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Old 01-15-2011, 11:11 AM   #1 
puppyrjjkm
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Question Live plant lighting?

Since lighting is the most important thing for live plants I want to make sure I get it right. I have a 10 gallon tank, with the basic hood of 2 incandescant light bulbs (yellow tinge).

I believe what I need is an fluorescent light tube? Or are there bulbs that would work so I wouldn't need a new hood?

Do any hoods come with a fluourescent tube?

How do I know what "rating" as in Watts that I need? This is what the Petsmart website says:"For planted aquariums, the quantity of light for faster growing plant species should approach a minimum of 3 Watts per gallon" Is this a reliable statement? It seems all the 18 inch tubes sold on petsmart.com are 15 watts, for a 10 gallon tank.

Anything else? Thanks!

Last edited by puppyrjjkm; 01-15-2011 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:45 PM   #2 
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You can simply swap out your incandescent bulbs for Compact Flourescents (CFL). I assume your tank has 2 bulbs right? For a 10 gallon tank I would buy 2 CFL's of 10 watts each. With 2 bulbs you get 20 watts of lighting which is good for most aquarium plants. Make sure the bulbs you get are 6500k (usually labeled as 'daylight'). You can buy them at a petstore or even get the swirly kind from the light department of any store.

Examples:
http://www.petco.com/product/111943/...Hoods_Lighting
http://www.amazon.com/85393-10-Watt-.../dp/B000X487XK
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Old 01-15-2011, 03:14 PM   #3 
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Oh wow, I had no idea I could use "household bulbs"! So I saw your lovely planted tank which is just beautiful! I was also wondering if any substrate fertilizer was necessary or if just regular gravel is fine. And is the liquid fertilizer or plant food necessary? How often would I need it? Thank you so much!

Would these bulbs works? Or is 2-14W bulbs too much?
http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-...atalogId=10053

Or these which are 9W each...
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

Last edited by puppyrjjkm; 01-15-2011 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 01-15-2011, 03:30 PM   #4 
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It all depends on how many plants and what plants you want to have,some require more work than others (the 10G in my aquarium tab is standard fine gravel substrate and a 15W light).
For a decent planted tank (lots of plants and a wide selection of choice) then at least 2W per G is a general rule of thumb.Ferts will encourage growth and will be neccesary with some plants.Liquid ferts are easy to use,recommended is Seachem's Flourish,or use root tabs for root plants.
You can use standard lights and just use low light level plants like Anubias or java moss etc.

Tomsk

Last edited by Tomsk; 01-15-2011 at 03:30 PM. Reason: missed out a bit :P
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Old 01-15-2011, 03:34 PM   #5 
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Thanks! Does a tank need to cycle or anything before adding plants? (I've never cycled a tank! And don't want the plants to be automatically killed off as soon as I put them in the tank!)
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Old 01-15-2011, 03:44 PM   #6 
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No need to cycle beforehand,all you need to do is add water to the tank and your away! .

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Old 01-15-2011, 03:46 PM   #7 
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You can add plants in at any time during the cycle. The ammonia spike will actually benefit the plants as plants eat ammonia.

What kinds of plants do you want? For your standard low light plants I'm sure the 9 watt bulbs will be enough. I think 28wpg is good too so long as the tank is heavily planted and has fast growers to quickly absorb nitrates and ammonia. Otherwise you can run into algae issues and trust me, nobody wants that.

For ferts I only use root tabs (for the root feeders) and liquid fertilizer. My java ferns, especially the new baby ones have become a more vibrant green color since I started rowing the liquid ferts into the water.

Last edited by Alex09; 01-15-2011 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:15 PM   #8 
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Oh, this was very helpful to me as well, I bookmarked this for when I get more plants. I too had no idea household lights could be used.
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Old 01-15-2011, 05:48 PM   #9 
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How do I know which plants are "root feeders" and which just need liquid fertilizer? I would like to start with super easy plants so probably: some java fern, anacharis, amazon sword (are these not beginner plants?), possibly hornwort, honestly I want to start with whatever I can find at Petsmart (that's the only store I have), then if those do well I'll probably order some from plantedaquariumscentral and get a moss ball, water sprite, really want a reddish color plant but not sure what is an easy plant.

Are the top fin "plant bulbs" worth a try, or is it best to just buy the live plants?
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Old 01-15-2011, 06:02 PM   #10 
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hornwort shed real bad all over my tank,clogged my filter even, will never buy hornwort again. ever. haha. Maybe the petstore just sold me half dead hornwort though? i'm not sure.I had to take it out and throw it away 3-4 days after buying it, and do a 100% water change and clean my gravel.
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