Originally Posted by shadetreeme
I have 2-18" tubes and all they say is 15W aquarium lamp
I have been swimming through the posts in the plan section and found a couple of plants I would like.
Amazon sward and Vallisneria americana. Thanks for your help.... plants seem like they can be as addictive as the fish
OK, first thing is, you will have to get new tubes. But relax, they are not expensive if you buy them at a hardware store. The normal "aquarium" tubes are usually weak light, high in the red and blue so the tank will take on a purplish hue. Plants do best under full spectrum lighting, and fish and plant colours will be rendered correctly for viewing.
You will look for 18-inch tubes, preferably T8 (rather than the thicker T12, the "T" number is just the tube diameter so T8 is smaller but they are more efficient); choose a full spectrum that has a Kelvin rating of around 6500K. Phillips, Sylvania, GE all make these, they call them "Daylight" or some such name, just try to find the Kelvin number if you can. Two of those will work well.
And with that light, sword plants will be fine. Vallisneria should also work OK, I would suggest the smaller corkscrew Vallisneria as the other species can get very large. We have fish and plant profiles here, second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top of the screen, or you can click on a shaded name in posts to see that profile (example, Corkscrew Vallisneria is shaded). The common Amazon Sword is also in the profiles, along with many other species.
For your browsing, there is a "sticky" series of 4 articles at the head of this section entitled "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" that will provide a lot of background information on plants.