Help with lights! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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Help with lights!

Hi All! I have a 29 gallon that I'm going to be cycling soon. It measures 30L x 12.25W x 18.75H it came with a stock light that I've heard will not grow much. (Except algae) Can someone PLEASE help me with a correct light. I'd like to grow low to medium light plants, I DO NOT want to dose co2 and I will use fertilizers and whatever else I need. I've done a lot of reading about the wattage, Kelvin rating, diff types of bulbs, T5 T8 NO HO and I just can't grasp it. I've thought about giving up with live plants and going with silk ones but I'd really love to have live plants. I'm at a loss and would like any input please. Thank you so much!!!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 08:25 PM
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Just my personal experience, but with my lower light, no CO2 tanks, I have had better luck with t5no's. I have two Aqueon t5no fixtures over my 28 gallon tank. It is an odd shaped tank, and I have two 24" fixtures, for a total of four 14 watt bulbs with 56 watts total. I space the two fixtures a few inches apart, with one fixture at the front and one at the rear. They are resting directly on the rim of the tank, with a glass canopy. These fixtures are very small and lightweight.

I also have a stock sized 29 gallon (30" long), with a t5ho light fixture on it (dual bulb), so a total of 48 watts. I have had to diffuse the intensity of the light to prevent algae.

I use Excel daily, and dose with Flourish Comprehensive at a half dose, once per week. Dosing would depend on your fish load.

I hope this helps.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input Touch! Do you think that one t5 NO fixture would be enough? I saw a t5 HO with 2 bulbs one I could do a 10000k bulb and the other a blue bulb? Which do you think would be better?
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 10:11 PM
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T5HO will require co2.

NO will not, could also use a dual t8 fixture.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Holy :-) what is the difference between T5NO and a T8? What size or type bulb PS would I get foe either? I'm sorry I'm so ignorant about this.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 10:53 PM
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T5 bulbs are smaller diameter and slightly more efficient, though T8 are easier to find locally. I just went through this and ended up buying the Aqueon Duel T5 off Amazon for my 29G. The 30" T8 fixtures that I was looking at were actually more expensive than T5NO and the bulbs were only 24” long. The Aqueon 30” fixture has a bulb that runs the full length of the fixture, which avoids dark areas on the sides of the tank.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 10:55 PM
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I have a t5ho fixture over a 29 gallon and I am not using CO2, but am using Excel. I do diffuse the light, though, so it isn't full strength. I only run the light for 8 hours per day.

The problem with the Aqueon t5no fixture is that it is very narrow, so I would think to get good coverage, you should use two fixtures spaced a few inches apart. Maybe if you used a glass canopy, you could use your existing light, plus one t5no fixture resting on the rim of the tank. It all depends on what you are planning on growing.

I don't use T8's, so I don't have any experience with those bulbs.

The T means tubular, and the number is the diameter of the bulb. A T12 is the old fashioned fluorescent tube which is 1 1/2 inches, a T8 is 1 inch, and a T5 is 5/8" in diameter. The NO stands for normal output and HO stands for high output. You get more light for less watts from HO's as opposed to NO's.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for explaining guys, I understand what was explained...whew! ,Touch by diffusing the light do you just use floating plants? John, I'm sure this is a silly question. I looked at the t5 on amazon and just wondering, does that fixture just sit on top of the tank in place of my current hood? I didn't see any legs for it?
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 12:51 AM
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A t5no and a t8 will put out about the same amount of par, but the NO's won't light up as much of an area and be more intense directly under the bulb then a t8.

The problem with the 30" aqueon/coralife(same brand, aqueon bought coralife) fixtures that use 30" bulbs is that they are the only manufacturer of the 30" bulbs, so you won't really be able to change spectrums if you ever want to, and if they ever decide to stop making them, you're screwed and have to buy a new fixture anyways.

I've ran 24" HO's(2 and 4 bulb fixtures) on my 29gal and in the end, it was just a hassle. Constant dosing, fiddling with the co2, BBA, ect. I finally switched to 2-2xOverdriven 24" t8's sitting 4" above the water with pressurized co2 and I've had constant growth with consistent pearling every day out of my plants. I don't think I'll ever go back to HO's unless I get a pretty tall tank or can hang them from the ceiling. The t8 fixture should definitely be cheaper than any T5 fixture you can find. A standard dual bulb fixture from lowes or homedepot should only run around 20-30$ and you'd have a WIDE range of bulb choices, from $3-$20 depending on the brand.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Holy.....so it doesn't necessarily have to be an aquarium fixture?
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 02:15 AM
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To diffuse the T5HO fixture, I just put a piece of lightly frosted glass between my glass canopy and the light. I laid the extra piece of glass on top of the glass canopy under the fixture. I hope that makes sense
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
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It sure does! Thank you :-)
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 03:23 AM
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It does not have to be an "aquarium" fixture for the t8's, mine is from lowes

And ya frosted glass or window screening would both work very well to diffuse the light from HO bulbs, or hanging the fixture, if you can do any of the 3 then they would be fine, although the fixture and bulbs will cost a bit more. Either way, it's up to you ^^
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 03:27 AM
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I was concerned about the light spread on the Aqueon, but many people here seem to use it successfully. I also read in another forum about PAR readings being surprisingly higher at the front and rear of tanks rather than the middle. The conclusion was that additional light was getting reflected back from the tank glass.

It's true that you are limited in bulb choices, but it's very cheap ($46) and being sold at Petsmart and Amazon, so it's not like an obscure brand that will disappear overnight. If I get a couple of years out of it I'll be happy. By then there will probably be a whole new bunch of confusing options.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-10-2012, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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One more un-educated question Holy....does this t8 fixture from Lowes have to hang over the tank or somehow set on top?
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