So i went out today and bought the hoods for my soon to be 55 planted, i got a Aqueon Deluxe Full Hood and it came with a bulb already. my question is will this be a ok light for the plants or will i need more? (the tank gets very little if any sunlight)
It depends upon the type of light, intensity and tank dimensions. Do you know
1. the wattage,
2. type ("full spectrum'...),
3. one tube or two? And
4. what are the tank dimensions (length, width and depth/height)?
With this info I can answer your question.
its one tube per fixture and i have two fixtures, its a 55 gal 48in long 23 inches deep and 13 inches from front to back. the only text on the bulb is all-glass aquarium 15w aquarium lamp preheat made in germany.
The tubes are the same as those that came with my new fixture (had to replace an old one of 15 years that gave out), and in my opinion they are garbage; they gave a purplish light that was very weak. I tossed the tubes out and replaced them with good ones for plants.
I'm assuming the two tubes are short, maybe 18 inches long each? Tubes come in standard wattages for the specific length, such as 40w for a 48-inch tube. For that size of tank, you would be better with a fixture that holds one or two 48-inch tubes rather than two shorter tubes. With a good quality tube, a single tube would allow you to grow nice plants that are low to moderate light requirements; two tubes would provide twice the light, but unless you go down the high-tech road with CO2 I don't think two tubes are necessary. As this is a new purchase, you should be able to return it for a fixture with a 48-inch tube. Believe me, it will be much superior. Tne T5 HO (High Output) tubes give considerably more intense light that regular tubes, and over a 55g I believe you would have superior light with one tube. The T5 tubes only fit fixtures made for them, so you can't buy tubes to fit your present fixture unfortunately, as that would work with the more intense light. One 48-inch is the best way to go.
Once you do, a tube like Hagen's Life-Glo 2 full spectrum is in my view ideal. I use these tubes over my single-tube tanks, and over my double-tube tanks one of the two is always this one. They provide a light intensity and colour equivalent to mid-day sun, and fish and plants have a very natural appearance. The kelvin rating is 6700K, so a tube by another manufacturer that is similar in kelvin would be fine. Zoo Med make one called Ultra Sun, and Lightning Rod make one similar; both of these are a bit less expensive than the Hagen series, but I don't know if they make them in T5. Mid-day sun is approximately 6500K in colour. Plants require light in the blue colour most, and then red, in order to photosynthesis. Green light is relected by plants but it balances the blue and red and makes the tank look natural in colours.
When I mentioned low to moderate light plants, I am thing of rooted plants like the Amazon sword (Echinodorus) and Cryptocoryne species, Anubias, Java Fern, floating plants, and some stem plants. Stem plants generally require more light (and that often means adding CO2) because they are very fast growers. The benefit of low to moderate light plants is less pruning and fussing, since the plants grow a bit slower and the setup basically stays as you start out. You can have a llok at the photos of my 70g and 90g aquaria to see what is possible with low-moderate light, no CO2, and regular liquid fertilizer. I have two 40w regular (not T5) tubes over these tanks. A single T5 tube would give comparable light for you over a 55g.
wow thanks for all the info very informative, only thing is i need to have the tank completely enclosed as i have a cat in the house that loves to jump on things and im sure the tank is gunna be one of his play spots if left uncovered. the way the tank is set it has two sections over it divided by a brace type thing that goes from front to back. but if i read your post correctly i need tubes that give off a blue/red for low to mid light level plants, i dont really have any plans on what type of plants i want other than i KNOW i want the little grass type plants and the little i thnk dwarf something to cover most of the front substrate, they are vey short maybe a inch or so not too sure.
Glossostigma elatinoides and Dwarf hairgrass <- my main plants that i intend to grow
You will have trouble growing those plants with your present light which I believe is inadequate. You can buy hoods that completely fit the tank (it is a standard size what you have) that will hold one or two regular fluorescent tubes, and there may be hoods that will take one T5 tube. Check out online, DrsFosterSmith is a good site for information on lighting fixtures and tubes, what's available, and they provide the specs for all of it. Then you can order online or, in your case, through your aquarium store if they don't have it in stock, and get a credit for returning your present hod. Here's a link to their lighting section, and on the left you can go to the specific sections for fixtures, tubes, etc. Aquarium Lighting and Aquarium Lights for Reef and Marine Aquarium Lighting ? Drs. Foster & Smith
The other option is what I have, glass covers over the tank that close to comletely cover the surface, and the light fixture sits across the tank. I doubt your kitty would be able to open the glass! Although I can appreciate it is more comforting to have a full hood if the cat jumps up on it.
