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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im considering upgrading my lighting to a T5HO 48" unit. I can get a two-bulb unit or a four-bulb unit. I have a 55gal, 48" x 20" x 12". Currenlt got some Wisteria, Vals, Ludwigia and Parrot Feathers in the tank. I would like moss and grasses later, ans I will be housing a few Gouramis, and schools of Harlequin Rasboras and (possibly) Lamp-Eye or Glow-Light Tetras.

Reading other posts it seems like 216W (the four-bulb unit gives 3.94 wpg) is going to be way too much. Will half that be good enough? I consider getting the four-bulb unit so that if I need to, I can just turn off one of the switches and if my needs increase I have the option of turning on all four. But if having all four is going to be overkill, then I wont bother spending the extra money and Ill just get the two-bulb unit.

Also, I dont know if I should choose all 6700K bulbs, or a mix of 12000, 6700, and the plant bulbs that look kind of reddish. I assume this will depend on if I end up with the four- or the two-bulb units.. HELP!

Hope this is all easily followable! Any assistance would be helpful..

Also, at what level of lighting does one need to worry about CO2? And if I go DIY with the 2 liter bottles and separator, how much will I need for my tank?

Thanks a heap!
 

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IMO I'd go with the 4-bulb fixture. It gives you the opportunity to do a burst for a couple of hours. Also think it has more value on the resale market if you should decide to sell it.
I have a 90g and use only 2 bulbs for most of the light cycle with a burst using the other two. If I get somewhat tired of all the trimming I just shut down the 2nd pair for a while.

My primary two bulbs are the pinkish bulb and a 10k. That combination doesn't look all that bright which is what I prefer in the evenings. Second pair is another 10,000k and a 6,700k.

SteveU
 

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2 bulb T5HO should be plenty for a 55g because its so narrow front-to-back. Prolly still have to raise it up of the tank several inches and definitely need to inject CO2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, guys, for the fast replies.

GTR, If I got 2x 12,000K and 2x the pink ones, I can put one of each on each circuit, and for the burst have the same wavelengths but twice as bright.. Would that make sense to you? Or would you recommend having as many different K ratings as possible?

S&K, Why would I need to raise it? To cut down on the light level? The fixtures come with the little clips/legs that raise it up about 3". I dont want to have to hang my light..

Anyone else care to weigh in?
 

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The WPG "rule" doesn't apply to T5's and many other types of lights. It's really only meant for T12 and still isn't even that effective.

One 54W T5HO bulb is medium/high light on a 55G. Two is definitely high light. Four bulbs would be overkill. However, like GTR mentioned you could always due a small burst, or not use the other two bulbs.

You typically raise lights/fixtures so you get a more even intensity across the entire aquarium, and to adjust light levels. It's much easier to raise/lower the lights to try and find the perfect intensity than it is to change your lighting setup!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, topfrog..

So maybe I should save the extra money on the lighting and get the smaller fixture, and use those funds for more supplies.. I dont want to over spend, but I dont want to sell myself short either.

But I do like the idea of having two different intensity options, even it its just switching between the two circuits and never using all four bulbs together.. Why's it gotta be such a tough decision for me? lol.
 

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I run 2x54 over my own 90gal and have to very carefully watch my photoperiod. The tank actually did best when I had a good coverage of floating plants, so if you aren't running CO2 on this tank you're definitely going to have to find a way to control the light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, laura. Every time I see your name, I think of Young and the Restless' Lauralee Bell. lol

So 2x54 will be enough even if I upgrade my tank later? Awesome news.

Ive got my supplies for the DIY CO2, using 2-liters of sugar water and yeast, and a 20-oz soda bottle for a separator. Of course heading over to the CO2 area to determine how much I need will be next, but Im trying to get all my ducks in a row.

What is your photoperiod, btw? Will the tall Vals be enough to shade the tank, or should I look into anacharis, or let my parrot feathers float about?
 

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She was named after me hahaha! :fish:

I'm down to about 6 hours ATM. I ran 8 hours OK when the tank was covered with floaters.

