The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone. I've been researching like crazy about lighting because soon I'll be setting up my 55g for the first time. (Excited :) ) I've found a ton of threads about what the flat out, absolute best fixtures are (which were all completely non-conclusive... haha) but I'm not Bill Gates here. I can spend around $100 to $150 on a fixture. I'm interested in the Odyssea 48" 4x54w t5ho (which by the way.. I don't understand how wattage changes how my lights will affect my plants) but I'm wondering if there are better options for the amount I can spend. And as a secondary question while I'm on the topic, how does wattage affect the setup? Some people are running way less that 54w bulbs.. But they seem to work fine? Thanks guys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,528 Posts
(which by the way.. I don't understand how wattage changes how my lights will affect my plants)
Can you grow corn in your closet w/ a 60w bulb???? I think that is the gist of it.. (sorry bad humor)..

The "general consensus" is that the more light the more "maintenance" or attention to detail: plant growth and nutrient needs, algae ect... And the more diversity of plant species you can grow..

I prefer DIY LED's which you could do in your price range fairly easily.. That said IF I wanted an alternate choice.. something like this would do..
http://www.thatpetplace.com/aquatic..._id=26566476&gclid=CJ3d5tCA5L0CFYFhMgoduRcATA

Possibly even 2.. You wouldn't need to use it (the second one) but "options" are always good..
They clip together..

What you lose from "my world" would be sunset,sunrise dimming .. :)
 

·
Fresh Fish Freak
Joined
·
24,403 Posts
Before you can pick out a light fixture, you need to decide if you want to set up a low tech tank (which won't need a pressurized CO2 setup- around $200 give or take) or high tech, with CO2 and weekly (or more) water column fertilization.

Given your relatively tight budget on the light fixture, I'm going to guess you want to go the more economical low tech route.

In that case, you don't want to put 4x54 T5HO over this tank- that will be WAY too much light for a low tech 55gal tank (you'd need CO2).

If you want to stay low tech but still have enough light to grow one of the hardier carpeting plants, I'd recommend this fixture: http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=71_136&products_id=1638

You may ask the difference between running this 3x54 versus the Odyssea 4x54? Quite a few, actually.

1) MUCH better quality ballast (google Odyssea ballasts),

2) this fixture gives you the option of running any combo of 1, 2, or all 3 bulbs at a time- which gives you amazing flexibility when it comes to experimenting to find the perfect light level and photoperiod for your tank (every tank is going to be a little different).

3) still in budget


The other option I'd consider would be to run either one or two of these T5NO fixtures. Due to the particulars of the design on these fixtures, they will put out MUCH less light than most T5HO fixtures- which is actually a good thing in a low tech setup

(this link may not be the best price so look around) Amazon.com : Aqueon AQE40203 T5 Dual Strip Lighting Hoods for Aquarium, 48-Inch : Pet Supplies


Running just one of these fixtures *may* not be enough light to grow a carpet, and stem plants likely would be leggy at the bottoms where the leaves would be shaded. This is the fixture I ran over my 46gal (middle picture in my signature). Two of these fixtures should give you enough light to grow pretty much any low light plant, and again give you great flexibility with photoperiods/light levels as you could run just one or both at a time.


Those are the two fixtures that I can think of that would give you a good low tech light level and stay in budget. LEDs are the new rage in the hobby, but probably out of your price range for this size tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
I bought a dual T5 HO odyssea fixture for my 40gal, mainly because of price. They got a bad rap a long time ago, but I have had mine for about a year now. It works great and I have low to med light. Growing corkscrew val, some type of crypt, oval ludwigia, and Alternanthera reinecki. Using one 6700k and 5000k bulb.

I just recently bought a odyssea t5 dual for my 20 long, and have staurogyne repens, blyxa japonica, jungle val, anubias nana petite, and dwarf baby tears growing. Using 2 6700k bulbs
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Given your relatively tight budget on the light fixture,
The sweet thing here is that if I could get an amazingly better fixture, I could just wait and save up more for it. I mean, I want something that isn't complete crap, I just don't want to be spending half a grand on something that I'm new to, you know?
 

