Do I need to do anything special with these plants?


Okay, I've gone a bit 'hog wild' with plants for my tanks. I haven't gotten them yet but they have been ordered and will be here soon Plants I've ordered are:

wisteria (not sure how much is coming)
java fern lace (4 plants)
anubia barterI (4 plants)
corkscrew vals (10 plants)
red flame sword (1 plant)
water sprite (3 plants)
hornwort (not sure how much).
Christmas moss

Anyway, my tanks. I have a 45-gallon that most of the plants will be going in to. It is 36" long, 24" tall, 12" deep. No current residents as of yet, but it will have a pair of paradise fish, a trio of swordtails, 5 kuhlI loaches, and 10 Von Rio flame tetras, along with some trumpet snails. The light fixture for the tank broke, so I bought an under-cabinet light from walmart to set on top of the glass top. It has a fluorescent grow-light bulb and says it emits 75 watts of light.

I also have a 10-gallon tank. This tank has the regular incandescent lights but it holds 2-15 watt bulbs. This tank will have 5 guppies, 5 dwarf rasboras, a few of the trumpet snails, and eventually some shrimp but I'm going to wait a while on the shrimp. I know I want the moss in this one.

Both tanks have gravel substrate, but I did pick up a bag of pool filter sand that I'm thinking of putting in the 45--though I haven't decided completely on that.

I'm wondering if the lighting is sufficient for these plants? Do I need to supplement CO2 or fertilizers? Will they grow better in sand as opposed to gravel? Anything else that I might need to do to make sure I don't kill my plants? I've never had live aquarium plants, so this is all new to me I would really like to NOT kill them all

Which plants would do best in which tanks? The vals and wisteria get pretty tall, so I'm thinking they need to be in the 45?


This is the light fixture I bought

I'm trying to fix the light that came with the tank, but I'm not sure what's wrong with it. I thought about just taking the light 'holder' out of the thing and putting this underneath it, but I don't want to rip it apart until I know it can't be fixed.

Edit to add that it says the color is 4200K with 1093 lumens. I have no idea what that means lol


That is probably a bare minimum for light for plants in that 45 gallon tank. That low level of light and those plants do not warrant co2 at all. Maybe some light ferts if you see any signs that plants are nutrient deficient. Perhaps try root tabs for the sword, don't know if the vals would see any benefit from the tabs.

Whatever you do, don't "plant" the anubias or java fern rhizome in the substrate. Burying the rhizome can kill them. They grow best when attached to rocks, wood, etc.

The 10 will probably be fine with moss only, usually it's pretty forgiving.

Never tried sand, so can't help there.

Good luck.


I'm thinking I can use the bulb from the 45's hood in the light fixture I bought today? The fixture says to use F17T8 bulbs. The light in the aquarium's light fixture says it is an F17T8 but it also says 'super daylight' and 'ultra sun'. That bulb is made by zoo med. I think it's the 6500K bulb, this one . Since this one is an F17T8, I think I can use it and I assume it is brighter than the bulb that came with the under-cabinet fixture. Thoughts?

What type of fertilizers would you recommend? I thought about getting some Seachem Flourish??


That 6500k bulb should work and is a better spectrum but still very low power (17 actual watt) over a 24 inch deep tank. Even 2 bulbs would be low light for a 45.

You have low light and mostly slow growing plants so you won't require much if any fertilization. Flourish would probably be a good product. I never use the full dosage suggested in my tanks, but that's just me. There are a lot of people with low light planted tanks that don't fertilize at all.

Make sure you aren't using the carbon component in your filters with plants, and especially if you are adding fertilizers of any kind. The carbon removes things that are good for you plants, including the fertilizers if you choose to use them.


Oh and the "K" number refers to the "color" of the light. Lower numbers are more yellow and higher numbers are more blue/white. 6500K -10,000K are usually considered good color light for plants. That description is pretty oversimplified


Would it help if I got another under-cabinet light from Walmart? I could use the 6500K light in one and the grow light in another. Both I think emit 75 watts of light, so would that count as double the wattage or ??? This is all so confusing! ???

I found this online, would this be okay for what I'm getting?

