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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 I checked out Lowe's and found some 3 foot T12 single strip fixtures for $12 a piece. They have no ...

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Advice on setting up my 50 gallon
Old 05-10-2009, 10:49 AM   #21
 
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Originally Posted by dm800 View Post
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?!?!?! :)
One good thing is that the fellow at AH does seem to have some knowledge of planted aquaria from what he told you. I would keep two things separate here, first is deciding on what to build in the canopy, and second is what type of bulbs once built.

Bulbs all come in the same standard lengths so you can decide on the type of bulb that you prefer once the canopy is ready. Full spectrum is the most natural-looking light for planted aquaria. But the nice thing about having two tubes over the tank is being able to mix them. Ask when you buy them if you can return it for something else (assuming they have something else). Home Depot will do this, and if you have a lfs that knows you they probably will too, after all they want you to be satisfied and stay with them. The bulbs that MBilyeu mentioned have 3 or maybe 4 types suitable for freshwater plant tanks.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:12 PM   #22
 
I have another idea now. I am thinking maybe I will just buy a ballast and endcaps at Home Depot or wherever, and mount them in the canopy. Then I can use T5 lights, or T8s, and do whatever I want with them. T5's would be nice because then I can probably make the canopy a little shorter which I like the looks of, and it would probably be a lot cheaper too. And to limit the amount of light, I could just paint the canopy white rather than putting reflectors.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:44 PM   #23
 
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I have another idea now. I am thinking maybe I will just buy a ballast and endcaps at Home Depot or wherever, and mount them in the canopy. Then I can use T5 lights, or T8s, and do whatever I want with them. T5's would be nice because then I can probably make the canopy a little shorter which I like the looks of, and it would probably be a lot cheaper too. And to limit the amount of light, I could just paint the canopy white rather than putting reflectors.
I think that's a good idea. And we'll be looking forward to photos of the finished set-up. Byron.
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:09 AM   #24
 
Ok I bought the balast and endcaps today and think I will go with T8's because I didn't see any T5 ballasts, and I have plenty of room for these. Anyways, I will get photos when I finish this, maybe by next weekend because I am busy this week. But while I was at Petco today, I looked at their bulbs and the only 36" ones they had was an All Glass 8000k and a couple others, one was a 50/50 or something like that, and the other was 10,000k. I went and bought the All Glass one and tried it in my light fixture and I think that light looks good in there. Especially with one more tube then it will cover from front to back well. Is that a good bulb for plant growth, or should I order one of those you guys mentioned, or try to look for it at other stores? Or maybe mix two different types of bulbs together?
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:37 PM   #25
 
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Ok I bought the balast and endcaps today and think I will go with T8's because I didn't see any T5 ballasts, and I have plenty of room for these. Anyways, I will get photos when I finish this, maybe by next weekend because I am busy this week. But while I was at Petco today, I looked at their bulbs and the only 36" ones they had was an All Glass 8000k and a couple others, one was a 50/50 or something like that, and the other was 10,000k. I went and bought the All Glass one and tried it in my light fixture and I think that light looks good in there. Especially with one more tube then it will cover from front to back well. Is that a good bulb for plant growth, or should I order one of those you guys mentioned, or try to look for it at other stores? Or maybe mix two different types of bulbs together?
I've no idea what "All Glass" means in terms of the type of light. 8000K is certainly OK for strength. But without knowing what light spectrum is in this "all glass" it's impossible to say if it is good for plants or not. As I mentioned in an earlier post in this thread, plants need mostly blue and then red light, and we usually balance this "ghostly" look by adding some yellow/green to make the plant and fish colours look natural. Sometimes there is a graph on the fluorescent tube package that shows the light spectrum and the peaks for the bulb; Hagen do this with the "...-Glo" series of bulbs so its easier to know what you're getting.
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:18 PM   #26
 
All Glass is the brand. Here is the light Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: All-Glass Fluorescent Bulbs
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:07 PM   #27
 
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All Glass is the brand. Here is the light Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: All-Glass Fluorescent Bulbs
This looks fairly good to me. If you go to the site you link, and click the "More Information" tab there, you'll see a spectrum graph; this is the important info you want to know about. According to the graph, this tube emits strongest in the blue, red and yellow/green. I tried to find similar graphs online for other bulbs to compare, but time isn't enough so you might want to search yourself. But I have compared this graph with those on the packages for the tubes I have, and they are very similar. Therefore I would say this is along the lines of what works best for a planted tank. Blue is the prime colour plants need, then red; the yellow/green gives the natural look to balance.

I have the Hagen Life-Glo tube and a Daylight Deluxe on my 70g, and Zoo-Med's Tropic Sun tube and Lightning Rod T6 Superlux on my 90g. This latter tube is new to me, it is a 48" 40w tube but it emits 11,000K of light which is almost double most similar full spectrum tubes, and it is a bit more in the blue (the plants need that) so I balance it with the Tropic Sun that is 5500K and more red/yellow/green than the Lightning Rod. Individually I can clearly see a difference, but lit together they blend well. I tried the Lightning Rod because it says it has extra power to emit blue light deeper into water, and at 11000K it should. After 7+ months of these tubes on both tanks, the plants are thriving as you can see in my photos.

If you can find your tubes at a lfs that knows you, ask them if you can return them for exchange. Trying them over your tank is the only way to be satisfied, and it is for you to be happy with the look. But in my opinion I think you're on the right track with the All Glass brand.
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:09 PM   #28
 
Thank you for all your help Byron. I have learned alot about lighting from you.
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