Ok, I get the dirt part, couple inches organic potting soil w/ red clay mixed in and capped w/ gravel or florite or eco complete. Right? So with lighting, this tank is 25in deep 44 gal corner tank, I have two 18in t8 15w light strips for the top. Do I need both of them? Is 6500k better than 5000k for the bulb temp. Or how bout one at the higher temp and one at 2500 to warm the color a little? Any input? Not sure what plants I'm gonna put in yet.
2 6500K bulbs is what you need. If you want low light plants throw in some floating plants.
Okay I must warn you. If you use that light set up with that deep a tank with dirt AND clay, then you're in for a heap of trouble.
First of all for a tank that's 25 in deep and I'm going to assume your dimensions are 26L X 16W X 24H. Thats 416square inches.
2nd: your light being t8 and 15watts, assuming t8 have less than 65L/watt (say 55 which is high balling the number) when not having an electronic ballast (non electronic ballasts are common for t8). Then you have 1650 Lumen total output.
3rd: your maximum Lumen/square inch will be 3.97 L/in^2
Taking into account the common bad reflectors in t8, and the height of the tank and light escaping the tank due to reflection off the surface of the water, and through the glass of the tank, you may only have barely 3L/in^2
If you look at this link http://www.rexgrigg.com/mlt.html notice the range for low light plants 12 - 17 L/in^2
If my calculations are nearly true you have light suitable for only some floating plants that are very close to the light. anything on the bottom of the tank will suffer greatly and will most likely DIE. You will also have algae and sulfer problems because you need plants that put oxygen into the substrate and take excess nutrients out of the substrate and out of the water. Youll also need floating plants in a dirted tank in most cases because floating plants GREATly reduce excess nutrients in the water column thus making algae a non issue, along with metal and other nutrient toxicity being a non issue.
With your current light set up I doubt the success of your dirted tank. Please consider a light set up that is better quality or at least light output that is 10L/in^2
A decently priced light is http://bit.ly/NQZoKl This light fixture should be enough for your tank. This fixture will ensure at least 14L/in^2 for your tank provided my dimesions are assumed to be true.
To find nearly the exact Lumen/in squared and light range that your tank would be in with this light or even with your current light then post the dimensions of your tank.
As a note if you keep your current lighting. I believe the ONLY plants that MIGHT survive are Java Fern, and some anubias. I've had Java Fern survive in water that was so low in nutrients and the light was only on 1 hour IF AT ALL in the tank at my mother in laws 1 hour away from me (she doesn't think lighting a tank is necessary) Needless to say the Java fern is fine and i transplanted it into my display tank. you can see pictures on my profile. one more thing is you will have excess nutrients in the water column with your current set up so the Java fern may die. Java Fern naturally grows in nutrient depleted water.
btw if you readers couldnt understand all the mumbo jumbo then here it is in a nut shell
4L/in is NOT ENOUGH light
if you get the cheapest light fixture that everyone on this site has agreed upon http://bit.ly/NQZoKl you will be Good for plants in low light BUT some medium light plants will be perfectly fine.
just felt like i should mention that i have a corner tank thats about 40-45 gollans and i have this said light the and i must say it more then covers low to medium light my plants to good sept for the ones my flag fish eat they love there wisterie and comoba-not sure if i spelt that right.... other then that the flag fish leave all the other plants alone
I've been told pretty much the same thing: 10 - 40 lumens per square inch of surface area. Some people can get away with 5 lumens per square inch but I don't see it working in a deep tank unless you've got lowlight plants.
And yes I agree with Robert, you can work a 5 LSI set up but i think you could do it with how deep your tanks is. but it would be a must to have plants with good root systems all over your tanks substrate.
WHERE DO U GET UR RED CLAY AND WHAT BRAND IS IT????
Its in one of Dustin's videos. You may be able to order some from him. I think its called "Adobe" (or something like that) Someone on this site said its sold in art stores. I mixed some clay soil from my backyard into my substrate. Its orange colored which is not as good as red clay but the plants seem to love it.
You can also use clay pebbles (baked clay) as a cap for your dirt. Its sold as "Oil-sorb" in automotive stores or as non-clumping Kitty Litter. This is 100% clay but check the kitty litter for additives.
just watched the video you made yep same tank i got i say get more lighting i was able to keep the plants alive with those to lights but they didnt grow much
Thanks for the comments. Looks like I'll need to buy a light and maybe build a hood too.