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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I have some experience with lighting and planted tanks, but this weekend I'm getting a 500 gallon aquarium which will be 4.5 feet high, 6 feet wide and 2.5 feet deep aquarium.

It will be a tank that I actually have to climb inside if I want to do anything to it. I know my only option is pretty much Metal Halide. It is freshwater, what are my best options in my Metal Halide?

What do you guys think the min wattage/recommended wattage needs to be and spectrum? Brand? Any and all info is greatly appreciated, especially if you've had experience.

Big thanks!
 

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That's a big tank.

And it is a truly deep tank. You might start off with 3x400 watt lights. Make sure you get fixtures with good reflectors because you will need them.
 

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I think this is the first post I've seen by Rex where he isn't pissed off because someone thinks their tank is too deep for Power Compacts and good reflectors...good job and good luck!

Brian
 

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You will at least need the 400W if they are that deep, I'm not sure if you need 2 or 3 though, I think 2 would give you enough coverage but maybe not enough lights for demanding plants...what kind of plants are you thinking of growing? And i think the 10000k bulbs look nice :) just don't get anything below 6500k or over 14000k and it'll do fine
 

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I believe Rex (and others) gets excited about people insisting a one-size-fits-all approach is the only way. Here he is saying "use the best tool for the job" which is MH as suggested by the OP etc. I hear that these tanks a a pain to prune. Either hold someone by the feet or switch over to ferns.

I think this is the first post I've seen by Rex where he isn't ticked off because someone thinks their tank is too deep for Power Compacts and good reflectors...good job and good luck!
Brian
 

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Yes, gigantic tank. I want pictures, so I can vicariously live through your tanks.

Anyway, halide would be the best option. I'm assuming that since you have the money to spend on 500 gallon tanks, you have the money to buy quality lighting? If so, the Maserati of aquarium lighting can be had on the link below. Geisseman is also an incredible brand.

www.aquariumobsessed.com They have Sfiligoi lighting, and 400 watt pendants run at $700 each. They also have 3x400 watt halide/8x39 watt T5 strip lights that runs at a cool $3200.


Have you given any thought to a hardscape yet?
 

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I hear that these tanks a a pain to prune. Either hold someone by the feet or switch over to ferns.
Prune? What plants would you have to worry about pruning in a such a tall tank? :hihi: I would probably avoid just about any plant that may need maintenance, go for low light only on the bottom and get some patches of nice tall plants like jungle vall that will actually be able to utilize a good amount of that tall tank. Just remember the super tall plants will further shade your low plants. I'd be looking into MH for sure, at least 400 watt'rs with good reflectors. Here is good site for picking out what MH bulbs are good: http://www.reeflightinginfo.arvixe.com/select2lamp.php
He has done extensive testing and you can graph 2 bulbs head to head. The PPFD number is what your looking at, representing how much total energy the bulb has between 400-700nm. The CCT is the color temperature that he actually measures from the bulb (dont always believe the Kelvin temp stamped on the package). I think the Hamilton 400W 10,000K was one of the higher rated ones that he tested. But with that kind of depth the reds will be attenuated considerably so you may want to get a lower K bulb with some more red in it, maybe even something more along the lines of a billboard type setup maybe.

yeah, like changes in electrical bills and marital status... :help:
I was thinking exactly the same thing!
 

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Prune? What plants would you have to worry about pruning in a such a tall tank? :hihi: I would probably avoid just about any plant that may need maintenance, go for low light only on the bottom and get some patches of nice tall plants like jungle vall that will actually be able to utilize a good amount of that tall tank.
Yes, with such a big tank you can either go all out with medium growing plants and prune every few months-
Exhibit A: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/general-planted-tank-discussion/31597-16-x-4-planted-tank-new.html (the tank nearby where the owner described the grab by the ankle method)

or go for slower growing plants-
Exhibit B: http://photos.mongabay.com/en/349Takashi.htm (the Amano Big Tank)

As a side note, the big amano tank seemed to start with "normal" plants but has become more fern based with time IMHO.

Edit: The triple door uses 8X400W MH and the Amano uses something similar (shown in image?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
yeah, like changes in electrical bills and marital status... :help:
LOL I love this post. Thank you for the laugh. The electrical bill I can eat, and I'm not married. (Only 24 , don't plan to for a looong time.) :icon_smil Hope my gf doesn't read this.

Anyway thanks a bunch for all the great input guys. Here's the plan I had in mind...

Two metal halides 400w @ 10k kelvins.
To supplement this, I would really like to put in a skylight, but I'm not sure if that will actually help. (I don't know how much the skylight glass filters out as far as needed spectrum for plants.) There's two types, the very large ones that you can see all the way to the top, and the ones which look like canister lights, but actually are powered by the sun and in fact quite bright.

If you guys think the skylight is a bad idea, then I think I'm going to have to get 4 metal halides.


I'll prob get flamed for this but my knowledge on the names of plants are quite limited. I've just bought the ones I liked, and 90% of them I've had very good luck growing. One type I believe is a kind of lily, it grows very long stalks all the way up to the surface ( and blocks out light if you don't prune constantly)

With working on things at mid-level to bottom, I htink I'm just gonna wash off really really well, and climb in with snorkel. =) Should be fun since I have parrot fish that like to nip at me.

I'm getting the tank delivered Saturday so I will take pics during the course of the project. Thx again for all ur help... and reading this super long thread. :icon_smil
 

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The plant you are describing is probably a Nymphaea lotus...

Please, PLEASE have someone take pictures of you snorkeling and planting ground cover that way. Must be an awesome experience (at least for a diver like myself). Do you take a shower before or after you climb in? :biggrin:
 

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That Amano tank is cool. I like how it's in the middle of the room and you can walk around it. No jumper fish I guess since it's open top. I find it interesting that his lights are at least a couple feet above the tank.

David
 

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I find it interesting that his lights are at least a couple feet above the tank.David
This is absolutely standard (the exhibit A tank is >6' and had diffusions on last I saw) as very hot glass bulbs and splashing water do not mix. In addition the heigh allows even coverage. Fortunately our FW tanks are not nearly as corrosive as SW.
 
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