Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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CAangels16 01-01-2012 01:04 AM

Freshwater plant lighting
Hello everyone,
I had a question about T5 lighting for freshwater planted aquariums. I have heard that you are not supposed to use actinic blue lighting and the fixture that i bought came with one white bulb ando one pink bulb.
My question is, why are we not supposed to use blue lighting in planted aquariums, and why is pink lighting so significant?

bigfish93 01-01-2012 02:40 AM

The atinic bulbs are useless to plants so that is why they are not used on freshwater aquariums. For a natural and simple planted aquarium, a 6500K daylight bulb is perfect.

Nubster 01-01-2012 11:22 AM

Blue does not provide the correct wave length for plants to be able to use so it's worthless. The pink, not sure if they help much but people often use them for aesthetics. The pink is warm and some like the way it makes things look and it helps make reds in the tank pop more. They are used in conjunction with the 65/6700k bulbs and/or 10000k bulbs. I've never seen pink bulbs in action and like my 6700k lights just fine but some point if I ever upgrade I may try a single pink bulb over my 75g.

Byron 01-01-2012 01:39 PM

CAangels16, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

Prior member's posts have identified a couple of issues, and I would like to just expand a bit. First, by "pink" I am assuming it is one of the so-called "aquarium" or "plant" tubes; these are high in the red and blue wavelength and when lit tend to appear pink, and cast a pinkish/purplish hue in the tank.

In theory, these "pink" tubes should be good plant light, but they are usually far too weak in intensity. Plus I myself do not like the purplish hue, although if combined with a daylight or full spectrum tube it is not as noticeable. But the weak intensity still remains a problem, as you are running a tube that is producing about half the intensity as the full spectrum/daylight tubes so that is a considerable loss of intensity.

I just finished posting some excerpts from an article on this very subject by Karen Randall, so rather than repeat that I will post the link to that thread and suggest you have a read of my post # 20:

Actinic light is actually not all that bad for plants, but it is not the best and it has drawbacks so we do not recommend it. Here again, it is less expensive to use "good" tubes rather than these others. Less expense to buy them--and bear in mind that fluorescent tubes quickly lose intensity so they must be regularly replaced (6-12 months)--and less energy to run them because fewer good tubes will do the job. I can go more into this, but won't yet, as you mention T5 tubes and that is yet another issue. I can offer more if you can tell us the tank size and tube length.


CAangels16 01-09-2012 03:42 PM

This tank is 80 gallons 48in.X18in.X20in.

Byron 01-09-2012 05:22 PM


Originally Posted by CAangels16 (Post 945321)
This tank is 80 gallons 48in.X18in.X20in.

That is nearly identical to my 70g, so that gives me a better reference point. Now, you mentioned T5 initially, is this a done deal, or in the consideration stage? I ask because tow T5 HO tubes over this tank will be very bright light. I have two T8 tubes over mine and still have to watch out for algae, even with a carpet of floating plants.

CAangels16 01-09-2012 05:37 PM

I have had these T5 lights for quite a while now, but i ask now because i am looking into getting led lights over this tank.

Byron 01-09-2012 06:22 PM


Originally Posted by CAangels16 (Post 945438)
I have had these T5 lights for quite a while now, but i ask now because i am looking into getting led lights over this tank.

I will leave that for others, as I have no experience with LED. From what other members have written, it is quite an expense to provide sufficient light. I've seen what appear to be adequate lighting systems over small tanks (less than 20g) in stores, but nothing larger.

CAangels16 01-09-2012 06:25 PM

This is true, they are a little pricy. I'm still not sure what i am going to do yet.

Thanks for all the info everyone!

DKRST 01-09-2012 08:06 PM

I have a couple of LED lights (these are decorative fixtures, not the "plant" LEDS). From my reading on other forums, the plant LED's are pricey and not as effective for growing plants on a price/fixture factor. The LEDs are very energy efficient, but the T8 and T5 bulbs and fixtures are not bad overall and much less expensive to start with.

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