Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources (
-   Beginner Planted Aquarium (
-   -   Lighting question (

ollecram 10-11-2009 07:35 AM

Lighting question
ok so I want to start putting plants in my tank. Ive been looking for lights and light fixtures but its kind of confusing. I'm not sure which ones ot get. i have a 29 gallon tank and I'm looking to put some plants like dwarf hairgrass and java moss in it. maybe some anubias nana and java fern. Also, i need some background plants. can you guys recommend some? ok so i was looking and i think these are the lights and fixtures that i need, but im not sure.

Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: All-Glass Twin-Tube Black Strip Lights

lights (2)
Aquarium Lighting: T-5 Fluorescent Bulbs: Hagen Life-GLO T-5 HO 6700K Bulb

are these the right ones? Thanks for the help. :-D

MoneyMitch 10-11-2009 10:46 AM

do a search on lighting in the forum search bar and you will find all you need, we cover this like 2 times a day everyday cause nobody wants to search :)

ollecram 10-11-2009 11:17 AM

the reason i was asking was because i was searched and i found this topic
and it was almost my same question. I just needed to know if that same setup would work for me thanks

Byron 10-11-2009 12:33 PM

I see I had input in the linked thread, so I'll comment directly here to your questions. The info in the thread applies, but with your choice of plants you've got a disparity.

Java Fern, Java Moss and Anubias are all relatively low-light plants. Dwarf Hairgrass is exactly the opposite; most aquarists find it difficult to grow even with high light and CO2. You should perhaps revise your choice in plants. From the other thread and my Aquarium photos, you can see the wide variety of plants possible with minmal light, no CO2 and minor fertilization. What we tend to refer to as basically low-tech, natural systems. The main issue is light, which brings me to your first post and the links to the fixture and tube.

The fixture is a good one in my view, I bought two of them this past July to replace my 12+ year ones that finally gave out. It takes regular fluorescent tubes, not T5 tubes which require a different fixture; so you can't use the tube in the second link in the fixture in the first link.

The first decision is what plants you want; most rooted plants (swords, crypts, aponogeton, anubias, java fern, vallisneria, sagitarria...) will manage with moderate light. Some stem plants also, like the Brazilian Pennywort in my 115g, and the Wisteria in my 70g SE Asian tank. But many of the other stem plants require a bit more light, and more light generally requires added CO2 because the CO2 from the fish and biological processes in the aquarium will be insufficient to match the light--it is all about balance. And the nutrients have to balance as well.

If you go with low and moderate light plants, on your 29g tank, a single-tube fixture will be sufficient; a double-tube regular fixture would also work, a bit more light but with floating plants that would probably be fine. I have a 33g tank with one regular tube, and plants grow quite well in it. Myself, I would not go with a T5 on a small (relatively) tank. I tried a twin-tube T5 fixture in July, and had it for a week before I took it back for the regular All Glass fixture. Too much light. We want enough light to enable the plants to photosynthesize, but not so much that the fish become blinded or algae increases. Most of the fish we keep come from dimly-lit waters and would be very happy with no light at all over them; so the light is solely for the benefit of the plants, and our viewing of the aquarium. The less light to do the job, the better.


ollecram 10-11-2009 02:00 PM

aw man. no dwarf hairgrass then. i want a plant to cover the bottom of my tank like a carpet. is there anything like that for my level of light? Thanks for the help Byron, but now i'm not sure which light to get, or even if i should keep that fixture. If i keep the fixture, would 2 of these bulbs be better?
Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: Life-Glo 2 Fluorescent Light Bulbs
or should i find a different fixture with just one bulb?

WisFish 10-11-2009 02:08 PM

A single bulb fixture (17 watts) on a 29 gal tank wouild be too little. You should go with the twin tube fixture at a minimum. The fixture you suggested would be good. You have the choice of t-8 t-10 or t-12 bulbs. Use a daylight 6500-6700K bulb or a bulb made for planted tanks.

ollecram 10-11-2009 02:10 PM

so the fixture and the second bulb i suggested would work?

WisFish 10-11-2009 02:14 PM

Absolutely. You could also just head to the hardware store and use a standard GE or Sylvania Daylight bulb if you'd like to save over $10 a bulb. Just make sure it's the daylight 6500K bulb, not the cool white or warm white.

Byron 10-11-2009 03:02 PM

WisFish has helped you, i was off doing my weekly partial water changes.

Yes, I didn't know you already had the twin fixture, but I agree it will do fine. The Sylvannia Daylight is a good light, I used to use this as my second tube until Home Depot in Canada stopped carrying it, now they stock Phillips, and their Daylight Deluxe 6500K is much the same. I use one of these along with one Life-Glo 2 on each of my three larger aquaria. There is a slight difference, I would suggest the same pairing for you, one Life-Glo 2 (this one is cheaper than the Life-Glo) and one Sylvannia Daylight.

To answer your question on substrate cover plants, in my current 115g [Amazonian Riverscape] photos you will see Echinodorus quadricostatus, and in my 90g [Flooded Amazonian Forest] Echinodorus tenellus. The latter has slightly narrower leaves and does not grow quite as tall, maybe 4-5 inches compared to 6-7 inches for E. quadricostatus. In brighter light than what we are discussing here, it remains shorter (both species). Both are sold under the common name Pygmy Chain Sword or sometimes Dwarf Chain Sword, because of its fast reproduction by sending out runners along the substrate with daughter plants arising every 2-4 inches. The E. tenellus is the more commonly-available plant. As you can see in my photos, they are both light green in colour, a nice contrast to the darker swords, and send out runners like crazy once it is settled in. The entire stand of E. tenellus in the 90g came from one plant I purchased last November, and the E. quadricostatus in the 115g are daughters of the original plant I bought at a club auction in 1997 or 1998. I have a 33g tank full of both these plants that are culled from the main tanks; I give them away to hobbyists who want them.


ollecram 10-11-2009 05:12 PM

I went to my home depot today looking for the sylvannia, and they said they dont carry them. i asked where they would and the guy was clueless. so instead of hunting them down through multiple home depots, would it be ok if i just had 2 life-glo 2?

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:45 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome