Lighting advice for 40B Growing tanks
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:04 AM   #1
discoveringmypath
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Lighting advice for 40B Growing tanks


Hello all,

I'm in the planning phase on a Rack of 4 - 40B tanks. The tanks will be for growing plants. I'm going to be running high co2 (pressurized) and dosing EI. I'm struggling with what I should use for lighting. I want high lighting and at the cheapest cost. I was originally planning on a budget of $1000 dollars for the entire setup (waiting for next $1 per gallon sale), but I'm thinking I might be going over this because I didn't consider the cost of lighting for all the tanks.


I want high lighting for faster growth. I don't even know how high I can go either. Cost is a factor as I want to find a cheap option.

Currently, the cheapest I can find is this:

Fixture:
Utilitech 48-in Fluorescent Shop Light

Lights:
SYLVANIA 10-Pack 40-Watt T12 4-ft Daylight (6500K) Fluorescent Light Bulbs


I would use 2 fixtures per tank, so for 8 fixtures and 2 packs of bulbs I'm looking at: $156 at Lowes. minus 10% military discount (Got to take advantage of it when you can)

This really isn't that bad as far as price goes, but do I need any 10,000K bulbs to help with red plants? If so, I will have to get some of those as well and T12 10,000K bulbs are around $20 at the cheapest. Do these 10000k bulbs really help bring out the reds?



Anyway's, if anyone has any advice or ideas on what I could use I would love to hear from you guys?

Thanks a lot!


One last thought, I live on a military base so I don't have an electric bill. If I lived off base, i wonder how much my bill would be running all these lights for 8 hrs per day??? I will have to consider that one day...
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:35 AM   #2
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If you line the tanks up (in a row) you can get 4 tubes over each tank with just 6 fixtures. Get shoplights with built in reflectors, they look just like the ones you posted except they have little white "wings" on them. Two of the better bulbs I've at Homedepot and Lowes are a Phillips 6500K and one that is called a Chroma 50" in 5000k. A 50/50 mix of these bulbs works pretty dang good.
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Old 11-24-2013, 07:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmas_one View Post
If you line the tanks up (in a row) you can get 4 tubes over each tank with just 6 fixtures. Get shoplights with built in reflectors, they look just like the ones you posted except they have little white "wings" on them. Two of the better bulbs I've at Homedepot and Lowes are a Phillips 6500K and one that is called a Chroma 50" in 5000k. A 50/50 mix of these bulbs works pretty dang good.
I actually never thought about lining the tanks up in a row like that. It would save on lighting. I would have to build my stands for this.

I could get some 5000K bulbs as well, so that I cover a wider spectrum. what about the 10,000K bulbs?

I don't like that the fixtures I picked are white, they are just the cheapest one's I could find. I guess I would need to line the insides of them with tin foil or something similar to get better reflection from them.

Thanks for the comment.
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:23 PM   #4
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White would probably actually beat tinfoil, no need to mess with those reflectors. I wouldn't bother with 10kk bulbs.
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmas_one View Post
White would probably actually beat tinfoil, no need to mess with those reflectors. I wouldn't bother with 10kk bulbs.
won't the 10k's help with red plants?

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Old 11-24-2013, 11:43 PM   #6
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You can't really say any color temp bulb is good for this or bad for that (whoever said 10KK bulbs are good for red plants??). All I know is as far as shop lights and hardware store bulbs go, a 50/50 mix of those Phillips 6500k and those Chroma 50 5000k will work good.
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:49 PM   #7
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I've read in a few threads about 10k bulbs being good for reds. I'm not certain that they are though.

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Old 11-25-2013, 12:51 AM   #8
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You can try the diamond plate shop lights from home depot or broader lights.
Here's the link to hoppy's par test.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=184368
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:23 AM   #9
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I like the diamond plate fixtures, but they are $30 in comparison to the $12 dollar fixtures at Lowes. When we are talking about 6 or 8 fixtures, that adds up.
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickao View Post
You can try the diamond plate shop lights from home depot or broader lights.
Here's the link to hoppy's par test.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=184368
Thanks for the link as well. I have skimmed through it before, but I will look it over again. Some of it goes over my head...

The fixture is for T12's which I heard are not as good as t8 or t5's but they are quite a bit cheaper in comparison as well. I read that even though t12's are 40W, a T8 32W would produce the same if not more light.

I'm wondering if I should rethink going with T12's.
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Old 11-25-2013, 12:08 PM   #11
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T8's and T12's have the same pin arrangement. The number after the T refers to the bulb diameter in 1/8" increments. T8=1", T12 is 1-1/2", T5 is 5/8". I don't even think Home Depot sells T12 anymore, it's all T8.
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:07 PM   #12
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Are you deadset on the "cheapest" now option? Or would you consider a cheaper in the long run option, such as LEDs?
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:24 PM   #13
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Its going to cost you more money in electricity going cfl's but it is the best bang for the buck initially.

Skip the 10k bulbs unless you are doing a reef setup. Red grow lamps do plants best.
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmas_one View Post
T8's and T12's have the same pin arrangement. The number after the T refers to the bulb diameter in 1/8" increments. T8=1", T12 is 1-1/2", T5 is 5/8". I don't even think Home Depot sells T12 anymore, it's all T8.
I read about that, I have heard that sometimes there are issues with using T8's in a T12 fixture though. I'm still debating on what I do. The fixtures are so cheap and the bulbs, it is hard to walk away from that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryk
Are you deadset on the "cheapest" now option? Or would you consider a cheaper in the long run option, such as LEDs?
I'm not really deadset on it. I'm just thinking this will be for growing only so it is not like I need it to look all fancy or anything. Really I'm waiting on the next $1 per gallon sale before I start on this project, so the longer that is, the more money I can save up for it.

I have never used LEDs before and I don't know a whole lot about them. I would consider them, I need to learn about them though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by acitydweller
Its going to cost you more money in electricity going cfl's but it is the best bang for the buck initially.

Skip the 10k bulbs unless you are doing a reef setup. Red grow lamps do plants best.
I realize that it is going to cost more money with the T12's for my electric bill. Right now, I don't have to worry about that since I live on base, but it wont always be like this, so I'm definitely trying to way my options here. I will skip the 10K bulbs for sure, I thought they would be critical for the red's, but I must have read wrong about them. I'll look into the Red grow lamps though. Thanks.
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:31 PM   #15
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when i first started the hobby, i only used clamp lights with 6500k bulbs. you can pretty much grow anything and have high light. just select the appropriately sized domes to mount and get the 23w 6500k bulbs. the 13w are much dimmer for not much cheaper.

When things look favorable with funds or what not you can always move up to LEDs or come across some used fixtures for sale over time.
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