The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Still researching different aspects of my little custom 5.5 gallon nano tank when I set it up (this will be different than the one I've already made that will go in my mom's window and be unheated, unfiltered, and lit with sunlight.)

Lighting. How do you light a tank that is only 8" tall, but 30" long? I'd like something relatively inexpensive, but attractive, that will yield enough light that I could grow just about anything, but not too much. A DIY project would be great, or something I can just plug and play, so to speak. The tank will have injected CO2 and EI dosing of dry ferts.

Plants will include various crypts, anubias petite nana, dwarf sag, java ferns, some kind of moss (maybe I'll try something besides Java moss) and maybe other things that look interesting. It will not have stem plants because they will grow too tall too fast for such a short tank, there will also not be "carpet" plants as I'm going for a sandy beach look with pool filter sand.

Something suspended would be fine, or something sitting on the stand behind the tank would be fine too. I'd prefer something sleek and modern looking that has intense enough light that I could raise it a fair level above the tank.

Thanks for suggestions and thank you to everyone for helping me will all my questions.

Edit:

I found some material that my dad has leftover from something. It says that it is foam, but it looks more like wood, it's 1/4" thick, fairly rigid, and it's coated with black hammered metal on both sides. I think it would make an awesome casing for a light fixture with a little support on the inside and some kind of tiny trim to cover the edges.

So with that in mind, what kind of wattage and type of lighting should I go for and then maybe I could build something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,588 Posts
Hi Taari, I would go for one of those small Nvision daylight bulbs that are about 15 watts CFL or something like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A single CFL won't cover the whole tank, and multiples will be too much wattage. I was thinking 1 or 2 T8's might work, raised maybe a foot above the tank, but I'm not sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,012 Posts
When you raise a light above the top of the tank you have to also use some kind of reflector to keep from spilling most of the light outside of the tank. That is especially true for such a small tank. It can be done though. And, a single T8 bulb would be a good way to start. LEDs would end up working better, but that can be an intimidating DIY project. You could also start with a T5NO strip light, like those sold by Home Depot - but a reflector to keep the light aimed at the tank is still essential.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I could make a reflector. The problem with T5NO strips is that they don't sell daylight bulbs for them. Like at all.

I might be able to convince my dad to help me rig up some LED's that he has left over from a car project he did a while back, but I don't know the first thing about the color of LED"s to use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Also, I could hang the light lower, that's not a problem, I just thought if I raised it, it would decrease the light if I use something more powerful like T5HO's or something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am giving up on using only LED's to light the tank, but I may use a few as supplemental lighting or for a moonlight effect. I am going to order this https://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/209846/product.web even though it's supposed to have 2 bulbs (I called to make sure) I will probably cover one with aluminum foil since it's thin, the right length, and cheaper than any other T5 fixture that size I've been able to find anywhere (and cheaper than a lot of T8 fixtures) and it even comes with at least one bulb, probably two that are already the right color.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,012 Posts
I wouldn't use aluminum foil to cover a fluorescent bulb. That could be hazardous. Instead, why not use both bulbs, but use a layer of fiberglass window screen between the bulbs and the tank? That reduces the light by about 40%.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
could I put the window screen on the fixture, rather than on the tank? Maybe put it on top of the acrylic lens that protects the bulbs?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
594 Posts
I have a similar (looks to be the same) light only 24 inches dual 14w bulbs from an older larger tank and I am able to use fiberglass window screen on the light. There are two lips that hold in the plexiglass covering in place and there is just enough room to slide in a length of window screen between the lips and the plexiglass to hold it in place. I have had it like this for about 6 months with no problems at all. :)

Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks! That sounds perfect. I just put in the order for the light so hopefully I can start playing around with it soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
yes, I found that out the other day. When i got back into keeping fish about 9 months ago, daylight bulbs for T5NO didn't exist anywhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
333 Posts
You said that it will be in a window sill, lit with sunlight. Sunlight it pretty powerful. You might try buying a single crypt, (or some other low-light plant) stick it in a jar with whatever substrate you are going to use, stick it in the window sill, and see how it does. I did this a while back on a south facing window (with a piece of lucky bamboo) and both the bamboo and ALGAE went COMPLETELY NUTS! It was my second aquarium, and my first attempt at a planted tank (dirty). You may just need the sunlight to make stuff grow, and a little underbody car LED light so you can illuminate the tank at night. It wouldn't put out nearly enough light to grow anything, it would just be used to see the fishies and plants in the evening hours.

Another point on sunlight. I also have a 6.6 gallon petsmart/petco "bookshelf aquarium" which is in a northern facing window, with very little indirect light (bottom floor of a three story house) And I ended up having to paint the back of the aquarium, because it caused a metric boatload of algae.

I am by no means an expert on anything in the aquarium world. I am still learning a LOT. These are my only two experiences with sunlight and planted tanks. It is quite possible that if the tanks were more heavily planted, and dosed with ferts, there may have been no algae. But again, I don't know whether that would be the case or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is a different tank. I built my mom a 5.5 gallon nano to go in her windowsill and to be a humidity tray for her orchids, and I liked it so much that I am going to build another one in the future for my living room that will be much higher tech. That is what all my questions have been about, for the higher tech tank that will go in my living room.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top