Lighting Advice 6' long x 2' deep - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Lighting Advice 6' long x 2' deep

Hi All

I am looking to upgrade my 3' to a 6' but am struggling to find LED lights to fit this length.

I am currently running a Finnex 24/7 and a Cheaper White/Blue LED strip, and am injecting pressurized Co2 on my 3' and get pretty good growth on everything except the dwarf grass carpet.

I would ideally like lighting which would fit a 6' length and would reach a depth of 24" to grow, at the very least, dwarf hair grass (although a setup that could grow HC would be preferable).

Is LED still the best option for a tank of this size? I am open to the idea of Metal Halide if this would be a better idea, but having a closed, raised, oak hood, ventilation could be an issue unless i install fans to blow the heat out the open back.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I want to get everything priced up before I pull the trigger and would like to get everything right on the first try to save pointless expense.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 11:55 AM
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I don't believe LEDs are the best option for anything other than physical appearance. I have seen the Green Element EVO LED light do wonders at that depth, par wise. If you suspend it, you'd get a pretty even dispersion of light.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
I don't believe LEDs are the best option for anything other than physical appearance. I have seen the Green Element EVO LED light do wonders at that depth, par wise. If you suspend it, you'd get a pretty even dispersion of light.
Thanks for the response, Freeman. If LED's are not the best option, what would you recommend as an alternative? I have done lots and lots of reading on the subject but there is so much conflicting information.

Also, i see that Beamswork do the Green Element EVO in sizes that would be appropriate for my 6', but I have no experience with this brand at all. How do they compare with the Sat+ and Finnex ranges?
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 12:27 PM
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When you get into tanks 72 inches long that are 24 inches deep you likely have a tank that is 18 or 24 inches wide. This is a lot of area to cover. You will also likely have a center brace on the tank.

With LED your going to have two general options. Use strip lighting, similar to what you have, or go with pendant lighting. If you have a center brace, you go with 4 to 6, 36 inch strip lights. If you go with pendants, you go with 2, 3 or 4 pendants. I don't recommend 3 if the tank has a center brace.

Now you have additional considerations. LED lighting likes to go straight down. Depending on the arrangement of everything, this can leave you with dark corners or ends in the tank, and dark areas near the surface. This is on thing I don't like at all, and why I like multiple fixtures for the tank. Generally, I think you get better results with more, but lessor wattage fixtures. This can have a cost problem because two smaller wattage fixtures can often cost a lot more than one large wattage fixture.

You might be able to find lighting that will span a 6 foot tank, or build a canopy to do this, but I find this solution to be really awkward for working on the tank. Think about needing to remove it for major work. (grin)

Now it gets really tricky. There are a lot of good LED fixtures available both in pendants and strip lights. You need to make your selection based upon your budget, and what you want out of the lighting. You are also going to see lots of recommendations, mostly people recommending the fixture they bought. While I'm sure they love their lighting, for a lot of them, it's only the first or second LED lighting they ever bought, so they are not often objective.

At this point, I can tell you that I use two Current USA Satellite LED + PRO fixtures on my 90 gal (4 feet long) planted tank. I like the light I get, but I find the set up of the controller to be a real pain, and somewhat limited in function. If I were using them on a 6 foot tank, I'd use 4, 36 inch fixtures. This would have a downside. You would need to set up each fixture individually. If I were doinf this again, and money was no object, I think I'd go with EcoTech pendants or Kessil pendants. They would cost lots more, but they can be connected together and controlled from a single point.

Lastly, you can use the LED lighting made for reef systems, if you can dial back the blues, but this is a very expensive solution, and your paying for a lot of blue light you will not use. Shop carefully.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chadmanfoo View Post
Hi All

I am looking to upgrade my 3' to a 6' but am struggling to find LED lights to fit this length.

I am currently running a Finnex 24/7 and a Cheaper White/Blue LED strip, and am injecting pressurized Co2 on my 3' and get pretty good growth on everything except the dwarf grass carpet.

I would ideally like lighting which would fit a 6' length and would reach a depth of 24" to grow, at the very least, dwarf hair grass (although a setup that could grow HC would be preferable).

