The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a 120 gallon (4x2x2) Standard 2 bulb 80watt light fixture, red flint gravel, cascade 1500 canister, coralife 18 watt uv sterilizer, two maxi-jet 900 powerheads. Been up and running for a couple of years plus with just misc. fish and a bunch of anubias plants. Would like to start a low light low maint. setup.
Any of this useable or should I just start over?
I was going to purchase a 48" 2x54 t5ho would one be good or do I need a 4x54? How about substrate? Would I have to empty this tank and put in something new?
Trying to stay away from co2 injection if possible.
Just looking to start with some low light plants nothing fancy just a healthy tank.
Thanks for the help!
 

·
Fresh Fish Freak
Joined
·
24,403 Posts
You could use your current fixture if you stick with plants along the same lighting requirements as your Anubias; Java ferns, mosses, Crypts, swords.

You won't need 4x54 of T5HO unless you also add pressurized CO2. 2x54 watts would work, but it would be best to be able to space out the bulbs to make sure you've got good light coverage in both the front and rear of the tank. If you've got a canopy on the tank, retrofit kits would let you do this. If you're suspending a fixture over the tank or need to mount fixtures on legs, you might want to get a 4x54 fixture and run only 2 bulbs at any given time (which is what I do over my own 90gal), since the lit bulbs are staggered in the fixture as opposed to being right next to each other.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Would two coralife t5's (28 watt colormax full-spectrum and 28 watt 6700 t5's) be better so a person could position one up front and one to the rear? Or is the t5 ho's still a better choice?
How about your opinion about the substrate?
Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,231 Posts
Laura Lee has given you some good information. I think though that if you want to ensure you will have a low light tank and want to use T5HO lighting that you should plan to hang the fixture whether it is a two or four bulb fixture. Running a 4x54 watt fixture one set of bulbs at a time and alternating somewhere in the day would give better front to back coverage for you than a 2 bulb fixture. Hanging also helps spread the light.

I am running two bulbs of a 4x54 T5HO fixture (Catalina) over a 19" tall tank. The lights are suspended 13" above the tank, substrate is about 4" deep so the light is about 28" above the substrate and I have to use CO2 to keep algae in check. That makes me think that T5HO lighting may not be right given your goals for the tank (no CO2), unless you can hang the fixture and adjust it to cut light intensity as needed.

I also agree with Laura Lee's first comment. You actually may be better off sticking with the fixture you have for now. It sounds like you already have a low light, low maintenance setup. Try some different plants (her suggestions are some of the classic low light plants) and see how they do. Choice of lighting depends a lot on what you plan to grow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,012 Posts
Would two coralife t5's (28 watt colormax full-spectrum and 28 watt 6700 t5's) be better so a person could position one up front and one to the rear? Or is the t5 ho's still a better choice?
How about your opinion about the substrate?
Thanks!
A single T5HO bulb - 54 watt in the 48" length - should give you about 40-50 micromols of PAR, which is the high end of low light intensity. A two bulb fixture would give about double that, which is high light, and that would require pressurized CO2. Two T5NO bulbs - 28 watt in the 48" length - should give about the same PAR as a single T5HO, or a bit more.

Since your tank is 24 inches front to back you really need two bulbs, separated by about a foot, at the top of the tank, to get reasonably uniform lighting at the substrate.

One T5NO, 28 watt bulb might just barely give enough light directly under it, so two spread a foot apart would possibly barely give you enough light for low light plants.

I think I would try two two bulb T5NO fixtures spread out at the top of the tank, possibly using feet to raise them a couple of inches or so, or hanging them for good adjustability of the intensity. This involves quite a bit of extrapolating to guess the amount of light you will get, but I'm reasonably sure you will have enough for your low light plants that way.
 

·
Fresh Fish Freak
Joined
·
24,403 Posts
I'm considering a 125gal tank for myself and trying the 2 Coralife T5NO fixtures over it... so that may be an option and the only risk to me seems that it might be too much light... in which case you could run just one fixture most of the time. So I think it could work.

I personally prefer substrates with a nutrient content. Flourite black and black sand remain my own favorite planted tank substrates, but I've also recently set up a tank using the DIY mineralized soil method (see the sticky at the top of the Substrates forum) and this is probably the direction I will go again if I can talk my hubby into letting me get this 125gal as it's definitely one of the most economical ways to go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,231 Posts
I was writing while you were posting.

If you are referring to the Coralife T5NO fixtures two of those would probably be a better choice for you than 54 watt HO bulbs. I am pretty sure the Coralife T5NO fixtures are being discontinued, they are still available though, I saw them on the Marine and Reef site the other day.

Substrate change would depend on what you want to grow and what you like to look at. Turface MVP pro in gray would be inexpensive and give you a different look than the red you have now. A lot of folks like Eco Complete. You can grow plants in gravel. Part of the choice for you is whether you want (or need, based on plant choice) a nutrient rich substrate. If not, you can choose based on what looks nice to you.
 

·
Fresh Fish Freak
Joined
·
24,403 Posts
Hoppy, I agree with your data in theory, but in practice deep tanks get so shadowed that I think those PAR values at substrate level actually would be much less. I've been running 108 watts of T5HO over my 90gal for several years now with no CO2, and though I do need to be very careful to limit my photoperiod, it's working (no Excel dosing, either). (Especially if a person is 1/2 as bad as I am at keeping my glass canopy clean... LOL)
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top