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What are the parameters of a "low light" Plant?

Discussion in 'Planted Aquariums' started by sumtnfishy, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. sumtnfishy

    sumtnfishy AC Members

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    Ok so I purchased my new substrate for my future plants (not looking forward to changing out the substrate) anyway in the mean time I have been educating myself on the world of plants. I have only scratched the surface I know.
    Questions:
    • Plants requiring "Low Light" Does this mean they can survive in low light and are hardy in character OR are they plants that can only tolerate low lighting?? (or maybe both)
    • What happens if a low light plant gets too much light?
    • What parameters would low light, medium/higher lighting plants need and the difference between them??Ex) Bulb type - Ks - hours a day etc
    • Is there a way to house different lighting requirement type plants together?
    • I see forums here and there all the time but I can't seem to get a good sense of what I am trying to learn.. but is there a chart or informational document on figuring out proper lighting? Like helping to figure out - hey if I have these bulbs that emits x amount of watts in this much area or degrees kelvin (For example) Just that kind of stuff.
    This is the lighting I will be experimenting with. I have....
    Currrent Orbit Marine Pro LED Roughly 12k+
    Coralife T5 Fixture with Colormax and Actinic bulbs. (Going to be changing the actinic to a 65k bulb to get more white on the spectrum)

    So I am good on lighting

    Thanks in advance for teaching me more about the world of plants!!
     
  2. fishorama

    fishorama AC Members

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    Low light plants can almost always be grown with more light. But the leaves may turn brown in spots during the transition or may have a different growth pattern, often more compact growth since they don't have to "stretch" toward the light. Some have better/different color too.

    You can try lower light plant in "part shade" of taller or floating plants (like outdoor gardening). But not in total shade or with too much root competition.

    I forget what size tank, 65g breeder? Will you be dosing Excel or have co2? More light means plants will need more ferts & maybe co2, it's a balancing act. I don't have LEDs yet so I don't know about them.
     
  3. sumtnfishy

    sumtnfishy AC Members

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    Hello fishorama! Thanks for the reply. (Just to start off real quick - what makes a tank a breeder?) It is 18" wide 24" tall and 36" Long so it is a little taller.
    I understand what you are saying. Yah how do I figure out watts per gallon when I have LED lights involved? I need to research the output on the LED fixture and my T5 Fixture.
    I will be using Seachem Flourish Excel weekly for CO2. The substrate will be Seachem Fluorite base with tiny gravel on top of it.
     
  4. dougall

    dougall ...

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    Forget Watts per Gallon :) It didn't work too well with Fluorescent lighting, and certainly doesn't when it comes to LEDs; it's the amount of light used by the fixture, not necessarily how much light is emitted, due to the efficiency of the lighting, the spectrum and the ballast/driver used. Look for peer suggestions when it comes to lighting, or look for PAR readings at different depths (when you can find them) they will show PAR readings directly below the light, then a number of inches away, so you can get a sort of idea of the lighting, and it will be dependent on depth etc.

    Color/Temperature don't really matter much when it comes to plant growth (assuming the light is visible) the kelvin rating (or spectrum or CRI) will matter more how you view the plants/tank,

    I'm not sure how the spectrum is for the LED fixture, if it's full fixture you may be OK, but use it and take a look, if you don't like the color, and assuming it's not variable, there's really little point in using it on a tank you want to look at, the T5 lighting may be lower, but may be a better spectrum of light for you to use. so everything looks better.

    Or use both, I don't think either fixture alone is going to give you the equivalent of high light, so you shouldn't need to think about adding CO2 (Excel isn't really CO2 and works in a different way)

    The biggest way to work out what you want is just to experiment, or see if you can find an example of the same setup you want. I have a 90g tank (which is about the same hight as yours I think) using a BML light fixture over it, and it probably equates to medium -> high light.
     
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  5. fishorama

    fishorama AC Members

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    A "breeder" is just different dimensions, of 36 x 18 with different height. There also "long" tanks vs "high or tall". 40g can be a breeder (36 x 18 x 12h), a long 48 x 12 x 16h or a tall 30 x 12 x 24. It just helps to know for things like lighting, there are "standard" fluorescent bulb sizes.

    I don't have a tank 24" high, only 20 but on my 48 x 18 I use 2 T-5s & can grow most low to medium light plants (no co2) As dougall said with the LEDs too your getting to the high range & might need either co2 or a "substitute" source like Excelor you may have lots of algae...or you can try a "burst" of LED light for a bright mid-day light that is only on for a couple hours, easy with timers.

    You'll need to play around with plants & light timing, say a total or 7 or 8 hours to start with. & it doesn't have to be all continuous either, you can try 3 hours in am then 4 or 5 in the evening. That can also help with algae problems I hear.
     
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  6. sumtnfishy

    sumtnfishy AC Members

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    Thanks everyone!! Yah that is funny you mention not worrying about watts. I just figured out the formula for converting LED Lumens to watts. Ahh!! crap lol
     

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