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waterwookiee 01-07-2013 12:01 PM

Too much for a 20H?
Hello everyone,

I'm new here, but not new to the hobby (plants yes, but fish keeping and reefs, no).

I'm doing my first planted tank out of a 20 gallon high (24x12x16). I found a sweet 3 bulb fixture for $30 and now have 3 x 23 watt 5500k CLFs in there (parallel to the tank. I'm used to lighting reefs and I think this may be a shade (pun intended) too much? I plan on using DYI CO2, a few ferts and my goal is to grow a full bed of low lying ground cover, (aquascape style) with a few larger plants like swords etc off to one side. I've searched and searched, but the specifics of my question have eluded me.

Thanks in advance!!!

waterwookiee 01-07-2013 03:16 PM

Shameless bump

Any advise is very much appreciated!

micheljq 01-07-2013 04:56 PM


I did have a setup 20H with 2 CFLs bulbs 23 watts - 6500k. I was successfull without CO2, then with diy CO2. Spent a lot of time errors/adjustement to find a right balance.

I am an amateur, according to me 3 CFLs without CO2 would be too much, but then it depends on the distance of the CFLs to the tank, and the lighting duration.

With diy CO2 i was lighting 8 hours a day, the bulbs were 8" over the water, was getting some filamentous algae that's all, and great growth.


waterwookiee 01-07-2013 05:11 PM

Thanks for the tips! I have the lights sitting on a glass lid. I know with my reefs I'd not use glass due to absobtion, however in this case it might be a good thing. The housing as a seperatate switch for the center bulb so that should give me some good control. Yhe other question is whether its permissible to have two shorter photoperiods in a day vs. One 8-12 hour period? It would be nice to have lights morning and evening without keeping them on for the full 15-16 hours which would clearly be a bad idea.

micheljq 01-07-2013 05:26 PM

Hello again,

Personally I do not believe in the 2 periods instead of one, always did one photoperiod, and it must not be more than 12 hours a day because it seems after that the plants stop photosynthesis anyway.

With the CFLs directly over the lid, I did try it. It worked, but the CFLs were very close and the light not evenly distributed, having 2 bright spots in the water, I did not like that.


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