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Need Help With Lighting a 55 Gallon

This is a discussion on Need Help With Lighting a 55 Gallon within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> Thank you so much for the information so far. Let me ask you this though.... The tank in question is just sitting...no water in ...

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Need Help With Lighting a 55 Gallon
Old 07-04-2011, 04:25 PM   #21
 
Thank you so much for the information so far. Let me ask you this though....

The tank in question is just sitting...no water in it even. I have crypts that I've divided out and are growing immersed in containers outside on the porch waiting to be planted one day. But in the midst of all this preparation, the little woman steps into the equation and asks "You've done SE Asian Biotopes before, but have you ever done one from S. America? The fish are a lot prettier in my opinion". Apparently she's been reading through my old copies of TFH and the Aquarium books on the shelf......

SO.
Now I'm considering changing all of my plans and going with a SA setup (swords and such...still doing research on the plants as this revelation was made all of an hour ago).

As these are different types of plants than I was previously discussing a lighting requirement for, will the needs change all that much or is the previous recommendation still valid? Sorry to throw a wrench in the flow of information, but what can I say....she lives here too

Last edited by deadhorrorfan; 07-04-2011 at 04:27 PM..
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:37 PM   #22
 
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Thank you so much for the information so far. Let me ask you this though....

The tank in question is just sitting...no water in it even. I have crypts that I've divided out and are growing immersed in containers outside on the porch waiting to be planted one day. But in the midst of all this preparation, the little woman steps into the equation and asks "You've done SE Asian Biotopes before, but have you ever done one from S. America? The fish are a lot prettier in my opinion". Apparently she's been reading through my old copies of TFH and the Aquarium books on the shelf......

SO.
Now I'm considering changing all of my plans and going with a SA setup (swords and such...still doing research on the plants as this revelation was made all of an hour ago).

As these are different types of plants than I was previously discussing a lighting requirement for, will the needs change all that much or is the previous recommendation still valid? Sorry to throw a wrench in the flow of information, but what can I say....she lives here too
It depends somewhat on the plants you want. If you've seen the photos of my Amazonian geographic aquaria, they are quite heavily planted, and I have comparable light levels to what we are discussing. Most of the swords [Echinodorus, Hellanthium] will do well, the red-leaf ones need a bit more so planted directly under the light usually works. Brazilian Pennywort is a fantastic plant, grown as a stem plant in the substrate or allowed to float; and unlike many stem plants, it is moderate light. A dual-tube fixture would allow you to have some room beyond this, that is up to you. I have continually had issues with algae mainly in my 70g, which I believe is solely due to the higher light. Two tubes over this 5-inch shallower tank than the same over the 90g and even the 5-foot 115g. Reducing the light duration daily is the answer to this. Six hours is about the minimum for a planted tank.
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:17 PM   #23
 
So for the SA plants, if I'm not mistaken, a dual bulb T5NO fixture would give me a "medium" lighting in a 55 gallon tank?
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:03 PM   #24
 
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So for the SA plants, if I'm not mistaken, a dual bulb T5NO fixture would give me a "medium" lighting in a 55 gallon tank?
Dual T8 or T5NO would be moderate to high in a natural (low-tech) system.

I would myself not get a dual T5, as NO tubes are very hard to find. A single T5 is better, then one of the HO tubes will work. Twin-tube fixtures usually only operate if both tubes are in, so you can't remove one, unless they are individually switched. Which obviously costs more.

A T8 dual tube would be less expensive initially and less cost for tubes, yet provide more than enough light. If you looking at two tubes, this is how I would do it.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:29 PM   #25
 
Would it be more beneficial for plant growth if I went with a dual T8 as opposed to a single T5HO? I'm assuming that using a 6700K and an Actinic or some such combo in the dual T8 would render better results than a single spectrum T5HO correct?
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:01 PM   #26
 
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Would it be more beneficial for plant growth if I went with a dual T8 as opposed to a single T5HO? I'm assuming that using a 6700K and an Actinic or some such combo in the dual T8 would render better results than a single spectrum T5HO correct?
Yes, that is a benefit for dual tubes, mixing spectrum. A combo of full spectrum and cool white creates good light; though you can achieve very close with a 6700K tube like the Life-Glo. For a 55g you would be fine with a single T5 (HO tube of course) or a dual T8. A single T8 is still workable, but you have a bit more freedom with a single T5 or dual T8.
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:21 PM   #27
 
Are there any fixtures you'd recommend? Isn't T8 what usually comes "standard" with aquarium setups?
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:35 PM   #28
 
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Are there any fixtures you'd recommend? Isn't T8 what usually comes "standard" with aquarium setups?
Yes, up to now anyway; I haven't noticed lately. With T5 "taking off" I would expect some manufacturers to use it, but of course it is move expensive, and packaged tank setups are not usually designed with plants in mind.

I replaced two of mine with All Glass Aquarium brand about 2 years ago, I really like them. That was what the store had, and I like buying locally partly because it is easier to return something. And in fact, I got the T5 dual first, and after using it a week took it back for the T8 because it was way too bright.
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Old 07-04-2011, 09:03 PM   #29
 
Well if T8's ARE in fact what is in the typical "strip light" that comes with aquariums, then I have had NO positive experience with them at all as far as growing plants. They stay alive, sure, but as far as growth was concerned, I experienced zero to none. I'd rather have more light and have to dose Excel and rig up a DIY CO2 system than have slow to no growth I think...
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Old 07-05-2011, 09:21 AM   #30
 
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Well if T8's ARE in fact what is in the typical "strip light" that comes with aquariums, then I have had NO positive experience with them at all as far as growing plants. They stay alive, sure, but as far as growth was concerned, I experienced zero to none. I'd rather have more light and have to dose Excel and rig up a DIY CO2 system than have slow to no growth I think...
Don't confuse things. The fixture is either T8 or T5. The tubes you put in it are what matter.

My All Glass came with "aquarium tubes" that went straight to recycling, they are garbage. But the fixtures are in my view very well made. I put my preffered tubes in them and they are fine.

The tubes that generally come with fixtures are intended to make fish look nice (in their view) and not geared for plant growth. They are high in red and blue wavelengths which casts a purplish hue to the tank that some think looks nice, but is very weak light intensity.

No matter what fixture you buy, you will almost certainly have to buy proper tubes for it.
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