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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I just recently purchased a new 20 gallon high and would LOVE some advice for some high intensity lighting. On my 55 gallon I went out and got what I believed to be cheap lighting,216 watts, and I say cheap because it overheats like crazy and turns off.

So in a hope to avoid that, if someone could point me in the way of a diy or a good site or even an actual light that would be the greatest.WOO! First post.
 

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Why are you looking for "high intensity" lighting? A planted tank does very well with just adequate light, and usually has nothing but problems with algae with "high intensity" light. An appropriate light for a 20L tank would be a Coralife 2 bulb T5NO light. An appropriate light for a 20H tank would be a FishNeedIt 2 bulb T5HO light.
 

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I'd do the Finnex if I were you. In a 20 high that would put you at medium light. I know Hoppy is the resident lighting guru here, but I don't get the fishneedit thing. Yes it fits a niche of light intensity but with terrible reflectors, you are also burning power you could be saving with LED.
 

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I'd do the Finnex if I were you. In a 20 high that would put you at medium light. I know Hoppy is the resident lighting guru here, but I don't get the fishneedit thing. Yes it fits a niche of light intensity but with terrible reflectors, you are also burning power you could be saving with LED.
I think that he tends to recommend them because they are cheap and because high quality T5HO are just too overpowered rather than because he really loves these fixtures specifically.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I saw the Finnex ones and I was a bit worried about the whole watt to gallon ratio. I was wanting to do some dwarf baby tears and I thought they needed like 3wpg?


Also the lights that Steve001 suggested seem easier and cheaper. Is there something that is frowned upon by them?

Thanks for quick responses
 

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WPG is out the window. Its a very inaccurate way of looking at light. You need to look at PAR values. Look at the LED lighting sticky here in this forum. It talks about what PAR values are low, medium and high light.

I know nothing about the lights he suggested. I suggest LED because it is the new technology. Less power consumption, awesome effects on the water and no more replacing bulbs every year.

I hope you are planning on using CO2 as well.


I think that he tends to recommend them because they are cheap and because high quality T5HO are just too overpowered rather than because he really loves these fixtures specifically.
I just can't stand buying a cheap light that is more inefficient than needed. I would look around and find a LED with similar par values.

I don't mean to rain on anyones parade, or be a jerk to Hoppy. There could be something we are missing here. I don't know a whole lot about lighting.
 

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No one is being a jerk. The problem when someone asks for a light recommendation is that we never know if they want minimum cost, minimum wattage (power consumption), best appearance, or other criteria. I would almost always build a custom LED light if I wanted a new light, but not everyone wants to do that. And, I know some people have been having problems with the Coralife T5NO lights, especially those purchased recently. The FishNeedIt lights are cheap, not true T5HO lights, but I don't recall people having problems with them failing.

You can always go to a light suspended above the tank by several inches, and use regular T5HO lights, more costly and more reliable. This one, http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=71_196&products_id=1834 or the 30 inch model, with the light suspended about 24 inches above the substrate level would also be good low medium light.

Today we have lots of choices for good planted tank lights, which is good, but choices can mean difficult decisions to make, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Holy crud wpg is gone!!!! Well..... My world just went out the window.....

Well I guess to answer Hoppy , I really don't care about price unless it is like a crazy $200 piece, power consumption not extremely important, look and the actual effectiveness will be the most important. I hope to have this become a shrimp tank.

Also preferably not wanting to do a suspended light unless it is easy to get down. Also I am definite that I don't want to go pro and make my own without some step by step instructions. I'll read the PAR values later....gotta go to school.

Thanks again for sticking with me. This has been a lot better than just figuring it out on my own.:proud:
 

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I was wanting to do some dwarf baby tears and I thought they needed like 3wpg?
Watts is a measure of electric consumption.


Also the lights that Steve001 suggested seem easier and cheaper. Is there something that is frowned upon by them?

Thanks for quick responses
The spiral cfl I pointed out I don't think is known too be available by many. I'm the only one on this forum that mentions them. The reason I chose the 50 watt bulb version is it's appropriate for my size tank.
It has a high color rendering index and good PAR. It produces a white light with high apparent brightness. And it fits in a pendant style light fixture. I used a Fluker's Sun Dome.

I don't care for lights that sit on the tank or are rectangular in style since my tank is a column tank, pretty much square in shape. Another reason I chose this light is because I wanted a light that rendered plants and fish in their natural colors as closely as possible as natural sunlight does when it's shining on my tank. This light comes close.
Give the light a try and if it's not workable you can always install it somewhere else in your place.

