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lighting help

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by ShadowMac, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I need some help finding the proper lighting. I have a 30" 37gal tank (30x12x24).I originally had ordered the sundial 30" 4x24W T5 fixture, however i have been waiting almost 2 months for it to be in stock and have just been told its on a boat somewhere in the pacific. anyone seen it?:p (just kidding)

    I also plan on using 2 powerbrite LED modules to add shimmering effect to the tank. I was told those wouldnt add much to the lighting i would need.

    I'm thinking of other options, however finding a 30" fixture with enough wattage is difficult. I've read many times here less light is ok. Could i get away with using the 30"nova extreme with 2x24W T5's and still be able to grow any plant i choose, especially stem plants with some colors? The guy at aquariumplants.com said i would need the 4 bulbs. That seems to be contrary to what i have read here.

    Any suggestions or help would be outstanding! Thank you.

    EDIT: one other question would i run into a problem with a 24" tubes in a 30" fixture. The heavier planted areas are going to be the backs and corners. Problem?
     
    #1 ShadowMac, Apr 26, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi.

    2x24w T5 should be fine for that size tank. Use the ones that provide the most spread. You can always add more light if it is not enough.

    You can use lower light plants for the ends (anubias, java, etc).

    I have used 24" on a 30" tank before. Just plan a little first as you know there will be darker areas.

    High light causes high c02 and nutrient demand. C02 is not easy to supply in sufficient and stable quantities. Less light will cause less demand, which is easier met.

    'High light' plants are mostly a myth..Focus on c02, flow, filtration, general maintenance, fert dosing, etc.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    I have that same size 37g aquarium that I'm setting up. (Well, been messing with for two years now.) Anyway ...

    Coralife has a 30" T5HO fixture with 30" bulbs instead of 24" like most other 30" fixtures. It's on sale too! But, there are 10,000K and Actinic bulbs in it. It doesn't have individual reflectors, I believe. Booooo!

    Aqualight H.O. T-5 Dual Lamp Fixture - 30": http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS/ctl3684/cp57011/si4294969/cl0/aqualighthot5duallampfixture30

    bulbs
    30" 6700K T5HO bulb: http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsCA/ctl3684/cp18371/si4294985/cl0/hot56700klamp30
    30" Colormax T5HO bulb: http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsCA/ctl3684/cp18371/si4294989/cl0/hot5colormaxlamp30
    30" 10,000K T5HO bulb: http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS/ctl3684/cp18371/si4294973/cl0/hot510000klamp30

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________

    This is what I purchased for my 37g. I got a 30" All-Glass canopy and I purchased a 3 x 24" IceCap T5HO DIY kit w/o ballasts and 3 IceCap T5HO reflectors. I got three ballasts so that I will have a separate ballast for each bulb to control the amount of time for each one. I have Giesemann Midday 6000K and Aquaflora bulbs plus an IceCap 10,000K bulb. I also got some lunar lights too.
     
    #3 Left C, Apr 26, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  4. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    Thanks for the links. I have found this set up by aquaticLife which is priced similarly to the sundial. It is set up with saltwater lights, but i figured I could replace the bulbs and use the timers intended for the 700+ nm and 420/460 nm lights to control a different set of bulbs intended for freshwater. Thoughts?
     
  5. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    I'd certainly dive on the Coralife fixture if it had individual reflectors since it has a good selection of 30" T5HO to choose from instead of 24". The only way to see how bright it is is to put the bulbs that you want to use in it and see. How are you going to do that without buying one. On the other hand, Caralife sold a bunch of the CF Aqualights with flat reflectors. This fixture may be OK, but not the best.

    I've only seen AquaticLife fixtures in pictures. I really don't know much about them. Is this the one that you are thinking about? It looks good.
     
  6. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    yup! that was the one i was looking at, the 30" version anyways. I may not be handy enough...yet... to DIY a lighting system.
     
