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Old 10-06-2006, 12:52 PM   #1
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High light 38g planted....need lighting advice

I am in the process of planning my 38g planted tank. I want this one to be high light. The problem is finding the right light fixture for the tank. The dimensions are 36in long x 12in wide x 20in high. I want this tank to be high light because my others are only medium light and I want to try some higher light plants. I will run DIY CO2, 2 bottles that are a little over 2L each, changing one bottle each week. The filter will be an Aquaclear 70 for now, until I get a cannister. I won't be setting up the tank for a couple months...my bday is in Dec. so I need some bday money (terrible I know ).

I have some options:

Option 1:
http://www.hellolights.com/361xcofraq1x.html
36in fixture with 1 96 watt bulb...would give me 2.5wpg...which is med. light...not exactly what I'm going for

Option 2:
http://www.hellolights.com/362xcofraq2x.html
36in fixture with 2x96w bulbs...would give me 5wpg...wow

Option 3:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...&N=2004+113345
36in fixture with 2x55w bulbs...would give me ~2.9wpg...just under 3

Option 3 seems like the way to go, but I just like the legs of the Coralife fixtures. I like to have my fixtures elevated above the tank. I have a NO All-Glass fixture and I'm in the process of figuring out how to elevate it.

If I went with the 2nd option, I know that is alot of light. I would only have the 2nd bulb on for maybe 6 hours in the middle of the day. I know alot of people do this (I think). Would this still allow me to grow high light plants? Would it be a waste of money to pay for the extra bulb?

I am having trouble deciding, so I need a little advice.

Thanks in advance!
Kristin
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Old 10-06-2006, 01:20 PM   #2
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Good choice!

I like Option 2 as well. I'm going to pick up the exact same unit for my 46Bow. That will give me a little over 4wpg. I should be okay with that....
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Old 10-06-2006, 01:22 PM   #3
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Thanks maxwell!

Are you going with DIY CO2 or pressurized? I've been told that DIY won't cut it with that amount of light (5wpg), so I'm not sure. Both bulbs would not be on all the time. I may have to save up for a pressurized system...

Any other suggestions?
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Old 10-06-2006, 02:03 PM   #4
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Pressurized. I've been dragging my feet. but should have it done hopefully by next weekend. At least that's the gameplan...
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Old 10-06-2006, 03:04 PM   #5
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keep in mind that 1 wat of CF lighting counts as about 1.75 watts of NO lighting ( what the wpg rule goes by) so the 1st option would be fine unless you used 50/50 bulbs as would the third.
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Old 10-06-2006, 05:39 PM   #6
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I have 192 watts PC on my 55, and I somehow manage to get away without pressurized CO2 and currently have no algae issues. With the 2x96 watt option you could also replace one of the bulbs with a 50/50 Actinic/10000K, which would bring you down to 130ish watts (too lazy to do the math in my head!) which might work OK and get you closer to the 3 wpg that I'm guessing your targeting.
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Old 10-06-2006, 06:05 PM   #7
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That is a good idea Newfound. With a 50/50 bulb, assuming only 50% of it is useable for plants (I'm sure there is more to it than that), it would still be around 3.7wpg. DIY may work, but if I can round up enough money for pressurized, I'd like to try it.

Would I have any problems with the HOB filter and pressurized CO2? I will eventually get a cannister filter but want to use the HOB now, since I already have it (and its established with bacteria).

Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 10-07-2006, 09:56 PM   #8
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Althought actinic bulbs don't really factor into growing plants, they seem to be great for growing algae. The only real algae problems I've had lately have been in tanks with 50/50 actinic lighting. I just sold a 65w Coralife unit I had on one of my 20g tanks because of the amount of algae it produced. I'm having the same problem with the 96w fixture (50/50 bulb) over my 29g.
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Old 10-07-2006, 10:11 PM   #9
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Have you considered HO T-5's?

