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Newbie lighting options

2983 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  RazorDX
I am still a newbie when it comes to a planted aquarium. I'm starting off unsuccessfully with aponogeton bulbs from Wally World (embarrassing, I know), but I have also added some dwarf lilly bulbs. The tank I have currently is a 10g (I'm waiting for a stand so I can go to 29g), so I know the dwarf lillies will get too big. My current dilema however is lighting.

My 10g has a 15w flourescent bulb, and I have another hood with 2x15w incandescents. The incandescents put off very little light and don't seem to be a good plant light (I've heard they have a low light spectrum). I've searched and searched for an 18" flourescent that puts off more than 15watts to no avail, however I did find compact flourscent bulbs (10 or 15w) that would appear to fit my incandescent hood. Would CF lights be sufficient for plant growth?

Thanks in advance for any helpful advice!

EDIT: I understand that "compact flourescent" isn't the correct term, but it's the closest I can think of to what I'm talking about. I am still trying to find an online example (they are sold at Walmart).
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You might need 3 watts per gallon lighting.:) Aponogetons were often said to be difficult to keep alive but I cannot back this claim because I never had this plant yet. If you are willing to use a DIY CO2, it might help your plants grow very well although you have to be careful of the dosing as DIY is said to be more difficult to adjust than pressurized.:)
Alright well first off dont be embarassed by buying the bulbs...its how I started out with live plants in the aquarium and in fact what my apono (which is now almost 18 inches high) came from. The bulbs from ol walmart do have the drawback of not always sprouting though. Anyway I'm going to go check the lighting on my tank but I doubt I have more than 1.5W per gallon and I'm successfully growing frill plants, apono, two varieties of sword plant, wisteria, and some other unidentified plant. I've used the DIY co2 system and it does produce some impressive results (the plant closest to the injector grew 3 inches in as many days and the apono put on a few inches as well. However the co2 output is pretty much impossible to control and I didn't like the pH drop it caused so I very rarely use it anymore. If the lily bulbs sprout they'll grow rather quickly given decent conditions and will indeed take over a tank (they nearly took up all of my 37 gallon for a while until I pulled them). I use Flourish by seachem to fertilize the tank once or twice a week and everything seems to do fine. I know what bulb you are talking about and actually have one of them in one of the hoods for a smaller tank I have. It used to be my only tank and grew plants just fine so it should work for you. I'll check the wattage on my flourescent over my 37 gallon and let you know. I should also note that I keep the pH in my tank at 6.5 and the water hardness very low so that might have some affect on the apono...not sure really...not like those walmart bulbs come with much info lol.
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Well go figure...I actually only have a 20W tube for my 37 gallon tank...and yet I grow live plants with ease. Guess I'm the exception to the rule since I barely have half a watt to the gallon!
Here are some pictures of those plants that are somehow thriving at .5 watts per gallon.

I'm not sure what type of sword plant this is. If anyone does let me know...anyway as you can see its doing so well that more of it is sprouting up at its base as it spreads.

This is the big frill plant growing in the back of the tank...along with a neon and a von rio tetra. The ghost shrimp love this plant.

My amazon sword plants (there are actually two of em growing right next to each other since it is apparently spreading). Growing rather slowly but it looks rather nice for having so little light. My blue rams are slowly starting to claim this plant as their own.

An overall view of my you can see they are growing pretty darn well. The apono is that huge one going up the front. And there is my discus in her favorite spot in the tank
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That frill plant looks like Myriophyllum to me.:)
could be anything...most of the stores here dont bother to tell you or dont know the scientific name of 90% of the available plants so they just make stuff up...makes it kind of difficult to learn about my plants when I have no idea what most of them are lol
Last night I bought a 29gallon kit, but when I got it home it was one that someone had used and then returned. The hood wasn't there, the bulb was burnt out, the bottom of the tank was scratched to hell, it was the wrong color (the fake oak stuff), and it was covered in calcium deposits. Needless to say I am not pleased, and it's in the back of my car for an exchange after class.

If the lillies sprout I will put them in the 29g, since it's a good bit taller than the 10g. I've heard that dwarf lillies look best in low light, but you more than likely have a better light spectrum than the 8 or 9 month old 15watt tube that came with my tank. Once I get the tank set up and on it's way to cycling I plan on getting some java fern from the LFS. Should I get the plants before/during cycling or when I start stocking my tank? (this isn't going to be a fishless cycle)
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