Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:06 am Post subject: My Experiences with Aquarium Lighting for planted tank
I will describe about my experiences about the light on my planted aquarium with simple and inexpensive light units avilable in the market in the days to come. Adiing two snaps here.
Last edited by Ravinder on Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:03 pm Post subject: Re: My Experiences with Aquarium Lighting for planted tank
I am extremely sorry for the delay in this post.
I am a Civil Engineer by profession. Electronics fascinate me and doing some things in it comes in my hobbies. And I love Physics.
I kept an Aquarium at the age of 10, when I was in Dehra Dun (Uttarakhand). I used to collect fishes in rainy season from a non-perennial river called "Bindal" at that time; That River is vanished now and has become a Nalah carrying the sewage of the town. After many years after I got stable and got established in Jaipur, I was again inspired to start this hobby in 2006 by one of my expert “gardener and aquarist” friend “Aseem Sharma", when I got an opportunity to see his beautiful Aquariums in Kota, Rajasthan.
I have one 24”X12”X15” planted tank and two small tanks of 15”X9”X12” (one of them is planted).
I wanted and tried to pursue this hobby with as minimum expenditure as possible, and I worked on arrangement of LED Lights and use of PMDD fertilizers and found them quite useful. My other objective is to increase the chances of survival of fish. I have a community tank with Blue Gauramies, Dwarf Gaurami, Angels, Coridoras, Kribensis, Pleco, Zebra danio and Black Skirted Tetras (It is over stocked). I witnessed breeding of Kribensis recently in my planted Aquarium and it gave me an immense pleasure. . My plants are in the pots and I am free to displace them vertically or horizontally as required, sometimes slightly closer to the water surface or deeper. I have three types of Cryptocorenes and one Amazon Sword in different pots. When I potted Amazon Sword last time I used some garden soil (1”) in the pot at its base, used some vermiculite over it and topped it with grit, it is growing vigorously (One leaf per week), and at present I am completely free from the algae for the first time. I am also feeding the fertilisers prepared at home, and not using Co2 as yet
At present I am using about 34 Watts of light on my 80 litre tank with 0.23 sqm of surface area, and my plants are growing successfully.
I am using this combination at present:
1) 1 No. T5 Fluorescent Tube, Warm Day Light, 24" long, 10Watts
2) 4 No. 30 LED Local Lamps, RED, Directing vertically downwards over Water about 4" apart, 4X3=12 Watts
3) 2 No. 3LED Luxeon lamps, Blue, Directing Horizontally (They are quite bright), 2X3=6Watts
4) 1 No. 50LED White Lamp, Directing vertically downwards over Water, 1X6= 6 Watts
As per my present knowledge Fl. Light, CFLs and White LEDs do have some light of Blue and Red Spectrum Which is desirable for plants (Photo-synthetically Active Radiation) but they also have some undesirable light of Green and Yellow spectrum for which human eye is more sensitive and it is required to visualise the things in a better way. My canopy is of Wooden Board with white sun mica inside so I could fix required number of holders to place these lights. These lights are about 25 cm above water level, and I use metallic films over glass outside between water surface and canopy (I call it “skirting” for my use) to reduce the loss of light by reflection over the water surface (Water surface is reflective as a mirror. It is said once the light is entered in the water column it travels in water similar to the travel of light in the optical fibre and the losses are quite nominal.)
I fixed a few holders as I mentioned in my wooden canopy and used Red and Blue Indian and Chinese LED light units in my canopy along with a T5 Warm day light Tube. The use of T5 suppresses the unwanted shades due to LEDs, it requires less space, is cheap and is useful for human eye to enjoy the aquarium and provides some of least required, missing spectrum and a small amount of UV possibly to the plants, whereas the Red and Blue light constitute the PAR (Photo-synthetically Active Radiation) light for the plants. The blue LED lights are less in number but are brighter ones and they are kept facing horizontally for the fact that the blue light is least absorbed and can penetrate deeper in the water (even after reflection over white sun-mica of canopy). The red LED units are more in number and of less power (I could not get them in high power as yet), they are directionally vertical facing downwards (Red spectrum is absorbed more in air and in water and converts to heat to some extent and cannot penetrate deeper), they are about 4” apart with a spread of about 45 Degrees. I am using about 34Watts on my 76.2X30.48X35 cm Planted tank successfully in place of about 60Watts (As per 2.5 Watts per Gallon). As per my crude calculation it provides about 2727 LUX at surface level and about 1922 LUX at plant level (I have not measured it as yet, It is a calculated estimate and there may be variations), and this level is Very Bright Light. Usually it is said that Red (2/3) should be more than Blue light (1/3) for the plants, but more blue is pleasing to visualise.
Light is light whether it is from a good company bulb or from a Chinese bulb the only difference is in their specifications and durability and my experience is, that there are some durable Chinese light units also.
My experiment seems to be successful and my plants are growing better than ever with about half of the power consumption. This setup does not need any external driver circuit; each unit has its own driver in it. It works nicely and is very flexible; you can change the things for better options. The only drawback is that it cannot be dimmed. I use a timer to on and off the lights.
Last edited by Ravinder on Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:45 am; edited 2 times in total
Joined: Jun 11, 2008 Posts: 3504 Location: Mumbai, Bharat (AKA...INDIA)
Posted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:10 pm Post subject: Re: My Experiences with Aquarium Lighting for planted tank
THIS IS FANTASTIC- .
I have learnt the exact need of coloured lights today. I have been asking many time why people use coloured lights, but I always got mixed answers. Somehow could not put faith on it. I knew that 1 day IAH will show me the right way.
We Indians have it in us , believe it or not, only that we have to expose ourselves and ignore the criticism.
THANK YOU SIR for sharing of correct knowledge. Its the most humble approach, but so accurate and worth while.
Once in 3 years a genius on IAH ALWAYS DOES COME- and gives good knowledge.
Thats why I have only registered at TPT other than IAH last week.
Please continue your project and hope you can show us 1 for a 5 ft tank.
Posted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:29 am Post subject: Re: My Experiences with Aquarium Lighting for planted tank
I had reduced the light without any harm to my plants. Now I have only T5 light and 2 Blue LEDs on the side, as I wanted to reduce the growth rate of the plants, I incresed the depth of Amazon Sword and reduced the depth of my Cryptocorene to alter their rate of growth and it gave me good results.
I have also reduced 4 of my biggest fishes, The Blue Gauramies (3 Nos.) and Pleco (1 No.) to reduce the risk factor in my Aquarium. You can see my plants in attached snaps and give me your expert comment please.
Joined: Oct 09, 2011 Posts: 1854 Location: hebbal,banglore
Posted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:51 pm Post subject: Re: My Experiences with Aquarium Lighting for planted tank
Ravinder nice one sir.
Can you put some High light plants like HC or glosso. Since Now I see only crypts and amazon swords in the tank which needs very less light. So it will be better if the experiment is with plants which like moderate to high light.
Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:41 pm Post subject: Re: My Experiences with Aquarium Lighting for planted tank
I do not opt for high light plants because one have to increase fertiliser and Co2 along with High lights. My motive as I explained earlier is to persue the hobby with minimum possible resources.
At least I have not opted that as yet, but most of the people in the hobby tend to be towards that side so their experiences will be usefull. I personaly enjoy the slow but healthy growth of plants and I am striving for that.
Thank You for the suggestion.
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