Best light for 20L NPT? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-08-2013, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Best light for 20L NPT?

Hi, all. I am driving myself crazy on lighting for my 20L NPT. I have tried a single standard T8 (not bright enough--plants were dying), a single Flora-Sun T8 (beautiful, but plants were continuing to die), and a dual 24W T5 HO (Flora-Sun and Color-Max, which were gorgeous but fried all the frogbit at the top). I have now bought a single Ultra-Sun T8 and am trying it, but it definitely doesn't light up the tank like the T5s did.

What should I be trying?
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-08-2013, 05:06 PM
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First, as you probably noticed, the special "plant bulbs" are not as bright as other bulbs. The FloraSun puts out way less photosynthetic radiation than the T5HO UltraSun. As you found out, T5HO is way too much for the shallow 20L tank. I would think the T8 would be plenty! I use two CFL bulbs on my 20L, it's covered with frogbit and duckweed, and my Swords, Cabomba, and other plants do very well, although they grow slowly.

Did you use "Daylight" bulbs or "soft white"? That can make a huge difference in the spectrum of light. I would expect a T8 Daylight bulb would be just what you needed. Perhaps it's not the light, but your plant selection (stems?) or some other parameter?

18 species/varieties of fish, 15 species/varieties of plants - The fish are finally ahead of the plants!
*560 gallons (2120 liters) in 5 tanks -> you do the math.
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-08-2013, 06:34 PM
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I want to make sure I understand what you have...a 20 Long is 30 inches in length (but shallow). Was/is the T8 single tube a 24-inch tube? If yes, and you use a good tube, this is more than sufficient. I have a 24-inch T8 over my 29g which is 30 inches long but much deeper.

As for tubes, the ZooMed UltraSun T8 should be fine. Assuming it is 24-inches.


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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post #4 of 4 Old 06-08-2013, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, a 20L is only 12" deep, and 30" long. I have a T5 HO that works wonders on my 46 bowfront and just assumed that a matching length would be great on this. Clearly it's too much and I wasted my money, though. :-/

I did love the way my betta girls looked under the T5, but I will try this for a while and see how it goes.

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