You could float any of those plants, but the coverage will be the most "even" if you stick with an actual "floater." Frogbit, Red root floater, and Pistia are my personal favorites.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh, I think I have some Frogbit on the way.. Thatll be handy. lol

Now that I have an idea of what to do, I just have to make a couple of decisions on how to do it.

Y'all are a really helpful bunch. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm reluctant to say as theres only four and I dont want to screw myself. lol.. However at the same time it would be great if someone would keep me from making a mistake and buying a POS fixture. Given my limited knowledge, it looks like a decent unit to me. But like I said...

no ebay links

There is also a unit with 4x 6700K bulbs. The two-bulb unit is the same, but no LEDs and only one circuit. I'm leaning more to the 2x I think, but the 4x keeps drawing me back cuz its got more and bigger and bells and whistles and ... You understand.
 

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I use 2x54w T5 over my 55g. Does great, but i was thinking of upgrading to the 4x. I cant seem to grow any ground covers. Not even hair grass, i assume its light penetration. Perhaps i need to raise the substrate. But for all my other plants, they grow nicely. DIY co2 might be too low for 55g from my experience.
 

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Some say this fixtures are junk, some love them. I took the risk and bought the 2x54w for my 75 gallon. I plan to hang the fixture well over a foot above the tank and use floaters and it will still be bright...
 

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I'm reluctant to say as theres only four and I dont want to screw myself. lol.. However at the same time it would be great if someone would keep me from making a mistake and buying a POS fixture. Given my limited knowledge, it looks like a decent unit to me. But like I said...

http://cgi.ebay.com/48-T5-HO-Freshwater-Pink-Aquarium-Light-216W-4x-54W_W0QQitemZ110468339998

There is also a unit with 4x 6700K bulbs. The two-bulb unit is the same, but no LEDs and only one circuit. I'm leaning more to the 2x I think, but the 4x keeps drawing me back cuz its got more and bigger and bells and whistles and ... You understand.
Maybe not a POS, but that brand does not have a good reputation. It has a low quality single reflector instead of individual reflectors around each bulb.

These are cheap too, but apparently better quality
http://www.fishneedit.com/t5ho-4ft--2lamp-aquarium-light.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks again, Steve.. In your opinion is the 2x54 going to be strong enough to penetrate to ground cover? Nue has got me concerned. lol. Plus I have to convince myself to pay almost as much for a 2x as I would for a 4x. Even if it is a superior product. lol. Im a cheap, stingy bastard. :icon_lol:

Also, is there any way to determine how tall the legs are? I need to know if theyre going to let the light clear the edge of the HOB filter.

And one more.. Do you know what the name brand of the ebay one is? Id like to do a little reading on it if possible.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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I use 2x54w T5 over my 55g. Does great, but i was thinking of upgrading to the 4x. I cant seem to grow any ground covers. Not even hair grass, i assume its light penetration. Perhaps i need to raise the substrate. But for all my other plants, they grow nicely. DIY co2 might be too low for 55g from my experience.
Hairgrass and many other carpeting plants need CO2, and your DIY probably isn't cutting it. Marselia minuta and Echinordorus tenellus have always done very well for me, however, so these are 2 you might consider instead.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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I'm reluctant to say as theres only four and I dont want to screw myself. lol.. However at the same time it would be great if someone would keep me from making a mistake and buying a POS fixture. Given my limited knowledge, it looks like a decent unit to me. But like I said...

http://cgi.ebay.com/48-T5-HO-Freshwater-Pink-Aquarium-Light-216W-4x-54W_W0QQitemZ110468339998
Looks an awful lot like Odyssea/Jebo- made to me. Personally, I'll never own another of their products, I owned one and that was enough (ran hot and hummed all the time).

I'm quite sold on the Solar T5HOs from www.CatalinaAquariums.com. I've owned 3 of those to date. I also like the Coralife T5NOs for low tech tanks, and 2x those would probably work very well over this tank. Give you lots of light control.
 

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I just ordered mine. I went through same seller, which won't ship till monday. Will post review as soon as I can. I am all about budget(see my sunsun filter review!).

Now I have to find a DIY ceiling hanging solution....
 
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