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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone! I'm new here and am constantly researching freshwater tank ideas since my fiance will be buying me one for Christmas! I want a 20L gallon tank but don't know what will work out best for a low light tank! I've seen the full hood setups that are cheap (which is nice!) that come with only one bulb. Most of those have a 24" light for a 30" hood. My question is...is one bulb enough for a 20L tank for low light plants? I've read up on the wpg factor, so I'm trying to keep it at least at 1wpg. Some use the hardware store "shoplight" fixtures with a glass canopy...does anyone recommend this for a beginner? What brands work with the lighting especially for plants?

I have a green thumb for plants so I want to make sure that my fiance will be investing in a setup that will last me a while :) but I don't want him to go broke in the process! Please give me suggestions, I greatly appreciate it *thumbsup thanx
 

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The actual lighting requirements would be based what you are trying grow.
Personally I do not use the floursecent lights that come in the hoods with the tanks.
I use a compact flourscent light kit with high kelvin rated bulbs and just install it in the hood in place of the one that's in it.
Here is where I buy my kits and replacement bulbes.
They have excellent prices on full kits for the smaller size hoods.
A H Supply - Easy Ordering

Check out their whole site.
 

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Another viable option for ya too....

This will of course all depend on tank placement and your dwelling. If you don't use a hood, look into getting a vanity light. A three bulb fixture would be good for a 20long. Then you can use the CFL bulbs. You'd have your lighting and be a little stylish at the same time. :)
 

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I use shop light fixtures, I just gut the strip lights that come with the tank and replace it ALL with shop lights from depot, 17 bucks got me the fixtures and two 48" 6500K bulbs.

Ive used CFL bulbs but they are confusing as to exactly what wattage they put out per brand of bulb.

Walmart is your best friend for lighting needs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow James0816, I love that look! I couldn't do something like that now though...I live in an apartment and they wouldn't be too fond of me drilling in the wall! WhiteDevil, I am seriously going to look into the shop light option at my local hardware stores...any brands to look for? Do certain ones work for certain types of lighting, like t8, etc? Thanks for all the help everyone *n1
 

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If you're planning on going the shop light route, I would suggest finding the tubes you want to use and then finding a fixture that will power them.

Just remember that degrees Kelvin refers to color and nothing else.
It seems like that confuses a lot of people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok thanks darkroom...that sounds like a good place to start. It's amazing how there's so many different ways everyone sets up their tanks! For someone new going into this, I just want to figure out what's the most "foolproof" way! I don't want to get the wrong thing and have to upgrade and spend more money when I could have done it right the first time!
 

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It all depends on how handy you are, but you can get some PCF(power compact flourescents similar to the CFL but usually stronger) lights and disassemble them and make your own housing for them.
 

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A couple other options but may be limited by your apartment rules.

1) Make a brace that will mount to your stand and affix the vanity light to the brace. Same effect as in picture above but will be mounted to your stand instead of the wall.

2) Pendent lights from the ceiling. Not very viable if you can't hang a vanity light on the wall though.

I would go the vanity route and just fill in the holes as needed. ;o)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks guys! The vanity lights are an awesome idea, especially bracing them to the tank. I will try this when I get a house :) Until then, I think I'm going to shop around for a shop light. If I figure out what kind of light/brand of bulb I'm interested in, I'll let you all know. Definitely not too strong, since it'll be a low light tank.

I saw Drs Foster & Smith has a Coralife nutri grow light @ 20W...some say it's too "green" and that it needs something to balance it out. I want to try to keep the lighting at 1.5-2wpg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I also just found a Zoo Med Ultra Sun Trichromatic Fluorescent Bulb...the 24" has 17W with 6,500K. It's also a T8 which I read give a little more when it comes to wpg??? What do I pair it with? Another just like it? Or something different? I want the overall color in the tank to be pleasing to the eye but promote healthy plants too...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ok, so for those of you that go the shoplight route...do you place it right onto a glass top? Can you do that with good results? Will it heat up the tank too much to leave it on all day with a 12 inch tank depth and at the most 40 watts of lighting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Oh, ok James. I can't do that...I live in an apartment. Should I be concerned with too much heat if I were to place a shoplight right on top of the glass-top?
 
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