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MckinneyFish 10-27-2011 10:13 AM

55 gallon tank lighting
 
I have had the 55 gallon kit from Aqueon for a little bit now but I am ready to start growing more live plants. It came with two 18 inch full spectrum 15 W fluorescent bulbs, I understand that this is not enough light to grow much of anything. The light enclosures say they can hold up to 19 W(again not enough). I am looking to get about 110 watts in the tank, however I don't know the cheapest way to go about this. I know I can't put two 55 watt bulbs in my current hoods, however I am willing to do some modification if I can keep the price as low as possible. What is the cheapest way I can go about upgrading my lighting, even if it takes some work?

Thanks!

Boredomb 10-27-2011 10:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MckinneyFish (Post 876532)
I have had the 55 gallon kit from Aqueon for a little bit now but I am ready to start growing more live plants. It came with two 18 inch full spectrum 15 W fluorescent bulbs, I understand that this is not enough light to grow much of anything. The light enclosures say they can hold up to 19 W(again not enough). I am looking to get about 110 watts in the tank, however I don't know the cheapest way to go about this. I know I can't put two 55 watt bulbs in my current hoods, however I am willing to do some modification if I can keep the price as low as possible. What is the cheapest way I can go about upgrading my lighting, even if it takes some work?

Thanks!

What types of plants are you wanting to grow?

MckinneyFish 10-27-2011 11:16 AM

Thanks for the reply, I am looking to put a variety of low to medium level light plants in the tank, nothing crazy. I don't want to get involved with CO2 or anything like that. I just know that I need more light than I currently have to grow just about anything. I haven't researched any specific names, but just basic plants that require decent lighting.

Byron 10-27-2011 12:58 PM

First thing, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Nice to have you with us.

On the light. I will assume this is a T8 fixture, meaning that it takes the standard fluorescent tubes. "T" refers to the diameter in 8ths of an inch, so a T8 is 8/8 or 1 inch diameter. The older tubes that are being phased out were T12 so wider diameter. T8's are made in wattages specific to the tube length; some manufacturers make more energy-efficient tubes that have a slightly lower wattage with the same intensity, but otherwise all 18-inch tubes will be the standard wattage [not sure what it is, doesn't matter].

The T5 tubes that are becoming more common now require different fixtures; they will not fit the T8 fixtures, and vice versa. T5 are even more energy-efficient, and produce considerable light intensity. Anyway, these will require a new fixture [more in a moment on this].

Watts is somewhat meaningless as a guide to suitable lighting due to the vary different intensity from different tubes. Watts is only the measure of the amount of energy [= electricity] needed to light the tube. The phosphors and way the tube is made determine the spectrum and intensity, and both these aspects are critical when it comes to plants. I had a 55g with a single 40w 48-inch T12 tube years ago, back when these "Grolux" tubes were the thing for planted tanks. That was not intense light, but I did manage. Today with the newer T8 tubes a single 48-inch is suitable, or a single T5, but either means a new fixture.

Keeping the fixture you have, you would be best with the Hagen Life-Glo tubes; this is ideal light for planted tanks, high in the red and blue but with green to balance for a true rendition of fish and plant colours. The tubes that came with the hood are probably next to useless; my Aqueon hood was. I won't go into all that, but the Life-Glo would be better if you stay with the fixture. Low light and most moderate light plants should manage.

A better choice if you can would be a new fixture. As this won't fit the hood, presuming it is made for the tank, it would mean discarding the hood and getting a glass cover and a light fixture. The glass cover sits down on the lip around the frame, and the light fixture sits on the frame lengthwise. Before i go into the options for this, I'll wait for your response as I don't want to blab on without purpose.:-)

Byron.

MckinneyFish 10-27-2011 03:55 PM

Byron -

Thank you for the information, it is greatly appreciated! The life-glo tubes seem more into my range than getting something new, especially since I am not keeping any terribly difficult plants. I am willing to get a new fixture and glass cover, however I don't currently have hundreds to spend on something like that. Are there decent priced options available? Where would I go to see about getting a glass cover and a new fixture, and what would I be looking for? Again, thank you :)

Boredomb 10-27-2011 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MckinneyFish (Post 876749)
Byron -

Thank you for the information, it is greatly appreciated! The life-glo tubes seem more into my range than getting something new, especially since I am not keeping any terribly difficult plants. I am willing to get a new fixture and glass cover, however I don't currently have hundreds to spend on something like that. Are there decent priced options available? Where would I go to see about getting a glass cover and a new fixture, and what would I be looking for? Again, thank you :)

The glass covers you should be able to get them at your local pet store if not then online. This is only needed if you replace the light fixture. I have a 48" dual T8 fixture from allglass (I think). I got it from Foster&Smiths.com for around $120 or so best I can remember. Another opinion would be find a single fixture that's 48" should be a little cheaper. Either one would be ideal. You can sometimes find a 48" fixture at local pet stores also. Just a thought.

Byron 10-27-2011 06:02 PM

I concur. And I happen to have two All Glass dual-tube T8 fixtures, bought 2 years ago to replace two old ones that gave out after many years, and I like them. The tubes that came with them went straight to recycling, and I use my own full spectrum/daylight tubes. But the fixtures themselves seem well made.

Another brand is Perfecto; I have one of these on a smaller tank and it seems OK to me.

Glass covers are fairly inexpensive. I have this arrangement on my three larger (4 and 5-foot) tanks.

moomoofish 10-27-2011 07:27 PM

what i did was went to walmart and bought a shop lamp, its just a T8 8inch 2 tube fixture for 10 bucks. works great with a canopy, 64 watts tubes were 10 bucks as well for 2. each at 6500k. alot cheaper than buying a hood specially made for a fish tank.

Boredomb 10-27-2011 07:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by moomoofish (Post 876967)
what i did was went to walmart and bought a shop lamp, its just a T8 8inch 2 tube fixture for 10 bucks. works great with a canopy, 64 watts tubes were 10 bucks as well for 2. each at 6500k. alot cheaper than buying a hood specially made for a fish tank.


Well that should work also sorry didnt think about that. There are lots of people who have similar setups.

Byron 10-27-2011 07:45 PM

Provided one has the carpentry skills to build a canopy for it...which I do not:lol:.


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