Fluorescent Lighting and Algae Eater pH levels

Subject: Fluorescent Lighting
> Then find out how much electricity the
> fixture will use.  This last part may be easier said than done. 

This is the easiest to figure!  Just add the wattage of the bulbs 
and the wattage of the ballast!  The higher the wattage, the 
higher the cost to run.  You can figure the exact cost by looking 
at your electrical bill and finding the cost per kilowatt hour.

If you want to know which are the the most efficient, look at the 
lumens/watt rating.

> make a good guess.  Normal florescents use less energy than HO, 
> less than VHO, which is less than MH. 

I don't know much about HO's, but NO's and VHO's are comparable in 
electricity costs when you compare lumens/watt.  MH's are better, 
and T-8's are the best.

> Then, consider the heat generated by the typ
> lighting.  If you live in colder parts of the planet, using a MH
> of heat coming from the lights may help lower heating costs.  Bu
> live in a warmer climate, it may COST MONEY to cool the room bec
> lighting heat.  And that's only if you have air conditioning!  W
> locations that don't use AC?   The HO and VHO ballasts throw off
> well, just not as much.

Again, on the basis of heat per watt, NO, VHO and MH's are 
comparable.  MH's "feel" hottest because the heat is more 
localized.  This is a problem that must be dealt with whenever the 
decision to use high light levels is made.  (Incidentally, 
INCADESCENT lighting puts out much more heat than light, but 
hardly anyone uses these lamps over aquaria these days)

Subject: Algae Eater pH levels

> I have a community discus planted 125g tank, pH ~6.8, temp 86F,
> ammonium/nitrites/nitrates 0 that contains 9 discus, 3 small tet
> 1 bristlenose catfish, 4 cory catfish, and 2 otos.   I want to l
> slowly to around 4 or 5 (the lower the better) to combat cyanoba
> without resorting to medications.  Discus love low pH but I don'
> the lower tolerance levels are for the algae crew.  Has anyone k
> temporaily mainained SAEs, bristlenose or otos at low pH?

I suspect the SAE's will be very uncomfortable, and possibly the 
Ancistrus.  The Otos should be fine.  OTOH, this pH is too low to 
support healthy plant growth... one of the reason that Discus 
aren't generally found in vegetated areas in nature.

Additionally, how do you intend to lower your pH this far?  If you 
do it by adding CO2, you will reach dangerous levels of CO2.  If 
you are adding a phosphate based buffer, you will cause major 
algae problems.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA