Upgrade lighting from provided starter kit (plants and fish)


Hey all, first time poster, but been reading all I can for a few weeks.

I have a 26 gallon Aqueon Bowfront tank (starter kit) which came with a T8 15W light setup.

I've set up live plants in the tank and am running the light 10.5 hours/day on a timer. Live plants are a couple 4" Amazon Swords, two 3" Java Ferns, and one 2" Anubias. I'm finally starting to introduce fish and currently have two dalmatian mollies.

My main question is I have read the T5 is better than the T8 for plants, and the 15W isn't enough.

I was researching light upgrades but have been having a heck of a time figuring out what wattage I need and what type of bulb and what size will actually fit on the bowfront (tank is 24"L with middle clear plastic strip to let light through in the current hood).

I found the AquaticLife T5 HO Dual Lamp Light Fixtures (Freshwater) 24" 48W (1) 24" 24W 650nm Pink Roseate (1) 24" 24W 6,000°K online, but before I order it ($105), I was wondering if this would work.

Will it fit on the Aqueon 26G starter hood, or will it be too wide for the current light slot, so I'd need to get a new tank cover too?
Is this overkill for either my plants or my fish? (Or, should/can I have two timers controlling the two bulbs individually?)
Is this overkill as far as $$$ goes?

That crazy fish man

Not sure if you'd want to go this route, but I had a planted 10 gallon that was recently upgraded to a planted 35 gallon. I used the starter kit light that came with the 10 for a while, but my plants obviously weren't doing very well. Ended up getting a Marineland Single-Bright LED system and haven't regretted it in the slightest. Not only did plant growth increase at least double, but it has a blue night light feature as well (now I can actually see my pleco in action...).

Now I don't add any fertilizer or CO2 to my tank or any of that for the plants. Not sure how you go about it, but for the price, that LED system has worked wonders for me. The only thing extra I had to get was a glass-top (which I was going to do anyway eventually) since the system sits on top of the aquarium with extendable legs. I got mine on Amazon on the cheap, but I believe that they carry them at petsmart too.

Hope this helps!


The dual T5HO would give you high lighting. You could just about grow anything.

With that fixture you'ed have to think about CO2 and fertlizers. Liquid fertlizers like Flourish Comprehensive. And root tabs for the Sword plants.

Excel for a liquid carbon source since your tank is small.

The stronger the light the faster plants grow and more demand for nutrients and CO2.

Lights on a timer for 8-10 hours a day. Adjust as necessary.

Green Spot Algae spreading quickly would indicate too much light from my experience. Some indicates a healthy tank; balanced and kept in check easily.

Black Bread Algae indicates low CO2 usually.

It's all about balance between light, fertz and CO2 in a planted tank to control algae.

It's all about how far you want to go and starts with the light.

Welcome to Fishlore.

Similar Aquarium Threads


Random Great Thread!

New Aquarium Light Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom