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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About 18 months ago I upgraded from a 20-gallon tank (24" long) to a 38-gallon tank (36" long x 12" deep x 20" high). To save some money, rather than buy a new 36" long PC lighting unit, I just used the 24" PC unit I had on the 20g tank (65W), and placed it on the right side of my new tank's glass cover, and then added an old 24" noncompact 30W unit on the left side. That gives me 95 watts total (2.5 wpg).

It's not an ideal setup--moving around two separate hood-light units is a pain when doing water changes. And I'm not sure I'm getting even lighting. And after 18 months, the bulbs need replacing.

So I'm thinking of upgrading to a single 36" 96W Coralife unit. That would give me about the same 2.5 wpg I have now. My anubias, java ferns and swords are all doing fine, although the crypts are not doing well. They melted when transplanted from the 20g and never really recovered. I use Excel liquid CO2 plus liquid micros/macros and have no plans to do DIY or injectable CO2.

My question is, does the 96W Coralife upgrade make sense? It would cost about double what I'd need to spend to replace all of my current bulbs, but that's okay. Also, is 2.5 wpg enough, given that I don't do CO2?

(I will say that when I had the 65W Coralife on my 20g, at 3.2wpg, and using Excel, my plant growth was MUCH healthier and algae was not much of a problem...)

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think you'd have better results adding CO2 or at least dosing Excel on this tank.
Yes, I had gotten away from dosing Excel, and after just a few weeks of resuming it, growth looks a bit better, although that could be due to a severe trim of some Lillies that had spread atop the tank. So now, light is getting down a bit deeper to my anubias and swords...

One other question: what if I added the single 96W Coralife AND kept the older noncompact 30W unit, with new bulbs? I realize it wouldn't solve the bulky double-hood system, but without injecting CO2, is the extra 30W worth the hassle? (Would boost me to about 3.2 wpg)

Tx!
 

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It is always possible to use more light, but doing so does require good CO2, and lots of maintenance on the tank. The more light, the faster the plants grow, so the more often you need to prune - think every other day, for example. Then all you need to develop a big algae farm is one little mistake in maintenance. But, people do it and enjoy it.
 
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