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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I have been researching for a long while what lighting setup I need for my 40 gallon breeder, and I think I've thrown myself into an information overload. I'm hoping someone can help me straighten out some suggestions. The internet is great for info, but sometimes that info contradicts itself. and gets confusing. Here are some points

-I am looking to start with a low/medium light coverage in a 40 gallon breeder, and will start with root tabs and excel as needed.

-Later down the road, I would like to keep it a low/medium light tank, but add the cpomplexity of co2 to the tank somewhat established.

-The tank will have a glass canopy (so take into consideration of the hinge)

-plants grown will include:
various Crypts
Java fern
Various Swords
Scarlet Temple
Anubias
I would love micro swords or dwarf baby tears, but not sure if I can swing them??

-I am willing to be flexible on pricing, but would prefer to not spend a excess of money if the light/intensity is not needed (would rather it go to a c02 setup)

-Prefer dimmable LED

I've heard various suggestions from TPT forums. 40g breeder needs 2 lights, only needs one light, suspend the lights, don't suspend the lights... you can see my struggles haha.

Given the idea above for the 40 gallon breeder, I have a few questions:

1) What is an appropriate and efficient lighting setup with LEDs for these plant selections?

2) Would this setup require 2 led lamps at partial power, or just one?

3) What is the placement of the lamp/s given the hinge location of the glass top? (mounting suspended? on the rim? location?)

4) Anything else to consider?


5) Are carpeting plants like DBT and micro swords pretty much out if I'd prefer to keep majority low/medium light plants?

Thank you!!!


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1) What is an appropriate and efficient lighting setup with LEDs for these plant selections?
I would say any dimmable 36" LED strip light x 2 would work. If you have the budget, Fluval seems to check all the boxes - dimmable / colour changing / warrenty / water proof / high or low PAR. Finnex could also work here.

2 x Nicrew for example would also work well, just with less features.
or 2 x beamswork.

2) Would this setup require 2 led lamps at partial power, or just one?
2 would be much better, any tank wider than 10" front to back, in my experience, requires 2 or more strip style lights for good front - back coverage.

3) What is the placement of the lamp/s given the hinge location of the glass top? (mounting suspended? on the rim? location?)
Equally spaced front - back or suspended up above the tank for better coverage. Play it by your eye or use maths - height of light and spread angle.

4) Anything else to consider?
T5-HO's are another good option to consider, absolutely nothing wrong with tubes or LED's or both.


5) Are carpeting plants like DBT and micro swords pretty much out if I'd prefer to keep majority low/medium light plants?
You can grow a carpet, it would likely require CO2 which is perfect on any light level tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would say any dimmable 36" LED strip light x 2 would work. If you have the budget, Fluval seems to check all the boxes - dimmable / colour changing / warrenty / water proof / high or low PAR. Finnex could also work here.

2 x Nicrew for example would also work well, just with less features.
or 2 x beamswork.



2 would be much better, any tank wider than 10" front to back, in my experience, requires 2 or more strip style lights for good front - back coverage.



Equally spaced front - back or suspended up above the tank for better coverage. Play it by your eye or use maths - height of light and spread angle.



T5-HO's are another good option to consider, absolutely nothing wrong with tubes or LED's or both.




You can grow a carpet, it would likely require CO2 which is perfect on any light level tank.
Thank you!

That was a huge help. I would love the idea of the finnex 24/7 cc, but am a little leery of the reviews. Some people are only getting 1-2 years and then begin to have issues with them. Makes me nervous knowing a replacement would put me over the price of the fluval.

I thought about tubes, but I'm worried about not being able to dim them if they are too strong. I put dimmable LEDs on my planted 10 gallons, and thankfully I could dim them. Wayyy too strong for a lower tech, root tabs, no excel tank.

Do most people in this hobby just spend the money on this stuff? $400 in lighting + a halfway decent regulator/co2 setup is some $$$.

