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Old 10-02-2018, 05:50 PM   #1
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Lighting 101 for dummies

Basic introductory info, I am in Canada in a small town an hours drive from anything resembling a largish fish store and then only big box ones (Pet Smart & Big Als)so any bulbs I need will be hardware store buys.
I have an assortment of lights collected with various aquariums over the years - most are T8s, a couple of T5s and a couple of newer LEDs. I have a purple thumb where aquarium plants are concerned so I usually stick to silk or plastic. I am trying live plants once again - mainly because they are attached to my driftwood so I'm looking for basic lighting info. There will be no ferts or CO2 involved and only gravel as substrate. All I am looking for right now is how I tell which lights would be better to to use on *plant* tanks & which on non plant tanks? How do I tell which bulbs are which, both in the box and on the bulb if it has no box?
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Old 10-02-2018, 09:25 PM   #2
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You canít go wrong with a basic current led with low light plants. Lots of colors to play with and not crazy expensive.

The biggest mistake is going for too much light. Next, cheap led with only white bulbs
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:12 AM   #3
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How big is the tank? Length, width and height?
Low light setup? Or do you want room to expand?
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:01 AM   #4
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2 x 70g - 36Lx18Wx25H
One is asst tetras, dwarf marbled cats (Bumblebees) Synadontis Nigriventis (Upside down cats) & Amano shrimp
One is running but unoccupied - for now
104g - 48Lx18Wx28H
Angels, Cory's & Hoplo cats - this is the one with the driftwood plants
55g - 48Lx12.5Wx20.5H
Skittles Neocardinia tank which is assorted mosses and guppy grass

75g tank with an Oscar who tends to redecorate so nothing green in there
93g with Mollies who routinely decimate the hornwort floating in their tank so they get nothing else

I would like some kind of carpet but since that requires more effort & time than I have ot ka only a dream
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earhtmother View Post
2 x 70g - 36Lx18Wx25H
One is asst tetras, dwarf marbled cats (Bumblebees) Synadontis Nigriventis (Upside down cats) & Amano shrimp
One is running but unoccupied - for now
104g - 48Lx18Wx28H
Angels, Cory's & Hoplo cats - this is the one with the driftwood plants
55g - 48Lx12.5Wx20.5H
Skittles Neocardinia tank which is assorted mosses and guppy grass

75g tank with an Oscar who tends to redecorate so nothing green in there
93g with Mollies who routinely decimate the hornwort floating in their tank so they get nothing else

I would like some kind of carpet but since that requires more effort & time than I have ot ka only a dream
The issue with all those tanks is the overall height. 20"+ is a lot of water to punch light through, especially for a carpet.

Before I can really recommend anything you would have to determine the goals of each tank.

If availability is the issue, I would look into T5-HO horticultural fixtures and run hardware store cool white T5-HO bulbs.

Amazon is a good option here too.,
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Old 10-03-2018, 04:55 PM   #6
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Yeah after reading MANY posts I had assumed that was the case. I had pretty much given up the carpet as an unreachable dream since patience is definitely not one my strong suits
I was *assuming* that I would have to stick to low light plants - Bucephalandra, Crypts, Anubias, Echinodorus, Microsorum, Bolbitis, most mosses, and various species of Hygrophilia, Rotala, and Ludwigia were recommended to me, but first I need to be able to identify what bulbs are currently in my fixtures & how they affect plants. I can tell a T5 from a T8, but I also have CFLs & LED household bulbs and I know various *colors* do various things but I have no idea what bulbs contain what colors.
Told ya I needed lighting for dummies
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Old 10-13-2018, 12:36 AM   #7
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Before we make recommendations, what is your budget?

Lighting options can range from $50 to upwards of $600 for a 4ft tank.
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