What bulbs should I get? With most light output - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-01-2005, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Question What bulbs should I get? With most light output

Hey all,
I am starting a 55 gallon tank and need some help deciding on what bulbs to use. I want the most out of the bulbs! I heard triton is good, some say coralife. I just have a hood for regular flourecent bulbs...

thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-01-2005, 02:52 PM
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Philips daylight deluxe 6500k are good, sold at Home Depot.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-01-2005, 03:10 PM
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If light output is your concern than you gotta check out this thread.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=175
The triton and coralife bulbs are expensive and do not produce enough output for a 55 gallon unless you install 4 of them. I had 3 T12 bulbs in my 55G; 2xTriton and 1xGrowlife (forget brand). These are ~$18 bulbs and have to be replaced every year. This gave me 120W in a ~50G water column equating to approx 2.4Watts/Gallon.
You can get better results with ODNO (see thread above) and cheap bulbs like the Philips daylight deluxe 6500k. I just overdrove my 3 T12 times 2 and I am amazed what a difference this has made for my tank. This fairly simple modification gave me approximately 3.6 Watts/Gallon. I can grow glossostigmata and hairgrass!!!

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-01-2005, 03:14 PM
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I'm assuming you have room for at least two bulbs, otherwise you won't be able to grow much of anything. I would definitely recommend you go with T-8 bulbs, since they lose less light to restrike.

Triton bulbs are good, but pricey. Coralife Nutri-grow (?) is okay, but I think they only come in T-12. I've also had good luck with Zoo-Med Flora Sun bulbs which are T-8.

I think you could have success with two NO flourescents, but you won't be able to grow high-light plants. Amazon swords would probably be a good bet, as would Anubias. Please post some more info about your set up, it will help to make recommendations.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-01-2005, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! Here is my setup...

55 gallon tank
4 inches of substrate (3 inches flourite with gravel and 1 inch eco-complete)
canister filter (don't know which one yet...still looking)

I was thinking of doing 3 40watt bulbs....giving me about 2.2 wpg. I have 1 double hood and one single bulb hood I was going to use.

But if that isn't enough lighting I was also looking at the Jebo lights giving me 220watts (but I don't know about the actinics...would actinics be good for growing freshwater plants?)

I would love to grow high light plants....but if I can make do with my 3 40watt bulbs that would be cool on a student's budget!

What do you guys think?

Thanks!
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-01-2005, 04:21 PM
 
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No, actinics are useless for freshwater plant growth. You'd have to replace them with appropriate bulbs.

For high light plants, you will have to have 3+ watts per gallon of normal fluorescent lighting, AND Co2 injection. Anything over 2wpg should have injected CO2, and for a 55gallon tank, pressurized CO2 is your best course of action, and that'll run up to $200 for the whole setup (tank, regulator, diffusing device)

Average cost of a high tech, planted tank with 3wpg is $10-$15 per gallon of tank size, and that doesn't count plants or fish, just substrate and equipment.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-01-2005, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sexishrimp
But if that isn't enough lighting I was also looking at the Jebo lights giving me 220watts (but I don't know about the actinics...would actinics be good for growing freshwater plants?)
I have both the Jebo 220 watt light and 2 t8 phillips daylight deluxe overdriven x4 in a cheapy shoplight.

I would definatally go with the overdriven t8s. All said and done it cost me about $60 to buy the parts and less than an hour to set it up, This does not include the time it took me to read the afore mentioned thread, it is really long. I think I get about twice as much light with the t8 setup and my plants were pearling through a massive Green water outbreak

To further sway your decision, the atinics will do very little if anything for your tank, and will cost about $18 a bulb to replace.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-01-2005, 09:46 PM
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Definitely stay away from the actinics. That was a mistake I made on one of my earlier forays into the planted tank world.

If you have fixtures for three 40 Watt tubes, you should be in pretty good shape. You won't be able to grow everything, but you can certainly grow most things. And it would benefit from some DIY CO2 as well. Of course pressurized is better, but I know what it's like to be a student, since I still is.

A lot of folks round here are big on the ODNO thing. Never tried it, would be afraid of burning down my house. Unless you really want high light, I'd recommend against it. Especially since you already have fixtures to use.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-01-2005, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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thanks!

There is this flourish liquid stuff that is supposed to act like co2....it is a derivative of formaldehyde. They say it acts like CO2 so you don't need any other CO2 input into your tank....any opinions on it?
Thanks!
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-01-2005, 11:05 PM
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It's fine for a small nano setup but not a 55 with that much light. Youll need to go on the bottle. Otherwise your asking for algae to roost in no time.

RIP - 55g - Eheim 2026 and 2217 - DIY CO2 reactor - Turbo Twist 3x - Tek Light t5 pendant w/ 2x54 6500k - ecocomplete mixed with Red Sea florabase.
"Better to be shot out of a cannon then squeezed through a tube" - HST
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-02-2005, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I am actually going to do the DIY CO2. Could I attach the CO2 tube into a reactor I got and hook that up to the output of my canister filter? Will I take more advantage of the CO2 and have it more dispersed into my water that way?
That is my thinking....please let me know if I am right...I am still Oh so new to this!!

Thanks again for all your help!
SS
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-02-2005, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sexishrimp
Thanks! I am actually going to do the DIY CO2. Could I attach the CO2 tube into a reactor I got and hook that up to the output of my canister filter? Will I take more advantage of the CO2 and have it more dispersed into my water that way?That is my thinking....please let me know if I am right...I am still Oh so new to this!!
SS:

Be careful of pressure differences. Somewhere on this forum is a guy who sucked the contents of his DIY into the tank with a "reactor" but I assume you can do the opposite and blow up the DIY too(and dump the contents of the tank on the floor to boot). So do something "low-pressure" like an in tank reactor of bubble ladder to start with.

Moved to Tucson.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-02-2005, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, I can see how that would happen....WOW. Thanks! How do I do a bubble ladder? I get the DIY with the bottle and the yeast mix and the tubing....where do I add the slow bubbling tube from the DIY bottle??

Thanks!
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-02-2005, 03:02 AM
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ODNO:
It's all that it is cracked up to be and no you will not bur down your house. I had the same exact set-up you are attempting until about 2 weeks ago; 3 x 40W NO fluorescents, DIY pumped into the tank filter intake, adding commercial ferts (Kent) and my plants grew decently with slight beard algae problems. I was not totaly happy with the plant growth, however, so I decided to upgrade the tank.
I went with only 2 x ODNO by utilizing the existing 2 bulb balast in the dual bulb fixture to drive 1 bulb and buying a 4 bulb balast to drive the remaining 2 bulbs. Everything stays fairly cool but the results are amazing, as I mentioned before. The only thing I added was a computer fan under the hood as a safety measure (don't realy think it's necessary for safety but it will extend bulb life)

DIY and REACTOR:
I set-up the reactor before getting the pressurized CO2 system and I hooked my DIY to it (the reactor). I ran it like this for approximatelly 5 days and did not notice any adverse effects of positive/negative pressure. in fact the pressure in the reactor was positive so when I closed the valve the water from the reactor would actually push into the CO2 tube slightly coming to rest at the valve. This may be a bigger problem if you have a very high flow filter.

Conclusion:
I would recommend pressurized CO2 (~$140 w/ 5lb CO2 tank) and better lightning (ODNO ~$30 for 1 4 bulb balast). I only say so because I was not happy with the results I got from the low tech set-up, mainly because I could not grow moderate-high light plants.

Good luck with your tank.

Raf
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-02-2005, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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I used to live in Clinton NJ!
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