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Lighting a 5 foot tank

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Aknickolai, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. Aknickolai

    Aknickolai Lifetime Members
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    I have been looking for a large tank 150+ gallons and finding one has not been too easy as I live in Alaska - shipping is a killer. I did manage to find a new 156 oceanic ultimate tank for a pretty good deal (a bit cheaper then an all glass 180 from the lfs). The only problem that I see with this tank is that it is 5 feet long, an odd size when trying to get lights. I was wondering if anyone knew of some good lighting options for a 5 foot tank, I am shooting for about 4-4.5 WPG. Currently, I am thinking of building a custom light using AH lights.
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think you'd be wise to use A&H lighting.
    The results are excellent.

    I would chose to use 22"long 55-65W lighting.

    Say 8.
    But stagger them so they over lap at the ends.

    Make sure to use all the space front to back, a good wide spread will help you have excellent angles and strike for the lighting vs all in one narrow linear strip.

    I'd use a mix of lights.
    The GE 9235K and 6700K, maybe 8000K if you can find them.

    You can run 4 different timers for the 8 lights also, so that will give you many options.

    8x 55 w is a lot of light on this tank though.

    Something like this:
    _______ _________
    ________ __________
    _______ _________
    ________ __________

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. creighton

    creighton Guru Class Expert

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    I used 4 X 96 watts from AH supply on my 5ft 120gal and it worked pretty good. I wish I would have gone with 2 X 150watt metal halides though and a few PC's so I could vary the light levels if I ever wanted to. But the AH supply kits are great. I use them on all my other tanks, and Kim is very helpful on the phone. I would reccomend that you call and ask Kim for some advice.

    The tank was also 2ft deep, and I had a hard time growing ground cover plants. The lights may not have been the direct cause, but I think I would have better success with MH's. It most likely is not the case, but I guess I need to run a test or something. My guess is that I was just doing something wrong :( , because many others have had great success with just PC's over that size tank.

    Also...if it is possible I would try to build an ADA style light bar. It makes maintience so much easier. As you can just adjust the lights to a higher level and still have them on while you work in the tank. With my current setup I have to pull open the canopy and the lights are pointing directly in my face. This makes it kinda tedious and HOT to do a rescape or trimming, due to the fact that you can barely see into the tank.

    Just a few things to consider.
     
  4. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Catalina Aquarium

    They also make the fixtures without the moonlights. $40.00 less.

    I have a 150 with the 6 x 80 fixture with moonlights from this company and love the lighting. If I would have known then what I know know I would have just ordered the 4 x 80. Since I only use 3 of the bulbs at any one time, and it is more than enough light. The reflectors are very high quality. The only thing I can say bad about these fixtures is the mounting of the ballast. If you mount in a hood be prepared to allow plenty of ventillation for the ballasts. The endcaps did scare me at first, but I have never had a problem with them building up any type of corrosion.

    The lights are included with the fixture price. I would have them replace the actinic with more 10,000k bulbs, which they did for free for me. At the time I ordered they did not carry any bulbs under 10,000k. If they still don't you could order midday bulbs here. I use half 10,000k and half 6700k.

    The nice thing about these also is they are ready to plug in and use.

    I've used AH lighting and I can say nothing bad about them. But after going to HO T5's I will never go back to PC's.

    I wish I had a light meter to test the intensity of these lights to compare.......but alas I don't.
     
  5. Aknickolai

    Aknickolai Lifetime Members
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    Thanks for all the suggestions! I've been looking at what kind of bulb options I would have with each, and have a few more questions. My current tank is 75 gal with 315W of light mostly 6700K, with some 10,000K. I really like red plants and have been reading the various articles here on how to achieve nice reds. That said, do I need to make any special bulb considerations with that in mind? Also, I have found several bulbs labeled "plant grow" but they don't list a color temp for them (they have a strong pink/red glow). Has anyone ever tried those?

    JDowns - Why the strong preference for T5 HO over PC? Do you think the light penetrates the depth of the tank better?
     
