Cheap Lighting For Planted Tank? Shop Lights?

crazyshot97

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Hey everyone!

This will be my first go at a planted aquarium, and I'm hung up on lighting as many seem to be in the beginning. I have had tanks before, but never planted. It seems like there are absolutely endless opinions, disagreements and/or ideas on properly lighting a planted tank.

From power, to what measurements are actually important, to types of bulbs and fixtures, it all is a bit confusing. One thing that I know for sure is that I can't spend exorbitant amounts of money on a light fixture right now. With that in mind, I researched a few ideas.

It seems like some have had success using basic clip-on desk lights. I kind of like the look of that, clipped onto the back of the tank. Then it gets into LED vs fluorescent bulbs, and various power outputs and I begin to get lost.

I also saw some people using fluorescent shop lights hung over the tank at various heights and power outputs. Similarly, once it gets into bulb type and power outputs, or what power measurements are even applicable, I get lost.

So, has anyone got some insight for a beginner like myself? Has anyone built anything like this, or lit their planted tank on a budget? Anyone have any idea what type of bulbs and power outputs I should be looking at?

My tank is 20-25 gallons (found it in some guys trash so I'm not entirely sure). The measurements are 30" across and 17.5" deep.

Thanks a lot for any information in advance!

Additionally, I'm looking to grow plants with low-moderate lighting requirements.
 

Cdcruiser

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Try Big Al's pets on YouTube under how to build a low tech planted tank episode 3 he explains how to chose a light and what is needed for plants I found it very informing seeing that I am thinking of starting a planted tank
 

angelcraze

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I use the reg daylight 5000k standard LED bulbs and a shop light (or two) for many of my tanks. Bulb lasts for years, doesn't degrade and grows my low light plants just fine ;) I usually get the bulbs that are 9 or 10 watts.

I've used with an extra clip light I had on hand.
 

Bob79

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You could use a led batten or a led bulb or floodlight. For low-moderate lighting you should aI'm for 1-2watts per gallon. For 25 galllons anything between 25 to 50 watts should be fine. I used a 36 watt 6500k LED batten initially along with a 50 watt LED floodlight (total 86 watt, a little over 1 watt/gallon so it was low light setup) for nearly a year on 75 gallon tank. I got decent results. I used hygrophila difformis, echinodorous cordiofolis, cryptocorne wendetiI & aponogeton undulatus.
 

angelcraze

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Here is one of my old tanks grown with 2x 10W bulbs like I linked earlier. I had 4 bulbs at one time, but it grew just fine with only the two. 18" deep tank.
 

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Dennis57

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What are you looking to spend? What are you looking to grow, low tech plants? That is your 1st step, what do you want to grow, then go from there.
I bought these on eBay and I will say they work great for the price. ( Vivagrow 24/7 LED Lights )
I also use the Fluval Plant Spectrum 3.0 LED – Premium Growth for Medium Depth in some of my tanks, but these are a lot more money. So again it depends on what you want to grow.
You can also use the clip on's and or shop lights, but I have no experience with them.
 
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crazyshot97

crazyshot97

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Bob79 said:
You could use a led batten or a led bulb or floodlight. For low-moderate lighting you should aI'm for 1-2watts per gallon. For 25 galllons anything between 25 to 50 watts should be fine. I used a 36 watt 6500k LED batten initially along with a 50 watt LED floodlight (total 86 watt, a little over 1 watt/gallon so it was low light setup) for nearly a year on 75 gallon tank. I got decent results. I used hygrophila difformis, echinodorous cordiofolis, cryptocorne wendetiI & aponogeton undulatus.
So you're going with the wattage of the LED not the "wattage equivalent" notice most seem to come with?
angelcraze said:
Here is one of my old tanks grown with 2x 10W bulbs like I linked earlier. I had 4 bulbs at one time, but it grew just fine with only the two. 18" deep tank.
That looks real nice. Maybe this is more simple than I'm making it out to be.
Dennis57 said:
What are you looking to spend? What are you looking to grow, low tech plants? That is your 1st step, what do you want to grow, then go from there.
I bought these on eBay and I will say they work great for the price. ( Vivagrow 24/7 LED Lights )
I also use the Fluval Plant Spectrum 3.0 LED – Premium Growth for Medium Depth in some of my tanks, but these are a lot more money. So again it depends on what you want to grow.
You can also use the clip on's and or shop lights, but I have no experience with them.
Yea I'm really looking at low tech beginner plants (java fern, java moss etc) to get my foot in the door and play around with planting a tank.

angelcraze said:
I use the reg daylight 5000k standard LED bulbs and a shop light (or two) for many of my tanks. Bulb lasts for years, doesn't degrade and grows my low light plants just fine ;) I usually get the bulbs that are 9 or 10 watts.

I've used with an extra clip light I had on hand.
That's such a bargain compared to so many lights on the aquarium market
 

Dennis57

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Take a look at the vivagrow on eBay I believe for your tank around 35.00
 

angelcraze

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crazyshot97 said:
So you're going by the wattage of the LED itself, not the "wattage equivalent" most bulbs seem to come with?
I go by LED power (so 10w is 10 watts). But I don't go by any wattage to determine how much light I need. One of those bulbs lights 1.5 feet long by 1.5 feet deep I have found.

The tank I posted a pic of used no ferts, only a bed of soil under the gravel. The soil really adds a lot of nutrient, so feeds the plant to use up the light.

That's for the cheapest setup. I use Finnex 24/7 and/or Beamswork for my deeper tanks, but those bulbs for my breeder tanks and smaller tanks.
 
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crazyshot97

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Dennis57 said:
Take a look at the vivagrow on eBay I believe for your tank around 35.00
Interesting, those don't seem to be bad at all. You talking about one of these?
 

Dennis57

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crazyshot97 said:
Interesting, those don't seem to be bad at all. You talking about one of these?
Yes, I use these on some of my low tech tanks, work great for the price. Alot of members on here use them
 
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crazyshot97

crazyshot97

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Dennis57 said:
Yes, I use these on some of my low tech tanks, work great for the price. Alot of members on here use them
For $35 that's not half bad. Maybe I'll pick one of those up and keep things simple.
 
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crazyshot97

crazyshot97

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Dennis57 said:
Yes, I use these on some of my low tech tanks, work great for the price. Alot of members on here use them
Sorry to bother ya again, but that 30” model is good for a 30” tank with a rim? Found a lightly used one on ebay for $30 I’m gonna pick it up!.
 

Dennis57

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The lights measure what they say, so the 30" light is 30" then the arms on both sides move out like 4-6" each
 
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crazyshot97

crazyshot97

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Dennis57 said:
The lights measure what they say, so the 30" light is 30" then the arms on both sides move out like 4-6" each
Awesome, thanks a lot. I’ll update with pics once it arrives!
 

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