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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone!

I'm new to this forum so hi! I have a 3 month old fresh water tank. It's 48" long and 55gallons. I have mostly clown loaches and some other random fish and they're all babies at the moment. I also have about 6 plants that I'd like to grow - I want the tank to be very natural looking with rocks and plants etc.

So of course I need a good light fixture! I'm also new to having such a large and complex tank so please excuse my ignorance on the subject...

Can you guys give me any suggestions? Brands, models, and pricing would be appreciated. Money is an issue - I'm on a budget ... so I'd like to spend between 100 and 200 dollars if possible.

I heard that I should have between 2 and 3 watts per gallon - is that right? I just don't know where to start or which brands are best etc...

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
Rachel
 

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Well since you didn't mention which 6 plants you'd like to grow, it's hard to know how much light or CO2 you'll need, but let's assume you are going low-tech, which means not so much light, and no CO2 injection.

For low-light you should go with this fixture.

For a bit more light you should go with this one. You should try not to worry too much about wpg. Just know that the first fixture is a normal output T5, and the second one is high-output.

I'd say if you can afford it, go for the high output T5 fixture. 2x54w would be perfect for your tank, and it doesn't necessarily require CO2.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey - thanks for the response. We have an assortment of plants (I guess it didn't occur to me that different plants would require different amounts etc).

We actually got the current one (48" t5ho one) and it shorted on us within 5 minutes! Just a lemon or a bad brand?
 

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Current is a good brand IMO. But I've never owned one of those specific fixtures. I'm guessing it was a lemon. But there are other brands that make that configuration, of 2x54w T5's.

And yes, different plants require different levels of light. Which plants will you be growing?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had to look them up but here's what we have right now:

2 Java Furns
3 Amazon Swords
1 Green Mayaca
1 Lloydiella

Our favorites are the amazon swords - I really hope those grow! Any suggestions based on the plants we have?

Do we "need" CO2 injectors for these plants?

Thanks so much!
Rachel
 

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I don't know much about swords, but the rest of those are low-maintenance. With a t5 fixture and a decent little fertilizer program they'll do fine. Other plants that will work in the same conditions of this tank are anubias, crypts, and hygros.

Make sure you post pics when you get it all setup!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks so much for your help! I think we're going to go with a compact t5 and keep within the 2watts per gallon range (no co2 injector for now...). I'll check out those plants though - thanks! Hope to get it all setup soon :)
 

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I had a 3 amazons in a 55 back in the day. I tried DIY CO2 on that tank, but it never really worked right so ended up being a low-light, low tech and those swords got HUGE. So yeah, they should be good too. They can only grow more with more light, right?
 

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2 T5HO bulbs over the tank will REQUIRE Co2 injection. I have a 4 x 55w T5HO over my 75gallon and with just two of the bulbs running, I'd be in poor shape if I turned the Co2 off. T5HO is powerful light! I'd almost say double the expected "output" per watt, compared to normal T12 (which is what the original wpg "rule" was made for) You can get a $40 shoplight with nice reflectors and save yourself a TON of money on the fixture and bulbs. (and power) My buddy has a 2 T-12 bulb shoplight over his tank and his swords are monsters!
 

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I have the Current 2x54 watt T5HO fixture over my no Co2 injection 55 watt. It was an algae farm until I got some floating plants, which have since taken over and covered the entire surface of the water. So the tank is pretty dark, but the two amazon swords are getting huge. They actually experienced accelerated growth when the light intensity went down.
 
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