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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While my 10 gallon has been getting a lot of attention lately, my first tank with plants in it, is really our 40 gallon long. It's doing VERY well now that we got the CO2 levels sort of out (injected pressurize system).

Currently it has a HOT5 strip light duct taped on to an ancient hood with a T8 in it (both 6500K). The plants are growing like, dare I say it, weeds, but the old hood is starting to go on us. I think its the ballast thats going, but regardless, I think it just needs to be replaced, and a more formal lighting system installed.

I was originally going to go with a fixture from catalina aquariums, but decided to wait on it and see how the plants did. And needless to say, I stems from one plant that have pushed above the water line, and have flowers sticking out the openings for the old filter on the glass canopy! Most of the plants pearl all day long as well.

My BF and I were poking around in Lowe's and they had a bunch of T8 fixtures, and it got me to thinking about checking on line for T5 shop lights. I found a bunch of 2 bulb HOT5 4ft fixtures that caught my attention (off of Home Depot's website) One is a Lithonia Lighting 2-Light High Output T5 Strip light for $40.00. This one COULD work but I would probably want to build a better housing for it so it doesn't blind us. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lithonia...rip-Light-ZR-2-54T5HO-MVOLT-GEB10PS/203137160

The second option is another Lithonia fixture, but this one is a 4-light T5 HO Bay fixture for 89.95, which still isn't too bad, but I think this would be overkill on a 40 gallon long, right? (same footprint as a 55 gallon, just not as tall...48" x 12" x 16") http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lithonia...nt-High-Bay-IBC-454-MV/202838871?N=5yc1vZc7bu

The third option I really like is Home Selects' 48" 2-lamp High Output T5 Grow Light Fixture, that comes with 2 6500K 54 watt bulbs, and all the hardware for hanging it too. http://www.homedepot.com/p/HomeSele...H=REC-_-product-5-_-204717929-_-203449218-_-N

We do plan on hanging the new fixture. I want to make it so I can easily raise it up and down, not only to find a good height for plant growth with minimal algae, and also so I can raise it for easier tank maintenance.

Has anyone just used standard T5 shop light fixtures for a planted tank? They all seem to be relatively decent options, especially price wises, for what seems like the same thing as all these fancy aquarium marketed T5 fixtures.

Would it be difficult to build a housing for the one 2 bulb strip light? My father is an electrician so I could probably see if he has a spare housing, or even a spare T5 light fixture, but most of the fixtures he works with are 6-8 bulb fixtures, which would be useless on such a shallow tank lol.

We've been wanting to expand the plants we have in our tank to more of the medium-high light spectrum, especially since we have a CO2 system running and have been using ferts as well. (currently just root tabs and seachem's aquavitro line).

If anybody has used T5 shop light fixtures, what has your experience been like with them? I've been tempted to buy some of the T5 grow light fixtures at our local hydroponics place, especially since the prices are half that of the ones at the fish stores, and they all come with 6500K 54 watt bulbs, a 48" fixture is only $120.00 (with bulbs), and two 24" fixtures would only be a total of $80 bucks, all of which are 4 bulb fixtures.

I'm not really considering LEDS right now, if that matters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I found another 4-bulb T5 HO shop light:
http://www.warehouse-lighting.com/s...cHB_d_4_d_T5&gclid=COWdp8mGgb4CFYY7MgodZGcAaQ

It's 97.00 shipped, and at the bottom theres even an option to buy 25 4-foot 6500K 54W T5 bulbs for 75 bucks....which is almost as tempting as the light. 25 bulbs would last for quite a while...

Would 4 bulbs be absolute overkill? This one seems like it has some pretty good reflectors built in. It will be hung from the ceiling so I could adjust it, but would 2 bulbs be better? I'm so clueless about lights. Tank is 12" wide, and 16" tall.
 

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Down and dirty (cheap?) lighting is my way from the start!
I cover and hide it all under canopies so appearance is not something I worry.
I use a reject PINK shop light twin T5 -48" from Sears for my 125. Does all I need but I'm sure there are some points to check before ordering. I might suggest it safer to buy local to you so if it is wrong it can be returned.
Noise from cheap ballasts is sometimes a problem. This may be a problem on older shop lights than more current vintage. There is a rating system which you might check. No idea how mine is rated.


