How much light is good? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-22-2003, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 112
How much light is good and what kind of bulbs should I be using for my new 55g plant tank (with fish). Right now I have 2 20 watts (that came with the tank) do I need more watts? And if I do ...... do I have to buy them for the LFS or can I get them from Home Depot???
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-22-2003, 12:29 PM
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Location: Portland Orygun
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You need a lot more watts. 40 watts on a 55 gallon tank is not going to grow much of anything. At a minimum what you want to do is dump the canopies you have on the 55 and get a standard glass canopy. Then get at least one good shop light and put some 5000k-6500k bulbs in it. You can get the shop light and bulbs at Home Depot. You might even want to get two shop lights. Or if you really want some good light at a higher cost go to and get a 2 x 55 watt upgrade kit and a couple of bulbs.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-22-2003, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 112
I plan on building the DIY canapoy any good sites out there with a good easy way to build it? I checked out that site looks great but I live in Canada so Its a little to much for me to spend right now but thanks a million anyway.!!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-26-2003, 07:23 PM
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Location: Victoria,British Columbia, Canada
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There are a couple of ways you can do this. A "standard" 55 is 4 feet long by 12" wide. You can fit a pair of 2 x 40 watt strip lights above the tank (giving you a total of 4 x 40 watts = 160 watts) . This would be the cheapeast way to go. Usually those fixtures cost between $20-$30 Canadian (from Canadian Tire or Home Depot). The disadvantage being weight and size though.

You can also buy your ballast(s) and end clips from Home Depot and make your own lighting solution to fit inside your canopy. This is probably even cheaper then buying striplights, but it is more difficult and you will have to do the wiring yourself.

Building the canopy is fairly simple, there are many many designs floating around on the net that you can use. You can assemble it from plywood (I use cabinetry grade plywood for most of my own stuff), pine planks, anything really.

I actually have a design for a canopy and stand for a 45 gallon tank on my website that I did up. It should work just fine for a 55 gallon.
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