DIY plant lighting - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2013, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
Fin Fancier's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 430
DIY plant lighting

I've been courious as to late how members rig up lighting to compensate for the poor quality lighting that comes with some tanks. I got a 6 gallon pillar a while back, and due to not liking the filter it came with (the lighting is hooked up to the filter which is dumb) I can't even use the led function. I want to add some plants, but so far have just been borrowing the hood of a different aquarium to give the plants the light they need, needless to say this does not look pretty as the pillar is circular, and the bow front I stole my light from is not. I was trying to think up a better way to light the tank. Any suggestions or favorite lights you've used to DIY a plant set up?
I was thinking of looking in to some something that might work with a desk lamp since the tank is kind of tall.
Fin Fancier is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2013, 01:35 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 10,951
I scrap the hoods on all my planted tanks, however, I usually will still use the light strip itself-I just swap out the light bulb for one that is better for plants.

I use and buy my light strips and bulbs in the lighting dept-not the aquarium dept. IME-florescent 6500k bulbs is what has worked best for my planted tanks, however, the color temp of florescent bulbs can be used up and you will have to change the light bulb every year, otherwise, you can sometimes see algae problems, poor growth and even plant deaths with some species.

When I remove the hood and keep the light strip-sometimes the light strip is too small/short and I have to make slats for the light strips to sit on. I usually use yard sticks I cut to fit for the light strip to rest on. On some the light strip is long enough to rest just on the inside lip of the tank

For my big tanks-I use the shop light strips with the 40w 6500k bulbs-I hang them over my tanks on chains so I can control the height over the tank.
For the smaller tanks-this can be more of a challenge-especially if it came with LED's and no way to swap out the light bulbs for the correct color temp bulbs. You could use the clip on lights or a sunny window to get the need light, however, with natural light you can run into some problems sometimes-over heating, algae, too short photoperiod to name a few.

Sometimes you have to get creative and go through a bit of trial and error and sometimes accept something that doesn't look as nice as what you would like for the sake of plant growth...
Oldfishlady is offline  
post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2013, 01:41 PM
InfiniteGlory's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Waxhaw, NC
Posts: 623
There is a link in my signature that shows my adventure in LED lighting.

InfiniteGlory is offline  
post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2013, 06:22 PM
Aluka's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 507
the easiest for a small tank is use one of those clip on desk lights and buy a 6500k cfl for it.
Aluka is offline  
post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2013, 11:02 PM
New Member
Shadowsun's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 17
I'm in basically the same position the OP is in; most of the aquarium lighting I've seen is too large and too expensive for my tank. If I go with the desk lamp and alternate lightbulb suggestion would the watts per gallon be calculated the same as with standard aquarium lighting? (ex. a 15 watt bulb would provide 3 wpg in my 5 gallon tank). My aquarium hood isn't transparent, so if I used a lamp to the side of my aquarium instead of over the top of it would this change anything?
Shadowsun is offline  
post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-02-2013, 11:11 PM
Aluka's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 507
just take off the hood if you are doing to use a desk light. A 13 watt cfl 6500k is more than enough for a 5 gallon tank.
Aluka is offline  
post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2013, 02:40 AM
darkangel's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 339
clip on light for me too, I have a 9w CFL for my 2.5, its great.
darkangel is offline  
post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-03-2013, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
Fin Fancier's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 430
Thanks everyone. I was looking on the home depot website and found a pack of 13watt 6500k cfl bulbs 4 for 8.79 which is crazy considering 1 6500k bulb at a petsmart is like 9$. I'm starting to like this option, now to find some desk lamp options.
Fin Fancier is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome