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RE: Lighting intesity

>Can another non-expert weigh in here? I think Wayne Jones has 
>made the most important comment on this subject - that you can't 
>just flatly state that you can grow any plant, or any bright red plant 
>(sorry Tom Barr), with 1.5 or 2 watts per gallon, without qualifying 
>exactly what the lighting conditions are.

Well **within reason** one can:)........ dat better? If you have a super
deep tank, well what do you expect?

 Tank height and size, 
>water surface clarity, reflector, ballast, bulb type and age all come 
>into play. 

Well the same could said for other things too:). Like CO2 and nutrients.
Light is just one thing effecting color. Balance -balance -balance. If you
take things to extremes well....  Got questions about those? Ask. Balance
your tank is all I'm saying. You can achieve a nice tank without 4 watts a
gallon etc. 

Thus, when Tom says he can grow any red plant in low 
>light and it ain't da light, I have to ask, what exactly are your low 
>light conditions? They may truly equal much more than low light. 

I think I said "most" not "any" plant. If I did not, I meant to say "most"
Well how about a basic tank? Say 20 inch max depth, clear water
surface,reflector, 1 year old bulbs(many are even older), lets just say FL's
shoplights. I think the rule may be pushing it for a 24+ inch deep tank
 Ballast type? Well I never have really considered this as a "real" factor
effecting color in red plants myself:). It may help a little more light but
not enough to make a difference
here IMO. The biggest one would be water depth as a factor. Neil Frank has a
135 and a 70 gallon with 2 watts a gallon standard FL's. Maybe less on the
70.135's are not shallow tanks(24 inches). He has blood red Rotala macrandra
for some odd reason:). My red cabomba is a nice red color as is my other red
plants with a 40 gallon long with a shop light over it. I have a cheap cool
white and a Triton in there plus a reflector. Nothing up my sleeve:) 
No "Tom's special snake oil" only 39.99$ a bottle at work here. Neil doesn't
have any tanks over 2 watts a gallon BTW. He does quite well with red plants
I think:). I used only 2 watts a gallon many years also. 

>The rule of thumb about watts/gallon really falls apart at this level.

The Krib has a good argument on this topic. Check that one. It holds true
IMO.  I now just use red paint on my plants:)
>I will just add my anectodotal comments. There's no doubt in my 
>mind that light plays SOME part in the reddening of SOME plants. 
>Hygro polysperma, for example, only develops a reddish tint to the 
>leaves under strong light. You can dump in all the iron you want but 
>leaves that are shaded will grow green, and leaves in bright light will 
>have a pink tint. Ditto the Tropical Sunset variety. Unshaded leaves 
>are much more vibrant than shaded ones, which generally don't 
>even show any pink. Same with red Ludwigia repens. I have to 
>believe that in these cases, it IS the light. Now, for crypts, a 
>different set of rules seems to apply. But there again I have 
>purchased crypt plants which were grown under low light and were 
>totally green, and had them turn deep blood red in my tank with 
>higher lighting (admittedly there could have been other factors 
>involved). So perhaps we cannot generalize. SOMETIMES it's the 

Are you sure it's not just being *shaded* over by other plants and not the
lighting itself? This is gardening/pruning issue, not lighting. 

Or that it is a nutrient issue besides iron? I had extremely red pink topic
sunset hygro with a shop light + reflector and 2 x 40 watt bulbs on a basic
55 gallon tank. 20 inches deep at 1.45 watts per gallon. Not exactly
blinding. I can get great reds on these plants you mentioned in the 40
gallon with the same bulbs & set/up. I have the pic's and slides and
witnesses that have the proof. So does Neil and other's on this list. Most
of SFBAAPS has about the 2 watts a gallon range and so do most of the APD

>Just for completeness, here are my tank stats: one tank 30 long @ 
>4 watts/gal (don't cringe, it's a leftover light setup from a reef tank - 
>and it grows beautiful plants), and one 40 high @ 3 watts/gal. No 
>reflectors, just white paint. In the latter tank I recently replaced 2 
>coralife 50/50's (there for color balance with the trichromatics) with 
>Ultra Tri Lux (a fine bulb!) and the difference in light level is marked. 
>The plants notice it too. It's still 3 watts/gal, but it means 
>something entirely different than it did before. 

I really didn't care for the 50/50's. I like a triton and cheapy 5-6500K
bulb mix. All my tanks have reflectors. The Ultra's are a better bulb for
plants IMO than the 50/50's.

I like high-light tanks, 
>but they certainly do require careful monitoring as things happen 
>quickly in there.

You should be able to grow any red plant then:). I think while algae can
cause problems it is more a pruning issue and making sure there's enough
nutrients and the right kinds. Not keeping up on these lead to algae and
lack of red color IMO many times. At higher light values one needs to use a
good substrate in order to help keep upon nutrient demands of the plants. 
Plants need three things basically: Light/CO2 and nutrients. Mess up one or
more of these things, the plants may not go well for you. Most folks tend to
start out in the 2 watts a gallon range. I was asked to set up a 50 gallon
tank that had a 2 x 96 watt light on it. I added a 2 x55watts and the tank
is much more manageable. It is full of Red plants. I think for 55 gallon
sized tanks the PC's at 2 x55 watts are the best over all lights for almost
any set up for most folks. 

I suggest for someone new to try out a basic 20 gallon tank(24x16Hx12D) with
2x20 watt FL's bulbs plus a reflector for lighting at 10-12hrs a day using a
triton and cheapy bulb or a couple of cheapy bulbs like a 5000K and 6500k.
With this you can grow pretty much any red plant. If you cannot, it ain't da
I've had both high light tanks(5.5 watts-8.75watts over a 20 gallon) all the
way down to no light sunlit tanks and just about every type of light over
the years. I am able to grow plants quite well in both. 
Tom Barr