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jennesque 05-12-2013 12:27 AM

Opinion on lighting if I upgrade my tank?
I just realized my stand is also made to fit a 37 gallon tank.. I've currently got a 28gal bowfront on it, and thought the only larger tank I could get was a 29gal, which seemed like a pointless upgrade. I found a 37gal on craigslist that I will hopefully be picking up tomorrow. My concern is with the lighting.. I haven't figured out what kind of lighting it may come with, but I'm assuming for this size tank (22" tall) I'd probably need like 2 t5HO to keep at least medium lighting. I'm currently running two t5no bulbs on a tank that's about 20" tall, but the light is also only 24" long... The new tank will be 30" long.

If the tank doesn't come with a light, or only something like a single t8, would I be ok with my current light, and then also using my old 24" single t8 until I can get a better set up?

I'm not sure how much more I will need to compensate for the additional depth and length. I've got some small swords on the bottom of my tank, as well as microsword. I've got cabomba (sp?) in the background which I am not as worried about..

EDIT: I did confirm it will not come with any light, but it seems like there's a very good chance I'll be picking up my new tank tomorrow for $40 :)

MoneyMitch 05-12-2013 01:46 AM

dual t5ho's and your going to see algae unless you use pressurized co2 I ran into the same issue with my 55 gal. its not the wattage but the intensity that's going to kill the tank. stick with dual t8 as this is plenty for the swords and should be enough for the others you mentioned without having to add any co2. you might even be able to get away with a singe t8. (and yes I am taking the depth into consideration)

JDM 05-12-2013 07:23 AM

Are you considering LED at all?

I have the same 37 gallon with a Marineland Doble bright 24" fixture and it does well with low to medium light plants (swords, pennywort, vals, assorted stems, crypts etc). Cabomba, a dwarf type sword and some red plants are less likely to thrive and it seems to be due to a combo of the depth and lower light. It's surprising what the extra few does to the light levels.

I am upgrading to the plant light system that they produce but not specifically for the light levels, more because I have the opportunity to do so cheaply.


jennesque 05-12-2013 07:42 AM

I'm hoping to get away with not buying another expensive fixture.. The Deep Sea t5no I have is fairly expensive to me, and it's only a year old and I just bought new bulbs for it.

I'd be fine getting a new, single t8 or t5, cause those are so cheap. Perhaps further down the line I could get the double bright or the plant lights. My mom has the double bright on her tank with cabomba and wisteria and some crypts all doing fine. She's got a 29gal cube though, which is pretty shallow. I have the cabomba and atheranakii (spelled wrong I'm sure) in my current set up and had no issues with either until one of my bulbs ran out and I was too busy to notice until I saw the altheranakii dying off. I don't think I'll be able to salvage it, but the cabomba was still growing like crazy, the microsword growth slowed down and the small swords were suffering a little..

I will either get another 24 or 30 inch t8 or t5, or go back to having florescent bulbs in small shop lights over the tank. I had good results with the shop lights, it's just a pain to move them all every time I need to get in the tank. If I opt for the shop lights, how many should I get? I think they were like 10-13 watt bulbs? I had three on the 28gal and it seemed like a strong medium to me.
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MoneyMitch 05-12-2013 03:44 PM

id go with 2 max that will still be able to grow what you have (should be able to anyways)

jennesque 05-12-2013 04:03 PM

So you're saying two CFLs would be better than the two t5no I have now? I was worried the current set up wouldn't be long enough, but I am seeing most 30" fixtures have 24" bulbs still. Mine are 24" already, but just 'high efficiency' bulbs, so they are not as bright as high outputs.
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JDM 05-12-2013 04:42 PM

My tank is a 30" tank and the fixture I use is a 24" to 36" which is really just a 24" with extendable legs... the actual lighted area covers 17" of the fixture but it is LED so the focus probably provides close to 24". Point is I shift all the way to one end of the tank and put lower light crypts and java ferns in the "shaded" end and the higher light plants in the other and everything does well.

The high efficiency bulbs might be great for visibility for human eyes to see but could be pretty sucky for plants.


jennesque 05-14-2013 01:26 PM

I know you can't really tell by the (bad) pic.. But I think for now I will stick with the current fixture and see how it works out. The high efficiency lights just use less watts than NO lights, I believe.. I don't think they look much different.

I'm probably going to move my filter in/outputs to the right side of the tank and put all the cabomba to the left, so it doesn't move around from the current or get sucked in. I'll probably plant some new alternanthera reineckii and some larger swords for the background.. I am hoping the microsword does OK.. I think it can survive in fairly low light compared to other carpet plants, it'll just grow a bit longer.. But given the height of the tank, that doesn't bother me. I'll probably keep the light slightly to the right so it does bask the small swords and microsword a bit more. That's a good idea.

I'm still mulling over how to arrange everything, but at least my fish have a bit more room - horizontally and of course vertically.

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