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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Currently using this for a 30G (29) community with live plants:

Amazon.com : Power-Glo Fluorescent Aquarium Bulb, 20-Watt, 24-Inch : Aquarium Lights : Pet Supplies

It's on a ten-hour interval on an automatic timer in a tank with two amazon swords, two chain swords, java moss, java balls and two java ferns. I'm also using a standard glass-top/lift lid that came in the deal for the Aqueon tank.

Basically, I have three questions —

1. Is the ten hour interval too long? Should I be running the lights less during the day?
2. Is the bulb itself strong enough for all the plants in the tank?
3. In terms of maintaining tank temperature, and ideally lowering it to 76-78° (it currently averages around 80, sometimes 82 on warm days), should I be looking into a different hood option, or even different lighting entirely (say LED)?

Thanks.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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You may be able to keep your plants alive with that fixture and bulb, but I wouldn't expect to see much growth. Replacing your bulb won't change much- you'd need to upgrade your fixture. What you have now is EXTREMELY low light for this size tank. Fortunately, the plants that you're starting off with are some of the hardiest and have the best chances of surviving.

Average photoperiod is around 8 hours for most planted tankers. Given how low your lighting is, I don't think 10 hours is too much.

Your tank temps sound about like mine. Won't be a problem for the majority of plants and livestock, unless you decide you want to keep some species that require lower temps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You may be able to keep your plants alive with that fixture and bulb, but I wouldn't expect to see much growth. Replacing your bulb won't change much- you'd need to upgrade your fixture. What you have now is EXTREMELY low light for this size tank. Fortunately, the plants that you're starting off with are some of the hardiest and have the best chances of surviving.

Average photoperiod is around 8 hours for most planted tankers. Given how low your lighting is, I don't think 10 hours is too much.

Your tank temps sound about like mine. Won't be a problem for the majority of plants and livestock, unless you decide you want to keep some species that require lower temps.

Thanks -- would you have any suggestions for what I should be using? Should I just invest in LED?
 

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I would! I just put the Finnex planted + on my 29g and love what it has done so far. I do not use CO2 or Excel and dose a little ferts after my water change. A little algae on my glass but that is about it.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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If you want to see better growth from the plants you have and/or try some other plants then yeah, you'll need to upgrade your fixture.

What fixture to get... well, to answer that question, you need to decide what your goals are for this tank.

If you want a low maintenance, fairly economical setup, then go "low light/low tech." You'll be a little more limited with plant choices, though still have lots of options- check out the sticky with recommended low light plants at the top of the low tech forum, but won't need to inject your tank with CO2 or work out as strict a fertilization regimen, the plants will grow more slowly and your tank won't require nearly as much maintenance.

If you want to see constant rapid plant growth and be able to keep any plant that strikes your fancy, don't mind investing more $$ for a nice pressurized CO2 setup and are OK with needing to spend several hours each week trimming and maintaining the tank, then a high light/ high tech setup may be up your alley.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm looking to carpet the substrate, if possible — low maintenance, sorta, but I'm totally OK with going in weekly to trim and maintain plant growth. What I'm looking for is just a much more natural setting look. It's why I planted moss on my drift wood and petrified wood, and why I went full planted and pulled out anything plastic or fake in moving from 20 to 30 (29).
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Ok, that answer leads me to think that you want a low light setup.

The trick will be picking out a fixture that will give you enough light to grow some of the hardier carpeting plants, but not so much light that you'll need to invest in a pressurized CO2 setup to allow the plants to keep up with it.

You have lots of options in terms of which fixture to choose. Personally, I've always been happy running a single T5NO fixture over my own low tech 29gal (tank on the far left in my signature) http://www.petsmart.com/fish/lights...light-fixture-zid36-16413/cat-36-catid-300073

If you pick out a T5HO fixture (rather than T5NO), you'll most likely need to raise it up off the tank to moderate the light somewhat.

If you're interested in going LED, I'd start a thread in the lighting forum and ask for recommendations for a fixture that will keep your tank low light but support carpet growth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, that sounds about right. Would the current bulb I have still function in that new fixture, or would I need to be purchasing a different spectrum?

I'm thinking I may go with your suggestion come next paycheck, as I've noticed the java moss really hasn't taken off too much since I planted it. It's growing, but really slowly.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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No, T8 bulbs will only fit into T8 fixtures (the smaller the number after the T, the smaller the diameter of the bulb). The T5NO fixture I linked comes with good plant bulbs already in the fixture (in the freshwater version, not the saltwater version).
 
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