Please! Lighting help! Overwhelmed!
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:52 PM   #1
Trohr
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Please! Lighting help! Overwhelmed!


Hey everyone, first post!

Been pretty big into lizards, I have chameleons in very large outdoor/ indoor free ranges, I've kept all sorts of frogs in large arboreal enclosures.... Been doing the exotic pet thing for awhile. Recently had a 30"X12"X18" (25gal?) tank fall into my hands, and am wanting to turn it into a low tech planted tank!

I need some help choosing lighting for my tank though, I've been reading for days now and haven't made much progress in choosing a fixture/light. Hoping someone can just link me something to buy? I'm looking at this fixture, but it seems much, much too expensive, I'm hoping to spend about $30 for the whole lighting setup. All I need is a cheap fixture, and bulb!

Hydrofarm T5 Jump Start Light Fixture:

http://www.amazon.com/Hydrofarm-T5-J...042080&sr=1-14

I have a picture of my tank below (30"X12"X18" (25gal?)). I have already layered the bottom with a bit of hydroton I had laying around, am using Miracle Grow as my substrate, am going to cap with large grained sand, and some decorative gravel.

I'm not hoping to achieve anything show worthy, I just want a big wet glass box full of goopy green stuff to be honest. I'll probably buy some plants from my local Zamzows, but I might just go around to ponds in my area grabbing whatever looks cool, I'm not sure yet. I would eventually like to have a bunch of shrimp and maybe a plecostomus or two floating around, but if the conditions look/ are harmful then it's a no go.... Or maybe just a beta...?

I don't want a whole lot of advice on substrate, how I'm introducing things, the plants I'm wanting to use or the fish I'm hoping to keep. I just want a reasonably powerful light. I'm well aware that I might get algae blooms, but I don't mind...! I just want to see what this thing produces, even if it is a giant glob of algae.... I'm confident everything will work out.

Thanks!

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Old 01-08-2012, 05:31 PM   #2
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I would go with a two bulb T8 fixture. Unless you're going to do CO2 those T5's are going to be too strong.
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:35 PM   #3
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I would go with a two bulb T8 fixture. Unless you're going to do CO2 those T5's are going to be too strong.
It's a pretty deep tank though...? Definitely don't plan on using CO2...! It's 18"s deep, and has a screen hood, was originally for a reptile. Probably just going to hang the fixture above the tank, but if I go with a T8 setup should I go with something like this...?

http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CNUBEPMCMAk

It's cheap, and holds two T8's...!
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:42 PM   #4
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Two T8's will give you low light, and that's what I run on my 25G.

If you have a glass cover on that 25G, and you have some 10G incandescent fixtures (or can scavenge them up inexpensively), you could also place one or two on the cover. Use 6,500K (daylight) spiral CFLs of any wattage you want in them. Ain't pretty, but you can really play around with your lighting levels that way, on the cheap.
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:47 PM   #5
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Two T8's will give you low light, and that's what I run on my 25G.

If you have a glass cover on that 25G, and you have some 10G incandescent fixtures (or can scavenge them up inexpensively), you could also place one or two on the cover. Use 6,500K (daylight) spiral CFLs of any wattage you want in them. Ain't pretty, but you can really play around with your lighting levels that way, on the cheap.
Thanks for the advice! I actually have two of them...! Don't think the bulbs are the right kind, but I can find them cheap....! What do you think about the fixture in my post above...?

Think I'm going to order the fixture I linked in my post above, I would rather have a little too much power than too little in case I want to grow something else in the future. It looks like a reasonably sturdy fixture too.... Can hit it with black matte paint for aesthetics.

I'll wait around a little longer for thoughts and opinions before purchasing, still washing some of the Miracle Grow to sort out all the floaties...!
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:49 PM   #6
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If you put them directly on top it should be sufficent enough. If you're going to do a T5NO I'd think you would be safe but the T5HO's are really powerful, you would end up having to raise it above the tank.
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by AesopRocks247 View Post
If you put them directly on top it should be sufficent enough. If you're going to do a T5NO I'd think you would be safe but the T5HO's are really powerful, you would end up having to raise it above the tank.
Been following this guys guide, and he recommends T5's, sounds like they're pretty popular.... Might go with a T5 in case I have any high tech future projects, but ease of use with the T8's would be nice....

http://www.sudeepmandal.com/hobbies/...ed-tank-guide/
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:57 PM   #8
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CFL's would work too and they're inexpensive you can pick them up with a shop light fixture from your local hardware store.
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by AesopRocks247 View Post
CFL's would work too and they're inexpensive you can pick them up with a shop light fixture from your local hardware store.
Yeah.... Hmmmmm.... Not going to need my lights anytime soon, but all this helps...!

Have a feeling I'm going to go with this fixture:

http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CNUBEPMCMAk

But am definitely going to go see what Lowes has to offer, and will still consider the T5, just raising it....

I'll post again when I finally decide!
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:17 PM   #10
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There's more than one way to skin a cat!
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trohr View Post
Have a feeling I'm going to go with this fixture:

http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CNUBEPMCMAk
That fixture will work for low light, as long as it's suspended *directly* above the top of the tank. You will really need every bit of light it can provide. It cannot provide medium, or even medium-low light, which limits the selection of plants. Since experimentation and growing an assortment of plants (and algae) are in your objectives, you might find that fixture limiting; at least long-term.

You also sent me a visitor message. The bulb you're looking at to pair with that fixture is cool white (4100K), which won't look very attractive or grow plants as well as bulbs at 5000K or higher. 6500K is a good starting point, and Lowe's should have those too, in stock for the same price.

Finally, you mentioned lush carpeting plants. Since they live at the bottom of the tank which receives the least light, they have a tendency to grow upwards to reach better light rather than spreading out. Growing a carpet in a low light tank is particularly challenging. I'd recommend at least medium light if you want a fair shot at that.

Unless you're willing to go over initial budget on a better light that can be suspended to provide a variety of lighting levels, or don't mind possibly purchasing another light in a few months as you get a better idea of your objectives, the 10G incandescent strips are probably your best bet for now; especially since you already have them. I'm seven years into the hobby with six tanks, and still use those hoods on a couple of my tanks; changing the bulbs or layout as my needs change. The flexibility can't be beat.
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkCobra View Post
That fixture will work for low light, as long as it's suspended *directly* above the top of the tank. You will really need every bit of light it can provide. It cannot provide medium, or even medium-low light, which limits the selection of plants. Since experimentation and growing an assortment of plants (and algae) are in your objectives, you might find that fixture limiting; at least long-term.

You also sent me a visitor message. The bulb you're looking at to pair with that fixture is cool white (4100K), which won't look very attractive or grow plants as well as bulbs at 5000K or higher. 6500K is a good starting point, and Lowe's should have those too, in stock for the same price.

Finally, you mentioned lush carpeting plants. Since they live at the bottom of the tank which receives the least light, they have a tendency to grow upwards to reach better light rather than spreading out. Growing a carpet in a low light tank is particularly challenging. I'd recommend at least medium light if you want a fair shot at that.

Unless you're willing to go over initial budget on a better light that can be suspended to provide a variety of lighting levels, or don't mind possibly purchasing another light in a few months as you get a better idea of your objectives, the 10G incandescent strips are probably your best bet for now; especially since you already have them. I'm seven years into the hobby with six tanks, and still use those hoods on a couple of my tanks; changing the bulbs or layout as my needs change. The flexibility can't be beat.
Thanks for the input! I'm glad I still haven't purchased anything, didn't think the t8 two tube fixture would be such a soft light...!

Leaning more towards a T5 now.... It seems like such a deep tank, and eventually achieving a lush carpet of some plant or another would be very rewarding. I feel I'll have more room to play around, can raise and lower the tube as needed, and if I'm not using it for a planted tank I can use it to grow some other cool plant...!

Can pick this up for $28.... Thoughts...?

http://www.google.com/products/catal...MAA#scoring=tp

Otherwise this is the strip that I have...? It takes 18" tubes, but I don't know if it will take a 6500k tube (edit: looks like it will, http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CGwQ8wIwAg)? Currently has a 'F15T8 Eclipse Natural Daylight' tube. My other strip is a ZooMed T5 12 Watt Tropical Bulb (it's a lot smaller than it sounds)...! Would they work...?



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Old 01-08-2012, 11:04 PM   #13
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If you are looking for T5NO lights - this is a decent light that won't break the budget.

http://www.kensfish.com/product2938.html
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:06 AM   #14
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If you are looking for T5NO lights - this is a decent light that won't break the budget.

http://www.kensfish.com/product2938.html
Yes! Thank you! Exactly what I wanted ^^...! Purchased...! 6,700k paired with a second colormax lamp might be a bit much, but I'll play with it as needed~!
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