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Mightymouse1111 04-09-2012 01:22 AM

Lighting for new 90 gallon aquarium!!!
Hey all, I recently purchased a 90 gallon acrylic aquarium with dimensions 60x18x20 (LxWxH). Ill be stocking angelfish and a few other random community fish. I want a setup that lets me grow most high light plants that are easy to acquire. Ill have CO2 going as well. The aquarium came with 2 fixtures that are each 2x24 t12s which I dont think this is enough for what I want, but they can be used to supplement whatever I end up buying. Also, the tank has a canopy that I would like to use so metal halide probably isnt an option.

Ive been looking at LED and T5HO, but am overwhelmed by much there is to know. I prefer prebuild new or used/craigslist rather than DIY in either case. A few of my main qs are:

If I go LED: Would a 48 or 60 strip be better for this tank? 1 or 2 strips? Will I really notice better clarity from LED lights over the T5HO? What would be better for plant growth?

If I go T5HO: I think 2 lights would be enough but maybe 3 because of the width? I would probably get a 5,000K and 6,500K, and another 5,000K if I need three bubs. Would that be appropriate?

I welcome anyones advice about the type of lighting and which particular brand or setup would be the best for this tank. Im hoping to be in the price range of $100, but could probably be talked into $200. Meh, maybe even a little more... Shoot me ideas if ya got them.

Many thanks,

Experience: I have maintained 2 smaller aquariums (44G and 15G) with low light plants, and am currently pumping CO2 in the 15G. I still have a lot to learn, but Im not completely ignorant!

Hoppy 04-09-2012 05:46 PM

If you want the lights to sit right near the top of the tank, then 4 foot long lights will leave the ends of the tank with noticeably less light than the middle of the tank. If you can have the lights 10 inches or so above the top of the tank, the 4 foot lights should work ok.

Assuming you put the lights right at the top of the tank, you only need one T5HO bulb to light the area directly under it to high light - probably too high light to easily manage the tank and avoid lots of algae problems. For that reason alone, raising the lights 4-6 inches would be a good idea. And, that would give you better light at the ends of the tank with 4 foot bulbs too.

An 18 inch wide tank can be lighted with only two T5HO bulbs, if they are spaced at least 6 inches apart. One light fixture that might work is You can also get Catalina to make you a custom light using a wider housing to separate the bulbs farther apart. They have made a few that separate the bulbs about 9 inches, which would be perfect for that tank, giving you about 55 to 65 micromols of PAR with the light 24 inches from the substrate. That is a lot of light, and it would mean pressurized CO2 is essential.

Mightymouse1111 04-10-2012 11:19 AM

Hello and thank you for replying! That sounds good, I could easily raise them 4 inches over the aquarium. Now I just have to pick out some bulbs :-)

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