20 Gallon Long Lighting
Hi, I'm about to start a 20 gallon long that I plan to have about 50% planted. I'm looking to do a low tech setup. I was wondering if anyone could advise on the lighting situation. I have the tank but no hood or bulbs yet. I want to get the bulbs from somewhere like Home Depot to save a bit of money. Any suggestions on hood/light fixtures and bulbs that would work?
Hi Antix and Welcome to TFK!
I have a 20G long tank myself, it's not planted, but that makes me familiar with your size....
i believe the tank is 30" across. I have never seen 30" bulbs at Home Depot or anywhere else for that fact. You could get away with buying a 30" hood which holds a single 18" or 24" bulb.
A great bulb I have in my 55G planted tank are either the "cool white" or "full spectrum" I have one of each of those across my 55g and my plants are growing like madd. They do have both of these in the smaller size. Full spectrum most immitates the suns natural sunlight at high-peak.
I hope some of this helps, others will be along to check in!!
Have you given any thoughts to what plants you want to keep or any nutrients you will be using for them??
A single T8 or T5 NO [not HO] tube will be sufficient. It is up to you if you go with a custom hood made for the tank, or alternatively buy a glass cover and a single-tube fixture. Check out prices locally or online, I know the glass covers are relatively inexpensive but I've no idea how the cost of a full hood with a fixture compares. Once you have the fixture, a full spectrum, natural daylight, enhanced daylight... whatever they call it, tube with a kelvin rating around 6500K will work. You can buy such tubes at hardware stores, made by Phillips, Sylvania, GE. The length of tube will have to fit your fixture.
T8 refers to the diameter of the tube, and T8 and T12 are the type that have been around quite a while; T8 is thinner than T12 and said to be more intense light for the wattage, and longer-lasting. T5 is newer, and comes in HO [high output] and NO [normal output]; the former is more common, but in my view provides too much light intensity. I just posted in another thread on algae troubles when the light is too much for the balance, you might want to have a read to see what I'm talking about.
There is also some more detail in Part 4 of the 4-part sticky series at the head of this section on setting up a low-tech planted aquarium.
T5 tubes will not fit T8 and vice-versa, so you need to buy the fixture for the tube you intend to get. I personally would go with T8 (regular), as the tubes are less expensive than T5 and more readily available and last up to three years. The T5 supposedly use less energy, though I cannot recollect the exact numbers to substantiate if this is the case or not.
I've given a little thought to it. I'm looking at some dwarf hair grass for the front and corkscrew vals for the rear right now, this will be in addition to others. I'm researching and still planning right now. I'm probably going to use root tabs as I have fluorite for my substrate. I'm also looking at a Eheim 2213 for it. Would this be too much filtration in terms of actual water going through it and also in the flow coming out, would it knock over plants?
Filtration should be geared to the fish's needs; some require water movement, others definitely fare better without, and many are in between if extremes are avoided. The intended fish should determine the filter; for example, most of the usually fish in planted aquaria are forest fish (characins, rasbora, gourami, angels, discus, some of the catfish/loach species) and these all occur in very slow moving streams, flooded forest and some even still ponds and swamps and thus appreciate (=healthier) minimal water movement. As for plants, yes, water flow has an impact to some extent. I explain this in Part 3 of the series stickied at the head of this section, here's a link for ease: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...um-part-34858/
I find canister filters ideal for larger planted aquaria. You can vary the flow by directing the spray bar into an end wall, plus the newer models have flow valves now. Generally in a planted tank you want minimal filtration because the plants do that job perfectly, again this is explained in the linked article.
I think I've decided to use two clip on desk style lamps that I can put in two compact fluorescent bulbs in. I'm looking at getting the daylight bulbs that are 6500K but I'm not sure the wattage I should get. The is an equivelant rating on the package but should I go for the CFL number or the incadescent equivilant? And what size should I get for a low light setup for the hairgrass and some other lowlight plants?
i just spent forever screwing around with lowering my lighting using CFLs. the smallest daylight bulb im able to get is 10w. right now on my 20 long I have 3 10 watt CFLs and its still a bit much. two 10w in desk lamps would be better because you can adjust them away from the surface correct? I think that might prove to be ideal :)
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