So, I've been mucking with the TC-420 and the Fluval Vista. I've hooked it up to the TC-420, and I've setup two LED strips in both an 8.5g and the 23g. I've also measured the results using an MQ-210 PAR Meter. It's a bit surprising, but I'm sharing my results in case someone is interested.
Hopefully it is interesting to a few folks who have asked about this in the past.
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What’s the Benefit Here?
Adding a second light into the hood is an easy, if not terribly cheap way to get more light into the Fluval Vista tanks without changing the look. In my case, I have to keep the fish in, and the cat out. However, it’s also true that the Vista lighting is very capable for low light work. So maybe you just want to keep the one strip, and control it with a TC-420. That’s not a bad way to get more fine tuned control of photoperiod and use the two channels in each LED strip to have more interesting effects such as mimicking sunrise or sunset.
Some Measurements taken at the substrate of my tanks with an MQ-210 PAR Meter:
Fluval Vista 8.5 Gallon (32 Liter)
(~9.5” of Water)
Fluval Vista 23 Gallon (87 Liter)
- One Strip @ 100% White + Blue: ~20 PAR
- Two Strips @ 100% White + Blue: ~35 PAR
(~15” of Water)
- One Strip @ 100% White + Blue: ~30 PAR
- Two Strips @ 100% White + Blue: ~50 PAR
The numbers for the 23 surprised me the most as I wasn't expecting to be able to hit 30 PAR a strip of 5050s (Hagen gives conflicting values on the wattage here too, site says 8.4W, sticker says 10W). I suspect it's a mix of the lights effectively being an inch above the water with no glass over the tank, along with reflections happening due to the taller stature of the 23g. Since the tanks are a bit thin, being 10-12” deep, there’s not a lot of loss going from the front to back of the tank.