MH vs. Fluorescent, Aponos, T-8 vs. T-12

 Subject: Lighting, MH vs. Florescent
> I'm (still) planning and scheming my next tank.  With my budget,
> enjoy the planning process long before I get to enjoy the tank. 
> currently thinking about is lighting.
> Since I'm thinking of going with a 75gal, I gather that I'll nee
> 200W of light.  If I went the florescent route, I would have to 
> bulbs.   Dollar-signs flash before my eyes as I think of replaci
> vita-lights or something like that every 6 months.  I have many 
> here are but a few:
> +  How long do MH bulbs last?
> +  How many would I need?
> +  How much do the bulbs and ballasts cost (ballpark)?
> In short, from a cost perspective, might this be the way to go? 

From a cost perspective,  purchase price, replacement cost and 
running cost, the cheapest good lighting is T-8's.  I have 6 bulbs 
over my 70G tank, my replacement cost is $30 annually, they 
consume 180W, and are at least as bright as Vitalites; bright 
enough that my R. macrandra stays densely packed and incredibly 
bright.  The bottom is entirely carpeted with Lillaeopsis, which 
is another light hungry plant.

You can get _more_ light over the tank with MH's, but not 

The Degrees Kelvin is an indication of the strongest PEAK of light 
in the bulb.  5500K is close to sunlight.


Subject: [Q] Apogoneton Crispus
> I have three Apogoneton Crispus in my one of my tanks. I am wond
> what are the requirements of this plant at to temp, pH, hardness
> light (I guess I don't have a good reference book handy at this
> moment). 

Well, your pH and KH are a little high, but the Aponogeton hybrids 
usually sold as "crispus" are pretty tough. Your lighting, 
however, is _very_ low, unless you really get a _lot_ of sunlight.

> Also, these plants are said to propagate by seeds only 
> hints how to get them flower? 

Just wait.<g>  They almost always do it all by themselves.

> Finally, they're supposed to be gi
> rest period in Winter - how should I do that (well, I didn't do 
> this year, so perhaps next year). 

You don't need to give them a rest unless they start to die back. 
When they do, put them in a small container in damp sand, and 
store them in a cool place for 6-8 weeks. (not cold like the 
refrigerator, a cool part of the basement is better)  Replant them 
in the aquarium, and _if_ the conditions were good enough during 
their last growth cycle that they were able to store adequate 
reserves,(good light, rich substrate) they should sprout within a 
week or so.

> The tank: 170 L / 50 gal., pH 7.4, KH 7, 2*18W fluorescent cool 
> on 7.5 hrs per day (in the morning and evening to supplement the
> daylight), no CO2, plants are potted in soil+gravel substrate, t
> fish are 4 Cichlasoma Nigrofasciatum, 4 unidentified Cichlasoma 
> 2 algae eaters (Ancitrus?) and 1 Macropodus Opercularis. 
> BTW, the cichlids are not harming the plants (yet).
> Also general comments on the setup will be appreciated. I am thi
> about adding CO2 this weekend too. 

You're probably living on borrowed time with the Ciclasoma.  The 
ones that don't actively eat plants are likely to pull them up.  
Also, they tend to be big fish, and big fish put out a lot of 
waste, not really the best thing in a planted tank. 

CO2 would help you pH situation, but with your very low light 
levels you might not see much benefit anyway.  If it were my tank, 
even for what I consider a "low tech" set-up for shade tolerant 
plants, I'd up the lighting to at least 2 4' tubes.  

Subject: T-8 vs. T-12 (Here we go again!)
> For a while now, I've been thinking about designing a new hood. 
> currently got two twin-bulb strips, and it's a hassle.  So, I du
> into the Grainger catalog to pick out bulbs and ballasts.  At fi
> everything seemed easy:
> 				CRI	Initial Lumens	Price
>   Phillips 5000K Ultralume T-12	 85	     2925       
>   Phillips 5000K TL850 T-8	 84	     2950       $ 4.64
> Gee, that was easy.  I *love* T-8s!  Ballasts are cheap, too!  
> Magnetek has a 4 T-8 ballast (B423I120RH) for $41.20.  Then I lo
> back at the bulb section, and saw...
>   Phillips 5000K Advantage T-10	 80	     3700	
> Hmm.  CRI isn't quite as good, they're a little more expensive, 
> 25% increase in lumens sure sounds good!

A 25% increase in lumens for double the initial cost doesn't sound 
like that great a deal to me.<g>  Especially if they don't run as 
cheaply as T-8's.


Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA