Looking for Correct lighting fixture/bulbs for freshwater planted 55 Gallon
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View Poll Results: Which lighting sceme
1 T8 (Current) 0 0%
Two T5's 3 23.08%
One T5HO 5 38.46%
Two T5HO's 5 38.46%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-07-2013, 04:38 AM   #1
Migo
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Looking for Correct lighting fixture/bulbs for freshwater planted 55 Gallon


I've recently put together my 55 Gallon tank with a nutrient rich substrate on the very bottom and another layer of small gravel atop. I have a few plants in the tank so far and am looking for the right lighting fixture and bulbs. I've read a lot online and cant seem to narrow things down.

The tank is about 20" tall so what I understand from this chart, is that one T5HO bulb resting on top of the hood is a good balance for this tank. - think i am probably wrong.




Now, when i look for HO equipment i see HO fixtures and HO bulbs. Can I use a normal fixture to run a T5HO bulb? Must I buy a HO Fixture and if only one T5HO bulb is necessary why can i not find an HO fixture with just one single florescent bulb space in any retail website?

Why are there two different colors in these fixtures? I am getting closer here, but i need to get some direct advice. I would very much be appreciated. Truly.

FYI I am using a Fluval 306 canister filter. The "expert" at the pet store suggested I buy a 48" T8 for new tank bulb, which I did.

Here is the New Tank Tell me what you think. There has been quite noticeable plant growth in the past 4 days as I planted them this past weekend.



regards,
Migo
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:53 AM   #2
Dx3Bash
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No you cannot put a T5HO bulb in a normal output fixture. You need the HO ballast to properly illuminate the bulb, not to mention the proper bulb socket.

Catalina Aquariums sells a single 1 x 54W T5HO fixture. CA has a strong reputation for building excellent light fixtures. Here is the link:
http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/stor...oducts_id=1837 Comes with the bulb and you can select which bulb (6700K, 10K, etc..)

If your plants are growing with the T8 bulb you could always just stick with what you have.

If you move up to a dual T5HO fixture, you will likely need to use Co2 with that much light on a 55, otherwise algae could give you problems.
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:03 AM   #3
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A single T5 with a good reflector (catalina aquariums) will give you med light on a 55 gallon. Dual T5 will give you high light.

Last edited by Tetrameck; 03-14-2013 at 01:31 AM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:48 AM   #4
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I've used a lowes 2 bulb T12 shop fixture with a 5500k and 6500k bulbs over my 55 and 45 and I have good plant growth. Since I added proper ferts (root tabs and small doses of liquid fert), everything has at least doubled in size in under a month.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:19 AM   #5
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you want two specrums so two bulbs like 6000K to 12K with Actinic or Roseate normal fixtures won't fit in T5HO those are usually T12 lot bigger bulb
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dx3Bash View Post
No you cannot put a T5HO bulb in a normal output fixture. You need the HO ballast to properly illuminate the bulb, not to mention the proper bulb socket.

Catalina Aquariums sells a single 1 x 54W T5HO fixture. CA has a strong reputation for building excellent light fixtures. Here is the link:
http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/stor...oducts_id=1837 Comes with the bulb and you can select which bulb (6700K, 10K, etc..)

If your plants are growing with the T8 bulb you could always just stick with what you have.

If you move up to a dual T5HO fixture, you will likely need to use Co2 with that much light on a 55, otherwise algae could give you problems.
Quote:
Catalina Aquariums sells a single 1 x 54W T5HO fixture. CA has a strong reputation for building excellent light fixtures. Here is the link:
http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/stor...oducts_id=1837 Comes with the bulb and you can select which bulb (6700K, 10K, etc..)

If your plants are growing with the T8 bulb you could always just stick with what you have.

If you move up to a dual T5HO fixture, you will likely need to use Co2 with that much light on a 55, otherwise algae could give you problems.
Awesome. Thanks for the link! It seems like a good price too. I've been on the search for better aquarium supply websites.

appreciate your advice/info
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tetrameck View Post
Just looking at your picture you could stand to use a little more circulation. Maybe add a koralia circulation pump or a second cansiter w/spray bar. You dont want to much surface aggitation with a planted tank, a nice ripple will do.

A single T5 with a good reflector (catalina aquariums) will give you med light on a 55 gallon. Dual T5 will give you high light.
Cool. I'm using a Fluval 306 canister filter which has quite the flow power. when I first set it up, without realizing there was a lever to lessen the blast of water coming out (there's nothing in the manual about it and I'm new to canister filters), I worried that I had made a huge mistake in buying it because, believe me the water was blasting the whole tank around. then i googled for a while and found that there was a way to slow it all down and I felt better.

What is the problem with "too much surface agitation with a planted tank"? I am learning. I was checking out DIY sprayers on youtube last night as well. I've been in the frame of mind that the flow was bringing oxygen into the tank for the fish, but now I'm realizing that the plants do a good part of this. doh,,..

Last edited by Migo; 03-07-2013 at 05:22 PM.. Reason: re-wording
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Old 03-09-2013, 12:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tetrameck View Post
Just looking at your picture you could stand to use a little more circulation. Maybe add a koralia circulation pump or a second cansiter w/spray bar. You dont want to much surface aggitation with a planted tank, a nice ripple will do.
Since I'm new to planted tanks what is the problem with surface agitation? Isn't there surface agitation in regular bodies of water in the "real world"? serious question.
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Old 03-09-2013, 02:47 AM   #9
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"Low tech" tanks rely on keeping all the CO2 made by the plants, animals and decaying organisms in the water for the plants' benefit. If there is too much ripple on the water surface some may be exchanged at the surface and lost. On the other hand if you run a tank full of critters then they may run out of oxygen without a surface ripple.

As I chose to use pressurized CO2 I use a big ripple at the surface and probably lose some CO2. I do have the tank mostly covered, hedging my bet that way at least. Oxygen is good for the plants, animals and filter organisms and I do think my tank is better for it.

There is another choice. A particular kind of T8 shop light has very good reflectors. See the sticky thread in the lighting forum for more information. Its output is graphed somewhere on the first page here. http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=184368 and here is one of many threads discussing this light. http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...t=diamond+shop

A trade off. The double bulb T8 is a cheaper fixture than a single T5HO but uses 10 more watts. Two bulbs would make for more even lighting but the T8 fixture likely needs to be hung above the tank to avoid too much light.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:51 PM   #10
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This was all very helpful. Thanks very much!
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