RE: Plant ID's and Lighting

I think the following bounced on my end the first time I sent it, so forgive me 
if you've already seen it...

Karen said:

>It is sometimes very difficult to ID different species of Crypt 
>when you can hold them in your hand, let alone via a written 
>description.<g>  If I had to make a guess though, it would be 
>something in the C. cordata group.  "C. blassi" is one possibility 
>that is commonly sold commercially, although I am not certain 
>whether this is a valid species name or not.  Under good 
>conditions, with bright light and CO2 this is a rather large plant 
>with long petioles, but I have some in "low tech" tanks that looks 
>similar to what you describe.

Thanks  Karen.  I'll check the books I have for this possibility when I get 
home.  I've got both Baensch atlases and the Rataj/Horeman book.  I'll see if I 
can't find a species in those books that resembles what I have.  Maybe that'll 
help a little more...

>I dont know what bulbs you are currently using, but there _are_ T8 
>bulbs that are great for planted tanks.  I have already converted 
>most of my fixtures to using them and intend to convert the rest 
>as time permits.

Oops.  I didn't mean to imply that I haven't seen _any_ T8 bulbs for plants.  I 
just haven't seen any in the 48" length that I need.  The largest ones I've 
seen are 36".  What I have now are Sylvania Octrons, 4100K.  They replaced two 
15w Tritons (see below), so the tank went from a pleasantly subdued blueish 
tint to garrishly bright green.  I've gotten used to it now, but I'd still like 
to "soften" the color a little.

>Because they run on an electronic ballast (a 2 bulb balast cost 
>under $20) you do have to replace the ballasts in your standard 
>fixtures.  The _GOOD_ thing about replacing your ballasts is that 
>instead of paying for more electricity to run the ballasts, the 
>electronic ballasts run at _minus_ 5% (don't ask me how... as I've 
>mentioned, I am mechanically challenged) so that they actually 
>reduce the cost of running the bulbs even further.  

Fortunately, I didn't have the need to do any retro-fitting.  The fixture I 
bought is a single, self-contained unit, including (I assume) the starter and 
ballasts.  The hood that came with the tank had two 24" fixtures, which held 
two 15w Tritons.  However, I didn't figure 30w of lighting was going to be 
enough over a 55 <g>.  So all I did was remove the two 24" fixtures and simply 
replaced them with the new fixture, which stretches the entire length of the 
tank.  Now if I can just find another one like it I'll really be in business as 
far as adequate lighting goes...

>The bad news is you can't just walk into the average pet shop and 
>ask for them (yet).  You won't even find them in a household-type 
>lighting store.  You will have to find someone in your area who 
>deals in _commercial_ lighting and have them order them for you.  
>They are worth the extra effort though in terms of energy 
>efficiency, $$$ saved, _and_ the increase of light.

I'm in the process of checking out the more commercial lighting places here in 
Atlanta.  I'm also actively searching the net for web pages of flourescent 
lighting places.  You've got me convinced I made a pretty good purchase, 
though...  Thanks.

Todd Ellerbee
telrb at dbsoftware_com
Atlanta, GA