my old lights - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Location: mt pleasant, mi
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my old lights

Ok. I'm a total noob to the planted tank seen. I need a little advice on lighting. I have some old GE fixtures with 15 watt aquerium bulbs in them. Do I need new fixtures to upscale my light? Or could I put some t5 bulbs in those old fixtures and brighten things up a little.

My spelling stinks, I know
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 12:28 AM
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You will need to buy bulbs that will fit into the fixture. As far as wattage, you should not exceed the wattage the fixture is built for because doing so would create a fire hazard.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 12:29 AM
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You will need new fixtures.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 01:11 AM
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I suggest you buy new ones because I think your old fixture are not really designed for high wattage bulbs.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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??? yes, one no. hmmmm. Ok. thanks for your coments. Just a thaught, I don't want any responcibity in this but I was an Electrician for 5 years and that's an old trick. You put six new fixtures in someone's bacement then you put 90 watt bulbs in instead of the 60 watt that the fixture says is the max. Those ratings are generally over rated. Look for the UL (underwriters laboratorys) and that will tell you that it is way under rated. I wouldn't just go out and get aquerium light though would I? Don't they block out a spectrum that makes stuff grow? To reduce algea? Would any bulb that fits work? T5? A grow bulb maybe? Thank you for any info.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 01:16 AM
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If your ballast will power T5 lights, then you should be able to wire it up. I'm no electrician, but I'd opt for a new fixture made for T5's. Just my humble opinion.

If it bursts into flames, PLEASE take pictures.

Thank you.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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I am not familier with T5 at all. florecent lights give off less heat than incondecent (again I know my spelling stinks). Are they the same pin as fish tank lights? And I don't have ballasts, I have starters. If I could just put t5 in there that would be awsome! Eyebeatbadgers, your opinion is apreciated! I will take pics but I hope I get the PC out to post it. LoL. I would buy new fixtures if my girlfriend wouldn't get pissed cuz we don't need them. LoL. I've got 30 total watts right now. If I could just jump to 60 watts from t5s I think I would way more than double what I got now and be able to support some life.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 03:37 AM
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I'm a little confused on whether or not your current fixture is a fluorescent fixture or an incandescent fixture, to begin with.

T5, T8, T12 are all straight fluorescent tube bulbs. T5s are the smallest in diameter, with T12s the largest. Shop light fixtures usually take T12 bulbs. Standard aquarium fluorescent fixtures usually take T8 bulbs. T5 bulbs are newer on the market. Since these bulbs are so much smaller in diameter they produce more usable light per watt than T8s, and I'm pretty sure that they won't fit in T8 fixtures, either (though I can't say I've ever tried to be sure...)

If you've got an incandescent fixture, then I'd recommend two U-shaped Compact Fluorescent bulbs, you can find those at for pretty cheap.

How much light do you want? What's the rest of your tank setup like? Size, plants, what are your goals...

Do you want to set up a low light/ low tech setup, or do you want a high light CO2-injected setup?

Might be a good idea to spend some time at reading up on the differences between high and low light planted tanks.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 03:47 AM
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T5's will not work in any fixture that has starters. Fluorescents (linear T8, T5 & T12's) are very different from incandescent bulbs...They require a ballast to work. Incandescent just need to be plugged in to a socket (simplified I know). T5's need a ballast designed specially for them. Also the ratings for wattage on incandescent fixtures are for fire purposes. Fluoresecnts are too, but also so you don't burn out the ballast or ruin a bulb.

And I agree with Laura, you need to read up on planted tanks. There is much more to it than just lighting.

Lastly, learn how to use a spell-checker...
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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O.K. My bad. I forgot I replaced the old starter type because I needed new starters and couldn't find them. I have
CAT NO: IG 13-20 EL
(1) F14T8, F14T12, F15T8
(1) F15T12, F17T8, F18T8
(1) F20T8, F20T12, FT18W
or (1) FC8T9 (22W) Type 1 outdoor class P IG
inherent thermal protection

so FC8T9 (22W) is my best bet? If it is I would have to build a fixture.
I'm looking at a 25303 F18T12 HO bulb. I would just have to replace part of the fixture that way.

I'm looking to keep my powerheads and water well sand because I think it's the best thing since sliced bread. I would like to keep many rocks also. I just want to moss them up a little and put some plants in the rocks. And I want them to thrive! This will be my PT start. I have a 130 I'm gonna cut down to about 90 gal. and then I will go all out high teck with it. I want to toy with my 55 untill then.

I downloaded the spellcheck thing but I don't know how to use it.
thank you all for your help!
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-31-2008, 02:44 PM
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You can get some excellent advice here if you will just supply some more info. It is hard to make suggestions on lighting if we don't know some details. First is, what is your tank size? Hard to tell from the picture but is that a 55 gallon? If the picture is of the tank in question then a option for you might be to retrofit the hood which is much cheaper than buying a new fixture.
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