Originally Posted by maysick1
Sorry I made a mistake I have 1x 24w 10,000k compact flourecent tube and 1x actinic. What is actinic? should I still lower my lighting?
10,000k is going a bit high on the spectrum for plants, but I've had sources claim that plants will do just as well under this lighting. If you want to err on the side of safety, go with a 6,500k bulb.
Actinic lighting is not utilised by plants, but rather by corals.
One 24W bulb over a 12 gallon should be more than enough for most plants.
Another thing which affects successful plant growth is the photoperiod. Make sure that your plants are getting 6-12 hours of light daily, and ensure that they get a few hours of near or total darkness at night.
A few people mentioned that light must be balanced with nutrients, and I don't think there's anything more important than keeping this in mind with planted tanks. You could have a 150W metal halide on your tank with regards to light, but if that isn't matched with the necessary nutrients, you're just wasting electricity. Most fish stores sell fertilisers in liquid form. The fertilisers will have the necessary dosing instructions on the bottle.
Are you keeping fish in this tank? A few fish may be necessary to produce adequate amounts of nitrates and phosphates; these nutrients are necessary for plant growth. But I'm just going to go ahead that you either already have fish in this tank, or are planning on introducing some in the near future.
Also, you're going to want to go with hardy plants, especially being a self-professed and total noobie at keeping plants alive. Rotala Wallichii is considered hard to keep for various reasons.
Hornwort should thrive in your tank. It sure did thrive in mine with minimal lighting.
I would recommend most species of Cryptocoryne, Anubias and Java Fern as beginner plants, although there are literally hundreds of plant species which are considered easy to keep. Do keep in mind that both the Anubias and the Java Fern are painfully slow growers.
Recap: Forget the actinic light even exists, replace your 10,000k bulb with a 6,500k bulb. Dose fertilisers.
Best of luck with your planted aquarium adventure.