In case anyone reads the conversation I have with Hoppy below - these Coralife T5NO fixtures are growing plants real fast! It's not super bright and growth is a little leggy, but I have almost 0 algae (8 amano shrimp is the only kind of "algae crew" in there at this time and the only place algae exists is on the glass...plants wood are CLEAN) - I hung them 1" above tank.
Thanks Hoppy! Don't think I would enjoy trying to keep up with T5HO Growth at this time, maybe in the future, near or far, but this is great lighting for my first foray into planted tanks!
Cannot and will not argue! That seems great then. Hopefully I can find two of the coralife 36 inch fixtures ; I can replace the bulbs with any brand so going out of business doesn't matter right? Is a reflector from say a catalina 4 bulb t5ho fixture (with t5NO bulbs) going to be signifcantly brighter or should it still be in that 40 mms range you recommend? I can get a custom fixture there but are their reflectors "too good" for a four bulb spread?
That seems like a pretty low PAR, even for low light tank. I do know you recommend low light. I am ready and willing - in fact eager - to use the dual stage CO2 system I just finished and wonder if there is a way to take more advantage but still in that low/medium sweet spot.
The feline situation has convinced me to re-look at the whole picture here and after reviewing many of your comments in the past again, now I am back to thinking about a T5NO, 2 bulb wide-spread setup in a canopy. then I don't need to mess with anything between the lights and water and there will be defense against the cat going in which is win win.
I have a 2 bulb T5NO already on my 20 gallon High (16 inch height, 12 inches wide) and it certainly doesn't seem too bright to me although I have no PAR meter. It is a coralife which has mixed reflector reviews. I am struggling to convince myself that the same number of bulbs, but spread out 8 inches from one another in a bigger fixture, will provide good lighting for growth. Does that bring me to the equivalent of 1 T5NO for most substrate areas?
[FONT=Arial]I can get a 2 x T5HO custom Catalina fixture in either 10” or 11” wide (which must be used for their 3/4/6 bulb units) for a comparable price to the Hagen GLO etc fixtures and less than 50% of the price of getting a 4 bulb fixture (TEK etc) and not using 2 of the bulbs. This seems like a great way to increase the spread over an 18” wide 40-breeder tank.
A recent change; I will be using egg crate over the tank to prevent feline intrusion. I understand that egg crate re-directs stray light with an increase in PAR directly beneath the bulbs yet a decrease in PAR as horizontal distance from the bulb grows. Do you think 2 bulbs in either 10” or 11” fixture, will be able to be raised to an “optimal” height such that I had the relatively even low-to-moderate light you recommend w/ CO2 dosing/EI? See any reason to use 10” vs 11”?
I plan on raising it. I may even get the TEK 4 bulb fixture - that way, no matter what I do in my future, I don't need to worry about purchasing an additional fixture (could do a reef tank with this fixture). I will also be able to utilize the front and back bulb placement for the widest light spread over the tank. I will be hanging the light so I can do any distance above the tank necessary.
Can a light be too bright when directly above tank, but when PAR is reduced by raising it a foot more-or-less, the light quality is diffused such that it is no longer good for plant growth particularly carpeting?
I guess part of what I am asking is all PAR equal and thus you can't have a light that is "too bright" when close and "not good enough" when suspended higher from tank, at least when talking about Hagen GLO and the TEK fixtures?
Now I am considering going back to unplanted with the 20 gallon tank (long story, none of it bad, but mostly to do with sig other and her plans for the tank) and upgrading by replacing it in the living room with a 40 gallon breeder. I have a thread active in the lighting forum again and i was looking for your input, on a 40 breeder which is VERY wide (16 inches?) is a single 2xT5HO fixture by Hagen GLO good enough for lighting? I will figure out a way to suspend it probably through bent conduit tubing (ceiling fixtures won't fly) - I know that 2 T5HO gives high light but I am just concerned about the spread throughout the tank. Are you familiar with this brand and their reflector? If I am better served spending my money on a different fixture (Tek 4 x 39W, 2 bulbs only?) that will provide better spread or quality of light than I can save up...
My pressurized CO2 is a shipment of fittings away from being ready, minus the reactor/diffuser!