Help with 5 gallon lighting


It's been some time since I've posted here, had some trials and tribulations with my 56 gallon that is now freshwater...
Anyway I've maintained my 5 gallon nano through all of this and I think its high time to consider a lighting upgrade.
Tank is a standard AGA "5 gallon" (5.5 I think actually) with a flip top incandescent hood. Right now I have a 20 W 50/50 minicompact from coralife and it is making my mushrooms and a single polyp paly happy but my xenia is shrinking and a frogspawn i had melted enough that I returned it (and it came back quickly in the MH lighting at the LFS). I bought a coralife aqualight 12" off consignment that worked for a few hours and died so I returned it, but the 36W of PC lighting is intense on the tiny tank, and that's where I'd like to go.
Can anyone suggest anything besides waiting for one of those lights to come up on the bay for purchase ? I've seen a 24w single (50/50) PC light but I'm not sure that would be any brighter than the 20W i have now.
I'm good with DIY so let the suggestions flow ;)
_tia_ chris


I have one from catalina aquarium... its 2x 24w PC bulbs... it cost me 50 dollars... I have this on a 3g pico


Active Member
I have a 5 gal too, my new light arrive tomorrow and I ordered the current usa nova extreme 18" 2 x 18 watt T5HO fixture. It fits perfectly over the 5 gal with 1" on either side. I will let you know how I like it.
I to was thinking about the 12 aqua light but was talked out of it my many people.
Nissan on here also has this fixture as well and loves it.


Active Member
Originally Posted by Chrisnif
Wow, I bet you could even get SPS to work with 48W in 3 gallons :)
yea he can but they will need water changes and maybe the sps might lose a little color.
i like stated above have the t5HO 36w for my pico

i love it! and my sps still have their green, red, and blue and im also doing my water changes and dosing.


Well, sometimes things just happen... I ran into a steal of a deal on a pretty stand that will hold a 20H, so looks like im either doing a 20H or a 10gal, probably the 20H. I am in the process of waiting for a bulb to come in so I can test my 70W diy MH fixture but I'm not too worried, I have a 175 if I "NEED" to (would have to light my 56 some other way but its FW so it doesnt require MH).
Anyway, based on either a 20H (more likely) or a 10 gal with a 70W MH pendant (the halogen light + ballast DIY here and alot of other places) will that be enough light for "anything" or will I be limited ? (and if you feel I'd be no clams, or no SPS, would upgrading to 150W HQI or 175 SE bulb be enough to get to "anything i want" land ?) I'm not even sure I want a clam yet, strong fear of buying expensive delicate creature and watching it die...
Thanks in advance for the helps


Active Member
if heat isnt an option for you 150 will keep anything you want. you should look for a 15 gallon, much nicer aquascaping capabilities


Well the tank will be "open top" and the light is going as a pendant as far as I've planned so far... I'll probably start with the 70 being i've got it now and get a 150w ballast/bulb later down the road when I'm ready to have SPS not 2" from the surface :) Would 70w do the SPS that close?
Originally Posted by nikeSB
if heat isnt an option for you 150 will keep anything you want. you should look for a 15 gallon, much nicer aquascaping capabilities