Is LED still the best option for a tank of this size? I am open to the idea of Metal Halide if this would be a better idea, but having a closed, raised, oak hood, ventilation could be an issue unless i install fans to blow the heat out the open back.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I want to get everything priced up before I pull the trigger and would like to get everything right on the first try to save pointless expense.
I'm also trying to light a 72" tank, and I'm going to be going with 2 "Standard Doubles" from Dustinsfishtanks.com. I've been watching his youtube channel for years, and he really knows his stuff. He also offers the "Blaster Series", which was designed for depths up to 30". I don't have the lights yet, but will be getting them when I set up my 120G in the spring.

Lights ? Dustin?s Fishtanks
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 12:59 PM
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Look into the green evo or possible the Ray2. You can use 4 of the 36" lights and get amazing lighting at 24" deep.

I personally enjoy CFL bulbs in shop lights if you can handle the bulk. I had excellent growth at 32" to substrate with mine in low tech. They can be painted to look nicer as well.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jellopuddinpop View Post
I'm also trying to light a 72" tank, and I'm going to be going with 2 "Standard Doubles" from Dustinsfishtanks.com. I've been watching his youtube channel for years, and he really knows his stuff. He also offers the "Blaster Series", which was designed for depths up to 30". I don't have the lights yet, but will be getting them when I set up my 120G in the spring.

Lights ? Dustin?s Fishtanks
I would be dubious to part with my money until I had seen some more reviews on these. The Kelvin rating seems a little low, although i have to admit, 2 x 72" would be better than 4 x 36" from a cost perspective. Could be an expensive mistake if they were no good however.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
When you get into tanks 72 inches long that are 24 inches deep you likely have a tank that is 18 or 24 inches wide. This is a lot of area to cover. You will also likely have a center brace on the tank.

With LED your going to have two general options. Use strip lighting, similar to what you have, or go with pendant lighting. If you have a center brace, you go with 4 to 6, 36 inch strip lights. If you go with pendants, you go with 2, 3 or 4 pendants. I don't recommend 3 if the tank has a center brace.

Now you have additional considerations. LED lighting likes to go straight down. Depending on the arrangement of everything, this can leave you with dark corners or ends in the tank, and dark areas near the surface. This is on thing I don't like at all, and why I like multiple fixtures for the tank. Generally, I think you get better results with more, but lessor wattage fixtures. This can have a cost problem because two smaller wattage fixtures can often cost a lot more than one large wattage fixture.

You might be able to find lighting that will span a 6 foot tank, or build a canopy to do this, but I find this solution to be really awkward for working on the tank. Think about needing to remove it for major work. (grin)

Now it gets really tricky. There are a lot of good LED fixtures available both in pendants and strip lights. You need to make your selection based upon your budget, and what you want out of the lighting. You are also going to see lots of recommendations, mostly people recommending the fixture they bought. While I'm sure they love their lighting, for a lot of them, it's only the first or second LED lighting they ever bought, so they are not often objective.

At this point, I can tell you that I use two Current USA Satellite LED + PRO fixtures on my 90 gal (4 feet long) planted tank. I like the light I get, but I find the set up of the controller to be a real pain, and somewhat limited in function. If I were using them on a 6 foot tank, I'd use 4, 36 inch fixtures. This would have a downside. You would need to set up each fixture individually. If I were doinf this again, and money was no object, I think I'd go with EcoTech pendants or Kessil pendants. They would cost lots more, but they can be connected together and controlled from a single point.

Lastly, you can use the LED lighting made for reef systems, if you can dial back the blues, but this is a very expensive solution, and your paying for a lot of blue light you will not use. Shop carefully.
Thanks DaveK. That is more information that i could have hoped for.

Since the tank will have a solid oak hood with about 4" clearance from the glass cover, i think the pendants are probably not going to work unless i sit them on the glass. I will probably need to go for 4 x 36" strips in that case. I intend to buy purpose built for a planted setup and just have them on a timer, so individual programming shouldn't be an issue.

