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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had various posts about my 125 gallon tank trials and tribulations in the low tech forum. Now that I've got the algae outbreaks under control and am breaking down and getting pressurized CO2 in a month, I am looking for lighting upgrade options. Here's what the current configuration is:

2x 36" 30 watt Perfecto lights (came with the tank - think they are T8's)
2x 36" 2x21watt=42 watts T5 Coralife Freshwater Aqualights

I notice that the T5's put out much more light to the naked eye than the 12 watt difference.

Anyway, I plan to either go with a diffusor at one end and a reactor on the other, or just 2 diffusors, being misted by an Eheim 2028 and a Fluval FX5 (that's the reason for the single reactor option, not sure if an inline reactor will work with the FX5).

Anyway, I've mulled over the options, and the most obvious ones are:

1) Replace the Perfectos with another 2 sets of Coralife T5's
2) Gut the Perfectos, and install 2x96W AHSupply PC's
3) Replace the lights with a custom canopy with 2x 96W AhSupply lights
4) Replace the the Perfecto's 2 Coralife 96W aqualights.

The resulting light would be:

1) 168W
2) 276W
3) 192W
4) 276W

All of these options would cost roughly the same except option 1, which would be about 1/2 of what the other options cost (not counting if I sell the other lights).

My concern is whether I can still keep the tank low tech? Currently, the tank has 4 large Swords, jungle and corkscrew vals, watersprite, anubias, java fern and java moss.

Or should I say, what the heck, since I have CO2, go whichever route I want. I know that the watts per gallon rule doesn't really work in these larget tanks, so I am concerned that I would have to go to EI and 50% water changes, etc, which would be a lot more work than I want to do. One of the main problems is that I have Silver Dollars and large SA/CA cichilds in the tank, and the current plants are ones which I have found to survive/thrive even with their destructiveness.

Or should I just get the CO2 and keep the lighting as is to maintain the low tech aspect? I'm really looking for some input, as all the options are within my budget (getting the wife to approve the pressurized CO2 was the big hurtle).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
3x 150w HQI with ADA bulbs. Thats what Amano uses on all his big tanks and looks fantastic
Um....key words were low tech, plant eating fish. I bet Amano doesn't put 4 - 6" silver dollars in his big tanks.
 

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FWIW, I have a 4 X 96 AHS on my 125, For a while I was lower light with CO2, running just 2 X 96, and that is plenty of light there for medium light plants. Everything you listed there should grow fine with that set-up.

For me the key was taking back from 12 hours to 8, that helped my algae issues.

One the reasons was that I had the custom top to go with my tank, and the install of the AH was very easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input Taz. I am thinking that 168-192W should be the range I am shooting for also.

My photoperiod is actually about 7 hours with all the lights now. I have just dim lights for viewing the fish the rest of the time.
 

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I bet the 2x 96 would be the way to go. You aren't open top right? Of course you might not get some blazing reds, but you won't have weeks of algae wars and dosing can stay light and less precise. I was trying to think of a six foot fixture which would flip up easy - I like open tops, but nothing came to mind except running two three foot fixtures on airline hangers like the Teks etc. And good old AHS are about as efficient and bright as anything out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Can't go open top. The Chocolate Cichlids are strong and they are jumpers. They rattle the glass tops as it is.

I won't be putting in any high light demand plants, but I want enough light to maintain a decent plant mass in there. Currently, the growth is slow enough that the Silver Dollars do all the trimming for me. :D The only things mulitplying are the Corkscrew Vals and the Java Fern, and maybe the moss. Everything else is either baring staying alive or getting mowed down. I recently introduced some smaller Anubias which seem to be doing better than the larger ones (the SD's seem to even try to eat them).

I did look at the Tek's, but they are out of my budget. I don't want this tank to run away cost wise like my 20 gallon. I am leaning towards two more Coralife T5's, or replacing the whole works with just the 2 AHSupply 96W in a custom wood canopy.
 
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