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RE: Heresy

George wrote:

>OK, True Confessions time. We really use very little actual Dupla equipment.

Oh, man. I'm more dupla than you! Well Jesus did forgive Judas<G>. I got the
lights,CO2 reactors, regulators, valves, counters, Ph meters/controllers,
cables, fertilizer(not now).

>As I read some of the posts that mention algae problems, I am boggled at the 
>amount of light being used. One gentleman wrote me and had 110 watts (CF) over a 
>20 gallon tank. Holy Over Exposure, Batman!

That's me. I am sick, kind of like driving 110 MPH instead of the safe
40MPH. I have dropped my MH pendant over my 20 gallon tank also. I read
sometime ago that algae doesn't  like large amounts of light but I think it
gets back to balance issues. How much energy you wish to have drive your
tank (MET) rate. If things are balanced you can get away with it. I must
also mentioned that the tank (the 20 gallon)has no filter, lots of CO2,
flourite, rich in nutrients(TMG,high PO4, high K+, lots of critters) but I
have been experimenting with lower (but not absent) NO3 levels. I have been
feeding more food and stopping the use of KNO3 and adding nothing but K2SO4.
Result? Better colors namely reds. It could be several things but this also
happens in my 2 watts a gallon tank also. The *potential* for algae is
greater at higher light levels IMO. I have some really nice results at 2
watts a gallon also.  Many of the SFBAAPS members have about 2-3 watts a
gal. and have awesome results. Some less(1.5 w/gal) than that.
I have two 20 gallon tanks with 110watts of PC's each, DIY yeast CO2, no
heater, flourite and a powerhead to move a small amount of water around. I
add jobes, K2SO4, TMG and do a 25% weekly water change. My tap has KH5, GH9,
PO4 of 1.12ppm. 

>1) What level of lighting do the use (Tom, Roger, Neil, Karen, Erik, 
>Diana, Charley, Jon, ... you know who you are)?

I think Neil uses less in the 2 watt/gal range or less, One of the better
gardeners around, Jeff in Oakland,  who doesn't post to the list has 2
watts/gallon. The slower growth keeps things growing slower and more
manageable for many folks. "My tank is going to peak in 11 weeks....". I
will be the first to admit stepping up to high lighting power is a jump that
many on this list have had trouble with. I started out at these levels (1.5
to 2 watts) for many years. 

I would also dare to say that the list above all started out in the 2
watt/gallon range and many stayed there(why mess with success?).

It's  a balance. Changing this balance routine that many have done for
awhile successfully can cause problems for some folks. Adding more light
tosses the system out of whack often since one needs to adjust the other two
main factors: CO2 and nutrients. Then they blame the lighting instead of
themselves (you ARE in complete control of this environment). Nutrient
deficiencies pop up faster(much less so with flourite<g>) and the dreaded
imbalances can happened. I think the big problem with adding more light is
often with adding CO2. You'll need more. Your tank will use lots.
>2) Why do many of you think "more is better"?  

This is the USA here. The Home of the SUV! We have much bigger tanks than
Europe and Japan etc. More light sounds good. It ""impresses"" folks to see
a nuke driven tank with loads of light.
Same would be said fer good old cables. Is more better?

IMHO, more is never better. More 
>is trouble. Just enough is better.  

Some of my old post talk/state often about how this red plant and that red
plant **needs** higher lighting is incorrect. I can grow the stuff at lower
lighting levels AND at higher levels.
Neil can, you can, Jeff can et al can grow things quite well, virtually
algae free long term tanks.
I cannot say "more IS" but more CAN be trouble for some. I like trouble

I think the reason I like it is I just like seeing different effects on
lighting amounts. Some grow quite different. A number of crypts look very

Many tanks will be depleted faster with higher light amount. I found out
that running a RFUG at higher levels caused some issues with a few plants. I
had all the right water column levels doing very well, CO2, light etc. They
still weren't doing well. So I added flourite and suddenly I had great
bunches of plants that once were considered (and still are) difficult. The
rest of the tank was pretty much the same. I like to push things to the
limit and then try to go a few steps beyond. Getting growth rates up and
quality plants with good color at high light amounts is fun to play with,
but I am, as you say, "sick".

Now don't you have 2 x 175 MH over some tank? Seems that would be over the 2
watt a gallon range unless you had a weird shaped tank or wanted a dark spot
on purpose or something.

One of my all time favorite tanks has a been a  20 gallon tank with 2 x 20
watt FL's over it with RFUG's. I like Tritons also. I also added a QTL
(Quartz Track lighting 3x50w) set up over it and had great success growing
about everything. 

Over all I think most folks would be fine to start with 2 watts a gallon. If
you cannot help yourself try more. There are many reasons to try more but
most folks are very happy with 2 watts a gallon. I am happy at this amount
also. I like all the lighting amounts.

If you get algae at higher lighting......... don't blame the lights.   .... 
 it's your fault, not the lights. You have complete control of the tank not
the lights. Balance the tank accordingly.
Tom Barr