Noobs first tank plans for comments and feedback - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 12 Old 01-03-2010, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Pep View Post
Lol Angel you are correct I have not spent time staring at lights...yet :) I completely understand your point about blazing tv type bright lights at fish. One site I read said 2-4 watts per gallon but I am thinking less is better too. Natural compared to the fishes environment just makes sense to me.

Byron, as for your comments on aquarium type lights, thank you. My LFS super store sells the Zoo Med Ultra Sun and Tropic Sun which would give the nice blue and warmer mix of two tubes. That would give a 6500k and a 5500k. They also have a 8500k Flora for a higher blue option. I think I might go the Zoo Med direction to start.

Byron, what is your thoughts on watt/gallon for a planted tank? Unless I am totally mistaken (wouldn't be the first time) the temperature and the wattage are mutually exclusive no?

Ah so much to learn. Sorry to keep bugging you all with the questions but I REALLY appreciate the feedback, comments and your thoughts.
Watts per gallon is a guide, and not always useful. It basically works with normal fluorescent tubes, but even here there are some exceptions.

First, we are talking regular T8 tubes, not T5 HO tubes for which this "formula" is completely useless. All fluorescent T8's are made in basic wattages for the tube length--usually. Example, the 48-inch tubes that will be over your four-toot tank (as over my three tanks) are always 40 watts, except for Zoo Med's which are 32 watts. But the intensity of Zoo Med's is the same, because they simply increase the output by means of the coating they use inside the tube. Hagen do this with their Life-Glo and Life-Glo 2 tubes as well. The phosphors inside a tube "burn" to produce the light, and the mix used in creating the phosphors determines the colour and intensity. So a Life-Glo and a Life-Glo 2 will be the same "colour" but the Life-Glo is a bit more intense due to a special coating on half the tube that reflects or directs more light out the opposite side, giving more intense light. And a Life-Glo 2 40w 48-inch tube at 6700K is going to be approximately the same intensity as the Zoo Med Ultra Sun 32w 48-inch tube at 6700K. Phillips and Sylvannia 48-inch daylight-type tubes are all 40w. So in general, these tubes are all equal in intensity [except for the Life-Glo which is slightly more intense] and the watt per gallon rule applies provided you understand that the Zoo Med at 32w is going to work just as well as the others at 40w, and the Life-Glo 40w will be a bit brighter--which is why I use this tube over my tanks with one tube, like the 33g.

With 4-foot or 5-foot tanks, which will vary in depth by a few inches, two regular tubes will be adequate. This equates roughly to one watt per gallon, slightly less or slightly more depending upon tank volume/depth. But close enough. And the tubes will be 40w or 32w, depending upon the manufacturer.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 01-03-2010 at 12:56 PM.
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post #12 of 12 Old 01-03-2010, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Excellant explanation. I have a basic understanding of lighting now. Thank you both.
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