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Thread: plant lighting

  1. #1

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    0 Not allowed!
    I bought a 40 watt floresent tube for my hood on my 50 gal, is that enough lighting for proper plant care????? please dont read and ignore!!
    ~ The fish dude~

  2. #2

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    0 Not allowed!
    40 watts on a 50 greatly hinders the types of plants you can have. Is this a 36x18x21 50 gallon?

    Watts per gallon can help, but in some situations do not reflect actual light distribution. For example, if this tank has a 36x18 footprint and you have anubias on a piece of driftwood in the middle up by the light, they will still do well even the watts per gallon guides say you have to stick to the absolutely lowest light level plants. The whole tank does not have to be well lit for the plants in the middle up top to do well.

    For you to have a nice well planted tank though you should look in to upgrading your lighting system.
    Aquarist since 1995
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  3. #3

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Fishguy2727
    40 watts on a 50 greatly hinders the types of plants you can have. Is this a 36x18x21 50 gallon?

    Watts per gallon can help, but in some situations do not reflect actual light distribution. For example, if this tank has a 36x18 footprint and you have anubias on a piece of driftwood in the middle up by the light, they will still do well even the watts per gallon guides say you have to stick to the absolutely lowest light level plants. The whole tank does not have to be well lit for the plants in the middle up top to do well.

    For you to have a nice well planted tank though you should look in to upgrading your lighting system.


    do you have any in mind?
    ~ The fish dude~

  4. #4

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    Plants need at least 3 watts of light per gallon of water. 4 to 5 watts is better but not required. Some low-light plants can handle 2w, but they really like 3w.

    Bulbs should be in the 6700k spectrum.

    For example, I use a 130 watt setup on my 30 gallon tank, consisting of two 65 watt 6700k compact fluorescent bulbs.



    As an aside, watch your temperature, as plant lighting can raise the water temperature, especially if used inside a canopy.


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  5. #5

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    0 Not allowed!
    I have not found it to be set in stone like that at all. None of my tanks have that level of lighting and all are planted. See my photobucket page for pics. My best one has just under 1wpg.

    I suggest the Coralife T5 fixtures. Check them out and see what you think.
    Aquarist since 1995
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  6. #6

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    I will look into that! thanks!!
    ~ The fish dude~

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    You can get away with about 1 watt per gallon, but your choices in plants will be very limited. Try some Java Fern, Java Moss, Amazon Sword, and Crypts. I would definitely suggest investing in better lighting if you want to expand your options and get the full advantage of a planted tank. But I have seen some great tanks with less than 1wpg.
    10g - planted, 4 otocinclus, 6 amano shrimp

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by gunk
    You can get away with about 1 watt per gallon, but your choices in plants will be very limited. Try some Java Fern, Java Moss, Amazon Sword, and Crypts. I would definitely suggest investing in better lighting if you want to expand your options and get the full advantage of a planted tank. But I have seen some great tanks with less than 1wpg.

    and anubias of course..

  9. #9

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    Oh yea meant to say that too. Sorry.

    I should also add that some of these plants don't grow very fast and without at least 2wpg you won't see much growth for a while. You may also experience a greater initial die off because of how low your light is.
    10g - planted, 4 otocinclus, 6 amano shrimp

  10. #10

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    0 Not allowed!
    I took a 2x15w (18") plastic hood and gutted it. I removed every thing; I put in a new instant ballast and squezed in 4 bulbs. Now Im pumping 3 watts per gallon (Ill let you do the math to figure my tank size). I have noticed a huge increase in plant growth and I can now try some non beginer plants; I have done well with them.

    I am working on a step by step on what I did, I just have to sit down and organize it.

    Basicly the cost was $25 for the ballast, $3 each for the 8 cleats for a total of $49. You can find the cleats cheaper but then would have had shipping, its the same to pay double at the hardware store.
    I then came back and tapped in a 120vac->12vdc to run a 3" cooling fan. The fan comes on when the light is turned on and I no longer have a hot top glass heating up my tank. The light is run by a $9 digital brinks timer.

    I would suggest doing this when you find that the plants do not do so well with one watt.
    -BotanicalBill of SW Florida

    20g High planted.
    2 neons; 3 skirted tetra; 1 corey; 3 otos; 4-5 glass shrimp; water feas
    DIY modified hood with new ballast and 4 bulbs (60w)
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