Spiral Compacts Over A 55 Gallon Low-Tech
I have been contemplating lighting on my 55 gallon tank for about a month now and am currently considering building a fixture using spiral compact fluorescents. I am planning on low light, no CO2 and dry ferts as necessary. Substrate is half flourite, half gravel.
I made a spiral compact fixture about six months ago for my first planted tank, a 20 long. It has four bulbs, two 15W and two 10W, all orientated horizontally, with roughly 6 inches from the bulbs to the waters surface. I run either three or four bulbs depending on how many plants are on the surface. It has the same substrate as the 55, but DIY CO2 as well. This tank had bad hair algae on the glass only for the first month, but has been pristine since.
If I made a fixture like this for my 55, how many bulbs would I need (including their wattage) and how should I orientate them (horizontally or vertically)? The reason I ask is because the significant increase in water depth. I am shooting for PAR values from 50-60. I have some ideas, but I would really appreciate yours, as there are some extremely knowledgeable individuals on this forum. If this is a bad idea then please let me know as well. I have also been considering T8 shop lights (which wouldn't be waterproof) and T5NO fixtures (I wish Catalina Aquarium made one).
Thanks for taking the time to read all this!