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Old 02-27-2003, 10:35 PM   #1
Xcooper
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Hello All,

This is my first post on this forum! I have read through some of the posts on lighting and I must say my knowledge on the subject is nill. So I have decided to ask the experts for help!

I have just purchased a 65 Gallon tank (actually it followed me to my car one day:hehe And I have spent alot of time building a nice stand and top for it. I have kept fish for a while with succes and have tried plants without success.

THese are the conditions if you will,
-freshwater setup, Angels mostly
-best lighting for lowest cost
-grow darned near any plant

the 36 x 18 inch top allows me enough width to run 4 tubes (I think)

What do you suggest for fixture? (I haven't had much luck finding 3' fixtures, only 2' and 4' fixtures.

If I find one cheap should I take out the cheap ballast and add my own?

What size bulbs should I get? Any brands better than others?

Basically I would like your opinion on what an experienced hobbyist would to in my shoes?

I hope this is not to simple of post? Some of the other post are far beyond me at this point
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Old 02-28-2003, 12:14 AM   #2
Rex Grigg
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Well I would head on over to www.ahsupply.com and get two 96 watt CF kits and bulbs. This is going to give you a awesome amount of light for this tank and you will be able to grow just about anything you choose. Be advised though that with this light level you are going to have to have some sort of CO2 injection. You can go DIY or go with a pressurized system. The AH Supply kits are going to give you the most bang for your buck. Or you could read the lead post in this forum and try the ODNO method. I'm a big fan of the AH Supply reflectors, you would be hard pressed to get more light into the tank in the space you have.
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Old 02-28-2003, 04:10 PM   #3
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3 foot bulbs are definitely hard to come by. They are available, but in designing this system, you certainly want to take into account the ease by which you'll be able to find bulbs, later on.

The AHsupply kits are excellent and since this is your first DIY canopy, I'd also highly recommend them. The instructions they include are very easy to follow and they include ALL of the parts you need to finish your project, down to the last screw and wire cap. And the reflectors make a huge difference in light. The 2.9 watts per gallon the two 96w bulbs will give you will have a far greater impact than without those reflectors.

If you're still curious about trying ODNO, you could try four 24" bulbs, staggered)but that would only provide the equivalent of about 160 watts of light (2.5wpg) which would grow quite a few plants, but it would fall short of your goal of being able to "grow darned near any plant". This would require two 4-F32T8 ballasts ($50) and four 24" Gro-Lux bulbs ($20). I'm not sure this would be your best option.

The AHsupply 2 x 96w kit costs $115. Two of their 6700K bulbs will run another $66.

If that's simply out of your budget, this kit from Pet Supply Liquidators provides the ballast, prewired to the sockets with two bulbs, for $85:
Workhorse 7 ballast w/ prewired sockets and 2 96w bulbs
It wouldn't have a reflector, and if you painted the inside of your canopy white, you'd still be losing about 20%-30% of light compared to the AHsupply kit with reflectors.

It seems like you've defnitely got quite a few choices, though!
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Old 02-28-2003, 04:44 PM   #4
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do you have any problems with your angels at that much light??
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Old 02-28-2003, 06:06 PM   #5
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Not at all. They actually favor the half of the tank with more light. If I eventually go with some discus, though, I'm going to have to re-think the lighting to provide them with some more subdued lighting. I grew my angels from juveniles (Silver Dollar size) to about 3" SL in short order and they've been doing great for three years now.
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Old 02-28-2003, 07:31 PM   #6
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If I made my own reflector whould the setup be as good as the one from AH supply??. Oh and why does everybody talk about Watts/gallon. Wouldn't it be instead proportional to the surface area at the top, In my case 36 xx 18??
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Old 02-28-2003, 07:43 PM   #7
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Your reflector would help, but the angles at which the reflector is bent is extremely critical. Ten degrees can make the difference between restrike (light reflecting right back into the bulb) and directed light.

Watts/gallon is a crude guideline for providing adequate light levels. It generally works but a lot of factors do come into play. Your tank is actually taller than most tanks, and a great deal of light will be lost by the time it reaches the gravel.
A more exact measure has been published, referring to lumens per square inch of surface area, but I don't recall where I've read about it.
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