10 gallon planted tank lighting - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2006, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Location: Newton, MA
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10 gallon planted tank lighting

I am planning to setup a ten gallon planted tank and I was hoping to get some advice from other people. I have the stock lighting in the hood which is a 15W fluorescent bulb. Would this be enough to set up a low tech, low maintenance tank? It works out to 1.5W per gallon, but I read that the watts per gallon rule breaks down in smaller tanks. If it will work, what plants would be best for this kind of setup?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2006, 03:23 PM
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we discussed this recently, but nobody came up with conclusive advice.
{ buy THIS fixture, and THIS bulb, at THIS reseller }


here is a cheap hood fixture on ebaY, but plants won't benefit much.

eBay: (item 250042032248) Jebo

eBay: (item 120044904361) Perfecto
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2006, 04:48 PM
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You can. It has been done.

But it really REALLY limits the plants you can grow to the low light ones (Anabus, Java fern, Java moss type things.)
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2006, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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I have another option...

I also have a 96W fixture with a 50/50 bulb in it that will fit on the tank. Is that too much light? Should I stick with the 50/50 or put a 6700K bulb on it?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2006, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mgnrygrl View Post
I also have a 96W fixture with a 50/50 bulb in it that will fit on the {10gal} tank.
that does not compute...

If you scroll down this About link you'll find some useful hood & bulb info.
Basic Aquarium Light Fixture Guide

that Eclipse 1 can have two 18" 5500k bulbs but is far too expensive.

If I could only find a cheap reflective housing for this bulb, it would be perfect.
20W Mini Compact Fluorescent - Colormax (ESU)

I'm looking for something like this, but with a standard bulb socket and reflector.

I already have a standard hood incandescent fixture, but I'm looking for a bulb like this;

which is 20 watts but with a Kelvin rating somewhere in the 6500-6700k range.

a 23watt 5000k bulb PLR40-23/50K is the closest I've gotten thus far.
Compact Fluorescent Reflector Bulbs
here is a 20watt 6400k bulb, but no reflector housing (price may be a typo).
EL-CIRCO Compact Fluorescent

GREAT NEWS ! I finally found the bulbs I wanted 30w 6500k;
now I gotta find a slip over reflector for it. there's a guy on ebaY
who sells him, but only bundled with his crappy 5000k bulbs.

Here's a vendor with both standard Reflectors AND 30w 6400k bulbs;
Compact fluorescent light bulb,light bulbs online super store.
so this is what I'm doing for my 10gal tank using a cheap standard bulb socketed fixture.
total cost on everything including ship&tax well under $30 for 3wpg of 6400k color light

Last edited by spypet; 07-27-2007 at 06:41 PM. Reason: link repair
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2006, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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I think I am confusing people...the replies to my post seem to be pointing me towards what I should purchase, but I already own a 10 gallon tank that came with a hood. The hood has a 15W fluorescent fixture in it. I also own a 96W Coralife Aqualight Quad power compact fixture that has a 50/50 bulb in it because I used to have a nano reef tank. I recently moved and had to dismantle my reef. I decided to try out a freshwater planted tank instead. I'd really prefer not to buy another light if I can help it. I saw that some people were saying that the plants can't utilize the actinic light, so my wattage would really end up being half, in this case 48W. If I used this fixture, I would get rid of the hood and just put the light on top of the tank (it has little legs). If I added a DIY CO2 generator, would this be a reasonable system?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2006, 08:10 PM
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As far as I can tell, it sounds like you'll have a Great setup even with the Blue Actinics... They may not do much for growth, but, they won't hurt the plants either!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-13-2007, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by CampCreekTexas
Did you order the bulbs, reflectors and light fixtures from that company? If so...
1. Are you having fair plant growth in your 10 gallon (as in about enough to have to trim some fast growers every month or so)? Or are the plants just surviving?
2. How much of that light is going in the tank? And how much is lighting up the room it's in?
3. How did you like the company's service?
I have two ten gallon tanks to play with right now and am looking for something just like this to get my feet wet ~ easy, relatively inexpensive and reusable in case I find I really don't like planted tanks as much as I thought (so that won't hurt as much as if I spent the chunk of $$ it'd take to get two setups from AHSupply and time to build custom canopies. I'd like to have medium light in those tanks since from my research it seems there are lots of easy to grow, low and medium light plants out there ~ plenty to keep me busy. I'll be doing DIY CO2 as well and soon dosing ferts I get from GregWatson.com and following the directions from Rex Grigg's site.
I can understand your reluctance to invest much in an expensive proprietary fixture and uncertainty about staying long with a freshwater planted tank. so let me share my observations using these reflectors and 30w spiral bulbs over a 10gal tank these past 4 months.

