Opinions for T5HO fixture on 36G bowfront - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-10-2013, 07:01 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 74
Question Opinions for T5HO fixture on 36G bowfront

I'm going to be biting the bullet and upgrading my light fixture from the Current 2x65W PC fixture to a T5HO fixture. I'm striving for Medium light, as right now I am using DIY CO2. I'm thinking about the Catalina Solar T5 on the hinged legs, but for some reason I don't like the idea of 2x24" bulbs in a 30" fixture because of light distribution, the center brace in the tank blocking light, etc.

So I'm thinking if it would be a good idea to get the 36" fixture, black out the ends that extend past the tank. I planned on using one bulb, not both, as it would be too much light then. This way I was thinking I could have the option to run both bulbs should I upgrade to pressurized CO2 and high light. Would one 39W bulb be OK for medium light or would it really be better to have 2x24W in a 30" fixture, despite uneven light distribution and even less lighting because of the tank's center brace? Can I even use one bulb in the fixture?

I've tried researching people's results on their 36G Bowfront but I haven't read anything about someone using a 36" fixture for their 30" tank. Opinions?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-10-2013, 01:58 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: fl
Posts: 360
how about led? i have the aqueon modular 30inch and it is okay. you lose like 2 inches at the ends. I think it is low light. the finnex ray 2 have 30 inchs for like $100 which they didn't have when i bought my aqueon. it looks cool and looks like a good value.

i wouldn't do the 36 inches. i have a 36 led and tried it on my 30 inch bowfront and it just looked funny. the extra 3 inches on each side really bothered me

Last edited by chunkychun; 02-10-2013 at 02:47 PM. Reason: a
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-10-2013, 02:31 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: MASS
Posts: 388
Im looking for a 36" T5HO for my 40g. Im torn between 2 of the 36" current nova t5ho thats on sale at petsolutions for almost 50% off that will give me 4 watts per gallon and i can pull some bulbs out if its too much. But in your case they arent offering a freshwater 30". If it was me and i had a tank thats any higher that 20" I would go with a quad 30" fixture and just remove bulbs as you go. Fishneedit have some good prices on quad bulb setups. Or you could get a t5 from aquatrader but those are a last resort/low budget setups and come with all the same bulbs, no pinks or blues.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-10-2013, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Location: St. Louis, MO
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@Chunky: From what I've read the LEDs (buying a readymade fixture not DIY) don't give sufficient light for the deeper tanks, 20-21" water column. Maybe they're not Intended for planted tanks, just general lighting. I'm not handy enough to DIY my own led fixture else I probably would go there. Plus buying a ready made fixture it's great the LEDs last so long but then the fixture boils down to the parts and secure assembly, so if wiring goes faulty I wouldn't know how to fix it and would have spent $$$ for something I can't begin to tinker with. So t5 is the next best bet. Least the wiring is simple enough lol. However, you're right I've read good things about Finnex, but the reviews I've read were that the Ray2 gives off a high light range. I'd like to install whatever new fixture on feet (cannot hang off the ceiling) so the new light is going to be 4-5" off the surface of water. Maybe that is an option I can reconsider if I get a screen on top of the tank. Ideas to do a non-ghetto rigged screen for a bow front top?

@Drew: I've read that 2 T5HO is already high lighting for my tank, but I also think those experiences were based off larger tanks where the fixtures have bulbs that fit more of the fixture inside. A 24" bulb in a 30" fixture just seems like a rip-off. I see your idea on a quad 30" fixture, but that costs $$$ empty space, an aluminum air-filled box! Plus, wouldn't the light distribution be off on the ends of the tank? That's why I thought to get a 36" fixture, light from end to end.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-10-2013, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 74
@Chunky: so I just reviewed the Ray2 and found the 24" fixture has the same number of LEDs as the 30" fixture :: Are all 30" tanks the stepchildren of fish tanks?
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