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Quick Lighting question

1051 Views 11 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Hoppy
Well im looking for a cheap lighting system for a 66 gallon bowfront.

As far as plants go im not to picky on what I can and can not keep due to lighting, but I would like to be able to keep Baby dwarf tear growing along the bottom.

My substrate is top soil covered in a thin layer of gravel.

I have been looking at t6 lighting system and im pretty sure they will work but I would like to get some input. So,

Will t6 be enough?
If so how many bulbs should I use?
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What are the dimensions of the tank?
The tank is 4 feet long, 2 feet deep, and 18 inches wide at the widest part.
Is DIYing a fixture an option for you, or do you want/need to stick with a commercial fixture?
The cheapest lighting will be two 2 bulb 4 foot long shop lights. That will give you about the right amount of light, too, but it will use about 128 watts, and you would probably want to make a wood box enclosure, painted white inside, for the lights, so it would look good. That also has the advantage of using cheap bulbs, but with 4 bulbs you could pick a variety of color temperature bulbs to make the tank look like you want, and it would spread the light out over the top of the tank, so the plants can grow straight up.
"The cheapest lighting will be two 2 bulb 4 foot long shop lights"
"but with 4 bulbs you could pick a variety of color temperature bulbs"

Sorry maybe im reading wrong but are you saying I should have 2 or 4 bulbs in the hood? other question is t6 or t8?
In order to keep the light intensity low enough to avoid needing CO2, and high enough to grow plants, your light choices are limited. T8 lights are good for just that situation, where T5 lights aren't. (I don't know anything about T6 lights.) Because the tank has an 18 inch front to back dimension, it is best to have light coming from near the front and near the back of the tank, rather than just from a strip down the middle. When the light comes from just one strip like that, the plants will all grow towards that light making the tank look odd as the plants get tall. It takes at least two T8 bulbs to get enough light, so spreading 4 bulbs across the top of the tank gives you enough, but not too much light, and good even lighting.
t6 are over sea bulbs just like t5 just bigger. alot of the aquatrader light fixtures are t6 and come from over seas. If you don't want c02 or have to dose do 4 bulb t8
Alright so what I ended up picking up was a light fixture that gives me 4 t12 bulbs. I went for 2 bulbs designed for fish tanks and 2 bulbs that are daylight. This will give me 120 watts. I know I will nto be able to keep high light plants, but thats alright with me. Now, is there any carpeting plant I will be able to keep with this lighting?
Marsilea minuta grows well with low light, so well that once it is established it can be a nuisance as it spreads everywhere. I always had some difficulty getting it established, but getting rid of it later was even harder.
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