2.5 gallon lighting - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-19-2005, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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2.5 gallon lighting

Need some input everyone, currently I'm running a home depot 19watt spiral compact flourescent light 65k bulb over my 2.5 gallon. I'm rebuilding my hood and the plan I have will move the light to only one side of the tank so I want to add another one. Technically that would give me 15 watts per gallon. Would this ruin any plants by over exposing them to too much light? The reason I'm doing this is because with my current design a lot of light escapes even with my DIY reflector. Opinions?

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-19-2005, 05:40 PM
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don't worry, your lighting is probably about right. The wpg rule doesn't work well with anything under 30g. What's really important is the lumens. wpg is just a rule of thumb for medium sized tanks (like between 30 and 100 gallons)
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-20-2005, 12:53 AM
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If your plants are growing well now, I wouldn't recommend adding more light. The alternative to the Watts per gallon rule is Watts per square foot, and it works out better for small and large tanks. Anywhere from 25-50 Watts per sq. ft. is about right. Right now, at 19 Watts and a 12 x 6 inch tank, you have 38 W/sq. ft. Doubling it would be a lot of light. Maybe two smaller bulbs (2 x 13 Watt) would be a better choice.

I certainly think it's possible to go with much higher light. I've seen some of Amano's small tanks with extremely high light. But in a tank that small, it could get tricky to keep everything under control. Besides, most stem plants would overtake a tank that small in days.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-20-2005, 03:53 AM
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My ideas are unpopular, but I've found that the 12" strip light that goes on the All-Glass 2.5-gallon tanks provide sufficient light to grow a very wide variety of plants, including some very light-hungry species. The trick seems to be in finding the right bulb. The T5 that comes included in the fixture is really good - grows plants very well and the color is perfect - unobtrusive and bright. But some of the tubes I replaced it with gave me horrible results. Finally, I e-mailed All-Glass and asked what bulb was included with their fixtures, and they told me Sylvanian daylight. I finally got a hold of one (via on-line bulb supplier) and things are happy, again (well, except for the unrelated GW outbreak I've been experiencing in the tank for the past week or so). Incidentally, All-Glass has recently come out with their own line of replacement bulbs (normal-outputs as well as PC's) and they're supposed to be 8000K with very good CRI. When it comes time to replace my Sylvanian, I may try one of these.

The thing I would worry most about with overly intense lighting is algae. At one point, I bought an incandescent fixture for this tank so that I could use a 10W screw-in bulb. This was disastrous - only one side of the tank was lit, and on this side, I got serious green spot caking on my Anubias 'petit', Bacopa monnieri, driftwood and glass. I guess as long as you only have fast-growing stem plants, a bigger worry for you is having to trim every other day.

Anyway, I hope you don't end up with a 2.5-gallon algae farm. In case you might be interested, Big Al's is selling this new Coralife Aqualight which is 12" and holds TWO 18W PC bulbs. Heck, I wouldn't put something like that *near* my 2.5-gallon tank, but I'm sure people are doing it.

Just my 2-cents.

Best of luck!

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