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CCTX 03-16-2013 07:44 PM

Catalina Aquarium Lights? Advice Please.

I have a 36G bowfront aquarium that is 30" wide and 19" deep with tropical fish only, no plants. I have had Coralife Aqualight 30" T5 fixtures with 6700K and Colormax bulbs each at 18w. The fixture is dead and this is the second in less than two years; actually one arrived dead anyways, so I do not want to risk my money again with Coralife.

After some research, I am leaning towards Catalina Aquarium 30 INCH SOLAR T5 HO AQUARIUM LIGHT - 2 X 24 WATTS, CATALINA AQUARIUM SOLAR T5 HO AQUARIUM LIGHT - 2 X 24 WATTS.

1) My concern is that this fixture seems to house 24" bulbs not 30". I am not sure if this will leave the tank sides dimmer than the rest.

2) Would you recommend any other fixtures? My budget is up to $120 or so.

3) What type of bulbs I should go with for such aquarium? 6,700k, 10,000k...etc.

Your help and advice are greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

JDM 03-17-2013 10:25 AM

With no plants the lighting is really only for your viewing and for the fish to sense some sort of day night cycle. If you never plan on plants you can go with some nice LED lighting that doesn't need to be plant friendly. Light dispersion is not an issue, it's only aesthetic, so a 24" in a 30" isn't a problem... I did that with my LED setup and have tons of plants, so it's not a problem even then. Going with 6,500K would be good for plants but is extra cash that you don't need to spend... same thing with the 10,000K which is not useful for plants either.

Not that this is the best option, but one would be the Marineland single bright 24" to 36" fixture. It has sliders to extend the span of the tank and you can leave the fixture itself to one side or the other or just leave it in the middle like a regular hood would be.

Here's a link to their info page

You can get that for under $100 easily... Probably around $60 and you shouldn't have to worry about replacing bulbs for some time.

If you check out my tank that is a 24"-36" LED fixture slid over to the left side as far as it goes... It's double bright so the light is a little more focused as there are 8 bulbs as opposed to something like 50 in he single bright (8 x 1 Watt vs 50+ x 0.065 Watt bulbs... less bulbs doesn't mean less light)


CCTX 03-17-2013 08:56 PM

Thank you so much Jeff. I appreciate your input.

As for LED, I have seen a LED fixture before and was not that impressed with the fact that the tank was kind of dim. We prefer well lit aquariums so this is why we chose T5 HO over LED. It may have been this very tank but I have been reading similar reviews.

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