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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had marginal -to-good success with my HO 30" hood and various 24" square-pin compact fluorescents over the past ten years or so. But my current bulb is at the end of its life and since the fixture is starting to rust through it's time to consider next generation. I am so not up on lighting technologies - I read the threads herein but there doesn't seem to be a clear "this is the current best answer" consensus.

My tank is a standard 30 gal. (30" X 12.5" X 18") and I'm attempting plants with high light needs (HC, aponogetons, glossostigma, others) so I'm looking for an easy-to-find solution that doesn't involve DIY wiring. I see some ready-made LED hoods available, is that the best solution? Advice welcome as I need to make a purchase quickly. I could pick up a replacement HO bulb but I'm hoping for higher wattage (or is it lumens, or PAR?). Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Another place has the Coralife T5 HO 30" with "moonlight" LED - he said 4 x 31 watt but I am skeptical - I think it's really 2 x 31w but still not bad, assuming freshwater bulbs are available. Rather steep at $269 though.
 

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I recently worked through the practically identical lighting problem (29g tank) and settled on the Nova Extreme (30" unit with 24" bulbs). It's handsome and unobtrusive (unlike comparable Coralight and ZooMed units), has a splash-guard (which the Hagen Glo units lack), and throws out plenty of light (T5HO 2 x 24W). The reflectors also disperse the light nicely into the tank (where the Hagen Glo, for example is a little too narrowly focussed).

I tried the Aqueon T5NO double unit, but it didn't provide quite as much light as required and also threw out a lot of heat -- enough to raise the temperature in the tank. Two Aqueons was perhaps too much light and certainly too much heat.

Oh, and the Nova Extreme comes at a very reasonable price -- just over $70 at PetMountain. Make sure it's the Freshwater version.

I haven't yet settled on the optimum bulbs to use, but I've already replaced the 10,000K that comes with the unit with a 6700K Hagen Life-Glo (leaving in the TrueLumen Flora Freshwater). The forums seem to be in favor of Geisemann bulbs, which I will eventually explore, but Hagen Glo bulbs happen to be available at my LFS.
 

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I would forego the LED option and stick with T5HO. Catalinaaquariums has a great selection of t5HO fixtures and you can call them and talk to Jim (he runs/builds the fixtures) and he will build one however you want.

http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=71_136&products_id=1414
+1 on this, if you go with multiple lights, have him put in extra cords/switches. If you find you have too much light, you have options. I also get him to put on hanging eyelets.
 
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