2x36 enough for 30g cube? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-29-2006, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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2x36 enough for 30g cube?

Just picked up this cutie from Petsmart where it was on sale!
I have it all planned out except for the lights. It's being a pain in the butt because the cube is only 20.5" across.

Halides are out of the question because of price and hot lamps hanging from ceiling (and open top tanks!) are too dangerous around my equally hot-tempered cockatiel. I considered the coralife 96w quad fixture , but I am hesitant because of all the bad reviews.

AHSupply 2x36 watt is often recommended for these 30 cubes and I already know that their products are quality. The problem is that 72 watts is only 2.4 wpg on the cube and I don't want to be limited in what I can grow. I don't think I have any really high light plants, hairgrass, A.Reineckii, Ludwigia Cuba, for example.

So is 2.4wpg decent on a 30 gallon or should I go with 3x36? I only worry because although 2x36 seems low, 3x36 seems a bit high at 3.6wpg. Gah, I've been debating this for three days now and I just can't decide how to light it!


75 gallon Angelfish tank - 3WPG - Rena XP3 - 100% Flourite - Pressurized CO2 - Reactor 1000 - SMS122 PH Controller
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-29-2006, 05:29 AM
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AH reflectors are very efficient, so 2x36 should be adequate for many plants. You could always go with 3x36, but use 3 separate ballasts and timers, then mimic a 'day' with all three only on for a few hours in the middle of the photo period.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-29-2006, 11:05 PM
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I just bought a Current USA Orbit 20" 2 x 40 Watt Power Compact Strip Light W/Lunar Light for my 30 cube. It is on sale on the drsfostersmith site for $99.99 + $16.49 for the dual daylight lamp you will need to buy to replace the dual actinic lamp. That is a total of $116.48 for 80 watts and a lunar light (for fun). Plus the lamps are on three different cords so you can do the rising/setting/midday sun thing if you choose.

You could go with AH which would be $62.99 + DIY Hood + @$40.00 for bulbs = 102.99 for 72 watts, no lunar light, and you have to build a hood.

So I chose the Orbit. I didn't want the Quad lamp from Coralife because I didn't like the bulb. The Orbit has not arrived yet so I can't tell you much more about it. But you can look at some of the threads I posted...


I currently have a 110 AH Supply on my 29 gal and it is a TON of light. The Orbit is supposed to have similar reflectors to the AH - even says "german made reflectors" in one of the descriptions I've read on the Orbits. Wonder if they are the same German company as AH's reflectors?

Hope this helps.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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fishunderpants, I did actually read your 30g cube thread when I was trying to decide what to do myself!

I had forgotten that your third option besides AHSupply and Coralife quad was the CurrentUSA Orbit. I only worry that since the cube is 18.5" deep and the orbit fixture is only (I estimate) ~7", there will be dark spot in the front/back.

I'll definitely look into it, though! When yours arrives let me know how it works out for you.


75 gallon Angelfish tank - 3WPG - Rena XP3 - 100% Flourite - Pressurized CO2 - Reactor 1000 - SMS122 PH Controller
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-30-2006, 08:12 PM
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I'm running 4x 65 watts Jebo Odyssea on my 80 gallon tank. I think Odyssea is Coralite but not sure. Anyways I'm getting about 3.5 watts per gallon (260/75) because I subract the volume taken up by substrate etc...

Another thing to think about is getting a piece of plexi glass cut that will fit over your tank... This way the glass will provide a great cover but the clarity for a MH fixture. You could even use chicken wire if you wanted to keep it cheap. My chiropractor has that setup in his office and it works great!

----------------Current Equipment-------------------
80 Gallons
Fluval FX5
4x 65w Power Compact by Odyssea
2x 200 Watt Submersible Heaters
900w UPS
Greg Watson Ferts
15 ml. Flourish Excel daily (keeps BBA away)
25 lb. Pressurized CO2
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-31-2006, 03:26 AM
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The Orbit arrived today. I setup my tank with substrate and water tonight. You are right, the Orbit is not wide enough to cover the whole top. You could probably fit two on the top. I put the legs on mine at first, but then decided just to lay it on the glass top. It actually came with little 1/4 inch rubber feet that fit perfectly on the lip of the tank. Right now it is hard to judge because I have one daylight and one actinic bulb. I ordered the wrong size daylight to replace the actinic, but I have ordered the right size. When the correct bulb comes in I will put it on and see how much light I get. So far it looks really good. Also it came with two lunar lights, not the one lunar light the descriptions state. Construction looks good. The fan is noticable but I wouldn't consider it annoying. It may take a little getting used to depending on how sensitive you are to that sort of thing. The tank is in my living room close to where I sit to watch TV. I can hear the fan in the background of the TV noise. I asked my wife and she said that she wasn't annoyed.

I saw a Coralife Quad at a local pet shop. It is smaller than I thought it would be. It actually has a really slim profile compared to the arched Orbit. I think it was similar in width to the Orbit. I'm glad I picked the Orbit over the Coralife Quad light. So I would really suggest the Orbit or AH supply depending on how much work you want to put into it. It did feel good to slide the Orbit out of the box, take off the protecting styrofoam, plug the bulbs in, plug the cords in, then flip the switch and Viola light!

Good luck with your decision. Please post what you finally decide. Maybe we can share cube experiences.
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