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worried about lighting....

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by kris_66, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. kris_66

    kris_66 Junior Poster

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    Hello, I'm new to this site. I am worried about what lighting to get for my tank I am currently cycling.

    I bought from someone off CL a 55g (48x20x13). I am new to all of this but have been doing a LOT of reading on different forum sites regarding aquariums and fish keeping.

    I want to do a low light planted tank. Eco complete is my substrate. I know I will have crypts, vals, java fern, swords and hopefully have a taiwan moss wall on one side of my tank. I am just going to stock it with a couple BN plecos, dwarf honey guaramis, dwarf neon rainbows, cardinal tetras, and possibly harlequin rasboras. Simple community tank.

    I won't be running any CO2 as I am NOT confident lol. Maybe in the distant future, but not right now. I was just going to use Excel flourish for ferts and root tabs if needed.

    The lighting hood that came with the tank is I guess a standard one. Two hoods that have Philips Natural Sunshine T8 15w bulbs in each. I know this is not enough light even for a low light planted tank.

    I read somewhere you need like 1-2 watts per gallon, and that it should be at least 6700K. I have been researching and researching all different kinds of lights and it seems the more I read the more I become confused and worried lol.

    I found a couple of lights that I think might be good. Here are links...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/48-108W-T5-HO-AQUARIUM-LIGHT-HOOD-MARINE-CICHLID-REEF-/390277116238?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5ade54314e

    http://www.petmountain.com/product/aquarium-light-fixtures/11442-512405/current-usa-nova-extreme-t5ho-x2-freshwater.html#content

    I had found a light called Odyssey that I liked and seemed suitable, but my husband's researching found that these can catch fire. Anyone heard of this?

    http://www.aquatraders.com/Odyssea-48in-2x54W-T5-HO-Light-Fixture-Plant-p/52123p.htm

    Anyway, I am at a loss at what to choose :(

    I dont really want to spend more than say $120 on a light. I find a light ASAP so I can order it. I have a small java fern and some other plant in there right now while its cycling, but with the current light, they are slowly dying lol.

    I want to get plants established in my tank but I can't till I find the perfect light for my intended setup.

    Please look at those links and tell me what you think. Also if anyone can find a more suitable, affordable light for me please post a link so I can check it out.

    Oh, on the top of the tank is a black plastic edging thing that has a brace in the middle of the tank from front to back. Can I still get a 48" light or do I have to stick with 2 separate ones because of this brace thing?

    Please help!!!! :(

    Thanks in advance for your replies. Much appreciated
     
    #1 kris_66, Jan 8, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2011
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Welcome.
    How do you know this is not enough light if you have neither tried it nor tested it? :)

    Please slow down and take a deep breath....

    Light is what drives plant growth and subsequent demand for c02 and other nutrients. Higher light = higher demand. Lower light = lower demand. Lower demand is easier to supply. It is that simple :)

    There is NO reason for you not to have success with your stated plans and goals using your current light fixture.

    Temp, like 6700k, 10k, 14k, etc is just for US and affects how WE see the tank. The PLANTS do not care at all.

    I think your plan is solid, just don't accept that plants need lots of light as they don't.

    I know this is contrary to what is out there, but that is a myth.

    Also, WPG is totally useless as a measuring device as the number/variety of fixtures and configurations/applications is too many.

    Only PAR can provide a useful unit of measure across all fixtures.

    As far as your current conditions remember that plants need macro and micro nutrients to survive and grow. The fish may not supply enough and that MAY be the reason for your poor growth.

    Plants need food, light, some c02, decent flow and current to do well. Your eco-complete will help with nutrients but dosing lightly as per EI will help long term.

    There are some threads on the c02 forum for low-light, non c02 tanks and is very informative. Let me know if you can't find it.

    Hope this helps.
     
    #2 Gerryd, Jan 8, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2011
  3. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    I would personally use the $ on a c02 setup. It can be done but may take time and some effort.

    The lights you have are fine. You may want to exchange the bulbs for ones you like better...
     
  5. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    T8 tubes have to be replaced every year, so if they are older or you don't know how old they are, replace them. So are there 4 bulbs in there? That should be just fine. Without using CO2 you don't want too much light so CO2 demand stays at a low level.

    I agree with Gerry to first try what you have before buying anything.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  6. kris_66

    kris_66 Junior Poster

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    Yes I don't know how old those are. They could have been in there for quite some time. There are only 2 bulbs...1 in each hood. I was looking at Petco yesterday and saw T8 bulbs. Zoo Med is the brand. One is called Flora Sun at 5000K 15w, the other is Ultra Sun at 6500K 15w. Seeing as I probably will just update the current bulbs in those hoods I might just go with one of those. Problem is, which one should I go with? The 5000K or the 6500K?
     
  7. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    That's very much about personal taste. Personally I would go for the 6500. Try to mount some good reflectors that you can clip on to the bulb.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  8. kris_66

    kris_66 Junior Poster

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    Yes I think I'll go with the 6500K's also. How would I put reflectors in there and where would I get them from? The white plastic in the hood is just not cutting it lol
     
  9. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Try to google on Arcadia T8 reflectors. You can easily clip them onto the bulb. just find out if you have enough space above and around the bulb,

    regards,
    dutchy
     
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