Open top or glass top tank?
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Old 07-15-2004, 04:18 AM   #1
MacTech
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Open top or glass top tank?


Here's my latest dillema...

should i replace my current lighting setup (2 20 watt All Glass striplights on a glass Versa-Top) with a 48" worklight strip and 6500K "Daylight" bulbs from wally-world

basically, the water sprite is doing *too well*, it's taking over the tank, i almost need to prune it every day, it's shading the Dwarf Chains and the sword plant, it wouldn't surprise me if it was hogging all my ferts

i suppose i could move it to a darker corner of the tank, move the hornwort to where the WS is now, and that may unshade the swords, problem is, the WS has a pretty decent root structure now and i don't know if it would take too well to being moved...

i could leave everything where it is, pick up that 48" fixture and 6500K "daylight" bulbs at wally world, take the versa-top off the tank and let the WS grow out of the top of the tank, that should also cut down on the shading problem, as the WS would be growing *up* out of the tank, not spreading just below the surface

it would also allow me to grow almost any plant in that tank, even Glosso...

aside from increased evaporation, is there any disadvantage to having an open-top tank, i don't smoke and don't use aerosol chemicals (like lysol), so i don't think particulate contamination would be a problem, the puffers show no sign of wanting to jump out of the tank, so i don't think that'd be a problem...

the tank itself is a 20 Long, a 30" tank, the striplights use a 24" tube, so there's 6" (3" per side) at the edges of the tank that's darker than the rest of the tank, so technically, the current tubes are slightly too short

the 48" striplight is 18" (9" per side) too long for the tank, i know i'll get *some* spillover, but since the tank is located about 9" away from the wall on the left side, i can basically center the light strip's right hand side over the right edge of the tank and let the left side spill over

Glass top, or emersed, what's the best bet?
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Old 07-15-2004, 04:27 AM   #2
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The first time I saw an open top tank, I knew that was the way I wanted it. Some others may not like it but I'm definitely a big fan. Roll with the drop top man.

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Old 07-15-2004, 04:45 AM   #3
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here's the current layout on the desk (really old solid wood desk, i've used it for tank support for 20 years, no problems);



i figure i could hang the worklight above the tank, and center it over the desk, the apartment has acoustic tile suspended ceiling, so i can simply run a set of chains thru the suspended ceiling support

how well does WS grow emersed, and are the GE "Daylight" 6500K tubes any good for planted tanks?
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Old 07-15-2004, 04:10 PM   #4
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Actually, you should be able to get some clips that'll fasten to the metal 'grid' that holds teh tiles in, so nothing will get damaged and you can keep your deposit.

I converted 1 tank to open top so far and like it. my 75 gallon will be changed over after I seal the inside of the canopy with primer and paint. I started runnin it open top but the humidity started warping 1 board.
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Old 07-15-2004, 04:17 PM   #5
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It'll look great, especially since you don't have a traditional stand. Some plants floofing out the top will balance out the....uh...it'll look good. Also, the desk is probably a little lower than tanks normally are, so it'll enable a top-down view a little better than the normal setup would opentopped. (Hey. I'm short. Low is better.)

You may get a little splashing mist without a top, but if the desk finish can take it, it's definitely a good way to go here.

No comment on lights. I'm still a newbie.
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Old 07-15-2004, 04:22 PM   #6
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I hope I'm not hijacking here, but how do you avoid the humidity taking out the light fixtures with open top?
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Old 07-15-2004, 04:46 PM   #7
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Hopefully the fixtures will be UL damp or wet rated and can handle the moisture. I've had an open topped tank with a really splashy filter (and fish) with a light right above it. I tried to keep a section of glass between the light and the water (many fixtures come with a sheet of acrylic but mine was far too cheap) but it wasn't too successful. The only issue I had was water deposits on the bulbs. It was probably really unsafe.

I think a suspended fixture should be safe from ambient humidity, but I would want to be sure it didn't get splashed outright...and that it wasn't rated for dry use only.
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Old 07-16-2004, 04:08 AM   #8
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I have my 20L as an open top and I really like it. Not only does it make it a lot easier to work on the tank, the lights create a nice ripple effect on the ceiling and on the bottom of the tank. Evaporation hasn't been a problem for me, I just top it off every 5 days or so. You may lose some fish since without the top since they land on the floor when they jump. Also my cats were used to jumping on top of the tank with the hood and when I went toppless I ended up with a wet cat (only happened once though). If the lights are any higher than 12" above the tank you shouldn't have any problems with moisture.
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Old 07-16-2004, 05:07 AM   #9
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Well, i figured for $15 it was worth a try, i'm not happy though...


using a 48" worklight and the GE "Daylight Ultra 6500K bulbs, *this* is the result, quite unimpressive for 80 watts of light, yes i lose a lot on the sides, more than i expected actually, and if i raise the fixture just a few inches off the glass top the light drops *dramatically*, almost by half, and the light coverage in the tank is irregular, just look at the light reflected from the gravel...

to compare, here's the tank with my dual 20 watt striplights;


not much difference in brightness, and the light is *focused* and stays inside the tank for the most part, the gravel reflects more of the light back up

yes, i allowed a half hour for the tubes to reach their maximum brightness

oh well, looks like a return is in order tomorrow, and i'll have to start saving for a CF hood....
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Old 07-16-2004, 03:41 PM   #10
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you can put fans in the canopy to vent the warm, moist air.
my light kits have water resistent end caps, and the ballasts and other wire splicing is outside the canopy so they're 'safe'.
in my case, i never saw a drop of condensation on the bubls or reflectors (and it gets humid here in the summer), but it was just damp enuf for the wood to soak it up.
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Old 07-16-2004, 04:03 PM   #11
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The best thing with open top is mainanence. I would get glass under the fixture though, because I did ruin my reflectors because of calcium deposites.

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