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>I was thinking about a PowerCompact CF light for my 38
>gallon aquarium. The other option is to go with one
>single fluorescent light and one double. I don't want
>to go overboard, I just want something that will work
>for some basic plants in a community tank.
>I saw one of the PowerCompacts in action on the
>weekend and I couldn't believe the amount of output
>they had. My only fear is perhaps overdoing it on the
>lights and either having a CO2 or scared fish problem.
>I am thinking of some easy to keep swords, anubius,
>and a couple of java ferns.
You could do several things for FL's or PC's. A single 55 watt PC wouldn't
set you back too much$ and be suitable for what you want to keep plant wise.
There are some folks such as Dave Gomberg which I believe sell some retro
kits for about 35$(?) or so then you need a bulb is all.
Is your 38 gallon 30inches long or 36? 2x 30watt 36 inch bulbs would be nice
also if your tank is 36inches long. Perfecto makes the 2x30watt fixtures and
also a 1x55watt PC fixture in 24 and 36 inch lengths. 3 T-8's or 3 t-12's
FL's would be a good mix and cheap also. I'd keep it 2 watts/gallon to 1 and
1/2 watts range for the plants. 2 x 55 watts PC's would be a bit much for
what you wish to grow. If you are a DIY'er or are somewhat handy you can do
a lot here for a little.
Another thing to think about is if you want the entire tank covered in
plants or just a "sweet spot". You'll need less if you have most of your
plants over in one area.
I'd go with the PC 1 x 55 watt. They are nice and gaining popularity with
many plant keepers and suit your needs well. The DIY kit would work very
well and the bulbs have usable life of about 2 years for plants and reef
tanks. They cost a little more but over all they are worth the money IMO.
When I first saw them , I never thought they'd sell or make it in this