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Old 09-01-2014, 08:52 AM   #1
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Aquarium NO fluorescent vs. household NO fluorescent

I am in the process of getting all of the pieces together to do a low tech planted 30 gal tank. From what I've been reading here and there you need somewhere around a watt per gallon lighting in the ballpark of 6500k. It looks like i can do that with a couple of 24" NO fluorescent bulbs. I don't live all that close to any pet shops so it would be really convenient to hop over to the hardware store and grab a couple of regular old household 24" bulbs at or around the 6500k spectrum. Is it not recommended to use that type of bulb? What is different about the aquarium bulbs?
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:14 AM   #2
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I'm not sure if there is a difference. I use two 6500k from home depot with a shop light over my planted tank. I got a pack of two 48" under $10.
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:25 AM   #3
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Basic Tank Lighting

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Originally Posted by Cajun87 View Post
I am in the process of getting all of the pieces together to do a low tech planted 30 gal tank. From what I've been reading here and there you need somewhere around a watt per gallon lighting in the ballpark of 6500k. It looks like i can do that with a couple of 24" NO fluorescent bulbs. I don't live all that close to any pet shops so it would be really convenient to hop over to the hardware store and grab a couple of regular old household 24" bulbs at or around the 6500k spectrum. Is it not recommended to use that type of bulb? What is different about the aquarium bulbs?
Hello Caj...

If you're keeping low light, slow growing plants in a low tech tank, you can use florescent bulbs from the hardware store. I keep low tech tanks and use shop lights and two GE 6500K bulbs.

I set up a tank yesterday to grow out some floating plants. A shop light and two bulbs was $18.00. This was for a 55 gallon tank. You'll just need a smaller shop light and bulbs. Get a two light fixture. One bulb won't be enough.

You may need to rig the set up a bit, but the lights will be more than enough for the dark green aqauatic plants. These require low or subdued lighting.

You can add a little Seachem's Comprehensive liquid fertilizer if you don't have enough fish in the tank to provide a steady source of fertilizer and change the tank water often to maintain good mineral levels.

The plants should grow very well.

B
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:53 AM   #4
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Forgot to mention, I will be setting it up with dirt and plan to use a dual light set up. I think those 24" lights are around 17-20 watts so two bulbs will give me over 30 watts.
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Old 09-02-2014, 12:18 AM   #5
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You can get good plant growth from either the T8 fixtures or CFL spiral bulbs. I have used both. Just make sure you get 6500k bulbs. I bought a T5 fixture but stuck with the CFLs on my other tanks and I have high light plants growing nicely.
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Old 09-02-2014, 12:45 AM   #6
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Sounds ok to me. I use the 6500k 'daylight' t8 bulbs from home depot on a lot of tanks.
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:21 AM   #7
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Thanks guys
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:04 AM   #8
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I am all for shop lights, but prefer 5000K tubes, over 6500K, for plants. In my experience, the growth is better and I prefer the look. However, either will work. Just be aware that other factors besides the colour temp will affect how well a light will grow plants. The actual colour spectrum of the tubes differ from brand to brand and even within a brand, for the same colour temp. This is often reflected in the CRI number on the tube. The closer to 100, the true colours will be displayed.
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