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The whole lighting thing can be very confusing when your new. I have a 120 gallon that is 24" x 24" x 48" . I know that I want the t5 type set up. I also would like the option of growing any plant I want. So do I need to run only 2 bulbs or do I need to run 4 bulbs? Also any recomendations on specific bulbs that I need to use? What is the Kelvin rating I need to get? Do I need run a variety of types of bulbs? (pink, blue, full spectrum....?) I need clarity on what I need to buy exactly with my lighting.Thank You !

Jacob
 

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You have several choices for lighting that tank. First, you will need a good CO2 system if you want the option of growing any plants you want. That, and not light, is what determines how well most of the "difficult" plants grow. If you don't have a good CO2 system, pressurized, of course, you will need to stick to low to low medium light. Next, are you willing and able to suspend the lights above the top of the tank? If not, you can only use single bulb T5HO lights, like the Hagen GLO single bulb fixture, or two bulb T5NO fixture like the Coralife fixture. But, you will need two of them, one near the front of the tank and one near the back of the tank, to get uniform lighting over the whole substrate.

If you can suspend the light fixture(s) you have a lot more choices. You could use two bulb T5HO fixtures, two of them again, but suspended about 6 inches above the top of the tank, for low light, or about 3 inches above the tank for medium light. Another option would be a custom Catalina Aquarium fixture, a 4 bulb fixture, but made using the housing normally used for an 8 bulb system, to spread out the bulbs more. That should give you low light, if suspended about 6-8 inches above the tank.

Bulb color temperature is mostly a matter of making the tank look like you want it to look. Most people seem to prefer the look of bulbs with a color temperature between 6700 and 10,000K, but people have different opinions on that.
 
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