55 gallon lighting?
Hey everyone I have a question when it comes to light for my 55 gallon. Right now it sits empty I am wanting to turn it into a npt aquarium but I am confused about many things one being lights? I have heard anything for 1watt to 3+ watts are need per gallon? well the hooded lights I have now will hold two 18" 15watt bulbs soo that just puts it at 30watts. So by that math I am way under where I need to be? The tank sits in a room with two windows by it. The tank is not directly infront of either window but still gets some light from them. With the 30watts plus some sunlight would that be adequate? If not any suggestions on what I can use or get?
If you don't want to grow plants, then the light level is whatever you prefer to view the fish with! As most folks here will tell you, a majority of freshwater fish come from low-light environments, so they don't really require any supplemental lighting. My only recommendation is get something energy-efficient that makes the tank acceptable for viewing. Oh, and I recommend pulling the light toward the front of the tank so the light reflects off the fish, you'll get better color that way.
Others here should give you good recommendations regarding specifc lighting types and bulb specs.
I owe pretty much all of my knowledge of lighting for planted tanks to Byron (I am eternally thankful!!!)... and he can probably explain this a lot more thoroughly if he sees this thread... but here goes.
Based on my understanding/memory of what he told me, you want to use lights that are as close to daylight as possible... 6-7000k is a good range to look for as far as spectrum. I got a 6500k bulb (in a 2pk at home depot for about $8 - much cheaper than pet store lights!) because he said 6500k is the colour that will give the plants the right balance of red and blue for photosynthesis, along with some green which helps the fish and plants to show their best colour. The intensity (lumens) of the light is also important because the water disperses (is that the right word?) the light so it's not hitting the plants as strongly if the lumens aren't high enough... I'm not sure what "high enough" is though. And the closer the light is to the water, the better (with glass in between it and the water so it doesn't get splashed). Long story short, the K rating and the intensity are important - moreso than the watts.
It is important to also have floating plants, rock caves, driftwood, etc. to provide darker/shady areas for the fish. Just as DKRST already said, fish come from low-light environments for the most part. This is something I have heard and read countless times, and have also observed in my own tanks (especially with my dwarf gouramis, loaches, and angelfishes). They spend most of their time under rocks or in the dark corners of the tank when the light is on.
I hope that helps, and I know Byron and many others here can fill in whatever blanks I left!
Yes helps a lot thank you!!! Just one question though if I am running two bulbs do I use the same or two different ones? One 6500k and something else?
No prob, I'm glad i could help!
I think it'd be 6500k for both bulbs. The logic I'm using in making that assumption is that in nature, there is one source of daylight - the sun - so I don't think the aquarium would require two different types of light if you are just wanting to replicate the sun's natural light. I think there are some people who use different colours of light at different times (to replicate moonlight?) but I really don't know anything about that, and I don't know how it affects plants. And I think there is a whole different world of lighting requirements/recommendations for saltwater and corals, but again, I have no clue about any of that, and since you're posting in the freshwater section I assume you're not looking for information on lighting for saltwater tanks anyways. :)
Okay that's kinda what I was thinking also and yes I am doing a freshwater tank thanks again!
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