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Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. Default Totally confused about lighting!

    0 Not allowed!
    I have a 28 gal bowfront tank that has been up and running for about a year and am now thinking about converting to live plants. I want it to be a low-tech setup and am interested in java fern, anubias, crypts, etc. The tank is 18 inches high and 24 inches wide. I know that I need to upgrade my lighting but am totally confused as to what to get....T8 dual fixture, T5HO single fixture, or some kind of LED fixture. The more I read, the more confused I get...please help!

  2. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    A T8 dual fixture may allow you to grow medium-light plants directly under the bulbs and low-light plants elsewhere. A single-bulb T5HO fixture will allow you to grow high-light plants under the bulbs and medium-high light plants elsewhere. I have a LED fixture that I built for my reef tank (24x3W) that puts out a pretty intense amount of PAR for growing corals, but I'm not very familiar with using them over planted tanks. I have seen some nice planted tanks using LEDs though, I just can't help you on picking a LED fixture out. With the plants that you're considering, you may be better off with the T8 fixture.

  3. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    How about a T5NO dual fixture?

  4. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    When you say Java Fern, Anubias, Crypts etc, what is the etc part? NO stands for normal output. It's the same as saying T5. Are you looking to go with all low light plants?

  5. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffs99dime
    Are you looking to go with all low light plants?
    Yes...maybe some java moss or anything else that is low light. It is my understanding that T5 bulbs are more efficient than T8 I incorrect?

  6. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Yes, that's correct. The intensity of the light will also depend on the quality of the reflectors; really good reflectors can more than double the PAR of low-quality ones at the same wattage. A T5NO dual fixture should work for you as well. Try to get one with decent reflectors though (they don't need to be the best quality based on the plants you want).

  7. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for your help!

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    Yes, I have spent several of my evenings reading everything I could find on lighting in prep for re-planting my tank. There is a great deal of conflicting information going around and it seems logical that many would be confused. Take a look at the this link it does a fair job explaining Par lighting values derived from several common lamp types. The article shows with backup data that the old watts/gal does not work for many of the newer lamp types. Your parameters such as height of the lamp above the substrate, (or plants), the reflector type and condition, the protective glass or plastic between the lamp and the water play a significant part in how much usable light is delivered to your plants.

    I finally rented a Par meter as I was not totally convinced and took some measurements. I have a 50G tank with a tank height of 20". I have a dual T5HO set up which consumes 2 x 54 Watts or 108 watts. I originally figured I had just above 2 watts per gallon and that put me in the higher portion of the low light scale. Turns out that when I actually measured, or when I used the chart at the link above my actual usable light was in the high range and just above the high range. I am now using one bulb only and the measurement and graph have my tank at just below medium.

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    Another informative link on lighting info is here.
    Gas mileage isn't everything OIIIIIIIO
    Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.
    Why pretend there are no stupid questions? Actually, There are many stupid questions: "Should I drink this bleach?" Is just one example.
    Having said that, Just because it's a stupid question doesn't mean that it shouldn't be asked. It's better to know.

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