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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've tried really hard trying to find some good lights for my 75 gallon tank. I just want a low light tank with no co2. I have everything else ready for the setup of the tank except for..... LIGHTS! Ahhhh... well, i've seen many light fixtures, some too weak and some way too strong, but nothing just right for my low light 75. I looked into T5HO but alot are too strong and suspending lights from the ceiling is out of the question. I am looking for lights that can sit right over my glass canopy or even go on mounting legs if they sell the mounting legs as an option with them. I was going to do two separate 1x28 t5no fixtures but finding 6700K T5NO bulbs are not easy. I've seen 10,000k and they come with those, but i've never used 10000k for plants. I've always used 6700k thinking that was the best. Well, I dont know anymore. I'm out of ideas. This is the last piece to the puzzle that is my 75 gallon low light low tech-ish setup.

By the way, the tank came with a 48" 32 watt t8...can I do anything with this or maybe add to this?

Anyone have any links to sites that sell good lights for my tank? I don't want to spend over $150 and the cheaper, the better. I've already spent enough on the tank, stand, and other equipment that I am now running really tight. I can't believe I am having trouble finding lights for a low light 75. I thought being low-light, it would be easier and cheaper.

Please help me finish this project. I can't wait to get it setup!!!


Edit: Found these but was just curious if it would be lowish lighting and i wouldnt need co2 or the whole high tech weekly water changes and all that. http://www.marineandreef.com/Coralife_Aqualight_HO_FRESHWATER_T5_48_inch_p/res08613.htm

They have legs that make it 3.75 inches high and plus I have a glass canopy it has to go through. Will that be fine or I need to find weaker than this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The thing is I have a co2 system lying around, I just don't want to do the weekly water changes and the heavy dosing every day and all that high light, high tech mainetance. I want a basic, easy to keep up with planted tank I can just enjoy without all the fancy high light plants and craziness maintenance schedules.

******EDIT:

**NEW FIND FOR MY LIGHTING: I found these... http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsU...7/cl0/coralifefwt5aqualightdoublestriplight48

Now someone else told me that using one 2x54 t5ho would be too much but two separate 2x28 watt T5NO would be good. They both total 108 and 112, respectively. Is this true? Should I get these fixtures and use two of them, four bulbs max? Am I still in the low light, low tech range and not need co2? Or should I try one and then see if that works, if not then order a second fixture?? Let me know, I feel like this could work.

Using the two 2x28 watt T5NO fixtures would give me 1.49 wpg of T5 lighting....Each fixture will give about .75 wpg...sooo is this good or too much??? Remember the light is going to be on the mounting legs and going through the glass canopy. I'm sure those two factors make a little difference. Plus I would spread the fixtures apart a few inches so I can try to distribute light evenly to all parts of the tank including front and back.

I just want to be able to have java ferns, moss, anubias, some hygros, easy swords, crypts, vals, hornwort.....those are my priority plants i want, then maybe I would eventually like to add some easy rotala, dwarf sag, and madagascar lace.

Let me know, I feel optimistic with these fixtures!
 

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I'm a big fan of the Coralife T5 NO fixtures, one will be all you need for low light, in order to grow the plants you listed above. If you want the option to go high light down the road then you could always buy two of those fixtures to put you in that range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's what I was thinking...but would using two fixtures require co2 and cause algae problems or would it still be considered lowish light.

What bulbs are the best to get? Does anyone know where I can get T5NO bulbs besides the coralife ones. I want to bring out the best colors in the plants and I heard the wavelength is more important then kelvin ratings or wattage. I just worried by me getting these fixtures I am stuck buying coralife bulbs only and if they stop making them, where would I get more bulbs. I see home depot, lowes, and other lightbulb suppliers have T5NO, but in soft white and other kelvin ratings such as 3100k which I can't use.
So if any one knows where to find more or a better fixture, let me know.

Also it comes with a 6700k and a colormax. I heard the colormax isn't so great for plants so I guess I would swap those out. Should I do another 6700k or should I have one 6700k and one 10000k in each fixture??
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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I've seen those but with one bulb I was worried it being so thin as it is a t5 that it wouldn't spread light evenly. What do you think? Do you think one T5HO should be alright? All you low light hobbyists, speak up:biggrin:

Also found this....
http://www.marineandreef.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=RES53018

Is this low light??
That fixture uses 2 end to end 65 watt PC bulbs, and it would give about the same amount of light as a good T5HO 54 watt single bulb fixture. You would just use more electric power to get the light.
 

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For what it's worth I think you could go with a single 54w T5HO inside a good reflector, like the Catalina ones. Then later on down the road if you wanted to upgrade to high-light levels, you could either add an identical single-bulb fixture (which in theory would provide better light distribution than one single 2x54w fixture) or you could sell the single-bulb fixture to someone with a 55g tank who wants to go high-light and replace it with a 2x54.

