what temp is best (kelvin)
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Old 11-12-2002, 04:26 PM   #1
PLANTOID
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Hi, im a newbie and i just set up my first planted tank. I have a 15g reg. tank (12dx24lx12h) with 2x20w 5200k marineland bulb. I think i need to upgrade my bulbs to a higher spectum? What do you recomend? Can i use these or one of these in conjunction with another bulb?

1 amizon sword "compacta"
bunch of java ferns (1 pot which i spread out)
3 anubias nana (from 1 pot)
1 polysperma heteromorpha
1 mini chain sowrd
and one i can not identfy(looks like a tiny sword with purple color under the leavs and the leaves are all curly and stuff i will uplad a picture tonight.
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Old 11-12-2002, 04:37 PM   #2
KyleT
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Hi there Plantoid and welcome to the Board!

Kelvin is a very debatable topic and is really up to your personal experimentation and preference. I personally prefer bulbs in the range of about 5500 - 7500 K range as I have found that my plants benefit the most from this range rather than the higher range of Kelvin. However many people have had success with bulbs in the 9000K range.

You can most definately mix two different bulbs. For example on my 55 gallon tank I have 2 5000K bulbs and 2 65000 K bulbs.

Basically I would recommend finding an bulb that has stats close to these:
Kelvin: 5000 - 10000 K
CRI: 85 or higher
Lumens: around 2000

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Old 11-12-2002, 06:59 PM   #3
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Rather than spend another $20 on bulbs, why not look into overdriving the bulbs you have?

If you're satisfied with the appearance of your current bulbs, then I'd leave well enough alone.

Personally, for a freshwater tank, I prefer the reddish bulbs such as the Coralife ColorMax, URI Beauty Lights, GE's Plant/Aquarium bulbs or Sylvania/OSRAM's Aquariaum/Wide Spectrum bulbs.

For my reefs, I love the deepwater 10,000K bulbs. Makes it seem as if I am diving in deep, clear water.
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Old 11-12-2002, 11:35 PM   #4
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I agree with fender. Color temperature is highly subjective. I have 2- 9325 k and 2-6000k bulbs on my tank. The 9325s give off a violet sort of light and the 6000s give off almost a pure white light. Before I had this combination I was using GE plant/aquarium bulbs and I had analgae bloom that just would not go away. Then I changed 2 of the plant/aqua bulbs for 2 daylight ultras and the algae bloom went away in a matter of 2 days. Since then I've been an advocate of mixing different bulbs. They seem to compliment each other, especially if you get one with a reddish tone and one with a blueish tone.
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Old 11-13-2002, 01:55 PM   #5
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Yeah, I've never run a tank with only GE P/A bulbs. Right now, I've got two 6500K 65w Power Compact bulbs with two P/A bulbs and the mixture of light is excellent.

Pretty much anything but yellow will look good. But having only 6500K+ on a freshwater tank tends to wash out their colors. Saltwater fish are different, the high Kelvin bulbs actually bring out their colors.
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Old 11-14-2002, 07:26 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the help, it is apreciated!

Any specific bulb/brand recomendations?
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Old 11-14-2002, 08:26 PM   #7
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I personally think the marineland 5200K bulbs you have are just about as close to ideal for growing plants as you could ask.

If you want to increase intensity and aren't fond of overdrivng your bulbs, look into a polished aluminum reflector. They can reflect up to 98% of a bulb's light into the tank and increase efficiency.
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