Upgrading lights on 38 gal (36x12x19) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 06:47 AM Thread Starter
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Upgrading lights on 38 gal (36x12x19)

Hello everyone, I was just looking for some opinions on upgrading my lights on my 38 gallon (36x12x19)

Currently I have a DIY hood with 2 x 24 inch AH Supply PC lights (with 50:50 6700:10k bulbs) which are working great.

They are raised 2-3 inches above the tank but they are staggered like:


- no bulb
= bulb

This provides me the exact lighting that i'm looking for, and I have no algae issues.

However, the staggered layout means that my fixture is about 9 inches wide, and on a 12 inch tank it blocks most of the top.

I was looking into 3 options:
1- catalina 36" x 2 bulb fixture
2- Finnex Ray 2 x2
3- DIY led

What I'm thinking about each of these options:

Catalina - good price, I've never had a t5ho fixture but i imagine i'd like them like my AHSupply lighting. They are a little skinnier, but would this provide higher lighting? ie would i be able to raise them higher than my current fixture to achieve the same light

Finnex Ray 2 - I have the 24" fixture on my 20H and I really like the fixture, but I have pistia sp and would most likely need 2 fixtures to match my current lighting

DIY led - I have the materials to make a 35" fixture, 20 xp-g crees, 60 deg optics, but I have some cold feet switching my tank over to LEDs and having to make something aesthetically pleasing for my living room

I know that the 60 degree optics should provide adequate lighting and I have the option to dim... but I'm worried about spotlighting my floaters

So to summarize: I like the catalina because I can switch bulb types to have some control over color temp, the finnex ray 2 because they are beautiful but two fixtures would be in my upper price range, and the DIY would be a lot of work

Thanks if you read my babble, and many thanks for any feedback!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 03:53 PM
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What is so bad about the fixture blocking the top? If you get a slimmer fixture, the very front and very back might not be as evenly lit as now.

Is this an open top tank that you want to observe from above?
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-13-2012, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Yes it is an open tank, with essentially a wooden rectangle holding the lights that is propped up on 1.5 inch legs above the tank, I would like something that I could raise up higher (~6 inches) and receive similar lighting and be able to observe the floaters better
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