Been reading the boards here and I'm totally confused.. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-07-2011, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
Been reading the boards here and I'm totally confused..

Hello again!

I am setting up my 55 gallon and I know I want to make sure I have enough lights for plants in the tank. Of course, the tank came with 2 standard 24 inch hoods. Can someone tell me.. (in plain English ) what lights to go get from Home depot when I go to get the lights? I want to have enough light to be able to grow most normally available plants, nothing exotic.. like swords and java ferns.. hornwort maybe..

I've read enough to know to not go to the LFS for lights since they are more expensive there.

My husband is an engineer, so even knowing what light temperature (like 6700k?).. what about watts per gallon? foot-candles? and if any "color" is better than others for the plants and the fish.

We don't have the money to spend alot on these.. so nothing too fancy?

Would the curly q compact florescent types be good? They seem to be inexpensive and powerful...

any suggestions please?



Last edited by ginagv; 01-07-2011 at 09:19 AM. Reason: he made me ask more specific questions =p
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-07-2011, 09:23 AM
redchigh's Avatar
Go buy 6700k tubes, often called daylight or cool white.

Good luck.

Oh, do make sure you have a good liquid fertiliser. Flourish comprehensive is the best.

Watts per gallon is an archaic myth- every aquarium is different. If you want to add CO2 gas to your aquarium, and dose nutrients several times a week, then you will need much more light, about 3-4 watts per gallon would be enough. You'll be rewarded with excellent fast growth (once you find balance).

Most of us here use the "low tech" approach. Lower light (<1 - 2 watts per gallon), no CO2 setups, and weekly (if any) maintenance. The growth is slower, but to put it simply- it's good enough for us. Plus the fish prefer a low-light tank.

Byron has some very good stickies at the top of the topic list.

Originally Posted by Christople View Post
^^ genius

Soil Substrates Guide:
Part 1
--------- Part 2


Last edited by redchigh; 01-07-2011 at 09:28 AM.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-07-2011, 09:37 AM
tanker's Avatar
Yes, the information can be confusing. I haven't replaced the tubes that came with my aquariums and my plants have been growing and look ok to me. I'm not sure what's in there - I remember one tube is called "tropical" (very helpful). I had a look at the hardware shop the other day, and the tubes in there didn't seem to have the kelvin rating on some of them either. I haven't got around to googling what they are to see if I can get daylight tubes.

Although not ideal, if the tubes that came with your tank are aquarium lights and have come from an aquarium company they might be enough to get you started as they have me.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-07-2011, 11:01 AM
redchigh's Avatar
Light companies in the USA are required by law to list the kelvin color on the packaging. Sometimes it's hard to find, but once you find it on one package it's in the same place on other brands.

The spiral-type CFLs are what I use, but the tubes are fine if you already have the fixture.

Originally Posted by Christople View Post
^^ genius

Soil Substrates Guide:
Part 1
--------- Part 2

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post #5 of 5 Old 01-07-2011, 06:47 PM
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Can't add much to the good advice already given. Just to say that the tubes that come with aquarium hoods are usually rubbish. I bought All Glass fixtures last year for two tanks and the tubes went straight to recycling. The so-called "aquarium" tubes are usually high in blue and red which casts a ghoulish purplish hue; but far worse is the fact that they are about half the intensity of daylight, so with minimal tubes over your 55g the light needs to be good. Redchigh correctly stated what you want; GE, Sylvania, Phillips all make them, they call them "daylight" or "daylight deluxe" or some similar name, but the kelvin around 6500K is what you look for, and that's it. They are only a couple dollars in hardware or home improvement stores. Measure your existing tubes end to end (not including the prongs) and that is the size you want.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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