Light bulb Temp question - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 15 Old 02-26-2010, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Question Light bulb Temp question

So.... I am in the process of figuring out my new DIY lighting system.

My LFS actually has bulbs cheaper than ordering them online...

so my ? is, if I make a light system consisting of 2 - 4ft T5 bulbs, can I use 1 Actinic bulb, and 1 "normal" household bulb to make the correct lighting and it not be the wrong color or temp for my plants? Its for my 55g.

Suggestions?????

JoAnn
custom 7ft 125g softie/leather Reef
44g marine predator fowlr

100g outdoor pond/waterfall
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post #2 of 15 Old 02-26-2010, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Just wanted to add... most of the "normal" 4ft T5 bulbs I can find are either "soft white", or "cool white" 4100K.

JoAnn
custom 7ft 125g softie/leather Reef
44g marine predator fowlr

100g outdoor pond/waterfall
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post #3 of 15 Old 02-26-2010, 06:01 PM
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Actinic is for saltwater tanks. Great for corals, but useless for plants.

Also, that may even be too much light, but wait until byron or another expert stops by. I don't know what the wattage would be for tubes. I only use CFLs.

I would also try a hardware store for bulbs. Look for "full spectrum" and "cool white"/"daylight"(the latter should be around 6500k

Definately try a hardware store or a store like walmart. they usually sell full spectrum as grow bulbs, plant bulbs, etc but they'll def have some 6500k bulbs. :)

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post #4 of 15 Old 02-26-2010, 06:03 PM
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T5 bulbs are really a difficult thing unless one wants to do the high tech co2 route. There are normal output T5 bulbs but the choices stink. Most T5 choices come in high output. If you want a diy that won't be over kill for a 55g look at this light. 36 or 55 watt Bright Kits specifically the 2x55 watt. Placed end to end to go over a 4 ft long tank wouldn't be killer light but pretty intense. I just took a power compact light with 2 65w 6700k bulbs off my 55g for a 2 bulb T8 fixture. The lighting is more subdued, better color, and looks way better.
No, you do not want blue actinic for fresh water tanks.

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post #5 of 15 Old 02-26-2010, 06:55 PM
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Given Angel079's recent experiment and results when she reduced her light by half over the 55g, and as I have always advocated the same, I would suggest one T8 tube will be sufficient. A full spectrum around 6500K will give good plant light and natural colour rendition of fish and plants. It will allow you to grow a majority of plants, and unless you want fussy ones like those babytears on the substrate, this will work fine.

And I obviously agree with the other members, no actinic and no T5.

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]
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post #6 of 15 Old 02-26-2010, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Okay then, no T5 & no Actinic!!

My LFS actually suggested doing 1 actinic and 1 soft white, WTH!!

Darn, I sure am glad I have you guys!

JoAnn
custom 7ft 125g softie/leather Reef
44g marine predator fowlr

100g outdoor pond/waterfall

Last edited by trukgirl; 02-26-2010 at 08:25 PM.
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post #7 of 15 Old 02-26-2010, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Byron... just wanted to tell you I actually returned that high dollar bulb (abt a day and a half after I put it in) we talked about in my first thread on this board.

Now after I read Angel's thread about cutting her light in half I'm starting to think maybe I should put new lighting on the back burner and just get a cpl new bulbs (since I don't really know how old they are). Especially since today I noticed some new growth on ALL my previously planted plants. A few of them have brown on the end of some leaves and a couple of almost dead leaves, but they are showing new growth! I think sticking some root tabs in there last week is what may have made a good difference.

JoAnn
custom 7ft 125g softie/leather Reef
44g marine predator fowlr

100g outdoor pond/waterfall
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post #8 of 15 Old 02-27-2010, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trukgirl View Post
Byron... just wanted to tell you I actually returned that high dollar bulb (abt a day and a half after I put it in) we talked about in my first thread on this board.

Now after I read Angel's thread about cutting her light in half I'm starting to think maybe I should put new lighting on the back burner and just get a cpl new bulbs (since I don't really know how old they are). Especially since today I noticed some new growth on ALL my previously planted plants. A few of them have brown on the end of some leaves and a couple of almost dead leaves, but they are showing new growth! I think sticking some root tabs in there last week is what may have made a good difference.
I've forgotten what was said earlier on this, sorry; could you just refresh us on what you now have in way of a fixture, i.e., how many tubes and what length are the tubes; I assume this is a 55g tank. B.

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]
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post #9 of 15 Old 02-27-2010, 01:29 PM
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Hey girl.....here's a few things I'd do
1) Def not buy the bulbs from the LFS cause I"m gonna bet ya they're 3-4x times as much $ as any good Lowes, Home Depot or Walmart. You can find these bulbs by GE, Phillips, Bright Effects. Here's a short overview of the GEs I use on larger tanks
Name: GE Sunshine VS. GE Daylight
Size: 48" T8 / 48" T8
Energy Used: 32 watts / 32 watts
Light Output: 2800 lumens / 2700 lumens
Color Temp: 5000 Kelvin / 6700 Kelvin
CRI: 86 / 78

What I have right now over my 55g is 1x30w Sunlight there. While this works for me (and apparently works EXTREMELY well for my vallis); one curcial items that should not be overlooked: What plants do you have in your tank (some need more light then others)?????

Before that "Low light set up" I had a 4ft shop light fixture (The "New 55g" you can see in my aquarium log) that housed 1x Daylight and 1x Sunlight that worked well too but was too bright for my taste (and tastes vary as we know).

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post #10 of 15 Old 02-27-2010, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so after seeing the "cheap retrofit" in the DIY forum, I decided to do that. I am actually out in my husband's woodworking shed on the laptop right now working on it, with my sister watching the kids, LOL. Thanks to you all about the light temps and such, and steering me away from what the LFS said, I think this is going to work out a lot better.

I had (before I started this!) 2 18" 15w T8's. I have a lot of Amazon Swords, Argentine swords, plus now I have a few grasses and Ludwigia. I want my Ludwigia to keep the red color so I definitely think it needs more light, especially with how sllloooooowwwwwww things are growing. I mean, I havea cpl of Corkscrew Vals, but if having more light for ALL the other plants means stunting the Vals some, then so be it.

I will have 4 CFLs after this is done, all being the "daylight" @ 6500K. I did get the 15w bulbs, they also put 900 lumens each, and I have a homemade aluminum reflector. Think that wattage/lumens sounds about right? If not I can easily remedy that by returning them for a smaller wattage. So that would be, 60w & 3600 lumens total.

ETA: I know this has nothing to do with the lighting, but I got a new blue/black solid background. I'm tired of all the plants and fish "blending in" to it. Hubby picked out the previous background. But this is MY tank. LOL!
I also have Water Wisteria in there.

JoAnn
custom 7ft 125g softie/leather Reef
44g marine predator fowlr

100g outdoor pond/waterfall

Last edited by trukgirl; 02-27-2010 at 09:07 PM.
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