Not that I mind, but I do tend to over build things, and that is somewhat of a waste. I am actually trying to prevent myself from doing that this time around. Cost effective inert substrate for example. Learned I probably don't need $300 worth of aquasoil to grow plants well. haha. I'm going to try BDBS.

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I would love the idea of the finnex 24/7 cc, but am a little leery of the reviews. Some people are only getting 1-2 years and then begin to have issues with them. Makes me nervous knowing a replacement would put me over the price of the fluval.
That's the exact reason why I recommended the Fluval. Try for some used 2.0's even? Or buy 1 dimmable, quality LED strip and supplement it with a single T5-HO bulb, as you progress you add more T5's or another LED. SunBlaster T5-HO with NanoTech reflectors are cost effective and simple to add to any tank, check them out maybe? (That is exactly what I did on my previous tank, 1 x Fluval 2.0 and 1 x SunBlaster T5). Odyssea T5's are another cheap tube fixture.

I thought about tubes, but I'm worried about not being able to dim them if they are too strong. I put dimmable LEDs on my planted 10 gallons, and thankfully I could dim them. Wayyy too strong for a lower tech, root tabs, no excel tank.
You can add or remove reflectors, or paint the reflectors, choose bulbs lower in PAR, add screens or lids to the tank etc. to "dim" the tubes. You could also adjust the photoperiod to compensate for stronger lighting. Yo can get away with 5 hours of light per day total without any issues.

Do most people in this hobby just spend the money on this stuff? $400 in lighting + a halfway decent regulator/co2 setup is some $$$.
I wouldn't say most, but those nice big fancy showy tanks have quality lighting, and a quality CO2 system. My personal dollars are being spent on a good CO2 system, and I'm saving money on substrate (like you are) and on lighting used / budget DIY lighting. You don't have to splurge all out right off the get go, you can get away with some Beamswork or Nicrew fixtures and upgrade as you move along if that's what you want. Most are using Horticulture T5 setups because they are way cheaper than aquarium specific fixtures.

Not that I mind, but I do tend to over build things, and that is somewhat of a waste. I am actually trying to prevent myself from doing that this time around. Cost effective inert substrate for example. Learned I probably don't need $300 worth of aquasoil to grow plants well. haha. I'm going to try BDBS.
Exactly. You can save a lot of money on things like building your own stand, DIY'ing your lighting, sand substrates, bulk dry fertilizers etc. and focus the money on CO2 and other things. Lots of ways to do it. I have 4 filters, and only 1 I purchased new. both my light fixtures are used, most of my tanks have been used, all the stands I've built myself etc. Sometimes you'll get burned, but I've had great luck buying quality brands used, not as lucky buying cheaper equipment.
 

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I have both the Fluval 2.0 and 3.0 and love both. I also have an older Beamswork that just keeps on ticking and does a great job.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's the exact reason why I recommended the Fluval. Try for some used 2.0's even? Or buy 1 dimmable, quality LED strip and supplement it with a single T5-HO bulb, as you progress you add more T5's or another LED. SunBlaster T5-HO with NanoTech reflectors are cost effective and simple to add to any tank, check them out maybe? (That is exactly what I did on my previous tank, 1 x Fluval 2.0 and 1 x SunBlaster T5). Odyssea T5's are another cheap tube fixture.



You can add or remove reflectors, or paint the reflectors, choose bulbs lower in PAR, add screens or lids to the tank etc. to "dim" the tubes. You could also adjust the photoperiod to compensate for stronger lighting. Yo can get away with 5 hours of light per day total without any issues.



I wouldn't say most, but those nice big fancy showy tanks have quality lighting, and a quality CO2 system. My personal dollars are being spent on a good CO2 system, and I'm saving money on substrate (like you are) and on lighting used / budget DIY lighting. You don't have to splurge all out right off the get go, you can get away with some Beamswork or Nicrew fixtures and upgrade as you move along if that's what you want. Most are using Horticulture T5 setups because they are way cheaper than aquarium specific fixtures.



