View Full Version : bulb recommendations

03-31-2010, 10:44 AM
i have a 36g corner tank that im planting up pretty good. so far it has just java fern, anubis, and some unknown plant i got from the fall auction. all of it is growing well with the stock fluorescent bulbs, 2x15w. i just ordered a bunch of plants, Java Moss, HM, Rotala Rotundifolia (indica), Whorled Pennywort, riccia, Limnophila aromatica, and Ludwigia repens. what kind of bulbs would you guys recommend

03-31-2010, 12:37 PM
Much bigger and brighter ones :)

I think out of your list only the java moss might be happy. (Might be borderline with the java fern and anubias)

03-31-2010, 01:31 PM
What are the dimensions of the tank?

03-31-2010, 02:38 PM
its a bowed corner tank, 34" in the front, 24" back and 21" tall. i was thinking of a 55watt retro fit PC kit. its only like $50

03-31-2010, 08:17 PM
Well, some will say they have a so-so reputation, but for the money, might as well just get a new fixture. This one is $40 shipped with the bulb:


I ordered from them, and overall (for the money), it's pretty good. Whatever you buy from those guys though, make sure to check the reviews. Since you have 352 posts, you probably know about aquatraders already, but figured I'd mention it just in case.

04-04-2010, 01:12 AM
What retrofit kit are you considering? AH Supply?

I am currently using one over my 20 gallon tall with 6700K bulb and it works well.

I fell as if I could get more light out of the setup though because in the housing I fit it into, the bulb is too close to the reflector.
I plan to build my own housing and maybe get a second 55w kit for a "afternoon burst".

The ballast has to be outside the housing and it gets REALLY hot.

Ludwigia loves light (and co2 if you want to go that direction with this tank).

04-04-2010, 07:14 AM
yes the AH Supply kit. i was thinking the 2x55watt kit. do you mind posting a pic of your ah kit?

04-06-2010, 12:14 PM
let me see if I can find one for you
edit: finally took a few since I didn't have any.


Chris Noto
04-10-2010, 03:20 PM
what kind of bulbs would you guys recommend
Power compact bulbs are, at this point, at least one generation behind the curve. Two generations back, if you count LCDs as the current gen, though, personally, with the current Very High Prices, I count them as the next generation, with T5 High Output bulbs being the current state of the planted aquarium lighting art. :P

If you are really into the planted aquarium thing, I'd suggest that, as well as AAAA, you hook up with the forums at Aquatic Plant Central (http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/), where there is lots of discussion of these issues, and even, perhaps, some expertise.

The deal with the greater efficiency of T5s versus PC lies in the matter of "restrike". PC bulbs are bent back on themselves, and so less of the light emitted has a straight path from the tube, to the reflector, to the plants, than in the straight tube T5 scenario. PCs are a bit cheaper right now, but that savings is outweighed by the long term benefits of the T5.

04-12-2010, 11:32 PM
Chris, it is interesting you mention PC vs T5. I went back and checked the AH supply site and they list the 55w bulbs they carry as T5. This despite having read many places that their bulbs are PC. They look like T5 bulbs just joined together, with pins only on one side. Is that what makes them "like T5" but not T5?

04-13-2010, 01:36 PM
T# denotes the diameter of the bulb in eighths of an inch. T5 = 5/8, T8 = 1", T12 = 1.5"

PC bulbs may be 5/8" diameter, but T5 is used almost exclusively to refer to linear fluorescent tubes, not PC/ U shaped tubes.

T5HO is similar in efficiency (lumens/watt) to PC, but the reflectors are better.

04-13-2010, 09:49 PM
much better explanation than I've seen in searching a few other forums. I can see why T5 is more efficient for its size since it is linear. Just to clarify you mean the reflectors used with the bulb such as miro 4 aluminum correct?

Chris Noto
04-17-2010, 05:32 PM
Just to clarify you mean the reflectors used with the bulb such as miro 4 aluminum correct?
That's it, exactly.

04-17-2010, 10:16 PM
i'm using the miro4 stuff with my PC bulb(s), but if each bulb had it's own reflector I can imagine how much more light there would be.
Well now the debate begins on whether to build my own T5HO setup or to buy one. The 2x24w setups seem fairly priced but the 4x24w setups are too much.

I know it's been asked elsewhere and maybe here. What does everyone/anyone think about the amount of T5 light needed for a 20 gallon tall with pressurized co2 diffused in the tank?
maybe I should start a new thread too?

04-19-2010, 06:04 PM
well i decided to go with the nova extreme 2x24watt t5 fixture. hopefully it will be enough

04-19-2010, 11:25 PM
everything that I have read seems to suggest this will be good for medium lighting levels. If you wanted high light at some point you might need to add another 24 watt bulb/fixture.

Let us know how it works out for you.

04-20-2010, 12:09 AM
I use the good old Coralife 24" PC (65wx2; 10k) on my 20g planted. Plants seem happy but I wouldn't really know :)

04-21-2010, 04:48 PM
the debate I am having is whether to build a new housing and add a second PC bulb and ballast or "start over" and go with t5. I am looking into ballasts right now to see what will give me the most options on bulb wattages so I can get the lighting where I want it.