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Help lighting a 45g tall

3032 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  sapphiregem
So i have a 45g tall tank 36x12x24H and i currently have a glass top with the lighting piece that came with the tank sitting on top with 1 T8 floramax (25w??) bulb...

Question is how do i upgrade this for better plants in a tall tank? It has space for 1 bulb

Do i just buy a new lighting top piece? If so any recommendations?

I am new to the lighting bit but i would like to to add some micro swords at the bottom of tank and feel they might have a tough time way down there...other plants are mixed swords including a large amazon sword - south american tank btw

thank you
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I don't think you will be able to get enough light out of a single T8 in that deep of water. You will probably want to upgrade to either an LED or T5HO fixture. If you want to stay low light/ low tech, then there are some cheaper LED's that would work. Check out some of the Beamswork fixtures on Amazon. Or if you want better quality look at the Finnex fixtures like the Planted Plus.
I'm currently using a planted + on my 45g low tech.Java moss grows like crazy on the dirftwood,I have to continually remove it.I'm growing dwarf hygro np,and dwarf sag has carpeted the bottom nicely,along with rotala.I am very happy with my 36" planted + on a timer.

I did have an issue with hair algae,but 6 little SAE's took care of that in a week!


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Sounds like you want medium to high lighting for the plants you mentioned, with the challenge of an extra 6-12" of water column and whatever may grow or float in the way.

I didn't get a light fixture with the used 45G I picked up, with about the same dimensions. But all the bundled fixtures I've seen are just meant to show you the fish, they never put out anywhere near enough light for more than a low-light planted tank.

So yes you're better off looking at an aftermarket fixture to sit above the tank. I like having 1/8" glass from the local hardware store to reduce evaporation, and then don't worry about how the lighting fits above that. You may want to pay more attention to the aesthetics than I do, but I've picked up used 24"/55W JBJ and Coralife fixtures from Craigslist and run them over 14" and 20" wide tanks.

The pricing to get high LED light for this 45G was a bit daunting, even looking at Beamswork. So I went with more of a DIY approach, described in this thread: That's delivering 2,500 lumens at the center of the tank, which doesn't seem too shabby - but I don't have PAR measurements yet.

The tank shown is freshly planted, black background and substrate, etc. You can see some of the strong afternoon sun sneaking in on the right side and the lighting is still holding it's own.


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I've also got a Planted Plus on my 45 . Low tech no CO2 tank . So far , so good .

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I would check out the SB Reef Freshwater lights. That's what I have in my 29high, it's dimmable and I run it at 50% max for high lighting. Perfect for deep tanks. Ive seen them on 120 gallon planted tanks. There's a 16" and a 30" model

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Thank you all for the recommendations, this helps point me in the right direction. Good to hear most of you have had success and still kept it somewhat low tech.
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