02-13-2013, 04:53 PM
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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
I gather the tank dimensions are in inches, so this is around a 25g, and the depth/height is the 15 inches, correct? Did it come with a basic hood with a fluorescent tube fixture, and if so, what is the length of the tube itself? I assume this is a T8.
The "T" refers to the diameter of the tube, in eighths of an inch. So a T8 is 8/8 or 1 inch diameter, a T5 is 5/8. But, these two tubes are not interchangeable, each requires its own fixture.
T8 is the sort of basic fluorescent tubes. T5 is a newer advanced tube that can produce considerably more light. The T5 also comes in NO (normal output) and HO (high output), and I think there is a VHO (very high output). T5 was developed mainly for marine and reef tanks where a lot of light intensity is required, and the higher-intensity T5 tubes means you need fewer of them than you would with T8.
When dealing with freshwater planted tanks, T8 can work well. T5 can too, but it is more intense light and often this can be too much if other nutrients are not balanced. I won't go further into that now. When I know the length and type of tube you now have, or whatever light fixture it is, I can offer some suggestions for tubes/bulbs/fixtures. Also, mention if you intend natural planted, or more high-tech with diffused CO2. This makes a difference with the light.