Lighting for a Paludarium Style Planted Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-07-2003, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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I have a 30 inch (~110 gallons) Cubed tank that I have put in a Land Section about 1/2 the way up. I am trying to figure out the most efficient way to get enough light to the plants. The water will be 15" deep (and ~50 gallons of water space), but there will be an additional 15" between the water level and the the light at the top of the tank.

When using the general formula of 3 watts per gallon, in my case, should I use 50 x 3 = 150W since that is the actual amount of water, or should I still use the full 110 x 3 = 330W. I can only figure that I will need less since there is less resitance in the air than in the water, but wanted to make sure first.

Assuming that I will need something ~200W; What and Where is the best place to get a lighting unit that will supply this much wattage to my tank? I do not want (and via my wife will not be allowed to) have any type of lighting that hangs from the ceiling. Therefore I need to stick with the normal 30 inch light strips that can be placed on top of the tank.

Also, the only plants I am interested in using are totally submergable aquatic plants. Just the normal ones you can get at any petstore.

Any help would be great! Thanks!

450g Planted Discus Tank - Work in Process!
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-20-2003, 12:30 PM
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I am not an aquarium expert, but unless you intend to harvest these plants, then two standard full length lights will be enough to keep them alive. Unless you keep these tanks in an unlit basement, the plants will get a greater amount of what they need from ambient light. (Just don't paint all your walls with high carbon black paint, that tends to absorb almost all light!)

However, if your land section is going to be at the back, as I assume it will be, then you will want your lighting to be more toward the front. Besides, if you have a 50/50 tank, you will not want 300Watts of solar radiation beaming off the land and heating up the water. You will never be able to see in your tank through the mist on the walls. If you leave your tank open on top, stopping the mist, then you will need to add a gallon of water every day, and a 50% water change every two weeks.

Remember, farmers like abundant light, not plants. (Though they will thrive in it.) If these are just going to be common fish-store plants, then mimic the lighting requirements that they have in the store. No light comes close to matching the power of the sun. Ask any marijuana farmer.

I would suggest placing an "AQUA-SPECTRUM" light where the flip-top lid is, and use a "FULL-SPECTRUM" or "TERRARIUM-SPECTRUM" light where the normal light fixture would be, (In the center). Just remove the flip-top, or cut a hole in it with a dremmel. Then mount the light to it after you cut off the hinges that hold the door down. Or get an all glass top cover. Place one light on the middle section, and the other on the flip-up section.
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