Perfect Lighting for Planted Aquarium?
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Perfect Lighting for Planted Aquarium?

This is a discussion on Perfect Lighting for Planted Aquarium? within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I want to convert my aquarium into a planted aquarium. I have a 47 gallon tank. I want to be able to grow mosses ...

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Perfect Lighting for Planted Aquarium?
Old 04-26-2012, 12:54 AM   #1
 
Lightbulb Perfect Lighting for Planted Aquarium?

I want to convert my aquarium into a planted aquarium. I have a 47 gallon tank. I want to be able to grow mosses for the most part. Java moss, pellia moss, crystalwort, and such. Currently the only lighting I have is a desk lamp I've nailed to the wall. I've only been able to keep lucky bamboo and Anubis since they require low lights.
I've seen many pictures of aquascaping and some of the professional lighting is amazing. The tanks are illuminated thoroughly but not excessively.

Take this tank for example ---> http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tYOAWn3S7v...e+01082010.jpg

It is well lit but not enough to damage the plants

Exact tank measurements are 17 x 18 x 36

What type of lighting should I use?
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:59 AM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Castiel View Post
I want to convert my aquarium into a planted aquarium. I have a 47 gallon tank. I want to be able to grow mosses for the most part. Java moss, pellia moss, crystalwort, and such. Currently the only lighting I have is a desk lamp I've nailed to the wall. I've only been able to keep lucky bamboo and Anubis since they require low lights.
I've seen many pictures of aquascaping and some of the professional lighting is amazing. The tanks are illuminated thoroughly but not excessively.

Take this tank for example ---> http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_tYOAWn3S7v...e+01082010.jpg

It is well lit but not enough to damage the plants

Exact tank measurements are 17 x 18 x 36

What type of lighting should I use?

Java moss is great and doesnt require much light. look into Java Fern as well. You want 6500k rated bulbs or maybe even 10,000k rated. Also You want high wattage to produce a lot of light.

Look at your light fixture. it will tell you the Max wattage you can put on it.

You usually wants 2 watts per gallon. so 60 watts for a 30 gallon tank would be more than enough light for high light in demand plants. At this amount of light you might need to add C02 and most def will need to add fertz.

Also how long is the fixture....30" I am guessing because that would be the next standard size.

Unless you go T5 you can only get a 30" 25 Watt 6500K bulb. You would have to do some modifications for high lights plants. You could also just add another type of lighting.

The best way, although not cheapest would be to get a new fixture that can hold a T5 or T8 lights.

The cheapest is to change the hood you have now. That would require some DIY. There is a great tutorial posted by Mika in the DIY section of how to do this. I kind of did something like it but not really and I have more than enough light now. Good luck!

Last edited by Termato; 04-26-2012 at 01:01 AM..
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:59 AM   #3
 
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Whoa, whoa, whoa.

If all you are wanting is mosses ... they do not need bright light, they do perfectly fine under low light. A single traditional T8 fixture for your tank will be more than sufficient, and as stated should be 6500-6700K ideally in temperature.

The picture you linked is a high light and high tech tank. They use a T5HO fixture which is very bright light, and often at least 2 sometimes 4 tubes. Each T5HO tube is 1.5x the light of a T8. For a high tech tank with bright lighting like what was picture, you'll be forced into using pressurized CO2 (very expensive start up cost) and daily dosing of fertilizers.
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:10 PM   #4
 
I've tried doing a little bit of research on T5. It looks like it might be what I'm looking in terms of light intensity. However I've only been able to find blue-ish T5. I need a white. I think I might try using LED's instead or a few T8's
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:22 PM   #5
 
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Yea, sorry i went a little overboard on the first post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Castiel View Post
I've tried doing a little bit of research on T5. It looks like it might be what I'm looking in terms of light intensity. However I've only been able to find blue-ish T5. I need a white. I think I might try using LED's instead or a few T8's
For the mean time just look for bulbs that fit your fixture that are rated at 6500k.

You can keep low light plants on that. Then when you get more plants you can upgrade lights.

Those lights usually run for $5 to $12 max for the stock hoods.
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:31 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Castiel View Post
I've tried doing a little bit of research on T5. It looks like it might be what I'm looking in terms of light intensity. However I've only been able to find blue-ish T5. I need a white. I think I might try using LED's instead or a few T8's
Mosses are low-moderate light requirement plants. But I would get a proper aquarium light fixture over your tank, it will provide better light with some scope to expand the plants, and be nicer to look at.

On your tank you could go with incandescent light; fixture will be less expensive than fluorescent tube, and you can use the Compact Fluorescent bulbs (CFL) which in "daylight" provide very good plant light. But over a 47g, 3-foot tank, I would do fluorescent tube.

And this gives you some options. A single T8 tube in 30 inches will suffice for mosses and many other plants. A single T5 will provide half as much light again, roughly. The photo below is my 33g which is 3 feet, and it has a single T8 30-inch tube. Java Moss grows well, along with pygmy chain sword and Java Fern, and I have floating plants (essential for most fish).

The less light, the better on fish and less change of algae issues.

Byron.
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