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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My family is getting me a 46 gallon for Christmas. Hooray!! And lucky for me my birthday is a month later. So For Christmas Im getting the substrate, lights, tank, stand, plants, heater and filter. Planting and cycling. For my birthday I'm getting the fish. Seems sweet to me.
Unfortunately "Santa" doesn't give out money or cards. Apparently the little kids need to see me opening a present...
So, I'm looking to set this tank up with low to moderate light plants. Its going to be as low maintenance as possible. My most complicated plants are going to be crypts and swords....
The tank is the marineland 46 gallon bowfront. Its 24" H and 36"L.
What light fixture would you suggest for me? Also I would greatly appreciate not having to swap out the bulbs on it.
 

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Your Bowfront Tank

Hello El...

Nice tank choice. These tanks are tall, so are a bit of a challenge to light, but not impossible. Low light plants are definitely the way to go with a tall tank.

I have a 45 G tall and use a single 6500 K, 32 watt, T12 in it (see pic). You can have Java fern, Anubias, most of the Cryptocoryne plants, some Amazon swords and if you get really creative, you can float plants close to the light.

B
 

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I have the 46 bow marineland, and am running the 36" coralife dual bulb t5no on it like the other poster mentioned. All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. I've got a lot of crypts, some val, and a few other odds and ends that I'm not sure about, and all seem to be doing well and have new growth since being introduced to the tank. My only complaint is that the tank can be a little dark towards the back for my liking - the light just doesn't "spread" enough to really reach the bank of the tank effectively. I'm sure I could tinker with the placement of the light or possibly the reflector to make it better, but I haven't really tried.
 

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My only complaint is that the tank can be a little dark towards the back for my liking - the light just doesn't "spread" enough to really reach the bank of the tank effectively.
Agreed. When dealing with WIDER tanks I like to take the 1 and 1 approach.

2 lighting units 1 bulb ea. 1 in the front and 1 in the back.
 

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I would be tempted to use a pair of 2 bulb T5NO lights, the Coralife design. If you keep those separated by 6 inches or so you should get good light coverage and enough light to grow most plants. Incidentally, the Aqueon 46 gallon bowfront is only 21 inches high, not 24, but if yours is 24 inches high the front to back dimension should be about 14 inches instead of 16 inches, and one of those lights might be able to light the whole substrate.
 

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2 T5NO fixtures? Thats alot easier than finding a T5HO.. yay!!
I believe the tank is 36"Lx24"Hx16"W
actually, it seems to be the other way around, particularly if you are not wanting to have to swap bulbs. IME, it's very, very hard to find T5NO fixtures with plant bulbs already in them, and until recently it was next to impossible to find T5NO plant bulbs at all.

http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/209809/product.web

I just bought the single bulb version of that fixture. I like it's slim size and the price is good too. The only issue I have with it is that the single bulb version said that it came with a 6700k full spectrum daylight bulb, but instead only came with the nasty pink colormax bulb. They are sending me a free replacement 6700k bulb though. It looks like the 2 bulb version comes with one 6700k and one colormax. I'd go with two of them like Hoppy said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
actually, it seems to be the other way around, particularly if you are not wanting to have to swap bulbs. IME, it's very, very hard to find T5NO fixtures with plant bulbs already in them, and until recently it was next to impossible to find T5NO plant bulbs at all.

http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/209809/product.web

I just bought the single bulb version of that fixture. I like it's slim size and the price is good too. The only issue I have with it is that the single bulb version said that it came with a 6700k full spectrum daylight bulb, but instead only came with the nasty pink colormax bulb. They are sending me a free replacement 6700k bulb though. It looks like the 2 bulb version comes with one 6700k and one colormax. I'd go with two of them like Hoppy said.
I can literally only find dual T5NO fixtures with plant bulbs here.. The only T5HO fixtures I can find are at one store and they are all meant for reefs... I can't even find plant T5HO bulbs...
Thats why I was excited, because all the T5HO fixture here have like at least 4 bulbs in them... so everything would have had to be ordered online..
 

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How weird. I only *just* found out that Petsmart carried T5NO bulbs in 6700k a couple weeks ago. Before that I called around everywhere and couldn't find them, even hydroponics stores and home lighting stores.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003I5ZOR8

This is another fixture to look at. Dual 21watt bulbs, one 10000k and one actinic. Also has 6 little moonlight LEDS. This really looks good in my 45 gal. the blue from the actinic really looks good combined with the 10000k day bulb. Best part is, it comes with the bulbs!
I considered that one.... They have a huge selection of them at sears (random huh?) But I figured that it was too powerful for my purposes... I think I saw T5HO on them and skipped over them... I'll have to take another look... Do the moonlight LED turn on separately form the bulbs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How weird. I only *just* found out that Petsmart carried T5NO bulbs in 6700k a couple weeks ago. Before that I called around everywhere and couldn't find them, even hydroponics stores and home lighting stores.
They have had those or a year or two near me... I always wonder why their products vary so much from region to region... Everywhere I've been looking for the past year has only had T5NO... Stores are just starting to get T5HO in... even the umm.... "underground hydroponic" suppliers???? (I literally exhausted all sources) didn't have T5HO.. I could find them at any of the zillions of reef stores around here... apparently rich people only do saltwater... But finding the right bulb was just impossible..
 

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I considered that one.... They have a huge selection of them at sears (random huh?) But I figured that it was too powerful for my purposes... I think I saw T5HO on them and skipped over them... I'll have to take another look... Do the moonlight LED turn on separately form the bulbs?
They have both NO and HO models. The one I linked you too is the NO model, which I have. 1x 21watt daylight bulb and 1x 21watt Actinic bulb. Unfortunately, there isn't a seperate switch for the moonlights, they are always-on. They aren't very bright and are only noticeable when all the lights in the room are out. If you didn't want the moonlights to come on, you'd have to unplug it...or have it on a timer like I do which will also shut it all down. The moonlights really aren't a big deal, I don't really use them. I've done a little Googling and it seems there are no answers as to whether or not moonlights really do anything for the plants other then provide them with a little light during the night....which may be a bad thing for some.

Some say fish can become stressed if you just all at once turn all the lights out. If anything, the moonlight makes the turning-off process more gradual and less stressful for the fish, if they do infact get stressed from that in the first place.
 

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actinic bulbs might look neat on the tank, but plants can't use the light if it's past 10,000k. Or at least, it's usefulness is greatly diminished.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I would like to point out that I know alot of people who keep stunning tanks at 10000k... that being said I am looking at the 6,700k range.... It coming with the bulbs isnt a huge thing for me.. it was just something nice to keep the cost down.. if I end up liking this fixture more than the previous ones I'm willing to replace the bulbs... As long as they are T5NO, because thats wahts easy for me to replace..
 

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Just as a warning, I'm not sure what color gravel you have, but mine is black, and although Actinic bulbs give a nice cool hue to the tank, it makes anything black look like a very dark purple. I can't figure out if this bothers me yet lol, but no matter what your other bulbs are, anything black will not look black if an Actinic bulb is in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just as a warning, I'm not sure what color gravel you have, but mine is black, and although Actinic bulbs give a nice cool hue to the tank, it makes anything black look like a very dark purple. I can't figure out if this bothers me yet lol, but no matter what your other bulbs are, anything black will not look black if an Actinic bulb is in there.
I Won't be setting up this tank till December, but I think I'm going with sand... Not sure what colour though. They are always too white, orange, or grey. Or black... lol.. Purple fits in nicely with my room theme..
 
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