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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need advice on lighting. I am upgrading to a 125 G (6ft long) aquarium. I have mbuna African cichlids and no plants but a few java fern. Now my question is I have the option since my friend is an electrician and will hook me up to get a T5 ballast for 2 bulbs or a T5 for 4 bulbs? It will be a DIY light fixture inside of a canopy. Bulbs I will purchase at a LFS, but wiring, caps ballast etc will be us. Should I do 2 bulbs or 4 and what length? 36" or 48"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Need advice on lighting. I am upgrading to a 125 G (6ft long) aquarium. I have mbuna African cichlids and no plants but a few java fern. Now my question is I have the option since my friend is an electrician and will hook me up to get a T5 ballast for 2 bulbs or a T5 for 4 bulbs? It will be a DIY light fixture inside of a canopy. Bulbs I will purchase at a LFS, but wiring, caps ballast etc will be us. Should I do 2 bulbs or 4 and what length? 36" or 48"? Sorry if its wrong thread, but this place looks more active
 

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Need advice on lighting. I am upgrading to a 125 G (6ft long) aquarium. I have mbuna African cichlids and no plants but a few java fern. Now my question is I have the option since my friend is an electrician and will hook me up to get a T5 ballast for 2 bulbs or a T5 for 4 bulbs? It will be a DIY light fixture inside of a canopy. Bulbs I will purchase at a LFS, but wiring, caps ballast etc will be us. Should I do 2 bulbs or 4 and what length? 36" or 48"? Sorry if its wrong thread, but this place looks more active
depends what your going for, hihg light high tech setup? if so get the quad t4's the length of the aquarium or as big as you can. low tech stick to the dual t5 the leangth of it or 48". keep in mind t5's can generate some warmth make sure to have plenty of ventilation in ur canopy. dual t8 48" would also be fine with what you have now.
 

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If the aquarium is 6ft long, you need 72" long fixtures or 2 x36" otherwise you will have major dark spots in the tank.

You dont need the power a 4 light T5 unit will give you so 2 bulb units will be fine. Even then you would only need 10k max bulbs.
 
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If you figure you'll just have low light plants like Java Fern, I wouldn't worry about anything other than a good viewing light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
depends what your going for, hihg light high tech setup? if so get the quad t4's the length of the aquarium or as big as you can. low tech stick to the dual t5 the leangth of it or 48". keep in mind t5's can generate some warmth make sure to have plenty of ventilation in ur canopy. dual t8 48" would also be fine with what you have now.
Yea the high light tech set up. We father in law owns his own custom carpentry shop so the stand and canopy will be pretty high end (will be put in portfolio), so I definitely want the T4 then
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If the aquarium is 6ft long, you need 72" long fixtures or 2 x36" otherwise you will have major dark spots in the tank.

You dont need the power a 4 light T5 unit will give you so 2 bulb units will be fine. Even then you would only need 10k max bulbs.
Great. So t5 with 2 36" What about cooling? It will be in a canopy
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sorry for my typos i meant t5's for a high tech and t8s for a low tech, just make sure you have light the whole length of the aquarium to avoid odd looking dark spots. with t5's i would look into some good reflectors for your shop lights. reflectors make the fixture. and im going to press the heat issue with t5s just to be clear. closed in a canopy they will get very very hot. so please make sure there is some air ventalation throught that canopy or your going to mess up your lights and fixture due to overheating,
 

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Fishes could care less what light is used so long as it's not too bright.
Would go with custom T8 fixture unless I was going to make the tank planted,high energy,CO2 injected at some point.(More light mean's more CO2,more nutrient's)
Otherwise, the higher lighting that T5 bulb's produce will possibly be too much light for low energy ,non CO2 injected tank and all manner of algae and lot's of it, could be result's without raising the light fixture,decreasing the lighting period,running half the bulb's,or all of the above.
For cichlid tank where keeping plant's can become problematic,,I would just use the T8 bulb's.
Even low tech planted tank, could be lit plenty for low light to moderate light plant's and no CO2 is needed for these to run well with relatively low maint.
Even those running high energy tank's ,seldom use all of their lighting without siesta's, modification's,and more than a few use little more than minimum to achieve the growth they desire.
If lighting is for fishes sake,,then it don't take much.
Would not worry bout trying T5
 

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Agree with 1077. I have two 48-inch tubes (in parallel) over my 5-foot tank and it is perfect for lots of plants. The 4-foot tubes are in the middle so there is 6 inches at each end unlit. You would have 12 inches with two 48-inch tubes over a 6-foot tank, but as plants are not involved this would be rather nice. You could have a more natural aquascape of the rift lakes with a slight shadow at the ends, which would probably expand the sense of space. And two T8 tubes would be more than adequate light for the fish.

Using 48-inch tubes has another benefit; they are the most standard tube, so you can always find them in various spectrum in stores like Home Depot and Lowe's.

Byron.

EDIT: I came across a second thread on the same topic, so I have merged it into this one. It is better to keep a topic in one thread so everyone can see all posts and you will get a better response. B.
 

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Great. So t5 with 2 36" What about cooling? It will be in a canopy
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yopur defiaantely going to want some ventaliation, i have a dual t5 fixture that sits in open air and its warm to the touch. if they overheat you could screw up ur fixture or cause a fire in a sever case. maybe do a computer fan on oppisite side of the canopy, one side is inlet and other is outlet. that will give you a nice wind tunnel through the canopy and nowadays you can find strong super quiet computer cooling fans.
 
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