I am setting up my first legitimate planted tank and would like to know what I can expect from the lighting system I’m planning. My goal is to support a 36” x 18” x 20” (aprox 55 gallons) moderately planted tank without CO2 additions. I don’t have any particular plants in mind or lighting goals beyond supporting a fair variety of plants without specialty equipment.
The plan is to use 4 spiral CFLs (23w, 6500K) in parabolic reflectors. The bulbs will be vertically oriented and suspended about 2 inches above the water level and a total of about 20 inches above the furthest planted portion of the substrate.
I know there are several other variables in play but, assuming lighting is the limiting factor, what can I expect from such a set-up as far as plant choices are concerned? What can I grow and what should I avoid? I’m hoping to avoid buying plants that require more light than I can provide. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!