-these 6500k bulbs are a perfect white color matching any other 6500k CF bulb you would buy for a far more expensive fixture.
-all spiral bulbs are less efficient at delivering growth wattage than standard flat tube bulbs even with a good reflector, so figure a 15% light wattage loss when comparing the two.
-the bulb and reflector come from the same source, while my screw in fixture came from someplace else. I suggest getting one extra reflector and bulb above what you plan to order since shipping is such a relatively large expense.
-to keep the light from leaking/glare out the sides, I keep the lip of my fixture cone at the top of my tank lip without any glass canopy only 1-2" inches from my waterline. since the bulb socket is 6" away there is no electrical risk. doing this effectively delivers light to only 2/3rds of my tank as the light is delivered across a 90 arc, so a second bulb/reflector/fixture would be needed to overlap the light cones and bath the entire tank in light. I actually like leaving a third of my tank in lower light, and simply plant lower light plants such as ferns, swords, and crypts in the dimmer third where I also have higher waterflow from my filter in/outlets. a two bulb solution would also be great for any 24" long tank (15 or 20gal).
-the light that leaks out the sides of your underwater tank glass is minimal, no more than a regular linear bulb fixture. however because there is a bit more light hitting higher on the tank glass from these spiral bulbs, you might see a large oval area of more green spot algae developing than usual on your glass. it's a simple matter to clean any buildup of algae on the glass during every water change using an exfoliant sponge. plant safe Ramshorn snails and/or Otocinclus do a great job reducing green spot algae naturally. (please discuss algae issues in another thread).
-you can raise the bulb higher and effectively cover the entire tank bottom, but only if you have a fixture cone longer than the reflector cone so the light does not leak out the sides. with the bulb raised higher you are effectively reducing the total light being delivered to your plants by another 15%.
-shop around for the right cone head light bulb housing, as you can often find really good ones at bargain 99 shops, office supply stores, and even garage sales. the size and shape of the reflector/bulb is the same as any standard incandescent outdoor flood light, so choose your fixture accordingly.
-for added safety, I prefer a fixture that mounts on my table, shelf or cabinet so the hood is 2/3rds along the length of my tank furthest from my filter in/outlets. I felt that a fixture that clips on my tank lip has too great a risk of falling in while I service my tank, unless you are willing to unclip and remove it each time.
-if the fixture cone is narrower than the reflector cone, you can cut slits in the the reflector foil to get it to fit right, but that will reduce it's effectiveness. that separate bulb reflector also acts as a radiant heat insulator, so you can use a plastic fixture hood as long as the socket neck is not too narrow (being in contact with the hot foil reflector). I use a metal hood, but even after 8 hours of lights on, it's still cool to the touch.
-I was very satisfied with the bulb/reflector vendor I used, but I'm sure there are plenty of other photography supply stores on the web that can sell you comparable items. just be sure the bulb/reflector mate well with each other, and the kelvin color and actual wattage (not it's incandescent equivalent) is clearly referenced by the reseller.

good luck
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2007, 01:27 AM
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Wonderful info, SpyPet! Thanks for typing all that out for me ~ makes me a good bit less nervous to go this way since it sounds like you're pretty satisfied with this type of setup. I think I'll give it a whirl and see how I like it as well.

I'd read that the spirals aren't as efficient as straight tubes due to the restrike, so I figured I'd just use a few more watts than what is recommended using straight tubes. If it's still not enough, I'd add another bulb. That's also why I wanted to go with something like this ~ I can add more quickly and easily as I learn more about this.

So, how does using these type of reflectors compare to those round reflectors that have a spiral receptacle and clip, the ones that are very common, found in hardware stores? The photographic reflectors look like they'd reflect a large amount more light than the common "shop" ones while avoiding restrike as well due to the angles in it's walls. Is that assumption correct, or do you know?

Thanks again!

~ Linda ~

How many watts do I need to make my swimming pool a high light tank?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-27-2007, 06:39 PM
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Less than a year ago I recommended
for spiral compact fluorescent bulbs.
Today I take back that endorsement.

The Longstar brand bulb I bought there
just blew out after 10 hours on per day
7 days a week for 10 Months, so I only
got 3,000 of the 10,000 hours it's rated.

It also went noticeably dim
after only the first 6 Months.

Last edited by spypet; 07-27-2007 at 08:40 PM.
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