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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 54 gal. corner bowfront that I would like to convert to a planted tank. Because of the shape and the surface area of the glass top, I am having trouble finding a fixture that will provide the needed wattage at an affordable price. I have found a Nova Extreme SLR T-5 Fixture that is the right size but includes two 24 W 10,000°K and two 24 W 460 nm actinic bulbs with a total of 96 watts. It is listed as a saltwater fixture but my tank is freshwater. From what I have read, the actinic bulbs are for saltwater and not recommended for freshwater tanks. Should I buy this fixture and replace the actinic bulbs with something else? Any other good suggestions? This is the type of fixture I want because it will fit on top of my aquarium, and the price is much better than a lot of the other bulb types. This would give me low/moderate light, which is fine with me.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Tank dimensions are 38 x 27 x 22. Because of the traingular shape of the tank, the fixture can't be any longer than ~29 1/2". The current fixture is 29 5/8" long with two 17watt T12 bulbs. I am wondering if two 24watt T5 bulbs may be enough light for low/moderate to moderate light plants because of the higher output of the T5. I want to have enough light for a planted tank without the added expense of CO2. The T5 fixture I am considering, the Nova Extreme SLR T-5, has one 10,000K daylight and a pink plant growth lamp. My research of lighting has me leaning toward possibly replacing these lights with the Giesemann Powerchrome Midday T5 High Output Fluorescent Lamp and the PowerChrome Aqua Flora T5 Lamp, each with 24 watts. Can anyone tell me: Will this provide a superior lighting over the standard lamps on this fixture, or should I just stay with what is on the fixture? Will this provide adequate wattage for my goal? I can always keep or add back the current T12 fixture. From what I have read, I may be able to use this fixture with T8 bulbs.
 

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Wattage isn't what you need - PAR is what you need. T5HO bulbs will give about 40-50 micromols of PAR per bulb at the substrate on a 22 inch deep tank. That is medium light intensity, but at the low end of medium. You would do better with two single bulb fixtures, separated by a foot or so, to get more uniform light over the whole tank. Or, since you may later decide you want more light, you could get a 4 bulb fixture and suspend it about 10 inches above the top of the tank, to get the same 40-50 micromols of PAR. Then to get higher intensity you just lower the fixture. Look at Catalina lighting to see if they have something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks for the input! Can you run only 3 lights on a 4 bulb fixture? I have found a Nova Extreme 4X24 with lunar lights for 151.99 (free shipping ;-). That way I would have the flexibiltiy of adding more light and possibly CO2 later. Since T5 bulbs run cooler, can these fixtures be placed directly onto the glass top of the aquarium? This fixture does have cooling fans. My tank is in a highly used room and using the legs on the fixture (besides being a challenge because of the shape of the tank) would cast a glare into the eyes of anyone sitting in my den.
 
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