View Full Version : Calling all plant experts....Please weigh in?

06-23-2010, 12:36 AM
I am working on a plant/Lighting article for my blog. Typically I would just research the issue then weigh it against my own experiences. However with plants and lighting I have a problem...I'm a noob...lol It has been so long since I have kept plants and even then it was just the basics. So you can see my problem. As I evaluate the research I have no litmus to match it against except common sense and the authors "opinions". Here is what I'm looking for. I need any general rules or guide's ("Rule of thumb" - ever since I learned where that phrase comes from I don't like it...lol) that you may follow and whenever possible please provide any links you may have to support your guide. It is really a very light treatment of the topic, I am just working on a list of the best guides for now. So any constructive information you may have on general guides you may like or follow regarding lighting (Lumens) and plants is most welcome and appreciated. Hopefully we will all be rewarded with yet another good link to help others get started down the road to a successful planted aquarium. Also feel free as always to comment on the guides others may post however please keep it constructive and respectful.


06-23-2010, 01:44 AM

06-23-2010, 01:49 AM
I think one thing important I've learned is that the whole WPG is nearly useless unless you are dealing with T8 or T12 bulbs.

If you have T5 or T5HO the normal WPG chart is completely useless.

Another thing, CO2 is your best friend.

06-23-2010, 03:06 AM
Thanx guys:22: . Keep em commong plzthumbs2:

06-23-2010, 01:53 PM
IMO there are no tried and true rules for plants. From my experience if someone is looking to get into a planted tank their best bet is to go to an online forum or store and get a mix pack. Find out what plants grow best for you in your tank conditions. Since all tanks are a little different the plants that work well for one person might not work well for someone else.

Lighting can be hit or miss. Generally speaking the more light you can get the better. If you're stuck with a standard single florescent bulb however I would highly suggest getting a 10000K bulb as they are the brightest and tend to produce the widest light spectrum.

Media for the plants is also hit or miss. Some people swear by Eco-complete or other plant specific mixes. I've used standard aquarium gravel for ALL my tanks and they looked like jungles.

CO2 and ferts are optional components that can be added to a tank as well. CO2 can be added with a straight CO2 tank and regulator or via a yeast/sugar setup. The yeast/sugar setup is easier but sometimes less reliable. Now a days LOTS of ferts are available for different plant types and colors.

Keep in mind that with plants a LOT of this is subjective. I've had more than a dozen planted tanks using standard aquarium gravel, a single bulb standard florescent hood, no ferts and no CO2 that look like a jungle.

06-23-2010, 05:40 PM
I've done a lot of searching on the subject and find many different opinions. I agree with DrNic that every tank is going to be different.

I think a lot depends on the Ph, the light source, type of light, and how heavily stocked your tank is. Unless I misunderstood, nitrates are good for plants so allowing your nitrates to reach 30-40 may be better than someone who like to keep them around 5-10.
Most things I've read lead me to think the substrate can be a factor, but maybe people who use the "better" substrates, also put more time and money into the other aspects of the planted aquarium. So the actual impact may be minimal.

One thing I see a lot discussed is the watts per gallon. But not much on what is defined as "low light" "med light" and high. While there may be some truth to this, I would tend to think that water depth would be more of a factor. Especially for shorter plants. For example: 2 watts per gallon on a tank that's 24 inches deep may not work as well as 2 watts per gallon on a tank that's only 12 inches deep. Just my opinion. (no scientific data to back this up)

I was thinking of setting up my 10 Gal to experiment with some of the same plants I have in my 36 Gal. Using the same substrate, water parameters should be very similar, same ferts, and close to the same watts/Gal. Only difference would be type of light, depth of water, and stocking. It will be a few months before I'll be able to do this, but I'll post a journal when I do.

Looking forward to see what you find out.