With this in mind, would you personally recommend the Sat LED+ Pro? I was thinking about the Finnex Fugeray Planted+ since it incorporate the true red 660nm, but 4 of these would set me back around 500. I am willing to pay this if I am certain they will be sufficient.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 01-10-2017 at 01:48 PM. Reason: dupe post
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Chadmanfoo View Post
I would be dubious to part with my money until I had seen some more reviews on these. The Kelvin rating seems a little low, although i have to admit, 2 x 72" would be better than 4 x 36" from a cost perspective. Could be an expensive mistake if they were no good however.
Well, I'm going to be trying them out, so if you're still looking for lights in a couple of months, I'll be able to post a review!
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I'm going to be trying them out, so if you're still looking for lights in a couple of months, I'll be able to post a review!
That would be awesome. Thank you.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Chadmanfoo View Post
...
Thanks DaveK. That is more information that i could have hoped for.

Since the tank will have a solid oak hood with about 4" clearance from the glass cover, i think the pendants are probably not going to work unless i sit them on the glass. I will probably need to go for 4 x 36" strips in that case. I intend to buy purpose built for a planted setup and just have them on a timer, so individual programming shouldn't be an issue.

With this in mind, would you personally recommend the Sat LED+ Pro? I was thinking about the Finnex Fugeray Planted+ since it incorporate the true red 660nm, but 4 of these would set me back around 500. I am willing to pay this if I am certain they will be sufficient.
My first question is why not get rid of the hood or canopy? Personally, I think they are big, bulky and ugly. Consider a simple cover glass or screen to keep the fish in and the cats and kids out. Of course, this us very subjective.

I have used the Finnex Fugeray Planted+ on another tank. This was only a 20H. In my opinion it's good light, but totally lacks any type of control, it's either on or off. The Finnex FugeRay Planted+ 24/7 does have control functions, but I have never used this light, so I can't tell you how good it is.

As for the Current Satellite LED+ pro. I've had them awhile now, and I do get good light from them. I do feel they are a bit lacking in the control functions, in that you can't control multiple lights from one controller. You need to set up each one individually. This isn't too bad for the two I have, but you'd want at least 4 for what your looking at doing.

To be fair, I'm a bit spoiled here, because on my 125 gal reef system I have 4 AI Hydra 52 fixtures on a director. With that I can control everything from the browser on my computer, and dial in just about anything I want on any fixture. Great light but out of sight expensive.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
My first question is why not get rid of the hood or canopy? Personally, I think they are big, bulky and ugly. Consider a simple cover glass or screen to keep the fish in and the cats and kids out. Of course, this us very subjective.

I have used the Finnex Fugeray Planted+ on another tank. This was only a 20H. In my opinion it's good light, but totally lacks any type of control, it's either on or off. The Finnex FugeRay Planted+ 24/7 does have control functions, but I have never used this light, so I can't tell you how good it is.

As for the Current Satellite LED+ pro. I've had them awhile now, and I do get good light from them. I do feel they are a bit lacking in the control functions, in that you can't control multiple lights from one controller. You need to set up each one individually. This isn't too bad for the two I have, but you'd want at least 4 for what your looking at doing.

To be fair, I'm a bit spoiled here, because on my 125 gal reef system I have 4 AI Hydra 52 fixtures on a director. With that I can control everything from the browser on my computer, and dial in just about anything I want on any fixture. Great light but out of sight expensive.
Thanks for the info re lights. To give you some context, the aquarium i am looking at is https://fishkeeper.co.uk/product/aqu...cabinet-vxa031. The wife agreed on the condition that it was a nice piece of furniture also. I currently have https://fishkeeper.co.uk/product/aqu...abinet-aq110wr from the same range, and am happy with it, just want something bigger.

So taking your advice on board, I am now thinking about 2 or 4 x Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0. Not too cheap, but they look perfect for my needs. The reviews are great (except complaints about the touch power button) and it offers a fair amount of control via a wifi mobile app (as an optional extra). Any personal experience with this model? I have read a couple of independent reviews which state this puts out around 50 PAR on a glass covered tank at 21". If this is accurate, 2 of these should be sufficient.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 01:30 AM
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Thanks for the info re lights. To give you some context, the aquarium i am looking at is https://fishkeeper.co.uk/product/aqu...cabinet-vxa031. The wife agreed on the condition that it was a nice piece of furniture also. I currently have https://fishkeeper.co.uk/product/aqu...abinet-aq110wr from the same range, and am happy with it, just want something bigger.

