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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been reading through the lighting sticky threads and I feel smarter and dumber all at the same time!! Its quite a novel feeling! The more I read, the more usless I see that the WPG rule is, or in a sense it really only applies LOOSELY to the T12 bulbs. What seems to be more important is this measurement of "PAR" or the actually physical amount of light getting into the tank. So in theory if I am reading this correctly.... you could hypothetically have a 12watt bulb that produced a retardly large amount of light into say a 50 gallon tank... which is a considerably low level of WPG, but if the PAR value / micromols of light is at a high enough level to give you "high" lighting then you can completely ignore the concept of WPG?


The reason I ask is I am going to be within in the next month or some hopefully be transferring the fish and plants in my 55 gallon to 100 gallon accrylic that is 24" tall. Assuming I halfway understand what is going on here... 2" substrate, so 22" to the top of the tank and lets say the lighting is going to hang roughly 4-6" above the tank. I would need... roughly 3-4 T5HO to (with decent reflectors) to acheive a med-high lighting level? SO much of this has gone clear over my head!!
 

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Watts and PAR are somewhat correlated... not entirely, but you won't find an extremely low wattage bulb that emits an extremely high amount of PAR, just doesn't work that way.

Watts/gallon is just a guideline. You need to make adjustments for bulb type and reflector, but once you understand that you don't need to run out and buy a PAR meter.

And yes, 3-4 T5HO bulbs with good reflectors will give you high light levels for a tank that size. Start with 2 of them, and once things are stable, up them if you want more biomass production, or feel that some plants would benefit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
[Wasserpest;1495273] Watts and PAR are somewhat correlated... not entirely, but you won't find an extremely low wattage bulb that emits an extremely high amount of PAR, just doesn't work that way.
Yes, understand that, it was more for just a exaggerated example to make sure I was understanding it all. Thank you for the information below as well, that gives me a good place to get started. My current 55gallon has 4 - 48" x 40watt T12 over it and thrives! Making the move to the T5 lighting is just giving my brain some troubles.

Once again, thank you!!
 

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you could honestly probably just get by with just 2 t5ho period unless the tank is 18" wide or something.. I have 1 t5ho ~25" over the substrate in my 29 gallon with pressurized co2 and its perfect. Growth isn't super fast but im still getting reds in my stems at a 1/3 the tank height and great growth out of all my plants as its easy to stay on top of fert/co2. With two+ bulbs I really had to stay on top of dosing and any fluctuation in the co2/lack of ferts would cause algea asap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The tank is wider then 18" exact dimensions are 42"x24"x24" it was a custom built tank, the reason I wanted it was because of its boxier design I can really create some depth and and a dramatic aquascape. The goal is to make it look like someone literally took a slice out of a water eco system and stuck it in my house. (I am a little excited) after pricing a lot of the T5 bulbs and setups.... I think I may just step up to the T8 and get a 6 bulb style, I want to run some daylight and a some actinic style bulbs to really make the fish pop. I found this at home depot http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc...splay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

The tank will be running Co2 injection and a regualr dosing regime. If i read correctly the T8, have a little more output then then the T12 but not overly so. So the 6 T8 should work? Probably just make another custom hood and purchase the needed bulbs!
 

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Actually, heres the par info on t8 shoplights



basically with a two bulb fixture at normal output @24" from substrate you're looking at around 25-30 par which is low light for sure. and 6" away im betting that number is cut in half.

If you ODNO you can expect to see a ~25% gain per odno per bulb, so 2xodno(instead of one ballast driving 4 bulbs you take the power leads off 2 of the bulbs and put each extra lead on the other two bulbs, thereby giving each bulb 'twice' the power which is really only around 25% extra power due to the bulb resistance and such). you can do this up to 4x per bulb with a 4bulb ballast powering 1 bulb only = an extra ~100% more light out of that bulb. Since we ~all replace our bulbs ~yearly, it won't be in there long enough to burn out or anything before you replace it anyways. Just some extra food for thought that may help you :)

If you can find a shoplight with really nice reflectors you may not have to worry about it either.
 

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T5 HO bulbs are really the best choice for a tank that size. Now 42 inches is an unfortunate tank length, if I remember right 4ft T5 bulbs are just about 1 inch longer than that. :frown:

The T8 fixture you linked to will overhang 6-7 inches, not pretty. Yes you can use that fixture, but you get more light with less energy usage from a good T5 setup.

The 96W PC bulbs that Hoppy mentioned will be a bit short, and also less efficient and hotter than T5's. I'd rather do 3ft T5 HO bulbs. If you build your own canopy, you could alternate them so they overlap but go all the way to the sides of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If I went with the t8 would be running 6-8 bulbs. Roughly double what is in my 55 gallon which grows great, you can probably see where my train of thought was going lol. Those 96 watt lights are crazy! Price wise your right wouldn't be much different, will the shorter length be a problem though? Also if I just went with a 2 bulb setup, would I be able to get away with a slightly blue light? The only reason I want some of the actinic is for the fish appearance. Thats why I was thinking a 6 bulb fixture might work, I would be making my own reflectors in that case. This is why you guys are the knowable ones lol. Just trying to figure out my options and what will work best for me. Be nicer if I had deeper pockets!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
T5 HO bulbs are really the best choice for a tank that size. Now 42 inches is an unfortunate tank length, if I remember right 4ft T5 bulbs are just about 1 inch longer than that. :frown:

The T8 fixture you linked to will overhang 6-7 inches, not pretty. Yes you can use that fixture, but you get more light with less energy usage from a good T5 setup.

