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It's fine sitting on top of the glass - I did that with my 55, and now I've moved it onto the top of my 125 (the 55 has been taken down for now). I leave it sitting directly on my glass versa tops - it doesn't get hot at all.

here's how the light level looks on the 125; (not a good shot but you get the idea) I happen to love the HD diamond plate light.

 

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That light would sit perfectly on top of the tank. Just make sure you don't have kids that would come move it or else it probably would fall in the tank and become an electrical hazard.
I actually use that exact shop light for my 33L's and 75Gals and they work fine. Just make sure to get the 6500k fluorescent tubes for plants.
 

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Would this fixture need to be suspended over the tank or would it be able to sit right ontop of a 55g with glass top?

http://www.homedepot.ca/product/4-diamond-plate-work-light/972629
Are you growing low light or high light plants? Pressurized CO2?

I'm definitely no expert like Hoppy is, but I'd think sitting right on top is bordering on too much light without pressurized CO2. Looking at the chart for 20" height gives about 52 PAR.

You can cut down the light by using window screen. Can't remember how much it drops the light though.
 

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Opae Ula Crazed.
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If you do do the shoplites check out Walmart where you can get them for less than $20.00 each.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S III using Tapatalk 2
 

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If you do do the shoplites check out Walmart where you can get them for less than $20.00 each.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S III using Tapatalk 2
Yea, but the Walmart ones are white, and don't reflect nearly as much light...
 

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Opae Ula Crazed.
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I used them over marine aquaria and as grow lights over my orchids for years.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S III using Tapatalk 2
 

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If you do do the shoplites check out Walmart where you can get them for less than $20.00 each.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S III using Tapatalk 2
Yeah ... I wouldn't go with the white painted shop light .. for the little extra money I'd get the Diamond Plate at HD. It's a bit more versatile. If you decide to go higher light you might not have to buy another fixture. If the light is too much for your needs, you can raise the fixture or use window screen to block it some.

I used a 2 bulb white painted T12 shop light along with a single T8 aquarium fixture before I bought the diamond plate one. The setup grew low light plants very slowly .. maybe I should say it kept most of them alive, some grew more than others but it just wasn't quite enough for my 75 gal.

So with 6500k t8 bulbs in that fixture on the glass what do you have? Medium light or high? Say on a 40 breeder
Assuming it's 16" tall and 2" substrate, sitting right on the glass it would put the light at about 14", so according to the chart it would be approximately 78-80 PAR.

As quoted by Hoppy (the lighting Guru) in this thread: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=184368

I don't believe there is any consensus about the definition of low, medium and high light. But, here is my definiition, subject to, and almost certain to change:

Low light - 15-30 micromols of PAR - CO2 is not needed, but is helpful to the plants
Medium light - 35-50 micromols of PAR - CO2 may be needed to avoid too many nuisance algae problems
High light - more than 50 micromols of PAR - pressurized CO2 is essential to avoid major algae problems


This is what some of us go by until more info comes in stating otherwise. So that would mean very high light.

Since that's an 18" wide tank you might only get about 40-45 PAR at the front/back glass. The lower it is the less the light spreads and might not spread enough on that tank height. It would be really high light in the center of the tank but only medium or high-medium at the front/back. Hoppy could answer this much better than I can. I'm just using my test numbers to guesstimate it .. refer to this thread: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=185893&highlight= where I tested 9" toward the front & back to see what PAR would be like at the front/back glass.
 
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