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It is a 36" tank, 45 gallon, and I want it to be live planted so I was thinking about 70-80watts.

Now I am on a budget of about 100 dollars I don't want to spend much more.
What light do you think would be the best.
 

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Have you checked the links in the lighting sticky? There's plenty of information about fixtures that are 36" in length.

Ignore Watts Per Gallon, as it's not applicable with modern fixtures.

Once you read the lighting sticky (this is a must so you begin to understand what it means to have low, medium and high light and what each require), then you can search around to see what people are using on their 36" tanks that have depths similar to your own and similar to the lighting levels you desire.
 

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To keep you at your budget you could look at aquatraders.com. They light are a good deal, I had a 4x39w t5 on my old reef tank that picked up for $80. I had a 40 breeder and it was more than enough light. They also sell a 3x39w if that would be all you need. Or you could always hint Craigslist until a nice light pops up
 

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It is a 36" tank, 45 gallon, and I want it to be live planted so I was thinking about 70-80watts.

Now I am on a budget of about 100 dollars I don't want to spend much more.
What light do you think would be the best.
Hi PSO,

I too have a 45 gallon tall (36"X12"X24" tall) and did a lot of research 5 years ago before I set it up. The biggest problem with tall tanks (besides reaching down that far to aquascape) is getting sufficient light intensity (PAR) down to the substrate level so I could grow carpeting plants. Somewhatshocked is correct, disregard watts per gallon and look at the PAR levels at the depth of your substrate. In order to get good PAR levels in deeper tanks you can either use fixture with a lot of bulbs, higher wattage, and poor reflectors or a light with fewer bulbs, less wattage, and a quality reflector are needed.

The first thing I did was decide what plants I wanted to grow and their requirements since it is the plants that dictate the lighting levels. Plants that require high light intensity meant I needed a fixture that put out higher PAR levels. If I wanted plants with medium-high or high light level requirements then I needed CO2 since a high light fixture will typically result in algae without CO2.

I also wanted a quality light fixture with a good reflector; I also wanted a fixture I could repair if (and when) it had problems. I went with an AH Supply 96 watt power compact kit with their excellent MIRO4 German aluminum reflector. In my 45 gallon tall I get PAR levels of 90+ at the substrate level with my 1X96 watt kit installed in my DIY gutter light fixture(with extra cooling vents). The total cost of the kit, bulb, and DIY fixture components was about $110

DIY Gutter Light


45 gallon tall with 1X96 watt AH Supply kit and 6700K bulb; CO2 used
 
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