CFL Lighting - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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CFL Lighting

I'm new to planted aquariums and have a limited budget. This has caused me to do a little bit of research and I like the sound of CFL lighting. I have found these bulbs: http://1000bulbs.com/product/1598/FC30-FEIIS30W65.html

I plan on buying 3 or 4 desk clamp lamps to put them in but my question is how many of these lamps will I need for my 40 gallon tank?

Thanks
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 06:11 PM
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4 bulbs would be good for a 40g, thats 3wpg which is medium lighting i believe...


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 06:17 PM
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How many lamps you will need will depend on the spread created by the reflector of the clamp lamps you buy, and the dimensions of the tank. I'm going to assume it a 40B so it's 36" long. I was playing around with those clamp on shop lights and three seemed to give me full coverage. So I would say start with three and if you feel like there are gaps in the coverage add another later on. As far as the bulbs are concerned they are a good spectrum, but for a shallow tank like a 40B probably overkill especially if you aren't doing pressurized CO2. I would start with 6500K daylight cfl's at Lowe's(or someplace similar) that are 75W equivalents instead of the 120W equivalent ones you linked. If you find they aren't strong enough you can always use them in you're lights around the house if you decide to upgrade the ones on the tank so it's not a loss. If you buy the ones you linked and need to use something smaller you probably don't have many places to use a 120W equivalent bulb. Just my .02 cents
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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So 3 26watt 6500k cfls would be enough for medium light plants? And how will I know if I need more light?
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 08:15 PM
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Well the thing to remember when using CFL's instead of tube style lights is that the number of lights doesn't have a big affect on the light intensity just on coverage. So the light provides x amount of par at so many inches below it. The bigger the footprint of the tank the more you need, but the intensity is the same for the most part. Check out this thread https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...ad.php?t=85667 If you look on the second page you start to get some data/pics that help it make sense. I don't have a PAR meter(although I'm thinking about buying one off of Hoppy) so I can't tell you for sure what will give you medium light in your tank(it will depend not only on the lamp you choose, but on how high it is positioned).

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 08:19 PM
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I have a ten gallon tank with two clip on the back lamps...they can only support 13w bulbs but that doesn't matter really...I have two 13w daylight cfl bulbs..and my tank is doing pretty darn good!
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 08:25 PM
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Taking a closer look at that chart it looks like with a 23W CFL resting on the top of the tank would give you low light par levels. They don't give any data for 26W or 30W bulbs so it's a bit hard to judge. I would think 26W(100W equivalent) would get you to the low end of medium depending of course on how high the desk lamps are placed above the tank.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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It looks like the 30 watt bulbs I found are going to be what I use just to make sure I have enough light. They're not very expensive so I have no problem experimenting. Thanks for the feedback.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 08:42 PM
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where are you buying your lamps from?
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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That is the current issue actually. I'm having trouble finding clamp lamps that can support a 30 watt cfl and aren't too expensive. If you have any recommendations I would greatly appreciate them.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 09:39 PM
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that's why I asked...most of the clip on lamps only support about 13watts of light...I actually got mine from walmart believe it or not and they work great!
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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How many watts do they support
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 09:52 PM
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13watts per lamp for these ones..you may wanna look depending on where you live at home depot, lowes, or menards...they may have some good lamps for you to look at...I was going to end up in one of these stores but I got the ones from walmart so cheap and It was very easy!
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Ya I think I need a couple more watts for my 40 . I'm going to lowes and Home Depot over the next couple days.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-27-2013, 10:50 PM
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I am using metal dome clamp lights from Walmart. They are also known as brooder lights. They are used by chicken keepers to keep the chicks warm. It says on the tags the max watt is 150w. Never found bulbs that big. Be sure to get the daylight 6500k bulbs. I get a three pack for around $11. The lights are around $8. I am growing medium and some high light plants. Everything is growing fine. I have the light hanging 2 inches above the water line.
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