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I have a 30 gallon planted tank that's been set up for about five months. I have ADA aquasoil as a substrate and DIY CO2. My lighting is just a twin tube strip light, and the tubes are 2 30 watt Hagen tubes (1 Aquaglow, one Floraglo). So far, everything I've put in the tank has grown quickly and well. Although I have "only" 2 watts per gallon, I have been able to grow plants that supposedly have moderate to high light requirements, like rotala, ambulia and ludwigia. I have recently begun dosing using the EI method. There is some algae in the tank (fuzz or hair algae, I think, and a little green spot), but not enough to be of concern. The only algae problem I really had was some cyanobacteria, which I fixed a few months ago by cutting back on the amount of time the lights were on. So, what's my problem?

Well, there is so much conflicting information about how much light plants need, I've started to worry that my lighting is inadequate. I'm not specifically looking for pearling, and I don't feel the need to push my plants to extremely rapid growth levels, but I do want to feel confident that I have the right kind of lighting. I was considering purchasing a 36" Aqualight for freshwater (or similar if anyone has other recommendations), which would up the lighting to 96 watts. I'm not really handy, so I'd prefer something I could just buy rather than something I'd have to put together myself. However, I'm concerned that upping the lighting will cause a whole chain reaction where I will have to upgrade my CO2, have tons of algae and who knows what else - if that's the case, I'd rather avoid it. I just want what's best for the plants, and I'd like to feel confident that the plant growth is a good enough indicator, but I've read so much conflicting information that I'm just not sure. I still see some people saying that anything more than 2 wpg is asking for algae issues and is basically overkill, while others seem to think that if you have less than 3 wpg it's a miracle if you can grow anything. I've tried to figure out how many lux per square inch my tank has, based on Rex's website, but I'm not sure I'm getting an accurate measure because the calculation comes out with something different depending on what I put as my target. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding what the calculation is supposed to yield?

Also, if you think my old fashioned twin tube strip light is good enough, what do you think of the bulbs I'm using? The Hagen tubes are what the local pet stores sell for aquariums, but I'd be willing to search out better bulbs if these are not good. I've heard that 6,700 K is the best for plants, but the Hagen tube that is 6,700 K (Lifeglo) is one of the few that says it's not meant for plant growth. The Floraglow is 2,800 K, and Aquaglo is 18,000 K. Both claim they are good for plant growth. Any thoughts?
 

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Well. just keep in mind right now you are at a good spot. If you take the lighting up you're probably going to want to upgrade to pressurized CO2 as well. the algae you have now will blow up into a much bigger problem if you add only light.
 
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