If i were to buy a new hood and lighting system for my 50 gallon....
What would you suggest?
I AM trying to grow plants, I have anacharis, parrots feather, amazon swords, and a few others.
Im looking for an easier way to light my tank. I currently have a 58inch t8 18000k 40 watt and a 36 inch t8 6500k.
Ive been informed having two different types of bulbs is a bad idea! I had no idea!
Im willing to spend up to $250. Ill just have to save up..=]
With that stash of cash you can afford a really good light. you'll want probably a dual t5 fixture with 6500k bulbs. you may look into setting up a pressurized c02 system if you're serious.
As Jwest said, you can get a quality system with that budget...probably for a lot less. You might want to do some research to see if you want to go the high tech or low tech route. I consider high output lights and CO2 high tech, but I'm a low tech guy.
Yes... going down the route of CO2 injection is high tech, also high cost and high maintenance ;)
That's how you get the 'show' tanks though that are more for making plants look good, than for fish.
The plants you list will do fine in low/moderate light and wouldn't need the high tech.
I've never heard of a 58" light before. 48" are more usual, maybe a typo?
I'm not sure how big a 50 gallon is, if it is a 4 foot tank (48") than a dual 48" T8 fixture would easily put you into into the upper end of moderate.
For lights, anything around 6500K for temperature is good. That is what most "Daylight" tubes are in hardware stores. But, anything between 5000-7000K will work.
Whatever you do, avoid T5HO at all costs unless you are going down the CO2 injection and high tech setup. A single tube T5HO would work, but you would have to go out of your way to find one. Most come as either a dual or a quad which would put you way into high light and require CO2.
With your budget you can find dual 48" T8 fixtures for aquariums, they are around $100 or so, may have to find it online as it is not common in chain pet stores at least.
An alternative is shop lights from a hardware store, which I use myself, they cost ~$20 but often do not look as nice.
For $250 you could attempt LEDs ... but those are harder to shop for as ones that work with plants, plus are bright enough, are still pretty rare to find.
I posted on this in your other thread where you asked about the lighting, but I will copy that over so we are all on the same page. But first, on something mentioned here and so you understand, there is no problem in having two different types of tubes; it is the types that matter. In your case, I suggested replacing the 48-inch Aqua-Glo with a "daylight" 6500K tube because the AG is half the intensity of the same sized tube in 6500K, and that makes quite a difference. So the 4-foot 6500K plus the 3-foot 6500K will be good light. I use combo lights on my dual-tube tanks, or have; but the tubes themselves have to be good ones. This is how we can achieve a warmer or cooler hue in the tank, by using one 6500K tube plus one warm (lower K number) or cool (higher K) tube with it. Provided they are all good tubes.
Now I'll just copy over verbatim my comments from the other thread, some of which will duplicate what Geo and others have mentioned. Presumably there is a glass cover over the tank, so you are free to select any fixture.
This is a 4-foot tank, so first off, I would go for a fixture that takes 48-inch tubes. This provides full coverage end to end, but also the 4-foot tubes are more readily available in the less expensive brands. I for instance cannot find these in some sizes, but every store has 4-foot tubes. Long-term considering replacement, this can be a significant difference in money.
Second, if you can find a single-tube T5 fixture, that is a good option, But not a dual-tube T5, that is way too much light; I tried one for a week and took it back. I can't get single-tube T5's, but another member in Texas I believe mentioned he could, so I throw this out.
Depending upon the above, the next best would be a dual-tube T8 fixture. You will have to watch the duration, as this is a bit more light; too long and algae will become an issue.
As for tubes, i already covered this. Those with a Kelvin around 6500K, regardless of T5/T8. T5 tubes are more expensive than T8. And whichever, they have to be replaced regularly; T8 every 12 months or so. Some sources say T5 last much longer but I've never used these permanently so can't comment.
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