It's very inexpensive for a light fixture, and I've read the T5 fixtures are more efficient?


Both I think emit 75 watts of light, so would that count as double the wattage or This is all so confusing!

Careful...the wording says "75watt equivalent." That means they are 17 actual watts of fluorescent light that give off roughly the amount of light that a 75 watt incandescent bulb does. The old school rule was: no less than 1 watt/gallon of fluorescent light. That is a very rough, oversimplified way to look at it, but it does have some validity. With 2 bulbs you are looking at 34 actual watts over a 45 gallon.

To answer your question, yes, adding another undercounter fixture will be double the wattage.

A bottom line option: You have the light, put in the 6500K bulb and try it. The java fern, anubias, and moss have the lowest light requirement. The vals, watersprite, and hornwort need a little more. The sword probably has the highest light requirement of all the plants you bought, so watch it the closest.

Start thinking about band aid type options (another light fixture), or a better light. Just be careful to not spend enough money piecing stuff together that you could have bought a better light.

'The Planted Tank' forum has a great sticky with a list of low light plants and information about their requirements. Also tons of great information about lights.

I hope this is helping


Well I found this online, but since it has 2- 39w bulbs that would be 78 watts? Which would have me around 1 3/4 wpg?? I can take the under-cabinet light back and order this instead, so that would get me into the low-medium light range??

I'm so confused! On this article it says 2 T5HO bulbs on top of the tank in a 24" tall tank would equal high lighting??


Yes 2 t5 ho would probably be high light.

Ignore the Watts per gallon rule, with new technology we get higher light with less wattage.


Which means I would need CO2? What a pain in the neck....

Do the T5 lights put out more than the typical 'watt per gallon' rule? All my plants are low or low-to-medium light, so how could I fix this to make it work?


You could just try the lighting for 6 hours a day and maybe add a co2 liquid and go from there.

Unfortunately having a beautifully planted aquarium does require more work but when you get into it co2 is actually very simple.


Which means I would need CO2? What a pain in the neck....

If it helps I've kept all of those plants minus the sword without co2.


Hang in there!

Now you're looking at T5HO. Easy peezy:

T5 means the bulb is a smaller diameter which is important may seem counterintuitive but... the bulb itself can block light coming off the top of the bulb and reflecting back down off the fixture's reflector, thus a narrower diameter bulb allows more light to reflect back into the tank out of the fixture.

HO: stands for High Output. They use more watts of energy so the bulbs are more powerful, which translated simply means, brighter light.

That fixture probably gets you into "high light" category. The next very important question that what you want?

High light also means out of control algae unless you have tons of fast growing plants to outcompete the algae. That's when you may need to start considering co2 or carbon dosing of some kind because the plants can grow fast enough that they use all of the availavle co2.

High light is like a powerful does amazing things, but it requires lots more maintenance and premium fuel etc...

My low-light tanks are like my Subaru. Easy, cheap, reliable, forgiving...


So since it has 2 39-watt bulbs, could I maybe change the bulbs out for lower wattage bulbs to keep it within the low-to-medium range? What size bulbs would I need to keep it in that range?

All the plants I'm getting are either low or low-to-medium light and I really don't want to have to get into CO2 and all that.


So since it has 2 39-watt bulbs, could I maybe change the bulbs out for lower wattage bulbs to keep it within the low-to-medium range? What size bulbs would I need to keep it in that range?

No, it's actually the fixture that determines the power. You can't just put "dimmer" bulbs in a T5HO fixture.

If it was me, I'd get a NO (normal output) fixture with 2 T5 bulbs in the 6500K range. That's just my $0.02


You do have some very fast growing plants it's hard to say if you need to be very worried about algae. I would go with ho because you may regret not doing it in the future, remember you can always just use 1 bulb in the fixture and you can even use a bulb that's more in the blue spectrum (red is what algae loves).


Ugh...this is giving me a headache lol

I'll look some more tomorrow :-\


You still can get a high output fixture if you have the option to raise it up higher above the tank.

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Question
10 Gallon Tank Need Plant Suggestion

New Plant Threads

Top Bottom