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Need a little guidance please

Matthew savant

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19 May 2022
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10
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United States
Hello, I’m new to the forum and (sort of) new to keeping planted tanks, although this new tank will be my 3rd planted tank I’ve had over the years I still consider myself a bit of a novice.
I just finished cycling my new tank and I need a little help before I order plants and begin the aqua scape.

It’s a 36 gallon bow front and I plan on keeping mostly relatively easy plants although I do plan on planting it very heavily. I’m using c02 and dry ferts (I’ll have questions on fert calculations later I’m sure) and for filtration I have two large HOB filters, one is full of bioballs/cylinders and I never touch it and the other has both fine and coarse foam on the inside and they both have foam on the filter intakes.

As far as my lighting I’m a little confused as to what my PAR levels are with my current set up. My previous tank was a 20 gallon high and I used the Fluval planted 3.0 24in LED light on it and it worked really well. So I’m using that same light on my 36 gallon now but I’m having a hard time finding info on PAR levels for this light with tbe 36 gallon tank (which is significantly deeper than the 20h)
I’m looking to get into Medium/high PAR range so I don’t have to limit which plants I end up ordering. My plan was to use the Fluval planted 3.0 24in along side the Fluval planted 3.0 36in, Do you guys think that will be enough and could anyone provide some insight on what my PAR levels would be with those two lights combined?

I was also wondering are there any other test kits or measuring devices I could or should get in addition to the API master test kit? My last tank succumbed to black beard algae after about a year and a half and I still don’t know why it happened, I wasn’t sure if there was a way I could measure other parameters besides the basic ones in the API test kit.

I’m looking to go all out with this 36 gallon and I want to get it right. I have the tank a set up I already have one of my lights, the hardscape, the filters, heater, c02, master test kit, all the GLA dry ferts and all the basics ready to go and now I have about $500 set aside to invest into the tank for plants, an additional light and any kinds of other test kits or gadgets I may need.
I’m using an app called Fishbox on iOS to monitor and document all of my levels, tank progress etc which is what put the idea that there may be other test kits I need in my head since there’s parameters in the app that I don’t know how to test for (like iron and phosphate etc).
i haven’t decided what I want to keep for fish yet I was considering doing all nano fish so I could have a busy tank. Maybe a small group of sparkling gourami’s would be the centerpiece and then I could base other fish around their needs that way I’d also be able to keep shrimp without them getting eaten. I’m not sure yet but I want to get the plants and the aqua scape situated first.

Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
-Matt
 

Hanuman

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4 Jan 2019
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1,467
Location
Thailand
Welcome to UKAPS,

In my opinion most test kits are a waste of money. The only test I have are ammonia/nitrite test, KH test and a PH pen. All cheap ones. You only need estimates, not precise numbers. I would say the ammonia test is perhaps the most important one specially when starting a new tank. Afterwards it becomes rather useless IMO. The KH test I bought when I was using TAP water and wanted to see what my KH was so that I could either buy or not certain plants. The KH test is not critical to have. As for the PH pen, well that's because I use it to create a CO2 profile. Nothing more.

Keep your hard earned cash for plants and fish and I think most importantly, listen to (see) your plants and how they behave. They will be the ones to tell you if something is wrong.
I do plan on planting it very heavily
That is a very good approach and one that unfortunately many beginners don't do. This will give you more leeway and stability.

My last tank succumbed to black beard algae after about a year and a half and I still don’t know why it happened, I wasn’t sure if there was a way I could measure other parameters besides the basic ones in the API test kit.
Everyone has its say on the reasons. One common denominator though which most will agree on, is the presence of too much dissolved organics in the water. Those organics come from multiple sources. Fish waste, wood, decaying matter. The one you can control is the latter by making sure your plants are healthy and that you clean your tank regularly.
What is important is to make sure that your light and CO2 are properly set from the beginning. That is perhaps one of the most common reasons why many end up having issues, specially with algae.

Have fun and keep your sleeves wet.
 
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Matthew savant

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Joined
19 May 2022
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United States
Thanks for the reply and advice, interesting about the test kits I was thinking I’d be better off constantly testing but I see your point and I think I agree that once the tank is stable barring any major changes I see how testing for everything all the time could be redundant.
I think the BBA outbreak happened in my last tank because I wasn’t as designer with water changes as I should have been, at least I hope that’s what it was. This time around I’ve got a 50ft house with a power head attached to it so I can go straight from the tank to the bathtub and vise versa so water changes could be easier, no excuses for slacking this time around lol

Any advice on the lighting I’m thinking of doing? Think that will be in the medium to high PAR range?
 

John q

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6 Jan 2021
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1,265
Location
Lancashire
My plan was to use the Fluval planted 3.0 24in along side the Fluval planted 3.0 36in, Do you guys think that will be enough and could anyone provide some insight on what my PAR levels would be with those two lights combined?
Hi @Matthew savant
Unfortunately there isn't a great deal of par information around for the plant 3 lights, although a fellow member has requested it from fluval, so fingers crossed that bears fruit.


What we can do however is try and guesstimate the par levels using known values for other fluval lamps (fluval supplied & 1 independent par meter test.) & lumen, wattage for your fixtures.

Based on the information I have I'd guess the 32w plant 3 would = 40 ~ 50 par, the 46w fixture = 50 ~ 60 par. Those guesses would be at 18" depth from light fixture, and within a 3" wide strip. You've also got to factor in for light overlap and reduction of par outside the central 3" strip.
Ultimately without a par meter you'll never know the exact readings for those lights.

Is this med/high light? Certainly not high but 50 ~ 60 par should be enough to grow most aquatic plants, there will be some that require more than this but not that many.
 
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Matthew savant

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19 May 2022
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Thanks! Very informative. And it makes sense, I guess I don’t need to know the exact PAR but just that I’m in the range I need to be for medium light plants which cut sounds like I should be. I appreciate the info! I’m going to place my plant order this weekend
 

Stu1407

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27 Nov 2018
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Location
Wirral UK
With regard to the plant 3 Bentley Pascoe is shall we say a bit of a fan. I used to have one and found his videos on YouTube very informative.

 

MarcusA

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3 Apr 2022
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Location
usa
For PAR values, you can try the Photone app with an iPhone in one of those waterproof pouches for scuba divers. It will at least give you relative numbers.
 

John q

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6 Jan 2021
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Location
Lancashire
So I decided to ask Fluval if they had the par data for these lights, and they do.

Figure's below are from fluval and not independently verified.

32w plant 3

Image_2022-05-30_08-23-37.png

46w plant 3

Image_2022-05-30_08-25-16.png


Cheers.
 
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