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A Tall Question

870 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  mmelnick
I’ve been running a 40g (36x16x16) tank with ODNOs (4x36”) fairly successfully for a couple of years now. (I’ve had my battles with algae and had success with many but not all plants I’ve tried.)

But now I’m ready to move up in tank size and I am piecing together a 140g (60x18x30). I want to eventually have a mainly Amazon biotope (mainly Amazon because I can’t have a tank without anubias and crypts) with a couple of discus as the primary non-plant inhabitants.

My question and concern is punching adequate light through a 30” water column. Originally, when I was building towards a 110 (60x18x24) setup I was going to use up to 8 48” T12 with German Mirro reflectors driven by 2 Icecap 660’s. But since acquiring the 140 I’m wondering if I need to rethink that and consider replacing some of the T12s and 1 of the Icecaps with 1 or more 175 MH fixtures.

I have no access to a light meter and there’s not much on site help available to me here in Reading. (The closest club, one based in Philly suburbs went under a couple of years ago).

I’m in the process of polishing the 140 (it’s an acrylic) and building a stand and canopy, so I have some time to decide the right way to go. I am hoping to deploy this spring. Any help would be appreciated.
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I suggest that you use 3 T5HO bulbs to light that tank. If you can't find a suitable fixture, Catalina Aquarium, can custom make you one for a very reasonable price. With that you would likely have medium light, good for growing any plants you want to grow, if you use CO2.
Thanks for the suggestion. I've not thought of T5HO's and have no experience with them. Is three really sufficient for a tank of those dimensions? Also, can Icecap 660 power T5HO's?
Oops, just answered my own question. Icecaps 660's can drive up to 4 T5HO's each.
Okay, I've hit a snag and I'm hoping for some help.

I was planning on running T5's with my Icecaps, but since I have a Solar 1000 dimmer I want to deploy I can't use T5's. I just got a note back from Blueline (distributor of the Solar 1000 dimmer, that I cannot use T5 VHO bulbs with the dimmer. That leaves me with T8 and T12 VHO bulbs.

Does anyone have a recommendation of thier favorite T5 and T12 bulbs? I've been using ZooMed Flora Sun and Tropic Sun bulbs in my ODNO DIY fixture, but only because they are relatively easy to find and inexpensive. But I'm certainly open to other ideas from people who have greater experience.

Also, the Tech at Blueline emailed me that IceCap is out of business, but their website is up and thier phones still are connected. Does anyone have any information regarding this? I find it disturbing since I may need help from them to modify my ballasts to work with the Solar 1000 dimmer. When I called I could not connect to a live person, but did leave voicemail and have not heard back as yet.
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Fluorescent-wise, everyone in this hobby is moving to T5 lighting. They are more efficient, cheaper to fabricate, and (HO) have the necessary "punch" for larger tanks and those high light freaks. :wink:

Have you considered scrapping the dimmer in favor of T5's? Seems like that would simplify several things for you.

Icecap is, whatchamacallit, restructuring. There hasn't been much in terms of innovation from them since the old 660 and 430's, and there is too much competition and bad economy to survive on repackaging bulbs and reflectors nowadays.
Yeah, sounds like I'll have to scrape the Solar 1000, even before it arrives. I bought it on ebay and thought I got a great deal. Oh, well live and learn. If I go to T5's is the Giesemann PowerChrome Midday and Aquaflora good choices? Or should I be looking to widen my lighting options to MH as well?

BTW, I've confirmed that as you say IceCap is "looking at options" to continue its business and is currently on a 60 day hiatus. Also Blueline has suspended sales of the Solar series of dimmers.
Many folks here recommend the Giesemann bulbs. Personally I haven't tried them yet, as long as I can get bulbs for roughly half the cost...

I wouldn't go overboard (HQI) with lighting on a 30" tank. Unless you have arms like a gorilla, pruning and scaping this tank will require you to get neckid (or end up with a wet t-shirt). So why add so much light to make this a daily activity?

Sounds like the plants you are striving for aren't extremely light hungry. The 60" length of your tank means that either you go for 80W T5 (not a very good selection out there) or you somehow overlap 4ft bulbs.

I think three or four of those 4' bulbs staggered in your canopy would give you enough light, especially if you get some nice reflectors.
The 60" length of your tank means that either you go for 80W T5 (not a very good selection out there) or you somehow overlap 4ft bulbs.
Or you could run 2 rows of 24" T5 HO fixtures.

Leave 4" of space from the edge of the tank on eaach side, and 4" of space in between fixtures. that should give you good even light as well.

Or just 2 MH fixtures and be done with it...
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