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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I'm starting my first large planted tank (my only previous experience with planted tanks are with 10g's with 20w cf lights, no co2 or ferts), and I just want to put my ideas out there as far as lighting goes, and see what you think.

The tank is 24" tall, and 72" long, and 24" wide.

I'm buying a 48" CF strip light that uses 2 x 65w PC bulbs, which I will place towards the back of the tank, probably end to end in the middle, which will leave a 12" space on each end of the tank where I plan to pub large anubias.

Towards the front of the tank, I will place a 48" 40w NO tube.

So, will those two 65w lights be strong enough to grow high light plants in the middle-rear section of my tank?

Will the 40w NO be able to grow different species of crypt and anubias in the front of the tank?

TIA
 

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That's a tough one. You will probably have to experiment. That is a big tank meaning your lighting doesn't have to be as powerful, but 24 inches is deep. My tank is 24" as well (110 gallon) but I'm running about 3 WPG and growing Glosso just fine.

Look forward to seeing some photos.
 

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you will need to go with at least 260w for that depth of tank and high light plants. i use 432w on a 120g that is the same depth as yours 24", with 216w for 8 hours a day, and the other 216w for a 3 hour noon day burst. nothing much happens when only 216w is on but everything pearls like mad during the burst photoperiod. see if you can find ho t5 for the back of the tank lighting, its much brighter than t8 or t12.
 

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SoCalSunset,
Consider T5's in that setup. 4x54W T5's may be OK, 6 would probably be ideal. If you did them in banks of 3 or staggered them you could get pretty good coverage.

Otherwise, I might suggest a combination of T5's or CF's with MH lights.
 

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i'm going with 3x 175w mh's for the 180g i'm setting up. the depth is the issue. imo pc's are nearly worthless on deep tanks. t-5's (with good reflectors) or mh are the only options i'd consider. that's just my opinion, based on a little experience.
 

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first large planted tank

I have a deeper tank in the same dimesions and went with twin 36 inch fixtures, t-5's from sunlight. They promote a lot of light so you could probably get away with less bulbs and more light. I got twin 6 bulb and it is too much for my young plants so I only use 4 on each fixture which is over 320 watts on 210. Once they settle in then I will do the mid day burst with the other ones.
 

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Someone answer me this.

Many of you are hung up on the "depth" of this tank. The very common 55 gallon tank is 21" in depth but I hardly ever see anyone get all antsy and hung up on the "depth" of a 55 gallon tank.

Do you really think that those extra 3" of water make that much difference in lighting a tank?

Get real people. There are tons of people using CF lights on 5e, 75, and 90 gallon tanks. And 90 gallon tanks are even within ¼" of the "depth" of this 180. But I guess that ¼" makes a huge difference.
 

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For what it's worth, I have a 125 gal (48"x24"x24") with 5x36W NO fluorescent T8 tubes (180Watts) and my glosso still hugs the substrate (see my journal) as long as they're not shaded by other plants. I've been able to grow almost everything except HC and Java fern (probably not a light issue).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Someone answer me this.

Many of you are hung up on the "depth" of this tank. The very common 55 gallon tank is 21" in depth but I hardly ever see anyone get all antsy and hung up on the "depth" of a 55 gallon tank.

Do you really think that those extra 3" of water make that much difference in lighting a tank?

Get real people. There are tons of people using CF lights on 5e, 75, and 90 gallon tanks. And 90 gallon tanks are even within ¼" of the "depth" of this 180. But I guess that ¼" makes a huge difference.

So then the lights I bought will suffice?
 

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Nope. You need more light than that. You have a total of 170 watts with very low intensity. Personally I would want about double that on your tank.

For a tank that is 24" wide I would use AH supply 55 watt kits mounted front to back. But you would need some sort of canopy to accomplish that.
 

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I don't think the water absorbs any more of the light in those extra inches but I do think that the light "spreads" out more due to bad reflectors. This spreading is more noticable in a deeper tank since there is a bigger distance between the substrate and the light. Get better refectors and you shouldn't have a problem
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you everyone for the suggestions, tips, and help. It is greatly appreciated.

Nope. You need more light than that. You have a total of 170 watts with very low intensity. Personally I would want about double that on your tank.

For a tank that is 24" wide I would use AH supply 55 watt kits mounted front to back. But you would need some sort of canopy to accomplish that.
Since I want to keep with CF's (mainly because it seems less bulbs are used), I have researched AHsupply (because I read your guide back when I setup my first planted 10g with screw-in CF lights).

Going over it again in detail, this has to be my favorite quote: "I want to take a minute and talk about a trend I see that really irks me. People that use shop lights over tanks. Sure they are better than a standard strip light but they still suck." :icon_mrgr

But what I want to ask is what you mean by "mounted front to back"... you mean like so?:



How many 55w's, would you say?
 

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I mean mounting the lights so the plugs are at the back of the tank and the end of the bulb at the front. You have them mounted the way most people are forced to mount them which I consider side to side. Turn the lights 180°.

For your 180 and mounting lights front to back I would go with a 6x55 watt kit at a minimum. That will give you 1.83 wpg with great reflectors. If for some reason (canopy lip) can't mount the lights front to back I would still go with the 6x55 and mount them as you have shown. I like the 55 watt kits because there is a greater variety of bulbs available.

For bulbs I personally would go with 6 of the GE bulbs. They can seem a bit pink at first but they give awesome results. If you wanted to you could go with a pair of 6700k or 7800k bulbs in the front if you mount side to side.
 

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I don't think the water absorbs any more of the light in those extra inches but I do think that the light "spreads" out more due to bad reflectors. This spreading is more noticable in a deeper tank since there is a bigger distance between the substrate and the light. Get better refectors and you shouldn't have a problem
it can, depending on the clarity (tds). you can lose a lot of par in 4", but if your water is clean it won't make much of a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I knew what you meant Rex :proud:

Okay, well, first order of business is to build a canopy then. I guess I wont need glass lids at that point?
 

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Your advice seems good, but you forget to tell anyone what the HEIGHT the bulbs are from the water. This is a question I have yet to hear clearly. Do you have the bulbs right at the water surface, or is there a minimum amount of distance (which is important for mix bulbs, flora and white). I respect your opinion, but the WPG BS is fine but I would like to know at what distance the bulb is radiating from.

This sort of figure would greatly help those of us, like I, who have built their own canopies and would love to use such data in figuring the height the bulbs are. I cut my canopy down by 6 inches, but had I known the figures, I would of built my canopy right from the start rather than experimenting. Which is fun but time consuming.
 
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