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Hi, planted newb here. I have a 24" 15 gallon fw tank that I would like to plant java moss, java fern, anubias nana, crypt wendtii in but being that this is my first tank I'm not sure exactly what I need and would like to do it right from the start. I have the stock lighting that came with the tank which is a 15w 8000k bulb. I want this to be a slow growth, low maintanance tank with no co2 and no to ferts except maybe root ferts for the wendtii. Is my current lighting enough? It seems that the step up options basically double the light output but I want to be careful not to need co2 so I'm not sure where my sweet spot is. Any thoughts? Thanks.

Moe
 

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IMO it's not enough to grow plants well, but you can try it. Besides the low wattage/intensity, most of the stock fixtures don't have a suitable reflector, which make matters worse.

If plants don't grow, it's sometimes hard to keep algae at bay.

If the tank is 24", you should be able to find a 2x T5NO or 1x T5HO fixture for it. That would still be in the low tech / no CO2 realm.
 

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I agree w/ wasserpest, you need at least 1.5 watts. Try changing the blulbs to a plant bulb maybe that'll help, the regular stock lights are not made for plant growth. You don't necessarily need co2 as you do not pass the 2 wpg mark. Maybe add a little flourish excel every few weeks or so.
 

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:biggrin:I dont have it yet but coralife has an aqualight, 2 bulbs , 28 watts total, its T5. I did a price match with Big Als, 36.00 . I hope this helps.:icon_lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies so far. The Coralife double bulb T5 28 watt total light is the one I've been eying. My only concern is since a 15 gallon tank is only 13" tall that the 2wpg of T5 light will penetrate pretty intensely and push me into needing CO2. If I can use this light without CO2 it is probably the one I will get.

Moe
 

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so you know, aluminum foil is not reflective, it is refractive. it will not increase the light going into the tank... BUT!!!!

There is chrome tape available at autoparts stores (like advance) that costs $3.50 that is mirror finish. This is highly reflective and works well at improving stock set ups.

my 2¢
 

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I can't claim to be a lighting expert but I have a 20 gallon, 24" tank with that same stock 15watt fixture running 12 hours per day with NO issues growing low light plants, and even have had success with Ludwigia, Blyxa and several others. YMMV Good luck.
 

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WPG is really meaningless these days. The distance of the light from the tank, the position, and the light's intensity are what really matter. Since you are doing low light, I actually think you might be okay unless you put the lights very high above your tank. I am running 2 T5HO bulbs on my high tech tank at 24" above the substrate with no issues.
 

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I can't claim to be a lighting expert but I have a 20 gallon, 24" tank with that same stock 15watt fixture running 12 hours per day with NO issues growing low light plants, and even have had success with Ludwigia, Blyxa and several others. YMMV Good luck.

^I agree, remember you are tying to grow low light plants, the stock light will be just fine. I was able to grow low light plants and swords with the standard 15 watt light on a 20G. Then I upgraded to the Coralife 28w Dual T5 fixture, while it does grow plants a bit better it grows algae even better. If you do go with the T5 light make sure you get plenty of floating plants to "soak up" the extra light, that is what I did. I do not run CO2.
 
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