  6. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Well without measuring with a meter for myself or seen a 1 v1 comparasion, visually the HO T5 puts out more light. Common sense would dictate this to be true. Since the PC has a bend the inside edge restrikes on itself rather than a reflector down into the tank. A T5 with individual reflectors will reflect more light into the tank. As far as depth penetration I cannot answer that, since I have not measured it or seen any data on it. Maybe someone else who has can answer that for you. But I can say that 240w will grow glosso, hairgrass, blyxa (not really a high light tough one), ranunculus, low to the ground. My lights are hung so the light is 6.5 inches from the top of the tank. There is an additional 20.5 inches from the top of the tank to the foreground substrate.

    Someone please correct me here if this is wrong:

    A typical 65w PC produces 4000 lumens and a 54w HO T5 produces 5000 lumens, each apprx respectively. So a PC produces 61.5 lumens per watt while the HO T5 produces 92.6 lumens per watt. So you are producing more light per watt with the HO T5, resulting in less heat, less electricity usage, and longer bulb life.

    Now remember a good reflector will make or break the effeciency of the bulb. HO T5's without quality individual reflectors would be a stark difference to HO T5's with quality individual reflectors.

    I want to state again that I have had lights from AH Supply and cannot find one negative thing to say about thier lighting. I think the amount of referrels across the net speaks volumes about their service and product. To me it came down to newer technology that in the end was most effecient and cheaper. If AH Supply would have had HO T5's I would have purchased from them reguardless of the cost difference (well to an extent).

    I am very pleased though with the CA fixture and if I had to do it again I would order another fixture from them but with less light. Although the ballasts used are nice in the fact that if you unplug one bulb the series do not shut off, so you do have options to the amount of light used.

    My current light cycle is as follows. 8am - 11am 160w, 11am - 4pm 320w, 4pm - 6pm 160w.

    Maybe I'll run down to the camera shop and rent a par meter, or since Tom has posted reasonably priced models I should buy one and my local club would then have access to a meter.
     
  7. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    Aknickolai:

    Let me throw this out there for you.

    Look at different sites, plantedtank, apc, aga, and see what lighting others are using on similar size tanks. A decent light fixture will make you life alot easier in the long run. And light being a main driving force for plant growth it will suit you to do as much research as possible prior to deciding on a final option. Also consider having a light fixture that will allow you the most options as far as light setups (whether a high, medium, low light configurations).

    If I would have the opportunnity to go back and do the lighting for my 150 over again this is the fixture I would want.

    4 x 80w HO T5s. Two in the front and two in the rear. Having one in the front and one on the rear on the same switch, and the same for the other two but on a different switch. Thus allowing 160w of HO T5s on seperate timers.

    3 x 70w HQI down the center.

    This would allow for so many different types of variables of lighting conditions that would also allow for even spread of light for each variable.

    First decide what your goals and expectations are and then decide from there.

    Take a look here and view the entries by year and by tank size (extra large is your catagory). For each setup you can read what type of lighting each person is using.

    Define your goals and budget and go from there. If your going to be constructing a custom hood then this leaves you some options also. Say HQI isn't in the budget at this time, or your not sure you actually need it. Kits from AH Supply or Catalina, or wherever will allow you the options to upgrade and rearrange lighting in your hood later to allow for HQI in the future. If you went the route of Catalina and were thinking of this I would advise two seperate 160w T5 fixtures rather than all 4 in one unit, since this would allow you to seperate them and add HQI in the future.

    Plan it through as much as possible now since lighting is not only a very intregal part of the setup but also one of the most expensive parts of the setup.

    Hope this all helps.
     
