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Re: Natural Light

Macon Cowles wrote:

>I would like to hear about people's experiences with daylight.


>I got into this whole plant jag because of a friends thirty gallon cube
>that sits on her kitchen counter and gets several hours of late
>afternoon light.  It is gorgeous.  So I decided that I would try it.
>Who else is having success with natural light?
>I don't want to bore people with questions or a thread about light,
>but I am interested in people's various high and low end solutions
>to growing plants with CO2 and direct sunlight.

I haven't seen anyone else take up this thread, so I'll bite.  I recently
wrote about my 10 gallon tank which I had placed right next to a
south-facing window.  This aquarium began as a place to hold my
cuttings.  It has no hood at all and uses only natural light; the
substrate is fine gravel and laterite "nuggets".  This weekend I had to
do a major cleanup because the Bacopa was overwhelming
everything else in the tank (except the algae ) and my fish were
running out of swimming space :).  I won't call this a success until I
get the algae under control although I have learned quite a bit so far.
Aesthetically, it is beautiful to have natural sunlight streaming
through a planted aquarium, and to have plants growing out the top.
However there is a very high rate of evaporation from this tank (as
one would expect) which may make it difficult to maintain the proper
nutrient concentrations and KH.  I also suspect that the open top
design is allowing too much CO2 to escape before the submersed
plants have a chance to utilize it. I am using DIY with a fine-bubble
airstone and the pH is consistently higher than I'd like it to be,
although I am in the process of making improvements to my
generating and delivery system.  I am using a simple internal filter
which provides adequate circulation without causing too much
surface turbulence.  I still consider this to be a work in progress, but
this is about as low tech as I think I'd want to get.  Oh yeah, there is
a heater in there for my fish (11 zebra danios, 2 otos, 1 Chinese
algae eater), but daytime tank temperatures are already close to 85
deg. F and it's only April!  I will report periodically on the ups and
downs of this "experiment".

Jonathan in very windy Maryland