Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Please help me find the correct lighting for my tank! (

Limeylemon 09-11-2011 10:26 AM

Please help me find the correct lighting for my tank!
Hi, I have a lovely heavily planted fish tank which is 30" long and 12" wide.
I am currently using a 14watt single tube fluorescent light which is attached to the lid. (I can probably only fit a single light unit on the fittings there)
I obviously need stronger light, but I am still very confused with light aspect of an aquarium.
I am wanting a double tube fluorescent light unit, which can be rested on the top of my aquarium on its own bracket rather than on the lid. I've seen a friends tank with it, but cannot seem to find that unit myself and she cant remember the name!
And also help with the bulbs for that :)
I'm in the UK, so any links to sites would be highly helpful thanks! :lol:

Byron 09-11-2011 02:08 PM

First, could you tell me the length of the current fluorescent tube? Measure it end to end but not including the prongs. I'm asking to confirm, since on my 30-inch tank the tube is a 25w which is 24 inches, and wattages are basically standard for the tube length. I want to ensure I have your present fixture clear before suggesting tubes or a new fixture.


Limeylemon 09-11-2011 03:10 PM

I am wanting a whole new longer fixture, the one i've got is 18" i made a mistake when buying the starter!

Byron 09-11-2011 03:28 PM

OK, that clarifies the tube size issue. I would agree, more light will help...but you do mention the current "lovely heavily planted" something not working?

Limeylemon 09-11-2011 03:31 PM

Yeah, i find it very dim, and only some plants are growing others need replacing constantly because they die off. I am using plant food weekly also. I am wanting some floating plants too, but dont want to block off all my light! need something stronger and more powerful. Thats why im thinking double unit at 24" possibly, just need something to hang them on.

Byron 09-11-2011 04:11 PM

Fine. I agree with upgrading the lighting. Floating plants are to me essential in any tank of forest fish, as I've frequently written.

Over a 30-inch tank you have three options. A single-tube T8, a dual tube T-8 or a single-tube T5. The "T" refers to the tube diameter in 8ths of an inch. But T5 and T8 tubes are not interchangeable, so it is either or, and tubes must be the same. T8 is the standard fluorescent lighting, probably what you now have. T5 is newer, and the tubes are HO (high output), meaning more light intensity. T5 are more expensive for fixtures and tubes.

A single T8 fixture with a 24-inch tube. I have this over my 30-inch 29g and it works fine for low and moderate light plants. Swords, crypts, Vallisneria, Anubias, Java Fern, Java Moss, Brazilian Pennywort--all these do well in this moderate light. And I have floating plants too. This is the bare minimum though; to go a step further as you've indicated, I would move to a T5.

My main choice would be a single T5 with a 24-inch tube. This is 1.5 times more light intensity than the same-length T8. But it would still be manageable, though you might have to lessen the photoperiod (duration) to prevent excess algae, depending upon the plants and extent of floating plants.

The dual T8 would be the most light intensity, and without CO2 diffusion and daily nutrient fertilization I would not suggest this much light over a relatively small tank. A dual T5 would be even more, better intended for marine reef setups.

I know you are in the UK, but I only know North American sites so I'll link one to give examples of the above; you should be able to find these fixtures in the UK.

Single tube T8 with 24-inch tube, this is a full hood and fixture:
Aquarium Lighting & Hoods: All-Glass Deluxe Fluorescent Full Hoods - Black

This is a fixture only, requiring a glass cover under the fixture:
Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: Perfecto Fluorescent Single Strip Lights

Single tube T5 HO. This is a 24-inch fixture but the arms expand and it will fit up to a 36-inch tank length. Also needs a glass cover under it.
Aquarium Lighting for Planted & Reef Aquariums: Hagen GLO T5 HO Linear Fluorescent Fixtures

For tubes for any of these, I recommend Life-Glo. ZoomMed (if available in UK, probably) also make one called Ultra Sun that is much the same and slightly less expensive. Again, T8 fit T8 fixtures, T5 HO fit T5 fixture. There is a link on the above pages to a page with the tubes listed.

Limeylemon 09-12-2011 02:26 AM

Very helpful thanks, I am still struggling to find it in the uk haha. Ive found that last unit, which i think is brilliant and will be considering it even though the price is quite high.
I'm wondering if i can get a single t5 light starter, as i can just put that inside my tank lid fixture rather than going all expensive for a completley new fixture and loosing the lid!

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