Is this a good light?
I'm finally able to get some more lighting for my 75 gallon tank. I think I have about decided on this one. Any thoughts, opinions, or experiences with this light would be greatly appreciated.
BTW are the power compact fixtures hotter than regular fluorescent? I don't need to raise my water temp.
We have these in our shop and they are great for planted aquariums. I'm not sure what your budget is, but if you can buy a 4 x 65watt light fixture just like this, then you'll get 100% more light for only 50% more of the cost.
With the light that you have suggested here, you will only be getting 1.73 watts/gallon. Now depending on the style of your tank (i.e. it's height), this may be good, but for a standard 75 gallon, this might be a little weak-sauce. If you invested just a little more money for a 4 x 65watt fixture, you'd be getting 3.46 watts/gallon which is enough to grow almost anything (and damn near corals if you had saltwater!) with brilliance.
It really depends on what else you have. If you had 5 inches of nutrient-rich substrate, made a tri-weekly dosage of fertilizers, bi-weekly water changes, and had some intense carbon dioxide system attached to this beast, then I would say yes, this lighting is sufficient.
If, on the other hand, you only had an inch of silicon synthetic rock, dosed maybe once a month, changed the water once a month, and lacked a carbon dioxide system, then this lighting is probably just a waste of money.
It's a delicate balance and no one factor can determine whether or not you will succeed in growing beautiful plants.
Is WPG really a good way to consider lighting anymore? These are much more energy efficient than regular lighting, I mean, look at the compact florescent bulbs we use in our own lamps. They use about 10 watts for what would be considered a 65 watt bulb and still put out the same amount of light.
First things first. You are looking at 110W of light which would be good for most medium or low light plants. If you get much more, you will need to start facing questions about dosing with fertilizers and CO2. If you really want to go that way, more light would definitely get you to that point.
All lights are rated in terms of the energy they use. Flourescents are the usual standard when people are talking about WPG. Some of the newer lamps are more energy efficient when it comes to how much light they produce per watt than standard flourescents of a decade ago so there might be a very small adjustment to the light you get for a certain WPG compared to say 1995 numbers but its only slight.
All of the lights we use in every day fixtures produce some heat along with the light. The amount of heat depends a lot on the wattage so a 110W fixture will produce more heat and light than a twin 40W shop light fixture.
If you really want to know how much light you will have and what it is rated then put your tank dimensions in on THIS site.
Power compacts do get hotter but a lot of fixtures come with fans to try and keep things cool. There are fixtures out there that actually have legs to raise the light above the tank so the heat problem is less.
www.bigalsonline.com will have better prices for the same thing.
www.ahsupply.com has DIY if you are into that kind of stuff.
BTW, the fixture you are talking about will only work if you switch out the bulb. The 50/50 is usually 50% 6500K and 50% actinic. Actinic does not calculate in the watts nor lumens calculations.
PCF is 35% brighter than NO flourescents. With the new bulb you would have 130 watts total for an equivelant of about 175 watts or 2.35 w/g.
On a side note, I doubt that there are very many plants that I could not grow with that light fixture on a 75 gallon tank. Even with standard river run gravel and no CO2. The key thing is to try things out and make them work for you, and a lot of patience.
I know planted tank keepers who use regular screw in compact flourescents and grow plants like weeds in epoxy coated gravel where I have also known keepers who had high light, top of the line CO2 and Eco complete and had nothing but algae in what should have been a perfect tank.
There are so many factors that the only real advice when it comes to plants is be patient and try what you want. If it doesn't work then you either change what you have for the plants or find plants that will work.
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