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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 216w of 6700k lighting. I can turn off half the watts and run just 108. I am going to set it on a timer and I was wondering what times I should have full, half, none. I was thinking 3 half, 3 full, 3 half. Any input?
 

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Well, low-tech implies that you won't be running any ferts or CO2, so 216 watts is way too much. Even 108 watts is a lot, if you are talking about T5HO. So really you should only use half of the fixture, and only run that for 8 hours max... then look into going pressurized in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That is why I bought the 216, so I could go co2 later. I am not against ferts just not co2 right now. Can I run the 216 if I add ferts? Can you tell me a little of the cost involved in a co2 injection system? How much does a 5lb bottle cost to fill and how often does it need to be refilled.
 

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It costs 10-20+to refill any size bottle of CO2, and I'm not sure how long it runs out...
Pressurized CO2 is well worth it.
 

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I run my 20lb Co2 tank for 6-8 months at a time(at least...it might even be longer), about 4-5 BPS, and it costs $20 to fill. :)

I bought my regulator and whatnot from Orlando. Good stuff!
 

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I suspect that any light fixture promoted as being for reef tanks will be far too much light for a planted tank. That means any 4 bulb T5HO fixture is very likely too much for any planted tank. It isn't the actinic light bulb that makes a fixture a reef fixture, it is the very highly intense light the fixture puts out. Some people are able to use light like that to their satisfaction on a planted tank, but some people survive playing Russian Roulette too. (I don't recall ever knowing such a person, though.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So 106 watts would be enough to grow just about anything? I would think that the ability to burst light for little while would help. I can always take the light back for a lesser wattage.
 

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So 106 watts would be enough to grow just about anything? I would think that the ability to burst light for little while would help. I can always take the light back for a lesser wattage.
I think the consensus is that 108 W is enough to grow anything, and would most likely include copious amounts of algae without good CO2 and ferts.
 

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Im running the same type of fixture, but Im only using 2 bulbs most of the time. I burst the other 2 for about an hour & half, any longer is begging for trouble. If you plan on using this much light you need Pressurize CO2, ferts, some good filters and probably a couple of power heads to keep good flow. A 4x54 T5 is not low tech in anyway. As far as times go I run the lights 8 hours, with a 1 1/2 hour burst, but keep in mind thats with full PPS dosing, excel dosing, CO2 and most of all densely planted.
 

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If you truly want a low tech tank even 108 watts of T5HO is too much light over a tank this size. You will definitely need CO2 and ferts.
 

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^ What he said. Unfortunately your equipment and your plans don't match up just yet. Don't let it discourage you, though. ;) You said yourself that you could take it back, so maybe consider that?

The "problem" with this fixture is it's high output T5 lighting, or T5HO. The watts-per-gallon guideline gets flushed right down the toilet when working with lighting as bright and efficient as this! Even if you were to go with 1x54w bulb, which is only 1 wpg on your 55g, which you would think to be low-light, it would actually end up being more in the medium-light category just because of how bright T5HO is. Normal output (T5NO) would be a better choice.

So what you need is either power compact bulbs, T5NO bulbs, or just regular T12 shop lights... if you want to stay in the low-tech zone, anyway.

Here is a fixture that would be perfect for what you're trying to accomplish, imo. Maybe the place you got the other fixture from has these too?

Best of luck to you, and don't forget you can always just get a CO2 setup and go high-tech! (Still would only recommend using half of that fixture though... you have a fixture that people use over 120g tanks!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
OK now what? I bought the light planning on going co2 later. Is the light totally useless to me even running just 108 watts? Can I use some ferts and keep the light or should I return it. I see some green and blown algae forming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Can I go down to maybe 6 hours on? I am going to the fish store today is there some ferts I can buy to help keep the algae down? I am a newbie help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Here are your options as I see them:

-Add CO2 today (or ASAP) and order dry ferts online today.
-Return the light.

-Disconnecting one of the bulbs is another option, but with even 54W HO, you're going to needs some ferts and probably CO2, but it will buy you some time.
Do you have a link to the ferts you recommend? I am going to get my wife to buy me a co2 kit for Christmas. I just need to buy some time now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
One more option: raise the light fixture about a foot above the tank.
Done.

I have a homemade plexiglass cover that the light has to penetrate. It stays kind if foggy and has a lot of water bubbles on it. That should help too.
 
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