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Old 03-25-2006, 06:23 PM   #1
crissy7399
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really need help


I really want to have plants in our 46 bowfront to help keep our fish happier and to look nicer. I know they need lots of light and nutrients and CO2. I had talked with a couple people that said my setup would be okay with lowlight plants. My tank depth is 19" and it has the lighting system that came with it from Petsmart. T-8 30W 36".

I've been looking and researching and still feel confused. All I want is to be able to have healthy plants, not for them to necessarilly grow, but just to stay healthy.

I have 5 anachris (was told they were low light, but research shows me otherwise) which are growing well right now- not full, but taller. 1 Java Fern and 1 Java Moss- hoping to get couple more Ferns. fyi-my tank is still cycling.

I don't ever plan to do the CO2 thing, and can't afford a new lighting system or retrofit for a while. Would I be okay with another 30w for a year or 2?

I found Aqua-glo Fluorescent a 30W, 650 Lums, 90 Lux, 18000 Kelvin, 7500 hours. However, I don't know if it comes in a t-8. Can I use t-5 or others? Or will they not fit?

Would this be satisfactory for me? Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Thank you!!!!!!! My bulb that came with it has only been used for 2 months now and is already out!
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Old 03-25-2006, 10:24 PM   #2
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I used 30 inch long T8 bulbs before I switched to AH Supply light kits. Those bulbs I found to be hard to find except as expensive "aquarium" bulbs. In any case, two of them would be far better than only one. With just one you really are limited in plants, anubias, ferns, moss, possibly some crypts. I'm pretty sure T5 bulbs won't work in the same fixture.
edit: I just reread your post - you use 36", not 30" bulbs. Those are a little easier to find. But, in any case 30 watts is really low light for a 46 gallon tank, and 60 watts would be much better, but still on the low light side.
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Old 03-26-2006, 03:12 AM   #3
crissy7399
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Default AH supply had something worthwhile

Hoppy thanks for your input!

I was just checking AH Supply and found http://ahsupply.com/36-55w.htm

It said it was $62. That isn't too horrible. Although i still have to buy the bulbs. Maybe I could buy one bulb now and a second one later. Compact bulbs do last longer too don't they?

I also thought this would be a good investment since I could buy two different types of compact lights.. different "colors".

Does anyone have an opinion on this? Thanks for the advice... I need lots!!!!
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Old 03-26-2006, 09:38 PM   #4
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Default What about an VHO Fluorescent?

I found this on Big Al's site

[Coralife Trichromatic VHO Fluorescent Lamp -36" (95Watt)

Our Price: $22.49

The coralife 100% trichromatic super daylight lamps are 6500 kelvin, 94 cri, full-spectrum lamps. They are made with special rare earth trichromatic phosphors which enhance the natural beauty of the aquarium. Ideal for use with all aquarium applications.



Would this be good????? I don't know what trichromatic is though.
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Old 03-26-2006, 09:52 PM   #5
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You still won't have enough light to do much with. I would suggest the AHsupply route or you could Overdrive your normal output fluorescents with a new ballast. Just search the forum for ODNO and you'll find all the information you need.

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Old 03-27-2006, 01:32 AM   #6
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Actually, I really don't want more than 95 watts because then I'll have to use CO2 injections and I really don't want to do that.

I wanted to stay around 1.5 watts which would only be 69watts, which should be sufficient for lowlight plants and not need the CO2.

I haven't heard of changing the ballast yet. I don't even know what the ballast is actually, but I'm thinking it must be what the bulb connects to.
Thanks, I will check into that as well.
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Old 03-27-2006, 02:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crissy7399
All I want is to be able to have healthy plants, not for them to necessarilly grow, but just to stay healthy.
This is a tough one... usually doesn't work out this way.

If you go with no CO2, I suggest to aim for about 2W/gal in fluorescents, or 1.5W/gal for power compacts with good reflectors. Anything higher and without CO2 you will find yourself in algae land.

An ideal solution would be IMO one 96W PC setup. However, like I said, this would probably work better WITH CO2.

Here is what I would do... add one 55W PC light to your existing 30W bulb. AHS sells kits with nice reflectors ($42 + bulb), and if you are okay with light diy stuff you can built your own canopy, or buy one that would fit that fixture.
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Old 03-27-2006, 05:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
If you go with no CO2, I suggest to aim for about 2W/gal in fluorescents, or 1.5W/gal for power compacts with good reflectors.
I guess this statement has me a little confused. Why would fluorescents of 2W/gal be equal to that of power compacts of 1.5W/gal ??? Is it because you mentioned having good reflectors with them? Does this mean that a 30W compact puts out more watts than a 30W fluorescent?

Thank you for clarifying that for me Wasserpest.

I have so far narrowed my options to the following:

Compact lamp Retrokit from AHSupply for $65 appr
buy 2 compact 36W lamps for $15 each
sell our current fluor. light bulb probably not for much.
Lights last 14 to 24 months spending approximately $20 a year

Total $95 or a few dollars less. Total Watts= 72w


OR

Twin tube fluorescent Strip light from Big Al's for $77 appr
comes with two bulbs- doesn't say what watts though.
sell our light strip-maybe $20?

Total $77 or $57 Total Max watts= probably 60w


Lights last 6 to 18 months. with bulbs at $10, spending approx. $20 a year
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Wasserpest, If what you say is true, then it might be worth it getting the compacts, otherwise I'm probably not getting enough wattage from the twin bluorescent strip at Big Als. Right??
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Old 03-27-2006, 06:08 AM   #9
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My statement regarding the NO vs PC... PC's are brighter (and much hotter) than normal flourescents. And usually come with good reflectors (that's a big difference).

The twin light strip won't give you much more light, still not sufficient for growing plants I think.

The problem with two 36W PC strips is coverage... you will end up with dark areas in your tank.

Again, my suggestion for a non-CO2 tank would be to add a 55W PC fixture to the existing strip, which would add a lot of light while still providing coverage of your tank.
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Old 03-27-2006, 08:55 PM   #10
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Well, I think that would be an excellent idea, but I only have 3" left to fit another light strip on the tank, (due to the cannister tubes) unless I put part of the light on the part of the glass that I open to feed the fish, and that would be kindof a nuisance.

On the 2 36w compacts, they would be inside the same hood and reflector and be end to end, so I think they would only be an inch or two apart from each other. Would that still make dark spots?

thank you. I was beginning to like the 36w compacts because of the reflectors being so much more efficient than the double fluorescent strip light from big als.

... too many choices!
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Old 03-27-2006, 09:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crissy7399
On the 2 36w compacts, they would be inside the same hood and reflector and be end to end, so I think they would only be an inch or two apart from each other. Would that still make dark spots?

thank you. I was beginning to like the 36w compacts because of the reflectors being so much more efficient than the double fluorescent strip light from big als.

... too many choices!
Regarding the dark spots, no, not really spots that I am talking about. What you will see with one row of lights over a (??) 16" (not sure) deep (not tall) tank that the center is lit alright, but front and back are a little dark. Two rows of light provide better coverage!

Yep, many choices.
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Old 03-27-2006, 10:17 PM   #12
crissy7399
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ooooooooooooooooooooooooh.

didn't think about the front to back thing. although anything I get will be better than what I have! haha.

The width is 12 inches on the side and goes to 16inches in the middle then the depth is around 17 from the light to the top of the gravel.

thank you so much for all your help!
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