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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-31-2006, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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shop-lights?

I currently have simple 10 gallon with 2 of those long compact bulbs. It comes out to 2 wpg, but I am sure the math is not the same for this sort of set up. I have java ferns and anubias growing fine in Schultz aquatic soil. It is this level of maintenance I am currently accustomed to, but I am willing to branch out, relatively.

In the near future, I am meaning to get a larger setup, probably a 55 gallon. As far as lighting goes, I have a few options in mind. I could go to walmart and get two hanging shop-lights, this would provide 160 watts of fluorescent light at a very sensible cost. I could also go on ebay and get a power compact setup, or even ahsupply, but the cost would go up from there.

My question is; what kind of implications go with each lighting category? The shop-lights would give 2.9 wpg, and the pc lights would give comparable. What wpg ratings call for co2, fertilization (apart from substrate), and the other higher maintenance matters? Also, what are the lighting category cut offs, what is considered low, low-medium, medium, etc? will most lower light plants also do okay in higher light tanks, (I know anubias will need shade.), can I grow a low light plant in a medium light tank?

I am leaning toward the shop-lights. Is anyone familiar with the hanging shop-light setup. Any pictures, stories, suggestions, comments? Where would this put me in the way of co2 and ferts? I could always just use one shop-light, that would give 80 watts over a 55.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 01:56 AM
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The shop lights don't do that good of a job of lighting the tank. If you set them directly on top of the tank they will do a bit better. But if you hang them over the tank you will lose a lot of light. By their very design they are designed to light up shops, hence the name. That means they diffuse light over a large area.

You would get much more usable light over a 55 with an AH Supply 2x55 watt kit.

Anubias will do just fine in high lights tanks. And they don't need shade. Even if you have 220 watts of AH Supply lights over the tank you are only reaching the equivalent of light shade on a cloudy day in the tropics.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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so, if i hang the lights a few inches over the glass top, i'll lose a lot of light? well, i'll certainly not put the bulbs on the glass, that would be dangerous.

if i get a kit from ahsupply, will it contain everything i need for mounting and looking okay?

is the light quality better with compact fluorescents?

///

what if i build a sort of canopy and installed ahsupply's reflector, would that salvage enough light to make it worth it?
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
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rex,

i just read your response to a similar problem.

money thrown at a problem does not fix it.

are ahsupply lights comparable to the coralife pc lights on ebay?
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
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oh, and when do i need to worry about co2 and ferts? in terms of wpg?
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 04:15 AM
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AH Supply kits are superior to Coralife fixtures.

On a tank in the 20-75 gallon range you need CO2 if you go over 2.5 wpg. But it always helps.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 04:35 AM
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AH Supply's website tells how to make suitable canopy, or you can order one of their design canopies already made. The AHS kits contain everything you need to install the kit in any canopy, with extra parts for virtually any problem you run up against. In my opinion, those kits are well worth the price, a bargain, in fact.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 04:38 AM
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Coralife fixtures are still good if your not into DIY


DIY Electric Shut-Off Valve ........... DIY Fluval Edge Light Mod
............................My Current Aquarium............................
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjimmyjames
oh, and when do i need to worry about co2 and ferts? in terms of wpg?
If you stick with staying under 2wpg, then you could go with a low tech solution requiring no CO2. You will still need ferts. Unfortunately, the plants will grow slow compared to a high lighted (3-4wpg) and CO2.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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i went to ahsupply's site, they look big. are they too big to set on the glass top of a 55 gallon? do they have to go into a canopy? 55's are only like 13 inches deep. or can it have the sort of mounting legs you see on other brands.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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okay, it says 4 inches wide. gotcha
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 01:50 PM
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Understand that what AH Supply sells are kits. And enclosures. And that ALL the measurements are on the site.

A reflector for a 55 watt kit measures 22"L x 4"W x 2"H.

A finished enclosure for a 55 gallon tank measures 48.25"L x 9.75"W x 3.45"H.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-01-2006, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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that ahsupply set up is looking pretty sweet. if i have a 55 gallon with 2 55bulbs, = 2wpg, will i be able to grow medium light plants?
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-02-2006, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjimmyjames
that ahsupply set up is looking pretty sweet. if i have a 55 gallon with 2 55bulbs, = 2wpg, will i be able to grow medium light plants?
Using the AH supply kit gives you more light thanks to the efficient reflector design. You should be able to grow more than just medium light plants. I would say you could grow most anything.

If you decide on that setup you will definitely want to supplement with CO2, at the very least with a couple DIY generators going at the same time.

In the D.C., Maryland, or NOVA area? Come check out The Greater Washington Aquatic Plants Association! www.gwapa.org
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-02-2006, 07:25 PM
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To say that the AH Supply 2x55 watt kit will put out less than a 4x40 shop light kit is sort of like saying "I have a car with 500 hp and you have a car with 160 hp, so therefore my car is faster". It completely ignores the car's weight (old caddy vs. Lotus Elan), efficiency of the engines, transmission gearing, etc. Lots of stuff goes into getting usable light to the plants and simply using "wattage" doesn't completely cover it. It misses out on light restrike, reflectors, ballast efficiency, etc.

The AH Supply kits are also more flexible down the road. You can put them in a 2' tank, 4' tank, 6' tank, etc. while you would have to ditch the 4' lights for a 2', 3' or have dark spots in a 6' tank.

I don't work for them, but I've made lots of lighting set-ups, and I've always regretted not using AH Supply on those that I've really DIY'ed (Home Depot set-ups).
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