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Perfecto SHO vs. Power Compacts and where to buy?
I'm a newbie, and this is my first posting to the list, so I hope I'm doing
I have a 20g high tank which has been set up and planted for about a month.
The tank is lit by a 24" striplight supplying 30W via two Vita-Lites. My
substrate is about 50/50 Flourite and regular gravel. Currently I have 3 E.
bleheri and several groups of hygrophila (H. polysperma, I think). The
hygro is doing great, but the swords are putting up papery thin, light green
leaves, which often are oddly twisted and misshapen and/or develop round
holes after a short time. From the FAQs I've read, the holes sound like
I'm thinking that the deformed leaves might be due to wide swings in water
chemistry, which occured when I switched from my own very hard/alkaline tap
water to neutrally buffered RO water over the course of 2-3 weeks. But at
the same time, I'm wondering if the light-colored growth and holes might be
due to insufficient light.
So my first question is: what is causing the problems with the sword plants?
Now that my water chemistry has settled down, the leaves seem more normally
shaped, but they still are papery and light green, and develop holes (though
not as many as before).
So I'm thinking it couldn't hurt to boost the light levels, coupled with
some DIY CO2. The easiest way to do this would be to buy one of those 24"
Perfecto SHO hoods which would give me 55W for about US$130 from That Pet
Place. But Pet Warehouse is also selling a Custom Sealife Power Compact
fixture for about $300, which includes two 55W bulbs in the same 24"
package. I know Custom Sealife also makes a version with only one tube,
called the AC24, but I haven't been able to find it anywhere.
So, assuming lighting is part of my problem, has anyone tried the Perfecto
lights? Will they fit okay on an All-Glass glass canopy? What kind of bulb
life can I expect from the SHO tubes, especially compared to power compacts?
And if the PC's are better, where can I find a dealer with a better
selection of lights? The 110W hoods at Pet Warehouse seem like overkill for
my tank, not to mention the price.