Originally Posted by The Game
I have a T5 bulb, but what does all these T5, T8, T12, 5000 K rating all mean?
T=tubular bulb , The number after = size of the bulb (diameter)
T5 =5/8 inch diameter
T8= 1 inch diameter
T12 = 1 1/2 inch diameter.
K rating(kelvin) = Temp and spectrum output.
The two T5 bulbs you have would be considered High light for your tank ,and would increase the demand for CO2 and fertilizers in order to keep up with the demand from plants under this type lighting while not encouraging lots of algae.
If the fixture you have would allow you to run just one bulb (many won't) then perhaps you could use the present fixture and one bulb.
Otherwise ,were it me,, I would look for a fixture that accepts T8 bulbs as described earlier. these would be less intense and would allow plants to grow albeit slowly without addition of CO2 and or fertilizers.
The more intense the light,the more demand from the plants for CO2. The more CO2 the faster the growth and the demand for fertilizers then becomes the limiting factor for growth.
I confess I am not all that well schooled on plants other than easy to grow plants under low to moderate lighting.
When you begin to inject CO2 into the equation,, I am near ignorant.
Byron,who is also a member here would perhaps be able to explain better what I have attempted thus far but I hope you get the drift so to speak.
Were it me,, I would search for a plain old shop light that can be hung over the tank, or laid on top assuming the tank has a lid and slap a couple full spectrum T8 bulbs around 32 watts each with a 5 to 6000 K rating and this would in my view allow you to grow the plants and observe the rate of growth without also fighting a large algae problem.
You can always choose to go with more lighting and or CO2 at some later point after you have examined the pros and cons of low tech method and or high tech with respect to planted aquariums.(research)
I am presently following Non CO2 method described by a gentleman named Tom Barr and thus far am pleased with the results.
There are several ways to grow plants , best to select one method,,and follow it rather than try and incorporate parts of different methods like some folks I know
I often seem to make things harder on myself before allowing them to become easy.
Would not wish the same for anyone else.