What bulb do I need?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by klogue2, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. klogue2Valued MemberMember

    I've decided it's high time I actually acted on my want to get more live plants. I have had anacharis for these last couple months since I started this tank, but I'd like to expand on it and start getting some plants like anubias or hornwort.

    Something I'm still confused about is the type of light bulb I need. I have read and understand that the plants need certain colors of light to thrive. Right now I have a (according to the box) full spectrum, T8, 17-watt bulb that came with my aquarium hood. If it's full spectrum, I assume it's good for plant growth, or am I mistaken? Also, I've heard most people use T5HO. Are those better than T8?

    If it matters, the type of hood the light came in is an Aqueon Deluxe Full Hood. Maybe the brand means something lol.
  2. CichlidnutFishlore VIPMember

    17w t8 isn't all that good for plants. t5 or t5h0 will be beneficial to plants. Make sure not to add too much light or you will need co2. Aim for a bulb in the 6500k range of the light spectrum.
  3. brodylane1122Well Known MemberMember

    And I think it all depends on size of the tank. A 17w T8 full spectrum light isn't too bad for a 5 or 10 gallon tank. But for 20 gallon up would not be very good at all.

    I currently have a 18w T8 on my 29 gallon and all I can really grow is Crypts and pond lilies.
  4. klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Oh I see, mine is 29 gallons :( is there any way I can make it work with the good I have? Maybe I can do a little DIY and make it a T5 hood?

    Edit: I'm at the store now on my phone and they have a bulb called Life-Glo, 15 watt T8 and 6700k. What do you guys think?
  5. brodylane1122Well Known MemberMember

    Could you run it with the one you already have? On it's own, it is still very low for a 29 gallon. But if you can do both the 15 and 17 watt together, that would be much better.
  6. klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Unfortunately it's only a single bulb fixture :(
  7. MotherMajesty:)Valued MemberMember

    If you want to keep your original fixture , you can get the old type bulbs at hardware stores (HomeDepot, etc.) cheaper than you can buy them at the LFS. My LFS doesn't even carry those bulbs anymore - just the t5 now. Get a bulb that's rated for plants - it should be marked as such on the packaging. It will limit you to lower light plants (depending on the height of your tank), but if you're just getting into plants, maybe you want to try your hand at easy plants first. You can always upgrade later if you really get in to it.
  8. klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Thanks! I'm considering getting a T5 fixture instead; I did an online search at my the hardware stores I have nearby and didn't find any T8 bulbs for plants in stock.
    I do plan to start easy with the plants as besides the Anacharis I'm new to them.
    If I were to start with low light plants, would you recommend a one or two bulb T5 fixture? I'd prefer to not have to set up a CO2 system until I get more acclimated to the care of the plants.

    Edit: I jsut did a little more Googling and found this thread:

    According to it you can use T5 normal output bulbs in a T8 fixture :) My lfs has T5 bulbs as well, so maybe this would be better? I understand I need 6500k but does the wattage really matter a lot?

    Edit2: aha, apparently that info is wrong. I read some more and you can NOT put a T5 in a T8.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
  9. MotherMajesty:)Valued MemberMember

    Yeah, I didn't think you could switch bulbs. Myself, I'm strictly low tech with plants. I have just gravel, I don't have special lighting (still have my old light!), and I don't use fertilizers, so I'm not going to be able to offer much help to you. I love the plants, but I'm just too lazy to get in that deep. ;) I've had luck with water wisteria, cryptocorene wendettii - the red and bronze are nice together, java fern - of course!, and a dwarf lily bulb. Currently giving cardinal plant a try, but I haven't had it long enough to see how well it will do in the long run. I'm sure our more modern members can give you technical advice about the lights. Good luck!
  10. klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Thanks again! I also don't plan to go too deep into it, at least not yet. At most I'm going to do root tabs but that's because I have sand.
    Now I'm off to find a good T5 fixture :)
  11. MotherMajesty:)Valued MemberMember

    Make sure to get one with a secure base.
  12. klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Alright, I will!
    I'm actually looking at this fixture:

    But what would I put underneath it? o_O To prevent evaporation and splashing water?
    I saw those Aqueon Versa-Tops but they also have quite a few bad reviews about being cheaply made and easily breakable.

    I think maybe my best bet would be to look for a dual-light fixture for 30 inches? I know Home Depot has shop lights that would work. But how would I suspend them over the tank is the question...
  13. MotherMajesty:)Valued MemberMember

    I'm not sure, but I think you would need have to have a glass top between the water & the light fixture. You can't have water hitting the bulb.

    Instead of spending $ on what's available right now (and that t5 stuff is expensive), take your time, use the old fixture a little longer, and get what you really want after some more research. Instant gratification feels good, but a wise purchase of fish equipment feels better for longer! :)
  14. klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Ok, thanks :)
  15. brodylane1122Well Known MemberMember

    I use the versa tops on 3 of my tanks and they are just fine. I mean, as long as you are a careful fishkeeper. For the price, they are wonderful.
  16. MotherMajesty:)Valued MemberMember

    Post how you make out. If you're in a buying mode, get a low-light plant. ;) Please know I'm not trying to preach to you. I've bought less than ideal things too many times...
  17. klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Thanks both of you! And no problem MotherMajesty, when I get into something I just start going :) I guess I should slow down a bit haha.