Bulbs for clamp utility lights - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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Question Bulbs for clamp utility lights

Posted this under lighting too but thought I should of posted here first. Since this falls more under DIY lighting.

Friend of mine just got a 20 gallon tank from his neighbor who is moving, he had already trashed the light thinking he was going to be throwing it all out, till my friend said he would take it. Its got a clear top and he already has some of those clamp utility lights that I have seen pics/posts about people using those as aquarium lights. Plan to give him some java moss, two types of java ferns, and anubis.

I just have no idea what kind of bulbs he should get for a 20 gallon tank (16in tall) that would be good for plants with the correct spectrum. I barely know what I am doing with the lighting for my tanks and they are T5 and LED, so something that uses a standard light socket is a whole other mess. I read some have only a spectrum life of 4 months to a year. Then found some terrarium plant flood lights. I don't know if those would be good for aquariums too or are they more about putting out heat for the reptiles??

I don't want to set him up with the wrong bulbs and cook his fish/plants or create alot of unneeded heat. If anyone uses those types of lights please let me know what works for plants. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 02:38 AM
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I have some 10 gallon planted tanks (started with Walsted, but have added sponge filters). I have found that the best lights for my setups are the Phillips CFL "Daylight Deluxe" 6500K 23W (100w equivalent) with the bulb about 4 inches above the lid (I keep the water level pretty close to the rim level). I haven't been able to find a wavelength spectrum graph for this light, but my plants grow well!

Only once did I get algae; turns out I was over feeding and the plants couldn't use up the nutrients fast enough. (Some "liquid carbon" and then a weekend total black out after that light period took care of that - and I am more careful about feeding.)

I think 20 gal tank is a little taller than a 10 gal, you might get away with using 2 reflector lamps and resting them on the lid of the tank.

Just my experience - I started my first planted tank about a year ago, and have started 3 more since then.

"All men are equal before fish."
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 12:02 PM
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2x18 watt 65k cfls would be what I would do. I've also had luck in my sons 20H replacing the CFLs with 9watt LED bulbs and removing the defuser on them, but this is a low light tank might need to go with 14 watts if you want a bit more oomph
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both so much.

I kind of wish I had gone this way with one of my tanks. Can get a 4 pack of bulbs and a fixture for $20. Makes me cringe when I think of the $80 I spent for my lower light tank.

Again, thank you both very much. Think I will get him a few different packs and he can see what works best.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 01:47 AM
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Get both 13w cfls and 23w cfls. Ime cheaper than led bulbs. 2 23w cfls ~20 inches above the substrate of my 10 gallon led to algae outbreaks while dosing excel. I'm getting ready to set up a 20l and plan on starting with 2 13w bulbs ~13 inches off substrate then moving to 23w if needed. Better to start off slow imo than fight the algae.
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