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Old 05-29-2012, 05:31 PM   #151
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Clamp lamps will work just fine on a 55. I think 4 would be ideal, since a 55 is 48" long and you can get 10" clamp lamps. I would *strongly* suggest you start with 13w CFLs rather than 23w because your aquarium will be new and you will struggle with the various algaes that pop up. 13w will be more than ample for your needs. I can't emphasize this enough. The #1 mistake people make is over-driving with light.
That's great advice. Thank you! My only question though, with 13w bulbs vs 23w will the 13 matters be enough light to sustain plants above the low light plant range? I am interested in doing all of the medium to high light plants with this tank. I don't really want to buy one set of bulbs only to replace them again. I know they aren't expensive but I hate wasting money.
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Old 05-29-2012, 05:48 PM   #152
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If you want to dive right in and add high light/high maintenance plants with a moderate to high difficulty level, expect to do a lot more research and a lot of babysitting to keep your tank pristine. Again, the #1 problem people have when working this end of the hobby is not managing light vs. other necessities. This causes imbalance, and ultimately works against you every single time. If you scan the posts on this forum you will see that the same questions are asked over and over and over.... They all point to the same thing. Strive for BALANCE. Everything else will fall into place behind it.

As for your high light plants: Do you plan on only high light plants? What about stems? Crypts? See, it's not so simple to just say "sure, use the higher wattage" without qualifying how and why. The lower wattage is still PLENTY of light for 90% of the plants most people use.

Above I show you a video of my tank about 20 minutes after I pruned 2-3 POUNDS of plants out of it. This was 2 weeks ago. I should shoot another vid of it right now and show you how much it's grown in. I swapped out my 23w for 13w again in the meantime, because I just didn't want such high growth. It's still wildly growing everything. 13 watt CFLs are pretty darned bright!

Good luck.
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:09 PM   #153
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You don't have to choose between 13 watt and 23 watt, you can also use 19 watt bulbs. As I read the chart for PAR vs distance for those vertically mounted CFL bulbs, at 20 inch distance, 19 watt would still be low light, but enough more than with 13 watt to make a difference for some plants. If you aren't resting the reflectors right on top of the tank, you can always raise them a couple of inches and reduce the PAR considerably. For that reason 23 watt may be best - just raise them a few inches and if that isn't enough light, lower them a little.
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:22 PM   #154
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Ahh yes Hoppy, but tougher to find!
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Old 05-29-2012, 07:00 PM   #155
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Do keep in mind I'm not a novice to planted tanks. I kept a 75 gallon heavily planted with low light plants for about 6 years. I am not a stranger to pruning and maintenance.

That said, I am a novice to high light and higher tech systems. Thats why I'm wanting to move in that direction. I've never had the experience of seeing my plants pearl and I'm interested in maintaining that sort of system. I also want to use CO2 to achieve this. Where I work I have easy access to pressurized CO2 so thats another thing I have going for this tank.
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:07 PM   #156
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what do you guys use to clean the dome?
my aint shinnying anymore, water stain.
my dome site right on top of my air stone.

where do you guys buy your bulb? lowes and HD only carry the 5000k.
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:20 AM   #157
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Lowes has 6700k Sylvanias here. I'm guessing a Scotbrite pad or 0000 steel wool? Can't use acid on aluminum - it'll turn black. Might consider spraying them with clear Krylon when you do get them clean. It'll make cleaning the mist off easier.

Last edited by m00se; 05-30-2012 at 05:24 AM.. Reason: speeling ;-)
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Old 05-30-2012, 01:32 AM   #158
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what do you guys use to clean the dome?
my aint shinnying anymore, water stain.
my dome site right on top of my air stone.

where do you guys buy your bulb? lowes and HD only carry the 5000k.
use mothers polishing compound from a autopart store, comes in little white plastic cans, kinda pricey but polishes metals to a mirror shine.
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Old 05-30-2012, 05:06 AM   #159
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where do you guys buy your bulb? lowes and HD only carry the 5000k.
Home depot for me only carries 5000k. Lowes and, oddly, WalMart around here both carry 6500k.
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Old 05-30-2012, 05:14 AM   #160
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Home depot for me only carries 5000k. Lowes and, oddly, WalMart around here both carry 6500k.
yep i use the 6500k sylvania cfl now smaller than ever 13 watt bulbs for all my 10 gal then the 23 watts for my 40b
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:33 AM   #161
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I did something similar. only two lamps though on my 46 BF. hopefully enough light!!!
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Old 06-16-2012, 01:53 PM   #162
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I am trying this on my 58. Three lamps about 21 inch from substrate. I have 18w 65k bulbs. Is this enough light for low tech? I think its right on the edge of not enough.
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:03 PM   #163
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What a great and practical idea....thank you for this great advice....I am going to run with it ...... love it...always looking for ways to trim back on the expense...

Thank you...
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:48 PM   #164
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OMG, I'm so glad I found this thread. I switched out the wimpy 15 wt tube fixture with two cheap clamp lights with 23 watt bulbs and now my tank looks luminous!

I have a 26 gallon bowfront, and the 15 wt light wasn't penetrating deep enough for my plants. Now I'm hoping with this new set up my plants will flourish.

Thanks for this thread!
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:41 PM   #165
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*wink*
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