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Basic Light Wave Length Concept and Plants

Discussion in 'Planted Aquariums' started by sumtnfishy, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. sumtnfishy

    sumtnfishy AC Members

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    Thank you for stopping and reading my discussion/questions forum on Plants and Lighting
    My hope is that we can identify and clarify basic plant and lighting information and that others may gain from this forum. :):):):):)

    I will tell you I am complete beginner with plants. I currently am a proud plant parent of 3.
    So here am. I have a Current Marine Orbit LED light bar (I can adjust blue and white light intensity by the 1%) I also have a Coral life T5 Dual Fixture with color max and actinic bulbs (I can swap those out anytime) and a Aqueon LED light bar.
    All this fun stuff but how do I orchestrate all this? I have been reading and reading trying to decipher a good way to understand the difference between the needs of low light and high tech plants. I mean what does that REALLY mean in applicable terms?
    I have asked about watts/gal I have asked about measuring the intensity of LED and what that looks like for both types of plants etc etc... still not clear to me.. I know there are many of "me" sitting there wondering the same thing. I am sure they have done what I have done surfing dozens of forums looking for a different way to approach it.

    Before entering the wide world of plants this is my understanding of light waves. Yes primitive but I am trying to apply new knowledge to my basic knowledge of light so there is some common sense in some of this.
    So purple and blue wavelength bands of light travel the fastest and are the most intense as their amplitude or strength and are the most powerful.
    and the reddish wavelengths are the longest and travel more slowly delivering a more sustained and lower level of energy.

    So how does all this apply to plants?
    Can we apply all the science and mathematical equations for measuring light to the basic concepts and foundation of what light waves are? (mentioned above)

    I am sitting here looking at all the ways to manipulate LED blue / white balance and intensity and having multiple T5 bulbs to choose from. I can use the fixtures alone or together. So many wonderful combinations but still not guided by proper understanding.

    So lets use my set up for discussion - I feel many people may have something similar
    65 gal that is 24" Tall (proper substrate) I don't need to get into that at this time - water quality and params great etc (Lets stick to the specific topic of light waves and plants) ;)
    Anubias Nana
    Anubias sp
    Anubias Congensis
    Then the 3 light sources I mentioned.

    Are there are any equations or ways to measure lighting in a tank based on a T5 and/or LED set up
    in accordance to what bracket that would be - high tech or low light?

    One last piece to this. Helpful things to watch for if a plant is getting too much light or not enough light (yes I know there are many variables but just a basic visual - to indicate a possible lighting issue. Something General

    Tools and basic concepts are needed according to what I have written above so that I may continue to figure and learn my lighting on my own. So as much as I love and will learn sometime, please refrain from too much depth. I Thanks so so much for reading this long forum post. I really hope it will help others!!! :cool:
  2. Bunsen Honeydew

    Bunsen Honeydew AC Members

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    First the technical stuff (because I am a scientist and I have to), red and blue light travel at the same speed, it is the energy that differs, and in the way you described.

    Am I correct that you are running a low tech setup? (No CO2 injection) If so, that means that your limiting factor on plant growth is going to be CO2, and you will have to balance against that with light. The Marine Orbit LED is designed for Marine applications, so it is heavy on the blue end of the spectrum, and light on the red, but you may be able to adjust that some. I'd put plant bulbs in the T5. Basically you will want to adjust your photoperiod to keep the algae growth down. It's a balancing act, and more light is not necessarily a good thing in a low tech tank, because without CO2, algae can outcompete the plants.
    fishorama likes this.

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