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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm setting up a 150 gal tank, the dimensions are 4' long x 2 ' deep x 31" high. I will be fabricating my own canopy. I am currently EI dosing, utilizing Flourish Excel for carbon vice the CO2 injection until I can get the correct lighting. My plant inventory includes the following: amazon swords, money wort, anacharis, java fern, java moss, and anubias nana. I just cleaned out the "jungle" in my 45 gal tank, and transferred everything into the 150 gal tank. I have terrible well-water where I live. I don't understand how I've managed grow anything in water with a pH 9, and KH 19. My amazon sword plants are not the greatest; and the other plants are hanging in there, but I know I'm on little time with (2) 4 ft/40 watt bulbs. I would like to implement adequate lighting on a budget. Thank you in-advance, for your info & comments.:icon_idea
 

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What are your plans for this tank? Will you be injecting CO2? Or go low tech the whole way? Excel on a 150gal tank sounds like an expensive proposition.

Are you looking for something ready made, or will you build your own canopy, and perhaps buy your own components?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm only using Flourish Excel until I can get adequate lighting; I do have the "Aquarium Plants.com" version of an electronic CO2 regulator & a 20 lb CO2 bottle. I'm afraid of a major algae bloom if I energize it without a sufficient lighting source. I've located a source for Metricide14 vice using Excel. I will be constructing my own canopy, just would like some advice/ideas and sources for parts. I've been reading Hoppy's thread on the DIY LED setup. I do not have a PAR meter or a LUX meter. I do have an electrical & electronic background, just didn't want to spend $500.00~$1000.00+ on lighting. The tank is a giant, but deep box.
 

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You won't get algae if you add co2 to a low light tank.

I'd get a 6x54w T5HO retro kit to light that tank on a budget. 4x54w could work, but would be lower light and not as good of spread across the 2' of tank.
 

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If you are going to build your own canopy, I think T5HO lighting would be your best choice. With good reflectors, it packs the right punch for a deep tank.

For the best value, you could do 4 bulbs, driven by a Fulham Workhorse 7 (or similiar) ballast.

Would cost you about $40 for the ballast, $100 for the reflectors, $10 for simple endcaps, and about $60 for bulbs. All that depends what you actually choose and how good of a googler you are.

Some places to check out for parts - Reefgeek, Hellolights, DrsFosterSmith, and many others of course. Look for coupons to offset shipping costs... look for special offers, for ex. I got a WH7 at 1000Bulbs for about $35 shipped after discounts and coupons, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your info. Being that this is a 4' x 2' x 31" tank, equating to 150 gallon capacity. I thought I had to shoot for 450 watts total for minimal lighting requirements. I am relieved to know that I can get by with (4) 48", 54 watt T5HO light bulbs or attempt to squeeze in (6). I'll have to perform some more research. Thank you very much for your advice.:biggrin:
 

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You won't get algae if you add co2 to a low light tank.

I'd get a 6x54w T5HO retro kit to light that tank on a budget. 4x54w could work, but would be lower light and not as good of spread across the 2' of tank.
This is exactly what I would recommend.

6x54w will fit over that tank no problem and you'll really appreciate it. If you decide to stick with 4x54w and don't want to DIY, this is a great fixture on a budget. Heck, it's a great fixture even if you aren't on a budget.
 

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The W/gal formula isn't proportional, with larger tanks you need less wattage for a certain light level.

Comes down to your preferences and specific setup. 4 bulbs with great reflectors can result in higher light levels than 6 bulbs with not so great reflectors. With six bulbs, you can perhaps grow more finicky plants, but the two added bulbs will increase heat generation and electricity usage. Sometimes it's better to have a tad slower growth in a large tank, where it can get quite cumbersome to dive in and prune plants.

Good luck with the 31" :red_mouth My 250gal tank is 28" tall and that's about as much as I would like to deal with.
 

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A single T5HO bulb mounted right at the top of the tank is going to give you about 20-30 micromols of PAR, which is low light intensity, but only directly under the bulb. The 24 inch depth of the tank means you have to have bulbs spread out across the top of the tank. If you had 4 bulbs, they could be about 6 inches apart, which should give good uniformity of intensity at the substrate, but only around 30-40 micromols, roughly. That would still be low light intensity. If that is what you want, just be sure to get light retrofit kits that use good quality, semi-parabolic, highly polished aluminum reflectors, comparable to TEK reflectors.

If I had that tank I think I would try a couple of MH lights, hanging above the tank, to give more room for reaching in for routine minor maintenance. But, I don't have any data to use to suggest which MH lights to try, or how high to hang them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That light fixture is a great buy, too bad they're currently out of stock. Since I don't have any "exotic" plants, and very crummy water to work with, I'll probably install the (4) bulb implementation.

Yes, it is a "bear" to reach down inside to the very back of the tank without using a swim mask & snorkle. My wall space did not have enough length to utilize a 5-6 ft aquarium. So, had to go the "short-fat & tall" path. I'll post some pics later. I want to raise some rainbow fish. Thought this tank would be big enough.

Hoppy, I loved the sticky on your DIY LED adventure. You are a pioneer in LED lighting. I would love to go this route, but I think it would be very costly. I don't like the idea of MH lighting for this tank application, due to the size of my small home-office space (too much heat).

Many thanks to all who responded!!!:proud:
 

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That light fixture is a great buy, too bad they're currently out of stock. Since I don't have any "exotic" plants, and very crummy water to work with, I'll probably install the (4) bulb implementation.

Yes, it is a "bear" to reach down inside to the very back of the tank without using a swim mask & snorkle. My wall space did not have enough length to utilize a 5-6 ft aquarium. So, had to go the "short-fat & tall" path. I'll post some pics later. I want to raise some rainbow fish. Thought this tank would be big enough.

Hoppy, I loved the sticky on your DIY LED adventure. You are a pioneer in LED lighting. I would love to go this route, but I think it would be very costly. I don't like the idea of MH lighting for this tank application, due to the size of my small home-office space (too much heat).

Many thanks to all who responded!!!:proud:
You can use more T5HO bulbs, closer together, and raise that fixture above the tank to reduce the intensity to what you want. That gets you the maintenance advantage of a hanging fixture, the light uniformity in the tank of a hanging fixture, but at about twice the cost of a fixture that sits on the tank. That would be my second choice for lighting.

Have you posted your data anywhere on the forum, Hoppy?
Yes, I have, but I don't have time right now to search it out. And, I'm not sure it is all in one post.
 

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please keep regular updates on your tank. I plan to buy this exact tank (150 short) next summer and I have many of the same questions as you. I am looking forward to seeing your progress on this tank and will follow this thread closely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is going to be challenge, since I'm using a "CrackBerry", and I've got big hands/fingers. Currently, I've narrowed my choices down to two light fixtures. I like the Catalina T5HO's 48", either 4 bulb or 6 bulb. I talked to the owner, and he's very polite. He will work with you, and they're not cheaply made. The other choice I had in mind, is the MH at Aquatrader's. I don't like the idea of the "heat" aspect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I forgot to mention some other amplifying data. My wife has "nixed" my canopy idea. I will be suspending a light fixture(s) from the ceiling. I'm 6'3" tall, and I have to use a short ladder to aid in maint. performance issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I've re-energized my CO2, and I'm EI dosing ferts; but their's still not enough light to make the plants "pearl" utilizing the existing (2) 48" 40 watt light fixtures. I think a (4) bulb 48" T5HO should suffice.Thanks for your response!
 
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