I'm starting a new betta tank (oh and i'm somewhat new to aquarium keeping also) and I've been doing researches for a while now but I'm really confused about tank lighting. I know that the fish won't need much light but I intend to plant aquarium plants that require moderate lighting. I went on a lot of websites and found out (I'm not sure if i'm wrong or correct) that my 10 Gallon tank would need 20 Watts - 40 Watts for "Moderate" lighting then I went ahead to look at petco's fluorescent light bulbs and found Kelvin measurements and confusing Watt measurements. Can anyone give me advice for the most affordable (not too cheap or too expensive), optimal moderate lighting for my 10 Gallon tank?
Also, I read there were different types of lights and my brain just shut off there . If anyone can explain a bit more about the lighting it would be great help.
I'm not the best to explain it. Byron is the best but I'll try.
For a 10 gallon generally you are going to find 18w fixtures in the 5500K range. This would be considered low lighting and you aren't going to get much plant growth.. at least not optimum. You really want a bulb that is in the 6500K range, you can find these bulbs at home improvement stores and also ones specifically marketed for aquarium use. Generally speaking you are going to save money if you go with the ones from home depot, they work just as well for a fraction of the price.
For med-high light you are going to want more than 18w per gallon. This can be cone a few different ways like getting a double bulb fixture (which are hard to find for 10 gallons) or putting compact fluorecent lights (CFLs) on the tank (these are the curly bulbs you see a lot now).
Personally if I were you I'd stick with an 18w 6500K bulb and go with low light plants... this tends to be the easiest option for beginners because as you go higher with your lighting you start needing to provide additional fertilization, CO2, etc.
What kind of plants do you plan and how many...is this going to be a heavy planted or mod-sparse planted tank....what kind of substrate and stocking...is this just for a single Betta or do you plan other species of fish, inverts or divided...etc.....do you plan injecting CO2...
As 1fish posted-for plants you want 6500k for best plant growth-kelvin is more important than watts-while watts are important they are more to give a general rule for WPG (watts per gallon) and you want to keep this in the proper range for the fixture-18-20w should be fine-this will get you 1.8-2wpg-if you go over 3wpg you may need to inject CO2 to keep algae controlled unless you have lots of active growing plants.
Lots of great species of plants to pick from that will do fine in that lighting range.
Kelvin is the color temp and what the plant can use for photosynthesis-proper lighting is the driving force behind plant growth-this also can be used up in the tube after about 12months and so its important to change the bulb yearly even though it still works........ we can see the light-but the plants can't use it
Photoperiod is also important for good plant growth-starting on a 10h/day PP and increase based on plant growth/needs to out compete the algae
With plants its a balance-you have to provide the tools (light and nutrients) in order for them to out compete the algae-while some algae is expected and normal it still has to be controlled since this is a closed system.
As 1fish posted-the light bulbs you can get in the lighting dept at most store are fine to use with the added benefit of being cheaper.....look for "Daylight" 6500k bulbs....I buy the GE brand to use over my NPT's with great success...the watts vary based on tube size...
On my 10gal I use 6500k 20w and with some I use 2 tubes for a higher wpg due to the species of plants I grow/keep.
I wanted to get some Java fern, Java moss, anacharis, hygrophila, dwarf onion and amazon sword at probably one or 2 per type. (These are picked because i read that they can be fertilized using root tabs and can be in moderate light) I plan to make it a moderate to a bit heavy planted.
The substrate I will use is (I read some people said they were OK for the fish) either Crayola colored sand or the sand at home depot (if the crayola really are toxic).
For stocking I'm unsure. (I'm half clueless about stocking.) the tank is for a single Betta and i dont really plan to put in other fishes so far.
Do you suggest that I choose new plants?
I find that Crayola Play Sand interesting, I was going to pick some up to test myself... found this while searching...
I am Alicia Lewis, Crayola PlaySand Specialist. I was received a request to post on this forum to put a few of you guys at ease. I'm glad to see our website was quoted several times for safety, and I just wanted to take a moment to add.
We have been creating Crayola PlaySand for over 3 years - and we get about 50-100 animal/fish safety questions a month. To date - Not a single animal - fish or furry has been reported to be harmed, sick or ill... Though we've gotten alot of interesting breeding stories!
The sand is perfectly rounded, so no sharp edges (thus no dust either). As you read - non-toxic, but also lead free. The colorant is bonded to the sand at 250 degrees, and also the colorant is environmentally friendly. As a matter of fact we don't even use chemicals in our cleaning process - it undergoes an extremley hot water wash.
Like all Crayola products, we don't do any animal testing. I can simply assure you that I've have fish swimming in blue and green sand in my office since 2008, and they are the same fish.
We invite all inquiries, questions, pictures. Thank you.
I have never heard of that sand...how neat....now I will have to look for some and try myself if I can find a color that I like...
Your plant choices are good and all will tolerate the low-mod lighting with the 20w 6500k bulb-Be aware that the amazon sword will out grow a 10g in a year or so-depending on nutrients and it is a root feeder, be sure when you plant it that the crown is slightly above the substrate. Java fern and moss needs to be tied to something and a water column feeder. Anacharis and the hygrophilia both stem plants...is it the hygrophilia difformis (water wisteria) great plant by the way. The onion plant I don't know much about-never had one-but from what I had read-easy to care and grow....
For substrate-I don't know much about that brand of sand-but sand in general when used alone or too deep can sometimes be problematic for rooted plants-but if you plan on using root tab that may help.
Look forward to pics once you get it all setup....
Thank you a ton, Pit.
For the lighting, does the light fixture for the 10 gallon go with any bulb or any bulb for the 20w 6500k types. The hygrophila I'm planning to get the great temple, not the water wisteria but i might see to it. And what are water column feeders (I guess they're feeders? but what makes it different?)