should I upgrade my 10g tank lighting? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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should I upgrade my 10g tank lighting?

So first off, i'm still really new to all of this, both the forum and planted tanks. I started my tank about 6 months ago and am still kind of fumbling through all of this. I'm running a 60watt CFL 6500k bulb as well as a marineland strip LED light. specifically this one

I've been able to grow water sprite, anubias nana, crypt wendtii, amazon sword and dwarf hairgrass pretty easily. At least they grow healthy (my swords need better nutrients but general growth wise they're good). These are all not really "high light" plants though outside of the hairgrass. The hairgrass grows well with height and health, but is veerrryyy slow about sending out runners. I'm not sure if this is a light issue or because I haven't gotten the co2 set up on the tank. When i did get co2 set up for like a week, I saw all the plants practically explode over night, so I think maybe my lighting is okay but I'm really not sure.

The reason I'm asking is because I want to really get a good carpet going and the move onto growing proper red plants and some tougher plants. I want to make sure that at least my lighting is spot on so I can focus on ferts and co2 and the such. I was looking at maybe this light

If you can't see the link, it's the finnex fugeray planted+ 20 inch.

I've read good things about it, but wasn't sure if it would really be an improvement on what I already have? And would there be any shadowed spots on a normal 10g? I run the two lights I have because one light alone there's shadows and doesn't seem to provide enough light. I'm in college, so I don't have a whole lot of money but if there's something that's more expensive that will ABSOLUTELY be like, the perfect light i'd be more than willing to save up for it, so give me your ideas.

Sorry if this is kind of vague I hope somebody can give me more advice because I keep spinning in circles with everything I read on the internet. I really appreciate any advice you can give me!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 07:40 PM
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How much are you willing to save up? Do you want something controllable or something basic like this? Are you going to want to upgrade in a couple of years, anyway? Nothing worse than spending good money after bad, or better money after good for that matter.

LED lights can be as simple or as fancy (and as cheap or expensive) as you want them to be. Some people, including myself, just don't even like LED's that much. You might prefer T5's, too. Or maybe not.

Everyone is different... I prefer metal halides, and the bulky ballasts and reflectors and all of the heat they produce, to the latest great $700 LED fixture all day every day. Obviously using metal halides on a ten gallon is overkill (not that I haven't done so), but just saying what's a perfect light for one person varies wildly. I don't think a "perfect" light exists or ever will. But I am getting philosophical and not really answering your question.....

For a little bit more money, look into Fluval's options. For just a little bit beyond that, look into Ecoxotic. I don't know if it's necessarily true or not, but for what it's worth I have always thought of Finnex as being of cheap build quality, which is as important (I think) as product performance. I have just always thought of them as cheap petsmart level crap. Disposable. But I would say the same about the ADA Aquasky's after regrettably buying one of those when they first came out, too. If an aquasky-type light is something you'd be interested in, the Chihiro knock-offs look like they are made at the same factory. Identical.

Honestly, if I personally wanted to light a tank that size and wanted to go with LED's, I'd wait until someone posts a for sale thread trying to get rid of a Kessil and try to score a used one. They just came out with very compact "puck" lights, too. They are not for sale yet, but I think they are called A80's.

That's also overkill, though. I tend to overkill.

Last edited by Clinton Parsons; 10-11-2016 at 08:02 PM. Reason: gfdsa
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Preferably under 200 dollars, but I'd be willing to go higher if needed. No more than 500 dollars though I'd say, I do need to eat down the road haha. I'm fine with just basic on off switch controls. I don't need a lot of fancy color options or anything like that. I'd prefer to just buy the best light I could now rather than upgrade several times, its an investment so I don't mind spending money. I really like the low profile of LED lights, but I'd be open to doing T5's, are they better in some ways? I've kind of always focused my search on the LED fixtures so I'm not too familiar with using much else. The CFL bulb was just a cheap 20 dollar option (between reflector and bulb) that I was able to set up to get everything going, otherwise i've only ever used LED. Really I just want some options that would give me good consistent high light output for a 10g so I'm open to any suggestions.

Is there something specific that you don't like about LED's that you've run into? Any added info you could give me is really helpful so I can try and make a decision!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 08:18 PM
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They are not better. In fact they get hotter, you have to replace the tubes, among other things. It's just older fluorescent technology. Some people are very particular about mixing and matching different brands of T5 tubes with different phosphors. Sounds like none of that matters much to you, and oyu are more familiar with LED's so stick with them.

LED's are great, I just don't like the way they look visually. The best LED's still make the aquarium look dim to me, while others like the newest ADA fixture (way overpriced, it's a joke at that price for what you get) are BLINDING and, to me, wash everything out. To me metal halide just makes everything look "perfect" so I put up with all of the cons they come with.

But everyone experiences light and color in their own subjective way, so my lighting might look like crap to someone else and their lighting, which to them is perfect looking, might look like crap to me. Other things, like whether you want a pendant-style lighting fixture or want something that clamps onto your tank, overall ... little things like that all matter to some people.

They'll all work more or less. It's not like it used to be; even crap today will still grow plants pretty well to some extent. If you are willing to spend up to $500, I say go all in and go for something controllable like kessils or radions. It is better to have features you won't use and don't think you need now and have that option later down the road when you have more money and think you are going to be in the hobby for the foreseeable future, then to not spend that money now and end up wishing you had in a couple of years then spending it all over again, anyway,

At least that's my outlook on investing on aquarium equipment. If you aren't sure if you are going to be in it for the long run or not, then I would still recommend something like the fluval/ecoxotic brand and would say skip the crazy expensive lights for now.

I don't want to sound like I am trying to overcomplicate things, either haha. The tech side is as much fun, if not more so, to me than the plants.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 11:57 PM
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Spend Money on CO2 Maybe?

Hello all,

This is my first post ever on this forum, so cheers! It sounds to me like that 60 watt bulb is plenty of par (amount of light) for doing what you want. I believe every tank has its own personality. Sometimes a fish you have is jumpy under to much light, or a plant like Anubias doesn't like to much light, or a plant will grow lighter or darker leaves under different levels and spectrum's of lighting, or smaller or bigger based on the same values.

So do what your tank likes, or whatever makes the tank perform how you want it to. Thus get CO2 for your tank. There is always a limiting factor, and based on what you said about the plants growing "overnight" when you added CO2, I would get some CO2. Then maybe some iron clay balls to put in the Wentii's substrate, and or any iron you feel like trying out. Just see what makes their red jump out.

Tank on!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 12:03 AM
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Oh, if you don't have CO2 already then don't upgrade your light without getting at least a paintball setup. Sorry, I must have missed that.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 12:57 AM
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The Planted+ will work very well on a 10g with co2. Many of hobbyists on this site run the same light on nano tanks with great success.

Just a noob

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