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I've heard standard T8 bulbs don't grow plants well but what if you get a 6500K T8?
There is nothing wrong w/ t8 bulbs regardless of color temp.

To get 25,000 lux requires 2400 lumens or 25 watts of T8, T5, or T5-HO fluorescent lighting per square foot
International Carnivorous Plant Society - Indoor Plant Lighting

Spectral Power of a 6500 K T5-HO fluorescent bulb with a high color rendering index

This is the spectrum from some of the best quality and most efficient T5-HO fluorescent bulbs for human use. Under these lights object appear the correct color and the lights are very bright. Most of the light is outside the preferred spectrum for plants.
 

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I have one t8 bulb 18" on my 10 and it grows L. repens, Bacopa caroliniana, Vesuvius Sword, Alternanthera reineckii ''roseafolia'' which has maintained a nice red color, java and peacock moss, Staurogyne repens, and another plant that I dont remember the name of. I dont have outlandish growth but this tank has never had a problem with algae since I set it up.
 

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No ferts no co2. My light are on a timer from 7am to 11am then from 6pm to 10pm. On my 10g I run one 18" t8 and on my 75g I run a 48" shop light with two t8 bulbs. I do dose excel on my 75. I also placed diy o+ root tabs next to my heavy root feeders.

Edit: I will add that my 75 requires regular trimming of the Bacopa, the 10g not so much.
 

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Can you post your current tanks specs? Size, current light, substrate used, any ferts etc etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
10 gallon with a 18in t8 15 watt.

78F. Zero ammonia and nitrite, ph of 7.2. Nitrates around 20ppm. I do a water change around every couple days.

Natural river stone substrate.

7 habrosus Corydoras, 2 otocinclus, 6 assorted nerite snails

No ferts as I'm unsure what to get or use anyways
 

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How long did you leave the plants in there? It took a good month for mine to settle in and perk up. Here is what I would do. Put your plants back in. Put your t8 on a timer. Run it 8 hours a day and see what happens. You may experience a lull period at first but gives things a chance to settle in. Unless the plants are in there you wont figure out what they need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I had them in a good 4-6weeks. Each day they seemed to get worse despite me stocking heavy to give them enough "food"

When I had them in a 2.5 gallon they seemed to grow quickly, the water sprite at least then in the. 10 they lost color and didn't. New growth wasnt a normal full green. Could it be helped with a stronger K T8 or would that not matter?
 

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You might need ferts. When I first set up my 20L, I thought for sure I was stocked enough for fish poo to feed the plants- I had 7 cherry barbs, 5 kuhli loaches and tons of snails- but I struggled a lot with peaky, dying plants until I started dosing ferts- 1/3 of the recommended EI regimen (or, dosing once a week instead of several times). Plants took off and I was astonished at the difference.

Now on my other tanks it's the same thing. I keep thinking- surely I have enough fish mulm built up to quit dosing ferts? But I keep feeding the plants because when I slack off they look terrible.
 

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If he is using stone substrate that is most likely the case. On my 10 I used dirt with a sand cap. That may be the difference.
 

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Yes- my first tank setup had gravel (I didn't know much then). I used root tabs and started doing EI dry ferts, what a difference. My current tanks have safe-t-sorb with gravel cap, I still need to do ferts consistently. If I ever start another tank I'll probably go with a nutrient-rich substrate this time!
 

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The importance of substrate is oddly missed sometimes.
What do plants grow in outside?

A dirted tank goes a long ways toward mitigating lower output lights. Other things can work, especially after years of detritus build up, but that substrate above is a bit coarse.
Or you can add ferts and do a 50% water change as mentioned above (EI) which removes half of what you added...and keep doing that over and over again.
EI is basically "I have no idea what my plants need, so I'll bomb it with fertilizer, they'll take what they need, and reset it each week with a 50% water change and repeat"
It's not the way I do things, but it works for a lot of people. Even then, a dirted tank will help since you're not as dependent on the ferts in the water column.

CFL's work great on small tanks like that too.
 

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I could not grow plants worth a hoot with single T8s.
Mind you that was on 20 Tall and 55 gallon tanks.
It was too deep for single T8 fixtures.
I can't see why a 10 couldn't manage however?
 

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I could not grow plants worth a hoot with single T8s.
Mind you that was on 20 Tall and 55 gallon tanks.
It was too deep for single T8 fixtures.
I can't see why a 10 couldn't manage however?
I have a single 18" 15w t8 on my tank and it does fine. I have a 20 tall I will use 2 of them. His issue I think is nutrient orients with gravel only no root tabs no ferts.
 
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