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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thanks to Hoppy for his help.

Before you look at the picture, don't think UGLY, think INTERESTING :) This is my 10 gallon looking kind of bare. I did get a lot of new plants recently. I just changed it over to a substrate of MGOCPM with a sand cap, but the two Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) have been there since near the beginning. I had bought 13Ws but I decided they were too bright for the 10. I forget now what made me decide that - maybe algae. But even the 10Ws were too bright.

I've had my problems with algae. Strong light and only Flourish Comprehensive and Seachem Root Tabs ferts, and the algae take off. Plus, IME, the plants don't grow without NPK and with high lights.

I've also been reading some advice from forums that tells mostly the same thing.

Now that I have the new substrate, I won't have fertilizer problems. I may try bringing down the 10s a little or even try the 13s.

Well, thanks for reading. Oh, I forgot the main point of this post - different fixtures produce different amounts of light. In my picture below, we're looking at two 10W CFLs in somewhat battered aluminum brooder dome reflectores. The bulbs are pointed down, so we can say that the orientation is vertical. Between what I think is a very efficient reflector and vertical orientation, we're getting a lot of light.

A stock incandescent strip or canopy has typically 2 incandescent sockets oriented horizontally which can accept CFLs. However, the horizontal orientation is supposed to be less efficient than the vertical, and the reflector in those fixtures are pretty bad, so more CFL watts are needed.

So, when you see someone running a lot of watts on their 10 gallon tank, I think this has something to do with it.

End of story.
 

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Exactly true. And I believe that the 10.5" diameter fixtures are much better than the 8" ones because of the way the bulb can be fully enclosed within the reflector on the larger fixtures. The smaller diameter ones the bulbs might stick out past the reflector edge resulting in lost light. But that can vary too if you get the mini spirals. I don't quite have proof of anything since my limited testing wasn't great & varied too much.

I also think that because CFLs have the ballast built into the bulb that different brands of bulbs might be better (or worse) making it even harder to know what light level you might get. I don't have proof of this either though. Really need to do more testing but I just can't find the time.

That's one reason why I hate to even guess what light level someone might have when they ask.
 

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My son wanted a Guppy tank so I set up this 10g on a 10 min notice when I unexpectedly was given some Hornwort and some water lettuce. I went to walmart and picked up this clip on lamp and a mini 10w cfl. Once I get enough plants, it will be turned into a dirt tank.

I'm thinking of using dwarf sag and crypts as a carpet and some Jungle Val as a background plant with some guppy grass and water lettuce floaters? Do you think my lighting is enough? I really dont want to run dual lamps but I will if I have to.
 

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Carpe Diem
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From the looks of it, it's plenty for the plants you mentioned. I personally would go with Blyxa instead of dwarf sag as I like more 'manicured' look. Obviously, any moss, java fern, ambulia, mayaca, pennywort you can throw in.

Somehow, I think you know what to do :)

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I thought about using the taller Sag because I've read that Blyxa requires higher lighting and is a pain to propagate when using dirt. Something about having to uproot the plant in order for you to pull apart plantlets.
 

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I thought about using the taller Sag because I've read that Blyxa requires higher lighting and is a pain to propagate when using dirt. Something about having to uproot the plant in order for you to pull apart plantlets.
Not at all. I have mine growing in my low tech dirted that's completely shaded with floaters. Also it's a stem plant that propagates with side shoots. All you need to do is trim the new plants of the mother stem and plant them in.
 

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Carpe Diem
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+1 ^^
I do replant mine every 6 months or so in a low light tank (<< 20 PAR at substrate). They are dark green, very bushy, and get to ~10" tall. I believe I have pics of them in my 30g shallow cube journal.

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