Can you help on which lights to get?

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Aug 28, 2008
Sun City Ca.
Okay here it is, I am kinda new and a whole bunch confused on which lights to purchase. I look on Big Al's and Foster and Smith to purchase new light fixture and lamps for it . The problem is I just don't know what I need and which ones would be right for my tank so any help would be great.
My tank is a 55 gallon got it from Petsmart (Top Finn ) has divider in center for lamps to sit on which my stock one's do now. I have been putting lots of plants and want lights for them. Should I get 2 fixtures at 24inches each or one 48 inch to cover entire tank top? The real problem is I don't know anything about different bulbs or wattage. Please help Thanks.

Sorry I forgot to mention it is freshwater.
Well you need to decide if you are going to use CO2.

Either way I would suggest a 48" fixture since they are normally reasonably priced and common.

If your not using CO2 then you want ~2wpg of T5HO at most. So a good fixture for that would be this (they just upgraded these to have better reflectors so if you can wait a little bit you will be more guaranteed to get the new model)

If you want to use CO2 then this is a good deal:
Catalina Aquarium

You can do OK with a single 54w T5HO fixture also for lower light plants(but I would still reccommend a 2 bulb fixture and you could just use 1 bulb to start). Many people in the past have used shoplights with good success on 48" tanks also.

Personally I bought the best 48" T8 shoplight I could find(sold at Menards onsale last I knew for $20) and bought a new 4 bulb ballast to "overdrive" the 2 bulbs with extra watts.
Thanks so much for the fast reply and the suggestion which I will look into. Just one thing more do I need special bulbs for it? That is where I really get confused all the different bulbs. I want it to make my plants survive and I don't have any CO2 or know anything about it, I am senior and on limited income so I guess I will just try for lights.
Again Thanks.:cool:
Well the bulbs have "kelvin" ratings or "K", for plants its generally recommended to stick with something in the 5,000K to 10,000K range.

Basically all you need to watch for at this point when purchasing the fixture is to avoid "Actinic" bulbs as they are for SW and not needed in FW.

So just look for a fixture with between 54 watts and 110 watts, and no "actinic" bulbs
Well thanks so much for the information, you just don't know how hard it is to get that kind of information and the sites don't tell you so that NEW people like myself to the hobbie can understand. People like me who don't understand the difference in all the different bulbs for plants.
Lots of different fish sites even mention that we need more lighting but dont explain it in simple dumb down english for us to understand.
Thanks again.:)
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