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Evening all. So, my girlfriend and I recently got a 100 gallon tank that came with a 4x54w light strip measuring out to 48", and I was wondering what kind of bulbs we should be using for it.

It came with 2 12,000k bulbs and two actinics (and 4 moon leds, if you really want to count them, lol). I was thinking of getting 2 6,700k bulbs and maybe 2 Colormax, but I'm not too sure.

It's meant to be a planted tank. Besides, I could really use some advice as to turn my girlfriend away from the actinics. She loves them, but IMO, they make everything too blue and wipe out the colors. That, and from what I've read they do nothing for freshwater.

What would you guys do?
 

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Actinic tubes might make things look nice in an aquarium but they are of little if any benefit to plants at all. Plants can't use the type of light that actinics emit to perform photosynthisis so scrap them. Your combination of 2 x 6,700k & 2 x full spectrum Colormax would be much better for plants. Better still would be 1 x Sylvania Gro-Lux (best plant tube ever), 2 x 6,700k & 1 x 10,000k or the 12,000k you already have. If your fixture is T5HO substitute a Hagen Aqua-Glo tube for the Gro-Lux.

Here's a few links to help you learn a bit more about light for planted aquariums:
Aquarium Lighting - Fish Tank Lighting
Articles about Proper Aquarium Lighting
Aqua Botanic-Artificial lighting

Here's a link to common flourescet tube comparisons:
Aqua Botanic-light bulb comparison
 

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Like Gfish said, actinics unfortunately don't do a thing for planted tanks so you wouldn't want to waste the money on them. Gro-Lux is a great bulb
 

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Most aquarium & petstores should have it in stock. If not hydroponic supply stores will.
 
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So what is a T5HO or any of those abbreviations? I'm trying to figure out what sort of lighting I should get.

I can definitely tell you that Actinic is useless for freshwater plants, I sympathize with the girlfriend however, I too liked the color Actinic produced.
 

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So what is a T5HO or any of those abbreviations? I'm trying to figure out what sort of lighting I should get.

I can definitely tell you that Actinic is useless for freshwater plants, I sympathize with the girlfriend however, I too liked the color Actinic produced.

I don't know all the ins and outs of lighting but to basically answer your question flourecant bulbs come in different diameters. They are measured like T12, T8, T5. T5HO is a higher output. Most standard "shop" lights that you see are T12. They are usually pretty low wattage. The T8's are a little smaller and the T5's are even smaller. The T5 and the T5HO are higher wattage then the others. The different sizes take different components. For example you can get a standard generic tank light that has a T8 32 watt bulb in it and put in T5HO bulb and expect it to work correctly.
Like everything else in life the more wattage the more money. If you have a planted tank wattage is important. If you are not going to have live plants then a standard T12 or T8 unit will suit you fine and they can be found cheap.
 

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I have Hagan Power-Glos. Any good?
 
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