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Old 10-14-2010, 10:11 PM   #1 
puppyrjjkm
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Question Lighting for live plants?

So I would LOVE to do a planted tank but have no idea what kind of lighting to use. I would only want the easy growing plants that don't need any "fertilizer" or substrate other than gravel. But I believe all of my tanks have flourescent light? I may be wrong but they are kind of yellow bulbs. Anyway can someone explain what lighting I should get for live plants? And which are the easiest to grow and take care of? Thanks so much!
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:55 PM   #2 
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How big are your tanks? thats an important part.

For your lights unscrew the bulb and look at the base. They usually have the kelvin rating (a number followed by the letter "k") and the wattage ( number followed by the letter "w") somewhere at the bottom. You want to have 1-2 watts per gallon at a kelvin temp of 5000k-6700k.
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Old 10-15-2010, 05:53 PM   #3 
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Just a 10 gallon kit. I'll have to go check the lights...
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Old 10-15-2010, 06:17 PM   #4 
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Are they incandescent bulbs or fluorescent? For that tank you would want at least 1 wpg (watt per gallon) to grow low light plants such as java ferns and anubias. For fast growing stem plants like wistera, you would be better off with 2 wpg. For 3+wpg tanks, plants will grow like crazy but you will need additional fertilizers and c02.
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Old 10-15-2010, 06:59 PM   #5 
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It didn't have a Kelvin number but is 15W/120V Incandescent. Does that help? I have the box but that is all the information it has. If I could get a really nice setup with the plants I would probably even use my 20 or 29 gallon tank...

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Old 10-15-2010, 09:55 PM   #6 
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ok, incandescent will not really be the best for plants - too much heat, too much energy - not enough light. does your hood use only one or two lightbulbs?

What I suggest: Go to a hardware store/ walmart/ home depot/ lowes and look for a CFL (Compact florescent) light bulb. If your tank has 2 bulbs then you want 2 CFL's of lower wattage (2 10 watt bulbs would be good) If it only has one bulb socket then get a higher wattage CFL (get a 20-26 watt bulb). Make sure the bulb is of 6500k - its usually right in the front of the package. These bulbs are usually labeled as "daylight" and cost $6-$10. I got a package containing 2, 26 watt bulbs for only $9 at my walmart. Here is an example of the bulb im talking about: http://www.acehardware.com/product/i...lickid=prod_cs

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Old 10-15-2010, 11:40 PM   #7 
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Well my 10 gallon has the two individual light bulbs while my hood for the 20 gallon (which is the tank I would most likely use) is a tube, with 17 W incandescent. Is this better? Thanks a lot for your help I really appreciate it!
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:15 AM   #8 
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Well, you never want incandescent to light up a tank like I said, You will just have to replace it with a florescent bulb. Is your 20 gallon long or tall? It matters because a tall tank will need more wattage than a wide tank. This is because light diffuses through water very easily, so in a 20 gallon tall your plants may be struggling to get enough light.
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:32 PM   #9 
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Okay it's a 20 long, so wider than tall. i think i'll just start doing lots of research before i attempt anything :) thanks again for your help.
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:20 PM   #10 
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I just posted this but oh well haha

Get this light. I use it on my planted tank. Perfect color spectrum too

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ef=oss_product

Its excellent for 5-10 gallon tanks.
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