Old tank not putting out enough WATTS
Hey everybody, I'm looking for some help here as I'm fairly new to planted tanks. I've got this 20 gallon hexagon tank that came with a old weird light. The light measures 14"x5" and houses a small bulb that puts out a measly 8 watts. Obviously, this won't cut it, especially for a deeper tank like this.
There is a hole on top of the tank measuring 4.5"x13" that the light fits down in to. So I've traveled the local fish stores looking for something that would fit at least close (I fiberglass surfboards, so if it was at least close I could make a fiberglass hood to house it) but haven't been able to find something small that puts out the power I'm looking for. There's no name/brand on either the tank or light, so I don't really know where to start looking.
Anybody have a suggestion for what I should do here?
You might be able to use one of these:
Compact Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: Mini-Freshwater & Mini-Aqualights
Compact Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: Single Satellite Compact Fluorescent Fixtures
Get the 6700K bulbs. 18 watts doesn't sound like much but the CF lights do put out more light than the watts suggest.
If you wanted to you could go for a 24 watt light. I have a current fixture like the one in the link, the 18 watt version will do, but they are kinda pricey for brand name fixtures. If you are good at DIY I suggest looking at ahsupply.com. It's cheaper, but you have to assemble it yourself and make your own hood. However, there setups are way above any of the pricey name brands. All the stuff I got with my kit was much better quality than what is in the Current fixture I have. You also do get more light out of their setup, because of the fancy reflectors. They also give you really easy directions on how to wire it all up.
What ever you get I would suggest covering the whole and letting it shine through the glass top. having it directly over the water like that is going to make condensation build up on the light and can damage the fixture.
Both are looking like pretty good options, I kinda like the build it yourself thing just so I could learn something new in the process. What did you need to buy in addition to what I'm seeing there?
I found this, is this the kit you'd recommend? (Top of the list in the 18-24 section):
Part 20181F - 1x18W Freshwater Bright Kit
This kit includes one 18 watt 6700K compact bulb. It also includes one Miro 4 reflector 9.75"L x 4"W x 2"H, one solid-state electronic ballast (3.375"L x 2.375"W x 1"H including mounting brackets), one grounding power cord, two steel bulb holders, one 2G11 socket, and hardware for the electrical hookup and for installing the kit in a wood enclosure.
Edit again: Do you know what 6700k compact bulb comes with this? I'm not sure if they're all the same or if some are better for plants than others. As you can see I know almost nothing.
The 24 will work fine for your tank if you can get it to fit right. It should not be too much light at all.
You will want to get the 6700K bulb, not the combo bulb. Click on the bulbs section for the choices.
Thanks for the help guys, I'm ordering it up right now and I'll post my results!
Yep that is the kit you will want, the 24watt kit will work as will. Both kits comes with everything, you could possibly need. Except your basic wire cutter, phillips screwdriver. The only thing I would suggest getting is some heat shrink wrap tubing, they send wire nuts for connecting wires. They will work just fine, but a pack of shrink tubing costs $1 and will seal connections from moisture much better. Or you could use electrical tape. You do need to build a hood to mount it in. You can get directions for free with your order, they also have a couple different threads on how to build different hoods. The odd shape of your tank, will probably mean you will have to kinda customize a hood. I made mine out of wood. I'm not terribly familiar with fiberglass, If its rigid enough it should work. The ballasts are kinda heavy. They also produce a decent amount of heat, so make sure to provide ventilation. Overall its not too hard, the only electrical/wood education I had was back in the 7 grade.
If you want to get really snazzy you could get some cold cathode moon lights:-). Cost about $8-10 dollars for a setup. Unlike the single LED on the current fixture, they actually make light. Your hood would have two cords though. The current fixture does too.
This is the 2x55 hood I built for my 55gal. The blue things are the cold cathodes. It's been running great for 6 months so far. It got pulled off the tank by a kid, needed some minor fixing. But it never stopped running and the bulbs didn't break. My wooden hood cost about $25 dollars to build(wood/spray paint/nails). If you build one, it would probably cost a fraction of that. Since most of the cost was the wood.
Hey I'm liking that! I want to get to work now!
This is gonna be a perfect little project for me, usually I do all my tinkering on my car but recent surgery has put a 30lb limit on what I'm allowed to hold for a couple months. It's gonna be good to get my tools back in my hands!
Alright finished it today! Nothing fancy, my woodworking skills suck (but my nunchuck skills are excellent) but that thing is BRIGHT! BLING! Super stoked on it, thanks for the tips!
On with the pics! Notice the plant growth since last time, crazy bulb plants. It's been what, 2 weeks?
Left these outside to show off my first ever wiring job. Not the prettiest thing, but simple.
8-) Looks really nice!
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