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4ft planted tank - High light

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ok well as some of you may know. Im looking to put together a 4ft heavily planted tank with Moderate to high light plants.

I know some people are saying 6,500k globes are best suited but im looking for about 3 watt per gallon and i only have a 3ft double globed reflector. So im wondering how much wattage that equals to and what kelvin rating should i be looking at?

my tank is 48inch x 14inch (wide) x 18inch and ive figured that for a 1 watt per gallon ratio i would need 50 watts or so of lighting. That would mean 25w globes but if im looking at 3 watts per gallon does that mean i will need another reflector? If my calculations are correct that means ill need 120 watts or so to gain the 3 watt per gallon.

I have no idea how high in wattage globes go to. My last tank i used 2x 18,000k t8's with no problem but that was on a 2.5fter.

Im not looking to use Co2, Just fertz and good old fish waste. Though stocking levels will be relativley low.

8 x corydora catfish

2x bristle nose

1x siamese algea eater (flying fox)

20 x neon tetra

Maybe some cherry shrimp.....

So my main form of nitrate will be what i add in manually through fertz.

Im looking to go with Anubias (low light), Java moss (low light), Java fern (low light), Madagascan lace (mod - high), Red tiger Lotus (mod - high), Ambulia. etc...

Also with the bunch plants and stem plants. Im running a bare bottom tank and am looking to keep the plants in terracotta pots layered with laterite (1cm), Peat moss (2cm) and gravel on top (4 - 5cm). Does this sound ok or will they die?

This is my first time with high lighting so im looking to get the job done with out any serious hassles.

Ive done really well with my last 3 planted tanks though they all had substrate and lowwish light.

Any tips would be great,


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just quickly, if I understand correctly there's no point having that much light and no CO2 because the plants won't be able utilise it anyway.

You will need at least another reflector to achieve 3 WPG. On my 4', which I think I bumped the thread about the other day, I have 6 x 39w daylight tubes ($8 each from electrical supply store).

There are also T8s and halides to consider.

Apart from that I'll leave it to the experts to reply.

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ah thats right Lilli. Il be using Seachem Exel for my fertz as it includes Carbon itself. Whether anyone knows if this is the same as Co2 or different.?

T8 is what i have. Halides get awefully hot do they not? My room is already 26c+ so there is no need for it to be even hotter (I gotta live in there). What is the price range for a 3-4ft Halide? If i remember correctly its a fair wack, so i guess il have to keep saving.

I do have another spare 3ft single tube reflector sitting around. If i get my hands on some 39watt globes it would make it close to 2watt per gallon. I think that should be bright enough for good growth in all of my plants.

Though does anyone think the Red Lotus would do ok? No Co2 but at 2watts per gallon which i would call moderate light and a heap of water column fertz as well as peat moss and laterite in its pot. I think it should do just fine...

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as Lilli said, no point going high light no co2.

excel is a co2 suppliement and will be expensive for a 4 foot tank.

excel does not contain any ferts (npk and trace)

halides dont have to be expensive, ones made for aquariums are but shop fitting lights are not.

And they do not produce much heat.

I have the same tank as you, same dimensions and i used 2 70 watt halides from ebay. and they give me 2.6wpg which is good enough for most things.

and besides that rule is way out dated now.

your diy substrate sounds good.

In terms of Kelvins, 6500 is best for plants, and 10000k looks best to the human eye, so most people do a mix of half and half. 10000k Is still very good for plant growth.

If im not mistaken a standard 4' t8 globe is 36 watts, so you would need a lot of them to get the desired amount. So if you dont want halides maybe T5HO, they are 54 watts each, maybe 4 of them.

here is a pic of my light set up on my tank, the tank is for cichlids but Ichose halides in case i decide to turn it into a fully planted tank in the future.


hope that helped a bit.

Edited by Peter16
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Ok thanks to all that have left info and ideas for me to think about. Ive decided 2 wpg will do for the plants im looking at trying That equals to about . Anubias and such are no hassle and are slow growing. I think with diy co2 and 2wpg in my tank i should be able to get Red tiger lotus going just fine, as will madagascan lace. Il give it a shot and let you know how it all goes.

I will put together a diy co2 set up on the week end and give it a try. I bought some Seachem Flourish today. Does anyone know if it is best to dose aloing side other products of seachem or will it be ok by itself as a primary fert?

Ive put in an order for some crypts, tiger lotus and what not at the aquarium and should have it in about a week or so. Im hoping the lotus does ok as its a fair wack of cash tolose if i stuff up stuff up. Its a learning curve i guess.

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