Exactly. You can save a lot of money on things like building your own stand, DIY'ing your lighting, sand substrates, bulk dry fertilizers etc. and focus the money on CO2 and other things. Lots of ways to do it. I have 4 filters, and only 1 I purchased new. both my light fixtures are used, most of my tanks have been used, all the stands I've built myself etc. Sometimes you'll get burned, but I've had great luck buying quality brands used, not as lucky buying cheaper equipment.
Thanks for the suggestions here! It's tough to find the Fluvals used. Nothing on ebay, FB marketplace, or craigslist. Proof is in the pudding when you can't find a used item. People must be happy with them!

Not sure if The Planted Tank has a classifieds section?

I think I'm sold on a 2.0 or 3.0 to start, and then I might take your suggestion and grab a single T5 HO ballast for the front and play around with it. I just know I'll eventually like to get two Fluvals in the future. People seem to be very happy with them, and I can't argue with the warranty.

Do you have a link to the Sunblaster you'd suggest? I saw the one that had a different diameter bulb. Are those bulbs harder to find?



I have both the Fluval 2.0 and 3.0 and love both. I also have an older Beamswork that just keeps on ticking and does a great job.
Good to hear some good news longevity wise on the more cost effective LEDs! I might also consider putting a cheap fixture without the 24/7 jazz on a timer paired with the 2.0/3.0 and call it a day. or do you feel that is a waste of an investment?
 

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The 2.0 requires an add on controller. It is not cost effective.

With a TC420 or 421 you can ramp, albeit globally, almost any strip light.
Software of the 420 requires windows and both are a bit cludgy to set up.
 

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Not sure if The Planted Tank has a classifieds section?

Do you have a link to the Sunblaster you'd suggest? I saw the one that had a different diameter bulb. Are those bulbs harder to find?
Yes there is a classified section, but I doubt a Fluval would pop up there. I got really lucky with my local find online.

Just search Sunblaster on amazon. Here is a link to the Canadian one I purchased a few years back:


https://www.amazon.ca/SunBlaster-09...keywords=sunblaster+36"&qid=1604428388&sr=8-1


Good to hear some good news longevity wise on the more cost effective LEDs! I might also consider putting a cheap fixture without the 24/7 jazz on a timer paired with the 2.0/3.0 and call it a day. or do you feel that is a waste of an investment?

You can absolutely go with a Fluval for the PAR / Power, and then get a cheaper customizable LED to supplement colour and spread. Most full spectrum LED strip lights are about even with a single T5-HO bulb, roughly speaking.
 

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FWIW I'm having good luck with a Beamworks DA FSPEC with a rise-dim timer. They're reasonably priced, around $70 for the light and the timer, good intensity and I like the light spectrum. I'm running it on my 40 breeder low-tech. If you eventually add co2 you might want to get a second unit. This is mine that has been set up for a few months now.

 

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FWIW I'm having good luck with a Beamworks DA FSPEC with a rise-dim timer. They're reasonably priced, around $70 for the light and the timer, good intensity and I like the light spectrum. I'm running it on my 40 breeder low-tech. If you eventually add co2 you might want to get a second unit. This is mine that has been set up for a few months now.



Beautiful, Butchblack!

That is with a single fixture on a 40 gallon breeder?!

I was considering doing low/medium light off a single fluval 3.0, and then get a second fixture later when I build out my co2 setup.

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I use two Asta 20 pendent lights from Amazon. They are dimmable, and come with 90° lens or no lenses. They are an attractive light, with good color, and can out out decent PAR if you want to crank it up. Each came with a mount.

I don't have the link right now, but forum search Asta 20 and you will see a write up I did on it.



 

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Beautiful, Butchblack!

That is with a single fixture on a 40 gallon breeder?!

I was considering doing low/medium light off a single fluval 3.0, and then get a second fixture later when I build out my co2 setup.

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Yes, it's a single fixture. I recommend getting a rise-dim timer with it. It allows me to have enough light for viewing but only a couple of hours of full intensity to keep algae down. The light also seems to grow plants well.

This is what the tank looked like freshly planted mid-August



And this is early October, 2.5 months later.



