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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The day before yesterday I went to Wal-Mart to buy myself a 55 gallon fish tank. This package included

  • a 30-60 Aqua-tech filter
  • 1 net
  • trial sized food and water conditioning
  • a 200 watt heater
  • 2 fluorescent lamp hoods (24 in each),
  • two 15 W fluorescent tubes
  • and of course a 55 gallon tank (48L x 13W x 20 H)
Pictures below:








Okay so here's my issue. I'm not very impressed with the lighting of the tank, because the bulbs give off a pinkish-red light. I personally think it looks very ugly and unnatural. I sampled it on my 10 gallon. Look at the difference of my 10 gallon hood light and the nasty-pink light.

Pictures posted below:

10 gallon hood with 1 10 watt fluorescent bulb:

Effect: (Note: the left side is dark, because I didn't put in a left bulb. If I did it would be a lot brighter. But you see the pretty white light).


Two 24In. Flur. Lamps:


Nasty Pink color:



So the concept is that the package came with two fluorescent lamp hoods that can hold 18 in flur. tubes. As far as I've looked into it, 18 in. tubes are generally 15 watts, and no more. In addition, the fluorescent tubes that came with the pack don't even look fluorescent and give off crappy light. Like Hoppy has been saying: "Lighting shouldn't be decided on the rule of thumb of watts per gallon."

Question: So because watts per gallon doesn't really matter, I could basically buy flur. tubes that are higher in K (Maybe 10,000K+), thus giving off brighter light and everything would be fine?

Another question: is 20,000K lamps used for reef tanks? Would it be okay to use 20,000K lamps in a tropical tank? I simply like the bright blue light ^_6, but if it doesn't work than darn.
 

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10,000k will work but I wouldn't feel comfortable going higher than that. I haven't personally tried it though, so maybe someone who has can chime in. I'm thinking that you're going to want to upgrade the lights entirely, or buy one of those kits that people rave about from ahsupply.com and retrofit them into your existing lights.
 

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Watts per gallon doesn't really matter much anymore, but the truth is that you have the kind of lights that the wpg "rule" was based on. This means that the wpg rule does actually kind of apply here... and you barely have .5 wpg.

Replacing the bulbs won't really make the tank any brighter, and it won't necessarily make plants grow any better, but it will look better to your eyes. That's a good enough reason to replace the bulbs, IMO. But ideally, you would want to replace the entire fixture, so I don't know that it would be worth it, financially, to replace the bulbs on this one.

Kelvin ratings have NOTHING to do with brightness. A 15w 10,000k bulb is no brighter than a 15w 6700k bulb. It's simply a scale that categorizes the color that human eyes perceive while looking at the light.

I think you should replace your fixture, if you want to be able to grow a wide variety of plants. FWIW.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Watts per gallon doesn't really matter much anymore, but the truth is that you have the kind of lights that the wpg "rule" was based on. This means that the wpg rule does actually kind of apply here... and you barely have .5 wpg.

Replacing the bulbs won't really make the tank any brighter, and it won't necessarily make plants grow any better, but it will look better to your eyes. That's a good enough reason to replace the bulbs, IMO. But ideally, you would want to replace the entire fixture, so I don't know that it would be worth it, financially, to replace the bulbs on this one.

Kelvin ratings have NOTHING to do with brightness. A 15w 10,000k bulb is no brighter than a 15w 6700k bulb. It's simply a scale that categorizes the color that human eyes perceive while looking at the light.

I think you should replace your fixture, if you want to be able to grow a wide variety of plants. FWIW.
Aww crap. So basically that means I was ripped off? I spent about $200 bucks on the package. The perhaps only good materials in the kit is the tank itself, filter, and heater. The rest is crap . . . Ugh. Refund . . . .
 

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That kit is geared towards beginners who have not done any research whatsoever, no pun intended. It's great for goldfish if that's what you're looking for. Those lights are garbage. I'd recomend a refund, get a bare tank, and work your way up with parts. Good equipment will last you forever when you do it right the first time.

For starters, I say read up on some successful journals and copy what they got going on. Good luck and have fun with the hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That kit is geared towards beginners who have not done any research whatsoever, no pun intended. It's great for goldfish if that's what you're looking for. Those lights are garbage. I'd recomend a refund, get a bare tank, and work your way up with parts. Good equipment will last you forever when you do it right the first time.

For starters, I say read up on some successful journals and copy what they got going on. Good luck and have fun with the hobby.
Yeah, I should've done more research on it. I thought the lighting and everything would be fine though. I had no clue it was going to be only 15 watt tubes. The wal-mart reviews online convinced me to buy the tank. Maybe those people are just liars, or they just did some major upgrades.

Here's the link (they even included pictures): http://reviews.walmart.com/1336/10312736/reviews.htm



And no I wasn't planning on putting my goldfishes in there. I wanted a Cichilid community or Tropical tank =]
 

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Not one of those reviews you linked us to had any mentions of planted tanks, so really those reviews should have been useless to you. These aquarium kits are not meant for people who do planted tanks.

