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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 6x2x2ft tank that I want to set up as a display tank for breeding Geophagus Steindachneri. It is also to house 8-10 rainbows (M. Trifasciata) & a Goldspot Plec. This is the tank in it's current form.

I only have 3 x 4ft T8's over the tank at the moment. There is no hood or any description. I'm wanting too add as much light as I can for as little as I can. (4 boys bleed the bank fast!). I'm thinking of just planting the middle section & using fakes for the very sides.

I'm after the cheapest & best lighting options as well as a list of tough low light plants that will survive the Geophagus's digging.
 

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The 4x54watt 4 foot Catalina that is on sale is the best value I have seen. There are a few that are cheaper on ebay, but I don't think the few bucks you save would be worth the loss in quality.

I have that fixture on my 125 and it is a little darker on the ends, but plants still grow there. The ends are not as dark as they appear in the picture in my signature.
 

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Are you capable of making your own hood? If so you could browse the swap and shop and other forums for used equipment.

I have a 72"L X 24"W X 31"H tank which I'm in the middle of the lighting aspect.
In the end I will have 214 Watts of T5HO with reflectors for under 275.00

I bought an Icecap 660 Ballast, end caps, 4X48" reflectors and wiring harness, used for 155.00 shipped. Then I bought 6 X 48" brand new T5HO bulbs that a member on this forum owned and was selling for 1/3 of asking price. I will stagger the 4 T5HO bulbs so they cover all of my 6' tank with no dark spots. I plan to use this method as a canopy:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/786667-post84.html

If you are patient, with a little luck and searching you can find great deals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes I can & probably will be making my own hood/light support. Unfortunatley living in Perth means decent supplies are limited & they are always expensive. I have considered just adding two T5 battens to the arrangement but not sure if that will give me enough light still.
I do have an old 400w High Pressure Sodium light from when I used to grow other things.... I know I can get retro-fit Metal Haldide globes for that. Does anyone know if that would work ok? Also does anyone know if the retro-fit gives off a nice white light or is it still the orange light of a standard HPS?
 

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Color of the light will depend on the ballast and bulb combination.

One 400w bulb on a 6 foot tank and you'll have really high light in the middle and very shaded ends. Raising the fixture would help but you can't really light 6 feet with one bulb.

SteveU
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It;s a Son-T-agro ballast & the bulb I'm not sure of the brand but is just a retro-fit Metal Haldide. I can light the full 6ft pretty well. The reflector that I have in mind is basically just a triangle about 4ft across the bottom & 3ft high. The light worked very well for a vege patch 10x10ft & I never used to have low light areas. That is all down to reflector design.
I might get my hydro shop to show me one of the bulbs running so I can get an idea if it will be the right color light. It's no good if I can't stand the color.
 

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I wouldn't try planting the middle and putting fake plants on the sides, it will just look bad, unless you're much better at designing than me! I've tried a mix of live and fake before in a tank I had that was so tall I had trouble lighting it cheaply. It looked terrible! I think you could probably just find low-light plants for the more shady areas.

I don't know too much about lights; the ones I am using were bought from a major chain home supply store, I don't know if they sell them in Australia, but they are called "Shop Light" here. They're nothing fancy, just a metal fixture to hold flourescent bulbs.

Good choice on the Trifasciata rainbows, those are very beautiful fish! I wish they were more available here; I used to have a pair and would love to have them again. But no one around here even knows what rainbows are, when I ask for them, the LFS people kind of scratch their heads, and show me some neon tetras and say, 'you mean these, they look like a rainbow.'
 
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