Thinking about switching light fixtures..
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Thinking about switching light fixtures..

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Thinking about switching light fixtures..
Old 07-24-2012, 11:41 AM   #1
 
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Thinking about switching light fixtures..

I went the cheap route first to upgrade my lights and I have 3 little shop lights on top of my tank with 3CFLs that are 13watts each. I found a used fixture up for grabs that is 1 T5HO.. I'm trying to stay low tech but I think I'm trying to push for as much light as possible without a need for CO2. The new fixture is $65.. is it worth switching lights?

I don't really have any issues with my current set up, I'd just like to get something that looks a little nicer.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for a light fixture for a 28gal tank for low-moderate lighting? From what I've read I think I can do a dual t8 which I cannot find anywhere.. or a single t5ho. I've been curious about LED options but I'm not sure if they're worth the cost..

I've been considering building my own hood to house the CFLs as well.. just not sure how handy I am, lol. Nor am I electrical wiring savvy.
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:48 PM   #2
 
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Single-tube T5 fixtures are hard to come by, and although I have not tried one personally, I still think it would be OK. The same length T5 HO tube would give you about 1.5 times more light than a T8, same type spectrum, and .5 less than a dual T8 of the same type. So this should work.

I haven't obviously seen what you now have, but trying to imagine three CFL bulbs over my 29g, I would think this too should work. I have 2 over my 20g.

You mention LED, that is another option. Other members tend to think this is not as good light and I would agree that over larger tanks it would take a lot of LED fixtures. Over small tanks it can work, although to be honest the small tanks i have seen were all under 20g and the plants were low light. And the LED stuff is very expensive compared to fluorescent or incandescant.

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Last edited by Byron; 07-24-2012 at 01:00 PM..
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:56 PM   #3
 
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I'd asked you about my lighting in another thread that ended up as an experiment with my GH I'm still perfecting.

I decided for now at least not to buy any t8/t5 fixtures. My CFL combination seems to work out well enough so I think I'll just work on making it look nicer.

LED does seem expensive.. I've been looking into DIY LED fixtures and even that's not very cheap. Plus, most of the people I'm seeing make LED fixtures are going for high light. Most of the lights closer to my price range seem to weak, or way too strong not to go high tech. I'll probably hold off on LED lights for a while.

On a side note, any opinions as far as the reflective qualities of the clamp shop lights? They're made of metal and shiney, but not extremely reflective from what I can see. I've been thinking of either putting some foil HVAC tape (it can handle the heat and wouldn't be exposed to moisture).. otherwise I may just paint the inside white.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:06 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennesque View Post
I'd asked you about my lighting in another thread that ended up as an experiment with my GH I'm still perfecting.

I decided for now at least not to buy any t8/t5 fixtures. My CFL combination seems to work out well enough so I think I'll just work on making it look nicer.

LED does seem expensive.. I've been looking into DIY LED fixtures and even that's not very cheap. Plus, most of the people I'm seeing make LED fixtures are going for high light. Most of the lights closer to my price range seem to weak, or way too strong not to go high tech. I'll probably hold off on LED lights for a while.

On a side note, any opinions as far as the reflective qualities of the clamp shop lights? They're made of metal and shiney, but not extremely reflective from what I can see. I've been thinking of either putting some foil HVAC tape (it can handle the heat and wouldn't be exposed to moisture).. otherwise I may just paint the inside white.
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I would use the tape before paint; I can see the latter heating and peeling. I believe some members have mentioned using tin foil too; it would certainly stand up to the heat from the tubes/bulbs.
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:18 PM   #5
 
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Alrighty, it is tax free weekend here in South Carolina (not for fish stuff.. but my LFS put everything on sale to participate). I was going to take a risk and buy the Marineland Double Bright LED fixture for 24-36" tanks, and I was worried it would be too low.. side note, everyone's extremely differing opinions on lighting is getting super frustrating lol.. but I've been trying to err on the lower end of the lighting opinions. (if that makes sense). They were out of that light, and although they said they'd have more in on Wednesday, and it'd still be on sale, I took it as a sign and picked up something else I am not very familiar with.. great idea, huh? Lol.

They had the Marineland plant LEDs but I think those would probably be too bright, so I got the Deep Blue SolarmaxHE lighting system. It's 24" long.. they had a reef fixture that was clearly labelled as coming with T5HO bulbs, and this fixture was labelled with less watts per T5 bulb and has 'HE' bulbs.... I do not know if these are HO (assuming not) or closer to NO.

I've been told that two T5HO would be too much lighting, one T5HO would be fine.. also that two T5NO would work, but the bulbs are difficult to find. If these are NO, my LFS does carry the replacement bulbs so I don't need to worry about tracking down the bulbs.. if they are HO, each bulb can be switched on individually so I can easy use only one bulb. Any suggestions on how I should run this..? Or should I just return it?

