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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 03:09 AM Thread Starter
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light?

Ok, I'm a noob so this question may not even make sense, but please work with me here. I have a 20 gallon high . The lighting is T8 15W Halogen at 8000k(what does that even mean?) and 18". I think about 2-2.5W per gallon would be nice, so what way do you reccomend I go? Really good light fixtures out there that fit my needs? Any links? Light reccomendations? Anything you have to offer will be highly appreciated, thank you.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 03:15 AM
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https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/li...ens-watts.html do some research on what how your tank is going to be set up then post so u can get the correct answers for your tank. welcome to the forum
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 03:22 AM
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Welcome to TPT!

Right now you have a very low light fixture. There are some plants that would do well at that light level (Java ferns, Anubias, mosses, Crypts, chain swords).

The fixture you have is a 15 watt T8 fixture. You could replace that with a dual bulb T8 fixture (so 30 watts total) and that would greatly increase the # of species of plants you could keep and the plants will grow much more quickly, but you'd still have a low light tank so you would not absolutely need to add CO2 to the tank if you don't want to.

If you put much more light over the tank, you'll be getting into "medium" and "high" light setups- where you'll have to add CO2 and get a good, balanced fertilizer regimen worked out to support the plants.

So your biggest decision right now is- what type of tank set up do you want to shoot for- low light (no CO2 needed), medium light (DIY CO2 would work) or high light (you'd need to invest $200-300 for a pressurized CO2 setup)?





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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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I should have probably clarified that it is not a planted tank at the time, but I'm looking forward to making it one in the near future.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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But, I was thinking more along the lines of maybe 50W. What do you make of that? And what exactly is Kelvins? What role does it play in the process of choosing a light fixture? I've done a little research on it, but it doesn't quite make sense to me
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 04:07 AM
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Kelvins refer to the appearance of light color to the human eye. It's not a regulated/standardized measurement, so has limited use...

In general, 3000-5000 kelvin looks yellow
7000-8000k looks green
9325k looks pink/purple
10,000k looks white
most above 10k get into the blue actinic range, which is for corals not FW plants.

The vast majority of bulbs in the 5000-10,000 kelvin range will support FW plant growth.

And you need to specify a certain fixture rather than just throwing a wattage amount out there- there are lots of different types of lighting fixtures on the market these days, and 50 watts with a T8 fixture is very different than a 50 watt MH fixture is different from a 50 watt T5HO fixture...

But 50 watts with a T8 fixture will put you in the "medium to high" light category, needing to put CO2 on the tank.





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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 04:05 PM
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A 20 high tank is 24 inches long and 16 inches high. The length means you will have to use 20, 40, 60 watts of T12, or 16, 32, 48 watts of T8, etc. You can't pick a wattage and buy a bulb or bulbs that are 24 inches long with that wattage.

The 16 inch height defines how much light each type of bulb produces at the substrate level. A T12 or T8 bulb produces about 15 micromoles of PAR, while a T5HO bulb produces about 100 micromols of PAR. The first is very low light, and the second is high light. But, the T12 bulb wattage would be 20 watts, and the T5HO would be 24 watts. That should tell you that wattage is irrelevant.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, MH really isn't in the picture because my water already maintains a temperature of about 82 degrees with it's location and all. So, I don't need that kind heat. And Because my tank is high T5HO would be better at illuminating at more depths?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 04:31 AM
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I definitely would not advise putting T5HO over a tank unless you also plan to add CO2 to the tank.

Have you decided if you want to set up a low, medium, or high tech tank? Because it is your lighting level that is, IMO, the most critical decision when it comes to setting up a planted tank- most of your other decisions (CO2, fertilizer, plant species) revolve around how much light you want to run.





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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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I'm gonna go medium tech I think. And after reading a little more, I think I'm going to go with the Nova Extreme T5NO. How do you think pairing it with this would go? It really is the only one that fits my budget (high school student), and I've seen many on Youtube with them.

http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...1&pcatid=14711
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 11:03 PM
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The Nova Extreme puts you in the high light/high tech category- you'll most likely need pressurized CO2 to keep up with that much light in the long run.

You could try 2x DIY CO2 bottles if you're really good about keeping up with the maintenance on them.

If you want a "medium light" tank I'd go with a T5NO fixture rather than T5HO.





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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 11:15 PM
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Save yourself some money and if you are not growing plants keep it simple and cheap. Try craigslist or keep your eyes open on this forum. Also Kensfish.com has good prices on lights. I just bought a 24" dual light fixture for $40 on this forum. That would be good for medium plant growth or just decent lighting. Also if you decide to grow more advanced plants requiring CO2 the DIY CO2 system is really easy to make and use.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-23-2010, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for all of your help. I just ordered the Nova Extreme 2x24W T5 and I'll see how that works out for me. Wish me the best of luck!
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4kblktail View Post
Thanks guys for all of your help. I just ordered the Nova Extreme 2x24W T5 and I'll see how that works out for me. Wish me the best of luck!
Ok, scratch that, I realized that that was actually a T5HO (poor advertising from AquaCave) so I am having the order cancelled. What are some good T5NO fixtures for perhaps $100-150?
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