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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
 
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New and confused

Hello everybody, Im completely new to planted tanks and i can admit I have pretty much no idea whats going on
So i just wanted to get some opinions on what I can do.
I currently have a 25 gallon tank with a 15 wat 24" flouresent bulb that came with my hood (it says Phillips aqua glo on the bulb i think) and have 2 annubias and a couble java fern and some java moss....but I want to increase the amount of light.
Could I put a 20w or 30w bulb into a 15w socket like house lightbulbs or does the wattage have to match with this type of lighting?
I have read some of the upgrades I can buy but they seem preeeeetty expensive or too complicated are there anyother options I can do that are cheap and wont make my tank look like a science experiment?
Any help would be very nice. Thanks.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 07:37 AM
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No, different wattage of flourescent bulbs have different lengths. You cannot change bulbs like incandescent bulbs.

Depending on if you want low light plants (generally plants with darker greens), or light demanding plants, you should target for a total wattage of 50W or above for low light tank, OR, 100W or above for light demanding plants.

Even though total wattage is just a guideline, but even for low light plants, your lighting is still not enough.

If you decided to go with light demanding plants, besides lighting upgrade, you will also be needing CO2 injection and fertilization to help plants grow.

If you really are not a DIY kind of guy like me, then I would suggest you measure the length of the tank and go out buy a new light fixture that will fit your tank. But if you want to save $$$, you will have to do the upgrade yourself.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 07:46 AM
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Also note, CO2 injection should accompany light upgrades. If you do not supply enough CO2 to your plants, what will end up is possible algae takeover after the light upgrade.

Pressurized CO2 system doesn't come cheap. Certainly much more expensive than a new light fixture. You could go with fermenting CO2 setup, but it's a lot more work and the CO2 supply is not as stable as pressurized CO2.

If you do not want to shell out the extra bucks for CO2 upgrade, then maybe you should consider sticking to a low light tank.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
 
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Dan thanks for the info, I will probably stick to a low light tank.
And I would very much like to save money and it would be nice if I could do the upgrade myself, but is it hard? Would I be able to fit it under the hood i have now by taking out the guts of the old lighting fixture?
Can somebody please give a newbie some directions? I actually saw one method in the FAQ section but that seems really hard
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 08:35 AM
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What's the length inside the shell of your current light fixture?

There are these retrofit kits that you can buy for a number of lighting house online. But you need to make sure the dimension fits. Most likely you will have to get rid of the end caps (the thing that holds the current light tubes), and the ballast, which is pretty much the whole gut of the fixture.

I've upgraded lights myself before, and as long as you are handy with using simple tools, you should be able to do it following the direction. Worse comes to worst, you could always take the whole thing to your local hardware store or LFS for them to finish up from where you left off.

But once you did it yourself and get used to the hang of it, you can start saving money from here on.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 08:56 AM
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I snatched this pic from www.championlighting.com



This is basically the retrofit kit for power compact lights. This paticular one is 2x 28W PC. For 24" length, I think you can go for 2x 55W PC

Power compact lights has smaller footprint and you can squeeze more wattage to the same hood.

The pic shows the end-cap on the top left, which you will have to secure it with the wirings that comes with it. Unlike normal output flourescent, powercompact only has 1 endcap for each bulb.

The lower left is the ballast, which you can place it inside the fixture if you have room, OR, leave it outside but find a box to keep it from moisture.

You can use your existing reflector inside the fixture, or get a new reflector.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 09:32 AM
 
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If its a T8 you can 'overdirve' bulbs by using a larger controller on a smaller bulb. But it wont work the other way round, youll just get a dim bulb.

And what the Danmhippo said
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 02:13 PM
eds
 
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I suspect you could pretty easily go to 55W with a kit from these guys:
http://ahsupply.com/36-55w.htm
I'm completely useless with tools and electricity, and I had no problem installing this in my old strip light.
If you call them, they will gladly tell you if it will fit in your current canopy.
I did quite a bit of looking a while back, and concluded this was the cheapest way for me to upgrade my lighting.
The least desireable thing about this light over my 30g, is that the ends are a little dark. You wouldn't have that problem with the shorter 25g.
If you went up to 55w and added DIY CO2, you would be able to grow all kinds of plants.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ouch
Would I be able to fit it under the hood i have now by taking out the guts of the old lighting fixture?
Can somebody please give a newbie some directions? I actually saw one method in the FAQ section but that seems really hard

I belive you are talking about overdriving, It is not that hard, it just seems that way, read the whole thread, it will help you feel more comfortable with it. Then take it slow and careful and you will have no problems. You could have an increadible ommount of light for around $30 on that tank. let me know if you want some input on how to do it.

Oh yea, if you do go with overdriven lights deffinatly add Co2, or you will have way too much light and invite in a certian single-celled photosinthiser (sp?)
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
 
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I measured my part of my hood the light goes it to and its only 22 inches and 2 inches deep....

And i asked home depot today about power compact lights and they told me they dont carry them Do PC lights use the same kind of Ballast and endcaps as the regular flouresents?

Is it possible to use 2 regular 15" flouresents and overdrive them? Actually I have no Idea what im talking about lol

Maybe if someone can give me thier opinion on what is the best option for the size of my hood to get enough wattage for my 25 gallon tank.

Thanks Again
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
 
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Also somebody at a lighting store told me I could get 2 self balasted 30 or 40 watt CF sprial bulbs instead of a tube that would fit in my hood and just install sockets, and some plugs and it would be ready to go for under 30 bux. Would this be a good option for aquarium lighting or would one of those DIY kits you guys referred to be better? Can you use sprial bulbs in an aquarium?
Is it better to have 2 28watt lights or 1 40 watt?

Thanks again
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 02:02 AM
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Take a few minutes and read my Guide. It will help answer questions you have not yet thought to ask.

CF lights can use the same ballast but not the same end caps. But your current ballast CAN NOT be used with CF lights.
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