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Help me choose a lowtech 10g light solution?

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TLDR:
Seeking 20-30W 20 inch lighting solution for future 10gal heavily planted aquarium w/ low to medium light requirement plants. Probably going to be lowtech/no long-term CO2, but regularly dosed w/ ferts. Fingers crossed for less than about $75 total.


Full version:

It’s been a year and I’m looking to upgrade the hood and lighting on my Marineland 10g that I got from my aquarist dad for a moving-out present. I recently looked up what the wattage was on the LED strip that came with the little kit and it's 4.6w. I've researched enough to know that's not sustainable whatsoever.

- I want to plant pretty densely, maybe a pseudo-lowtech setup (75% or more substrate cover) with some pretty basic low-light plants (swords/moneywort/wisteria/etc).

- Under $50-75 or so total, and without drilling anything to hang a wall or pendant lamp (apartment life is inconvenient for this.)

- I might try a DIY CO2 system in the beginning to get things started, but when school starts back up I'm not sure how regularly I'll be able to keep up with it so let's not depend on that too much :smile:



Here's the culmination of what I've got/my questions:
1. Most of the 20″ hoods/fixtures I've found are single-bulb 15W instead of the 20-30W I’m kind of aiming for. Probably passable wattage but... not really confident in 1,5wpg on a tank I want to keep planted/un-upgraded for 2-3 years.

2. Glass top with a 10W LED bracketed strip. Not enough wattage.

3. Glass top with repurposed clip-on desk lamps. Seems to be kind of a big hazard for apartment living and not a risk I'm willing to take since I can't install GFCI outlets. If a fire or electrocution didn't get to me, my firefighter father probably would lol.

4. This fixture over a glass top (Aqueon double bulb strip light). Would it be OK to sit this right on top of a glass canopy? Would it be better to grab a matching hood for it? The spread isn't great but it's got the wattage I need for cheap, so this looks like it might be the solution if I get two 15W fluorescent bulbs for it?



Essentially, are there any experienced aquascapers/planted nano tank aficionados out there that might be down to give me some advice? Maybe I'm being too narrow in my search but I've been at my computer researching for literal hours and my brain is fried :smile: Feel free to berate my research/give me better options if there are any! I'm pretty dead set on keeping this tank for a long time and slowly upgrading it, so I want whatever light I get now to reliably be good enough for plants for a few years while I upgrade the filter/CO2. If that means counting my pennies for something a little higher-end, I'd like to at least know it exists!

And just in case: I did see the other forum post right now about lighting upgrades for a 10 gallon, but that individual is doing a high-tech scape with CO2 and debating whether or not to switch out their lights (and can afford Finnex). Different situation!
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20-30watt led will be high light in a 10 gallon easily.

2 lights i'd look at on a budget. EA 18inch 3 row beamswork light. either Fspec or 6500k. this should run you arround 20bucks.

another option is a finnex stingray, simlar light to above, but better quality light (fish/plants will look better, prolly not much difference growth wise though) these run arrounf 40 bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
20-30watt led will be high light in a 10 gallon easily.

2 lights i'd look at on a budget. EA 18inch 3 row beamswork light. either Fspec or 6500k. this should run you arround 20bucks.

another option is a finnex stingray, simlar light to above, but better quality light (fish/plants will look better, prolly not much difference growth wise though) these run arrounf 40 bucks.
Oh thank goodness, something concrete to look at haha. Thanks for your succinct suggestions. The world of LEDs has just been revealed to me :biggrin: Everywhere I read was adamant that 2x the wpg w/ fluorescents was the minimum to grow anything at all. I didn't know a 1:1 w/ LED would be good enough!

Would it be worth it to get the Finnex Planted over the Stingray for $15 more for 15watts total? It'd def be pushing the top end of my budget but if it'll let me be more versatile with planting in the future, it'd be worth it. Would that be too much for such a shallow tank/would plants burn?
 

