You can light a standard 55 gallon tank with one T5HO bulb, in a good quality light, for example http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/stor...oducts_id=1837 This should give you medium to high medium light with it sitting on top of the tank. Using the feet it can be purchased with it should give low medium to medium light.
LED lights have some advantages, but cost a lot more than T5HO. The Marineland Double Bright, 48-60 inch light should give you good low light. Or, you can DIY a custom light to get whatever intensity you want, with a dimmer so you can adjust the brightness. That is the best light for functionality, but can be pretty expensive too, perhaps $200-$300, and you first need to learn how to design and build it.
Hi Hoppy, I'm glad I found your posts, I hope you can shed some light on my situation (mind the pun).
I have a 55gallon fresh water tank, I currently use the regular LED lights that came with my starter kit and am keeping low light plants for now. I would like to upgrade the lighting to be able to keep more interesting/prettier plants.
I'm getting a lot of contradicting information from my research on the internet as to what type of lighting to get, flluorescent vs LED's. I need a light strong enough to reach the depth of 24" and am overwhelmed by various considerations such as watts/PARS/kelvin/lumens/colour temperature...
People who have fluorescent swear by it and say absolutely do not get LEDs and those with LEDs strongly urge the use of those.
I found your charts and thought maybe you could help since you seem to know a great deal.
Thanks so much for your time. My fish, plants and I appreciate any help
If I were you I wouldn't use any driver that isn't dimmable. There aren't a lot of them available for that much current, but there should be a Meanwell one that is the same as that only dimmable. I think I would keep the two rows of LEDs closer together, and rely on the spread of light to get the whole substrate lighted. If you use 60 degree optics you should be able to light the whole tank with the rows about 5-6 inches apart. And, for that a single heatsink about 6+ inches wide would work. For that much current the heatsink needs to be a good one, and some fan cooling will probably be needed. If you use the calculator spreadsheet in http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/di...-tank-led.html you will know all that I know about how much PAR you can expect.
hey hoppy. love your work, the led guru. i would like to upgrade my led fixture. i have done a DIY one before and thanks for your help on that one. at the moment i am i am running 12 cree XML-t6 at 700ma. what i was thinking of is buying 2 of these http://www.rapidled.com/mean-well-lp...urrent-driver/ and running 9 of the cree xml-t6's of each of these and building the heatsink myself. this is going over a 4 foot med planted 60g tank, dosing dry ferts and co2 injected.
what i wanted to ask your help on is
1. is there a better driver out there that i just cant seem to find that will save me from having to wire up 2 sets of 9 at 1750ma
2. is this going to be overkill on the lights?
3. what would be the best way to arrange them. i was thinking two 4inch wide heatsinks running the length of the tank. if the tank is 18inchs wide then one running say 6inchs from the front and the other 12 inchs from the front.
I have never grown HC, and my experience with glosso was limited to trying out the dry start method. So, I can't comment on use of T5NOs for growing HC/glosso. I also have never used NO lighting, so I can't comment based on my experience with them for growing any plants.