Originally Posted by darkxrose
Alright, its just my java ferns in my 10 gallon tank with a 8000k 14w tube never really grew
I was wondering if it was the light but it could be something else i guess?
Java ferns, in general, grow very slowly. Java ferns at under 1 wpg
are going to grow even slower.
I know you said you just bought your current lid/hood, but if you wanted to have a "planted tank," I am afraid that you only have some very limited options with that newer hood you got.
Is your tank a 20H (20 high)? If so, then you could expand your plant options and get significantly better growth by buying a properly-sized versa-top
(24" long top for a 20H tank)--should cost under $20, and then for on top of it you would probably want to run TWO fluorescent strip lights. If each one is giving you 17W, that would be 34W over 20 gallons, or around 1.5 WPG
. You still won't be winning any awards for "lushest plant growth of the year," but you would certainly be able to grow a wide variety of low-light plants quite well, including java ferns, anubias, various crypts, some swords, java moss or most other aquatic mosses, low-light stem plants like anacharis, all sorts of floating plants (duckweed, frogbit, etc.)...quite a list.
So now the question is, on your old hood (the one you were replacing), and your new hood (the one you just bought), is the part of the hood that contains the light fixture itself a separate piece? If so, that would be the best-case scenario. Then you could just take those two strip lights, plop them down on your versa-top, and you are done. (BTW yes I know it is a bit of a pain opening the tank when you have 2 strip lights on it, you usually have to remove the frontmost one to get the top opened, but for a low $ solution this is the best there is.) If your current hoods are all one piece and you can't remove the lighting fixture, then you would have to buy yourself two new fluorescent strips, something like this
Another option would be to get an "incandescent hood" (like this
) for your tank (or, alternatively and even better, a versa-top plus an incandescent strip light
), only instead of using incandescent light bulbs in it (which have ZERO benefit for growing live plants), use a pair of 15W screw-in spiral compact fluorescent bulbs (spiral CF
)--the kind you can buy at Home Depot, Walmart, your local hardware store, anywhere. Again, the only key is to be sure you buy ones that output light at the proper Kelvin temperature. 5500-10,000K is the range considered acceptable for aquarium plants; ideally you probably want to shoot for around 6500K or so. You can order two of them from this site
for under $8.00 plus whatever shipping is; or like I said almost any of the big stores sell them. They key is scouring the packaging to make sure of the "K
" value...some brands don't actually put it on the packaging anywhere and you have to try to look at the base of the bulbs themselves to see if it is printed on the bulbs. This option, too, would give you around 1.5 WPG
and since those spiral CF
bulbs come in all sorts of different wattages, you could go less or more light depending upon your desires. (The only thing would be to read the back panel of the hood, which will tell you the maximum wattage that it is able to handle. Obviously for safety reasons, you don't want to exceed that! But I have incandenscent strip lights over two of my 10g tanks and those can handle up to 50W, so I am sure one for a 20H would be able to handle more than that. So you could theoretically get yourself probably up into the 2-3 WPG
range if you wanted. That opens up the number of plants you can grow by a ton but once you start getting into those light ranges you are going to have to think about dosing fertilizers, CO2
or liquid carbon like Flourish Excel, etc.
So in summary of my LONG post, I would suggest one of:
- Buy versa-top, then use 2 fluorscent strip lights over it
- Buy versa-top, then use 1 incandescent strip light (with 2 spiral CF bulbs) over it
- Buy a one-piece incandescent hood, use 2 spiral CF bulbs in it
I personally think the best option would be middle one on that list; versa-tops seal much better than plastic aquarium hoods, and the incandescent strip light gives you a LOT of flexibility to control how much or how little light you want--unlike the fluorescent tubes which are fixed-wattage and can't be varied.
Sorry this was so long-winded but I hope it was helpful. Good luck!