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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I used to run a couple of 10G/29G tanks, with apparently enough lighting to be successful raising plants (they're in storage, so I can't verify what the wattage was, but i want to say about 2 wpg). Since then, having maved from an apartment to a house, we upgraded to a 150G tank, with 5 T-12 tubes (original hood, 2 2-tube shoplights, about 200W/150G, or 1.3ish wpg). It clearly wasn't enough lighting, as the plants all slowly succumbed over the course of a couple years, even with fertilization. Now, I want to restart my tank as a planted one. I've been searching for info to see how well the wpg rule applies to higher-volume tanks, and I think all I've done is managed to confuse myself...

Based on some information I read on thekrib, it seems as though the wpg rule reduces as volume increases. I've been planning on getting a 6x55 kit from AH Supply, which would net me 330W, or about 2.2 wpg. Assuming I dosed appropriate ferts, and did either CO2 injection (long term) or Flourish Excel (more likely in the short term), would this be an appropriate/acceptable amount of light to grow most plants? Based on prior experience, 2.2 wpg seems a little low, but if I'm understanding what I've read, for a tank that large, it's more acceptable. Since I'd need to DIY my hood anyway, it's conceivable that I could squeeze 8x55 into the hood (2.9ish wpg) if need be, but that might be a bit of a tight fit, allowing room for plumbing at the back of the tank.

The specs on the tank, which has been running for a couple years now, is 48"x24"x30" tall, with somewhere around 6-8 kg of flourite as a substrate, an XP3 canister for filtration, and hovering around 80 degF (ambient room temp right now) without light/heaters (fighting BGA due to recent neglect). I'm afraid that, barring some sudden cooling miracle, I'll eventually need to add a chiller too, as keeping the current lighting on raises the temp to about 86 degF.

Current inhabitants are what the wife & I have labelled the survivors, which managed to survive both the move from the apartment & a couple months of neglect: a clown loach, a blue botia, a "rockville angel" (the LFS we purchased it and a former companion from is in Rockville, MD), a couple rasboras, a rosy barb, a bristlenose pleco... We've been talking about expanding to a much higher fish load, at least 5 more of each of the schoolers, and she really wants Neons...

I guess in summary what I'm asking is whether 330W-440W of CFL tubes w/ the AH reflectors would be sufficient for anything more than "low light" plants, or if I should redirect my research into T5HO or MH lighting, and if so, how much? Secondarily, would I need to worry much about the lighting raising tank temps if I were to keep ballasts above the lights, with cooling fans blowing across them...
 

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The WPG rule is a pretty inefficient guide. It really only applies to T8 and T12's and other factors such as tank height, distance from lights to water, reflectors, etc.

I would say that with the 6X55W kit from AH supply you would be closer to medium to high light for your size tank. AH Supply has some of the best light kits you can buy, their reflectors are top notch. I have a 2X55W (2WPG) over my 55G and that is considered medium/high.

I'm in the midst of getting a 240G up and running which is simliar to yours in regards to height. I think mine is 31" high.

I've decided to go with 4X54W T5HO with reflectors for my setup. This should give me a nice low/medium light for my low tech tank.

To answer your first question, I think the AH supply would be more than low light for your tank. Second question, I wouldn't expect the temperature to raise more than a few degrees if you are using cooling fans. Are you using glass tops?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Excellent. Yes, I'm currently using glass tops, since the current lighting is sitting directly on the tank, and between the filter and the airstone, I didn't want to risk anything getting wet. Besides, since it's a split top, the unopened half is currently a great place for putting food/fert/etc when I've got the front light moved so I can feed through the other half.

Since I've been planning to DIY the hood, and ventillate it anyway, I've thought about glass/plexi as an integrated but removable part of the hood. This would help somewhat with heat too, right? Might not help w/ evaporation, but that's what the python's for, and owning the place so I can make those, um, modifications. :hihi:
 

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I'm making my own hood as well.

I've decided to use WasserPests' design with some slight modifications:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/786667-post84.html

I'm going to have a 2-3" wooden rim which rests on the top of the tank. On the back side of the tank it will be connected to the base of the tank via 1X4's or 2X4's. Then I will install the canopy from WP's post and attach it to the rim via piano hinges. This will allow me to run my equipment through the rim, and open the canopy/glass-tops at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Actual dimensions: 48 inches x 24 inches x 31 inches tall. Exterior measurements.

For the short term, I was planning on using Flourish Excel, but pressurized CO2 is planned...at some point. In my prior 29G tanks, I had decent luck w/ the Flourish, so figured that since it's a lower up-front (not necessarily lower long-term) cost, I could hold off on the CO2 injection for a while.

My plans are, if the light's too much for the Excel, I can always keep a set off most/all of the time.
 
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