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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all. A little background information before I ask my main question. I have kept reef tanks for quite some time and as of the last 2 years, I had been maintaining a Biocube 29 as a mixed reef. Well, long story short, I decided to try something new and set up a planted tank using this biocube along with a few pieces of equipment left over.

Anyway, my main question is: Which lights should I choose for the biocube I am setting up? Some requirements:

  • I am aiming for a high enough light level to grow HC in a LOW, DENSE carpet
  • I will have DIY Co2 dosed for a few months, and if this is successful, will probably upgrade to pressurized
  • My tank dimensions are approximately 21 L x 18 W x 20 H
  • Budget is a maximum of about 130 USD, but if a really good light is slightly over, that's fine
  • There is no hood or canopy on top, meaning I cannot use the biocube stock lighting usually present.

Thanks for any help in advance, I figured I could get some good advice from you guys on here who are far more experienced than I.
 

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I know you said you have a budget of $130, but coming from the reef world, this might change your mind. This is biased as I have one, but a Kessil A150/A160 would probably look amazing over the tank. I'm sure you've heard about them in the reef world, but their freshwater line of lights are really starting to take off. I have an A360WE over a 24x18x18 tank, but I've seen the A150/A160 over the same and are high light tanks. My LFS uses A160 primarily over all their tanks. They would probably have no problem carpeting HC. Check my tank journal in my signature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I know you said you have a budget of $130, but coming from the reef world, this might change your mind. This is biased as I have one, but a Kessil A150/A160 would probably look amazing over the tank. I'm sure you've heard about them in the reef world, but their freshwater line of lights are really starting to take off. I have an A360WE over a 24x18x18 tank, but I've seen the A150/A160 over the same and are high light tanks. My LFS uses A160 primarily over all their tanks. They would probably have no problem carpeting HC. Check my tank journal in my signature.
Thanks for your input, and of course I have heard of kessil lights, LFS actually has a few on one of their main 75g displays, but they cost too much for what I am looking for :crying:

On a side note, do you think a single Finnex Ray2 has the PAR to grow HC 20-21 inches deep at a spread of 18 inches wide, or would I need two of them?
 

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Thanks for your input, and of course I have heard of kessil lights, LFS actually has a few on one of their main 75g displays, but they cost too much for what I am looking for :crying:

On a side note, do you think a single Finnex Ray2 has the PAR to grow HC 20-21 inches deep at a spread of 18 inches wide, or would I need two of them?
I think a Ray2 could do great. If it'll be resting on the tank, I think the spread front to back should be perfect. And Finnex are great lights. I had a planted+ and a 24/7 and loved both. Great growth when I had them over my 20 long in my journal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One more question, if you don't mind.

Keep in mind that I would need to get the 18 inch strip because of the tank being 20 inches and hanging isn't too viable of an option. Knowing that the tank is 20 inches tall, would a single ray2 be enough for HC, alternanthera, and higher light plants along the lines of those, or would I need 2?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Anyone else have an opinion on this? I'm only doubtful because of the finnex par charts for the 18 inch ray 2 which state that at 20 inches depth the par will only be about 40.... is this chart wrong? If it is right, I'm surprised people talk about this light so much, there has to be a reason. Even if HC can grow in 40 par with good co2, the growth will be slow, so I hope that they actually provide more par than just 40.

If the light does not provide enough power, would using it AND a 10.5 inch clamp on light with a 23w cfl bulb be enough (of course, if it does provide enough light that is fine).
 
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