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Old 03-29-2011, 10:24 AM   #1
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Adequate Lighting for 29-Gallon Planted Aquarium

I recently received a 29-gallon tank as an early birthday present from my girlfriend's parents. I moved everything over from my existing 10-gallon tank and was quite pleased with the new room.

We got the tank used, but by all I could tell, it was a Tetra brand kit, just like my 10-gallon, but the fluorescent bulb seems so much dimmer than the one in my 10-gallon. I took a trip to Walmart to find a brighter one, and I was able to find a GE 24-inch, 20-watt, 1080-lumen bulb, which really improved the lighting in the tank.

However, my girlfriend read somewhere that our light is quite low for a planted aquarium as we have less than one watt/gallon of water. Does anyone know where I might be able to get a 24-inch fluorescent bulb that has a higher wattage and lumens? Or if not, any recommendations in improving the lighting in my tank? Or if the lighting is actually adequate for the plants I have?

Plants are as follows: Amazon Sword, Amazon Frogbit (floating at top), Green Myrio, Moneywort, Moss Ball, Red Anacharis, and Spiralis.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:20 AM   #2
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Unfortunately fluorescent lights don't come in a range of wattage for a given length and diameter. You're pretty much stuck with what you've got. I think your sword, myrio, and moneywort will suffer under that lighting. I killed filigree myrio and nearly killed moneywort and amazon swords under two 18W CFLs on a 29g. I've never heard of red anacharis (red ludwigia maybe?), but red plants generally need at least medium light.

Your options to improve your light really depend on what plants you want to keep and how handy you are.

1. Use a glass canopy and add a second light fixture. You can DIY a fixture for CFLs pretty easlily.

2. Retrofit your current fixture. There are kits available to put T5HO lights in your current fixture. You could also put CFLs in it.

3. Replace your fixture. If you're going to do this, look at T5HO or LED. Avoid any fluorescent fixture that uses 30" bulbs. They're a pain in the neck to find and expensive when you do find them. I built an LED fixture for my 20H that would be more than adequate for your plants in a 29g. There's a link in my signature if you're interested.
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Old 03-30-2011, 11:28 PM   #3
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Thank you BigJim!

What do you think about this fixture here?

Amazon.com: Zoo Med AquaSun T5-HO Double Light Linear Fluorescent Hood, 24-Inch: Kitchen & Dining

I have a Tetra 29-gallon kit, so I'm not sure of the repercussions of using a different fixture on the hood. Obviously, I would want to measure it so that I know the new fixture will fit, but are there any other things that I might want to be wary of or at least aware of before dumping the 80 dollars?
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:32 AM   #4
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You'll probably have to replace the hood with a glass canopy or just remove the hood and go with an open top to use a light like that, but that light will give you the results you're looking for.

I don't see anything about that fixture adjusting to fit a 30" tank. The two links below will fit a 30" tank and will support your plants.

Amazon.com: 24-36 in. Marineland Double Bright LED Light - 8 x 1W white - 4 x .06W blue: Kitchen & Dining

Amazon.com: 30 in. Nova Extreme T5 HO Freshwater Aquarium Light Fixture - 2 x 24W: Kitchen & Dining
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:36 AM   #5
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I agree with BigJim... a 24" fixture is going to be hard to fit on your tank. Check those links he provided, and also check out fishneedit.com. A 2x24w 30" fixture will give you plenty of light for all but the higher light plants IMO, and won't push you to the point of having to go co2 if you don't want to (though it wouldn't hurt anything).
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:23 PM   #6
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Thank you both very much. I greatly appreciate it! I have looked at the links and the Nova seems best out of the two.

I was interested in the one I linked because I was hoping I wouldn't have to replace the hood. But if you guys think I'll have to, would you also point me in the direction of a hood you would recommend? Funds are a little slim right now.

Measuring the top of the aquarium, 30.25 x 12.5in.

I assume this would be adequate?
http://www.amazon.com/Perfecto-Glass...1620843&sr=8-1
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:35 PM   #7
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A glass canopy like the one in the link is exactly what I would recommend. Some people go without a top on their tanks, but I like having one to keep my fish in the tank and limit evaporation.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:41 PM   #8
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I intend to have a full school of Danios in my tank, and I know they can be jumpers at times... And my family also owns a cat, so as soon as any fish were to get out, that would be the end of them.

Thank you again Jim. This helps a lot!
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:42 PM   #9
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yep, glass lids if a top is necessary... I don't have cats or notorious jumpers, so I run my tanks topless.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:44 PM   #10
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In total, I'll have Serpae Tetras, Glass Catfish, Danios, Otos, White/Black Skirt Tetras, a Hillstream Loach and a couple Peacock Gudgeons when all's said and done.

I also have a few ghost shrimp and snails in there. The shrimp might jump too...
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