I currently have simple 10 gallon with 2 of those long compact bulbs. It comes out to 2 wpg, but I am sure the math is not the same for this sort of set up. I have java ferns and anubias growing fine in Schultz aquatic soil. It is this level of maintenance I am currently accustomed to, but I am willing to branch out, relatively.
In the near future, I am meaning to get a larger setup, probably a 55 gallon. As far as lighting goes, I have a few options in mind. I could go to walmart and get two hanging shop-lights, this would provide 160 watts of fluorescent light at a very sensible cost. I could also go on ebay and get a power compact setup, or even ahsupply, but the cost would go up from there.
My question is; what kind of implications go with each lighting category? The shop-lights would give 2.9 wpg, and the pc lights would give comparable. What wpg ratings call for co2, fertilization (apart from substrate), and the other higher maintenance matters? Also, what are the lighting category cut offs, what is considered low, low-medium, medium, etc? will most lower light plants also do okay in higher light tanks, (I know anubias will need shade.), can I grow a low light plant in a medium light tank?
I am leaning toward the shop-lights. Is anyone familiar with the hanging shop-light setup. Any pictures, stories, suggestions, comments? Where would this put me in the way of co2 and ferts? I could always just use one shop-light, that would give 80 watts over a 55.