  7. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    I have the wiring diagrams. That's it below. It'll be easy since each one will have its own ballast. The IceCap kit comes with most of the parts that I need. I just need some more wire and two grounded power cords. It should be quite nice too with good bulbs and individual bulb control. I picked up a used AquaController Jr for lighting control too. My biggest problem is getting my fanny going. :D

    [​IMG]

    This is the 30" canopy that I got. There are three 'slabs' that I'm going to attach each reflector to.
    [​IMG]
     
    #7 Left C, Apr 27, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2010
  8. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    thanks for the links and the tips Left C. I especially loved the "fanny" link. hahaha! great stuff. I have decided to do something similar to yours, although probably won't go for the controller. maybe a simpler light timer. I'll update you when i get it set up. I swear we are the only two guys on the planet with this funny shaped tank.
     
  9. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    I like that old disco song a bunch. It's one of the few though.

    That All-Glass Black Pine canopy has two slabs that flip up and one slab in the rear. Hence the 3x24w kit. Also, I asked online and the folks all said that 2 or maybe 3 bulbs is plenty for a 37g. And that 4 bulbs is too much. The general consensus was really 2 bulbs. Since I had 3 slabs to work with, well ....

    I got the AC Jr because it offers more precision than 3 individual timers would. With timers, you would most likely either have 'gaps' of darkness or 'overlaps' of brightness between bulbs when they switch on and off.

    I wanted to use a 'dimmable' ballast to do a ramp up and ramp down like this with my lighting, but ...
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Big fan of the Funkadlic!

    I never new about AC Jr.
    [video=youtube;B_LRYezOfeo]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_LRYezOfeo[/video]

    Dance with it! Shadow, I like your groove. And your fixture hangs from cables, very nice choice.

    Anyway, I wish I knew more about 'dimmable' ballast. I am, dimmable ballast, but don't know much about it.
    The AC Jr should be nice.

    Irreparably changed,
     
    #10 Tug, Apr 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2010
  11. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    ColeMan at TPT got one and did a great write up on it. Made me interested. It will do a lot of different things for a little more than Pinpoint's pH controller.

    They are highly underrated. Lot's of acid rock like "Cosmic Slop" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxnbVGFK1W0&feature=related

    When I was digging, bluelineaquatics.com had SOLAR 750 and SOLAR 1000 Dimmers made for dimmable ballasts, like IceCap's, and it worked with T12 VHO's only. It wouldn't work with T5HO bulbs. Now that IceCap makes T5VHO's, I wonder if these dimmers will work?
    http://www.bluelineaquatics.com/products/dimmer/index.html

    Also, Advance has some fluorescent dimmable ballasts. Sylvania might too, but I not positive.
     
    #11 Left C, Apr 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2010
  12. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    does the aquacontroller jr. work as a dimmer for dimmable ballasts? I'd like to do a sunrise to sunset progression with my lighting but am not sure what components i need. just the aquacontroller jr? would i need the CD8 outlets as well? i'm assuming it won't work with a standard powerbar/surge protector.
     
  13. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    The AC Jr controls the DC8, but you can run a powerstrip with accessories along side it.

    The AquaController Jr simulates sunrise and sunset by lengthening and shortening the time that the lights are on. Just like sunlight and the seasons.

    More Info From: http://www.neptunesys.com/~clp/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10&Itemid=40
    Timers
    The timer functionality included in the base unit is capable of turning devices on and off at specific times of the day with one minute resolution. The AquaController Jr can also turn the devices on or off multiple times per day not just one time per day as with other controllers. The flexible timers allows for the standard lighting control as well as for dosing of various elements. Up to 12 devices can be controlled by the AquaController Jr. All outputs of the AquaController can either following the automatic programming, or can be manually turned to an on or off state.

    Sunrise and Sunset Simulation
    The AquaController Jr has a special type of timer which can be used to simulate the varying lengths of days throughout the year. This feature is used to make the length of daylight hours longer in the summer than in the winter. This results in a more realistic simulation of natural lighting variations.

