Upgrading lights for brighter fish colour, plants and general viewing ...


Active Member
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Sydney, Aust
OK I am doing some research into this but would just like some tips and generally to be pointed in the right direction.

I have a 3ft tank and a double 2 foot (parallel) fluorescent light setup in the hood - the tubes are what you get from the package ... so it is ****....

Anyway, I am looking to upgrade to make the colours of fish in the tank stand out more and also for the benefit of my plants in the tank.

Should I be getting full spectrum fluorescent tubes etc ? Seems to be a lot at the shop and I have been reading that some people have had to replace tubes all too often ! Are there brands to avoid etc ? or brands you recommend ?



Fishlore VIP
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New York
5 years
Well, from my personal research, Coralife and CurrentUSA compact fluorescent lamps are very good. I have Coralife compact fluorescent lamps and I love them.

Now, I need to know first what plants you have in your tank, so that I will be able to tell you how many watts per gallon of lighting you should have.

There are a variety of lamps with a variety of spectra. But I am afraid that not all spectra will work for a planted tank. My plants grow very well under a spectrum of 6,700K. I know that this is usually recommended for planted tanks. Anything below 10,000K should be OK for plant growth (you could probably have the 10,000K bulb too). Anything above 10,000K may cause algae in your tank. Algae thrive under blue lighting and bulbs over 10,000K have a lot of blue in them.

In my opinion, the 6,700K bulb creates a beautiful natural-looking light. It's a white light with perhaps a hint of yellow in it. I love the way it makes my plants look. I think it makes my fish look nice as well, BUT since it has more yellow than blue hues in it, it may not accentuate blue fish's colors that much. If you really want to accentuate the colors of your fish, maybe you should go for something above 6,700K but not more than 10,000K. You'll have to make a choice here because you have plants on one hand, and fish on the other. But you also do not want algae.

This is a very good article about colors of lamps and what they're good for. It pertains to compact fluorescent lights by CurrentUSA (SunPaq bulbs). Here:

The colors:
The descriptions of colors:

P.S. Maybe you won't need compact fluorescent lamps with your plants (depending on what plants you have). Standard fluorescent lighting may suffice as well (for example, getting a twin-tube or a triple-tube fluorescent fixture).

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