Noob lighting/hood question - The Planted Tank Forum

 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Noob lighting/hood question

Hey guys, I'm starting up an aquarium again and have decided on a planted tank over an African cichlid. I was able to pick up a 50g tall for a really REALLY good price. It came with everything for a salt water set-up and everything works great, the only problem is the custom hood is ugly and the wifey won't have it. It being an older tank, I having problems finding a hood to fit it.

What do you guys think of an open top tank for someone new to planted tanks? I know I can buy the 36" fixtures that attach to the sides. This will also give me better options when it comes to bulb selection. But with it being open won't there be more evaporation? I'm also concerned about fish jumping out.

Any advice is appreciated.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 03:11 PM
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I think an open top tank would be better for a new planted tank owner since you'd be fiddling with placement all the time. That hood will get bothersome over time while you're constantly moving things around. Evaporation will be faster but a top off ever other day shouldn't be that bad.

As far as fish jumping out, it depends on what kind of livestock you get. There are some that are jumpy and freaks out when someone gets close to the tank and surprises them. Then there are some that are just plain dumb and end up on the carpet while horsing around with the other fish. I think they play dare... see who can jump the highest.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Open top would solve that problem for sure. The plan is to sell off the reef lighting. It came with two coralife ballasts running two 20" florescents and a metal halide. I would think I could enough to buy the new fixture. What do you think...I have zero knowledge about aquarium lighting.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 03:48 PM
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Have a look at this thread for some general idea on what kind of lighting you want. Once you figure out how much lighting you want then time to shop around for light fixtures. The only tip I can give you is don't go crazy on lighting period. As much as we want to view the aquarium all lighted for 12 hours a day, that's how you get overrun with algae the first few weeks of setup. Start of with 5 or 6 hours and work your way up as the tank matures.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 05:05 PM
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Open top is the way to go, for one reason above all others: it looks great. Non-aquarium people are always blown away by it. Kids love watching the fish eath. You will love seeing your plants from a different view. And finally, maintenance becomes much less of a chore--you are much more likely to make little trims and tweaks because it's so easy.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 06:48 PM
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Another advantage of an open top tank is that it almost forces you to hang the light above the tank, so you might as well think in terms of having the light a foot or higher above the tank. That greatly reduces the light intensity near the top of the water, so algae problems will not be nearly as bad as with a light sitting on top of the tank.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 09:26 PM
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i can agree that open tops look better
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, my wife will not go for a hanging fixture...sigh.

I think one of the fixtures with the mounting legs will Be the way I go. So, a 36" fixture with two T5HO's should suffice right?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Oh wait, My tank is 17" tall and assume the fixture will rest about 4" above the tank so according to the chart one T%HO will work and give me medium light. Please correct me if I'm wrong as I don't want an algea farm.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chansman View Post
Yeah, my wife will not go for a hanging fixture...sigh.
Does her opposition cover both a fixture hanging from the ceiling AND a fixture hanging from the L-shaped supports that many people on this forum use? Show her some pictures of Amano's open-tank-suspended-light setups and you might change her mind. My wife, who is no pushover, just loves our living room "show" tank, especially its openness.

You could DIY a nice hanging hood. With apologies for continually plugging my own approaches, here is what I did. You need not get fancy--just make a wooden box with flared sides, paint it flat black, and mount your T5s inside. Even those TEK fixtures look nice to my eye.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 05:01 PM
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With T5HO lights you need to look at the reflectors to see if they are the very good ones used on more expensive lights, fair ones used on many inexpensive lights, or very poor ones used on some lights. That reflector makes a big difference in how much light you will get. Also, some really cheap T5HO lights don't use good ballasts, and end up driving the bulbs a reduced wattage, further reducing the amount of light you get.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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She would never EVER go with a hanging fixture. I'll have to look up some of the wall mounted ones. It's in my office and has to look nice. I wish I had your wood working ability...you are the man!

I was looking at one of these for my fixture:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...m?pcatid=23753

It's expandable, which is cool.
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