08-17-2012, 02:42 PM
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First issue is what you want in the tank. If you are going for moderate (and low) light plants with some floating plants, and a natural method, then a single T8 tube will work fine. A single T5 with a NO tube is about equal to this, but with an HO tube you are into more light so that might create issues depending upon your setup. More intense light is going to mean more nutrients to balance [and it is possible to literally burn plants out with too much light if the balance is out] or algae will be more of a nuisance, and it likely will mean less duration is possible again due to the algae.
The above is one issue. Another is spectrum, no matter what tube you have. Plants definitely do best under around 6500K (between 5,000K and 7,000K). I prefer the 6500K because it is a cooler crisper white.