View Full Version : Another Anubias Nana/Java Fern question

04-12-2010, 08:56 PM
Hi guys,
Firstly - this is my first post on these forums, and I have now been the owner of my first tank for about three weeks, so go easy on me :sconfused:

I decided a few days ago that my tank could do with some vegetation, so I went to my local aquarium shop place and asked for some advice. I'd already done a little bit of research so wasn't particularly surprised when I was offered a fairly large Anubias Nana and a Java Fern - 10 for the pair.

The guy asked me about my setup and I told him I had an Elite Style 95 starter kit - a 95 litre tank with a basic flourescent light (20w). He said that is should be fine, and if the plants start looking a bit dodgy I should invest 10 in a co2 kit.

Anyway, back to the point - I have read a general rule of thumb of about 2 watts per gallon for these kinds of plants, however, I'm a bit concerned as I only seem to have a 20w bulb for just over 20 gallons of water - 1 watt per gallon roughly.

My question - do you think my plants will survive? I appreciate they might not thrive or grow at a massive pace, but I would like them to just survive for a month or two so I can stop spending money on my tank for a few weeks!

I've been looking at new bulbs - I have a 60cm T8 style 20w, but I can' seem to be able to find a higher wattage bulb for that size and fitting. Do I need to switch to a T5 style and fork out another 30 odd for the controller? Or is there maybe a nice little hack I can use to get the plants going for a while? I also read something somewhere that the wattage itself is not the most important factor and that I could invest in a 20w bulb with a wide spectrum or something?

Probably a fairly newbie question, but I have spent so much time looking at articles I'm finding this particular subject a little bit confusing.

Thanks for the help - finding these forums very helpful in my first few weeks!

04-12-2010, 09:07 PM
those are low light plants. 1-2 watts should be fine. In particular the anubias is known for growing in shady areas. What's the spectrum on your current bulb? As long as it's somewhat plant friendly you should be okay.

04-12-2010, 11:37 PM
I've got approx 1.2 watts per gallon in my 36 gallon tank and my java keeps getting new leaves and growing.

I also try to keep the water parameters really good and complete weekly 50% water changes

04-13-2010, 11:10 AM
Thanks for the info guys.

With my setup I'm only running about 0.8 watts per gallon, still quite a lot less.

The bulb I'm currently using is this:

There is a little wavelength diagram on that page but it means nothing to me :sconfused:

What should I be looking for in a bulb? They do "Flora" variations which are meant to be used in combination with other bulbs. What exactly am I looking for in a bulb to keep my plants healthy?

I've also been looking to upgrade my lighting but am a bit confused about the options. It looks like I would need to invest in a new unit that holds two bulbs instead of one? Can anyone recommend a cheap one I can get online that will do the job?

Thanks again thumbs2:

04-13-2010, 12:40 PM
A bulb change will make little difference in overall intensity. You do need to get a new fixture. I am not familiar with web sites or brands over there but if you want just the low light plants all you reaslly need is a single bulb T-5 unit or a double bulb standard unit.

04-13-2010, 01:45 PM
i would say your lighting is ok, mite take a little while for the plants to take to there new home, if your not massivly concerend about the growth of your planrs you could just purchase a double starter unit and some bulbs high in the red and blue spectrum, arcadia do good plant bulbs.

04-13-2010, 03:06 PM
That's great - thanks again for the info guys.

Final question - and this is probably neither here nor there but are there anything I need to consider with regards to getting a T5 or T8 setup?

I am looking at the following two setups at my lfs:
t8 - http://www.seapets.co.uk/products/aquarium-supplies/fish-tank-equipment/aquarium-lighting/fluorescent-tube-control-units/glomat-2-double-tube-light-starter-unit-40w.html

t5 - http://www.seapets.co.uk/products/aquarium-supplies/fish-tank-equipment/aquarium-lighting/fluorescent-tube-control-units/glo-t5-electronic-double-ballast-2-x-24w.html

I was thinking of getting the 2x24w T5 unit to give me a nice round 2 watts per gallon, although I'm concerned that my lighting may already be adequate for a couple of low light plants and this will just introduce algae growth?

Are there any difference in running costs between the two bulb types?

Thanks again for all the info thumbs2:

Plant Man
04-16-2010, 01:21 PM
Do these units fit inside your current tank fixture?

If they do, I'd go with the T-5 unit for sure!

This here works for me really well,

You could make a DIY Co2 system.


Buy youself a small power head like this one,


Have the Co2 go into the powerhead like this.


Your plants will "most likely" go nuts. Do 15-40% water changes (depending on whatever Nitrate readings your getting) every week and I think you'd have great plant growth.

You have to experiment with how much or how little water to change depending and Nitrate readings from a test kit.

04-16-2010, 02:29 PM
In bulbs what you want to look for is the Kelvin rating, this is measured in degrees. Plants want light in the 6000k-7000k range. Most plant bulbs are in the 6200k-6500k range with a few bulbs dipping into the 5000k range. The bulb you have is a Full Spectrum so it should cover your needs although I do agree it is on the low end as far as wattage.

Anubias and Java Ferns are low light plants and should do fine with your current bulb. They won't grow like mad but it should sustain them fairly well.

A planted tank is a balancing act. Too much light, not enough CO2 and you get algae. Too many nutrients, not enough CO2 and you get algae... and so on.

I would advise putting your lights on a timer. Start out with about 10 hours on per day. If you start getting algae back off on the time an hour or so. If you don't have any issues you might want to add an hour or two.


EDIT: Java Moss is an easy plant, low light, hardy, and can be attached to wood and rock. Do not 'plant' but attach with nylon thread or fishing line.