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Advice on setting up my 50 gallon

This is a discussion on Advice on setting up my 50 gallon within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by dm800 When you say full spectrum, are you referring to a color temperature? MBilyeu, if I get shop lights, would I ...

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Advice on setting up my 50 gallon
Old 05-04-2009, 12:50 PM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by dm800 View Post
When you say full spectrum, are you referring to a color temperature?

MBilyeu, if I get shop lights, would I need to get special bulbs too, or just the shop light bulbs found at Home Depot? I would like a nice white light, and stay away from the yellowish. Do you happen to have any pictures of your tanks? I would like to get an idea of what I can grow with 60 watts or so. Thanks!
Full spectrum means the light is complete over the spectrum; I've read many aquarist terming it the equivalent of the colour of light from the sun at high noon. You probably know what the spectrum is, like when a rainbow forms in the mist and you see the bands of colours. Flourescent tubes can be made to emit light in any of those colours according to the type of coating inside. Warm white, cool white, daylight (this is close to full spectrum), daylight deluxe (has a bit more yellow if memory serves me), etc. All of these will make the aquarium look different. Warm white accents yellows and to some extent green which is close in the spectrum, but is not recommended for plants because they require more blue and then red to photosynthesis. But a tank lit by light high in blue can take on a ghostly appearance, and the colours of plants 9and fish) don't look normal. To get it to look natural (the plant leaves their brightest and truest green colouring) most suggest full spectrum. If you have two tubes over a tank you can experiment a bit, as I have done. One tube is pure full spectrum and the second is higher in the blue range; its not as warm as straight full spectrum but it provides the plants better growing light and still looks natural, at least to me.

Colour temperature is stated in kelvin (used to be called degrees kelvin). You will see many on here recommend a minimum of 6700K for plant tubes.

For several years I used tubes from Home Depot. Over each tank I had one full spectrum and one daylight deluxe. They were made by Sylvania I think. HD stopped carrying them, switched to Phillips, but I didn't like the look now so I use one full spectrum Life Glo bulb and one of the others.

Just noticed i didn't respond to your earlier post about growing much at 1 wpg. As I explained previously, this amount of light will enable you to grow most of the rooted plants but not so good with stem plants. Look at the photos of my two aquaria to see what's possible with 1 watt per gallon.
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:26 PM   #12
 
Wow your tanks look great Byron! That is what I am looking for, or maybe even not that many plants, so the low wattage should work fine then. As long as the plants dont die or turn brown, I don't care how slow they grow. That is less maintenance in trimming them! So do you just have shop light fixtures in yours? I wonder if I should just use the one 30 watt fixture I have, and get another one? Or get a twin 36" T8 shop light from Home Depot instead of the 24 like MBilyeu suggested. Unless there was a reason that was suggested over a 36".
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:22 PM   #13
 
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Originally Posted by dm800 View Post
When you say full spectrum, are you referring to a color temperature?

MBilyeu, if I get shop lights, would I need to get special bulbs too, or just the shop light bulbs found at Home Depot? I would like a nice white light, and stay away from the yellowish. Do you happen to have any pictures of your tanks? I would like to get an idea of what I can grow with 60 watts or so. Thanks!
Yes I do have pictures of my tanks, they are under my name to the left. The only one that is planted is the 30 gallon. I only have two 24" t5 that are retrofitted into the existing hood. The only reason I did this was so that I wouldn't have to buy a glass top or make a canopy, otherwise I would have gone with t-8s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dm800 View Post
Wow your tanks look great Byron! That is what I am looking for, or maybe even not that many plants, so the low wattage should work fine then. As long as the plants dont die or turn brown, I don't care how slow they grow. That is less maintenance in trimming them! So do you just have shop light fixtures in yours? I wonder if I should just use the one 30 watt fixture I have, and get another one? Or get a twin 36" T8 shop light from Home Depot instead of the 24 like MBilyeu suggested. Unless there was a reason that was suggested over a 36".

I only suggested the 24" because you will have a larger selection of bulbs, but if you find a bulb that you want and it fits into a 36" fixture, then that will be your better choice. I did a quick search, and I would recommend this bulb to you:

Zoo Med Flora Sun Max Plant Growth Fluorescent Lamp - 36" (T8) at Big Al's Online
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:50 AM   #14
 
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Yes I do have pictures of my tanks, they are under my name to the left. The only one that is planted is the 30 gallon. I only have two 24" t5 that are retrofitted into the existing hood. The only reason I did this was so that I wouldn't have to buy a glass top or make a canopy, otherwise I would have gone with t-8s.




