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My roommate is getting ready to set up his hex tank, and I figured I'd see what the lighting options are for that. I don't know the exact dimensions off the top of my head, but I do know that from corner to corner is 18", and from side to side is about 16" or so. I'd say the tank is about 2.5' tall, might even be as high as 3ft tall.
The plan for the tank is to go high tech, with Co2 and ferts and whatnot. As far as I know the plant selection so far consists of M. minuta, Utrcularia gramminfolia, and a mildly demanding stem plant thrown in there as well, and possibly some Anubias.
With the height of this tank, the only one I can see working is a MH lamp. Any other light with the intensity to reach far enough to promote carpeting on a tank this tall would stretch over the sides so much that it would not be beneficial at all and the actual light hitting the water and plants would be so weak that it wouldn't be worth it.
Right now we are looking at 70W and 150W MH's to go over it. Is the 150W overkill? And if hung let's say, 8" to 10" over the top of the tank, would the heat from the lamp making the water too hot still be a concern? Would a chiller be needed?
 

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I'm not sure about which wattage would be better, although 150 watts tend to have a better selection of bulbs than 70 watts. I doubt too much heat would transfer to the tank. I've got two 70 W metal halides about 1.5 inches above the water on my 26 gallon tank and it never gets above 85 degrees, even with 4 pumps (and I keep the house at 76+).
 

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one of my tanks is a 30gal hex. when i got it from a buddy at work, the light didn't work and the hood was missing.
after a lot of searching i gave up on replacing the hood and light, i ended up using an old hanging lamp that i got from the thrift store.
i got rid of the glass globe from the lamp and fitted it with a regular lampshade that had been painted gloss white on the inside. lighting is just a GE 100w equivalent daylight cpf bulb from lowes which hangs about 6" over the water.
that tank has a carpet of mar. quadrifolia and x-mas moss, also, i have a big crypt backetii and bacopa caroliniana that constantly needs trimming; without use of any CO2 or ferts.
overall cost: $5 for the lamp, $6 for the bulbs, and, $12 for the lamp shade = $23.
 
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