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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have a 46gal bowfront and am wanting to keep plants in the medium light range. I currently have two T5NO bulbs 21watts each, one being 6,700K and the other is a colormax bulb (came with the fixture). I know this is a little less than 1WPG but have read that rule is outdated and does not apply to the newer bulbs such as T5's. The fixture is about 17inches from my substrate...is this still in the low range or should this work alright for medium light?
 

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So I have a 46gal bowfront and am wanting to keep plants in the medium light range. I currently have two T5NO bulbs 21watts each, one being 6,700K and the other is a colormax bulb (came with the fixture). I know this is a little less than 1WPG but have read that rule is outdated and does not apply to the newer bulbs such as T5's. The fixture is about 17inches from my substrate...is this still in the low range or should this work alright for medium light?
That's definitely not medium light. If those were T5 HO it would possibly be medium light. Sounds like it could possibly be a Coralife? I had a 2 T5NO 48" on my 72 gallon bowfront that was barely low light by the time it got down to the substrate. Your tank being 5" shorter you're probably in the mid to lower range of low light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i have an old light fixture with a 25watt bulb in it..not sure if it is a T8 or T12, it was the one that came with the tank. Would adding this too the current lights give me medium? Can i put T5HO in the T5NO fixture?
 

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t12's are horribly inefficient and lose output quite quickly.
t8's and 5's are roughly equiv in output at a WATT to WATT basis i.e 20W of t8 are as efficient as 20W of t5. Just that t5's are higher wattage..

T5 no and ho are "somewhat" interchangeable.. But the ballasts aren't In other words a ballast set to run a t5HO will over drive a NO (quicker burn out). A t5NO will under drive a t5ho (less output, possibly longer life)..sometimes w/ some bulbs it just doesn't work though..

Since you have zero to go on, use the w/gallon rule to get you in a ball park. Remembering it doesn't hold for deep or shallow tanks but you can mentally compensate..
Problem with w/gal isn't that it can't give you an idea of output, just can't get you an idea of output over a certain area..
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you both for the feedback! I guess for now I will go ahead with the T5NO fixture combined with the old T8 fixture with a new bulb and see how that goes. As I am totally new to planted tanks,I can see this will be a trial-by-fire kinda thing :)
 

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I have a 46g bow with 2x T5HO (78w total), 3" off the surface. I would put it in the medium/high range. Definitely need CO2, but not a lot (I use DIY), and pretty easy to keep algae under control. I have no algae on my anubias, which grow like crazy in this tank. In my low light tanks, anubias grow much much slower and still get algae (gsa and brown spots which, might also be gsa). However, stems that generally need high light don't do well in this tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am dosing liquid ferts and co2 right now. I am pretty intimidated by other forms of it as of right now lol, maybe once I get the hang of the planted tanks I can step it up. I am working on correcting my light and hope to have it up to snuff, one way or the other, within the week. I planted some baby tears (which from what i understand, I will be suprised if i am able to get the beautiful carpet i want but I just had to try it!) Also tied some weeping moss on my manzanita branches and will be planting cambomba carolina(spelling) and limnophilia hippurioides (spelling) throughout the background.
 

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Back when I had a 46 bowfront two T5HO bulbs were definitely in the medium to high range. I would always have algae issues unless I dosed excel or had plenty of overhanging plant leaves at the surface blocking light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you! I always love a path through woods under a bridge of trees. Just something so serene about it to me..so i wanted to try to re-create that environment. Just hoping it grows out nicely. But I am leery of just what Axel said..I don't want to over do it with light and create problems for myself. So may just be best to stick with my 2 T5NO and regular T8 for now. I just planted it last night so maybe just monitor it for a few weeks and see what it does. Also, right now I've been only keeping the lights on about 6 hours since it is not heavily planted at all..is this right or should i be doing more?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am not sure if my plant selection will flourish with a low-tech set-up either...but I am also not sure that they won't! Only one way to know for sure! I guess that's the fun of the hobby..tinker with all aspects until creating a masterpiece :) Thank you everyone for the feedback and advice!
 

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I am not sure if my plant selection will flourish with a low-tech set-up either...but I am also not sure that they won't! Only one way to know for sure! I guess that's the fun of the hobby..tinker with all aspects until creating a masterpiece :) Thank you everyone for the feedback and advice!
That's a good way to look at it. Actually you running co2 I didn't see that originally, so co2 helps even in lower light setups.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah I figure a low tech simple liquid dosing of ferts and co2 is a good starting point anyways, but didn't want to limit my creativity and options by conceeding 'defeat' before even attempting to grow certain plants. Being my first run at a planted aquarium..i am fully prepared for some amount of failure (specially with a selection that may not be geared for beginners) I feel like certain failures are a great learning tool though, so might as well jump in with both feet and go for the gusto!!
 
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