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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
sorry if its a bit long winded, heres my setup:

i went to ipu in richmond yesterday and seachem red fluorite is all they recommended for a planted tank so i picked up a bag of this for my 10gallon planted pleco tank with 3 little 1.5 inch l 144s
i asked if they still do a 15% discount for bcaquaria members and they said no because they have their own forum now?? oh well.

the aqueon 10g starter kit lights are weaksauce so they also recommended i get a 13W Compact fluorescent uv 2.0 which is a light for reptiles with a good spectrum for growing plants they said, i just have that on the one side cuz its like 5x brighter than the regular lights.

after rinsing the red fluorite for a good hour with a hose, rinsing then pouring off all the mud, repeat...
then finally got it upstairs put it in a little strainer and did further rinsing in the sink (didnt wanna clog it so i did the majority outside)

i took out 75% of the water added the fluorite, weighted down a piece of manzanite from aprils, and threw in a sword fern, java fern, and some foreground plant Hemianthus callitrichoides “Cuba”. (to add this i cut off the bottom 3/4 of the foam stuff it came in that the roots hadnt gotten to yet, and then gently planted it, i hope it spreads fast) and added 1/4 of a cap of seachem flourish after filling back up to the top. (found an amano shrimp in the hob filter while moving the tank, the cichlids appreciated him)

ive never done a planted tank before, does this sound like its going to work well? once the driftwood is self sinking i plan to attach the java fern to it.
 

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I don't know about the UV light, but 13 w should be fine on a 10 gallon to grow low light plants. Flourite is a good substrate for planted tanks, but as you found, it's dusty and a lot of people choose to use substrate which doesn't require cleaning first, like Florabase, Eco-complete or ADA. Nothing wrong with it though, as plenty of people have grown great planted tanks with them. It doesn't sound like your tank is going to have any high light plants which are root feeders anyway, so whether you chose Flourite or just gravel at this point is almost moot.

As for the Flourish, it's a trace, so it's perfectly suited for low light plants. You may have wanted to put this in the plant section rather than the general chat.

Also, you PM'd me as to whether it'll be a good environment for plecos. For L144's the 10 gallon will eventually be too small, but for now it'll be fine. The Flourite is a bit more angular than is ideal for catfish, but many people use it without problems. I probably wouldn't use it for Cories though, but since you have bristlenose, it'll be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
thanks for the tips
i was worried a second bulb might be too bright but it doesnt sound like it so mebbe il get another.
too much light wont tick off the plecos will it? will it be bad for the java fern? supposedly these lights put out as many lumens as a normal 40 or 60 watt bulb.
btw i plan to move them over to my 37g cichlid tank once theyre bigger right now i want them left alone though.
 

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I had 27 w of Power Compact on my 10 gallon. But I had to dose Excel and other ferts. If you're happy with the lighting, leave it alone. Java fern will grow in low light, and will explode in growth in high light/CO2.

Plecos will want it shady, but that's what wood/plants are for.

Whenever you read recommended light ratings, they are generally meaning fluorescent, not incandescent, so don't believe horse hooey about 4x or 6x the light. They mean nothing to planted tanks. Watts are watts and unless you're going with Metal Halides or HO t5's, I wouldn't worry about it much.
 

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Whenever you read recommended light ratings, they are generally meaning fluorescent, not incandescent, so don't believe horse hooey about 4x or 6x the light. They mean nothing to planted tanks. Watts are watts and unless you're going with Metal Halides or HO t5's, I wouldn't worry about it much.
That's something I don't get.... does the lumens on incandescents and florescents (and for that matter LED's and other light sources) not matter? Is it all purely Watts, or is there another comparable unit? i.e. how do you compare lights (with apples to apples units).

The reason I ask is because I hear about 'optimum watts per gallons'. But isn't this entirely dependant on the type of lighting?
 

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It is dependent on the type of lighting, but most people create those rules of thumb based on compact flourescents and T5's. Lumens is one measure, but plants "see" in PAR, so that's a much more important measurement than lumens, as plants can utilize spectra that is not visible to the human eye.
 

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watts per gallon were based off of t8 flourescents, for medium sized aquariums. PAR is definately the only way to get accurate results for our hobby. but the meters are expensive. even for the probe with a digital multimeter it is expensive.

for twister cfls: planted tank post this is probably still the best write up i've seen on lighting, it goes well beyond a simple chart, if only more have done this with other lighting sources
 

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The whole watts for gallon is a rule of thumb for tanks between 20 and 75 gallons and not deeper than 18" or so, before the newer lighting and fancy reflectors and PAR meters. Reflectors, decor, t12, 18, 15, HO, MH, plus the brand of light all affect the outcome. But realistically, you can tell what you need by looking at the plants. And most people use way too much light for what the plants need. If you surf around the planted forums, you'll see that the amount of light used is inversely related to the experience of the hobbyist, as a general rule of thumb. There are the few exceptions of guys who have 20 years experience using a gajillion watts of light and pruning 3 times a week, but those are the oddball cases.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
i ended up returning the reptile bulb and getting 2x 15watt lifeglo compact fluorescents
 

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if you notice a lot of algae growth, you have an option to go even smaller to 2 x 9 Watt bulbs. Generally speaking 6500k (cool white) bulbs will do great, as they really bring out the colours of the fish and the plants without hindering your plant growth. Im only saying this because sometimes the kit hoods are close to the water surface so burns the plants near the surface.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
yea we'll see how it goes, i think the only thing that might burn are the tips of java fern and sword fern, if so can i just snip the tip off or do i gotta snip off the whole leaf?
 
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