lighting a 30 gallon for simple plant growth

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by atc84, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. atc84

    atc84Well Known MemberMember

    Something that always confused me is why they sell plant bulbs that fit right into the hood, but are only around 20 watts for a 30 gallon tank. barely over half a watt per gallon, will this bulb maintain simple plants, like java's, bunch plants like wisteria, anacharis, so on?

    This is for my older sister, who isn't willing to spend very much to change the lighting on their basic 30 gallon with a hood. They want plants, and I've always thought those bulbs don'y really work well. Any suggestions or experience with this?
  2. AquaticBrandon

    AquaticBrandonWell Known MemberMember

    Watts per gallon is an old term. You should use CFL bulbs of a rating of 6500k. They are great bulbs since you have low light plants. I had some of those bulbs in my 10 gallon tank and grew plants very well. 5000k to 7000k is a good rating for plants.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  3. OP

    atc84Well Known MemberMember

    hehe, yeah im well aware of the other options, i have 3 tanks with cfl's. I was wondering if anyone had experience with these bulbs.

    Watts per gallon is hardly old, considering we all light our tanks almost entirely based on watts, along with other factors. You wouldn't light a 20 gallon tank with 5 watts of 6500K because it's the right Kelvin, you would light it with 20-40 watts assuming everything else is correct because thats the right balance of light to Co2 and nutrients.

    <-- this is the kind of bulb in referring to.
  4. AquaticBrandon

    AquaticBrandonWell Known MemberMember

    I have never used those kind of bulbs. I've used CFL's and they grow plants very well. But I'm not sure about these bulbs so I can't really tell you about them

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  5. thequietman44

    thequietman44Valued MemberMember

    Most aquarium kits come with adequate lighting to see the fish, but not for growing plants. That said, Java moss tends to adjust its growth to match available lighting so it would probably still grow. I had lots of java moss growing in my 36g bowfront with the stock T8 lighting.

    As for upgrades, without spending much I would say go for a DIY CFL solution. I'm currently building a rain gutter 4-bulb CFL fixture for my 90g that currently has 3 desk lamps over it (23w 6500K spiral CFLs). Two desk lamps over a 30g would give you 1.6wpg (2x 23w) which should be okay for the basic low-light plants.

    Google "DIY aquarium lighting" or search the forums here, you'll find lots of options that won't break the bank.
  6. Castiel*

    Castiel*Well Known MemberMember

    I wouldn't recommend using this light unless you run a dual lamp setup with glass tops, Really one bulb wouldn't be powerful enough for your tank, you'd need a more powerful bulb along side this. With just the one bulb and the hood, you may be able to grow java moss and java fern. But no guarantee there, and some people think of java moss as a nuisance!
  7. cichlidman

    cichlidmanWell Known MemberMember

    i have had java ferns grow in a bucket with no light but the light in the room so i don't see much issue there. Just don't expect much growth