Lighting for 55g non-CO2

aakks

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Jul 22, 2009
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I'm going to set up a tank in my office. My main goals are cheap and low maintenance (no co2, no excel is the plan). I already have most of the equipment I need in the garage (even onyx and leonardite, but I might need more of both), but I will need to do something about the lights. I currently have the standard 48" single fluorescent light with the all-in-one plastic top. Insufficient.

The cheapest route for me to go short of shop lights (remember this is in my office) is to retro a 96w PC into the existing strip. I can do this for under $100, but I'm worried about the heat on the plastic top (it is not glass) and the light distribution (ie: hot spot in the middle). Am I right to think these issues are a problem?

Any other suggestions? For a bit more I could just go with a new glass top and twin 48" fluorescent tubes (80w). Should I just go that route? The light distribution would be much better and bulb replacement would probably be cheaper and easier.
 

VaughnH

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Two T12/T8 bulbs should be about right for a low tech, non-CO2 tank. I think anything using PC bulbs with a reflector similar to the AH Supply reflector would be too much light, and using T5 light would certainly be too much.
 

aakks

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Jul 22, 2009
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I think I'll go with the glass top and double T12 40w fixture instead then. It will cost just a little more, but not too much. Much better spread. Should be fine?
 

VaughnH

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aakks;38887 said:
I think I'll go with the glass top and double T12 40w fixture instead then. It will cost just a little more, but not too much. Much better spread. Should be fine?

I think that is a good choice for low light, non-CO2. I think all of the T12 fixtures now being sold, which are actually for T8 bulbs, as I recall, use electronic ballasts. Magnetic ballasts are a royal pain - noisy, uncertain starting, poor starting at low room temperatures, and inefficient. For awhile, and maybe still, the lowest cost T12 fixtures used a hybrid ballast, which was a big improvement over a pure magnetic ballast, but not quite fully electronic. I think those are probably acceptable.
 

aakks

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Jul 22, 2009
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I just looked at the 2 bulb fixtures. I was wrong - they are T8s not T12s. You really think a pair of 32w T8 bulbs is enough? That's 1.16wpg. I know wpg isn't perfect, but I thought I was shooting for 1.5-2 wpg?
 

cggorman

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May 9, 2009
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How many hours? Ambient light?

I'm running a single 40w T-12 and a 36" T-8 on my 55gal and at a full (both fixtures) 10 hour photoperiod it's really too much for an ultra-low maint. tank. Push in a bit of CO2 and it works fine. Reduce the light to a single 40W and it works fine with no supplements.

This is in a room with virtually no ambient light.

FWIW
 

aquabillpers

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VaughnH;38878 said:
Two T12/T8 bulbs should be about right for a low tech, non-CO2 tank. I think anything using PC bulbs with a reflector similar to the AH Supply reflector would be too much light, and using T5 light would certainly be too much.

Less than 40 watts on a deep tank like that sounds very puny.

I've got 60 watts on a 29 and only about 500 lux reaches the bottom. That's not very much. I wonder what that would be in PAR?

Bill
 

aakks

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Jul 22, 2009
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cggorman, hours can be whatever I need it to be. Ambient light is puny during business hours and none on the weekends. You really think a single 40w will do it? Seems real weak to me, but I dunno. My previous planted tanks were high light, co2, EI tanks - so this is a bit new to me.
 

cggorman

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May 9, 2009
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Every environment is different, but my planted 55 worked fine with a single 40w bulb in a Marineland/Perfecto fixture (brushed aluminum reflector) above an all-glass cover. Flourite substrate, No CO2, No ferts, No water changes, Fluval 304. Vals grew like weeds. Swords looked good. Apons were weeds. Anacharis was weeds. etc. Maybe 12" worth of Danios and a single 14" pleco. I over-fed wardleys algae discs and tropical flakes. Walstad-style.

Best I can give you, but good luck with whatever you choose!