And yet another lighting question
Been doing lots of research on this forum; what a wonderful resource!
55 gal freshwater planted tank, about a month established
Eco Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate
Texas holyrock and assorted granite pieces
Fluval 306 Filter + 2 sponge filters
Around 30 plants - Amazon swords, Anubias, red wendth, Ludwigia, Cryptocoryne, Wisteria, Spiralis
Water change every week 30-50%
6 Dwarf Rainbow fish
1 Longfin Albino Bristlenose Pleco
12 Neon Tetras
10 Black Neon Tetras
6 Corydoras Trilineatus
2 German Blue Rams
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:
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!
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.
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.
Thanks for all your help!
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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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