Most lights cannot be directly over the water but must have a glass cover under them. The exception is lighting that hangs above the tank when the tank is open to allow plants to grow out of the water or land plants to grow into the water 9as in a plaudarium). But that's not what we're talking about here.
ok well i took a look at the double strip fixtures and they are a little more than i can afford right now, i did however find a bulb that is carried at my local pet shop
* Ideal for all freshwater aquariums * 18000°K color enhancing bulbs * Brings out blue, red, and orange pigments 18000°K bulbs enhance blue, red, and orange pigments to bring out the full beauty of your aquarium inhabitants. Promotes healthy plant growth. Ideal for freshwater and planted aquariums.
Please note: Our current stock of 48" bulbs is available in T-8 only. Sorry for any ionconvenience.
http://a1272.g.akamai.net/7/1272/112...s/aqua_glo.jpg Watts Length Diameter 15 18" T-8 20 24" T-8 30 36" T-8 40 48" T-8
this seems to be a light that will work just fine as it has the correct spectrum that you told me about, tell em what you think of these as i can afford these but not getting the double bulb fixtures. i want to be able just to get some decent bulbs that are better than the stock ones that i have.
T8 would be the bulb i would get as the actually fixture only fits 18 inch tubes
* Ideal for freshwater planted aquariums * 2800°K bulbs for optimum plant growth * Emits a warm photosynthetic spectrum to intensify plant color and stimulate plant photosynthesis 2800°K bulbs for optimum plant growth. Emits light that stimulates plant photosynthesis and intensifies plant color. Ideal for freshwater planted aquariums.
http://a1272.g.akamai.net/7/1272/112.../flora_glo.jpg Watts Length Diameter 15 18" T-8 20 24" T-8 30 36" T-8 40 48" T-10
Please note: The manufacturer is transitioning from T-10 to T-8 bulbs for item #21168. Customers may receive a T-10 or a T-8 bulb. Sorry for any inconvenience.
this would also be even a better bulb perhaps? or if you could just find a great 18' floro bulb on there for me then post it here. im sorry i ask soo much just trying to learn and get the most cost efficent item that will benifit my aqua
Both of the suggested tubes would probably work, but I would caution that they are quite high in the red. The colour of a tube is expressed in Kelvin, and 6500K is the colour of the sun at mid-day. A lower K number means warmer colour (more red, less blue) and a higher K number means cooler (more blue, less red). Full spectrum at 6700K is in my view the best single colour tube; it has the blue and red for plants--you can see the blue is very slightly higher in K, but balances nicely with the green for a natural colour of fish and plants. There is the Hagen Life-Glo 2 tube that matches this, and the Zoo Med Ultra Sun. Phillips make a tube called Daylight Deluxe (6500K) which I found very similar, and this can be purchased at Home Depot for about 1/8 the cost of the Hagen. I have all of these and can see only minimal difference, although I prefer the Life-Glo (not sure why...but on its own it is a wonderful light).
The problem I find with lower K numbers and with any tube termed "colour enhancing" or "aqua-something" is that the aquarium looks purplish. The red and blue colours of fish are brought out--cardinal tetras look stunning--but everything else takes on a warm purplish tint that i find very distracting. But that's personal preference. Except that the lower K numbers do mean less blue and remember blue is the colour plants most need. Here's the spectrum chart for the Life-Glo 2. And the photos of my 70g and 90g aquaria under "My Aquariums" will show what this looks like; I have a Life-Glo 2 on each tank (one tube) and on the 90g the second tube is a 11,000K Lightning Rod Ultra Daylight (more blue) and the Phillips is the second tube on the 70g.
thanks alot byron, so nice to be part of a community like this :D i definately see the "look" your talking about even the tanks at the pet store have that purplish tint to them put your pics are like night and day compared to regular run of the mill bulb. you mentioned something about home depot which is another "aquarium" store lol. anyways you said that they also sell some simular tubes at probobly 1/2 the cost lol. now do those lights also have the spectrums listed on them or it is kind of here and there with there lights.
bulbs at home depot will not necessary have the graph of light that they give out because it's a home depot and they dont care if you use it for plants or for bathroom illumination. I would recommend that you go and get bulbs that Byron suggested.
But.. in case if you are in home depot .. just like Byron said look at the color index of the bulbs .. the higher the K rating the bluer light will be, but.. it is recommended that you use bulbs with 5500K - to - 6700K. if .. you want to keep plants.
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