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Lower Light Options

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Gerryd, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi all,

    I currently use a 72" MH fixture that is 3x150 watts at 6500k. The fixture is mounted 24" ABOVE a 72x24x24 (180 gal) tank.

    I want to replace my current fixure with something with LESS light AND more options for choosing the # of bulbs used in a fixture. I know that I can just remove the bulbs I don;t want to use lol

    I do not want to raise the fixture any more it looks kind of stupid so high up but am still getting min 75 PAR at the substrate!!!

    I was thinking of T5s as they should provide a better more even spread and will grow anything I want.

    I will miss the MH ripple but it is just too much light and way more than I need. I hate to think I spent so much on it 2 years ago! I was under the more light is better spell :)

    Thoughts?

    Appreciate any options.
     
  2. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    Me too. Reducing the lighting was one of the best things I ever did for my tank. Plants are CO2 starved, fish colours look better (I have lots of neons), less maintenance.

    Can't help with your lighting though as I just use basic T8's under a timber hood, but thought I would concur with your decision to reduce lighting.

    Scott.
     
  3. scottward

    scottward Guru Class Expert

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    That should be *aren't*.
     
  4. geministudios54

    geministudios54 Junior Poster

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    Couldn't agree with you more. I recently reduced the amount of light on our 125gal showroom tank (48 x 20 x 30). We have eight 55 watt, 9325k bulbs about 10" above the surface. Well, after much trial and error with experimenting with C02, ferts, substrate, etc., I tried reducing the lighting by half. And wouldn't you know it------algae issues are few and far between. Maintenance of plants is manageable. Modest dosing of TMG ( when I remember). In other words, a much more enjoyable experience without the risk of tipping the scales just because we think we had to use 440w above the tank for good results.
    I'm doing the same for a new 90 gal aquarium with 4-55watt 9325k bulbs (love their colour-yes-the spelling is Canadian!)
    Less grief, maintenance, = more enjoyment and stability.
    My opinion is crank the C02, dose, water change, modest light, observe and kick back..

    Regards---jeff
     
  5. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I am in the same boat actually with my 180.

    I like the look in my 120 gal, which is 4 ft long.
    I have a Tek 4ft with 8 bulbs, but use mostly just 4 outer lights.

    Tek does not make a 72" hood however, I'd like to get a 16 bulb x 39W version.

    This means I'd have to buy 2 separate 36" long hoods since they do not make a 72" light fixture, that means I need 4 poles to hang the light, not just 2, or perhaps three and hang the middles on 1 single pole.

    Still, I do not like that if I can avoid it.

    Current makes a 72" T5 fixture, but I do not like the look and it has less bulbs than I wanted. It's not as wide either(less even spread), less "pancake" styling.

    My other aquariums are all 2ft/4ft, so this is the hardest tank to find a t5 set up for.

    No other higher line T5 maker makes a 72" hood I've found yet.

    I do not need a big old ballast and the MH's on the coralife fixtures.
    They cost more, they do not give me the coloration I like either unless I really drive the light higher.

    Which cost more for energy and produces more heat, PITA light timer options and more complicated cords and wires under neath the damn tank.

    I hate that crap.

    I can measure the PAR for the T5's vs the Coralife PC/HQI combos and know the PAR is on equal terms, and the sediment, water changes, CO2 etc are real close, as well as the distance etc, and can change the plant species from one tank to another.

    The T5's give a much better color using the Gieseman even after playing with 8 different PC bulb combos on the coralife hoods.

    Rat bastard.

    Well, anyone want buy a nice coralife 24" aqualight pro with a nice 2x65 W PC and 150W HQI?

    I have 2 for sale, and a 72" 3x 150W + 4 x 96 W PC light.

    250$
    600$ plus whatever actual ship cost are.
    Will include extra HQI bulbs and PC bulbs(new).

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Tom,

    Before I went to the Current Outer Orbit MH fixture, I was using T12 all glass reflector fixtures.

    I had a 6' fixture that held 4 x 30 watt bulbs.

    I had TWO of these fixtures side by side for a total of 240 watts. They were separated slightly to obtain a more even spread

    I had this about 6 inches above the surface.

    I grew plenty of stuff and did NO C02 at that time. It worked well.

    I am thinking maybe T12 is still valid just finding a SINGLE fixture with a few more tubes.

    I want a nice looking fixture as well.

    Now that I have a PAR meter I can adjust based on PAR rather than guessing.

