Lighting help with a 29 gallon


Junior Poster
Jul 16, 2009
Hello everyone - first post so be easy. I got a 10gal about a year ago for my son who loves looking at fish, then I got hooked on keeping aquariums. So now I just bought a 29 gallon dimensions are 30in wide X 18 tall X 12 deep (I'm not sure if that's standard or not). So I want to get a new lighting system for all of my plants that I have as well as all the new ones that I can now fit. I'd like to be able to grow anything that I put in there. I have a DIY CO2 system already. I've been looking at various setups online as well as the LFS. The most popular in stores seems to be the Hagen GLO T5HO systems. I like them but I'm not sure if I'd be able to get even light coverage throughout the tank because the only one that will fit my aquarium is 24 inches. I've found 30" setups like this one: Aquarium Specialty - says it has 4 lamps plus 2 Lunar but I'm not sure if it is the bulbs that have 2 in one. I've been doing so much research that I feel like I have an information overload. If I go with the T5HO does the old WPG rule of thumb still apply? If it does then I would only have 48 watts in 29 gallons. I want to grow everything I can find!

Should I go with the 30" for better coverage or would I be well off with the 24" hagen? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I know that I should try stuff and see what works but I don't want to spend $100+ only to find out I want something else. Any other input as far as what I can get is also welcome - just please help end this confusion :confused: :confused:

Thanks in advance


Lifetime Charter Member
Lifetime Member
Mar 12, 2009
Welcome to the greener end of the hobby.

You can keep anything you like of typical hobby plants in a 29 gal done right, but I can't promise you it'll look good. Size is another issue, and the growth that goes along with it.

If you want to buy a lighting system rather than going DIY, my advice would be to get something around 36'', and let it overhang. You'll get better lighting at the edges of your tank this way anyhow.

In general, what's being aimed for is something around 50mmol PAR. Most of us can't measure PAR, and lux is only good when comparing the same lamp to its self (human biasing towards yellow for lux), so WPG becomes a general comparison.

If you're doing T5HO with good spacing between the bulbs (not cramped into the same housing), and individual parabolic reflectors, you'll be looking at more like 1.5wpg.

If you're headed for most other systems, 2wpg will serve just fine.

If you want to grow everything though, don't focus so much on light. CO2 is the issue; get compressed. If you can't do compressed, stick with 2wpg as a guideline for max lighting; 1.5wpg in T5HO. This would mean a fair bit of DIY CO2 and using flourish excel.