View Full Version : Beginner plants & Lighting

04-13-2010, 10:54 AM
Hi guys,
I have a couple of quick questions regarding my new plants and my inadequate lighting...

I have only had my tank for a month now, and a few days ago decided it was time to get a few basic plants in there. The guy at the shop recommended a Java Fern and an Anubius nana - plants I'd already read online were great beginner plants. £10 for both seemed like a bargain (they were both already fairly big), so I got them. The guy asked me about my setup and said my lighting should be adequate, however, I'm not so sure.

I have a 95 litre (25 US Gallon) tank, but only have a 20w 60cm sun glo flourescent light in it. This is quite a lot less than the 2w per gallon rule I've seen around. So I have two questions...

Firstly - are the above plants likely to survive with this light? I don't mean thrive, I can see that that's not going to happen, but I would like them to at least live until I can upgrade my lighting.

Second - What is the cheapest way to upgrade my lighting? From what I can see (and I may be wrong), I can't get a single 40w T8 60cm bulb, so I think I will need to add a second bulb. Looking online, I can't figure out exactly what I need - is it just the "ballast" parts (£20 or so) and a bulb (Another £10 or so), or do I need the controller unit etc? I've seen "Starter kits" for around £50, but I was hoping not to have to shell out another £50 on a bulb just for two beginner plants!

All info appreciated - thanks thumbs2:

04-13-2010, 04:08 PM
Ok, this is mostly just my personal opinion on the matter since I have only been doing this for about 4-5 months now so am still learning a lot myself.

I would personnally spend the extra money and go for the more expensive option. Yes, you only have 2 beginner plants at this point in time, but you may want to add more plants as time goes on. If you don't have sufficient light to support future aspirations then you would have to shell out more money in the future to meet your changing needs.

If you have good lighting, and have a good schedule (preferrably a timer so you can have the lights come on and off automatically) for lighting your tank you should easily be able to make adjustments when/if you decide to try more and/or different plants in your tank, without having to once again upgrade your system.

Now someone else with more experience on lighting spectrums, wattages and scheduling will probably be better able to give you specifics on exactly what systems would work best, but again I think you should get a really good system up front that will meet current and future needs.

Hope this helps.

04-13-2010, 04:31 PM
I think they may be able to survive with the lighting you already have. You're at about 1 watt/gallon at this point and I've seen people get by with even less. If you don't want to add anything else down the road, except maybe java moss or something similar, it may be worth your while to just see how these plants do with the current setup. If you want to try other, more light-demanding plants, later, then you'll want to upgrade your lighting system. Like Bristley said too, it's much easier to upgrade once rather than constantly buying new things when you change your mind. It will actually be much cheaper to just over do it once in the beginning. Just make sure you don't go with too much lighting, though, if you're not up for it. After you pass a certain light threshold, you'll need to add co2 and fertilizers. Something like 2 watts/gallon should be plenty for a lot of easy plants.

Plant Man
04-13-2010, 06:16 PM
No, you will not be able to “grow” anything in that tank, period! Java Fern will die. Anubias Nana on the other and is tank of a plant, and can "survive" in extremely dark environments, it wont grow much but if its in a good substrate like Fluorite it wont die either. I would highly suggest before you buy any plants, you upgrade your tank cover with a glass lid and any two fixtures you like. 1.5 watts is relatively safe for a non Co2 tank, do 25% weekly water changes and keep less then 10inches of small fish.