    I will investigate these and post any results.

    I saw the Current T5 as well and wasn't impressed by the looks that much either......

    I know T5 are great, new, etc but how much light do we really need that can't be supplied by T8 or 12?
     
  8. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Prolific Poster

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    Would you consider building a plywood box to use as a pendant holding T5 strip lights? You could put together something like that for relatively little and enjoy independent control for each lamp. With some care and some nice chain or cable for hanging it could look nice. Would it be difficult to match a homemade piece with your stand using stain or veneer?

    I really like using those cheap hydroponics strip lights with good reflectors. They are my new favorite kind of lighting.
     
  9. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Me Too

    Hi,

    Me too!:)

    Nevertheless, I am generally wrong on these matters.:eek:

    I like the pendant, made cabinet style, hanging and if you work plants in around and behind you can get a ‘floating’ or ‘hovering’ effect.

    Note: Taking decorating advice from Evil Plant Monsters tends to be a notoriously bad idea.:eek:

    Biollante
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Gerry a good DIY T8 would be a real good option.
    You might see about talking to a vendor locally that does sheet metal bending and give them a design and they can bend up some nice aluminum fixture housing.

    Some decent miro reflector material etc, or a similar thing with T5's and DIY.

    I think several banks of T5/T8's would be ideal for changing the amount of light you desire, when your mood changes..........

    Some times of the year, you might want to garden, others......you lose the motivation, we all have ups and downs there, but having a good flex light system that can be changed to suit is best it seems.

    That was my idea with the HQI+PC's.
    I think T5's are better option and give better spread and use less energy.
    I get more from less...and it's more flexible as far as adjusting more/less light.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. adechazal

    adechazal Prolific Poster

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    Gerry, sounds like you're looking for a hood so this may not apply but I use dual twin bulb 60" hamilton lighting T5 retrofit fixtures over my 180 (60x29x24). I too have recently scaled back the lighting and only use one fixture at a time with a 2 hour bright overlap in the middle of the afternoon. The 60" fixtures may be fine for a 72" tank. Just wanted to get the word out there that there are 60" fixtures, though I will admit that I've only found a few suppliers for the 60" bulbs.
     
  12. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi all,

    Thanks for all the replies, ideas, and options.

    I just now need to do some more research :)

    I will post what I end up with.

    I also thought of 5' fixtures as then there is only 6" of dark on the ends which I can scape around, but am tired of scaping around my lights...

    4' fixture would be iffy but could 'make' it work...

    I have many options as you all point out.

    I would love to just buy a fixture as that would be easiest but most likely the most expensive. I am fortunate in that I can do either whichever works best for me,

    Thanks again to all!
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    ATI make 6ft hoods I think, sunlight does but in their non aquarium lighting.
    Current does.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hey all,

    I think I may go with the following:

    A normal 6' T5 fixture with 6 x 30 watt. I would use 2 of these over the tank and separate them to get a nice spread over the 24" width....

    I would have 360 watts total so 2 wpg lol

    I will give the PAR when I get the lights. I know the PAR I have now and so will be easy to remove/adjust bulbs to get the ranges I want......

    They will have a clear waterproof lens as well and a reflector of some sort which I can always replace.

    I can then paint them on the outside..

    I will most likely remove at least 1 of the 6 from each fixture maybe 2 each. I would think bulbs 2 and 5 going from front to back..... More light in the middle sections and at the front and back walls.

    Depends on the PAR of course :)

    I want to go back to my lower lighting like I had with my T12....

    I know it won't look as nice as the Tek light, but at least while I experiment with the light it will work fine.

    I can always replace the fixture with a better one once I know the light will work well for me.

    Will keep you posted. Will most likely get them in a week or so.

    I dropped by a friend today who HAS my old T12 fixtures of 4x30 watt each and he has 1 or 2 bulbs removed from each. His tank is a 220 gal non c02/non dosing/fish only, and he had a very nice Java fern 'tree' that he was very happy with. Some nice mosses as well....BTW, the male bosemani I gave him 1 year ago are HUGE/ENOURMOUS fish!!!!!!! 5-6 inches easy and just BIG all over!!!! I will get some pics next week of so.....

    I also liked the look of the T12 on his tank even though the bulbs are 2 years old easy as I know he has never replaced the new ones I gave him with the fixtures, they were Verilux bulbs and grew my plants very well. I hope they have an equivalent in the T5......cost $15 each
     
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