Need advice on low cost lights for 55 gal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Need advice on low cost lights for 55 gal

Hi, I am setting up my 55 gallon again, and while the LEDs that came with it do grow plants, I'm sure that I would have much better success with better lights. My budget is limited, and I believe that my needs are also pretty basic. I don't anticipate trying to use co2, or trying to grow anything more demanding than swords, various anubias, Java ferns, wisteria, crypts, etc.

I have narrowed down some choices (unless someone has some better ideas for me) and I would appreciate any input to help guide my decision:

https://www.amazon.com/Beamswork-650...swork+1w+6500k

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016P96UA8...d_w=5WNkZ&th=1

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019YXYNSI/ref=dp_cerb_2

I'm confused by the differing ratings, the fact that one has half as many bulbs but each bulb is double the wattage, one of them has red bulbs, etc.

I have read many articles and tried to educate myself about this subject but for some reason I find it to be extremely confusing.

Thank you.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 02:26 AM
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I've never used beams work though I've heard decent reviews for low light tanks. I have had tremendous success with my stingray.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00NAFQ99I/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520817927&sr=8-1&keywords=Finnex+Stingray+48"&dpPl=1&dpID=31cNBpK t2xL&ref=plSrch

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 06:05 PM
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What size tank are you using the Stingray on, and what kind of plants are you growing?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 07:39 PM
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I have been using the beamswork 48 on my 55 since Spetmeber and it has been working very well. I keep swords in eco-complete and floating frogbit. The frogbit loves the light and the swords (with fertz) are growing well even with the frogbit cover. It is certainly the good economical choice although you'll want the separate timer too.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

timer:
https://smile.amazon.com/Timer-Modul...4N94KGAS00QYTE
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-16-2018, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you, this would be for a 55 gallon, growing swords, anubias, Java fern, wisteria, ludwegia repens, crypts.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2018, 05:37 AM
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I have the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 on my 60g FW low tech (same footprint as a 55, just a bit taller). I'm running it in 24/7 mode on a timer from 6am until midnight. Plants are doing really well.

Edit: I think one of our objectives in one aspect of the hobby is to imitate nature. I quite like aquascapes that look like windows into real underwater worlds. In addition, like us, fish have a circadian rhythm and are most healthy with a period of darkness.
The Finnex 24/7 (in 24/7 mode) imitates nature with a sunrise startup, ramping up light to midday brightness, then ramping down to sunset/moonlight. It is surreal and adds a touch of realism to the display aquarium. (Admittedly less important for a quarantine, hospital, grow out tank, or the large fishroom - but really cool in the living room!
AND prolly not the cheapest light.

Last edited by AbbeysDad; 03-17-2018 at 02:00 PM. Reason: update
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 03:22 AM
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I am currently running the DHL on my 55 gallon with a dimmer--you would really need a dimmer for this light if you want to keep it low tech. The same is true of the DA 6500K.
This is the one I'm using.

https://www.amazon.com/LEDENET%C2%AE...rds=led+dimmer

I used the Stingray on my 55 for years with great success, although I was somewhat limited to the lower end of low light plants and it costs more even with the dimmer factored in.

There's always something like this as well.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lights-of...13=538&veh=sem

Last edited by goodbytes; 03-19-2018 at 03:42 AM. Reason: info
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 06:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goose54 View Post
What size tank are you using the Stingray on, and what kind of plants are you growing?
Apologies for the late response. I run my Stingray on a 55 standard. I have Crinum Calamistratum, Amazon Sword, Red Flame Sword and another fancy sword that I'm not sure if it's going to go or not yet. Then have several varieties of anubias, Java ferns and a ton of different crypts. Crypt parva didn't take real well but it's not dead yet still basically maintaining itself but it's been in the tank 8 months so I might pull it. And a mystery moss that volunteered off a piece of driftwood in another tank, I've yet to ID the particular type of moss yet.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 12:22 PM
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Paper...

I keep several 55 and 60 G tanks and use a four bulb, 48 inch strip light from the hardware store. The set up with bulbs is about $50.00. I use T8, 6500K, 32 watt bulbs. The light is great for low to moderate light plants. I just hang the strip above the tank. The lights will last well over a year and even longer. Just get a good fish load going and feed a balanced diet. The fish take care of fertilizing the plants and I change out half the water in the tank every week or two to maintain good mineral levels. The plants grow fine.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 03:35 PM
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I am not a fan of LED lights at this point as they are not yet fully evolved to the point that I will call them reliable and good investments. I have had three lights and the LED themselves will last forever! However the three fixtures are now junk because the power supplies are gone! Two 48" Beamworks have both failed in under a year. Just not a good investment at this time as I also see the LED lightbulbs in my house beginning to fail!
So I will continue to use the tested and proven thing that I know work well.
For cheap and reliable lighting, I now prefer to use tube lights or build small fixtures using the CFL twisty bulbs. As the world is going LED, I find CFL in the correct rating of 6500K are getting hard to find but they are also very cheap! Screwed into simple construction bulb holders and strung along extension cord wiring, they are absolutely the most cost effective way to light the tank.
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