New photo today showing about 5 weeks more growth



Root tabs and a bit of liquid ferts.

I need to take some new pictures as the java moss has taken over a lot of the spiderwood.

The light's specs:

DA FSPEC Series 0.50W Full Spectrum Timer Ready Freshwater Bright Fixture (OEM by Beamworks)
20" DA 50 40x - 2800 lumen 24x 10000K, 8x Actinic, 4x Red, 4x Green
24" DA 60 60x - 3600 lumen 39x 10000K, 12x Actinic, 5x Red, 4x Green
30" DA 80 80x - 4800 lumen 51x 10000K, 16x Actinic, 7x Red, 6x Green
36" DA 90 100x - 5000 lumen 69x 10000K, 16x Actinic, 8x Red, 7x Green
48" DA 120 120x - 5200 lumen 86x 10000K, 16x Actinic, 9x Red, 9x Green
72" DA 180 176x - 8000 lumen 102x 10000K, 32x Actinic, 22x Red, 26x Green
Dimension (without brackets)
20" DA 50: 20.00 x 5.00 x 1.00
24" DA 60: 24.00 x 5.00 x 1.00
30" DA 80: 32.00 x 5.00 x 1.00
36" DA 90: 36.00 x 5.00 x 1.00
48" DA 120: 47.75 x 5.00 x 1.00
72" DA 180: 71.25 x 5.00 x 1.00
The latest Beamworks DA FSPEC series LED fixture provides a high quality, energy efficient light fixture that replaces the typical single tube fluorescent light. Fixture is pre-installed with 10000K, Actinic 460nm, Red 620nm, and Green 520nm spectrum LEDs. The Beamworks LED is a sleek and contemporary light fixture that will make any other aquarium light look boring. Long lasting LEDs with no bulb replacement required. Two mode operation allows full power during the day and moonlight mode during the night. Each fixture is pre-wired to be used with an optional timer module (sold separately). Power supply (Driver) is compatible with 110V to 220V power source. Users outside of North America may need an adapter for proper outlet fitting.
 

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I am running a 40B open-top with a pair of 30" Finnex Planted Plus CRV lights suspended about 8 inches above the water level.

So far, seeing good growth about 3 weeks in. Some algae so have paired back a little. I don't love the way the Finnex lights have 3 hour blocks - I'd prefer to be able to have shorter ramps. That is the only thing I regret not going with the Fluval. The adjustability of the colors and intensity is really nice on the CRV model.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Nice. I think I'm sold on going with a single Fluval Plant 3.0 to start for now for sure.

I will also for sure have two of the planted 3.0s down the road (opens up to whatever i want in the tank, and I like the warranties)

The only thing I'm deciding is if I should get a second lamp like a beamswork or nicrew just to bridge the gap until I have co2 and the other 3.0, or if that is not needed for a low/medium light tank without co2 and just dosing.

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I currently run two Fluval 3.0's on my 40 breeder, however for your needs one would work if you fashioned some kind of riser for it. A single fixture without a riser wouldn't give you the light spread to cover the whole tank front to back, but raising it up would.

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Update: Purchased the 3.0. Love the fixture. Way better than my current satellites I own for my smaller tanks.

Coverage seems decent even set on the tank rim, but that is just the spread of the light on the substrate. I'm sure when plants are in, I might find some dark spots a few inches from the substrate. I'll play around with the raising the fixture up and see what I can achieve. Worst case, I always can go back to my LFS and use my 15% off coupon for another!

Thank you all for your help, everyone!
 

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I’ve followed this post and looking for an update? I have a 40 Breeder that I was thinking about putting the Fluval 3.0 but worried about the spread. Did you consider the hanging kit? Would that help with the spread?

Thx,
 

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I use two Asta 20 pendent lights from Amazon. They are dimmable, and come with 90° lens or no lenses. They are an attractive light, with good color, and can out out decent PAR if you want to crank it up. Each came with a mount.

I don't have the link right now, but forum search Asta 20 and you will see a write up I did on it.




Your tanks are fabulous!
 
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