Originally Posted by Byron
I would not use T5 over small tanks.
I think something is going off the rails in this thread, perhaps with all the side discussions. Over a 10g tank, you can use a single T8 tube in the basic fluorescent hood/fixture for the 20-inch tank; or use an incandescant fixture (basic one for this tank again) with two sockets and use 10w Daylight CFL bulbs. You could increase these to 13w if needed.
I have grown pygmy chain swords that exploded in runners in a 10g tank with both systems, so there is no issue of too little light for this plant.
Now, if you are considering the more difficult carpet plants, that's another level. I've never gone down that road, simply because I do not like substrate carpet plants, never have because they are un-natural. But that's just my preference. But even with these, the light might be adequate, though CO2 might be an issue and in a 10g that to me is too much fuss.
Ok, back on track. I'm not considering carpet plants, although I like the look of them better than bare substrate in the foreground, but you're absolutely right that it's too much fussing. At the most basic level, I'm looking for enough light to grow my current plants well and get into the medium light range a little for future plants. You're very clear about my lighting choices. Unfortunately, I have only been doing plants since I started cycling the tank on April 18. I've been reading everythting I can and looking around but I don't have the kind of experience and knowledge to make this decision.
If you tell me light has not been a problem, wonderful for now. The next choice would be to replace the tube and hope the new one is brighter, which I personally feel is not likely, but what the heck.
Then, in terms of what's enough but not too much are the 10W and 13W (20W and 26W) CFLs.
It would really help me if you guys could make an educated recommendation from this list for me, knowing where I'm going. It would make my decision much easier. I know this is probably an unusual request and I certainly indemnify you from anything relating to your recommendation. Or you can tell me that, of my possible choices, the higher the wattage, the higher the light level, and that any of the choices are safe for my tank, in which case I would go with the 13W CFLs. That appears to be in the desired range in W/G recommended by a reputable source, although we're comparing one T8 to two CFLs.
There is only one thing left to do in this post, to thank you and tell you that I hope this post hasn't put you off in any way. If it did, it was my mistake, because I am very appreciative of you and everyone else's help.