Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Mike 11-07-2006 08:25 AM

Lighting: 50/50 v. Regular Flourescent Bulb
Hi everyone,

I have a fish only tank at the moment.

I am not going to replace my lighting "system" just yet (still using the regular 48" flourescent bulb that I got with my tank, but I would like to know if there is any kind of special bulb that will make my fish's colors more brilliant in the meantime. Somebody said that I may notice a difference with a 50/50 bulb.

Can anyone please confirm whether installing a 50/50 bulb in place of a regular flourescent bulb will make colors in the tank more brilliant?

Or is there something even better?


usmc121581 11-07-2006 08:58 AM

If you didn't want to spend much you will notice a difference. But if you wanted to, you can buy a light fixture that comes with some 10000k daylight bulbs with Actinics. It all depends on what you want to spend. Do you want just a flourescent bulb or a fixture. We will be able to help you just let us know the price range that you are looking at.

Mike 11-07-2006 09:10 AM

Hi usmc,

At the moment I don't want to make another significant investment in the tank so I am thinking of just replacing the bulb.

However, if the cost difference between the bulb replacement and a new fixture with bulbs is neglibile then I would of course strongly consider that route.

Please let me know :)

caferacermike 11-07-2006 04:42 PM

I'd look into getting a fixture with 2 PC or T5 bulbs. One at 12-14K and one 20K or full actinic. This will light up the tank and have that pop you are looking for. What size tank? Dimensions? Any special accomodations? Like a glass top with only a 5" opening?

Oh and the big question, where are you located or we are all just throwing ideas to the wind.

Mike 11-08-2006 07:33 AM

Hi, I'm in NY. The tank is a standard 55 gallon fish only tank with a single piece of live rock. I would love to convert it to a reef tank but I have been told my puffer fish would not allow that to happen :P

I went to my LFS yesterday to pick up my new stand and canopy and the salesman said that the best lighting were metal lights but that they would require a chiller and cost thousands including the chiller. He said that the next best thing were flourescent compacts (I think that was what they are called). I walked out with a FORMOSA-DX w/ 4 65 watt bulbs. It says it has a 98% reflection rate.

Is this good? :P It is still in the box. It fell a few feet because somebody leaned it against a pole without giving it much thought so I am flirting with the idea of returning it already. What do you guys think?

caferacermike 11-08-2006 04:39 PM

That's a good light and you can put all actinics in it for that super neon color as it's a fish only. Your fish don't really care at all. MH are for reefs. You didn't need them. Also that garbage about having to have a chiller is full bull. I've never run one and have 500w of mh on a tiny 75g 6" above the waterline. There are to many factors to just state you have to have a chiller to run MH. But ya done good.

Mike 11-09-2006 07:09 AM

Thanks caferacermike,

I'm glad to know that I brought home something good, though unfortunately that is not the end of the story. When I opened the box, what else do I see but a prominent warning affixed to the unit so that it is impossible to miss before removing the tape and bubble wrap. It said something to the effect of:

- Airflor restrictions may cause damage to fixture
- Improper usage will void all warranty

I wonder how my LFS could sell it to me since I picked it up at the same time I picked up my new stand and canopy! So I take it back to my LFS and of course he says it's absolutely fine, it isn't talking about canopys like mine since part o my back is open, don't worry, never you mind all that stuff about voiding the warranty, the apocalypse, etc. I was very leary but he assured me that I could return it in a few days if, after trying it, it wasn't working out.

So I get the thing back and take it out of the box. It has no bulbs in it. When I purchased it, the salesman assured me that it came with the bulbs. I called the LFS and he tells me it sure does come with bulbs but my salesmen forgot to install them into the unit for me. The LFS isn't exactly around the corner and the idea of bolting out to go right back there wasn't too appealing.

I decided to see if the light fixture would even fit over my tank and under the canopy before making the trip. I removed the canopy and the current single bulb 48" flourescent fixture and put the new one over the tank. It occupied the entire top. There was nowhere to even feed the fish. Maybe an inch of clearance. The canopy barely fit over it, but the inch of access to the water was reduced to a quarter inch. More importantly, though, there was less that a quarter inch of space on each side where the light fixture's fans are supposed to either breath in cool air or push out warm air.

To make a long story short, though I guess it's too late because I've already made it long, it looks like I will have to return the light fixture :( This is very upsetting because I was really looking forward to seeing the fish's colors in this light.

It looks like I will have to stick with my current, vanilla 48" single bulb fixture. Does anyone know if there is any kind of 48" bulb, that fits into a standard fixture, that will bring the colors in the fish out better than a standard flourescent bulb?

usmc121581 11-09-2006 09:05 AM

I don't know if you want to do this but you can gut it out and attach the guts from the fixture to the canapy. I did that with my light fixture.

Mike 11-09-2006 09:25 AM

I don't think I want to go that route. When I bought it, it was explained to me that the small fans built into the fixture were central to cooling it. Thank you for the idea, though.

Nick 11-09-2006 09:50 AM


You know that I just got myself a 10 gallon nano tank? Well when I first set it up it only had the regular lights in there. But then last night I went out and bought the 50/50 10 watt per each fluorescent light bulbs. Only 10 watts because my tank is small. I gotta tell you, I STRONGLY recommend these lights. It brings out the whole tank in a better look, brought out my fishes colours a lot more. And its a need for growing things like coral. Just a thought :D


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