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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am setting up my first time 30 gal planted tank. I have a crypt, an amazon, some anarchis, and some Val. I want to buy a T5 light for the tank and was wondering if 39W or 78W was preferred.
 

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The plants you mention are all low light plants, so you really can't use a T5HO light unless you raise it about 6 inches above the tank, for a single 39 watt bulb in a typical T5HO reflector. Two bulbs would make it difficult to reduce the light intensity enough.

If you want to use high light intensity, and use pressurized CO2, follow a non-limiting fertilizing method, like the estimative index method, follow a very meticulous tank cleaning program, prune the plants at least weekly, then one T5HO bulb light right at the top of the tank will do that for you. The advantage will be that you can then grow any aquatic plant that interests you.
 

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Hi supercrazy,

I see this is your first post, welcome to TPT! I have a 30 gallon (36"X12"X16") and use a DIY fixture that I built from an AHS 2X39 watt (78 watt total) watt CF kit and run 6700K bulbs in it. I gives me more than enough light to grow just about any plant I want.
 

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Super..there are a number of ways to do a planted tank but making the decision of which method you want to use will help you decide which lighting fixture to get. If you're going to have only some slow growing plants, like Hoppy said, you have to be careful not to put too much lighting on the tank or you'd foster an unwanted algae growth. If you may well want to have a wider variety of plants that include bunch plants, then like he says, you may want to go to a higher tech tank with using estimative index dosing...

http://www.ukaps.org/EI.htm

Using this method would, as Seattle says, benefit from the kind of lighting he suggests.

So, do some reading on low tech planted tanks and on the high tech method and decide how you'd prefer to go about it. Then, the decision on which lights to get for your method will become very clear.
 

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I'm convinced that the best way to light a tank is with a fixture that hangs above an open top tank. There are several threads in the DIY forum showing ways to make mounts to attach to the tank stand and hang the light fixture from with cables or chains. The advantage of this is that you can adjust the light intensity easily by raising and lowering the fixture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
With the plants I mentioned in my previous post, since I already have some NO bulbs, if I put 54W of NO above the aquarium would that be sufficient intensity for what I want? And could I dose Excel with this and be ok?
 

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Aren't 36 inch T5NO bulbs 21 watt bulbs? Is that what you have? I'm not sure what T5NO light combination will give you 54 watts.
 

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I posted this in another thread when I had a question for Hoppy, but I have the same size tank and am running (high tech) two 36" T5HO at about 24" above the level of my substrate without issue. I think that is something like 9" above the water surface.
 
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