly does not appear to affect them.

Fluval Stratum does not need to be cycled but does not have many nutrients in it so fert tabs should be used. There are other organic based substrates available but I have not used them. Some of the ones I can think of now are Activ-Flora (similar to seachem), Eco Complete, Akadema, UP, are some of the substrates people are using these days

One of the pros of the organic based over others substrate is its ability to buffer ph, bring it lower, to where some plants like it. Generally Toronto area water is hard with a PH of 7 plus so the substrate will bring the PH down a little. By the way some people will even use reverse osmosis water to reduce the hardness of the water.

I know you say that you will not be using C02 set up but you may change your mind in the future. You can always try without co2 and then DIY Co2 yeast bottle later and see if you notice any difference. Also look up Seachem Excel Liquid Co2/or Metricide as an alternative you may wish to try this as well.

This may seem like alot of info, more is not always better, start small and work your way up. You could have an amazing strong light with no Co2 and algae galore or you could have a smaller light no Co2, plants that grow slowly but no algae. Try to achieve a well balanced aquarium. One with fish, plant growth and no algae, and remember your water changes they are still necessary.

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happily, aquaticlife is a good fixture with nice reflectors. With that system and 2 T5HO bulbs you should have what would be considered medium lighting. I highly recommend the following link, which is a bit detailed bu the charts are really helpful:

Without CO2, I think using a 4-bulb system is a very bad idea. You will likely experience algae without CO2 and ferts if you have such high lighting. I think for your plants, you are on the right track.

Personally I use play sant with a bit of laterite, and fert tabs as needed, and it works quite well for me. If you have plants that are heavy root feeders, the high quality soil can be helpful, but for many plants the benefit does not equal the cost, IMO.

: )

happy planting!
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