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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone!

I posted a thread around a week or so ago about lighting my 55 gallon tank. Long story short, most suggested I go with T5 lighting. I argued but have had a while to think on this. I want to go the T5 route.

I cannot afford to do pressurized CO2 right now. I tried the DIY and just don't really think it is worth it on a 55 gallon. If I am dosing Excel every day and raise the T5 light up to a given height, can I succeed with more than low light plants - without CO2? Will the Excel allow me to do more with the higher light? I am going to get a dual bulb T5HO fixture. So, how far would I need to raise it to grow more plants without CO2 and not have an algae farm?
 

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55 G Lighting

Hello don...

You can grow most aquatic plants with 1 to 2 watts of light per gallon of tank size. I like this rule, it makes lighting pretty easy. If you can locate a couple of T5, 6,500 Ks and get the total watts into the 100 range, you'll have sufficient light.

Get a good source of macro and micro nutrients into the tank and you'll have a nice, planted tank in no time.

B
 

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Read this sticky http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lighting/105774-par-vs-distance-t5-t12-pc.html


A 55gal tank is 20in high. With a dual T-5HO that will give you a PAR of 120. Which is way too high. If the fixture can run one bulb at a time(most cant) you'll have a PAR of 60. Raise the fixture 5in above the tank and you'll be right were you wanna be. Generally people with a 55 that want decent lighting use a T-5NO and I believe get away with good growth without algae problems.
 

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Hello don...

You can grow most aquatic plants with 1 to 2 watts of light per gallon of tank size. I like this rule, it makes lighting pretty easy. If you can locate a couple of T5, 6,500 Ks and get the total watts into the 100 range, you'll have sufficient light.

Get a good source of macro and micro nutrients into the tank and you'll have a nice, planted tank in no time.

B
What you will have is a tank with very good examples of most of the algae species known to inhabit aquariums, all growing beautifully - especially black brush algae. Why can't we move away from the ridiculous view of light as being measured in watts, and being something you pour into water like you pour liquid fertilizers? If light were measured in watts you could buy a cheap 100 ohm resistor, run 1 amp of current through it, and stick in in the tank for 2 watts per gallon. Light is radiation, not a substance, and not a version of electric power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies. Hoppy, I kinda figured that. That puts me back at square one. I guess I will need to go with a four bulb T8 fixture. Without CO2, I assume that would be ok? It would need to be 4-6" above the glass top due to filters and such. Will this accomplish anything compared to two T8s directly on top of the glass?

I am currently using two 48" 32W T8 bulbs with a 6500K spectrum. Those bulbs are rated at a 78 CRI. Lowes has a "sunlight bulb" that is 32W with a 5000K spectrum that is rated at 86 CRI. Which of those two will provide the best quality light? Or, with a four bulb fixture, would it be of any value to use two of each?

Thanks for your patience while I wrap my head around this. I understand T5HO and CO2 being the best. It's the low to medium I am not grasping too well.
 

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I think most of us find the appearance of a tank with 6500K bulbs is much better than with 5000K bulbs. A 2 bulb fixture sitting on the tank should be giving you only about 20 micromols of PAR, while a 4 bulb fixture raised 4 inches or so should give around 30 micromols, which in about the right amount for a non-CO2 tank.

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc...splay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053 is a two bulb fixture that I have seen on a tank, and because it is so shiny it probably will give even more light. I don't think you can fit two of them on a 55 gallon tank, but one might give you close to 30 micromols of PAR due to the better reflector.
 

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Watts per Gallon Rule

Good morning...

I really like some of the myths of water keeping, like the "Watts per Gallon Rule". I had some myths passed to me when I got into planted tanks and this one in particular was helpful. This information along with the Kelvin information was easy to understand and was printed right on the bulb. Still don't have a clue about PAR, lumens, etc. But can grow a lot of plants in just the lighting from the hardware store and some liquids from the local hydroponics store. Just keeping it simple has kept me in the hobby for a fair number of years.

May have to post some of the other myths I've collected over the years. Actually, most have been extremely helpful to me.

B
 

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I don't know what you what to do in the long run, but let me tell you my story.
I agonized, never able to decide what to go with for my 55. Finally I caved in and bought a shoplight from HD, one that I can use in an art studio later if I didn't like it. The kind I bought looks like automotive diamond plate/steel, and it takes two T8s. I used a Phillips 6500 I got at HD, and an Aqueon 8000 I got at Petsmart. That was over a month ago, and I love it now! I'm only wanting a low tech/low light setup, I don't want to mess with pressurized Co2. My plants are slowly growing, and looking super healthy. Most have put out 4 new leaves. This includes anubias nanas, giant anubia, red melon sword, cabomba, baby's tears, red tiger lily, hornwort, dwarf water lettuce (those two a no brainer for growth) anacharis, bacopa (sp?) and types of crypts - one variety is very tall (20" +) and deep copper brown - I got it as an RAOK here and can't remember the name offhand.
My shoplight sits directly on top of my versa glass, and I have a white quartz rock sitting about 5-6" below it (holding down driftwood as it soaks). The quartz's top is covered in very short (less than 1/4") perfectly vertical/straight algae. I joked about making a tiny polymer clay man with a lawnmower for it! lol. So even with T8s you can see algae.
When I redo the tank I'll raise the light fixture.
An old pic of the tank can be seen in my sig

Hoppy, that light in your link is what I bought - I love it. It is exactly 5-1/4" wide and 3" tall. Two would fit tightly on top of my versa glass with the Whisper HOB I use, but the metal edge of the front one would just barely stick out over the tank rim. The bulb, however would be within the tank's space. Using one I can still use my wood canopy - there would be no way with two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@driftwoodhunter

I have a HD twin tube shop light now. It sits directly on the tank. My plants are doing great! Everything is growing and the java ferns are exploding with baby plants. Ludwigia palustrus is growing out of the tank. Wisteria overgrowing having to be trimmed about once every week and a half.

I guess my hope was to open up some more aquascaping opportunities with this tank without spending $200-$300. By that I mean being able to plant HG, Blyxa and some others that require higher light.

I'm going to go with a 4 bulb setup and be patient for now. I have a 20 gallon high and a 30 long as well. They are setup with multiple sprial CFs and are looking fantastic. Just started the 20. I've got plenty to keep me busy. For now I would like to raise the amount of visible light on the 55. I just doesn't "look" bright. It seems very dark compared to the other two tanks. I'm thinking the 4 bulbs fixture will help with that and keep me in the low light range.

Thanks for your reply.
 
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