Best lighting for Congo Tetras

Trivr

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Mar 23, 2008
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I had read so much about the beauty of Congo tetras especially when they're bigger, so I got 5 of them. Three are about 3" long with two small. Mine usually appear rather dull with a yellow/brownish color that sometimes brightens up and looks nice as they move about.

The other day, my light was off and the only light entering my tank was late afternoon indirect sun. My congos absolutely came alive with color! There was a beautiful blueish/purple that sparkled. This is what people had marveled about! My question is: how do you recreate this? The light at the time seemed to be rather low, so I took my fluorescent hood and directed it into the tank from below and they looked a little better but still nothing like before. When my hood is on top of tank, it seems to reinforce the yellowish/brown rather dull shade.

The only info I can find is people saying you must have the right/proper light, but what does that mean?

Trivr
 

VaughnH

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Jan 24, 2005
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When we see something we are detecting the light reflected from that something. Obviously nothing can reflect a color that is not present in the light to start with. Most fluorescent tubes are intended to provide light that looks somewhat similar to sunlight, but in reality they produce a few peaks in the light spectrum, with little light in other areas of the spectrum. So, cheap fluorescent lights often lack the colors that the fish have, so you can't see those colors when the tank is under one of those lights.

There are good bulbs available too, especially PC bulbs or T5 bulbs. The benefit from using them is unbelievable. For example, no red plant will look red if the light has very little red light in it. Change to a good bulb and your red plants astonish you.
 

Trivr

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Mar 23, 2008
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Thanks Vaughn but I am using a t-5 bulb. It's a LIFE-GLO bulb bought at Petsmart. Are you saying I'll only see the colors if my bulb gives light out in those colors? If that's the case then only a full spectrum bulb will work correct?
 

VaughnH

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Jan 24, 2005
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The bulb doesn't have to be full spectrum, a virtual impossibility with fluorescent tubes, but it needs to have significant red and blue output.