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Boise1024 04-08-2012 09:51 PM

20gal lighting suggestion
I'm considering buying a 20g high (24x12x16) to replace my 10g planted tank. The 10g has done really well with the plants showing good growth(hygrophila, Vallisneria, Brazilian Pennywort). The tank is definitely low-tech : standard gravel, no co2, flourish comp once a week, 2x13w 6500k cfl.

In the 20g, I was planning to use some of those plants. Also maybe soil substrate, if not I'll go enriched, but still low-tech. Big question right now are the lights. I can get my hands on two type of hoods cheaply : 2x incadescent (thinking of 2x15w cfl, or 2x23w if I can get them to fit), of the standard 18w 24" T8. Which one should I go for ?

Byron 04-09-2012 10:17 AM

I would use the same, being the incandescent with two CFL bulbs. I have this over my 20g and 10g, lants do very well. I only use 10w bulbs in both.

No mention is made of fish, but you might consider the 20g long. This allows a better layout for most forest fish, and plants.

From my experience, I would not waste money on enriched substrates. Nor soil.


Geomancer 04-09-2012 11:05 AM

I have a 20 tall, the hood it came with while being 24" in length, the bulb itself is only an 18".

I actually ended up building my own custom LED fixture to be roughly equivalent to two of those bulbs, but when I stared out with the 18" T8 the plants were growing. Most certainly fairly low light though, so growth was slow and only very low light plants.

Two 10W CFLs should do great and would be better than the T8, but as Byron said a 20 long gives you more options if you have the space for it.

Boise1024 04-09-2012 12:18 PM

Thank you both for your answer. 20 long is not an option right now, if not I would have gone that way.

Do any of you know if the big 23w CFL (I think they sell them as 100w replacement) fit in the hood ? Or would that be too bright ?

I'm already following your blog Geomancer, I'd really like to go the led way like you did, but have no money for premade lamps, and no knowledge nor motivation to put it together myself. Still waiting to see that 125g though !

Geomancer 04-09-2012 12:50 PM


Two 23W CFLs would be too bright. A 20 gallon tall is dimensionally not a whole lot larger than a 10 gallon. Twice the volume, but does it by small increases in all dimensions instead of doubling the length. You would in essence be doubling the amount of light even though the 20 gallon is only 4 inches taller than a 10 gallon.

Ignore any "Watts per gallon" advice you come across. That's about as outdated as the "1 inch per gallon" rule. I would start with two 10W 6500K bulbs. If you are finding that's just not cutting it, go with two 12W. Too much light would result in algae if you don't have the other nutrients in balance, and in a low tech setup your problem would be Carbon.

Byron 04-09-2012 03:17 PM

I agree. I have two 10w in both my tanks, and if you are going to have more light-requiring plants, I would move up to the 13w.

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