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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #211

In a message dated 4/11/2000 01:03:13 Pacific Daylight Time, 
Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com writes:

> My question for you all is, what would be your recommendations
>  for getting light into this tank.  I am thinking about
>  2 of the 96watt CF available at ahsupply which would
>  get me close to 4watt/gallon.  Any thoughts?  Is 4 watts/gallon
>  enough light for a tank of this depth?
Your solution is via the DIY route.  Some people will tell you that screw-in 
fluorescent bulbs (the kind that replace ordinary light bulbs) won't work for 
lighting, that they don't have an ideal spectrum, etc., but then, neither 
does a pair of shop light tubes, and thousands of people use them 
successfully.  While not ideal for plants, the units are more than adequate 
for plant lighting.  If you get a wooden hood, you can mount surface mount 
porcelain sockets inside the hood, in a row along the front.  These sockets 
cost about $2.50 at Sears Hardware.  They can be wired up with ease.  Lights 
of America now makes a 45 watt screw-in fluorescent "bulb" which costs about 
$10 at Sears Hardware.  For your 58g tank, 3 watts/gallon would be about 180 
watts, which would require 4 of the screw-in units.  You would have room for 
more if you desired.  They run relatively cool, and give a pleasant light.  
At 12 hours on per day, my plants grow about 1/2" per day under these lights. 
 Of course, the wooden hood alleviates the need for a glass cover, so your 
lights can be mounted a couple of inches above the water, with no cover glass 
to filter the light.  You might experiment with this method and discover that 
it works just fine for plants, without breaking the bank.