36g Bow Lighting Suggestions? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-25-2013, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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36g Bow Lighting Suggestions?

I just got a 36g Bow front and i'm looking for some good lights. It's 20" deep without substrate so it will probably be around 18" after I put down the substrate.

This is my first big tank so I won't be using any CO2 for the first year or so. I want to get used to the basics before I invest in a more expensive system. I figured my best route for no CO2 would be a low-med light tank.

I've read up on the PAR values and looked at some different lights. Right now i'm leaning towards the LED's since they are very efficent, last forever, and have good PAR values.

In particular I was looking at the Fugeray or the Ray2. Obviously the Ray 2 offers more light, but I wasn't sure if it would be too much light without CO2, or if it would be alright. Also there doesn't seem to be a 30" Ray 2, so I would have to go with the shorter 24" which might mean the corners of my tank would be dark.

If anyone could offer me any suggestions or advice I would appreciate it. I don't want to spent a decent amount of money on a set-up and then have it either not be enough light or end up with me fighting constant algae blooms.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 04:00 AM
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I've got to follow this thread. I posted on here asking about lighting for my 36g bowfront and had no real results. Currently I'm using a 2x65w pc fixture. From what I gather, the ray2 is too much light and the fugeray isn't enough. For the most part, LEDs cant give decent par at the depths of our tanks. i have 21" to the substrate on my tank.

Have you thought about th5ho? After what I've read, I called Catalina and they can make a dual light t5ho 2x24" in a 30" fixture with separate ballasts(since they tend to be built to be operataed in pairs only). That way I can run one light for med light, and when I do go pressurized down the road I can then run both lights.

Hopefully others with experience with 36g bowfronts can chime in!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 04:41 AM
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I have the fugray 30 and I'm Pretty happy with it. It is just right for low light in my 36 gal tank . I just got it so I'm not sure how my plant s like it. I wouldn't get shorter or longer light. I know 30 is less common but it just look s bad when it does not fit. I would get fugray and if you want to do high tech later j just buy one more. Also it is the best value IMHO. If you buy t5 you will replace bulbs in a year and it ads up.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I'm leaning towards the fugray over the Ray-2 since I can always add a second fugray in the future. I can live with slow growing plants if the light isn't quite high enough, but I can't deal with the plants burning up their nutrients and CO2 and have them dying due to too much light.

One possible option is to rig up some sort of diffuser below the ray-2 to soften the center light but still get decent light off center for the rest of the tank. I'd have to figure out what would work.

I also saw that the PAR values for those lights is given only through air. Does water usually raise or lower the par values? I figure it will probably average lower, but raise it in certain areas where you get some focusing.

Another concern is that I have a glass cover. Most glass is about 5-10% absorbing with higher absorbance in the UV (blue) area of the spectrum. If I can get some data about how much standard aquarium glass affects the PAR values I might end up using the Ray-2 since I suspect i'll lose about 10% overall PAR due to the glass, but I need some data on that first.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 01:18 PM
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When I first got my 36G bow I was using the 30" Coralife dual T5NO fixture. I was pretty good and provided adequate light for a low-tech set-up. Replacing the bulbs regularly was a PITA though.

About 6 months or so ago I decided to give CO2 and EI dosing a try so I switched to a 24" Ray2. I had some flow issues that caused algae outbreaks in one section of the tank, but the light did it's job. I tried several medium light plant and had no issues. I was even able to maintain 1 species that is for high light, but it was only happy when centered right under the fixture.

The spread on the Ray2 is good and there will not be dark corners in the tank even though the fixture is only 24" wide. If you are growing tall plants on the far sides, however, they will not get light at the top of the stems but that's just common sense really.

I had originally thought that I couldn't use this fixture without CO2 without creating an algae farm, but I not sure that is correct. I shut off my gas and stopped the ferts a couple weeks ago (I'm switching back to low-tech) and so far I've not noticed anything more than the small amount I had before. I will be switching to a lower powered Current Freshwater+ fixture though so that I can have the light on for a much longer duration and have some control over the output color. Hopefully it will still be enough to grow some crypts and some lower light hygro species.

If I were doing the high-tech thing again I would probably get two of the 30" Fugerays. This would allow a lot of flexibility with the timing of the lights. Also since they are full tank width you could ditch the canopy if you wanted.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 03:45 PM
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The 36 bow in my signature has a single 30" fugeray on it, right on the glass top (no feet). check out the pics. I sometimes feel like just a little bit more would be nice, but I've never had an algae issue in this tank and I don't have to inject co2, so I am very pleased!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-29-2013, 04:46 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jbrady33 View Post
The 36 bow in my signature has a single 30" fugeray on it, right on the glass top (no feet). check out the pics. I sometimes feel like just a little bit more would be nice, but I've never had an algae issue in this tank and I don't have to inject co2, so I am very pleased!
Well after looking at your tank I'm pretty much sold on the fugray 30". You pretty much did exactly what I want to do and it looks great.
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