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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is all in reference to my 47-ish gallon tank (48x12.5x18.5)

So, I'll be returning my new coralife T5 light because it really overheats. The other two that I have get just a little warm, but this one is so hot that I can't even touch it without burning myself. Anywho.

Since I have the opportunity to get something else, I'd like to know your opinions. I will not be using CO2 on this tank, but I can use excel if I need to.

Here's the choice:

Do I stay with the coralife T5 (56 watts)?

OR

Do I get the coralife compact fluorescent 2 x 65 watts (total 130 watts)?

I feel like I won't be able to grow as much as I want with the 56 watts T5, but I want to make sure I'm really getting something better. I always hear that T5 is awesome, so is going with a CF a bad idea?

I don't want to spend too much on this, and these seemed like the most affordable lighting options. I'm open to any other suggestions if you have any. I just want to make sure that I get something I'm happy with. I'd like to do things right the first time around!
 

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I think you should stick with the Coralife T5, but thats just me. Does the T5 really heat up that much? I am concerned because I am planning on buying that same fixture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok, better idea. I want to get the best lighting possible without having to use CO2 (excel OK though). Can someone please give me any suggestions?

My idea was to get two Coralife T5 light strips which are 56 watts each. Total: 112 watts on a 47 gallon tank. That would cost me $128. I don't really want to spend more than that. Would this lighting accomplish my goal (grow lots of cool plants)? I'm really tired of only being able to grow fava fern, crypts, and anubias.
 

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Many cool plants require good lighting, non-limiting fertilization and CO2. If you don't have all three of these in good supply, many cool plants can't live.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You don't have to be mean about it... Next time, you might try encouraging the newbie. I'm trying to do as much research as possible, and seeing as though this is the lighting sub-forum, I didn't see it as appropriate to talk about fertilization and other factors. I did, in fact, post a new thread in the fertilization sub-forum asking for advice about the best fertilization options. As for CO2, I would love to have it, but I simply can't afford it--I'm a student, so it will have to wait for now. Should I be scolded for this?

Also, so sorry about referring to "cool plants". Considering that I'm new at this, wouldn't it make sense that I don't know the names of the hundreds of plants that are surely "cool"? Lastly, I'm sure that there are many plants that require super high lighting and CO2, and I clearly wasn't planning on keeping those, since I have neither CO2 nor high lighting. I simply wanted advice on how to achieve what I want. I'm willing to do what it takes get that, but I need to know exactly what it is that's necessary.

Thank you for your helpful advice and encouragement concerning "cool plants".
 

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What did he say that was mean? Maybe a post was removed. I must've missed something...

Anyway, it is true that if you plan on avoiding the CO2 injection route, you will need to tone down the lighting a bit. That means about 1 wpg or less of T5 light, and about 2 wpg or less of PC light. These are just figures, don't think of them as gospel or anything. If you are serious about going with a PC fixture, just go with the 1x65w one. And if you don't plan on using CO2, you should look into using a soil-type substrate, like mineralized topsoil, or the expensive Amazonia. Using a good substrate will help you out in the long run.

Cool plants are cool because of the fact that they are finicky and don't show their beauty until they are pampered. That's just a fact of this hobby. :)
 

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Amazonfish, you are taking my comments all wrong. I wasn't trying to be mean or even cast dispersions. You actually do need those main three aspects in order to be able to grow all but the easiest plants which you are not satisfied with growing anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmm. Sorry for the misunderstanding then. Will excel and DIY CO2 help? Where should I post about CO2?

I'd still need advice about the lighting though
 

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honestly, if i had to light that tank and i wasn't going to use pressurized co2, i would find a hydroponics store and get a single bulb T5HO fixture. i would also hang it so dialing in the light intensity would be easy.

i found out the hard way that you really can't have the best of both worlds when it comes to growing plants in your tank. meaning - you need to figure out what your goals are first. do you want a lot of growth and the ability to grow high light plants effectively without algae? then you should probably look into spending your money on a co2 set up first. then think about lighting and ei dosing. if you don't mind slower growth and a lot less maintenance getting the lighting right is also important. too much light and you'll end up with algae problems too. a low tech tank can be just as satisfying when put together properly. check out my low tech journal - granted i have no stem plants what so ever(but i could if i wanted). i like the fact that i only have to do one day's maintenance a week. after a while with my first tank i learned what types of plants i liked best. most of them turned out to be low light plants that grew slower and collected a lot of algae in my medium light set up with diy co2 and excel.

my second choice on lighting your tank would be a 48" T5NO fixture(two bulbs).
 

