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Austin 03-15-2010 04:30 AM

Wanting to plant my 44g - question about lighting.
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I am thinking I'd like to try planting my 44 gallon as well. I'm really liking my live plants so far...

Anyways the lighting fixture is kind of small so I'm not sure it's going to be enough for the tank. I've attached some pictures. The current bulb came with the tank (suprisingly it's "natural daylight" so probably 6500k but i'll get a new one since it's probably 4-5 years old)

Not sure the light distribution will be good enough... the back will be kinda dark... but I could put some plants that like shade there? and i believe 17 W is the most... but I thought some of you told me you use 20 W daylight on your 55 gallons? So idk just tell me what you think? :) Thanks!!! :-D

redchigh 03-15-2010 12:18 PM

You might be able to use a more efficient bulb (either t8 or t12, forget which is stronger.)

Your setup is actually great for seeing the full colors of fish... I bet it will work for plants as long as you stagger the background and have good middleground plants to hide the leafless lower stems on the background plants.

Could also try using some aluminum foil, bent 90 degrees with a sharp crease in the reflector to try to bounce more light to the back.

I wouldn't get a bulb rated over 17W, but find the 17W bulb that fits your fixture with the most lumens, as long as it's 6500k.
(Lumens aren't a great judge for plant-usable light, but it's the only measurement comonly given on the package.)

It may not be too complicated to add a new light setup to your existing hood-
maybe you can look up the light fixture refit on the DIY board?

I would search the aquarium logs for you but I can't load them at all. (They require javascript, my dinosaur of a computer chokes on javascript.)

Byron 03-15-2010 01:55 PM

Agree, all you need is a new tube. A full spectrum around 6500K will work best in this situation. The tube in the fixture might have been fine in its youth, but all fluorescent tubes decrease in intensity within the first year, very much so, and after 4-5 years this is not going to be enough intensity. A new tube will do you fine.

In this size tank, it would look stunning with larger swords, like Echinodorus macrophyllus. Check out the plant profiles section, this species is there. And E. bleherae, just one plant, would grow close to the top of that tank and spread out within a few months. These plant species will do very well with a single full spectrum tube.

That could be a very lovely display, given the tank dimensions.

Austin 03-15-2010 02:10 PM

Thanks guys. I was actually thinking I might wanna try a bunch of swords in this tank.

Might possibly maybe get a job soon, so if I do I'll be able to afford to convert this tank to planted. :D If not I'll have to wait a bit. Glad to know it only requires a single bulb change... didn't know if I could get enough light intensity with such a small fixture but apparently so. :)

JohnnyD44 03-15-2010 05:28 PM

agreed! I love swords!

Angel079 03-15-2010 06:21 PM

+1 on the tin foil works wonders to brighten things up I can tell you that after changing my 45g. As for "low" light when I changed my 55g to a single 32w several people where concerned about certain plants of mine at first (incl myself) but lemme tell ya it sure as heck works well in mine.

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