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[APD] Lighting -- How many hours in a day?

I am planning a new tank and have some questions about lighting during the
first month or so. The 59 gallon tank will have 4 x 55 watts, pressurized
CO2, and new Flourite gravel. Using a handy-dandy calculation that someone
quoted from Erik Olson, that involves the cubic inches of the aquarium and a
factor for low, moderate or high light plants, I've determined that I need
18 hours of 2 x 55 watts or 9 hours of 4 x 55 watts, or some combination in
between that.

I would like to stretch out he evening hours so that I can feed the fish at
8 AM and still have time to view them in the evening.  If it was reasonable,
I'd like to have 14 hours of 110 watts on, plus 4 hours of both banks of
lights on, near noon. Each set of lights will be slightly different, so one
will probably be dimmer than the other, one being 6700K from PSL, the other
the GE 9325K bulb. I read recently that doubling up the light during the
day, as in one bank on at 8 and the second bank on at noon, with staggered
off times, might actually benefit the algae more than the plants.

Does anyone have any advice to offer? Should I limit the total span of hours
to 11 or 12 hours, or is 14 OK? Is it OK to increase the light near noon for
awhile? Is there any wisdom in starting the lights together for 9 hours,
then shifting one to delay on and off? Or would starting with one bank of
lights only be wiser, then adding the noontime lighting in increasing

I am pretty nervous about starting off badly with this tank, as it is in the
den and with the holidays coming, I fear that it could be a huge mess right
as company comes to visit. I'm planning to test the lights and CO2 before
planting, then add as many plants as I can pull from my other tanks (and buy
online). After a few weeks of plants only and lots of CO2, and fertilization
when the plants start growing well, I'll add maybe 12 new otos and maybe 12
new shrimp, maybe a few SAE's (though I'm not sure they will fit) or a pleco
of some sort. The tank is 45" wide and 15" deep, 19" tall. I have 25
cardinals and 6 serpae tetras for it with 5 kuhlie loaches, and the 6 broken
stripe tetras that probably will go there too, though if the SAEs and /or
pleco are better to have, I move the broken stripe tetras elsewhere. I
welcome any advice on fish selection, also!

Ann Viverette

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