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lighting question

1498 Views 12 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Bigdawg355
Hi guys i am also new to the forum and to the hobby, I am in dyer need of help with lighting. I know the lamps I am using now are not correct and need to know the best set up. I custom built my my stand hood and lighting system, I have a 4 lamp T8 fixture and would like to know what lamps or combo of lamps would work best for a moderately planted set up and which plants would be best. Any help will be GREATLY appreciated,

thank you in advance
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It isn't exactly the lamps that matter for aquarium plants but it's the type of bulbs used. I use compact florescent 6500k bulbs this kelvin number is the minimum to keeping lively plants that need moderate to high lighting anything lower will only support low light plants. I got my bulbs at Walmart and Home Depot.

Here is a good website about anything, it includes a section about plants too. Just type in anything you need in the search engine on that website and it will lead you to what you want.
AC Tropical Fish & Aquarium

Hope this helps
Thanks should I use all four or would that be too much light ? Or should I try find so low wattage bulbs with that kelvin rating?
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Wattage does not matter the kelvin is what your looking for. No need to have all 4 lamps unless your tank is huge. For my 5 gallon I use one standard lamp and for my 10 gallon I have a hood with two compact florescent bulbs. Do not use incandescent bulbs because that one can grow algae faster plus your plants want more of a white lighting instead of a yellow lighting.
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I have a 55 gallon tank so it's large not huge
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I think you two are talking very different "lamps." Tabby seems to be discussing CFL bulbs (screw-in type), while Bigdawg is talking about fluorescent tubes.

As it is T8 tubes, we can sort this out. First though, what is the length of the four tubes? A 55g tank is 4-feet; did you make the hood with four 4-foot tubes? Or a smaller tube length?

They are 4 footers
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Wattage certainly matters if not much more then color temp. 6500K is the 'ideal' color for plants, but it is just color. Running lower or higher will not have a significant impact apart from how the plants appear colorwise. Lower kelvin temps will have a yellow light while higher kelvin temps will have a bluish light. For starting out on a 55 gallon I would recommend using 2 of the tubes. Plant the tank moderately to start with and run light 6-8 hours a day initially. Too much light too soon will easily give you algae regardless of the type of light. There will likely be some plant die back at first since plants get stressed. Once the plants have settled in and started growing you can run the light longer. If the tank gets fairly heavily planted you could easily get away with running a 3rd bulb, but you will want a lot more fertilizers at that point.
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ok cool i have a couple plants in there now an amazon sword and some moneywort but its not at all enough, what kind of wattage should i use in the 6500k ?
Wattage is fixed to bulb type and size. A 4' t8 bulb is 32 Watts if I remember correctly.
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The four I have now are 28 watts and are 4100k I wasn't sure if you could get different ones. Thank you so much for your help. I'll be getting the other bulbs tomorrow or Friday.
Mikaila is correct. I didn't know 4-foot T8 came in 28w, but doesn't matter. I certainly agree that you only want two tubes lighting. I have this (two 4-foot T8 tubes) over my 4-foot 70g, 4-foot 90g and 5-foot 115g, and it is more than sufficient for low and moderate light plants, which is the majority. Even with this I have to keep it to 8 hours or algae takes over. It's all about balance.

And the 6500K are the best plant tubes. With your situation, you can easily go with the less expensive hardware-store tubes. I use GE, Phillips, and have used Sylvania. T8, 48-inch, the "daylight" with 6500K. Just look for the 6500K as all three manufacturers make one tube with this K. They are all 32w, or were, but that doesn't matter as the length and Kelvin is what you look for.

Thanks guys you have been extremely helpful
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