It's been awesome getting input from you all for my 10 gallon tank. I am still gathering information on what to buy when I go to the petstore in a few weeks. I am certain that I want live plants in my setup. I hope anyone who grows plants will answer a few questions I have.
First, if I want to grow java fern, dwarf hairgrass, and dwarf anubias all in the same tank (research says all require low light), what total amount of watts should the lights be? I believe the maximum wattage for each of the two bulb sockets in my hood is 15W. I am going to by two 6500K CFL bulbs, but am unsure about how many watts I will need to grow those plants.
Second, if I move my aquarium twice a year (at the beginning and the end of summer), will it negatively impact my plants? I plan on keeping the substrate and a tiny amount of water in the tank while moving it.
I've tried 4 different lighting setups in the 4 months I've been doing this.
I received an incandescent hood combo with the 10 gallon. Those bulbs are terrible. They hardly illuminate, they hold little to no color spectrum, and after amonth, their brightness was near completely dead. They were not designed for longevity in use.
I tried a T8 Fluorescent bulb enclosure immediatley after. This enclosure was 20 yeras old, so it didn't have as much lumen strength as it did when I first purchased it.
I then went back to the Incandescent setup, and switched out the bulbs for a 9 dollar pair of GE 15 Watt Mini T3 Daylight CFL. These things have been AMAZING.
All the terrible black spots that were present on my java fern for months prior are gone.
My redludwigia has shot up iin one week to twice its density in leaves and additional foliage. My apongenton in the back of the aquarium is really starting to thicken as well.
I highly recommend these little CFL bulbs. They are amazing, and they're only 15 watts!
Thanks so much for your help, Tigris. I am definitely getting CFL bulbs. I have another noob question. I read online that CO2 injection is not completely necessary if I have enough dissolved CO2 in my water to begin with, but I still am curious about whether I need to make an injector or not. I don't think I have enough money to buy fertilizer, so only using CO2 may make no difference. Or it might make a lot of difference. I don't really know.
What do you do with your setup?
Ah, and noob question 2:
How long would I keep the lights on in the tank? This is arbitrary, I know. But a general range based on personal experience would help a lot. I want the plants to be happy and my betta to be happy as well.
I'm pretty new to plants my self - but I would say no more than 6-7 hrs of light or you'll have algae.
It also depends on how much other light is in the room. Is the tank near a window?
About the CO2 - I use Excel - I didn't want to deal w/ DIY & I have a 6 Eclipse tank so not a lot of room.
I hear where you're coming from. Here's what I think: a little algae is a GOOD THING! "What did he just say?", you might find yourself uttering! But it's true, to an extent! Algae means you have nutrients, CO2, and light in sufficient amounts to support plant life. Once it shows up, it's good to clean it off the front of the aquarium and adjust your light and nitrate issues.
In terms of CO2, I wouldn't be all that concerned about it, nor with ferts and such. Those plants don't require too much of it. It's the plants who need a large amount of light that tend to need more CO2, in my experience. Not that adding it won't help, just that it isn't necessary in order to be successful.
Oh, good thing those plants won't really need CO2. It works out perfectly then! Thanks Mister Sparkle.
zoragen, I am not sure where the tank will be sitting or how close to the window it will be. It's going to be in a small dorm room, so it's going to be close to the window anyway, but not directly in front of it for sure.
I might have to look into fertilizers. Since I have a while until I get the fish (must go through cycling and such), I might follow your suggestions and get some fluorite. I'm really excited to get this thing started. Just have to wait until school is over! :)