Basic Lighting Questions


New Member
I have skimmed through the lighting section and other sections of a couple aquarium forums and hear alot about lighting but I must not have the knowledge base to apply what's out there. Maybe there's someone here who can explain it to me like I'm a 5-year-old? Thanks!

I have a small 5 gallon in the office. Really simple - two fish, a snail, and a couple sprouts of hairgrass in the back corner. I'm new to this whole thing so I found a nice tank at Petco (Aqueon 5g bowfront) with everything included - filter, hood, water conditioner, etc... Yes, I have a freshwater tank, please don't judge me. This hood came with a T10 15 watt incad bult. It makes my tank look like crap even with fresh, settled water.

I hear alot about florescent lighting. Is that what everyone uses to get their tanks looking like these nice pictures? I can find a cheap florescent T10, E26 (base) bulb that I can just screw in my existing hood. Will that give me what I want? What about power? It says it only draws 7 watts but gives the output of a 40 watt incad bulb. I'm aiming for about 3 watts/gallon. Is this way too much or way too little?

My tank certainly isn't a work of art but that is exactly the reason that it needs all the help it can get and doesn't need an incad bulb making it look like crap. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Suggestions for where to purchase lighting (online stores?) would also be appreciated. I'm good with electricity so rigging up a new hookup in my hood isn't out of the question. Thanks!