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Oh thank goodness, something concrete to look at haha. Thanks for your succinct suggestions. The world of LEDs has just been revealed to me :biggrin: Everywhere I read was adamant that 2x the wpg w/ fluorescents was the minimum to grow anything at all. I didn't know a 1:1 w/ LED would be good enough!

Would it be worth it to get the Finnex Planted over the Stingray for $15 more for 15watts total? It'd def be pushing the top end of my budget but if it'll let me be more versatile with planting in the future, it'd be worth it. Would that be too much for such a shallow tank/would plants burn?
The Planted+ may end up being too much light. This however could be a good thing if you choose to go higher light later down the road. You have the ability to hack in a dimmer into the light fixture now in order to dim t down for now.
 

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Oh thank goodness, something concrete to look at haha. Thanks for your succinct suggestions. The world of LEDs has just been revealed to me :biggrin: Everywhere I read was adamant that 2x the wpg w/ fluorescents was the minimum to grow anything at all. I didn't know a 1:1 w/ LED would be good enough!

Would it be worth it to get the Finnex Planted over the Stingray for $15 more for 15watts total? It'd def be pushing the top end of my budget but if it'll let me be more versatile with planting in the future, it'd be worth it. Would that be too much for such a shallow tank/would plants burn?
Nobody uses Watts/gallon anymore, they use PAR: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/10-lighting/184368-lighting-aquarium-par-instead-watts.html

The PAR value on LEDs is what you want to look at not the wattage. If there is a certain fixture that you are interested in; for example, Marineland, Fluval, Finnex, Current-USA, Beamswork, etc... there are tons of people on this forum that can get the information for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The Planted+ may end up being too much light. This however could be a good thing if you choose to go higher light later down the road. You have the ability to hack in a dimmer into the light fixture now in order to dim t down for now.
Hmm, OK, I see. I may have to do some thinking on how much light I actually want, then! I can't believe how far off-base I was on my wattage requirements :icon_conf Thank you both very much for your advice!

Bump:
Nobody uses Watts/gallon anymore, they use PAR: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/10-lighting/184368-lighting-aquarium-par-instead-watts.html

The PAR value on LEDs is what you want to look at not the wattage. If there is a certain fixture that you are interested in; for example, Marineland, Fluval, Finnex, Current-USA, Beamswork, etc... there are tons of people on this forum that can get the information for you.
That helps me understand all this more than you know :icon_lol: Looking back on the dates of what I was reading it was all early 2000's articles and blogs, so that's probably why I was so confused. There's no certain fixture or brand I'm interested in, just something that'll help me get into the hobby a little more seriously than what I've got. Thanks for letting me know!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cheapest and best spectrum given would me 2 of the desk lamps with CFL bulbs. sure you can go clip-on style from walmart or Home Depot.
Yeah, he's right. OP, go to the ADVANCED SEARCH and look for "My Inexpensive CFL Light Solution". CFLs work better than most people realize.
Reading it now! I remember seeing a lot of suggestions for this method, but I was pretty worried about clip-on lights for the possible hazard of them falling in or getting wet somehow (and apartment rules means I can't install a GFCI outlet for just-in-case), but I didn't know you could just sit them right on top of a glass cover. If I were to go with this I'd probably get two 5W bulbs, right? To keep the lighting low to moderate?
 

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5W? no no no.... two of the 13W around 4600k- 5300k range is good. I got into this hobby was due to seeing a previous forum member Shalu's 10G low tech tank using 2 of 2700k CFL bulbs. He deleted the pictures from that tank so I can't show it to you but back then it was really what I tried to copy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
5W? no no no.... two of the 13W around 4600k- 5300k range is good. I got into this hobby was due to seeing a previous forum member Shalu's 10G low tech tank using 2 of 2700k CFL bulbs. He deleted the pictures from that tank so I can't show it to you but back then it was really what I tried to copy.
Man, I just keep missing the mark on this stuff haha. I'll write that down for sure, thank you!
 
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