Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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SusanB 10-15-2012 12:31 PM

New Aquarium Lights
 
I finally got my secondhand 55 gallon aquarium and as I suspected the lights are the 24" hood things with an 18" bulb. I have been looking online at all of the lighting options and I am really baffled by the new lighting setups. I am referring to the lights with the "legs" that mount on the rim of the aquarium. Do you use a glass cover with these lights? Or do you leave the top open? Do they have to be mounted on the "legs" or can they sit on top of a cover?

When did lighting become so complicated???

Byron 10-15-2012 05:34 PM

Susan, there must be a glass cover between the light tubes/fixture and the water. This can be a glass cover on the tank with the fixture above it (I use this method), or it can be a fixture that includes a built-in glass cover. Without this, water is too likely to splash on the light which can explode the tubes when hot, rust the prong ends, and get into the ballast or whatever. And many fish will jump so they will be fried against the light. As i want my tanks fully covered to save fish that jump, retain moisture and keep dust out, I use the glass cover. With this you are free to get almost any fixture.

If you have a standard 4-foot 55g, it will have a lip around the inside of the frame at the top, and you can buy a glass cover set that sits down on this. Then you buy a light fixture that sits on the tank frame itself, not on the glass.

You have some options. I would stay with T8 (the regular fluorescent) and not T5, over a 55g. A dual tube T8 (holding two 48-inch T8 tubes) will provide good light. A dual T5 will be too much. A single tube 48-inch T5 would be fine, but these are no longer being made as far as I know.

There is also LED lighting, but I have no experience with this so won't say more, except that they are much more expensive and you have to know exactly what you're getting.

Byron.

SusanB 10-15-2012 05:49 PM

Thank you Byron! As usual you have saved the day and given a clear, concise answer!

SusanB 10-15-2012 06:09 PM

Is there a benefit to T8 over T12 other than the size of the bulb?

Byron 10-15-2012 06:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SusanB (Post 1276237)
Is there a benefit to T8 over T12 other than the size of the bulb?

Yes. The T12 was the original fluorescent tube, and the T8 is like a newer version that is better made, more energy efficient (new 48-inch T8 tubes are 32w compared to 40w for the T12) and many will actually emit a bit more light. They fit the same fixture, though there may be some isues with ballast on the older models. Always get T8 when you can, it is a better tube. It also ages a bit better, lasting longer than T12 before you need to replace it.

Just so you know, the T5 will not fit the same fixtures, and vice-versa.

SusanB 10-16-2012 09:47 AM

Just to be sure
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 1276300)
Yes. The T12 was the original fluorescent tube, and the T8 is like a newer version that is better made, more energy efficient (new 48-inch T8 tubes are 32w compared to 40w for the T12) and many will actually emit a bit more light. They fit the same fixture, though there may be some isues with ballast on the older models. Always get T8 when you can, it is a better tube. It also ages a bit better, lasting longer than T12 before you need to replace it.

Just so you know, the T5 will not fit the same fixtures, and vice-versa.

Just to make sure I understand this correctly, a T8 bulb will fit into a T12 fixture and a T12 bulb will fit into a T8 fixture.

The T5 bulb fits nothing but T5.

Byron 10-16-2012 10:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SusanB (Post 1276461)
Just to make sure I understand this correctly, a T8 bulb will fit into a T12 fixture and a T12 bulb will fit into a T8 fixture.

The T5 bulb fits nothing but T5.

Yes.

SusanB 10-16-2012 11:57 AM

Whew!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 1276542)
Yes.

Good because I went to Lowe's and meant to buy two T8 fixtures but I ended up with one T8 and one T12 and 4 T8 tubes.

Tigris 10-16-2012 07:36 PM

Byron, they still have single tube T5, at least here in Texas. Where I am at I have the following options, 2ft, 3ft, and 4ft single and dual bulb fixtures but you needs something to hold it up

Byron 10-16-2012 07:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tigris (Post 1277072)
Byron, they still have single tube T5, at least here in Texas. Where I am at I have the following options, 2ft, 3ft, and 4ft single and dual bulb fixtures but you needs something to hold it up

I'm onoy going by what I see online, and i noticed that places like Drs.Foster&Smith no longer have single tube T5. Maybe older stock is still around?


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