It would be cool if you could get a refund. Then what you could do is just buy a tank, a heater, some planted tank substrate, a filter, and a suitable light fixture. Altogether, you will still end up spending the same amount, if not less, than you did for this kit.

Sorry. Live and learn, right? :)
 

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New bulbs are not so cheap. For what you'd spend on new bulbs, you may want to shop the auction sites and look for an upgrade to a T5 fixture.

$200 for a 55 kit doesn't seem bad so I wouldn't say that you were ripped off. Can't judge the filter though - don't know anything about that one. 55g is a common size. If you're unhappy again, check the auctions sites and see what you can find used. Should have plenty of 55g stuff around at a pricepoint better than or equal to what you paid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not one of those reviews you linked us to had any mentions of planted tanks, so really those reviews should have been useless to you. These aquarium kits are not meant for people who do planted tanks.

It would be cool if you could get a refund. Then what you could do is just buy a tank, a heater, some planted tank substrate, a filter, and a suitable light fixture. Altogether, you will still end up spending the same amount, if not less, than you did for this kit.

Sorry. Live and learn, right? :)
Did you see the pictures of the reef and freshwater tank reviewed posted?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
New bulbs are not so cheap. For what you'd spend on new bulbs, you may want to shop the auction sites and look for an upgrade to a T5 fixture.

$200 for a 55 kit doesn't seem bad so I wouldn't say that you were ripped off. Can't judge the filter though - don't know anything about that one. 55g is a common size. If you're unhappy again, check the auctions sites and see what you can find used. Should have plenty of 55g stuff around at a pricepoint better than or equal to what you paid.
can you please provide me links for these auction sites of which you talk of?
 

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Did you see the pictures of the reef and freshwater tank reviewed posted?
I guess not. But the ones I did read were just plain non-planted ones. The point is that the lighting that the kit comes with is useless for growing anything (except for the hardiest of ferns and anubias, some mosses, etc). That includes corals. I've had saltwater tanks before under low lighting, but nothing I'd call a reef! I'm going to have to go back and see these pictures you're talking about, just for my own reference...

edit - okay, I saw those pics, and the freshwater one looks like plastic plants, with maybe that tall stand of rotala being the only real plants in there, and even then they are completely shaded at the bottom which means they will inevitably rot away at the stems. Only the tops looked good. The saltwater one, I don't know, it looks nice enough, but the review says they started off freshwater and then upgraded to saltwater. They might have upgraded the lighting too. Who knows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I guess not. But the ones I did read were just plain non-planted ones. The point is that the lighting that the kit comes with is useless for growing anything (except for the hardiest of ferns and anubias, some mosses, etc). That includes corals. I've had saltwater tanks before under low lighting, but nothing I'd call a reef! I'm going to have to go back and see these pictures you're talking about, just for my own reference...

edit - okay, I saw those pics, and the freshwater one looks like plastic plants, with maybe that tall stand of rotala being the only real plants in there, and even then they are completely shaded at the bottom which means they will inevitably rot away at the stems. Only the tops looked good. The saltwater one, I don't know, it looks nice enough, but the review says they started off freshwater and then upgraded to saltwater. They might have upgraded the lighting too. Who knows.
Yep ^_^ That's why I say they probably did some major upgrades. Hmm. Compact and T5's are very expensive. My plan is to either keep the tank and buy new lights with maybe an additional filter, or return the tank and go craiglisting for used tanks. :/ Not much options where I live though.
 

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Yeah honestly I think, if the option is there to return it, you should do that. Chances are the filter that came with it is crappy anyway. In most kits I've ever bought, the filter craps out at around the 6 month mark or so.

But if you have to keep it, then the best thing to do would be to go with some normal output t5 fixtures to replace the ones you have, and then you'll have some spare lighting for a quarantine tank or something. Then you can replace the filter 6 months down the road.
 

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Auction site and - check your local on line offers

can you please provide me links for these auction sites of which you talk of?
eBay is one.
AquaBid.com is another.
http://www.aquabid.com/cgi-bin/auction/auction.cgi?lighting
The most important rule for any auction is know what you are actually bidding on. Not what you think you're bidding on. Read all the details.

You might actually do better on a local FreeCycle or Craig's list.
Today on the Lansing Craig's list there is a 75 gallon for $65.00. This past week there have been several 55 gallon tanks or tank and setups at $35.00 - $350.00. Some people haven't a clue as to what their purchase is really worth, today. Ignore them.

I once purchased a 40L, metal stand, full 48" flourescent hood, two big power heads, a big HOB filter and a 50' Python for $50.00.

Another source of inexpensive or cheap goods are reefers up sizing or getting out of the hobby. They tend to have good quality at reasonable prices. Cichlid folks are like sharks in that they are usually up sizing or getting out of the hobby. They don't tend to be satisfied standing still.

Good luck.
 
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