Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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glosrob 01-13-2010 01:14 PM

Options for Lighting when the Hood has No Fixture
A friend has a 10g tank that he no longer has a use for and is willing to donate to me, until I move flats hopefully in the summer and can get a bigger one :-)

However I would rather have a planted tank (having read many articles extolling their advantages on this site!) and the hood he has does not have a lighting fixture inside it.

So what are my options in this case?

Firstly, Can I get a spare hood or would it be just as cheap/not much more expensive to get a new tank?
Secondly, are there any other options in terms of 'external' lighting?
Thirdly, what luck, if any, will I have in keeping plants with no specific aquarium light?

Thanks in advance!

Byron 01-13-2010 01:51 PM

Responding first to your last question, you will have little if any luck growing healthy plants in an aquarium without a light over it unless it is near a good source of daylight (window). Planted tanks in front of windows can be very healthy; Rhonda Wilson who writes for TFH has included photos of hers, and Karen Randall in AFI some years ago. However, viewing the tank is not that easy without an overhead light, and the intensity of daylight has an impact, and there are some other considerations...I would recommend a light fixture.

Hoods for tanks can be expensive new, especially with a fluorescent tube light, although many are having success with small tanks using the screw-in compact fluorescent bulbs. Thinking of money savings, there are two options.

First, buy an incandescent hood and use CF bulbs. Second, use a plain glass cover (hinged in the middle allowing for opening to feed, etc) and a single tube fluorescent fixture. The latter will be less expensive than the complete hood, though probably not by much. The hood you now have may have a glass panel and the light can sit on this (you need a piece of glass between the tube/bulb and water surface). Of course, there is always used fixtures, online, some stores or aquarium clubs have sales, etc.


glosrob 01-13-2010 05:10 PM

I've had a quick look around some UK sites and a new hood isn't toooo expensive.

Can I just verify I'd need a hood and a light starter unit?
The unit holds the bulb and sits in the hood.

Apologies for my ignorance :-) but hey that's why I joined up

Byron 01-13-2010 05:21 PM

No apologies needed, we all started out knowing nothing and those of us "of a certain age" didn't have excellent forums like this one to turn to for the answers.

It's a good idea to have a tank covered; dirt (dust) stays out, water stays in (the evaporation can be considerable and it soaks into walls and furniture), fish stay in though some are more prone to jumping than others, and the water temperature is a bit more stable if the air above is also warm as it is if there is a cover. Plain glass covers work, or the manufactured hoods. And yes, your light fixture would then either be a (removable) part of the manufactured hood, or be a simple fixture that sits across the tank supported by the tank frame.


JohnnyD44 01-13-2010 05:23 PM

great post from byron.

to answer your question....I'm pretty sure almost all lighting sets for aquariums (unless your buying a shoplight) come with the starter already in place....all you need to do is put in the appropriate light and plug it in....

I would also recommend a timer for your lights, they will do healthiest with good doses of both light and darkness....

then all you need to do it set the light fixture on top of your tank with the glass hoods Byron mentioned and you'll be all set....

JohnnyD44 01-13-2010 05:23 PM

Byron, we double posted haha

Angel079 01-13-2010 05:40 PM

Dep on how the hood is built, I'd get a screw in socket & daylight bulb and a cable at the home store and hook it up myself; quick easy cheap fix and the planted tank can start.
If it is just a glass cover, I'd get a lil light strip at the home store at the length of your tank and add a daylight bulb to it.
Last and prop lil more expensive, petshop and buy a hood; but more often then not these bulbs aren't really great for planted tanks; so either make sure on site you're getting a full spectrum bulbs at around 5-6500 kelvin with about 15 watts. Or again buy a bulb like that at your home store. :-)

glosrob 01-14-2010 07:32 AM

It will definitely be covered, I love my cat but I think leaving him an open aquarium to indulge in some fishing is going a bit too far lol

I think a hood is a good bet, I will have a look around the few LFS I have near me otherwise will give the plethora of online stores a try (cheaper but more hassle to be at home to receive the delivery).

Thanks for the tips chaps, much appreciated!

Angel079 01-14-2010 09:33 AM

If you have a petsmart near you see for one of these Incandescent Full Hoods by All-Glass - Lighting & Hoods - Fish - PetSmart they're well priced, just be sure you measure your tank before you buy one, make sure you get the right size :-)

glosrob 01-15-2010 07:52 AM

LFS had some spare hoods which he agreed to take some money off, ideal. Thanks again chaps, will keep an eye out for a similar deal on a light starter unit and then get cycling :)

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