Well, I've been rolling this one around for a bit, and I thought I'd toss it out to see what everyone else thought.
The questions I ask are:
A) 160, 200, combo thereof, forget it you need 220 minimum?
B) Simple or WOW
C) Are you thinking "What are you waiting for dude, go for 'WOW', it is a good plan!"
Yes or No answers are permitted for C.
I'm getting ready to set up my 'new' 75 gallon tank and the lighting system is holding me back.
I don't want to use the two 96 watt PC's that are over the 30 gallon tanks I'm displacing, because of the expected uneven distribution of the light they would produce in a 75 gallon tank.
So I was looking at getting four 55 watt PC's but I don't want to sink $200 into the lights at this moment.
Then I was thinking: I have the spectral aluminum reflector material that I got from HelloLights on clearance (not ’the best’ but pretty good.) I have enough reflector material (both long and wide enough) to fit two 48 inch NO fixtures giving me 160 watts over the tank, with daylight bulbs for a grand total outlay needed of $50.00. If I wanted I could get a third fixture with one bulb and jump it up to 200 watts for another $20.
Going to Grainger, or the like, and getting the hardware and bulbs for a T-5 set up would be as much as the 4x55 watt PC option.
The 'WOW' Factor
, I was thinking I could put the fixtures on three separate timers. I'd put the two bulb fixtures on each for 9 hours starting 2 hours apart,(one on at 8 the other on at 10) with the center single bulb unit on for 3 hours in the middle of the day. It'd be 80 watts for 2 hours, 160 watts for 2 hours, 200 watts for 3, 160 watts for 2, and 80 watts for 2 hours. I doubt there is a biological benefit to this but the 'WOW'
factor is fun sometimes.
Add another $30 to do the fancy wiring and timers.
The K.I.S.S. Factor
I am just having fun at this point with the idea. The wiring would be much simpler to just set up for one set of lights going to a single timer, and less costly.
But, DIY is not just for simple it is also for making what you can't buy for a reasonable cost. Right?
Answers to questions you might pose:
soil substrate under, chick grit in the back and moon sand in the front
crypts that are too tall for my 30's and anubius on drift wood, lots of drift wood
possibly stem plants but only if they like this light level
CO2: Yes, will be injected.
Fish: Whatever I get, I'm gonna have them for the next 5 or 6 years, as my fish just don't seem to die much once they settle in.
The Fitchfamily Amano-culator says 168 watts for a 75.
You know this will be the typical Sean set up, only laid out nicely to start with so it can grow
into a jungle.
Side benefit, by keeping the 96 watt PC out of this mix I can rack up the 30's and have 'high light' grow out tanks. Wife even ok'ed this one.