So taking your advice on board, I am now thinking about 2 or 4 x Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0. Not too cheap, but they look perfect for my needs. The reviews are great (except complaints about the touch power button) and it offers a fair amount of control via a wifi mobile app (as an optional extra). Any personal experience with this model? I have read a couple of independent reviews which state this puts out around 50 PAR on a glass covered tank at 21". If this is accurate, 2 of these should be sufficient.
I would still contend that getting rid of the hood or canopy would make it look even better, but that's your choice.

The Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 fixture is a yet to be released product. My take on this is that I don't care how good or fantastic the claims are, I have no desire to purchase the product until it's been on the market awhile, about 6 months. New products have a way of being 30 days away from release for many months or even years. New products may have serious issues that need to be resolved. Wait and see, or get something available now. I will say that about 99% of the time, the "latest and greatest" product is better but not by that much.

As for getting away with 2 fixtures verses 4. No matter how bright the light is, your asking a lot of it to span width of 60cm (23.5 inches) with one fixture. You may get ok light on the bottom, but at the top, front and back will tend to look very dark. To some extent, this is a matter of personal preference and budget. Personally I can't stand these dark areas. You could however, try things with 2 fixtures and see how you like it. It's easy enough to add more later.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 01:55 AM
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You sound like you are in the same situation I am. I just did a review about my upgraded light on my 220 gallon tank. Might give you something to think about.

Review: SnakeEyes Quad LED 6500K 30" lights with Timers (VERY similar to Beamswork)
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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I would still contend that getting rid of the hood or canopy would make it look even better, but that's your choice.

The Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 fixture is a yet to be released product. My take on this is that I don't care how good or fantastic the claims are, I have no desire to purchase the product until it's been on the market awhile, about 6 months. New products have a way of being 30 days away from release for many months or even years. New products may have serious issues that need to be resolved. Wait and see, or get something available now. I will say that about 99% of the time, the "latest and greatest" product is better but not by that much.

As for getting away with 2 fixtures verses 4. No matter how bright the light is, your asking a lot of it to span width of 60cm (23.5 inches) with one fixture. You may get ok light on the bottom, but at the top, front and back will tend to look very dark. To some extent, this is a matter of personal preference and budget. Personally I can't stand these dark areas. You could however, try things with 2 fixtures and see how you like it. It's easy enough to add more later.
Fortunately the hood slides right off so i do have the option to experiment with both with and without.

It looks like the Fluval was released recently since there is immediate availability in most sites I have looked at. Looks like a great light but as you said, it has not been on the market too long so is a risk. Still, it does include a 3 year warranty which is more that most. With the aquarium, I will get 300 to spend on Fluval products (a current promotion they are doing). I will likely use this to get 2 of these lights since they will be free and use them with my existing lights until i can afford another pair. Ultimately though I agree that 4 strips will be necessary to avoid dark spots and ensure that plenty of light reaches the bottom. If it is too much light, not a problem since this model can be dimmed.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by justin-branam View Post
You sound like you are in the same situation I am. I just did a review about my upgraded light on my 220 gallon tank. Might give you something to think about.

Review: SnakeEyes Quad LED 6500K 30" lights with Timers (VERY similar to Beamswork)
Thanks for the link. Great review! It looks super bright compared to the 24/7. How are your plants finding it? Are you seeing much pearling and growth at substrate level?
It is very wide, but i wonder if you would get more spread with 2 x thinner strips placed near front and back.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 02:34 PM
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I have only had the lights for about 2 weeks now and have not received my CO2 system yet, so I can't really comment on the pearling. Plants are still adjusting to the brighter light.

As far as the light coverage goes they are wide enough to cover my entire tank without any dark spots. The lenses are convex and do a decent job of spreading the light. I only have them about 5 inches above the water level and they look good to me.
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