Lighting noob - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Lighting noob

So I'm trying to decide between baby tears or hair grass for carpeting. Tank size is 40 gal breeder, and a 20 gal long. I have no clue what lighting is necessary for either plant. I'm going to use Eco complete for substrate, as I have had good luck in the past with it. Also a pressurized co2 system from GLA. Is the lighting for both plants the same or is one more demanding then the other. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 07:22 PM
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Being fairly new myself, most of my reading on the subject seems to say that hairgrass is easier then baby tears (needs more CO2, which as I have Excel and not pressurized was an concern for me). I have had success with the dwarf hairgrass and I may try some baby tears in the future.

What lighting do you have already? Or are you planning to purchase some?

Personally, I would go with Dwarf Hairgrass Bellem if you can find it - I've been reading great things about it staying at about 2" tall and making a great foreground plant.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 10:22 PM
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I have a 29 g and bought a 30 inch Catalina dual t5ho light. That would give you high light and require CO2 but would grow HC and DHG very well in your 20g....I am planning on HC in my 29. Not sure about how deep a 40b is but its 36 inches long so there are lots of t5ho lighting options at that length but you might need 4 bulb to cover the width of that tank.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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If my tank comes with a hood and lights, am I ok to just replace the bulbs to a higher output. Instead of spending $100 on a whole new lighting setup
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 03:09 PM
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It depends what lights it came with - for example if you put a T5HO (High Output) in a T5NO (normal output) you won't get the benefits of increased light.

What lights did your tank come with?

You can always look at the DIY route for lights as well - it can be done very cheap.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Lighting just says 36" flurosecent lighting fixture
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 03:24 PM
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My guess is that you have a generic T8 fluorescent fish tank light - no good for plants. If you are going to add pressurized CO2 you are going to need some decent light or you will just be wasting your money. Are you willing to do a little DIY to save the money, or would you rather just pay for a complete light package?
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 03:32 PM
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andrew q, if you want you can hang some work lights with 6500 cfls . Also check out ken's fish need it t5hos. They were having a sale.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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I was planning on buying a separate lighting system. I just thought that since tank came with one already would it be cheaper to just replace bulbs. Also the tank comes with a glass top. Do I need to remove top so plants cant full lighting. Or will the lights go through the glass?

Last edited by andrewq; 06-20-2013 at 03:51 PM. Reason: missing info
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 04:25 PM
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The light swill go through the glass with negligible loss. Especially if your lights are not enclosed you want to keep the glass there to prevent water (condensation/splashing) from getting onto the bulbs/sockets.

I can't recommend a commercial light to buy, I've always made my own as they are too expensive for my taste. Someone else I'm sure can point you to a good one.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-10-2013, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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Is there any difference between purchasing shop lights from lets say lowes or home depot vs buying lights specifically for fish tanks? Besides the price? Im looking for 36in T5 lights
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-10-2013, 01:24 PM
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If they sold the same model then no it wouldn't matter obviously.

In practice, you need to look at the quality of the reflector and the temperature rating of the bulb - which you need to do at the fish shop just as well as lowes or home depot too. Just because the fish store carries it doesn't mean it's a good one - look at people reviews of what you are looking at buying and see if anyone has looked at it before.

Home depot carries one that I see recommended a lot on here - I believe it's called a diamond edge shop light or something - perhaps someone who has used it can recommend it - I make my lighting using CFL's so I am not sure.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 07-10-2013 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-10-2013, 01:59 PM
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Andrew, it sounds like you bought the combo at petsmart for $2 a gallon. I bought a 40 gallon breeder as well and I havent even taken the light out of the box because I will not use it. It is useless for plants and you cannot simply swap the bulb. You will need to upgrade to better lighting.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-10-2013, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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I did find some shoplights for homedepot. Lithonia Lighting 3-Light Suspended Black Diamond Plate Fluorescent Shop Light. The lighting temperature as listed is 4100K, and is also T8. With 3 lights would this be ok for a dwarf hairgrass carpet?

Also yes I did get the 40breeder from petsmart. I am using the factory light that came with the tank. I am only growing swords right now, and they seem to be doing fine. I will definetly upgrade the lights within a week or so.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-20-2013, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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So i've been researching my options, and I like the way clip on lights look on a tank. I was think maybe 2 or 3 lamps. Then replacing bulbs with CFL 23watt/6500k. Would this me sufficient lighting for different types of plants?
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