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Discussion Starter #1
I am upsizing my heavily planted 10 gallon tank and need advice for lighting. I have been considering the Aqueon double t5 fixture or the Zoo Med double T5 fixture.

Would either of these be appropriate or any other recommendations?
 

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LED.

20 gallon, is that 24"? I am using a 24" Marineland Double bright LED setup and it is working well. I have a 37Gallon tall that is 30" wide and the plants are doing great. A 20gallon will be shallower (mine's over 20" tall) so the light will be that much more intense. They might have an 18", not sure, but their fixtures have sliders so a 24" can go on a 36" if it had to.

I can't comment on tubes or other lighting, never used them.

I looked at your 10 gallon, very nice... can't wait to see how you do with the 20.

Jeff.
 

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Wow! your tank looks great! I have read that LED's don't really work very well for plants but looking at your tank, I would say that is false. My tank is a 20 gal. long so it is 30 inches and it is not very high. I am wondering if I should just add a single 30 inch strip light which uses a 24inch T8 bulb with my existing 18 inch but that may get pretty clunky looking. Have other people had really good results with the double bright LED's for plants??
 

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Thanks.

I'm not pushing the Marineland product but as long as the LEDs are 1 watt bulbs (I have eight in my fixture, ten would have been ideal) and in the 6500k range they work fine for plants. In your tank, which will be a lot shallower than mine, they will probably allow you to go with higher light plants than I am... and I already have 15 successful species and four more I just added.

I think that LEDs get a bad rep from the small stock units that come with kits, although even the tubes often are just as bad, and the initial bulbs are only 0.065 Watts or so... it takes LOT more and they are focused differently I expect.

Jeff.
 

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I've been seriously considering the 48" Aqueon dual T5 for my 60g as I had them test at Petsmart and it fits right over my existing hoods. (The existing hoods came with two 18" T8 bulbs, one over each hood).
The Aqueon comes with a 6700k daylight and the other is a colormax color enhancing light.

I'm unsure about LED's.
 

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Over a 24-inch 20g I would not use dual T5 lighting; that is going to be way too much with even NO (normal output, which is basically equal to the T8 tubes) and with HO (high output) you would have algae soup.

Your 10g is beautiful, by the way. You log data says you have a 15w T8 tube and a LED. You don't want to go beyond this on the 20g.

I have not personally tried the Marineland DoubleBright LED, but Jeff has had good results and I have heard that it should be a good light. So I would consider that. If money is an issue, another option is a basic incandescent fixture taking two screw-in bulbs, and using the 10w "Daylight" CFL bulbs with 6500K. I use GE bulbs over my 10g and 20g (see photo below) and the plant growth is good and algae is non-existant (compared to my larger tanks with T8 fluorescent tubes). This tank is my QT for new fish now, and I thinned out most of these plants, but the photo is illustrative of what is possible under two 10w CFL Daylight bulbs.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Bryan. I have also been considering getting a 30" strip light that uses a 24" T8 along with the 18" T8 I already have, but it sounds like that might be too much. I thought the 18" would not light up the entire length of a 30" tank. (it's a 20 gal. long). The LED I have is a very small one that came with the tank. I have read so many conflicting reviews about the LEDs for plants I don't know what to think.
 

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Any light, LED or otherwise, is only as good as its intended and designed for application. Lots of LED fixtures are no good for plants and weren't intended to be. The difference is that if you buy an LED fixture, you can't just swap out the bulbs for plant friendly ones. That is the biggest drawback if your don't know if they are good or not up front when not a lot of people are using them.

If you get the right one, it will, or should, last a long time,and use less energy doing so.

Jeff.
 

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I'm no expert, but I'm not sure that two t5 tubes is too much light if/when one is a "color enhancing tube" as I always thought these were "more show than go", leaving just the one 6700k t5 daylight tube. Two daylight tubes may be too much.

(On the other hand (thinking out loud [smell the smoke]), on my 60g tank that's two feet high, I wonder if I might just need two daylight tubes to support rooted plants).
 

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I'm no expert, but I'm not sure that two t5 tubes is too much light if/when one is a "color enhancing tube" as I always thought these were "more show than go", leaving just the one 6700k t5 daylight tube. Two daylight tubes may be too much.

(On the other hand (thinking out loud [smell the smoke]), on my 60g tank that's two feet high, I wonder if I might just need two daylight tubes to support rooted plants).
The depth of the tank makes a fairly substantial difference in how effective the lighting will be for low substrate plants. I think for my setup which has the light about 20" off the bottom I am pushing it. If I even had an 18" tank it would make a difference. I tried raising a plant a few inches from the bottom onto a driftwood and it grew much better there, same light, no shade, just that much closer to the source.

Jeff.
 
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