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Thread: Setting up a new 5 gallon tank

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    I'm setting up a new (well, not really new, I've had the tank for a while) tank to grow some Neps and Pings in and I have a few questions regarding lighting:

    1) It will be illuminated by two 18 inch flourescent tubes, 15 watts each (I think that's what they are). I have to get new tubes for the fixtures and I'm wondering if I should just go with all cool white like my other terrariums or experiment with some Gro-Lux tubes. Where do you guys buy Gro-Lux? Are they worth it? I think I just like the purple hue! Haha!

    2) I do believe that this will be enough light for the size tank that it is, but I'd like some opinions. Will 30 watts of flourescent lighting be enough for a 5 gallon tank?

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    nepenthes_ak's Avatar
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    5 gallon will be SMALL.... maybe for 1 nepenthes... but even then theirs not many lowlanders that will fit in youre 5 gallon, what species where you thinking of?

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    chloroplast's Avatar
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    30W over that area should be enough. But I tend to agree with nepenthes_ak; 5gal is rather small for neps. Unless space is really an issue, you're better off with larger tanks as the setup cost:growing space ratio is much less. If space isn't an issue, you might want to consider using a grow rack for neps--lots more space, easier to maintain, and cheaper in the long run.
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    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    30 watts should be good. You can turn the tank on it's side if you want. You can get Gro-lux at homedepot/lowes. I don't think they work any better, but the purple glow is cool.

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    Thanks for the input guys. I'm still not sure if I want to go through with this new tank since I already have more than enough plants as it is. I just have this nice little nook in my desk that would be perfect for a 5 gallon tank.

    Ah, the temptation!

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    I went ahead and got two 15 watt tubes today, one cool white tube and one plant and aquarium tube. Home Depot didn't seem to have those Gro-lux tubes that everyone uses, but the plant and aquarium bulb seems to have the same purple-ish glow.

    They're obviously both 15 watts, but the cool white tube has a lumens output of 870 while the plant and aquarium bulb only has a lumens output of 410. Supposedly it has a better spectrum for plants and has a color temperature of 2700k as opposed to the 4100k of the cool white tube.

    I use cool white tubes exclusively on my other two terrariums (they work really well) but I wanted to try something different with this smaller tank and now I'm wondering if it's even worth it to keep the plant and aquarium bulb when I can just take it back and get a cool white tube that has twice as many lumens.

    Or I could just try out this new light combination and see how the plants react.

    Hmmm...any thoughts?

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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    hey...wow...did u get the 24 inch plant and aquarium tube? T12 and F30 or something..?? I was sooo close to buying it. But couldn't find a small fixture with a wall plug so i stopped. Now instead I am using 2 desk lamps both diffrent. One is lights of america sunlight desklamp at 6500K full spectrum, 82 CRI and 1200 lumens equivalent to a 120 watt incandescent.

    the other is a 20 watt fluoroscent OTT-lite plant lamp. My vft's are definately growing under them...so I guess they can HANDLE my conditions. The new lamp is making traps redder. so i guess its good.

    But let me warn u....lol!! a desk terrarium is soo distracting. I used to look at it every 1 hr or even less. Now though I covered all sides with al foil. One side though is AL foil taped to a cardboard. So during morning Its open when the plants get sunshade + 2 lamp lights(16hrs). At evening once it darkens I just put backthe cardboard and the light is bouncing back in for maximal to the VFT's.

    I know that maybe light is still not enough..but thats all I can do for now...atleast till next summer.

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    With having two bulbs over my 5 gallon, the temperature gets into the high 80s/low 90s, which I don't think is quite ideal for most Nepenthes. I'm growing mostly highlanders in there, so I tried putting only one fixture/bulb on top. The temperature stays in the mid 80s this way, but obviously there's less light.

    Also keep in mind that we've been having somewhat of a heat wave lately, so winter temps will be about 5-7 degrees cooler on any given day.

    What do you guys think? Keep the two bulbs for a total of 30 watts but with higher temperatures, or nix the second bulb for a total of only 15 watts and keep temps a bit cooler?

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