Tank is 36" long w/ a stock t8 30w bulb. I have a duel t5ho light that's only 30" long w/ 48 total watts. Would this be good enough for a low tech setup if I suspended the fixture to light the whole tank since the bulbs are really only 22" long?
I think you will be fine I have a 36" T5HO dual bulb and a single T8 on my 46 bowfront right above the water and it only puts me in the low medium light range so I think you would be ok with that fixture raised slightly to keep it low tech until you can afford what you want.
I have the exact same setup as hippie. I have the T8 and CO2 come on about an hour before the other lights to give that "sunrise" feeling, and have them shut off about an hour apart as well. Seems to work fine.
Should add I have a melon sword, java fern, vals, rotala, hydro poly, and even dwarf sag that all grow crazy. I'm trimming weekly with this set up (dose GA ferts daily and do 30% water changes weekly.)
I run CO2 but my lights cover pretty much the whole surface of the tank except the bow you should be ok if you raise the 30" fixture to stay low tech you already have around 15" to the substrate from the top of tank so if you raise another 5" that should keep you in the low to low medium light range and you can stay low tech.