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Old 05-09-2012, 10:17 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Ohio
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Upgrade lighting from provided starter kit (plants and fish)

Hey all, first time poster, but been reading all I can for a few weeks.

I have a 26 gallon Aqueon Bowfront tank (starter kit) which came with a T8 15W light setup.

I've set up live plants in the tank and am running the light 10.5 hours/day on a timer. Live plants are a couple 4" Amazon Swords, two 3" Java Ferns, and one 2" Anubias. I'm finally starting to introduce fish and currently have two dalmatian mollies.

My main question is I have read the T5 is better than the T8 for plants, and the 15W isn't enough.

I was researching light upgrades but have been having a heck of a time figuring out what wattage I need and what type of bulb and what size will actually fit on the bowfront (tank is 24"L with middle clear plastic strip to let light through in the current hood).

I found the AquaticLife T5 HO Dual Lamp Light Fixtures (Freshwater) 24" 48W (1) 24" 24W 650nm Pink Roseate (1) 24" 24W 6,000K online, but before I order it ($105), i was wondering if this would work.

Will it fit on the Aqueon 26G starter hood, or will it be too wide for the current light slot, so I'd need to get a new tank cover too?
Is this overkill for either my plants or my fish? (Or, should/can I have two timers controlling the two bulbs individually?)
Is this overkill as far as $$$ goes?

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Old 05-09-2012, 03:13 PM   #2
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The 24" will fit just fine and if you have a planted tank it is definitely the way to go. I recently purchased the 48" coralife t5 Ho light for my 55Gal tank. The nice think about them is the legs will adjust to fit almost any tank..

i would highly recommend the coralife fixture - it is much cheaper in price. the only downfall is it only has 1 power control so both lights are either on or off.

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Old 05-09-2012, 05:39 PM   #3
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The coralife fixture I believe is only T5 and not HO, I could be wrong tho. These are 2 different bulbs. The Aqualife brand or Nova brand will work fine for your setup. Everyone uses different bulbs and there is much debate but I recommend sticking to bulbs that are within 5K - 65K. This is just basic for simple plants and different plants will require more wattage. The "general rule of thumb", cuz u have to have one is min. 1 watt per gallon. Again, this is just a starting point and water parameters, tank depth, plants kept are all to be considered when selecting bulbs.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:13 PM   #4
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As long as your plants you plan on getting don't need high light, then I would assume you'd be fine
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:50 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input. I do have lower-light plants, but they're small and at the bottom of a tall tank. The Amazon Sword is starting to get a brown spot in the middle of one leaf (not algae), but this may be because they've been pretty recently planted and are still adjusting.

I may try the coralife dual-bulb t5 setup and see how that plays out.

Will report back on the exact model and price and how it fits/works
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