 

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Those screw-in CFL bulbs are a great way to light many tanks, but you do need more than just the bulb:biggrin: And, you need to decide whether you want them horizontal or vertical. You get a lot more light when they are vertical over the tank, in a dome-like reflector, but that takes some effort to make it look good. It isn't a plug and play option.

Even mounting them horizontally takes some effort - you have to have a light fixture with screw-in sockets, with enough room for the size bulbs you want, and with a reasonably good reflector for each bulb. Without the reflectors you get half as much light.

But, they offer great flexibility in light intensity. Just pick a bulb wattage that gives you the amount of light you want/need.
 

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Those screw-in CFL bulbs are a great way to light many tanks, but you do need more than just the bulb:biggrin: And, you need to decide whether you want them horizontal or vertical. You get a lot more light when they are vertical over the tank, in a dome-like reflector, but that takes some effort to make it look good. It isn't a plug and play option.

Using a Fluker's Sun Dome it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So...I enjoy the thought of doing a DIY upon further consideration. Along the lines of the CFL and Fluker dome how much does that heat up/is there a way to fix it?

Hoppy got me interested in DIY LED and I was wondering if you had an instruction set on doing one. Also on that graph you showed with the whole PAR thing it mentioned distance from the light which got me to thinking about just having a raised piece of gravel in the tank with medium to low lighting.

I was thinking of doing a PVC covered in gravel idea in which I could place the plants on top. Would that be an acceptable idea?

Thanks again, really enjoying the forum.:wink:
 

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Those screw-in CFL bulbs are a great way to light many tanks, but you do need more than just the bulb:biggrin: And, you need to decide whether you want them horizontal or vertical. You get a lot more light when they are vertical over the tank, in a dome-like reflector, but that takes some effort to make it look good. It isn't a plug and play option.

Using a Fluker's Sun Dome it is.
You are right. That is a very good plug and play option.

So...I enjoy the thought of doing a DIY upon further consideration. Along the lines of the CFL and Fluker dome how much does that heat up/is there a way to fix it?
There shouldn't be a lot of heat involved, since these are necessarily a few inches above the top of the tank, so only radiant heat gets to the water.

Hoppy got me interested in DIY LED and I was wondering if you had an instruction set on doing one. Also on that graph you showed with the whole PAR thing it mentioned distance from the light which got me to thinking about just having a raised piece of gravel in the tank with medium to low lighting.
There are so many different options to choose from in making a LED light that it doesn't lend itself very well to using an instruction sheet. Here is a way to select the configuration of LEDs for such a light, http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/diy/168999-one-way-design-planted-tank-led.html The mechanical design can vary all over the map.

I was thinking of doing a PVC covered in gravel idea in which I could place the plants on top. Would that be an acceptable idea?
There can be problems with raised areas of substrate, because such areas tend to level out over several months. Because of buoyancy under water the substrate particles are easily moved around, and nature seems to prefer flat substrate a lot more than hilly substrates. But, it is true that the closer you get the plants to the light, the more intense the light is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wow. This is definitely better than what I would've done. So it sounds like a CFL bulb inside a Fluker's Sun Dome is an affordable and efficient way of doing the lighting here.

So just to clear some things up,
1. On the bulb I should go for a T4, if I want to use the Flucker's Sun Dome
2. What size of Flucker's Sun Dome should I order
3. How often does the bulb have to be replaced (planning to stock up a bit)
4. As for cooling it, you're saying I shouldn't have to worry? How much should I elevated it above the tank
5. As for the rest of the tank, like plants and such, should I make a new forum?

Addressing question 4, would it be possible to put a hook in the ceiling and hang the sun dome from its cord?

Thanks again for all the help
 

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You probably should use 2 of the 10 inch diameter domes, and if you use 23 watt bulbs you can get good lighting with the bulbs about 18 inches from the substrate. Todays CFL bulbs can last as little as 6 months or as long as 2 years or more, depending on the quality. And, the quality varies widely. You will be using them for their intended use, so no cooling should be necessary. People do hang that type of light by the electric cord, but don't hang it by the plug, or it might pull out and drop the light into the tank.

You get the best results here if you post a limited range of questions in the appropriate forum, even if that means 3-4 different posts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hey so I got the domes and they are great! They are just slightly awkward since my filter is so big :). I even have the very first algae in the tank!!! Its a big thing for me :) .

I started up another thread to see what to do with the inside.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=182394


Thanks for the good ideas on lighting :)
 

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