·
Fresh Fish Freak
Joined
·
24,403 Posts
If I were to buy a new light fixture for a 48" tank, I'd personally be going with one of the options I linked below.

If you ran all three of the bulbs in the 3x54" fixture I linked for a full 8 hours, that would be a very high light tank. 2x54" would be moderate light. Most other T5HO fixtures in that same price range do not have as good a reflector design behind the bulb as the Catalinas, so would be less light even for the same wattage (IDK how much exactly, that would take someone testing with a PAR meter...)

LEDs for larger tanks are just too spendy for me still... I'm willing to wait several more years for the prices to come down more.

If you're handy with electrical DIY, you might be able to assemble your own LED for less... some of the other forum members here could help you with that (I don't do electrical DIY... I'd end up shorting out the entire zip code or something lol)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
345 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I'm not sure I trust myself to try to build something that uses electricity right above a wank full of fish hahaha.. I appreciate your input I also noticed that those reflectors on the Catalina are sweet.
I definitely will take your advice, I think I'll get the Catalina when the time comes to buy a fixture. It looks to be higher quality. The only bummers about it are the lack of moonlight LED's and the timer setup.. But I can just use a plug-in timer without a problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,528 Posts
Ah I see.. Looks like I have a lot more reading to do :) Thanks for all the help I really appreciate it. I'm definitely going with Catalina Aquarium and am DEFINITELY going to see about getting those moonlights custom installed!
"Normal" cheap would probably be around $170 on scavenged parts on flea bay and other sources on used and or surplus "stuff".. This would be just for the bare bones.. Add another $30 for incidentals..
LUCK might get you at 1/2 or even less..
Buying new w/ a 2 stage regulator (not necessary really but very desirable) will be way over 2x that..

That $170, not counting waste on redundant or replaced purchases.. is what I spent and it is a very functional though not "pretty" system.. ;)
It still needs a few more "incidentals" and possible upgrades.. but hey.. I need to save some fun for later..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
789 Posts
I seem to have become the forum "Beamswork Evangelist" LOL I seem to be the only one ever mentioning the brand. They have some great LED fixtures, I'm running a pair of 36" fixtures on my 40B and today after work (delivered today) I will swapping out CFL lamps on a 20 long for a 30" Beamswork LED. The models I use have half watt LEDs but they also offer 1w and 3w models. I got the pair I run on my 40B for about $100 shipped and the 30" I will have today was $50. Not to bad, and all the ones I have are 6500k.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,528 Posts
I seem to have become the forum "Beamswork Evangelist" LOL I seem to be the only one ever mentioning the brand. They have some great LED fixtures, I'm running a pair of 36" fixtures on my 40B and today after work (delivered today) I will swapping out CFL lamps on a 20 long for a 30" Beamswork LED. The models I use have half watt LEDs but they also offer 1w and 3w models. I got the pair I run on my 40B for about $100 shipped and the 30" I will have today was $50. Not to bad, and all the ones I have are 6500k.
I'd push them but I want them to "expand" their color palette a bit:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
360 Posts
Par38 lights from China are most bang for the money I believe. I´m going to order a 25w par38 COB light for testing. My 18x1w par lights have been great so far.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,439 Posts
Best bang for the buck are CFL bulbs honestly. You can buy them practically anywhere and they fit in a zillion different fixtures. They may not make the prettiest aquarium fixture but bang for buck wise you cannot not beat them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
If you have a canopy, Aquarium hobbyist Supply AHS T5HO kits are good... with awesome reflectors & workhorse ballasts... I have 3x54 over a 55 with co2. Would be within your budget


Sent from my SM-N900T using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
789 Posts
I'd push them but I want them to "expand" their color palette a bit:
That's probably a fair statement. I'm not as technically inclined as many about lighting and just try to spread the word based on my own results. For me Beamswork products just work, pleasing to the eye, and grows plants for me in many ranges of color. Many are quick to recommend expensive high end fixtures to novices/beginners (I am one) which is fine, I just want more folks to know there less costly options out there that will grow plants just as well.

PS: The image in your post didn't show, even tried to copy/paste the link. Was it some data on BW lights?
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top