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Granberry 10-01-2012 11:02 AM

Lighting for an unusual tank
I recently got some good input for a weird plants only tank I am setting up experimenting with different substrates and lighting, and now I'd like input for the proper lighting for a tank that will be plants and a few shy fish.

This is the Mr. Aqua "bookshelf" tank, and it's about 35 inches long, 8 inches wide and 9 inches deep. I have Seachem fluorite substrate in it and am using black sand on top of that to look nice. I was planning on putting 5 glass/ghost catfish in it and maybe 8 of my 15 Celestial Pearl Danios in it.

I usually use the Aquaticlife lights which come with one 6000K and one 650nm Roseate T5 HO bulb, but I am afraid that will really really stress these shy little fishes with a tank this narrow and shallow no matter how many plants I get in there.

What light would someone familiar with these fish recommend with a tank of these weird dimensions? I have a 60-variety pack of plants coming this week and I can pick and choose what plants to go in it from there, so if you want to recommend plants, I am very open to that too, hoping they're in the variety pack!

Quantum 10-01-2012 06:12 PM

dual tube T5HO will be way too much light, and it seems to me than most any fluorescent fixture will look bulky and out of proportion on such a tank, I would look into LEDs, some LED fixtures are no more than an inch or so wide and less than an inch tall

something like this: Aquarium LED Lights: Current USA TrueLumen Pro LED Striplights, in the 8000K, it is a bit cool in color temp, but might work

Granberry 10-05-2012 06:12 AM

Do pictures help explain the issue?
4 Attachment(s)
I'm going to post a picture of it in hopes that will help me get some good advice. I really really want these plants to do well, but I also have looked forward to having CPD forever, and I don't want them to be stressed by an overly bright light. If the 36" T5 HO wouldn't blast them with the 6500 and the roseate lamp, that would be good beacause I really really want to be successful with these plants. I realize I will have to nourish them with great care if I use this light.

I don't mind spending money to buy a better light as I have more money than time! If there is a better light more appropriate for this 36 x 5 x 9 tank, please let me know.

PS: Any guesses what these plants are? I bought them in a random 36-plant assortment. I am just trying to get them planted for now...I'll make them rettier later!

Quantum 10-05-2012 06:26 AM

since you don't seem to know much about lighting, the kelvin rating/spectrum (6500/"roseate" for this fixture) has nothing to do at all with the quantity of light, only the type of light emitted

Granberry 10-05-2012 08:08 AM

Yes, it's quite fair to say I don't know much about lighting. I just want to (a) grow some nice pretty plants (b) without freaking out the shy little fish. If the LED TrueLumen 8000K cool lighting whatchamacallit thing you referenced before will do both A and B, then I will buy it on faith without understanding it. So will it? Or is there a different recommendation you'd make now having seen it?

pop 10-05-2012 08:44 AM

Hello Granberry:

Reefer Madness posted this link at another thread it will help with basic understanding of all the terms and uses. I am in the same boat trying to get a handle on PAR, PUR, Kelvin ect. . good information about T8, T5, T2, sho and cfl’s. also depth of lights penetration of water column. Wordily but full of information.

Aquarium Lighting; Reef, Planted Light Information. PAR, Bulb, Watt, Kelvin, Nanometers, MH, LED.


Quantum 10-05-2012 06:35 PM

I knew the dimensions of the tank when I said that a dual T5HO would be way too much light

it looks like you have the Aqueon (dual non-HO T5) light on there now, or Coralife single non-HO T5, I have the latter on a 29 gal and it is more than enough light, this is the most I would even consider for such a small tank and I think it would be plenty for most plants, though I suppose some may need more

you options are somewhat limited, if it were me, I would try one of the better LED fixtures, most are designed more for reef/marine tanks, but some are for planted tanks

in addition to the smaller form (for a small tank) another aspect of the LEDs that could be of benefit here is that some, but not all, are dimmable, so that you could lessen the intensity if it proves to be too much

Granberry 10-06-2012 09:04 AM

I am going to give the one you linked to a try. I have to buy the 36 inch, and it comes in 4 colors: deep water blue, sun white, diamond white, and another one that indicates it's for marine. Do have have a color recommendation? There are CPD and 5 glass catfish in there.

This works out anyway because now I can move this light to my other weird 5-tanks-in-1 combination.

PS: The tank isn't 5 inches wide; it's 8. That was a typo.

Stoke88 10-06-2012 01:24 PM

Not that this is any help to your lighting discussion, but that is one of the coolest tanks I have ever seen. Where did you find something like that?

Granberry 10-06-2012 02:20 PM

I <3 Mr. Aqua tanks!

Originally Posted by Stoke88 (Post 1267343)
Not that this is any help to your lighting discussion, but that is one of the coolest tanks I have ever seen. Where did you find something like that?

Thank you so much! It is a Mr. Aqua brand tank, and I got it at MarineDepot (.com). They have them at Amazon too. I am crazy about them! I have the 13.3-gallon bowfront too. You can see all of their stuff at They even have stands made just for them.

PS: The lighting discussion wasn't going anywhere anyway! :) PLUS when I checked the link to make sure it worked, I saw they make lighting too, so you really did contribute, lol!

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