The 96W PC bulbs that Hoppy mentioned will be a bit short, and also less efficient and hotter than T5's. I'd rather do 3ft T5 HO bulbs. If you build your own canopy, you could alternate them so they overlap but go all the way to the sides of the tank.
Thats actually not a bad idea. Building a hood isn't that difficult... Hmm...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK so, I think I have a partial resolution to my problem. Instead of trying to go lengthwise along the top of the tank, I will go crosswise and use a couple of 24" setups. Now the question is... 3 single 24" t5 HO... or... 3 2x24" T5 NO I am thinking the latter as it would allow me some more variation in bulb colors/types. For the hood, I will probably pick up a sheet of 1/4" acrylic and build a custom fit hood for the top of the tank, venting and probably hinge the back of it. Tell me what you think>?
 

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If I went with the t8 would be running 6-8 bulbs. Roughly double what is in my 55 gallon which grows great, you can probably see where my train of thought was going lol. Those 96 watt lights are crazy! Price wise your right wouldn't be much different, will the shorter length be a problem though? Also if I just went with a 2 bulb setup, would I be able to get away with a slightly blue light? The only reason I want some of the actinic is for the fish appearance. Thats why I was thinking a 6 bulb fixture might work, I would be making my own reflectors in that case. This is why you guys are the knowable ones lol. Just trying to figure out my options and what will work best for me. Be nicer if I had deeper pockets!!!
Don't use actinic or 420nm use 460nm you will get the same effect but much more energy. If you can find it get one dual colored bulb, one side 6700K or 10000K and the other 460nm. The shorter length won't be too much of a problem especially if you use lower light requiring plants on the sides or have an open area on one end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Don't use actinic or 420nm use 460nm you will get the same effect but much more energy. If you can find it get one dual colored bulb, one side 6700K or 10000K and the other 460nm. The shorter length won't be too much of a problem especially if you use lower light requiring plants on the sides or have an open area on one end.

Thats good to know. Dual colored bulb? Try to ignore my ignorance on that one. But not familiar with it. I was thinking about just going with a 36" and setting it somewhat offset, but I suffer from a huge issue with balance. And the offset light would most definitely end up driving me crazy. :icon_surp the more I look at it, the more I am leaning towards the custom hood setup, using 24" peices, it should provide a very balanced lighting over the whole tank and if I want to darken an area simply remove a bulb. Heck if I do that I could even set up switches for each bulb. Which also brings me to another question. Where can I get the ballasts and connections for T5 bulbs. I figure for the custom hood setup I am thinking about would be easiest to just build the actual lights themselves allowing me to space everything evenly :)
 

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OK so, I think I have a partial resolution to my problem. Instead of trying to go lengthwise along the top of the tank, I will go crosswise and use a couple of 24" setups. Now the question is... 3 single 24" t5 HO... or... 3 2x24" T5 NO I am thinking the latter as it would allow me some more variation in bulb colors/types. For the hood, I will probably pick up a sheet of 1/4" acrylic and build a custom fit hood for the top of the tank, venting and probably hinge the back of it. Tell me what you think>?
I was going to suggest that! It's a bit uncommon, but for a tank in that shape it might very well be a good solution. I would do more than three of them for sure, otherwise you will have underlit areas in your tank, not pretty. I would do 6 single T5 HO with good reflectors, evenly spaced along the length of the tank.

You wouldn't be able to use different light temperatures (colors) that way. But I think 3 (even double) lights would not be enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Dont see any need to get the high end water proof ones, there should be enough ventilation in the hood I am going to make and I can just coat all the contacts with a healthy does of di-electric grease.

24" T5 HO is around 28 watts right? 6 of those wont be to much will it? Either way... 2 ballasts, wires and ends... shouldnt honestly cost that much and a custom plexiglass hood should look hella nice!

Thank you all for the input, looks like I have a path to start down!
 

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24" T5HO are rated 24W, it is possible that some "stronger" ballasts like the WH7 overdrive them a bit. You might be able to get away with the smaller version (WH5 I think) for 2ft bulbs, if you go that way. As long as you plan on using ferts and CO2 I don't think it will be too much... it gives you some flexibility too, you could say run 4 of them initially, and later once the tank has stabilized and plants are getting thick add the other two. Also with 2 ballasts you can have some sort of slower ramp up, say two bulbs first, then the rest half an hour later. Helps to keep the stress level of some fish down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
workhorse 7's fire any linear bulbs up to 4 for a combined wattage of 220w and they can be had for around 25-35, i got mine on fleabay.. End caps can be purchased at any hardware store like lowes/homedepot, but if you want high end water proof one's you'll have to search around online, maybe bigals or something.

Well you said up to 4 bulbs so had me confused!! lol So I take it has 4 complete leads +/- I am pretty decent with wiring so heck just one of those ballasts, and the end pieces, wire it up and wam bam! This should save me a ton of money... might as well set it up for six just for wiggle room and of course it will be fert'd and CO2'd :)
 
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