Worried about my lighting - a newbies concerns
I am the true definition of new to all of this.
Im planning on setting up my very first planted aquarium with a converted Red Sea Max 130 tank (Red Sea MAX | The complete coral reef system) that used to be a reef tank.
Heres my concerns..
The lighting that is built into the hood is 2 x 55 watt T5 power compacts (10,000k). I know that I need to be in the 6500k range for my plants to grow best. Am I completely out of luck here and doomed to fail? Everything I'm reading about the lights for this tank seems like its very hard to replace the lights with anything other than a RSM bulb. I dont have the cash to dish out for a $500 dollar lighting fixture right now either.
Is there anything I can do or are there any bulbs that will fit in this hood that will work for growing plants? Or should I be okay with the lighting I have for now until I can save to take the hood off and replace with lights that are in the 6500k spectrum?
any help would be much appreciated. Thanks. :)
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad to have you with us.
The fixture may be fine, but new tubes will likely be needed. Kelvin at 10,000K is high in the blue end, which is normal for marine/reef tanks. Plants need red and blue light, so the red may be missing depending upon the tube phosphors. They do give out after 12-18 months anyway, by which I mean they lose so much intensity they need replacing, so new tubes is a good idea. I'm assuming these are fluorescent tubes, correct? And T5 is going to restrict you somewhat. What is the tank size?
You may want to give a read of my 4-part article entitled "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of this section of the forum. It will fill in the background on a low-tech natural planted tank system.
Ive actually read the entire thing already. :) The tank is a 34 gallon (29g tank/5g filter). Here are the specs that come with the tank. And the bulbs are compact flourescents.
Red Sea MAX | The Concept
Everything is as it came still. Im not using the protein skimmer.
I cant find anything online about a bulb that will fit this hood. From what I've read its an odd length.
Would it be worth while to try to take the hood off and buy something like this?
I would stay away from power compacts. That is a lot of light intensity, and you will have algae issues. If you read my article you will know what I'm talking about. Something much simpler (and much less expensive) will work fine. A single-strip full length T8 will work; a single strip T5 can work but again you will have more light intensity and have to deal with that (less duration, floating plants, etc help here). I have a single T8 over my 30-inch 29g, with a 24-inch Life-Glo tube. If I were buying a fixture for this tank (this one came with it), I would get one with a full-length 30-inch tube, and I would suggest the same in your case.
Thanks so much for all your help.
One more question..I was looking online at the lightning you were suggesting and most of the things I find are just bulbs.. no fixture.
I'll be needing a fixture to go with it.. Is there a good site you can recommend for me to find the bulbs with a fixture? Or a fixture that will work with these bulbs that is relatively inexpensive? Im sorry if this is a silly question.
edit: Also, my tank is 24" wide.. will a 30" bulb be too long?
This is the link to their fluorescent fixtures:
Fish & Aquarium Supplies: Fluorescent Fixtures
I have the twin-tube All Glass Aquarium fixtures on two of my larger tanks, bought two years ago to replace old fixtures that gave out. I really like these. Simple, well made (as far as I can tell). I see they only list the twin tube in 30-inch. If the 30-inch single-tube is not available, try Perfecto, I have one of those and also like it. The tubes that come with any of these are garbage, mine went straight to recycling. With T8 you've plenty of tube options in good light.
Will a 30" bulb be too long for this tank since it is only 24" wide?
If I wanted to get started on a silent cycle, would the bulbs I have now do okay for a few days until the new fixture arrives or should I just hold out all together?
Either would likely work. I would prefer giving the plants a strong start, with good light.
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