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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

Been reading the forum for a long time and just decided to join :). Been keeping fish for 35 years, kept planted tanks in the past but switched to reef tanks 10 years ago. I am getting more and more interested in Planted tanks again and had a lighting question.

Will a single coralife 2 x 18watt NO fixture be enough to light a 20 long for medium light plants. This will be a low tech tank at best with DIY co2 etc. The tank is no more than 12 inches deep and will have a minimum uf 2 inches of substrate.

I just received this fixture mailorder and can't imagine it being enough. Maybe I am so used to the lighting on a reef tank. Current 30 gallon reef tank has 4 24w T5HO's over it and is pretty bright. The coralife fixture looks nice but kinda dim to me and the reflectors on these little things are almost non existent.

I won't mind slower growth if I can avoid green water like I had in a past tank. Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Welcome to TPT!

Your current fixture is definitely well within the "low light" category. But it will grow low light plants and much less algae risk, especially with CO2 on the tank. 2 of those fixtures would put you on the low-to-medium side.

If you want to get into the "medium light" category, I'd recommend one of the 2 bulb Coralife T5NO fixtures. With your CO2 and ferts worked out, this would allow a pretty wide options as far as plants to try out.
 

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I believe a 20 long is 30" across? You could order a 65 watt power compact. Just for reference though, keep in mind that the fixture is 30" ..but the bulb (at least in most 30" fixtures, such as my Coralife one) is only 24". But that's if you wanted some higher light.

I think you'll enjoy (especially if going for a lower-tech tank) just using 2 x 18 watt fixture, and its apparent dimness may just take some getting used to. I know when I was using a "plant" bulb on my tank (I think it was around 4700k) it seemed horribly dim and useless at first, but I eventually came to like its look...just took some time! Good luck with your tank!
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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LOL Apparently I can't read... :icon_redf

Yes, I actually think that puts you right where you want to be. You'll be surprised what you can grow under that fixture, especially with CO2 and ferts. :D
 

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I have a question about that fixture, and the coralife adjustable legs... does that unit have the necessary grooves so that one could attach legs to that fixture, or is it that you must you the provided legs only?

Thanks,
WF
 

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I have a question about that fixture, and the coralife adjustable legs... does that unit have the necessary grooves so that one could attach legs to that fixture, or is it that you must you the provided legs only?

Thanks,
WF

Nope. The T5 lighting setups can't do legs. A bit of a pain. I think the new HO t5's from Coralife have legs, but of course, they're almost 2x more $.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mine has a plastic cover in front of the bulbs and I plan on using it directly over the water with no glass. I have never used a glass cover even on my salt tanks and have never had a bulb explode (knock on wood :)). With those little wire extensions it sits very close though. Thanks everyone for your help I feel better about the start up now. I had overlit a tank in the past and turned my water green and basically killed all the plants through co2 deprivation.
 

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Yeah, you'll be fine. I have the Coralife T5 in my 15 gallon breeder (24" long) - 28W and I dose Excel and everything is growing very well. The only time I ran into problems is when I went away for two weeks and my wife underdosed Excel and I had a BBA outbreak which is now under control.
 

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I love my fixture as well on my 36 gal. It is a very nice light. All of my plants are doing well, and I just started dosing Excel and some other ferts. (although the moneywort does not like the excel, and has melted)
 
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