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Old 12-18-2009, 12:30 AM   #1
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Help identifying my light - what kind of plants can I grow?

I recently bought a 38g tank (19" height) that came with a light. Unfortunately, they didn't provide me any information about what kind of light it was. So while I know it is probably crappy, I don't know how crappy.

The relevant markings on the light tube itself say:
"All Glass Aquarium - 17w aquarium lamp"
The tube is white.

Does anyone know what kind of light this is? Incandescent or fluorescent?

More importantly, what kind of plants would I be able to grow?

Also, are there any easy/cheap purchases I can make to upgrade the light?(purchase better bulb, etc.)?

Thanks for all of your help!

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Old 12-18-2009, 12:23 PM   #2
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We'll need some more information about the light before we can answer your questions.

1. Describe the bulb. Is it a long tube with pin connectors at both ends? That would be a fluorescent bulb. If it's got a screw base at one end, it's probably an incandescent bulb. There are other options, but it's rare to see them included with a tank.

2. I have a hunch that you have a fluorescent fixture, in which case you have a little less than 0.5 wpg on a fairly deep tank. Definitely not a good combination for plants. If you have an incandescent fixture, it's even worse. You might be able to grow java ferns or java moss. Floating plants may also work as it eliminates the depth factor.

3. A fluorescent fixture can be upgraded, but it's probably not worth the effort. You'd have to get a retrofit kit and hack up the fixture. An incandescent fixture can be upgraded with CFL bulbs. If you can find them, U-shaped bulbs are better than the spiral-type, but both work.

If you want to grow plants, I suspect you'd be best off upgrading to a T5 or T5HO fixture or at least making a DIY fixture using several CFLs. I'm guessing your tank is 36" long. There are a lot of fluorescent options out there.

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Old 12-18-2009, 03:35 PM   #3
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it's flourescent. very low light plants. here is a three page list of low light plants PlantGeek.net - Plant Guide.
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Old 12-18-2009, 07:49 PM   #4
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Got to be fluorescent and at 17w it's very low light for plants. 17w/38 gallons= .45 watts per gallon. You might get something like java moss or the like to grow but just barely. As far as cheap upgrading goes I see 2 options. DIY upgrade to CFL's or finding a used tank top that will fit with better lighting.
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Old 12-19-2009, 02:36 AM   #5
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If its screw in its incadescent. It doesn't matter much, either way incadescent or flourescdent 17 watts is not enough light to grow most anything in a 38 gallon tank. You need 65 to 96 watts of flourescent light.

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Old 01-03-2010, 04:35 PM   #6
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Try the plant called fontinalis which is like a moss and can be ggrown in low light and looks great because i have some

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