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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, so I'm completely lost..... as of right now I'm running a 10 gallon low tech setup, 2 aqueon 10 wtt 50/50 cfls , gravel substrate, occasional Seachem flourish. Growing anubias, marimos, java moss, dwarf hairgrass.

I'm upgrading to a 20 gallon long, putting the plants from the 10 mentioned above into this new tank. I will be using flora max as substrate. Lights on for 10 hours, off for 14. Already bought a 30" flourescent hood. What kind of flourescent light do I need? I was looking at the aqueon floramax t8 (it says it is 17w). Will this work?? I've had numerous suggestions for led and double fixtures, etc. but I already have the supplies. I don't plan on running CO2 either.

There is so much information regarding lighting out there my head is spinning. Help?!?
 

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Short answer, and I learned this the hard way... No, a 17 watt to won't quite get you to low light... If at all possible go the t5 rout... But I've had good luck with 2/3 clip on cfls. Not 10k bulbs though.. ... Plants use the 6500k range... You can find 24 watt cfls all your lhs. So save yourself the headache and toss the t8 on a fish only tank and go a different rout. Good luck and keep us posted?
 

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Im using a 15watt t8 and getting some real good growth on all my plants so an 18watt could work for all but the dwarf hair grass as that's a med to high light plant. Save your self moeny and buy bulbs from a hardware store. should be around 5 bucks for the bulb full spectrum bulbs are what your looking for 6000k-6500k is a good spectrum

 

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I had that exact same light on a 20L. The 20L is only about 10" to substrate, so I believe you can get decent low light levels. I think it would do fine for your plants, except for the dwarf hairgrass. And start with a shorter photoperiod, 6-8 hours. This was my tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So after a bit of searching I found an aqueon dual t5 fixture. On bulb is the typical 6 500 K and the other is a color max (I guess people are saying the colormax does nothing for the plants, just looks pretty). Think this would work?? I'm worried that it will be too high of a light output since my substrate is only about 10" from the light in the 20 gallon long.
 

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The dual T5 has two bulbs, 18 watts each (30 inch fixture).

This isn't the same set up as yours, but here is my experience with the Aqueon T5 fixture, which is a NO fixture not HO. My tank was 24" in length and the distance from the top of the tank to the substrate was 15 inches. These fixtures sit directly on the top of the tank. I had two fixtures with two bulbs each, so a total of four bulbs 14 watts each, total 56 watts. The tank was lovely, not much algae, the only plant that developed algae was the anubias leaves that grew up close to the light. I will attach a picture of the tank below. This was about three months after it was set up. I had a glass cover on the tank, so that would have diffused the light somewhat. I used the bulbs that came with the fixture and they grew the plants really well.

That tank sprung a leak and I am now running it with shrimp in it with the water level at half. I am using one Aqueon fixture and one Marineland Double Bright LED fixture. The plants are growing really well with that set up and no algae. I could use the other Aqueon fixture, but I like the look of the LED fixture. It gives the water a shimmering look. I have the LED fixture on the front of the tank. No glass cover.

The problem with lighting aquariums is that a lot of it is trial and error. If it were me, I would go with the dual T5 because if you find the light too strong you can reduce it by various means. If you buy a light that is too weak for what you want to do, then you will have to add another light.

I hope this helps a bit.
 

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