  8. khoile

    khoile Junior Poster

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    I too am considering my lightning option, but my tank is a 6 foot tank (72x30x24H). Just sharing what I'm thinking to use right now so you can weight your options:

    I plan to use MH/T5 combo. My tank is going to be open top, so I'm getting 3 Aqua-Medic 150W pendants, and x2 78W 36" T5 (2x 39W T5 bulbs) fixture (not sure from which manufacturer yet). Totalling up the 156W of T5 and 450W of MH, I have 606 W for my 220G tank (2.7 WPG). I plan to install pink plant bulbs in the 36" and hang them in the back, the MH will be in the center with ADA 8k bulbs. If I needed more light I could always add another 150W MH (since each pendant is only 9.5" in length). My light schedule:

    11:00 AM - first T5 fixture on (2x 39W)
    11:30 AM - 2nd T5 fixture on (2x 39W)
    12:00 PM - 1st MH on
    12:30 PM - 2nd MH on
    01:00 PM - 3rd MH on
    08:00 PM - 1st MH off
    08:30 PM - 2nd MH off
    09:00 PM - 3rd MH off
    09:30 PM - first T5 off
    10:00 PM - 2nd T5 off

    For your 5' tank I recommend similar setup, but with 2x 150W and 2x 30" T5 fixtures. If you really want 4+ WPG, then current usa has a good 5' fixture, you going to have to buy the 250W version to hit 4+ wpg:
    Outer Orbit HQI/T5HO | Current What's Next
    You have 3 light option:
    high - all lights on
    medium - just MH
    low - just T5
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I do not like those outer orbit hoods.

    They weigh a ton if you have the 150 W in there and it "cooks".
    Hotter than heck.

    They need to make it like the 250W external ballast.
    That was one reason I went with coralife.
    I think the 48" Current weighs more than the 72" coralife.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. Aknickolai

    Aknickolai Lifetime Members
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    The reason that I was thinking of building a custom hood is based on my experience with my 72 gal bow front. It has 315 watts of light on it, from a 260W Coralife and 55W AH Supply light all PC. The only reason that I added 55w light was my foreground was not getting enough light with the 260W fixture roughly centered on the width of the tank.

    I REALLY like the look of the Giesemann T5 pendants but, my concern is that one light fixture centered on the tank won't distribute light even enough. Also, it seems like 80W T5 bulbs are hard to find and limited in color spectrum. Look at the sketch below tank width is 25 in and most 5 foot fixtures are 8-12 inches wide:

    |`````````````````````` |
    | |
    |====================|
    |====================|
    | |
    |______________________ |

    Am I wrong in the assumption that not enough light will make it to the front/back of the tank with this configuration? I figured the only way to get around this would be either make a custom hood, or buy multiple fixtures. If a single fixture like this will work, then that is great! I have all the woodworking skills and tools to make a custom hood that matches the tank, but I don't have the desire to invest that much time in making a hood. Too many other things I would rather do =) Also, hoods can make daily activities like feeding the fish a pain. At least all the hoods I had in the past seemed to get in the way more often then not.
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think the bow fronts all have that bad quality. So yes, the custom hood might be better.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  12. Aknickolai

    Aknickolai Lifetime Members
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    I think I am going to go for two T5 2x80W fixtures from Catalina, this way I don't have to hassle with building a hood and I can spread the light out well from the front to the back of the tank. Also, if I ever decide to upgrade Tek now makes T5 80W retro kits. Tek has an individual reflector for each bulb, while the Catalina does not. Doesn't sound like getting light into the tank with the Catalina will be an issue though.

    One more question for JDowns: Is the web site you linked to where you got your bulbs? I noticed that the GE and Giesemann bulbs are listed as a different length then the Catalina bulbs, was this a problem?
     
  13. JDowns

    JDowns Lifetime Charter Member
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    The Catalina fixtures do have individual reflectors per bulb, well at least when I ordered a year ago they did.

    Yes I ordered the Giesemann bulbs from that link. The Giesemann and Catalina bulbs are 57.5" in length from measuring to the end of each pins. GE and Sylvania bulbs are 57.1" and can fit into a max 60" static housing. The catalina end caps are flexible and can adjust to either of those bulb lengths.

    Since they make all of thier own fixtures in house I would ask them what they would charge to external mount the ballasts if you are going to hang the fixtures as a pendant so the fixture will be lighter in weight.
     
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