Length of break-in period for new tank

Subject: Length of break-in period for new tank

> Most plants are growing but
> not at the spectacular rates that my 55 does, and the lilleaopsi
> spreading at all.  Is the algae problem a result of the lower li
> intensities, and relatively few plants?  Should I wait and see w
> as the plants settle in, or break down and get some more intense
> (VHO or MH).

Since I use 6 4' bulbs ver my 4' 70G tank, from my perspective, 
your tank is seriously under-lit.  If at the same time, the tank 
is not densely planted, it's no wonder you have algae and slow 
growth.  While it is _possible_ to end up with a healthy 
attractive planted tank adding a few plants at a time, it is the 
very hardest way to do it.  The _easy_ way is to plant _densely_ 
(60-70% of the bottom area) at set-up.

> A second question.  Would a 400w MH be overkill, or just right f
> size tank. Or should I go for 2 smaller
> lights?

I assume your tank is about 240G? (I think the 4x2x2 tank is a 
120G)  If so, 400W is definitely still on the low side.  Also, 
MH's have very strong, localized light.  People with even 4' tanks 
usually use 2 (smaller) MH bulbs to give adequate coverage.  On an 
8' tank, I suspect you'd need at least 3, maybe 4 for good 
distribution.  Alternatively, you can still add a lot more 
fluorescent tubes than you're currently using, particularly if you 
use the narrower T-8's.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA