Two options: Use Craigslist - post an ad for a wife who will let you buy a good light.Hello, I'm setting up an aquarium that I would like to have a planted, but I'm having trouble figuring out the most economical/efficient way of doing it. It's a 44 gallon pentagon corner tank with the measurements: 2 sides that form the corner each 22 inches long, 3 other sides that make the front of the tank each 13 inches long, and it's 25 inches tall. I bought it second hand and had to purchase a hood for it online. I didn't do my research on how much lighting was required for a planted aquarium and now I'm stuck with a single 18 inch fixture for which I purched a T8 15 watt, 18", Zoo Med Coral Flora Sun Plant Growth Bulb. I haven't used anything yet so I can return both the hood and bulb no problem, but before I do that I wanted to ask for some advice as to what I should. I see only three viable options:
1. Keep everything and 4x overdrive the fixture, which I have no idea how to do but I'm sure I can learn. My concern with this is that even with 4x overdrive, the 15 watt bulb will not provide nearly enough light to keep a healthy planted aquarium.
2. Return the light only and retrofit the hood from ahsupply.com for a 36 watt CF. Im STILL concerned that if I do this then I won't have enough wattage, as I understand that I need 2-3 watts/gallon.
3. Return both the hood and bulb and home-make a hood/light fixture more appropriate for plants in this tank. I'm guessing this is would be the best option but I'm not sure I have the know-how to build this hood/light fixture, OR the financial means to purchase everything required to do this correctly.
OR 4. Forget the whole thing, keep both, and go buy some plastic plants! (I hate this option and hope it doesn't come to this tho...)
I found another thread that was about this same style tank but the owner had already purchased a fixture (that I can only find for 140 dollars! http://hellolights.com/302x65wcoralifeaqualightcfhood2x5050act10k-straightpin.aspx), and it was about helping him make it all work. There's no way the wife will let me purchase something that expensive right now.
I'm open to any and all advice. I don't care to have the top of the line stuff, I just want something that will work and not cost me a fortune, even if it means I can only have low light plants and supplement the tank with a few silk plants. Thanks in advance!
Or, much better, forget about how many watts the lights will use unless you want to minimize your electric bill. Then, use a selection of AH Supply PC light kits, arranged about as shown below, which should give you medium light over the whole substrate.
You may have to make a hood to fit these in, unless you have one now that covers the whole top of the tank. If you wish, you could try this without the 26 watt kit, and space just the 3 others evenly over the top of the tank. I think that's how I would start.
If you are willing to suspend the light fixture about 6 inches above the top of the tank, you could use a 2 bulb T5HO, 24 inch fixture, hanging that high over the tank, for about the same light intensity, or a bit less, but pretty uniform. But, then you might have to post that ad in Craiglist:biggrin: