Hey I'm fixing to have to replace the lights in my tank. What do you recommend. It's a 55g freshwater tank, with tetras, mollies, gourami, bala shark, and common pleco. Also it does have 2 live plant bulbs but I don't know if they will advance or not. Currently in the hood is F15t8 which says its a daylight.
If all you want is basic light for easy to medium plants then 2 T5 fixtures with about 65 watts each will work great. Compact flourescent will work well also at about 110 watts total useable light. In other words, 110 watts of normal light and 110 watts of Actinic blue light would be fine. This would also give you the option to go to much higher light later.
My recommendation is to get a fixture that you can customize the easiest. Compact flourescent or T5. I would get a fixture that you can put 4 or more bulbs in just to be able to do a lot of things with it. The more bulb slots the beter, IMHO. This allows you to put many different bulbs in the fixtures and to cover the full spectrum of useable light much better.
And don't be afraid to get Actinic light for your tanks. It does NOT count toward the total Watts per gallon but it does seem to have a profound effect on the colors of plants. I have not tried it yet but have seen tanks with it and the plants had much more sharp coloration than tanks without it. Might just be the lighting, could be the plant health but it looked really good with crisp greens and bright reds.
In asking friends about lighting for my tank everyone was telling me to buy my lights from www.ahsupply.com. They have nothing but GREAT thing to say about the lights and the customer service. Let me know how it goes.
If you are willing to do a little DIY then AH supply would be the best way to go. You can getw aht you want, customized to the extreme and make sure you have eberyhting you need. They are also very helpful and willing to both answer emails and answer questions on the phone.
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