01-13-2010, 02:51 PM
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Responding first to your last question, you will have little if any luck growing healthy plants in an aquarium without a light over it unless it is near a good source of daylight (window). Planted tanks in front of windows can be very healthy; Rhonda Wilson who writes for TFH has included photos of hers, and Karen Randall in AFI some years ago. However, viewing the tank is not that easy without an overhead light, and the intensity of daylight has an impact, and there are some other considerations...I would recommend a light fixture.
Hoods for tanks can be expensive new, especially with a fluorescent tube light, although many are having success with small tanks using the screw-in compact fluorescent bulbs. Thinking of money savings, there are two options.
First, buy an incandescent hood and use CF bulbs. Second, use a plain glass cover (hinged in the middle allowing for opening to feed, etc) and a single tube fluorescent fixture. The latter will be less expensive than the complete hood, though probably not by much. The hood you now have may have a glass panel and the light can sit on this (you need a piece of glass between the tube/bulb and water surface). Of course, there is always used fixtures, online, some stores or aquarium clubs have sales, etc.
Last edited by Byron; 01-13-2010 at 02:54 PM..