By the way.. the bulbs that came with it are 1 14watt 6700k bulb and 1 14watt 10000k bulb. If I should be running both bulbs, should I replace the 10000k with another 6700k? I think they will let me just swap out the bulbs since they carry the replacements for both this fixture and the reef fixtures.. the guy said if I wanted the HO reef fixture they could swap out for different spectrum bulbs, but the only 6700k bulbs I saw are the 14watts, but the bulbs in the reef light were like 24watts, although the same exact size bulb. (Further reason for me to believe these are more NO bulbs..)
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:41 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennesque View Post
Alrighty, it is tax free weekend here in South Carolina (not for fish stuff.. but my LFS put everything on sale to participate). I was going to take a risk and buy the Marineland Double Bright LED fixture for 24-36" tanks, and I was worried it would be too low.. side note, everyone's extremely differing opinions on lighting is getting super frustrating lol.. but I've been trying to err on the lower end of the lighting opinions. (if that makes sense). They were out of that light, and although they said they'd have more in on Wednesday, and it'd still be on sale, I took it as a sign and picked up something else I am not very familiar with.. great idea, huh? Lol.

They had the Marineland plant LEDs but I think those would probably be too bright, so I got the Deep Blue SolarmaxHE lighting system. It's 24" long.. they had a reef fixture that was clearly labelled as coming with T5HO bulbs, and this fixture was labelled with less watts per T5 bulb and has 'HE' bulbs.... I do not know if these are HO (assuming not) or closer to NO.

I've been told that two T5HO would be too much lighting, one T5HO would be fine.. also that two T5NO would work, but the bulbs are difficult to find. If these are NO, my LFS does carry the replacement bulbs so I don't need to worry about tracking down the bulbs.. if they are HO, each bulb can be switched on individually so I can easy use only one bulb. Any suggestions on how I should run this..? Or should I just return it?

By the way.. the bulbs that came with it are 1 14watt 6700k bulb and 1 14watt 10000k bulb. If I should be running both bulbs, should I replace the 10000k with another 6700k? I think they will let me just swap out the bulbs since they carry the replacements for both this fixture and the reef fixtures.. the guy said if I wanted the HO reef fixture they could swap out for different spectrum bulbs, but the only 6700k bulbs I saw are the 14watts, but the bulbs in the reef light were like 24watts, although the same exact size bulb. (Further reason for me to believe these are more NO bulbs..)
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This blurb on Wikipedia might help explain the T5 HE. From this, and a comment elsewhere, it seems the HE is close/closer to NO, with the HO much brighter and VHO even brighter again. I do not know if all these tubes are interchangeable, i.e., fit in the same fixture.
Fluorescent-lamp formats - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As for the spectrum, the "deep blue" suggests marine/coral tanks. But, if one tube is a normal 6700K, a mix with a more blue tube will give a clean cool white which I personally like. I don't know anything about these tubes to say more definitely either way. If you like the colour hue, I wouldn't think there is anything detrimental to the plants.

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Old 08-05-2012, 04:52 PM   #7
 
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OK. I figured they were closer to NO because when I turned it on, it didn't really look much different than the CFLs I had set up. Yay, glad this will probably work..

Deep Blue is actually just the company name.. I don't hear too much about them, but I have purchased a lot of their other equipment and liked it. They've got aquariums, heaters.. lights.. I think one of my sponge filters is Deep Blue as well.

The fixture does also have 4 very weak LEDs that are blue in color. They're meant as moonlights and run constantly if the light is powered. I don't think you suggest moonlights, but with my timer they're only on if the other lights are on as well. If only the moonlights are on the tank is a very, very dark purple and I can hardly see the fish, so I don't think they've got much impact. I just don't really want too much blue.

Although the CFLs were probably slightly brighter, the coloration of the tank doesn't look substantially different.. I can probably leave things as is.

On a side note, I found one of my cities stuck in the output tube of my sponge filter... I thought he was surely dead, but he was actually alive. I don't know why he decided to go down there but now I am considering getting a longer tube that'll poke up closer to the water line.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:26 PM   #8
 
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Cories*.. by the way. There was certainly not a whole city anywhere in my tank, lol.

I can no longer tell which Cory it is that was stuck, so hopefully he/she will be fine.
Looking at the tank now after a water change and such, the lighting does look different in color. Not really much of a difference in brightness though.



An updated tank shot. Ignore the ludwigia in the front.. that was a freebie and I'm just letting it grow there. Still working on filling the background of the tank with plants. And the crypts off to the right are new and although they don't look especially great I think they are doing somewhat well because they haven't melted and it's been at least a week since I added them.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:38 PM   #9
 
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I think the light is fine. That is the cooler cleaner white I mentioned. About the only thing i would suggest at the moment would be some floating plants. Water Sprite, dwarf watter lettuce, or Brazilian Pennywort. I think this would make quite the difference to the fish.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:46 PM   #10
 
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Alright.. glad this light should work out. It's much nicer looking on top of the tank than my other lights ans I don't have to worry about knocking it back behind the tank..

I do have some amazon frogbit, water hyacinth and maybe some RRF and/giant duckweed in there.. just waiting for them to grow in. I didn't like the look of the pennywort and haven't been able to find any dwarf water lettuce at all, or healthy water sprite.
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