First-time poster and first-time aquarium owner - so please be gentle with me
Here's the deal:
I've just had a fish tank installed, approximately 45x95x90 cm (17x40x38 inches), which equals 180 litres, or roughly 40 Imperial gallons (48 US gallons).
On a quick side note, wouldn't it be great if we could all just use the same units?
The tank is in an internal wall, so is visible through both of the wide sides. I'm now getting round to looking at lights, and I plan to have live plants in there, but I'm feeling slightly bewildered with all the options available.
I was originally thinking of LEDs, as I like the low-energy and low-heat aspect of them, but having asked for advice from a plant supplier (tropica.com), they say they prefer T5s. Then again, looking on these forums, it seems that lots of people rate them quite highly.
I'm still quite keen on LEDs from the controllability point of view, and being able to simulate sunset, clouds, storms, etc, but having sent a request for information to aquariumledlighting.co.uk, the full setup they recommend (2 x 850cm white strips, 1 x 850cm blue and DTC1000 controller plus fixings and splitters) costs in the region of £600, which is waaaaay more than I was hoping to spend.
I've been looking around on the web to try and understand it all, but am no closer to figuring it out, despite learning more than I ever thought I'd want to know about lumens, watts, PARs and colour temperatures. I've also seen that there are a number of options for DIY kits, but I don't know what I'd need to get.
So I guess what I'm asking is:
1) Does the setup recommended above sound reasonable in terms of lighting capacity?
2) If so, is there anywhere that I could get the same thing cheaper? If not, what would be better?
I'd be happy to have a go at a DIY setup, but again, no experience in this field, so would need to know exactly what to get from all the options available.
If anyone can provide some easily understood advice - ideally a link to exactly what to buy
- that'd be much appreciated.