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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK I have decided that a Catalina fixture is what would be good for me to use. Upon considering that the T5 HO lamps have a higher intensity I know that a 3 x 54 light is a little overkill for the type of tank I am planning on doing (low tech planted) however the 2 light fixture only comes with one switch and to have them put in another one at $10 (I haven't called them, I did read on here somewhere that they would do that for that price) it would cost the same then as the three light fixture. My ? is this, what type of bulbs should I have the fixture outfitted with? I see they have several options that would work with a planted tank being a T5 HO Plant Grow Lamp, 54 w 65 K lamp, 54 w 5000 k lamp, and a 54 w 460 nm lamp. Would a blend of three of these types be better?
Here is a link if you want to look
http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/index.php?cPath=71_45_63&osCsid=badae20f7c600ce61c124375b1c54498

Thanks for the help, any suggestions welcome if I'm on the wrong track!
 

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T5 HO may not be a wise choice if you want a low tech tank. Without any information about the size of the tank, what you want to grow etc. it is hard to give any advice about the choice of fixture.

As far as bulbs if you buy a two or a three bulb fixture and end up only running one bulb in an attempt to stay low tech you won't be "mixing" color temps of the bulbs. If I were going to run a single bulb I would choose either the plant grow bulb or a 6700K bulb. To my eyes the 10K are too stark looking on their own.

I seriously doubt though that you will achieve the goal of a low tech (non-CO2) tank running multiple 54 watt T5 HO bulbs. Even running only one bulb may be a stretch depending on the size of the tank.

A bit more info about your setup will help you to get more detailed responses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Of course, I should have given more info, the fixture would be for a 75 gallon standard size AGA tank. I do see what you mean about possibly one bulb being to much, so maybe I should consider either T8 or T12? I have another thread that I had asked about a pH of around 8 and growing plants and someone helped by saying that they have had luck growing crypts, anubias, rotala indica, and green and sunset hygro in high pH conditions before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Now, I'm second guessing myself, the only reason being is that I want a high quality light not just a piece of junk made in China. That was why I was so happy with the Catalina fixture, but if even running one bulb will create an algae factory I dont need that. So does anyone know of a quality light, that wont have a noisy fan, if T5's would be to intense for a 75 g low tech tank.
 

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I like the three bulb fixture for a 75 gal. It is not much more than the two bulb fixture and it gives you a lot of flexibility. You Would be fine with 2 bulbs most of the time, but you can run just one if you want. You would also have the flexibility to get co2 and run all three bulbs for a high light tank down the road.

I have a Catalina 4x54 fixture with a 2x plant grow and 2x 6700K. I prefer the 6700K normally, but the plant grow bulb is pink and makes for a nice dusk effect. It also warms up the reds in the tank.

If you can suspend the fixture above the tank, you would have even better control over light intensity. The suspension kit Catalina offers is nice because of the retractable lines. It is easy to get the light out of the way for maintenance.

Good luck with your tank. I am sure it will be very nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow, thanks for your help yikesjason, I think it would be a nice light to have in case someday I do want to turn the tank into a high tech setup. I will have to order that fixture and suspending it is also an option I am seeing that looks really worthwhile. So much appreciate your help. Once I get all the proper accesories I would really like to start a journal of it. First I will have to get a digital camera!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK, well I guess this is kind of an update on the thread I started awhile back. The last few days I have been gathering the rest of the equipment I need to start my low tech 75g planted tank (this is my first experience with planted tanks). Today I called Catalina Aquariums, after much deliberation the last couple of days & alot of research on here, and ordered their CF 48'' Lighthouse fixture which supplies a total of 130 watts of light. I did have them install an extra switch (one for each bulb) just in case. Thanks to Torpedobarb I even have mineralized topsoil to start my tank off on a good note!! I can't wait, now the only things left on my list are 1. Invite carpenter friend over to strengthen floor of house (its a 100 year old house...) and 2. Have husband make steel stand for aquarium. Dont mean to ramble but tell me if you think this light was a good choice for me even though I changed my mind at the last minute away from T5HO's!!!
 

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I think you'll be more limited with your plant selection than if you'd gone with T5HOs, but you should still be able to have a nice tank sticking mainly with mosses, ferns, anubias, etc.
 

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I have to agree with the advice of yikesjason and lauraleellbp. I am almost positive that at some point you are going to want to grow something other than mosses and ferns. Don't get me wrong. I have a low-tech moss, fern and crypt tank and they are beautiful plants in there own right. But this hobby is infectious. Your going to see the lush greens and brilliant reds, pinks and purples in the tanks with stronger lighting and wish to try them yourself. The T5's with multiple switches would have afforded you a wider selection of plants. Just my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I appreciate your input! I kind of tossed ideas back and forth and for right now I think the light will be perfect, as I get to knowing the ropes more and if I do get tired of the plants I can grow, I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it! This whole project is costing more than I thought it would (sshhhh) so I think I will just be ready to enjoy the finished product when I get it done. Besides going to a high light tank someday is kind of out of the ? where I can see bad things happening since our power goes out all the time it. It's not like its uncivilized here...our power co. just isn't good @ maintenance. Any more ideas are more than welcome :icon_smil Oh and just to add, the people @ Catalina are Awesome, very friendly service.
 

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our power co. just isn't good @ maintenance
thats funny. not to you i'm sure.

there are plenty of great low light plants out there to satisfy your needs. the only drawbacks of a low-tech tank that i have personally observed thus far are these:

the plants are usually slower growers- for this reason it takes good vision for what the mature plants will look like. doing your homework and planting accordingly will help the longevity and aesthetics of your layout

algae is expected but can be harder to initially contain in a low light system- i have no empirical data to support this other than personal experience. my speculation is that the slower growing, low light plants take up nutrients slower as well. the excess nutrients and decent photosynthetic light can give algae the upper-hand. so without vigilance, quick action and a good algavore crew (red cherry shrimp, amano shrimp, otocinclus and siamese algae eaters to name a few) algae can quickly get out of hand. especially in an immature set-up.

i recommend reading diana walstad's ecology of the planted aquarium for tips on successfully maintaining low-tech aquariums- her book is very informative, thorough and explains the principles of planted aquarium husbandry and ecology very well.

since this is the "lighting" forum i look forward to your journal for this tank and a more appropriate forum to discuss these matters. best of luck!

p.s. this hobby is a money pit and a labor of obsession..er um.... love!
 
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