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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!
In the planning stages of a low tech 36 gallon tank. First time ever setting up an aquarium. My question is about setting up the lighting for this tank. Can I use the hood that came with the tank (I'm assuming I'd have to swap the bulb(s) with appropriate plant rated bulbs for size of tank) or do I have to suspend some kind of lighting several inches above the tank? There seems to be lots of info about bulbs but I'm not sure whether I can / should just use the hood or not and why. Maybe it doesn't matter?

Thanks!
 

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It all depends on what you want to put in your tank and your setup. I have a simple glass hood and Satellite Plus Planted on my 55 Gal. I love it and it works great for my aquarium. The lighting has legs that go on both sides of the tank to hold it up.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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Welcome to TPT!

Could you post a picture of the underside of your light fixture, or list the brand/kit/specs of the lighting that your tank came with? There are MANY different types of tank "kit" setups, with very different types and levels of light fixtures built in, so we need to know for sure what you're working with before we can give better advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi. Thanks for your responses. I have a 36 gallon bowfront tank. It is 21" in height. I've attached a picture of the underside of the hood light fixture it comes with. The bulb has info printed on it that says: 17W T8 24" Full Spectrum.

My plan is to have a soil substrate with a gravel cap and will be heavily planted with hopefully "easy" plants including some floating plants.

Thanks for your input!

Wood Rectangle Automotive exterior Gas Electronic device
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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OK, so the fixture you currently have is a 17 watt T8. This will be EXTREMELY low light for a 36gal tank. You could probably keep the hardiest of low light plants like Anubias, Java Ferns, and mosses alive under this fixture- but don't expect them to grow much.

If you want to have success with a larger variety of plants, you'll need to upgrade your lighting. Just changing the bulb won't do much of anything- you'll have to actually get a different fixture.

What you'll need to decide before picking out a new fixture will be whether you want to keep this tank set up as a low light/low tech tank that does not require CO2 (which is what I always recommend for people setting up their first planted tank), or invest in a CO2 setup and then pick up a fixture that would give you medium or high light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok thank you so much! Too bad I can't swap out the bulb, but I'm OK with that. I definitely want low tech/ no CO2 for my first tank. :) Any recommendations for what light set up would be best? The Satellite Plus LED looked pretty cool, but I'm totally open.

Grateful for your help.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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I've just started to switch from T5 to LED fixtures, myself, so don't have any personal experience with them, but from what I've been reading from other people, either the Satellite or a Finnex Fugeray Planted + would be good options for a low light setup.

If you wanted to go with a slightly older but cheaper fixture that I know would give you a very good light level for a low tech, the Aqueon T5NO is what I would recommend: http://www.petsmart.com/fish/lights...light-fixture-zid36-16413/cat-36-catid-300073 (you can probably find it for a little cheaper if you shop around)

I would probably avoid dual bulb T5HO fixtures for this tank, and a single T5HO may not provide good back-to-front light coverage due to the shape of the tank.
 

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A lid is optional. There are pros and cons. If you get one, you will have to clean the glass often to keep it from blocking a lot of light. Also, many people, myself included enjoy the view from the top of the tank. Without a lid, you'll have to deal with jumpers and things crawling out. Evaporation will be greater too. What you stock will affect how much an open top is an issue. Evaporation becomes a problem if you plan to avoid frequent water changes. If you do weekly water changes, you won't have to worry about the evaporation too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
oooh! good to know about the lid being optional. I like the idea of a view from the top. Thanks.

Started looking into LEDs yesterday and got completely confused - even after finding the sticky on it in this forum, which clearly folks put tons of time into. Just a newbie and have lots to learn I guess. Will prob go for the T5NO lights to start. I can always upgrade! ;)

Thanks again for your help!!
 

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Yeah, if you like the idea of viewing from the top, go for it.

I think the dual T5NO suggestion was a good one. A Finnex Fugeray Planted+ as lauraleellbp also mentioned would probably be my go to for a new low light and somewhat tall (as yours is) tank. I recently upgraded my daughters small tank with a Finnex Fugeray-R and like it a lot.
 

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If you are a bit technical you can gut that fixture and retrofit some CFL bulbs in there like I did. I have 4 6500K CFLs on my 29gal and its enough light for low/med light plants. As far as the lid goes, I started out without one, but recently I had to put a glass lid on mine because a few fish jumped out and died :( :( so sad
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
OK I have an update and an accompanying question. The 36 gal bowfront will be returned. Now I'm looking at a 56 gall that is 24" deep (yikes); 30L x 18W. I've fallen for the Current Satellite Freshwater + and found some PAR data for this fixture which is:

Depth PAR
12" 36
18" 28
24" 21

Sooo, questions before I buy this tank:
1)Is that enough light/PAR to grow plants in a low tech tank?
2)Will one light be enough or will I need 2?

Thanks for any insight! :)
 
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