ScottieB's 26 Bow to 75gal Upgrade Adventure - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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ScottieB's 26 Bow to 75gal Upgrade Adventure

Hey all,

I want to open this with an important question. I am in need of a light for a planted 75gal tank. I'm currently using a 2xt5 fixture on my 26 bow front, so I'm not against T5s for the new tank, but everyone seems to be talking LEDs lately.

I'm leaning toward the Finnex Ray2, although it's a bit steep at ~$190. Looking for any advice here. I'd like med to high light. I have a proper CO2 setup and do EI ferts.

-----------------------------------

So - a breif history. I've been keeping fish since I was around 8 and got my first "fighting fish" in a bowl. In my teens and early 20s I was all about carnivorous predatory fish like Pirhana, but then about 10 years ago I moved to planted. I dabbled in it, never getting real serious (went as far as a fluval co2 setup), before completely neglecting the tank for around 3 years. Almost, but not quite, everything died. Then, back in November, I cleaned it out (not completely, just of algae and dead plants) and set it back up in November, adding a proper pressurized CO2 setup in mid February. Since I did that, things have really taken off.

So far, I haven't focused too much on aquascaping. Mostly I'm trying to get a feel for what thrives in my setup, and trying to get my cherry shrimp to breed (they have started!).

That said I have the itch to upgrade to a 75g for a few reasons. First is obviously the size. I feel limited (and am WAY overstocked) on my 26 bow front. But more than anything I HATE the distortion of the bow front. I find it hard to focus on small things especially near the front of the tank, and I want to see my little baby shrimp hiding in the moss!

So over the next weeks/months I will slowly be upgrading and moving everything over to the 75. I don't intend to keep the bow tank. First thing is to build a DIY stand.

That's about all for now, see some images of progress. From November to a few weeks ago. I'll get a current pic - things are pretty overgrown right now lol! I'll update soon with some specs (equipment) and stocking info. Let me know if any questions!

Here's right after I set it up - that's what survived (and a few new purchases).



Then a few weeks later:


And a few more weeks:


And maybe 2 or 3 weeks ago:
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 06:36 PM
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Lots of people using T5HO with great results. I'm in the first category and don't blame the lights for not being in the second haha. See @Greggz and @burr740 and @slipfinger for examples of beautiful T5HO tanks

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 07:28 PM
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Your bowfront looks outstanding.

T5's are great, I actually switched from LED to T5HO. Long run, T5's may cost you more with bulb replacement and power consumption, but I really like my T5's over the LED's. And unless you want to spend some serious money on LED's, you aren't getting the same spectral coverage as you can get with a T5 bulb mix.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks mgeorges - both for the compliment and the info!

Should I be looking at 4 bulbs or 2? Or maybe a fixture with 4 bulbs but multiple power switches? Can anyone recommend something specific for a 75 gallon tank (48")? I'll do some looking on my own though, too.

LEDs seem kind of cool for the nerd factor, but I'd rather have the better light!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottieB View Post
Thanks mgeorges - both for the compliment and the info!

Should I be looking at 4 bulbs or 2? Or maybe a fixture with 4 bulbs but multiple power switches? Can anyone recommend something specific for a 75 gallon tank (48")? I'll do some looking on my own though, too.

LEDs seem kind of cool for the nerd factor, but I'd rather have the better light!
I rock a 4 bulb fixture on my 29 gallon. It depends on how diligent you want to be. I've been running my fixture for several months and have slowly ramped up to 7 hours while getting things dialed in pretty well from the standpoint of insuring there's enough ferts and co2 to prevent the ever impending algae blooms. It's an insane amount of light...I think I'm around 120 PAR at the substrate lol.

All 4 bulbs would probably be too much to start with on a fresh build, so you could take two out (or if it's a multi switch, shut one of the channels off) and as your plant mass increases, you can add in another, and then another just watching for any problems as you go.

Both @burr740 and @Greggz run bigger tanks than I do and can give you better insight on what will fit you best. Thought I'd share my experience and 2 cents.

For my bulbs, I run two reds - TrueLumen Flora, and two ~6500K Fluval bulbs. Burr recommended some cool combos I could do besides this specific config, but this was what I ended up sticking with.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 08:43 PM
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Both @burr740 and @Greggz run bigger tanks than I do and can give you better insight on what will fit you best. Thought I'd share my experience and 2 cents.
Not much in the planted tank world is proven and repeatable, so our 2 cents and experience is all we can offer.

So here's mine.

2 vs 4 bulbs depends on your goals. Either one will grow just about anything in a high tech environment. That being said, if your goal is a lush garden with fast growing showy flowering stems, then 4 bulbs would be better. If your goal is low tech low light, either 2 or 4 T5HO is too much.

With a 4 bulb fixture, having control of two banks is best. Allows for ramp up, high light burst, ramp down. In general more options and control is better.

Color rendition of bulbs is very important, both for plant health and your viewing pleasure.

Good luck and looking forward to following along and seeing where this goes.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-31-2018, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for your input. One of the things I enjoy most about this hobby is that while others can help with their experience, you're totally right - 2 cents is all it really is - we are all our own journey.

Anyway I'm pretty happy with the amount of light I currently have, which is 2 T5's on my 26 bow (24" long, 21" deep, with the light sitting about 4" above the top) - one 6500k and one pink/red 'flora' one I forget the temp. I don't know what the PAR is though. I don't think I'd want less light than this, but a bit more would be ok. Can anyone give an idea of how 4 t5 bulbs on a 75g would compare to 2 on a 26b? Just imagining it seems like they'd be similar unless the bigger bulbs are a lot more powerful.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Hey quick question to anyone reading this - you think 2 Eheim 2213 Canisters is enough filtration for a 75 gallon planted? I also have an AQ70 HoB that I'm currently using on my bow front (but not the 2nd Eheim) but I'd like to retire it if possible. I have a second 2213 just collecting dust.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 03:34 PM
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@ScottieB I'd be a little skeptical on it providing adequate flow. I run a 2213 on a 10 gallon with lily pipes and it provides good flow for that tank, not excessive. I use all the OEM filtration stuff, plus I stick two packets of Purigen in on top of the media basket, that probably reduces flow a bit. Nothing in-line though besides CO2 atomizer and that doesn't really restrict flow at all. The water turnover might be adequate for a 75 gallon, but I think you'll definitely need to invest in a couple powerheads.

Bump: So the flow rate is only 116 gph and that's probably rated without media in the canister. You're probably looking at only have 2x turnover/hr with two running. I think you should consider something bigger and maybe use one of the 2213's as the CO2 reactor/in-line heater/whatever-else-you-want-in-line canister.
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