Do I need new light bulbs? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 2 Old 11-14-2011, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Do I need new light bulbs?

I have had live plants in my aquarium for years, but it's generally been one plant per tank and something really easy. Now I want to add some more plants to some tanks. I'd live to have anubias, java fern, and duckweed in my betta tank (10 gal). I would like Anubias, java fern, water sprite, and maybe a stem plant (nothing too fancy) in my loach tank (25 gal). The betta tank has a Penn-Plax FL 15 (that's all it says on the bulb; I literally know nothing about it since I can't even remember how old that hood set is). The loach tank came with the basic bulb that comes in every aquarium hood set nowadays. Will I need to upgrade my bulbs?


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post #2 of 2 Old 11-14-2011, 11:47 AM
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In answer to your title question, probably yes. I had a look for data on the Penn-Plaxx but without success, but in my experience with many tubes, any one that "enhances fish colours" usually isn't sufficient for plants. These tubes are high in the red and blue spectrum, which is what plants need, but are very low in the intensity. Not sure why this is, but in every tube I have ever had this was the case.

Your existing fixtures are likely fine, so new tubes/bulbs is all that is needed. For the fluorescent tube, I would recommend a full spectrum or daylight type. From a fish store, the Hagen Life-Glo is my personal choice over single-tube tanks. ZooMed's Ultra Sun is nearly identical, and probably a bit less expensive. A very inexpensive alternative is a "daylight" tube made by GE, Phillips or Sylvania from a hardware-type store; these do not come in all lengths, so I can't say there is one to fit your fixture, but if there is, look for a T8 tube that has a kelvin rating of 6500K (6000K to 7000K range).

For the other tank, by "bulb" if you mean an incandescent (screw-in) type, then the best are the daylight compact fluorescent bulbs made by GE with a 6500K rating. Two 10w bulbs (assuming two sockets in the fixture) will work fine.


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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