55g planted tank. What lighting?
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55g planted tank. What lighting?

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55g planted tank. What lighting?
Old 09-22-2009, 05:09 PM   #1
 
55g planted tank. What lighting?

So im getting together a freshwater aquarium to start. Want to make sure i do enough research and have everything before i start. This is were my question come in.

Im going to be doing a planted aquarium. What lights do you guys recommend to work with? 2 24" fixtures or one 48'? What kind of bulbs? I see many T5 fixtures ranging from $100-$500. What do i llok for? I dont need the best, something in the middle is what im looking for.

if you could link me or give me a specific one to look for that would be great. I know i wanna get T5 but im lost after that. I dont need the best but i dont want the worst. something in the middle is what i am looking for. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:48 PM   #2
 
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First questio is, what sort of finished planted tank are you wanting? The amount of light you need varies along with the nutrients (macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients and CO2). This is not at all complicated, but these things have to be in balance, and the level depends upon your goal.

Take a look at the photos of my "Aquariums" and see if that is what you're after; if it is, one T5 HO full spectrum tube over a 48-inch 55g will suffice for light, the fish will provie the CO2, and liquid fertilizer once or twice a week will provide the other nutrients. If you want more, say thick with stem plants, flowering, etc, you'll need more light, CO2 and much more fertilization.

We can discuss types of tubes when you've indicated your goal.

Byron.
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:23 PM   #3
 
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First questio is, what sort of finished planted tank are you wanting? The amount of light you need varies along with the nutrients (macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients and CO2). This is not at all complicated, but these things have to be in balance, and the level depends upon your goal.

Take a look at the photos of my "Aquariums" and see if that is what you're after; if it is, one T5 HO full spectrum tube over a 48-inch 55g will suffice for light, the fish will provie the CO2, and liquid fertilizer once or twice a week will provide the other nutrients. If you want more, say thick with stem plants, flowering, etc, you'll need more light, CO2 and much more fertilization.

We can discuss types of tubes when you've indicated your goal.

Byron.
Thank you for your input. i looked at your aquariums and that is exactly what i am looking for. I want good lighting but not enough that i have to use co2 injection and what not. i want to stick with good lighting and fertilizing. Taht is my goal.

As for as fixtures and such go. what shoul i look for. i dont nee the best nor do i want to spend a fortune. but i do want nice lighting. What should i get?
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:28 PM   #4
 
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Originally Posted by tsweers89 View Post
Thank you for your input. i looked at your aquariums and that is exactly what i am looking for. I want good lighting but not enough that i have to use co2 injection and what not. i want to stick with good lighting and fertilizing. Taht is my goal.

As for as fixtures and such go. what shoul i look for. i dont nee the best nor do i want to spend a fortune. but i do want nice lighting. What should i get?
This is easy, as you're on the same line as my tanks, fairly low-tech. First, the light.

Whatever you get, it will cost you for something that is good. Used fixtures can be found; tubes will have to be new--they significantly diminish in the intensity of the light over a few months, and most recommend replacement every 12 months. They will light for years, but the light is not intense enough to enable the plants to photosynthesize (grow).

I'm assuming this is a standard 4-foot 55g, so you have the option of two regular fluorescent tubes or one T5 HO tube. The T5 HO tubes put out more intense light, and two of them over a 55g wold be in my view too much. I had to replace two of my old fixtures in July, and I got a two-tube T5 and found it way too bright and that was over my 5-foot 115g (using two 48-inch tubes). I took it back and bought a standard two-tube fixture and it is fine as you saw in my photos. I've had tanks like these for more than 12 years.

The type of tube, whichever type of fixture you decide on, is very important. The sun at mid-day is approximately 6500K in colour temperature. The closest match is a full spectrum tube rated around 6500K; Hagen makes one called Life-Glo 2 (6700K) and Zoo Med make one called Ultra Sun (6500K). Both these are high in the blue and red colours, the ones plants need, but also green/yellow which balances the otherwise "purplish" appearance and makes the plant and fish colours appear natural. I have the Life-Glo 2 on all three of my aquaria as one tube, and the second tube is a very similar one with just a tad more blue. That is an advantage of two tubes, being able to mix types; but if you go with one tube, the Life-Glo 2 is in my view the best. It is also the most expensive; but over a tank of $100 worth of plants, saving $20 on inferior tubes doesn't make sense when the plants don't thrive.

Once you have the light and plants, liquid fertilizer will be necessary; tap water rarely contains all the macro- and micro-nutrients plants need, and waste from the fish will not provide enough either. A comprehensive fertilizer is best, one that provides all of the many nutrients and in the correct balance. I and others here recommend Seachem's Floruish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. I use it twice a week; once may be enough, it depends upon your plants, light, and fish load. The trick is to find the balance between light and nutrients (which includes CO2, coming from the fish).

Byron.
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:49 PM   #5
 
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Either one of these fixtures would be fine. The triple bulb fixture takes 3 t-8 32watt bulbs. The twin bulb fixture takes either 2 40watt T-10 bulbs, 2 t-8 40 watt bulbs or 2 t-8 32watt bulbs. I use the triple bulb fixture. I believe Byron uses the twin bulb version.

Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: All-Glass Twin-Tube Oak Fluorescent Strip Lights

Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: Triple Tube Strip Lights
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:07 PM   #6
 
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Either one of these fixtures would be fine. The triple bulb fixture takes 3 t-8 32watt bulbs. The twin bulb fixture takes either 2 40watt T-10 bulbs, 2 t-8 40 watt bulbs or 2 t-8 32watt bulbs. I use the triple bulb fixture. I believe Byron uses the twin bulb version.

Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: All-Glass Twin-Tube Oak Fluorescent Strip Lights

Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: Triple Tube Strip Lights
Yes, that is the one I bought (got the black, not the oak though) and I like it very much, nice fixture. Over a 55g I would certainly not go with three tubes, you will have algae problems I can guarantee. B.
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:27 PM   #7
 
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I have the three tube model on my 55gal. You can look at my tank for results. I clean the algae off the glass once a month. Remember. the two tube model is 80 watts vs. 96 for the 3 bulb model. Not that much of a difference. It's almost 2 watts per gal, for a 55gal tank.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:04 PM   #8
 
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I have the three tube model on my 55gal. You can look at my tank for results. I clean the algae off the glass once a month. Remember. the two tube model is 80 watts vs. 96 for the 3 bulb model. Not that much of a difference. It's almost 2 watts per gal, for a 55gal tank.
jus noticed you were from milwaukee, i live in germantown. wat a small world.hah
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:08 PM   #9
 
also i will be going with T5 lighting. one 48". could you point me in the direction of wat fixture i should get. also i see most come with a bulb. is that good enough or do i need to buy a specific bulb?
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Old 09-24-2009, 11:34 AM   #10
 
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also i will be going with T5 lighting. one 48". could you point me in the direction of wat fixture i should get. also i see most come with a bulb. is that good enough or do i need to buy a specific bulb?
DrsFoster&Smith site has a lot of info on various fixtures; you can Google them for reviews. Fish Supplies: Fish Tank & Fish Care | DrsFosterSmith.com

If they come with tubes, they may be junk. My regular All Glass fixtures came with tubes and I just tossed them in the recycling and bought my preferred tubes. With one tube I highly recomend the Life-Glo 2 full spectrum 6700K which I believe is 54 watts; this is high in the blue and red that plants need, but balances it (to avoid looking purplish) with green so the plant and fish colours appear natural. This is what I have over all my tanks. May not sound like much, but believe me, this is bright. For years I had a thriving planted tank with one regular 40w tube; the T5 HO tubes are much brighter.

Byron.
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