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What is Appropriate Lighting ???

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Professor Myers, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. reiverix

    reiverix Lifetime Members
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    I run 6*54w HO T5s on my 75g. Full beam is on for 6 hours out of eleven. Two bulbs run the rest of the lighting period. The light unit sits about 10 inches above the water line which gives a really nice spread.

    This might seem a bit odd but I'm not really plagued by massive amounts of plant growth. They tend to grow more compact rather than tall and it takes a while for even cabomba to hit the surface. I admit that italian val can get out of hand pretty quick but I like that plant so for me it's worth the extra effort.
     
  2. Wet

    Wet Lifetime Members
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    Have you found any relationships between PAR/mmol and bulb type (say, at constant watts) that we can build calculators around? If so, what are they?

    I understand and agree with your points about excessive lighting, of course. It would be fun to develop and collect samples for such a sound model though.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    No

    Reagrds,

    Tom Barr
     
  4. PaulB

    PaulB Subscriber

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    I'm about to setup a 3' x 18" x 21" tank with Co2 and ADA substrate. Will 2x 39w T5's provide sufficient light.
     
  5. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    Edited: Just realized that we're talking T-5's. In theory 120W PC would be optimum, or up to 150. So I would think 2x 39w T5's would be sufficient, but I don't have a great deal of experience with T5's HTH. Prof M
     
  6. freshgoby

    freshgoby Junior Poster

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    To PaulB: Yes, 2 39W T5's will be sufficient. But remember wattage really has little to do with the output/power/color. You want to make sure you get lights that create a good even spectrum and provide your plants with the light they need.
    For example I have Red Tiger Lotus which needs more blue light than green-leafed plants, so my bulbs give off a higher blue-spectrum.

    If you want to get T5's, I suggest you visit ReefGeek > Aquarium Supplies for Marine, Reef, and Saltwater Aquariums
    I ordered my lights through them (you can buy the lights alone and make your own canopy - I did cause it was cheaper - or you can buy your lights in a pre-made hood). The lights I have are: Aquablue 11000K (not aquablue plus!), and GE Starcoat 6500K. Both use 39W combined for a 78W total. What makes them great is they come with individual reflectors which point the light directly down to the water and penetrate the surface better. Also with the T5's I no longer need a glass canopy (which can cut out 20% of light or more)

    In my experience, Power Compact (PC) are not strong enough. I had the 3' 110W strip light from AGA on my tank and the light just wasn't strong enough to get good steady growth from my plants (Also the reflector on that hood is very badly designed and you still have to use a glass canopy under it). Now I use less wattage and get higher and better light output. I think the reflector makes a big difference - just see what some reefers say about getting the most out of their lights.

    Since I've switched to T5's, growth has gotten steady, colors are better (both in plants and fish!), and it has enabled me to start to deal with other things such as nutrient supplement and KH values (Mostly because the light is constant and its output doesn't fluctuate as rapidly as flourescent or PC).

    I have found that the best place to find information on good lighting is in reef forums. My friend has a reef tank and it was his first initial suggestion that I try T5's on my tank. I don't get the whole flourescent lights and required-wattage thing (because you have to factor in lumens and spectrum, and T5's can give more light with less watts). Flourescent and PC bulbs are both short-lived in light output. Flourescent must be replaced every 3-6 months, and PC bulbs light output is reduced by half after 6 months. Whereas T5's have steady light output for 2 years!Metal Halides are even used on Freshwater tanks!
     
  7. turbomkt

    turbomkt Lifetime Charter Member
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    Isn't a T5 basically an unbent compact flourescent?
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Yes it is, and some of us try to overengineer the lighting design, in my opinion. You need enough light, and for most plants, if you have PC bulbs with good reflectors, such as by AH Supply, you can do very well with 2.5 watts per gallon or less, if the color temperature of the bulbs is 5500 to 10,000K. Going more deeply into lighting than that, for me, would be a waste of effort. Now, if a certain color or spectrum or type of light was much better at avoiding algae, that would be a different story entirely.
     
  9. freshgoby

    freshgoby Junior Poster

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    Here's a good site that answers questions about T5's> Frequently asked questions on T5 lighting | Practical Fishkeeping magazine

    Yes I know T5's are a varient of flourescent bulbs, but to me the light output they give off is so different, that I look at them as an entirely different animal.

    Also the good thing about getting lights from ReefGeek is if you decide to make your own canopy, you can place the ballast away from the lights, allowing it to stay cooler and prolong the life of both it and your lights (I don't know how they set-up the ballast in the pre-made canopy).
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I like T5's for a few reasons, better lighting spread vs the higher watt PC's per unit area.

    Folks can put less watts and still have great spread and coverage.
    You can put a single 39w 3" builb over a 3 ft tank and have decent growth.
    PC's make a 96 watt monster, or you can try and find a pair of 18w PC lights, blah........

    If you want more light, adding another T5 is nice.
    They take up less space in terms of front to back spacing.

    And we are having folks use less watts finally after the long trend using too much PC lighting. 2x 54 w is fine for most 60-75 gallon layouts.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. PaulB

    PaulB Subscriber

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    Hi Tom, is 2x39w T5's on a 36x18x21 enough light, and would this be a low or medium or high light tank? I have a shop in Melbourne offering a bare twin 36" (2x39w) T5 fitting with electronic ballast and aluminium reflectors for about $175.00 AU.
     
  12. Frolicsome_Flora

    Frolicsome_Flora Guru Class Expert

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    Wpg

    On the subject of WPG (assuming that its usable enough for the less scientifically aware of us).

    Would it not be the case that we would need different guidline WPG figures, depending on your lighting type? (T5/T8/etc)

    The way I determine if Im over doing it, is to see whether my Java Ferns are pearling or not, and adjust intensity to the levels where they pearl happily, but dont fizz with it. Ive found this the best way to adjust for different reflector quality/tube condition/water clarity.. obviously, I keep a very keen eye on CO2 levels during this.

    Ive found out that on some occasions, upto 4WPG is needed to get anything to pearl when using older tubes. I guess the problem is, so many factors to take into account, no 2 tanks are going to be the same, or even similar.

    Am I right to assume that so long as CO2 is a constant figure (as steady as you can get anyway) that letting your plants tell you the score is by far the best way?
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Lighting type is an issue, I need much less PC and T5 lighting to get similar growth rates.


    But given these alternative explainations, spread sheets, rules, and what not, I think they just too complicated for any real use.

    You may as well just ask someone that's used the type of lighting you are interested in and under what conditions.

    Get some consensus that way and error on the lower end.

    2 w/gal on T5 is plenty of light for most all plants, if someone can name a plant that needs more than this, I'm all ears because after 300 species, I have not found one.
    Some will grow faster with more, but they all grow pretty well at that range.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. Sintei

    Sintei Lifetime Charter Member
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    is that for the whole 8 to 10 hours?
    Edit:
    If im using staggered effect with full blast for 6 hours, is there any benefit to have a 30 min siesta in that full blast so CO2 levels can catch up to normal ppm in the tank?
     
  15. Sintei

    Sintei Lifetime Charter Member
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    is that for the whole 8 to 10 hours?
    Edit:
    If im using staggered effect with full blast for 6 hours, is there any benefit to have a 30 min siesta in that full blast so CO2 levels can catch up to normal ppm in the tank?
     
  16. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Straight 10 hours.
    No advantage to any siesta, near as anyone can show nor tell.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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