And yet another lighting question - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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post #1 of 12 Old 09-20-2012, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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And yet another lighting question

Been doing lots of research on this forum; what a wonderful resource!

Tank info:
55 gal freshwater planted tank, about a month established
Eco Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate
Mopani driftwood
Texas holyrock and assorted granite pieces
Fluval 306 Filter + 2 sponge filters
No CO2
Around 30 plants - Amazon swords, Anubias, red wendth, Ludwigia, Cryptocoryne, Wisteria, Spiralis
Water change every week 30-50%

Fish:
6 Dwarf Rainbow fish
1 Longfin Albino Bristlenose Pleco
12 Neon Tetras
10 Black Neon Tetras
6 Corydoras Trilineatus
2 German Blue Rams
3 Otos

I think of myself as semi-experienced aquarist but need some guidance with lighting. In the past I have always used the incandescent tubes that come with the aquarium kits. The long 20 gallon tank had good plant success; but the tall 36 gallon did not flourish.

The new tank that I received has a support divider at the top and two incandescent hoods. Here’s the dimensions:
48” L
21” H
12” W
The 2 lighting hoods sit in two 23” x 11” spaces

I was thinking about ditching the hoods and putting in a glass cover with a new fixture, but is that possible with this style tank?

It seems that many people favor the T8 lighting but I’m a bit confused about the fixtures. Are they similar to the incandescent fixtures?

Thanks for any advice or suggestions!
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-21-2012, 09:50 AM
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Yes it is possible. 2 glass canopies will fit in the openings on the top of the tank. You can purchase many different types of 48" lights.
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-21-2012, 12:20 PM
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Fluorescent lighting will be less expensive to operate long-term over this sized tank. First question is, do you have a cover on the tank once the light fixtures are removed? Would a 4-foot long fixture sitting on the tank frame work with the cover?

If not, then the best way to go is a glass cover that fits the tank frame (it sits on the lip around the inside of the frame, and you would have two, one for each half of the tank because of the brace. They may make a complete set for this, I don't know.

Then you find a fixture that will sit on the tank frame above the cover and not touch it directly. Here, with this sized tank, I would suggest a dual-tube T8 that holds two 48-inch T8 tubes. T5 in a single tube would also work, but this is much brighter lighting and single-tube fixtures are very difficult to find; a dual T5 would be too much light to balance.

Byron.

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 #4 of 12 Old 09-21-2012, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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First question is, do you have a cover on the tank once the light fixtures are removed?Byron.
Nope, just the light fixtures with the plastic edging. I think I found some All-Glass Versa-Tops online that will fit the individual sides, they claim: 15 gallon use 2 for 55 gallon w/brace

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Then you find a fixture that will sit on the tank frame above the cover and not touch it directly. Here, with this sized tank, I would suggest a dual-tube T8 that holds two 48-inch T8 tubes. Byron.
Are the dual tube light fixtures available at pet store or online pet sellers? Or are they like shop lights that are converted?

Thanks for all your help!
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-21-2012, 01:48 PM
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All Glass(Aqueon) makes a twin tube Flo. light. It is very nice looking, and comes in Woodgrain or black. Available through LFS that handle aqueon, or from Foster& Smith, or petsolution. They are both mail order on line. They also print a magazine that has hundreds of items in them.
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-21-2012, 03:35 PM
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Sounds like your current fixture uses screw-in bulbs.. If so, just use a couple cfls in cool white. If you ned a slender bulb, walmart sells them in the fish section for about 5 dollars a piece.

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Last edited by redchigh; 09-21-2012 at 03:41 PM.
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-22-2012, 12:04 AM
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I'd recommend Compact Fluorescent Lighting too. After using them for two weeks I'm happy with them. It's my impression that they are more powerful and efficient than T8s, but unfortunately there are not a lot of kits for aquariums around that have been tested. I'm using two 13-watt bulbs and they are too powerful for my 10g 12"h tank. I had to use some white plastic to cut down on the light. Also, I used brooder reflector domes to mount them in and I'm not sure yet whether I like them.

It's really outwardly simple technology - just unscrew your light bulb and screw in a CFL. What's different is that at this point, generally speaking, you're not buying a light fixture, you're making one. Up to one's taste.

One more thing is that orientation is important with these spiral bulbs - they like to be vertically mounted. You also need to use a 6500K bulb. These could be called "daylight" or "full-spectrum", but look for the specific color temperature of 6500K.

Last edited by equatics; 09-22-2012 at 12:10 AM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-22-2012, 10:52 AM
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I was going to initially suggest CFL daylight bulbs too, but consider that long-term these will take more energy. Over a 50g tank you would need 4 CFLs and even with 13w [which is too little, more below] this means 54w of power being used, compared to the dual T8 fluorescents which would likely be 25w with 50w max. But the 13w CFL willnot be sufficient, another member had this and it wasn't enough. But if that doesn't matter, fine.

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 12 Old 09-22-2012, 11:23 AM
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My 55 came with a hood that had two single tube fixtures. Does your tank have a full hood, as in a full cover that accommodates two light fixtures ? If so, you should be able to make the transition to fluorescent fairly easily. The daylight CFLs would be the easiest. You could also order after market fluorescent fixtures to fit the hood.

Fishmonger
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-22-2012, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fish monger View Post
My 55 came with a hood that had two single tube fixtures. Does your tank have a full hood, as in a full cover that accommodates two light fixtures ? If so, you should be able to make the transition to fluorescent fairly easily. The daylight CFLs would be the easiest. You could also order after market fluorescent fixtures to fit the hood.
No, unfortunately it's divided and has two crappy hoods that came with the tank - they don't even fit flush with the top of the tank, that's why I'm replacing them. I've decided to get the two glass versa tops and Marineland Fluorescent Strip Lights 48" Double. I searched everywhere for the All Glass (Aqueon) dual strip but all I could find was the single.

For bulbs I purchased what many recommend here, the Ultra Sun Trichromatic, and I'm going to try the Reef Sun for the second.

I just put 2 CFLs in my 10 gallon tank, they actually fit and the light is brighter!

Thanks for all the suggestions!
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