I only suggested the 24" because you will have a larger selection of bulbs, but if you find a bulb that you want and it fits into a 36" fixture, then that will be your better choice. I did a quick search, and I would recommend this bulb to you:

Zoo Med Flora Sun Max Plant Growth Fluorescent Lamp - 36" (T8) at Big Al's Online

dm800, this is a good series of tubes that MBilyeu linked to (I use some of them). I would just say that if you have a lfs that you deal with and they carry these, ask if you can return it for a different type if you buy one. I do this. While this tube is suited to plant growth, you might not like the "colour" it gives to the aquarium, kind of purplish if I remember right. If you have two tubes in the hood, one could be this one and one a full spectrum to balance, similar to what I have. On the other hand, you might like the look of this tube. Byron.
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Old 05-06-2009, 03:55 AM   #15
 
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Do you still have the ten gal tank running with fish in it ? If so ,you could use some of the filter material from this tank (ten gal) along with some of the substrate from same ,to help jumpstart the biological process for the larger tank.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:37 AM   #16
 
I think I will go by the store tomorrow and look at the fixtures. Do I need to look for shop lights with reflectors, or can they be without them? Should I paint the inside of my hood with white paint?
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Old 05-08-2009, 08:49 AM   #17
 
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I think I will go by the store tomorrow and look at the fixtures. Do I need to look for shop lights with reflectors, or can they be without them? Should I paint the inside of my hood with white paint?
I bought the standard aquarium light fixtures for my tanks (the tanks have a plain glass cover that fits inside the frame and then the light fixture (which could by anything) sits above. They hold two fluorescent tubes, and are white inside. I like this arrangement because I can replace the light fixture should I need/want to, and the tank glass cover stays as is regardless.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:47 AM   #18
 
So are you saying you just have yours sitting on top of the glass, or are they mounted at the underside of the canopy? I do have a glass top as well and will be building a canopy. I noticed at the store, some fixtures just hold the tubes and have no reflectors, while some have a reflector on them.
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:59 AM   #19
 
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So are you saying you just have yours sitting on top of the glass, or are they mounted at the underside of the canopy? I do have a glass top as well and will be building a canopy. I noticed at the store, some fixtures just hold the tubes and have no reflectors, while some have a reflector on them.
I don't have a canopy, the light fixture sits across the tank (it is designed to just fit the tank length and is black like the tank frame so it looks pretty good to me) and can slide front to back. You can sort of see it in the photo of my 90g tank. The fixture on the 70g is a 5-foot, the tank is 4-foot, so it extends 6 inches over each end [I'm using the fixture from my 5-foot 115g which is empty because the old fixture for the 70g has a problem and rather than spend money to replace it I'm using the other until such time as i set the 115g up].

Mine are just white inside, but that does reflect light, but not as much as if they were metallic.

I';ve never bothered with a canopy, even back when the tanks were in the livingroom. There is the heat issue (all lights produce heat to varying degrees, holes in the canopy would presumably help in this), but I have never been bothered by the clean look of the tanks.
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Old 05-09-2009, 11:21 PM   #20
 
I checked out Lowe's and found some 3 foot T12 single strip fixtures for $12 a piece. They have no reflectors, but I suppose painting the canopy white would help. I bought a GE Daylight (6500K) tube there too just to try out in my fixture I have to see what it looks like, and I did not really like the color of it. I put the 15w fixture from my 10 gallon over it just to see what the color of the light looked like, and I liked that a lot better. It doesnt say what the color temp is on it, it just says All Glass aquarium bulb on it. But looking at them both on, that one looks a little more bluer/purplish than the GE Daylight bulb. If I get 3 of those fixtures, I am at 90 watts. I called that AH company in regards to that fixture I posted just to find out about it. He seemed pretty knowledgeable about growing plants and about CO2 and nutrients, etc, and said that 96 has been used in 50 watts and althought plants would grow better with CO2, it is not necessary for that amount of lighting. He also said if my canpy is open backed, that there should be enough venilation that I won't need a fan. And I can even mount the balast to the outside of the back of the canopy if I wanted to. He even gave me ideas on how to build a canopy. They have bulbs in 6700k and 10000k, and I explained to him I don't want the yellow tinge and he said 10,000 would probably be beste then. So I don't know what to do now. He was very helpful and seemed knowledgable. Ahhhhh why does this have to be so complicated?!?!?! :)
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