lighting setup for a big tank
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Old 08-03-2004, 01:59 AM   #1
rchawk3
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lighting setup for a big tank


I am in the process of converting my family's 218 gallon aquarium. To start off we bought a 4x65w PC Coralife fixture...this obviously was not enough light. so we just added 4x65w DIY for a total of 520 watts. The lights are a 50/50 mix of 6700K and 10000K. Is this enough light for medium to high light plants?

Here is the lighting setup.
If it seems a bit strange it is because the tank is an odd length, 7ft, which obviously makes fitting in regular light fixtures very difficult. With this configuration the light in the tank seems to be fairly even. Does this setup look ok or should some of the lights be moved around which is not a problem.

Most of the plants in there now are plastic but they will of course be replaced by real ones eventually. I just wanted to get the lighting set before i fully planted it and aquascaped it.
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Old 08-03-2004, 02:35 AM   #2
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ONE.. your going to get a lot of algae problems with more light like that until you get it planted. Two..you may just have wanted to invest in MH lights.. but since you got pc.. not sure. I would pry say, and most others, that you should throw out the 50/50 lights.. they don't really help freshwater plants much. Im not really sure about the wattage.. for that long of a tank you really have to devide it up into quadrents... maybe make the center of the tank really bright.. or one side (ie.. several lights in good reflectors--like 4 or them on one side).. then make a low light area for anubias type plants.. etc

I am sure others will have good suggestions..
Make a drawing of the tank.. dimesions and how the lights are layed out..etc to help us out.
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:05 AM   #3
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Nice looking tank, lots of potential there. How deep is it?
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:05 AM   #4
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Well the new lights have only been in there 1 day so i wanted to get input ASAP. As you can see in the picture of the full tank there is a top so space is too limited for MH (about 8" between the bottom of the canopy and the top of the tank) I dont have 50/50 lights what i meant is that half of the lights are 10000K and the other half are 6700K.

as for the layout its something a top view would look something like this:

\ _ == _ /

the 2 angled lights are 10000K the lights up front are 6700K and the center is the coralife fixture.
the tank is 7ft long, 20" wide, and 30" deep. The PC bulbs are 22" so I angled the lights to avoid wasting it. The very front center of the tank as well as one small area in the back seem a bit darker at the surface but the entire bottom seems to be evenly covered.
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Old 08-03-2004, 03:20 AM   #5
Rex Grigg
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At 30" deep I would have strongly suggested MH lights. In fact I will still do so.
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Old 08-03-2004, 04:23 AM   #6
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well although the tank may be 30" deep there is a 4.5-5 in layer of gravel (part of it is blocked by the bottom board in the picture) which makes somewhat of a difference.
And like I said MH not an option unless I wanted to boil water at the surface. Plus I have already gotten the lights. What I need to know is if this looks like a workable setup. And if it is what type of plants i could grow (ie low medium or high light plants) also any specific plant suggestions would be helpful.
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Old 08-04-2004, 03:29 AM   #7
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Yah its workable... What I would do is look around here for a person giving away plants for the cost of shipping and SNACTH THEM UP!!!... like several kinds..

ADD them.. and see how they work.. get some low light plants like anubias (any variety). They will work in the darker areas. Rotala Indica will work in low to high light areas... there are TONS of easy options. The hard plants are for the more advanced or more patient. Stay away from them till you are REALLY ready for them. You could do some AUESOME aquascaping in that tank also. Loook for driftwood...BIG driftwood(bogwood).. free or etc.. make a rock shelf to plant high light plants on.. that will get them closer to the light and help the situation. You may consider a CO2 system.. not sure. Sometimes a CO2 system is good sometimes people with big tanks don't use them at all... got to plantgeek.com look at their stuff.. the descriptions are fairly accurate.. moderately difficult plants will grow good for you..
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Old 08-04-2004, 06:22 PM   #8
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I'm using compact flourescents over my 150 which is 28in tall. I'm using the 4x96W kit from AH. My plants are growing fine. So don't worry about not going with MH.

You probably will not be able to grow high light plants, however. I have a red tiger lotus that does nothing but send surface runners. I acutally like it as it adds variety to the tank, but this would indicate to me that not enough light reaches the bottom for high light plants. This is where MH would help as they have better tank penetration.

You can always try some high light plants to see what happens, but I'd stick with the moderate to low light ones at first. Just experiment and see what works and what doesn't.

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