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I would look for a single tube T5HO light, Catalina would be one place to look, then hang it above the tank, starting at about 10 inches above the tank. That would give you very good uniform lighting of all of the tank, but low light intensity. Then, I would spend a lot of time watching the swap n shop forum here for someone getting rid of their CO2 system at a bargain price. And, I would watch my local Craigslist for the same thing. If there is an aquatic plant or aquarium club near you I would join it, and advertise on their mailing list for someone to do a "fire sale" of a used CO2 system. If you finally can afford one, you can then lower that light to the top of the tank, and have enough light to grow almost all plants, with CO2. Fertilizing is so cheap it shouldn't be a concern.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
LOL, oldpunk78, i read your low tech tank thread a few days ago. I think it looks amazing, and in fact, I saved the picture on my desktop for inspirational purposes.

Hoppy, great advice as well. I will certainly keep my eyes peeled for a great deal on CO2. Definitely can't get anything before christmas, so I think I'll have to start with low light.

I looked at the low light plants list and I'm pretty happy with the selection. In fact, I unknowingly bought a bunch of rotala rotundifolia at my LFS the other day--I think it's really pretty. Despite the pink coloration, it apparently does well in low-light settings. So, considering how many plant options I have (and also considering the great looking low-light tanks I've seen), I think I'm going to stay low light for a bit. I'll either keep the 56 watt T5 I have now, or I'll return that and get the catalina 2x54 watt fixture--I can always keep one bulb off for half the day. That fixture is double the price of the one I have now, so I'll have to think about it.

Also, I'm in med school and I'm reeeally short on time, so a high-maintenance tank is probably not a good idea. I'll be putting in sand and planting some things after my exam tomorrow, so maybe I'll start up a low-tech thread for my tank. I hope it will be beautiful.

Thanks for the great advice--I feel like I have a better idea of what will work.
 

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... Hoppy, great advice as well. I will certainly keep my eyes peeled for a great deal on CO2. Definitely can't get anything before christmas, so I think I'll have to start with low light. ...
There are quite a few of us that are finding deals on ebaY and other places with dual stage regulators, metering valves, bubble counters and solenoids. We get the assembly parts from plumbing supply stores. Then we build our own. We are able to build a very high quality aquarium CO2 regulator quite economical.

Here are most of the brands that we use.
- dual stage regulators: Victor, Concoa, Matheson, Harris, Air Gas, etc.
- low and medium flow 1/8" metering valves: Swagelok, Parker, Ideal, etc.
- bubble counters: JBJ, etc.
- solenoids: Clippard, Burkert, Parker, etc.

We have built a thread with much information about doing this. It is a bit long now with over 1400 posts, almost 100 pages and over 50,000 views. You may find it helpful. There is a table of contents on page 1.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/equipment/72328-victor-dual-stage-regulator-pimp-club.html

... So, considering how many plant options I have (and also considering the great looking low-light tanks I've seen), I think I'm going to stay low light for a bit. I'll either keep the 56 watt T5 I have now, or I'll return that and get the catalina 2x54 watt fixture--I can always keep one bulb off for half the day. That fixture is double the price of the one I have now, so I'll have to think about it. ...
What is the footprint and height of your 47g?
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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I hope you're getting a refund on that Coralife fixture, they shouldn't run hot at all so something must be wrong with that one (I own 2 ATM... and they're just warm to the touch even after running all day).
 

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Thanks for the tank's dimensions. I didn't know if it had a 36" x 18" footprint or a 48" x 13" footprint.

The guys are suggesting a single 54w T5HO fixture for now and then a twin bulb when you get your pressurized CO2 system.

If it was me, I would get a twin bulb fixture (with individual reflectors) that will allow you to run only one bulb now and two bulbs later when you get a pressurized CO2 system.

If you aren't planning on pressurized CO2, a single 54w T5HO is fine.



In post #12 above, I mentioned some information about CO2 products. I failed to mention some info concerning post body/after regulator kits. These kits make it easier to build your regulator.

These are kit where you supply the regulator and these companies send you the parts to complete the build.

Rex Grigg has been around for years: http://www.bestaquariumregulator.com/index.htm

Oregon Aqua Design is rather new: http://oregonaquadesign.vstore.ca/product_info.php/pName/after-regulator-assembly/cName/co2-co2-kits

SuMo's kit uses very high quality parts: http://www.sumoregulator.com/PostBodyKit.html
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/e...-stage-regulator-pimp-club-52.html#post836199
 
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