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Need some hand-holding on a 20G tank

801 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  sanguineillusion
Hi guys,

I've been thrashing about for the past few days trying to figure out the perfect lighting for it. The tank is an aqueon 20h (high) version and is 24" wide. I'm not sure on livestock yet but I'm looking to transfer over my java ferns, crypts and anubias and maybe pick up some more fairly hearty (read: indestructible) plants later. I've got a glass top on my tank and was thinking about mounting the fixture on top of it with just the legs on the fixture.

1) Are 2x T5NOs appropriate for this tank? Most of the plants I currently have are medium light. I like the idea of 2 bulbs for better spread in the tank. Am I right in thinking 2x T5HOs are overkill?

2) What fixture should I get? I figure my budget for the fixture tops out at maybe $110 or so. I've been reading a lot of bad reports that coralifes are unreliable. Amazon sells a Nova Extreme T5 X2 for about 700 by Current USA. Do I need to get one with a fan? Also: will T5NO bulbs work in T5HO fixtures? I see tons of fixtures that are labeled as T5HO

3) Is it important to get 1 bulb of a different temperature? I see a lot of them come with roseate bulbs in one of the slots.

Thanks so much for your help guys. I hope I can finally get this tank up to par soon so I can start planting!
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Are you doing CO2 and ferts? That will really determine what lighting will work for your tank. I use the Finnex Ray 2 LED fixture and it's great, but I had to raise it above the tank and I use pressurized CO2 and dose EI.

My recommendation to you would be:

1. 24" Finnex FugeRay - $80 on Amazon (Good low light)
2. 24" Aqueon/Coralife Dual T5NO - These are found in PetSmart or on Amazon - $40 - $60 depending where you get it (Low light)
3. 24" Finnex Ray 2 - $95 on Amazon (Medium Light, requires raising and/or CO2/ferts) ***Make sure you get the DS model that has dual 7000k led strips***

Just my .02 cents!
Ah yeah. I forgot to mention. In my current nano tank I'm dosing with excel daily, flourish twice a week. Not looking to get into pressurized CO2 or anything high tech like that.

I'm looking to avoid hanging lights or elevating them really high since this will probably go in the living room and would probably be an eyesore for my girlfriend, as well as an invitation for destruction for her cat ;)

Interesting that you say dual T5NO is low light. I had been reading that it was medium. Is it just that fixture? Do you have any experience with the reliability of those units?

Note that the T5NO Coralife light gives you about 20 micrmols at 17 inches, which is about the distance you will have it. For medium light, which would require that you use at least DIY CO2, you would need the Coralife T5HO or FishNeedIt 2 bulb T5HO light - around 35-40 micromols.
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Hi Hoppy. You seem to be the undisputed lighting expert around here :) That's interesting. Is that because the reflectors in the coralife are crappy? I took a look at this chart you provided:

and it says that for on top of the tank, 2xT5HO is "too high" and 1xT5HO is "high". Have things changed since then?

I'm not sure if I'm willing to rig up DIY CO2 at this point. Excel has been working for me pretty well in my 5.5g nano. Maybe in my nano I'm actually using low light? I don't need explosive growth or anything, just growth... I'm currently using this in my nano
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