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Fixture For 45 Tall

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Hello, all. I'm new to planting and am in the process of converting my 45 gal tall from a fish-only to a planted freshwater tank. I just couldn't stand the unnatural look anymore. I am wondering what kind of fixture I should use for my purposes. I'm considering a 2 bulb HO and splitting them between growing and visibility temperatures. I've found some fixtures online that I'm considering, but part of me is wondering if it would just be better to DIY. I'm fairly certain I want to go with fluorescents, as they've stood the test of time and I like how their colors aren't so washed. If I do go with prefab, is there any brand/wattage/etc you would recommend?
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How tall is a 45 tall? What kinds of plants were you going to use? The fixture you get will have to accommodate the light requirements of those plants. Different fixtures give different PAR values at different depths and knowing what plants you will use will help to ensure your plants will actually grow and have the proper amount of light.
 

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A 45 gallon tall should be around 24" tall and 12.5" front to back. One Marineland Aquatic Plant Light would provide for the right spectrum for growing plants. It would in result in around 83 PAR at the 24" depth. This is enough to grow plants with higher light demands. However, you would need to inject CO2 or use Seachem Excel to avoid algae problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
My dimensions are 36"L x 13"W x 24"H. As I'm new to the hobby, I was considering starting with more hearty plants like Java Fern or DHG. I'd like to move on eventually to more delicate and ornamental plants once I have my carpet established. I have been looking around at the T5 HO fixtures, but ran into roadblocks. My target was 2w/gal (which I know is outdated) and I thought about a dual fixture with 39w tubes.

I was then informed that a single 39w HO would produce 78w of light. That really threw me for a loop. I don't want to blast my livestock with that kind of light. I'm not sure if I was misinformed or what's going on there.

One Marineland Aquatic Plant Light would provide for the right spectrum for growing plants. It would in result in around 83 PAR at the 24" depth. This is enough to grow plants with higher light demands. However, you would need to inject CO2 or use Seachem Excel to avoid algae problems.
I have planned on using CO2 from the get-go, and have prepared to rig a DIY using fermentation (I've heard horror stories about Excel). As for the Aquatic Plant Light, I'm finding LED fixtures, and on this website, the chart is saying the PAR for all their fixtures is 83 at a depth of 24". Would I be able to get away with using the smaller fixture in addition to the 20w full spectrum fluorescent light I have in my hood now? From my research I've gathered that lumen doesn't matter quite so much as the PAR. My tank is sufficiently illuminated right now, and if I can help it I'd like to stay as economical as possible. If I've completely missed a step in my research please correct me.
 

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I wouldn't necessarily say dwarf hair grass is a hardy plant. You'll need high light and CO2 for that. And on the topic of CO2, DIY fermentation CO2 is not ideal in larger tanks. I've tried in my 55 and it just is not enough. And you are right about the excel. Excel just burned all my vals this past week :icon_cry::icon_cry: Excel can be great depending on the dose you use and the types of plants you plan on keeping. You will likely need to bite the bullet and run pressurized CO2 if you want a dwarf hair grass carpet. Back to the light though, I personally would be hesitant to use a 24 inch fixture for a 36 inch tank just because it may leave the ends of your tank very dark. Again, I've been there too. Its difficult to say how dark it would be because they don't say the angle of optics used for their LEDs. While on the topic of LEDs, Build my LED makes some great fixtures. A 36 inch fixture is $230 so thats a bit cheaper than the 36 inch marine land. I have one of their fixtures and I love it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the heads up on the DIY CO2. I might give it a shot in the early stages of conversion before the thing's fully planted. I'd be doing it on a much larger scale than your average two-liter Coke bottle (experienced brewer) and mess with some trial and error. I'm very picky about things that go into my tank, so no worries about me burning up anything with chems. I'll also be sure to do some additional research on Build My LED. They seem like a good place and in my hometown to boot! :proud: With regards to Marineland, I've heard warnings to stay away from their fixtures, though they've never done me wrong.

I hadn't thought about the fact the corners would be blacked out; good info. Would you say that the Marineland would be a good place to start and a reasonable investment for someone who's looking for a healthy balance of intensity, clarity, and photosynth? I was wary of using LEDs as I was worried they would wash out colors, but they seem to have made a really healthy impact on the industry. I had a bad run with an LED fixture that destroyed the color in a java fern in a previous tank, though it may have just been the light's proximity.
 

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Would you say that the Marineland would be a good place to start and a reasonable investment for someone who's looking for a healthy balance of intensity, clarity, and photosynth? I was wary of using LEDs as I was worried they would wash out colors, but they seem to have made a really healthy impact on the industry. I had a bad run with an LED fixture that destroyed the color in a java fern in a previous tank, though it may have just been the light's proximity.
Yes- a Marineland Aquatic Plant Light would be a great choice. The build quality is excellent! Color spectrums are perfect for lush plant growth. The PAR values of 83 at a 24" depth are second to none. The built in timer is simple to use and very awesome. You would only need 1 with your narrow front toI back dimensions. As previously noted, you would need to fertilize and use pressurized CO2 or Flourish Excel to discourage algae.

I've had great success with these on my 56 gallon column tank, which is the same depth of your tank. FWIW, I use Seachem Flourite for my substrate and fertilize using Seachem Flourish Comprehensive Fertilizer tabs. Using this approach, my plants 'pearl' daily and algae is kept in check. The fixture provides very appealing light (aesthetically) too.
 
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