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> Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 17:32:22 -0400
> From: krandall at world_std.com
> Subject: sufficient lighting... 
> >Hi everyone!  I'm rather new to the hobby of keeping aquatic plants and 
> >I've decided to set up one of my old 20 gal "high" tanks as planted 
> >tank.  The only problem is that I can't figure out how to provide 
> >sufficient lighting for the tank.  I figure that because the tank is 20 
> >gal that I would want to provide 80 to 100 watts of light.  My one bulb 
> >for the hood is only 15 watts!!  How could I provide enough light?  Is 
> >there anyway to build my own hood (perhaps 4 bulbs in the fixture)?  
> >Could anybody offer some possible solutions?  Any answer (or multiple 
> >answers :) ) would be appreciated!
> My rant for the day :-)
> This is another area where many people seem to be falling into the common
> American faulty thinking, "If some is good, more must be better".  While
> 15W on a 20G tank is certainly on the dim side,  80-100W is _WAY_ in the
> other direction.  I see no good reason to use light levels this high.  I
> have _never_ failed with a plant for lighting reasons with light in the
> 3W/G range in a tank of less than 22" in depth. (some people seem to feel
> that these higher levels are necessary in deeper tanks, and since I've
> never worked with a deeper tank personally, I can't comment)  Beyond 3W/G
> on a smaller tank, and you are simply wasting money on electricity, and
> guaranteeing that you will need to use more supplemental CO2 and trace
> elements than in a more moderately lit tank.  I am not suggesting that it
> isn't possible to reach a steady state in a tank like this, but it
> certainly won't be easier, and it _might_ be harder than with 3W/G.
> Personally, I run the two 20H tanks that we have with 40W over each.
> (easily accomplished with 2 20W strip lights)  Both have _excellent_
> growth, and contain many species including several "high light" species
> like Bacopa, Acorus, Lilaeopsis and Rotala macrandra.  All of these
> grow well enough to require regular division, and are lush and green.
> (Rotala is lush and red<g>)
> Karen Randall
> Aquatic Gardeners Association