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Watts Per Gallon Question


Guest Fab

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I am thinking about putting in some live plants, not only because I'm constantly working to get the brown algae scraped off them, but they never stick well into the gravel bottom and I was hoping they might help me with my high nitrate problem.

Anyway, I am checking some info out and I see a metric called Watts per Gallon. Now I have a regular hood on my 10 gallon tank with incandescent sockets, but I bought little converter sockets that allow me to put in fluorescent lights. The hood is listed as being 25 watt max (I assume that's per socket). The fluorescent lights I have in there are not the long kind, they look like little regular (but pointy) bulbs. They say they're 4 watt.

Now I guess my question is what is my watts per gallon? Those 8 watts of fluorescent light would come up to 0.8 watts per gallon, which seems low. But fluorescents throw out more light, right? Do those 4 watt bulbs give off an equivalent of 25 watts each? If so, then it would be 50 watts total or 5 watts per gallon, which is off the end of most Watts per Gallon scales!

So which is it?

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Neither. They look like a slightly larger version of a regular night-light bulb. They have a very tiny socket and their shape is like a raindrop with a pointy end. The small end of their sockets screws into a converter which has a large male end (to fit in the normal socket) and a small female end (to accomodate the small socket on the bulbs).

They look like something you might put in a chandalier or something to look like a flame shape. Hope that makes sense.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I got an answer on another forum, and I thought I'd post here in case anyone else was watching this thread and wondering the same question I had.

Watts per gallon is watts using fluorescent lighting. I thought it was incandescent, and therefore fluorescents using the same wattage would be MUCH brighter. But it's the other way around, the WPG number is already fluorescent wattage per gallon.

And from what I gathered on the other forum, 20 watts of fluorescent lighting is "low light" in a 10 gallon tank. It seems awfully bright to me, I couldn't even imagine 65 watts of lighting, but we'll see what happens when I get some plants and start out my planted tank.

Anyway, there's some info in case anyone else was interested.

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Thanks for posting back. I think I have the same hood, for a 10 gallon with two incandescent sockets 25 watts maximum. I want to change to fluorescent too, I have been checking out compact fluorescent bulbs just to reduce the heat.

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  • Regular Member

Sorry I didn't get back to you with an answer, but I somehow missed your response to my query. I am glad you found out what you wanted to know, though.

If you are going with no added CO2 in your tank, and pick low light plants, 2 watts per gallon will be OK.

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