Need help with lighting!! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-26-2007, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
Need help with lighting!!

I've had my 28g freshwater tank for about 4 months. I would like it to be fully planted, but so far it's not going too well. I'm sure it's the lighting; what I'm using now is what came with the aquarium, and I know it's about useless. I've managed to keep an amazon sword alive, but it's not looking it's best. Everything else has died, or is close to dieing. The tank is 24" deep, and I'll most likely be keeping julii corys, an angel, and some cardinals. As far as plants go, I don't know too many by name. Plants suited to moderate/high lighting would probably be what I'm looking for. What kind of lighting do I need, and what system would be best? I've got to keep in under $150-200... the least expensive the better! However, I do want something that'll get the job done. Any suggestions would be great!!
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-26-2007, 06:52 PM
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Well the first step is to go HERE and input the dimensions of your tank. While there is still some controversy out there about what constitutes medium/high high light, this site really has been reseached well and it seems to be more reliable than just watts per gallon for the light levels.

Next, you need to decide what type of lighting you want to have. Compact Flourescent lighting will provide the moist wattage and lumens for the size of the fixture. T5 would be next with T8 then T10. Each one of them requiring more and more bulbs to reach the light levels you want.

If you are into DIY, then it could be really easy to get a light for your tank through HERE . By getting the reflector and the right retorift kit you could easily reach the lighting you need for the levels you want.

One note on the amazon sword. Once you go to much higher lighting the sword could very easily overtake your tank and become more a neusance than a centerpiece. I grew one to well over 16 inches across with just barely over 3 w/g of normal flourescent lighting in a 10 gallon tank.

(Post moved to freshwater plants, should get more help and more useful information there.)
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post #3 of 9 Old 11-27-2007, 10:03 AM
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post #4 of 9 Old 11-27-2007, 12:17 PM
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Both lights are ok but let's make sure you get the lights you want and not just a another fixture you want to replace later. has a couple kits, the 36 watt kit would actually be the perfect way to go if you really want the perfect lighting. Getting 3 of the kits or even 4 of them would allow for you to get multiple bulbs all across the spectrum and allow you to customize your actual light levels instead of just having one or two choices for bulbs. And don't be afraid to go a little over your wattage in bubls and use a 50/50 actinic bulb to reduce the wattage to where you really want it. While actinincs do not add to the w/g they do add a valuable spectrum of light and are used by many enthusiasts to complete the light spectrum for optimul growth.

Also, there are T5 lighting strips out there that take 3-6 bulbs that should fit your tank. As soon as I find the link again I will get it to you.
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-27-2007, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
Thanks everyone, the links were a good start. I don't really understand all this light jargon... kelvin, lumens, w/g...
Someone posted this link.... I love the price, but is it sufficient for my tank? I want something permenent... I think buying something good now would be cheaper than having to buy another later.
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post #6 of 9 Old 11-29-2007, 01:19 PM
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go with the better lights from

COAST SoCali Fish Club
SCAPE SoCali Plant Club
Bobs Tropical Plants
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-29-2007, 02:20 PM
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If you want this to be the last fixture you need to get, get one with at least the capability to hold 220 watts of lighting. This will cover most situations for the future. With that wattage you can customize exactly how much light you want and can upgrade or downgrade it as your needs change.

You might also want to look into getting a pressurized CO2 unit for the future because once you hit medium/high to high light it will almost be a neccessity to keep algae under control. DIY CO2 will work but takes a lot to make it work, especially for tanks over 25 gallons or so.
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post #8 of 9 Old 11-29-2007, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
I'm going with DIY for now. I don't have anything extra to spend on this aquarium at the moment. 220 watts sounds good, but what about the whole kelvin deal?
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post #9 of 9 Old 11-30-2007, 12:07 AM
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The Kelvin Scale is the light spectrum. Anything from 6,500-10,000K fits the needs of plants just fine. I am an advicate for the more variety the better.

For a 28 I don't know if you need the whole 220. I appologize, I thought it was for a 55. You can still get it because I have seen very successful tanks with well over 10 w/g but I wouldn't go that high right off the bat.

50/50 actinic bulbs would give you 110 watts of "rated" light and still give you awesome growth and the ability to customize later on and add more if you want it.

It would also let you put the light up to a foot above the tank and not worry about not having enough light.

4 of the 36 watt bulbs would be more than enough if you want to spend a little less but still have plenty of light.

Again, I appologize for giving the higher numbers, if you still want them it can still work and gives more options but 220w is a ton of light for a 28.
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