Am I Being Cheap with my Light??? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2014, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Am I Being Cheap with my Light???

So I'm new to the aquarium world. I have a 3 gal betta tank on my desk. There also a ghost shrimp in there, but that's not important. I want to turn the tank into a planted aquarium. The problem is i don't have an aquarium light fixture and the room gets no sunlight. Now I'm a broke college student and I really don't want to spend $35 or more on a light fixture on a tank that cost $25. Now I have a regular desk lamp that can hold a regular 40 WATT light bulb. So I could I just use that and buy a LED light bulb. I only need about 9 WATTS of LED according to that 2.5 WATTS per gal rule, which I heard was inaccurate but that's another question for another forum. If I'm just being cheap just let me know. I'm new and can take criticism.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2014, 10:59 PM
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Why not just get a 6500k cfl instead of the led? I would think that would offer enough light for your tank, and it'd be even cheaper than getting a led bulb.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2014, 11:39 PM
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Light is only one small part and being frugal is smart! Try the 6500K CFL for cheap and don't worry about it.
Note that you may have to go to a bulb shop to find 6500K. They have become scarce around me.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-06-2014, 11:58 PM
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Cheap can work too! I used the same bulb in my kitchen, a common 23W 6500K CFL.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 12:08 AM
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sup, a regular 14W spiral cfl bulb works fine for my 5G.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all of you were helpful. I pray that all of your tanks prosper.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 02:19 AM
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Like everyone said, CFL's. I have them over all my tanks. Will probably still do it with my 120g.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 03:16 AM
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Watts per a gallon rule is dead. [Read this thread]... or at least look at the charts in the first post.
If you want cheap get a 6500kelvon cfl (can find at most local grocery stores.. or a home improvement store) and a desk lamp or clamp on work lamp. Did this for most of my tanks except the 55 (has t5 lighting) and my husband's tank.. splurged on a USA LED... still trying to tune in the right brightness level... But the tanks with cfl lights I have it pretty easy ^^
[Post on cfl lighting intensity] by wattage, orientation, distance, and kelvin

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 05:00 AM
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I bought this LED light off amazon for a desk lamp (not for aquarium use)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AOFH89W/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Its plenty bright. I used to have a 13W florescent light in the lamp, and the LED light is a lot brighter, and a much better bulb for a desklamp because its directional. A flourescent (or incandescent light for that matter) is only as good as the reflector its mounted in, while the LED lamp doesn't use the reflector.

I highly recommend, and its only $9 with free shipping if you order $30 worth of stuff.

There's also bulbs at home improvement stores, but they'll be a little more expensive, and its harder to find 6000K or 6500K lights there.

You could also easily get away with a lower wattage bulb. Florescent lights need about 2-3 watts per gallon, but LEDs are typically more efficient, and in most cases you only really need about 1 watt per gallon. A 5W LED bulb is cheaper and will probably be plenty for your needs.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 03:09 PM
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I also prefer the LED PAR bulbs over the CFLs. More power per $ imo.


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 03:31 PM
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Homedepot et al sells LED bulbs you can use if you don't want to pay shipping.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-07-2014, 11:07 PM
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I have wanted to switch to LED, are they really better?
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2014, 02:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hplowe View Post
I have wanted to switch to LED, are they really better?
For some things they are. Depends on what you are wanting out of the light and what you want your money to do. If you want more light per watt, LED is cheaper but they cost more to buy, especially if you have to change out a fixture to use them.
If you want to run a tank for a year and don't want to have up front expense, it is hard to beat using the fixture you have and adding a CFL bulb at $2. LED will be cheaper next year or the year after as they become more common.
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