I've got a 60 gallon tank that is 21" deep that I'm building a custom hood for.
The plan is for the coveted lush planted freshwater tank with the option of going to a reef setup in the future-meaning, I don't want to buy light fixtures just to replace them 3-5 years down the road.
I've found a fixture that uses compact florescents and holds 2 96watt bulbs which I can get in just about any spectrum I want. And it would be easy for me to add another fixture to hold an additional (or two) 96 watt bulb(s) when (or if) I eventually go to a reef setup. But I'm not entirely convinced that reef is for me.
Because of the size of the tank (36"x18"), I think I need at least two bulbs in order to prevent dark corners. The next size down would be 55 watt bulbs and I think I'll have to toss them for a reef setup which seems wasteful. And I'd rather not have dozens of bulbs under the hood.
I think the 96 watt bulbs would work out to be the best but wanted opinions. Is 192 watts total going to cause the algae takeover from hell you think? Or a better question might be, any recommendations on preventing it?
I'm planning on CO2 because of the amount of light. I don't think it'd be balanced otherwise. And I'd rather the plants grow faster.
I didn't want to do VHO because of the expense and how fast the bulbs burn out. Nor did I want to do metal halide because of expense and heat.
As for my level of experience if helpful, I've had 30 gallon tropical fish tank for over 10 years. I started live plants in a 5 gallon beta tank about a year or so ago because of algae (I was stubborn about where I wanted the tank which is close to a window). I used live plants in it because in three days, the entire tank would turn green. Since adding plants, I barely get any algae. No CO2, or ferts, or special substrate really. Just gentle filtration, some snails and a beta keep an amazon sword and two anubias happy. That's been my experience thus far so I could easily get in over my head.
Thanks in advance.