    Moon Cycle Simulation
    The AquaController Jr has another special type of timer which can be used to simulate the moon cycle in your tank. The lunar simulator is used for this feature and is capable of varying the intensity of light emitted from its LEDs. The intensity variations are controlled by the AquaController which is preprogrammed with correct intensity values for each day of the moon cycle. The AquaController automatically updates the intensity value depending upon the current setting of the AquaControlle's clock. With this artificial moon cycle, it is possible to induce corals and fish to spawn.

    kits
    The AquaController Jr comes in different kits. w or w/o the DC8, w or w/o pH probes, they come with temperature probes and serial port connections so they can use a computer download from their site or a more advanced download that you purchase. Software
    http://www.aquacave.com/searchresult.aspx?CategoryID=529

    dimmers and bulbs
    Bluelime dimmers: http://www.bluelineaquatics.com/products/dimmer/index.html
    The BlueLine dimmers were designed for T12 VHO UVL bulbs and 660 ballasts. Now UVL makes a series of T5VHO bulbs that may work. I just don't know. I found out that the AC Jr will do all that I need it to do and I haven't researched this in over a year.

    ReefKeeper
    Some people like these models. You might want to check them out too: http://www.aquacave.com/Reef%20Keeper%20Controllers%20by%20Digital%20Aquatics.aspx
     
  14. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I am planning on using one the the icecap 660 ballasts, so in addition to the that if i purchase the aquacontroller jr. and a blueline dimmer I will be able to set a sunrise/sunset progression? or just one or the other? i suppose i could see what the controller does with the lighting and add a dimmer later if needed. The aquacontroller jr. looks like a great product. i can use it to control my dosing pump, lighting, temp, and CO2. Automation is good for me...i'm forgetful. :D
     
    #14 ShadowMac, Apr 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2010
  15. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    posted twice so deleted this one and added...well...nothing :rolleyes:
     
    #15 ShadowMac, Apr 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2010
  16. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    It's the dimmer that controls the 'increasing' of 'decreasing' of the amount of light in surise and sunset simulation. The Jr controls all the other stuff.

    For the 660 ballasts, the DC4HD is suggested. I don't know exactly what you are wanting to do with your setup. I just want to mention this in case you might need it: http://www.neptunesys.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27&Itemid=40

    BlueLine has two dimmers. One has more steps than the other and costs more too. Below are the graphs for each one. More than likely, the 750 is all you need. you can control the other lighting with timers.

    1000
    [​IMG]

    750
    [​IMG]
     
  17. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    i would have to purchase two DC4's and that is starting to outreach my budget. The DC8 says it is suitable for ice cap ballasts, so although not the heavy duty one, I may go with that for budget reasons.
     
    #17 ShadowMac, Apr 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2010
  18. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    You are very welcome, but ....

    Check out the specs for the dimmer and how they work. They are designed to work with an IceCap 660, but I don't know how everything gets hooked up together.

    I don't think that the two DC4HD are bad or anything. I just wish that you would double check.

    When I found out that the dimmers worked with (at the time) T12 VHO's only, my research stopped. So, I can help you up to a point and then .... the bottom falls out. :)


    EDIT: I read your original post in my email box and posted. Now I see your edit. .... Anyway, we are on the same wavelength anyway. LOL
     
    #18 Left C, Apr 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2010
  19. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    i've looked into the Solar 750 dimmer a bit more. sounds like it has to be wired into the ballast or bulbs somehow. I have emailed icecap directly to see if it is compatible with the ballast and T5 bulbs. I read on another forum that there also is an icecast dimmer, but that it does not work well despite its more user friendly hookups and icecap does not recommend using it as it can break the ballast. I will update when i hear from icecap about the compatibility of the components and their recommendations.
     
  20. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    Their own dimmer can break their ballasts? Now that's funny.

    The 1000 has a storm setting. I remember reading about one guy that set his up with strobe lights for the lightning effect, there was a rain effect (I forgot how this was done.), thunder, etc. It was wild!

    Storm Center - Randomly creates sunny, partly sunny, or mostly cloudy days. You set the level of storm activity for the month or seasonally. The day's forecast is displayed on the status screen.
     
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