There are options. But for now, for what you are trying to accomplish, one single 54w bulb right smack over the center of the tank, up on legs, would be perfect. And it's green, because you are only using 54w of energy. T5HO is a wonderful technology, if only due to the fact that it is efficient and keeps energy costs low.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wouldn't the 2x28 t5no give me the same effect just maybe a little bit more of a spread of lighting since there are two bulbs instead of one?? If so i'll go with that t5no fixture but I should replace the colormax bulb. Should I use two 6700k or 1 6700k and 1 10000k bulb?

Also, It is almost the same price to buy a single 1x54 t5ho fixture and a 2x54 t5ho fixture....could I just buy the 2x54 and remove one bulb? Is that safe?
 

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Pretty sure that most if not all T5HO fixtures cannot have a bulb removed or they won't work.

Have you considered the Catalina 3x54 T5HO fixture? There are two switches, one controls a single bulb and the other controls the remaining two. With two timers you would have options for one, two or three bulbs at a time. You could mainly use the single bulb and switch to two bulbs for part of the day for more spread and more light. If in the future you want to add CO2 and go for a high tech setup you would have the option of running three bulbs at a time which should be more than enough. Fixture runs about $130 and they will put in whatever bulbs you chose including a pinkish plant grow bulb.

I think the 18" depth of a 75 makes it so that you would not want to use only one bulb exclusively, you won't get much spread unless you hang the fixture and once you hang it for spread you won't get enough light.

Catalina will also build your fixture to order. I would consider asking them to build you a three bulb fixture but with the wider housing they use for the 6 or 8 bulb models. The one time I spoke with them about picking a wider housing it didn't increase the price much, maybe $20-25. Have them put the single bulb in the center. A wide housing would give you nice spread for the part of the day when you run the two outer bulbs. Lots of room to experiment with a three bulb fixture like this. I wish I had the three bulb model instead of the four.

Otherwise I think your idea to go with multiple lower wattage bulbs is a good one too due to the front to back depth of the tank.
 

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I think 28 watt NO lighting will not be enough for that size tank unless you use four bulbs. Four bulbs spaced far enough apart may be a good choice. The Coralife 2 bulb fixture has the bulbs right next to each other, no spread at all and the reflector is nowhere near as good as the ones Catalina uses. The Coralife also comes with an actinic bulb that you will have to replace. I believe the choices for bulbs for these fixtures is limited and would check to see what color temperature options are available in THNO bulbs before buying.

Did you look into adding a second T8 fixture to the one you already have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have a single bulb 32 watt t8 48" fixture now? What would I have to add to it? another single fixture or a double? What kind of bulbs to do you recommend i use if the T8 option is cheaper and easier? How many bulbs total should I use?

something like this necessary to add? http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsU.../allglassfluorescenttwintubestriplight48black

or a perfecto double t8 to add to the one strip http://www.bigalsonline.com/edealin...medium=Comparison+Shopping&CAWELAID=388702239

or ditch the original strip an do a 3 t-8 strip....not that expensive...in my range if i need it? http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsU...78938/cl0/allglasstripletubestriplight48black
 

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You could use that 3 bulb T8 fixture, and remove one bulb if you have too much light, or add the existing 1 bulb fixture you already have if you don't have enough light. That is possibly the least expensive way to go. You just about have to try something to find out how well it will work for low light, but I'm almost sure that 4 T8 bulbs will give plenty of light for low light plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If I use the three and the one, is there any certain spacing I should try or just place the single near the triple fixture and center them all?

What are some good bulbs to replace the ones the fixture comes with? It has all 8000k bulbs stock, probably not good. Any specific brand or model of bulb? Should I do I mix of 6700k and 10000k?

You are SOOO much help!!!
 

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I have a Current USA 4x54W T5HO fixture and I have used it as a 3 bulb fixture. It has two switches and 2 power cords, one for each set of 2 bulbs.
I asked Catalina specifically about this and they told me that it can't be done with their fixtures. There have been other posts on these forums from people who tried removing a single bulb and their fixture would not power up so it is really going to depend on the brand of fixture.I wouldn't plan on removing a bulb from any fixture unless I was absolutely sure it was okay to do and wouldn't damage the ballast or void the warranty. It is probably also not good to have the empty endcaps exposed to moisture.

Hoppy gave a good answer already about the number of T8 bulbs and his advice that the only real way to know what will work is to try it is spot on too since every tank is different.

Choosing a color temp for your bulbs becomes more of a personal decision based on what you like looking at. Plus the light from different brands of the same color temperature bulb can look very different. I think 10K bulbs used alone tend to make the tank look too stark and prefer the warmer look of 6,700K bulbs. You can also mix them to get the look you want. Color temps from 5-10K will all grow plants well.
 
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