Here's what I'm doing for my 10 gallon planted tanks. I bought a "versa-top" (hinged, all-glass hood) and then a standard incandescent strip light fixture (which has two sockets that accept standard light bulbs). Only instead of actually using incandescent lights in it (which are almost worthless for growing plants), I instead use two GE 15W screw-in compact flourescent bulbs (6500K "daylight" bulbs) that I bought at Wal-Mart. This gives me 30W of light over the tank, more than enough to grow any low-light plants and enough where I can grow at least some medium-light plants. And that is without any CO2
; I'm sure with CO2
I could grow even more.
Total (approximate) cost for my setup:
(bought at my LFS
$15 incandescent strip light
(ordered online from Petco)
$10 two GE screw-in CF
I'm pulling those numbers from memory but I am pretty close. If anything, the bulbs were even cheaper than that. Besides Wal-Mart, places like Home Depot and Lowe's typically sell screw-in CF
's as well (whether GE or Sylvania or some other brand), it's just a matter of being sure you get something in the 5000K-6500K spectrum (since that's what the plants need to grow) and then deciding upon the wattage you want. Avoid any bulb where the spectrum is less than 5000K. The strip light fixture I ordered from Petco (the same one I linked) is rated to 50 Watts, so that means the highest you could go would be two 25W bulbs. Also, don't be misled by the packaging on the bulbs when it says your bulb is "equivalent to..." The 15W spiral CF
's say they are "equivalent to a 60W bulb!" But for the purpose of growing plants, a 15W bulb is giving you 15W, not 60W.
Oh, also note that the incandescent hood I linked already has a built-in metallic reflector behind the place where the bulbs go, so there is no need to rig a tinfoil reflector of your own.
And last...certainly RCS (Red Cherry Shrimp) are great for a planted tank, and they will not in the slightest hurt your plants. However, the danger comes when you decide to do something silly like add some FISH to the tank.
Because many fish, if they are large enough, will decide that a RCS looks like a nice tasty little red filet mignon.
(On a slightly more serious note, adult RCS can coexist with most small aquarium fishes, but any shrimp babies will almost certainly get eaten unless you have just tons of java moss for the shrimplets to hide in.) Also, shrimp do much better in an "aged" tank than a brand new one--even if the new one is cycled--so I would suggest that you first cycle the tank and then hold off on getting any shrimp for at least a month or so while something else (fish, snails, whatever) lives in the tank. This will give some time for a nice slime coating of microfauna (algae, bacteria, fungi, etc.) to start growing on all of the surfaces in the tank...it is this slime coating that the shrimp will spend all of their day feasting upon in your tank as the main part of their diet. And if you really want to see the RCS behaviors and antics to their full, then don't put any fish in the tank at all...dwarf shrimp like RCS tend to "come out" and be a lot more active when they are in a tank without any potential predators. Whereas in a tank with fish, they often can spend more time hiding and be more reserved in their behaviors.