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bradleyheathhays 12-12-2012 07:42 AM

Need lighting and hood advice...
I'm a brand new aquarium owner and I'm trying to set up my first aquarium which is a 125 gal model...measures 72 in long by 23 in high by 18 in front to back. Equipment wise what I have is the aquarium itself, stand, and two used filter/pump systems...a Fluval 404 and a Fluval 304 (hopefully they work). My plan is to set up a fresh water cichlid tank with whatever plants a cichlid tank will allow.

My next step is to purchase a hood/lighting system. And as I don't know a thing about what kind of equipment is out there, or what exactly I should be looking for, I'm writing in here to get some advice before I drop any $$.

What I know so far is that I'm looking for whatever light/hood system would be appropriate for a planted cichlid tank with a nice looking night moonlight option. Both Fluval systems move water into and out of the tank via a 1.5 inch hose. So whatever I settle on would need four openings to accommodate these hoses.

Here's some pics...

Each of the three openings measures 21 1/2 x 16 in, and each recess measures 22 1/4 x 16 1/2.

Well, that's about all I know at this point. Can someone give me a brief overview of maybe lighting / hood systems in general, and then suggest a direction I should looking at?

Many many thanks!

4WheelVFR 12-30-2012 12:31 AM

The plants you are "allowed" to have will depend entirely on the cichlids you go with. Many cichlids will uproot and damage plants and some others will just destroy or eat them, so you need to have a good idea of the stock you want to go with. That being said, there are many cichlids that do wonderfully with plants. As for lights, I would start looking at T5ho light hoods. Check out the vendor section here for starters or Drsfostersmith, aqua cave, premium aquatics, etc.

jart 12-30-2012 02:52 AM

I agree with the above post. You need to be specific as to your goals ie what type of cichlids. Are you going with low light plants? Or perhaps you'd like a wider variety of some more challenging plants? CO2 plans?

(Java fern tends to be less palatable than other plants, and is undemanding.)

Once you've decided the above, then decide on your level of lighting. Check out the sticky thread in the lighting forum on PAR. You'll note that 2 rows of T5HO lights might be fine on this size tank... but you may need to suspend them in order to avoid having too much light.

You should consider checking out Catalina's website. They can incorporate moon lighting and have a number of options available (ie for example, they can put 2 rows of lights in an extra wide fixture).

Suspended lighting should be a consideration, as it makes lowering your lighting level (or raising it) that much easier. Do a search on the forum for "conduit" for some starter ideas.

Hope that helps.

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