The Planted Tank Forum - View Single Post - My inexpensive CFL light solution
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post #126 of (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 02:43 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,877
Originally Posted by eelpout View Post
100% newb here.

I've managed to slowly kill lots of plants with the stock light that came w/ my starter tank package. I've also grown some algae. A bunch of online reading later, I think I some what get why. I also think I may have found part of my solution with this lighting set up.

I have a 37 gal. approx 30x12x22...22 TALL.

I'm attempting to get through 2 ft of water that's only 1 ft wide with this lighting.

Do I want the 23 watt spiral "bulbs" as that chart seems to say, or do I want something else?

Do I want the 10" chicken light fixture, or the smaller diameter ones? I was thinking 3x the 10" but perhaps that spreads the light out too much? Is 4x the smaller ones the way to go?

How many lamps and how many watts per each CFL "bulb"? I'd like to be able to lay them on top of the tank over the glass top.
I'll remove the plastic hing strip between the glass pieces of the top.

How much fertilizer? what specific brands/amounts? Hours of light per day? Keep it simple please. Low tech, non dirted, hard/high ph water, HOB POS filter.

I've read many different ways to skin this cat. I need a starting point.

Thanks all!
Warning! Opinion, not necessarily fact to follow:

I'm running CFLs on two of my four tanks, and have ran them in some other situations. My personal experience has been about 2 watts per gallon for a nice low light tank using CFLs. Now, if you run around here saying watts per gallon people might freak out and punch you in the head...but for me...on my tanks, when in regard to CFLs, 2 watts per gallon has worked very well.

I have a 5 gallon tank that's doing very well with one 10 watt CFL just a couple inches above it. I also have a 10 gallon with two 10 watt CFLs replacing the incandescents that came with it and I swear it's the best balanced tank I wise. I tried some 13 watt lights in the same 10 gallon and got some algae, so I backed off to two 10 watt bulbs and haven't looked back yet.

So I would attempt to get any non-Co2, CFL powered tank at or around 2 watts per gallon to start. You might need more, you might need less. There are a lot of variables to take into account and every tank is different. The good news is CFLs are cheap, and if they don't work in your tank they will work around the house, lol.

EDIT: Oh, and to get through that much water I recommend the aluminum "clamp plants". They have surprisingly good reflective qualities.
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