I've been lurking here for months and this is my first post. All the ideas contained in these pages are very inspiring. Well, down to business:
Background. I have recently aquired a 45 gallon acrylic tank. Prior to aquiring the tank I had thought that it measured 48" inches long and I had started to plan my lighting based on this length. I thought that two 48" Sylvania P&A bulbs(I already scoped them out at Lowes), run off of one FulhamW5 or one Sylvania QT 4x32 would bring me to around 90-100watts or near 2wpg by overdriving x2. I Figured that would be plenty enough to grow low/moderate light plants but not require CO2 as I do not want a high maintanence setup.
But, I soon learned it was only a 36" tank. I thought shoot I don't even remember seeing any P&A bulbs in 36" length. So searching both Lowes and Home Depot I've come up with 2 options. I found that Lowes carrys the 24 inch 20w T12 P&A bulbs, with which I could run 4 bulbs 2 each in series. This would give me near the same as my original plan with the 48"F40T12's, but, I would have to space/overlap them within the hood(hassel). Then I found that Home Depot carries to my suprise 18" by 15watt T8 P&A bulbs. Two of these bulbs should fit nicely without overlap inside the canopy. If I run 4 bulbs, 2 each in series off of one ballast, I would only be getting i'm guessing 80-90watts, which is close but under 2wpg.
First, I know i've heard good things about the Sylvania T12 P&A bulb that Lowes carries, and that good results have been achieved using that bulb. My trip to Home depot was a very short one, so I didn't have time to exam the bulb there, but it is not made by sylvania, and I don't know any other specs for it. I'm going to assume it was the GE P&A bulb and I heard someone mention Lights of America T8 bulbs at Home Depot, but I wont know until I go back and look. I was suprised to find a T8 P&A bulb in the first place at home depot, becuase I was assuming that everyone running these lights was getting thier 18" F15T8s from the expensive rack at Petco.
1) If I were to choose this T8 would it be acceptable, or would it be wiser to stick with the Sylvania T12?
2) If I were to choose to go with 4 of the 15watt T8's, should I get 2 ballasts and run all four leads into 2 bulbs in series and shoot for around 120watts. Would this be too much light for what I want out of my set up. Is it bad to run near 3wpg without CO2? I'm trying for less maintanence.
3) I know that the FulhamW5 is a stronger ballast, but what is the difference bettween running the FulhamW5 and the Sylvania 4x32? Will the Fulham pump a little extra wattage out of the lights.
4) Is anyone aware of any one piece 36" lights that would be appropriate for this set up without having to spend an arm and a leg on lights from specialty websites or the expensive rack at the LFS.
Wow, this post got a little long. Sorry
Is there any other possible ideas or setups that would work that I'm not aware of? Any and all suggestions and advice is greatly appriciated