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Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. Default Resurrecting a failing planted tank

    0 Not allowed!
    Hi folks. Just looking for a few opinions here. I had a thriving 55g planted tank using a Glo T5 fixture with two 54w tubes and an active CO2 system. I successfully grew dwarf sag and a variety of crypts in the foreground, anubias and java ferns in the mid-ground, and various stem plants in the background. Over time, I was able to find the plants that best worked for the level of lighting and CO2 that I had, and struck about as close to a perfect balance as I could.

    Problem was I had that tank in addition to a 10g planted tank and a 75g tank. After the birth of my son, I just didn't have the time for three tanks, so I broke down the 55, which was the most demanding. My goal was to move the less-demanding plants to my 75g, increase the lighting in there and transfer the active CO2 system as well. It just hasn't gone well. I'm only growing crypts, java ferns and anubias, but it's been quite a while now...I'd say five or so months (I knew the plants would need time to get re-acclimated) and everything looks pretty bad. Part of the reason, I think, is that some of the lights I used are pretty old and need bulbs replaced. I have a 65w compact fluorescent from an old 30g planted tank I had, the twin 54w T5 setup from the 55g, and a single Glo T5, 54w fixture in addition. Seems like more than enough light if I replace the bulbs and get them back to full power.

    Thing is, I was thinking of maybe switching to an LED fixture or two instead of all those other high-powered lights. I saw an archived article here on LEDs that was full of info, if a bit over my head to be honest. I guess my question after all of that there a good LED fixture I can use for a 75g planted aquarium growing anubias, java ferns and crypts? I know those plants can survive and even grow some in lower-light environments, but honestly I like the way they look and grow under higher-light conditions. I'm really just not sure what to do. LEDs seem like a whole other world to me, where watts per gallon no longer apply. I'm guessing the Marineland LEDs sold in Petsmart wouldn't cut it? Is there a certain brand/model I should be looking at? Any tips would be appreciated!

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    How about a few pictures? Are you sure light's the problem?

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    If I'm reading correctly, the only plants in the tank now are Anubias, crypts and Java Fern. These are low light plants. Hard to say without a photo, but you may have too much light (without the balance of CO2 and nutrients).

    I'm still using T8 fluorescent lighting, because I understand it, and can achieve the exact level of light intensity to balance my nutrients for the plants I have. I tried T5 HO for a week and took it back; the fish were about to ask me for sunglasses. LED is something I plant on trying next, on my 33g which is easier to light. If I were to acquire a 4-foot 55g, I would either get a dual-tube T8 fixture and use two 48-inch T8 6500K tubes, or a single T5 with a 48-inch 6500K HO tube.


  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    I just purchased the Marineland Aquatic Plant fixture, but I haven't taken it out of the box yet so can't really advise you...just throwing it out there that its IS the decision I made. The fixture I purchased is on sale now at DrFosterSmith's.
    I have an LED fixture over my reef tank, so I felt pretty good about making the change to LEDs for my upcoming planted tank, too.

  5. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by talldutchie View Post
    How about a few pictures? Are you sure light's the problem?
    Not sure if I did that right with the pictures, but hopefully it works. If so, the first two are what they looked like in the old 55 setup. The last three are what they look like now. I'm not certain it's the light, but everything else about the setups is similar...same CO2 system (cranked up slightly higher since the tank's bigger) and root tabs for the crypts and areas where the anubias roots dug into the substrate.

    As for the lighting, initially I had only the dual T-5 setup I used on the 55. After about two months, with no growth at all and the existing growth fading, I added the other single T-5 fixture, and about two weeks after that I dug out the compact fluorescent and it's been like that since. Things haven't really deteriorated much further since I added the extra light, but they haven't improved either. Once in a while I'll see oxygen bubbles from the anubias, which I didn't see before adding the extra light...really they hadn't done that since they were in the 55 when they would do that often and flower quite a bit, so I guess it's a better sign.

    The bulbs in all three fixtures are pretty old, so I think if I replaced them all, I might have some better luck and maybe even be able to retire the single T-5 fixture. But I was thinking if there are some good LED fixtures out there for a 75, I might want to take the plunge with that and not bother replacing all the bulbs.

    photo (1).jpgphoto (15) 1.jpgphoto (16).jpgphoto (17).jpgphoto (20).jpg

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    When was the last time you changed bulbs? If all else is the same, then your bulbs are too old and they're giving off an unbalanced spectrum for the plants.

    Try this for LED:
    Last edited by Spardas; 08-25-2013 at 04:25 AM.
    Think with logic and rationality more than emotion. Act with moderation and consideration. Contemplate ideals and realistic goals and weigh out possibilities and options. Temper not with personal delusions or false hope but learn to accept and move on.

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    I see holes, I see algae, I see bad nutrition. What are you feeding those plants?

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    Yes, I think the nutrients are lacking. No mention is made of what is being added except for root tabs, and these are insufficient (at least here they are). Plants take up some nutrients solely or primarily through the leaves (potassium, oxygen, carbon, some others), and others via the roots. Substrate tabs only feed roots, as the nutrients do not (according to the manufacturers) leech into the water column.

    The first fertilizer to add is always a liquid as this can satisfy all requirements (if it is comprehensive). The nutrients from fish foods may not be sufficient, especially as you have high light and CO2. Root (substrate tabs) fertilization will then benefit some plants, such as the heavy feeding swords, crypts, aponogeton, Vallisneriaia, etc, but are a waste with the slow-growers like Anubias and Java Fern. These simply cannot take up nutrients fast enough to gain any benefit.

    I also see some algae forming on the Anubias and Java Fern, and that is usually due to too much light intensity. Even with CO2 being added, and with increased nutrients, two T5 HO tubes are all you need over a 55g assuming the tubes are 48-inch and between 6000K and 7000K.

    Last edited by Byron; 08-25-2013 at 03:32 PM.

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