Why is it PINK? I don't know, it's not like I BOUGHT the thing! I found it somewhere and it looked handy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Down and dirty (cheap?) lighting is my way from the start!
I cover and hide it all under canopies so appearance is not something I worry.
I use a reject PINK shop light twin T5 -48" from Sears for my 125. Does all I need but I'm sure there are some points to check before ordering. I might suggest it safer to buy local to you so if it is wrong it can be returned.
Noise from cheap ballasts is sometimes a problem. This may be a problem on older shop lights than more current vintage. There is a rating system which you might check. No idea how mine is rated.


Why is it PINK? I don't know, it's not like I BOUGHT the thing! I found it somewhere and it looked handy.
To be honest the 25 48" T5 bulbs (all 6500K) for 75 dollars, is probably the best deal I've seen. Even if a few are broken. An aquarium bulb is 30 bucks!! My BF and I are trying to find a real lighting store around here, Home Depot has 4 light fixtures for 70 bucks, and even 2 light proper grow lights for 120, but with $120 bucks I could take the shop light, buy all the bulbs for it, and also probably make a make shift hood for it. Most of these also come with mounting chains and brackets, which is extremely convenient.

Most of our tanks we go with the if it works, use it technique. Only thing I originally worried about was water splashed, but I honestly forget about the fact the 40 is covered with glass lids.


I've always wanted a 125, they have them for sale at our LFS for 250 (deep blue brand?), or for 850, the tank+4 bulb HOT5 fixtures for length of tank, and a deep blue brand stand for it too. It's SO tempting. Our house is a split level, so the room where the tanks are sits on a concrete slab... No limits as far as tank sizes lol.
 

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Saving money is something that some have and some don't. For me it just comes natural so buying used is among the first thought on some items. Tanks are one where I find real value if I shop carefully.
This tank was an old beater that had chipped corners and sold real cheap.
I wanted to have a built in tank but I never wanted to do permanent damage to the original plan like cuttting studs out of walls. In this case the wall is full of plumbing as it backs to a bathroom. But there is often a middle ground and both the tank with chipped corners and built in look seemed to fit.


This took a bit of cutting and fitting but it got me close enough to the buit in look and still I have a stand, tank surround, and canopy that can come apart to be moved if I need to again. The extra height is for me to see the fish over the table.
Maybe BF could do a simple canopy to hide a light if it got too ugly? It can't be much worse than what I use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Saving money is something that some have and some don't. For me it just comes natural so buying used is among the first thought on some items. Tanks are one where I find real value if I shop carefully.
This tank was an old beater that had chipped corners and sold real cheap.
I wanted to have a built in tank but I never wanted to do permanent damage to the original plan like cuttting studs out of walls. In this case the wall is full of plumbing as it backs to a bathroom. But there is often a middle ground and both the tank with chipped corners and built in look seemed to fit.


This took a bit of cutting and fitting but it got me close enough to the buit in look and still I have a stand, tank surround, and canopy that can come apart to be moved if I need to again. The extra height is for me to see the fish over the table.
Maybe BF could do a simple canopy to hide a light if it got too ugly? It can't be much worse than what I use?
Well I offered to build a canopy, but we both agreed that having the ability to lower the light and then lift it out of the way for tank maintenance by just pulling on the chains (I have chain pins we can put in to lock it at a certain height), would be SO convenient. Where it sits, theres a 55 to its right where the rats are, on the left a 1.5 gal, and a bunch of other crap too. So not much room to take the hood off so we can do heavy tank mainetance without having to unplug and go through the mess of wires behind the tank lol. Most of the time it ends up balanced between the 55 and a few containers of fish food, so we can get light in the tank while working, but have it out of the way. Works, but we have the ability to hang the lights, and it's not like it would be hard to do, so no brainer :)

Heh we always try and save money where we can. If we only have to spend 80 bucks on light vs the insane amount of money other companys are charging, that leaves you with room to spend more money on filtration or other systems. The 40Gallon is probably close to 9-10 years old, awesomely built tank. My little 10 Gallon aqueon bows more then it does!

We always keep a look out on craigslist and ask around for old tanks, lot of the times you can even get their filtration system and all. Used is best way to go!
 
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