Enough Lights for a 55 gallon?
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Old 11-16-2007, 01:35 AM   #1
24fps
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Enough Lights for a 55 gallon?


I have a low tech 48"L x 12"D x unkn"H 55 gallon long tank.
No pressurized CO2, HOB bio-wheel filter and a no-name powerhead for current/DIY CO2 diffusion.
When it fills in, it will be a heavily planted tank.

I run a 48" CurrentUSA NOVA extreme, 2x54W HO T5 for 108W with the supplied 10KK and Actinic bulb
plus
a 48" ZooMed "FloraSun"~5K 32W NO T6? with a DIY "parabolic-esque" reflector.

This works out to 2.5 WPG, 108W being HO T5. It seems fairly bright, and the plants are all growing fine. I did a trim after one month to propgate / even out the growth of my stem plants. The lights are mounted about 3-4 inches above the tanks trim.
Is this enough light? I need advice/suggestions.

When giving advice, keep in mind I like the color rendition of this setup, with the actinic in back, the 10KK in the middle, and the ghetto 32W 5K up front. I use the 32W alone to start and finish the photo period, simulating a one hour red dawn/dusk, and then all 3 for the main period.

Should I be using a 4x54W HO T5 setup? Will swapping the actinic for a 50/50, 6700K or 10KK be of benefit? Is there an inexpensive parabolic reflector like TEK has that I could get cheaply to bump up the output of the 32W florasun.
Would placing the lights directly on top of the tank (no glass cover) be of benefit?
Looking for answers to keep my tank happy and healthy. Thanks.
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Old 11-16-2007, 02:16 AM   #2
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Thats more than enough light. I use a little less than that with co2 in a heavily planted aquarium. Remember the more light you have the higher the demand for nutrients and co2, not to mention possible algae problems. My tank has never looked better since I took the advice of Tom Barr and cut back on my lighting. Thanks Tom

Also I believe switching between a 50/50 or 6700k bulb is really nothing more than personal preference. I like to use a mix of the 6700k and 10000k. I don't think it makes much of difference either if you were to remove the glass tops. I did the same thing on my tank. Although you may find yourself having to top your tank off due to evaporation.

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Old 11-16-2007, 12:44 PM   #3
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More than enough light IMO.
I think you might have issues with low CO2 using a Bio-wheel, and DIY CO2.
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Old 11-16-2007, 04:19 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reassurance, guys. It seems bright enough, and the plants are growing, but not pearling. Also, I am getting some algae growth (multiple kinds,) so there must be enough light. I will leave it as is, and try and up the CO2 content, either with a 2nd DIY bottle, or some type of Flourish product.
My pH is a steady 7.5, and Kh is 5deg. Gh is 9deg.
Question about the actinic. I spoke to a plant guru (John) at BigAl's in Norristwon, PA. He said the actinic was alright for plants. Since it is primarily blue wavelength light, the internodal length will be shorter/plants will be bushier, I just won't see as rapid vertical growth. Does that seem right to everyone here? Since I have a 5000K 32W NO strip light, and a 10KK 54W HO T5, is there another lamp I might get to replace the actinic T5?
Options, recommendations? I think a second pinkish light (5000K-6700K) would make the tanks to "red." Thanks a lot.
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Old 11-16-2007, 04:28 PM   #5
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6700K is fine, 10K is best for viewing fish IMO. I'd worry more about CO2
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