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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
While I love the dimensions of the PetCo bookshelf tank the fixture certainly leaves something to be desired. For example, manually removing imported thread algae when then light sits directly on the cover is a huge pain. Remove the light to access the tank, and then you can't see all those teeny tiny strands. Bleh!

So it was time to find a light that could be suspended over the tank a bit, and although I'd heard of T2's, there wasn't many examples of people actually using them. I found some that were reasonably cheap, and really quite easy to use (no wiring required). Sounds like experimentation time!

(If these photos don't work, someone yell at me and I'll find an alternative host.)

So here is an uncorrected photograph of the stock 15 T8 lighting I took a week or so ago...

Actually, that's not the stock bulb (which is even worse), but selection where I live is pretty crap. Plants grew, but looked rather terrible. Fortunately the human brain has really good color correcting capacity, so it never looked this magenta in real life.

Uncorrected photograph of the T2 (supported by Altoids tins)...

Had just done a big water change prior to snapping the shot so everything's a bit of a mess, but obviously a huge difference in CRI quality. This is actually very similar to what the tank looks like now.

Now if only I had access to a PAR meter!

As for pros and cons I'll try to keep it general since I'm not trying to review a specific brand of product here.

Advantages:
- The active bulb length of the 13W is actually about 2 inches longer than the active length of the 15W T8.
- Comes in multiple shorter lengths (13W = 21 1/8", 11W = 17", 8W = 12.6").
- Less wiring work required than custom LED's.

Debatable (could be a con depending on your preferences):
- Super thin (7mm) bulb is housed in plastic case which does help prevent breaking the bulb, and burning yourself (after hours of use it only gets warm), but reduces efficiency. The version I bought has a "reflector" (mylar maybe since it does let some light through) that does help push light forward, but most of the smaller versions or alternative brands don't have that option.
- Color temperature choices are very limited since they are new.
- Bulbs pretty much have to be bought online. Something I have to do normally anyway, so that doesn't really bother me.

Cons:
- It's cheaper (and no hood building required) to just buy a desk lamp if you've got a shorter length tank. A T5 of similar ease of use will probably cost as much.
- No one builds quality reflectors for these yet.
- Selection is limited.

So there you go - another option for nano tank lighting. Hopefully I'll get an actual hood built for this thing...just depends on what powertools I can scrounge up.

P.S. I am aware this post kinda falls in three categories: nano tanks, lighting, and DIY. If I've chosen the wrong spot, apologizes to the mods who have to move it.
 

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Hey buddy.

I've had a 6.6 running for 3 years now. Very happy with the tank and so the critters in it. The only con is that the plastic scratches VERY easily. Be careful when cleaning it.

I upgraded the lighting and filter that came with the kit. The stock setup will grow some plants because the tank is only 9 inches deep, but I'm running the Coralife Coralife F/W Aqualight T-5 14w x 2 lamps set for 10 hours per day. I set the fixture directly over the clear plastic cover that comes with the kit. The filter is an Aquaclear 20 set on full flow (100gph) using sponge media.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
alohamonte - Yeah I usually avoid plastic tanks due to how easy they are to scratch. It's just a shrimp tank for my bedroom though, so it doesn't have to be ascetically perfect. (Which it is very very far from at the moment). I love long tanks because I think "Oh, my critters will have so much space to run about in!", but I've never been good at composing anything panoramic. Such a trade off.

I have a AQ 20 on mine as well. Do you have any issues with the Coralife raising tank temp btw? I have that brand of CFL hood downstairs, but it's too heavy to hang from my ceiling without moving the tank, and runs a bit hot.

ZooTycoonMaster
- Yes I did. I figured at the price it wasn't much of a loss if it wasn't quite up to snuff. Very pleasantly surprised at how lightweight, and cool running the fixture is. Quality wise it's about what you would expect for the price paid. I should also note that my order did not include any instructions...not necessary for the hardware/plugs but would be helpful when bulb changing time comes. XD That being said, there are other sources for them (although I do not know if the others are HO or not). I know I've read of some people spotting them in home improvement stores, and other online retailers selling T2 fixtures as well. Fixture designs and prices vary.

Currently I'm stuck looking for a piece of hardware for the ceiling. Going to use light weight chain for ease of height adjustment, but I need to find a way to get a clip/hook/ring butterflied into the ceiling, or run a track between two beams. Not sure what material the ceiling is made of (old house), but it's pretty strong. (Still one cannot be too careful when hanging electronics over water.) The only piece of the hood that will be load bearing is the top, so that needs to be stiffer/stronger...everything else can be cheap/lightweight wood (even balsa lol). I'll probably test the finished hood/chain weight before I make final decisions on how best to hang the whole deal.
 

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The light fixture gets warm, but never hot. I have a 25w submersible heater on the left of the tank set to 76F and the tank stays within a degree or two of that, checked by a tstat on the opposite side of the tank. 28w is a lot of light for a shallow tank. If i dont keep up on ferts the algae can get out of hand.
 
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