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20 gal long, lighting guidance needed plz

Discussion in 'Planted Aquariums' started by schapman1886, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. schapman1886

    schapman1886 AC Members

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    Hi Guys,

    A little history; I've had this tank (20 gallon, long) setup with 10 neon tetras and 5 harlequin rasboras for over a year with a Anubias Nana and plenty of Java moss to go around. So this last weekend I visited a giant pet place a few hours away in Lancaster, Pa (mainly just to waste a day and look around) and bought a pot of micro sword and a bit of Anacharis as you can see in the attached picture. Now I have Aquarium fever all over again!

    Now, I'm worried that the lighting I have will not be enough for the plants. I have the stock lighting from my decommissioned 36 gal bow front, which is a 24" T8 17 watt 8000k bulb (from what I can see online) I know that it's definitely 17 watts, but the rest I only gather from checking online. I'm figuring that I will need a new light fixture to really get the growth going in the tank, and I am kind of overwhelmed/lost when it comes to what I need to get.

    There is so much information out there that I just don't know what to do. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the 'brightness' or 'color' of the kelvin scale and whether not it's necessary to get between specific ranges for growth or if it's just for aesthetic purposes, or if the wattage matters more than the 'k'.

    If someone would help me figure out what I need for my tank, specifically, and would be willing to explain why I need the specific lighting that I do, that would be amazing. I really do want to learn, (I would love to get my 36 gal bow front up and running again this year) and if anyone has any helpful websites that are noob friendly, or knowledge that they would be willing to share with me, I would appreciate it greatly!

    Any help would be appreciated!!!!!

    2012-01-23_17-01-53_452.jpg
     
  2. jpappy789

    jpappy789 Plants need meat too

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    I'd say that your current lighting is fine for the moss and anubias...probably not enough for the sword or microswords in the long run.I look at the Kelvin scale as more of an aesthetics indicator. Most people will say somewhere between 6700-10000K or you may see others insist on 6700K only. In reality K ratings wont necessarily correlate to the spectral output of the bulb. A quality bulb should have a spectrum chart/graph. When it comes to wattage the old standard of "watts per gallon" has been overused and is now considered outdated as it was based on the linear T12 fluorescents. With all the different bulb types and sizes it really isn't useful anymore. Recently the PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) has been implemented as a better measurement...unfortunately PAR meters are expensive to purchase. If you are lucky a local club may have one that members can rent. For now I usually follow the measurements here: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lighting/105774-par-vs-distance-t5-t12-pc.html
     
  3. schapman1886

    schapman1886 AC Members

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    Thanks for the info. So what I'm looking for if I wanted medium lighting would be either a 2 to 3 tube T8 fixture (also will be above a glass canopy so the three tube fixture is probably the best if they have one) or a duel tube T5NO fixture? Would going to a single T5HO setup be overkill for what I have so far?
     
  4. tolawdjk

    tolawdjk AC Members

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    At 12 inches of depth, a single tube T5HO is going to be overkill. If you could raise it 6-8 inches above the tank top then you could probably hit the lighting levels that you wanted.Personally, I have a dual tube T5NO coallife on my 20L and its just about right. I do fight BBA a bit though.
     
  5. jpappy789

    jpappy789 Plants need meat too

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    I would go with a NO if you can...as mentioned a dual HO fixture would be overkill with only 12"
     
  6. schapman1886

    schapman1886 AC Members

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    Awesome, thanks for the info!!! One more quick question, at this point or going forward if I were to get a dual T5NO fixture, should I be fertilizing my plants and setting up a CO2 generator, or should they be OK without?
     
  7. TL1000RSquid

    TL1000RSquid AC Members

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    dual t5no won't require co2. I would use some fertilizers though even with out the r5no.
     
  8. schapman1886

    schapman1886 AC Members

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    Okay, I have used Leaf Zone in the past as directed but I had an outbreak of hair algae afterwards. Do you recommend anything special or would Leaf Zone be OK?
     
  9. TL1000RSquid

    TL1000RSquid AC Members

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    in my setups(low tech, T5NO, sand substrate) for rooted plants I use root tabs or other equivalents for the rooted plants, and lately I've been using Aqueon's liquid plant supplement every couple weeks. Leaf Zones pretty good though I had used up a small bottle of it I had before I may not of added it as frequently as the directions said though.
     
  10. londonloco

    londonloco AC Members

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    If I'm mistaken, I apologize to start, but I'm pretty sure Leaf Zone is micro's only. I have two 20g longs, both dirted planted, several years old, with this light on it:

    http://www.amazon.com/Aqueon-Corali...2I/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1327452754&sr=8-16

    (I paid less than that, google a little, prob can find it at a better price). I add NPK daily, and excel daily. I do fight a little algae, nothing to flip out about.
     

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