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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm new to planted tanks and fairly new to aquariums in general. I plan on building a 55 gallon planted tank at the end of this summer, but I'm concerned about the amount of light I have. Right now the tank is in storage, but I just pulled out the hood. The hood has 2 bulbs, 55w 2g11's. The bulbs are a bit old, so I am replacing them with these:

http://www.atlantalightbulbs.com/ecart/10Expand.asp?ProductCode=FT55DL.865

So with the hood, I'll have 110 w @ 6500K for 55 gallons. This is still 2 w/gal.

Now for the really really dumb part: Can I just put some lamps near the aquarium and point them towards the plants? I know this isn't the prettiest way to go about it, but I figure I already have 2 of these full spectrum lights; they might as well go to good use.
 

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You'd get slightly more yield from a newer CF system and even more from a two bulb T5 setup. Think of the lights as a gas pedal for plant growth/nutrient consumption. If you're new to the game I suggest to give your existing lights a try, there's nothing wrong with them whatsoever.

Focus on learning about nutrient addition, plant characteristics and CO2 injection. They are pre-requisits for an algae free experience and more light will create an even more challenging situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the website. I am just wondering if point lights at the tank works, or if that's a really stupid idea. I'm guessing the latter. Also, what is the best way to polish a reflector? I'm just a college student, so I can't afford much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've done a fair bit of research, but I'm still not sure about a lot of things. I think I'll probably have to go with DIY CO2 for now, with maybe a DIY reactor or diffuser. Another problem I'm facing is conflicting opinions about filters. I know that too much surface agitation will reduce CO2 in the water, but I've also had many people tell me that power filters are a good way to go for planted tanks. I am inclined to just go with a power filter because I already have an Emperor 400 and I don't have a lot of money to spend. Is there any way to reduce the surface agitation, maybe with an elevated box closer to the filter?
 

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I use a hang on back power filter for my 10 gallon and it works fine. You might to do a simple modification though. On the filter, where the water flows back into the tank there is a small lip on the "downspout". This lip causes a horizontal flow to increase surface agitiation. If you cut that little lip off, the water will flow straight down into the tank minimizing surface agitation.

--
Don
 
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