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Need recomendations for plants

Aug 10, 2005
Dark side of the Moon
I want to get some aquatic plants for a friends 55 gallon aquarium.
it has 2 20w t12 floros for lighting.
what would be some good beginner plants to get that would thrive with this lighting?
also, should the lights be on a timer for a consistent photo period?
thanks, I know nothing about aquatic plants.
Jan 24, 2008
Best stick with low light plants with less than 1 watt per gallon. Maybe some java fern, java moss, anubias, cryptocoryne wendtii. I'd go with a 10-11 hr photoperiod for starters. With twice the light you could try some stem plants like Rotala rotundifolia, Ludwigia repens, Bacopa australis and some rosettes like Vallisneria and Saggitaria. Biggest mistake most new planted aquarium folks make is starting with too few plants and then having algae issues due to light and fish overload. Check out this website: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ It's where I met Andrew and a link to Terra Forums, and subsequently a new hobby :banana2: . I can probably spare some starter plants for you, but I'm not sure I have enough for a proper start for a 55 gallon. PM me if interested.
Aug 18, 2004
Dallas, TX
You need way more light, even for the low light plants suggested. Your lighting setup is appropriate for a 10 gallon tank, IME.

I recommend getting rid of the current top (I assume you are using the hood that came with the tank (55 gallons usually come with a hood that holds two 20 W bulbs). Get some glass cut to fit the open space, with an inch or so in the back for tubing, filters, etc. Then put a shop light with two 4 ft T12 bulbs, set to be on 10-12 hours. Even better would be to put two sets of shop lights, then you could adjust the times they are on: maybe 4 hours for the back set, 2 hours together, then 4 hours for the front set.

Then go nuts and stuff your tank with all the lowlight tolerant plants you can get a hold of, especially stem plants.