NONE of this is My work.
credit is to those who compiled the Data in the posted links.
this is a lil overwhelming the amount of reading, how ever it will allow you to have the knowledge to make a good choice for lights as to "YOUR GOAL" of your aquarium.(Not what works for others).
remember its light,nutrients & carbon that drives the plants.
low tech = no CO2
injection & high tech is elaborate high light & auto CO2
its best if you decide what "YOUR GOAL" is before reading the links so you know when to skip through the Posts.
Any research you have already done & lighting was referenced in Watts/Gal
..throw the knowledge away its totally incorrect & will only lead you astray.
work for you then move along there is nothing for you here.(DONT SHOOT THE MESSENGER)
This is a post to HELP newb's exactly like myself to choose a light system for
having decided I wanted a tank I made my choice & then decided I wanted Plants,More reading on what plants need for basics to grow.fast/slow doesnt matter if you remember your GOAL comes 1st.
so i started searching all over for what/how others were doing, and quickly came to the conclusion that this was not going to be easy.
I had already decided that Co2
was never going to be involved so that narrowed the Field however produced other problems,lack of growth etc.
Until I stumbled upon this thread,it was a game changer for how I was to achieve "MY GOAL" and any errors in choosing a Light system would be of my own making.
Lighting an Aquarium with PAR instead of Watts - The Planted Tank Forum
PAR is the correct way to measure tank/plant lighting.
that link has 445 posts which gave birth to this calculator.
Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Light Calculator
AGAIN CREDIT GOES TO THESE PEOPLE & their Forum's
enter in what you know about your tank, remembering to add subtract for depth of gravel etc & it will give results in EST PAR value.
Nice I had a Path to persue now.
I also came across this thread prior to the above & that kinda set the stage for how I ended up finding the plantedtank forum.
Massaged PAR Data for T5HO lights - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report
(note this thread was from 2009)
you should read this as well for it gives basic PAR level guidelines as to low vs high tech values & how the light is spread into the tank.
which includes all the Math for you techy crowd.
research & patience is the key.
So back to "MY GOAL"
low-tech low light EI dosing for that platform with the goal for reduced water changes.
Hows it working Out?
Couldn't tell ya yet only just filled the tank 3 weeks ago.
Am I gonna fail?..doubt it
Am I gonna fight off undesirable growth's? Most definately.
Am I gonna have a Good time? you bet.
nothing in life more satisfying than succeeding through your own knowledge & research.
I got a 24w single t5ho with a micro reflector for my 21in deep 38 gal
= .63 yet using the Par method I have more than enough light for a Lowtech which is "MY GOAL".
24-45 PAR @ the substrate due to depth changes in gravel bed.
T5HO Lighting - Future Harvest - The Best of Indoor Growing
my light with Nano reflector was under $45 canadian out the door.
where to buy
Distributors - SunBlaster Lighting
Im not meaning to be pushing this product,only pointing out an affordable option.
The Sky is the limit when shopping for Lights (or your Wallet).
choosing the best light the 1st time is a very difficult undertaking.
BUT focus on "YOUR GOAL"
those lights are also designed to be added onto..IE find out not enough light get another & it plugs directly into the 1st.
I am a TOTAL newbie ..period.
however the Facts dont lie & some may not accept the correct way to measure/estimate lighting requirements for tanks. so kinda why Im posting this as a basic starting point.
there is also the factor of the light spectrum to take into account for bulb selection,the above links cover that reasonably well(enough for avg user) to come to his/her own conclusions for "THEIR GOAL"...
Good luck on your choice