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Old 06-17-2006, 11:03 AM   #1
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Question about lighting for a 10 gallon tank..........

I have been doing alot of research on starting my first planted tank. I have decided on a small 10 gallon do to linited space. I have also decided on low light plants due to relative ease and limited time. When I went to the LFS for more information, I was pressured into buying a high watt, compact flurorescent lighting system. I believe it was 64 watt. It was a system that you hang over the top of the tank, thus eliminating the need for a hood. I am new to calculating WPG but wouldn't that be over 6 WPG. Now the questions for all the experience aquarist.

#1. Do I need that much lighting for low maintence plants?

#2. I have read that low light plants need around 1-2 WPG of light. Would over 6 WPG be to much light for the plants I want? Would it hurt or kill the plants to have that much lighting or would it cause other unwanted problems?

#3. If the LFS was just trying to make money off a newbie like me, what lighting system should I get instead?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-17-2006, 12:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
#1. Do I need that much lighting for low maintence plants?
thats a big NO
Quote:
#2. I have read that low light plants need around 1-2 WPG of light. Would over 6 WPG be to much light for the plants I want? Would it hurt or kill the plants to have that much lighting or would it cause other unwanted problems?
u are right that they only need 1-2 watts per gallon. 6 would be wayyy overkill for what u are aiming for. it wouldnt be to much for the plants but without co2 and constant watch of your nutrients you would have 1 gigantic algea mess.
Quote:
#3. If the LFS was just trying to make money off a newbie like me, what lighting system should I get instead?
they were definatly trying to make money or just simply didnt know what they were talking about. a small like 14watt cf light would be good for low light. u could also use a 15watt t-8 light(18")
something simple like this would work for u. but that was a real quick search so i am sure u can find a better price.
http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/product.xml?or something like this may be what u are looking for. i dont like the cf becasue of how short it is. all the light would be kinda focused on the middle. those are justa few options so keep looking for similiar things on differen sites to save money. i can almost guarentee that it will be cheaper online.
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Old 06-17-2006, 02:06 PM   #3
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I'm growing plants just fine in my 10g with a regular flourescent 15w hood. Does rather well. Instead of upgrading my lighting with something expensive, I'm just buying a used 15w light and placing both on the tank (glass top). 30w of lighting pretty cheap.

There are incandescent full hoods at Wal-Mart for $20 not including the bulbs. Bulbs are like $1-$2 each and are 14w so you'll have a total of 28w. Would have went with that personally if it wasn't for the flourescent hood coming with the tank.

With 2.8wpg you'll still need to be on top of nutrients and CO2. 1.5wpg less so. I'm using that and having very little trouble with most plants. Just DIY CO2 and some not-so-frequent dosing.
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Old 06-17-2006, 02:28 PM   #4
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Incandescents don't follow the wpg rule do they? I was under the impresssion that they were much less efficient for the production of light than flourescent bulbs are. I had something like 20 watts of incandescent and have switched to 15 watts of flourescent (t-8) over my 10 gallon and the amount of light is much much higher.
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Old 06-17-2006, 02:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JRagg
Incandescents don't follow the wpg rule do they? I was under the impresssion that they were much less efficient for the production of light than flourescent bulbs are. I had something like 20 watts of incandescent and have switched to 15 watts of flourescent (t-8) over my 10 gallon and the amount of light is much much higher.
I've heard conflicting reports. Some love incandescent, others swear by flourescent.

I'd think flourescent would be a better choice but for about $6 (total price for a used setup I'm paying), might as well find out. I'll remove the flourescent fixture and see how everything does with just incandescent. Live and learn.
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Old 06-17-2006, 03:13 PM   #6
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You can put Philips Daylight compact flourescents in the incandescent sockets. The Philips CF are 6500K, while some other brands are around 4200K, which is unsuitable.
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Old 06-17-2006, 03:15 PM   #7
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The problem with incadescents is that the majority of the energy that they output is heat not light. You MAY be able to get some low light plants to grow okay with incadescent. Flourescents are a much better choice and you won't be as likely to have temperature issues during the summer. Of course the great thing about incadescent fixtures is that you can use the compact flourescent bulbs in them often getting more light than the standard flourescent fixture would provide.

The WPG "rule" is for Normal Output Flourescents and even then is only fairly accurate for a small range of tank sizes. For a better estimate of the amount of light that you have, I would check out Wizard~Of~Ozz's Lighting Theory which takes into account different types of lighting and some other variables.
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Old 06-17-2006, 03:28 PM   #8
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For a standard 10 gallon tank, with no CO2 etc. Two standard fluorescent "hood lights" for a ten gallon would be perfect. That is, 2x of the 15watt standrd fluorescents. Two will fit side by side nicely on top of a ten gallon. They will grow most any common plant, and not be so much light that you need CO2 or otherwise.

I have 2 ten gallon tanks.
One, has 52watts of CF, CO2, Special substrate, Lots of ferts and 50% weekly PWC. This tank take lots of maintanence. And is very hard to keep algae under control. That said, I grow some of the most demanding and difficult high light plants in there with alot of success. Blyxa, Eriocaulon, Downoi etc. This tank cost me over $500 to set up.

My other 10 gallon, has 2 standard fluorescent aquarium fixture (ie 2x 15 watt fluorescent), normal gravel, no CO2, no ferts, monthly small water change. This tank has Rotala, E. tennelus, Many Cryplts, Pennywort, Anubias and a few others that all grow fine (even if slowly). This tank was set-up for under $75.

A lot depends on how much maintenance you want, how much money you want to spend, and how fast you want your plants to grow. If you are just starting out, I would suggest going with a lower light option.
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Old 06-17-2006, 04:14 PM   #9
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Good news. I called the LFS and cancelled my order. They were very understanding and I still plan to buy the other accesories at their store.
I guess I am a little confused on how to put two sets of lights ontop of a tank. I guess that means you need a full glass lid? Do LFS and pet chains sell glass lids? Any help setting up the lights would be most appreciated!
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Old 06-17-2006, 08:32 PM   #10
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Walmart screw in CF work great. Put in 2x15w and you'll be able to grow most low to mid light plants with no problems. As for glass hood, look no further than here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/20-VERSA-TOP-FUL...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old 06-17-2006, 09:31 PM   #11
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$12 for shipping on top of the bid could be more expensive than an online store.

You can buy the same thing off aquabuys.com for a total of about $13-$15. At least with them there is probably a return policy. Not sure how the ebay dealer would deal with a lost/broken hood.

http://www.aquabuys.com/miva/merchan...Category_Code=

I forgot about the screw in CF bulbs. Guess I'll give those a try instead of the regular screw in bulbs.
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Old 06-17-2006, 10:21 PM   #12
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I checked out both Petsmart and Walmart during my lunch break. Here is what I found:

#1. Petsmart... First they had a TopFin 10 gallon tank/ hood combo for $24.99. The hood does not come with lights but has two fixtures. They are also selling just a 10 gallon tank for $7.99 and I could buy a hood which included a flourescent light for $29.99.

I believe both light sources were 15 watts.

#2. Walmart had another brand of hood/l flourescent light combo for $28.47. I couldn't find the small 15 watt flourescent bulbs that you could screw in on both sides.

Any suggestions or is it more of a personal choice?
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