06-25-2013, 11:15 PM
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Wattage certainly matters if not much more then color temp. 6500K is the 'ideal' color for plants, but it is just color. Running lower or higher will not have a significant impact apart from how the plants appear colorwise. Lower kelvin temps will have a yellow light while higher kelvin temps will have a bluish light. For starting out on a 55 gallon I would recommend using 2 of the tubes. Plant the tank moderately to start with and run light 6-8 hours a day initially. Too much light too soon will easily give you algae regardless of the type of light. There will likely be some plant die back at first since plants get stressed. Once the plants have settled in and started growing you can run the light longer. If the tank gets fairly heavily planted you could easily get away with running a 3rd bulb, but you will want a lot more fertilizers at that point.