You say you've got one of these and you want to have a planted tank?
There are a lot of 10, 15, and 20 gallon tanks out there with the old incandescent fixtures. The problem with the incandescent lamps that go into these fixtures is they a) put out a lot of heat and b) tend to have a short lamp life. In fact, sometimes to get sufficient light intensity (PAR) for a planted tank the lamp wattage causes temperature fluctuation and heat issues in the tank. It would be nice to be able to purchase a new LED fixture for these tanks but a well built quality LED fixture is expensive ($80 - $140) and sometimes not even available in a 20" version. I put this thread together to help folks that have fixtures designed for incandescent lamps locate alternatives to the hot, short-lived incandescent bulbs. Some of this information (sans PAR readings) is available in threads scattered throughout the forums and some are my current observations.
This post is by all means not all of the alternatives available; I am only going to address the three lamp types I have personally used on my 10 gallon with an incandescent hood. They include the Lights of America mini-fluorescent, the Bonlux Corncob LED, and an unknown brand of Corncob Spotlight LED. All are viable alternatives to they old incandescent lamps we used to use in these fixtures.
Here are my findings:
What you see listed are three alternatives for lamps, two of which I have used and a third that I just received and am currently testing.
The first lamp is the Lights of America Mini-fluorescent 10 watt. It is fine for a planted tank that has plants with lower light requirements such as mosses, cryptocornes, java ferns (Microsorum pteropus species) where you don't want to put a lot of effort into fertilizers or CO2. However, with a little effort even this low PAR ([email protected]
) can grow some great plants. The tank pictured below used a 13 hour photoperiod. The light levels do drop off at the two ends and in the upper rear.
The second lamp I have only used for a few months, the Bonlux Corncob LED T10. It is a 10 watt LED with LEDs all the way around the lamp. It puts out almost twice the PAR of the Mini-florescent Lights of America lamp with a reading of [email protected]
and has a nice even light throughout the tank. I was running the lamp with an 8 hour photoperiod.
The last lamp listed I just received a week ago. It is an unknown brand of Corncob Spotlight that has all of the LEDs on one side of the lamp. I purchased the 16 watt version (the largest offered by the seller) but various sellers and manufacturers offer this design in 5W to 16 watt versions. The portion of the lamp which holds the LEDs can be rotated so after the lamp is screwed into the socket the LEDs can be configured to point downward. This lamp had the highest light intensity with [email protected]
In order to use this lamp on a 10 gallon I will have to shorten the photoperiod substantially, or point the LEDs other than straight downward, or add CO2 to avoid an algae farm. I would guess the 10 watt version of this light would be more compatible with a 10 gallon tank. Here is a picture of the 10 gallon (after a major trim so I could expose the substrate directly below the fixture so I could take the readings above) with the 2X16 watt lamps installed; yes that is a cluster of Corydoras eggs on the back glass near the top.