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Why are you looking for "high intensity" lighting? A planted tank does very well with just adequate light, and usually has nothing but problems with algae with "high intensity" light. An appropriate light for a 20L tank would be a Coralife 2 bulb T5NO light. An appropriate light for a 20H tank would be a FishNeedIt 2 bulb T5HO light.
 

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No one is being a jerk. The problem when someone asks for a light recommendation is that we never know if they want minimum cost, minimum wattage (power consumption), best appearance, or other criteria. I would almost always build a custom LED light if I wanted a new light, but not everyone wants to do that. And, I know some people have been having problems with the Coralife T5NO lights, especially those purchased recently. The FishNeedIt lights are cheap, not true T5HO lights, but I don't recall people having problems with them failing.

You can always go to a light suspended above the tank by several inches, and use regular T5HO lights, more costly and more reliable. This one, http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=71_196&products_id=1834 or the 30 inch model, with the light suspended about 24 inches above the substrate level would also be good low medium light.

Today we have lots of choices for good planted tank lights, which is good, but choices can mean difficult decisions to make, too.
 

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Those screw-in CFL bulbs are a great way to light many tanks, but you do need more than just the bulb:biggrin: And, you need to decide whether you want them horizontal or vertical. You get a lot more light when they are vertical over the tank, in a dome-like reflector, but that takes some effort to make it look good. It isn't a plug and play option.

Even mounting them horizontally takes some effort - you have to have a light fixture with screw-in sockets, with enough room for the size bulbs you want, and with a reasonably good reflector for each bulb. Without the reflectors you get half as much light.

But, they offer great flexibility in light intensity. Just pick a bulb wattage that gives you the amount of light you want/need.
 

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Those screw-in CFL bulbs are a great way to light many tanks, but you do need more than just the bulb:biggrin: And, you need to decide whether you want them horizontal or vertical. You get a lot more light when they are vertical over the tank, in a dome-like reflector, but that takes some effort to make it look good. It isn't a plug and play option.

Using a Fluker's Sun Dome it is.
You are right. That is a very good plug and play option.

So...I enjoy the thought of doing a DIY upon further consideration. Along the lines of the CFL and Fluker dome how much does that heat up/is there a way to fix it?
There shouldn't be a lot of heat involved, since these are necessarily a few inches above the top of the tank, so only radiant heat gets to the water.

Hoppy got me interested in DIY LED and I was wondering if you had an instruction set on doing one. Also on that graph you showed with the whole PAR thing it mentioned distance from the light which got me to thinking about just having a raised piece of gravel in the tank with medium to low lighting.
There are so many different options to choose from in making a LED light that it doesn't lend itself very well to using an instruction sheet. Here is a way to select the configuration of LEDs for such a light, http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/diy/168999-one-way-design-planted-tank-led.html The mechanical design can vary all over the map.

I was thinking of doing a PVC covered in gravel idea in which I could place the plants on top. Would that be an acceptable idea?
There can be problems with raised areas of substrate, because such areas tend to level out over several months. Because of buoyancy under water the substrate particles are easily moved around, and nature seems to prefer flat substrate a lot more than hilly substrates. But, it is true that the closer you get the plants to the light, the more intense the light is.
 

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You probably should use 2 of the 10 inch diameter domes, and if you use 23 watt bulbs you can get good lighting with the bulbs about 18 inches from the substrate. Todays CFL bulbs can last as little as 6 months or as long as 2 years or more, depending on the quality. And, the quality varies widely. You will be using them for their intended use, so no cooling should be necessary. People do hang that type of light by the electric cord, but don't hang it by the plug, or it might pull out and drop the light into the tank.

You get the best results here if you post a limited range of questions in the appropriate forum, even if that means 3-4 different posts.
 
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