This is a discussion on Still can't decide on lighting within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; -->
I have a 55 gallon aquarium that I need better lighting for. I had 2 LED/moonlights for my 30 gallon aquarium before "upgrading" to ...
I have a 55 gallon aquarium that I need better lighting for. I had 2 LED/moonlights for my 30 gallon aquarium before "upgrading" to my current 55 gallon. I have a few plants in the tank (java fern & Amazon Sword) as well as fish. I have two lights that use fluorescent bulbs but there are soooo many choices for bulbs. Before they burnt out I really liked the reds/yellows one of the bulbs put into the tank. It was a Aqua Rays fresh&salt water F15T8-AR-FS 15watts. I turned it on the other day since I hadnt used it since I got the tank and it really brought out the color of my rainbows.Before it burned out a strip of gases (or something) in the light started moving around the bulb (hard to explain) making it annoying to see in the tnak, but I'm hoping that's bc it was on the end of it's life.
CLIFF NOTES** Any tips on 2- 18" bulbs with good color (reds/yellows) to it that will be beneficial in my 55 gallon tank would be great.
Since no one else had offered an opinion...
If you want red tones, use a "plant" bulb (they bias toward the red spectrum). The best overall generic bulb for plants and fish colors is a "Daylight" bulb. Good spectrum coverage and natural colors. For optimal viewing of fish, pull the light(s) to the front of the tank so light is reflected off the fish. In this regard, a simple strip light is great, you can move it where you want for viewing and then return it for optimum light on your plants. I'd recommend a single 48" T8 bulb rather than two shorter bulbs, unless you are going for a low-light side of the tank. I have been very pleased with the ZooMed "TropicSun" T8 bulbs. Very nice color on my fish.
I must agree about the zoomed lights...however I prefer the ultra sun . I run two on my 55 as thats just how the hood is .. 2 shorter bulbs.. Puts off better color then the regular "plant" bulb but is perfectly proper for plants and pleasing to the eye.
I also use the Ultrasun and the Zoomed plant bulb in 8 Aquasun fixtures of various sizes (24"-48") but can't remember the name of the Zoomed plant bulb. Those are both T5HO bulbs.
Unless the "UltraSun" bulbs are also available in T8? I haven't seen them, but that might just be something I'm unaware of?
The TropicSun bulb is a T8 bulb variety that's not available in T5HO that I can find. It has a nice color balance for the T8 that I can only get by mixing the two T5HO bulb types in the T5HO fixtures.
T5HO lights are great, but usually too much of a good thing with 2 T5HO bulbs, at least for me. I end up fighting BBA if I'm not using CO2 or glutaraldehyde ("Excel"). I typically shade my tanks with window screen to reduce the T5HO intensity a bit.
Anywho the GE 'aquarays' is a fairly specific bulb. Its listed a ~9325K bulb and does give really awesome color and plant growth overall. The spectrum the bulb gave was basically perfect. You can still get the 15 watt T8 version of it. They did make a 55 watt power compact(compact HO T5) for many years and was the reason I ran power compacts was how much I loved this bulb. The powercompact version is now discontinued which is very sad. I switched my 55 gallon over to the linear HO T5 at 6500K like 1-2 weeks ago and sooooo much green now, I do not like the green. I have only one tank running my last HO aquaray bulb now . There is always a big difference that bulb gives.
Best way to describe an aquaray bulb is if you shine it against a white wall it will look light pink.
You can check walmart for the aquarays as sometimes they do sell the T8 but it varies depending on the store. You can order them online or find a 10,000K bulb and go with that, zoomed probably makes an overpriced one.