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...&N=2004+113175
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Old 10-07-2006, 10:20 PM   #10
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I actually haven't considered T-5s. Thanks for the link! The only thing about that fixture is that it says it comes with actinic and 10000K bulbs, but doesn't say how many of each. I guess I could email the good doctors. I would rather not have to buy extra bulbs.

I've decided to go with pressurized CO2, so I'm going to get a 96x2 CF fixture. I will probably get a JBJ fixture though.

Thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 10-07-2006, 10:25 PM   #11
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It comes with 2x actinic & 2x 10k, but you may be able to get them to send 4x 10k's... T-5 seem to be a few bucket less per bulb and have a higher lumen output (I think I read that somewhere). Also run cooler and are a newer technology, if you are into that kind of thing... I also think the lunars are cool, though complete unnecessary

CF is definitely the most widely used, so it should be easier to find bulbs locally, etc. Good luck with the new setup!
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Old 10-07-2006, 11:18 PM   #12
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have u considered DIY? u could make a 4X 36"t-8 fixture giving u 120 watts giving u 3.1 watts per gallon of t-8 which factors to a bit higher. a ballast will cost about 25 dollars and then end caps will be about 8 bucks. then u will need 5 peices of wood and u are done. very easy to make and wire up(simple diagram on top of the ballast.) i think that would be your best option for getting into theright light level and it will be the most cost effective. it could also be as small as 5" wide and 2 inches tall. can be painted black or left as stained wood grain.
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Old 10-08-2006, 12:22 AM   #13
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I thought about DIY, but I'm not really the DIY kind of person. I have never built anything. I wouldn't know what type of ballast to look for. I would love to save some money though. Also, I'm not sure where I'd get the bulbs...do they sell them in hardware stores? Or would I have to get them online somewhere? I'll definitely consider DIY if I knew what I was looking for as far as the electrics go.
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Old 10-08-2006, 09:21 AM   #14
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u will need to find an actual electrical supply store. home depot usually doesnt carry the proper ballast. if u can find one then just ask the person there for an electronic ballast that can support up to 4 48" t-8 bulbs. it comes with all the wire u should need. the only tricky pary is jumping the end caps which i could explain very easily with a picture. and the hood.... all u need to do is measuer the outside to outside of your tank. if u give me the measurements i could figure it out for u. then go to home depot and tell them the measurements and they will cut the wood for u. they u just need a few screws and your done. if the wiring is what has u worried then forget about it becasue it is as simply as pushing in the wires. no cutting or splicing or anything like that. if u can manage to find the right ballast i am sure the members of this site could walk u through it. it will cost u about 50 bucks after ballast materials and bulbs. 75 max. plus this puts u at highlight and if u ever wanted to downgrade in light u can just pop a bulb out. or if u want to upgrade to a bigger tank u can make a new hood and use this ballast for up to 4 48" bulbs. most hardware stores will sell a 48" t-8 bulb aswell for afew bucks. just make sure u get daylight bulbs. and maybe 1 actually aquarium bulb so u can get a better spectrum light to enhance fish colours.
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Old 10-08-2006, 12:20 PM   #15
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Thanks mr funk! I will see if I can find an electrical store in my area. My tank is 36" long though, so will the ballast be the same (u said 48")? It doesn't seem too hard...I think I could do it....especially if Home Depot will cut the wood for me. We don't have any wood cutting tools at my house.

This would be nice because the stand that came with the tank is homemade and I want to add doors to it and stain it. With the DIY light, I could match them.

Will I need a fan for the hood? Or do these bulbs run pretty cool?
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Old 10-08-2006, 07:37 PM   #16
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as long as u get an electronic ballast it doestmatter if it is rated for 72" it will still run your 36" bulb the same. they are load sensing. i suggested the 48" becasue the ballast wont have to work as hard to run the 36" that way it will run cooler. a fan wouldnt hurt but if u are not DIY inclined it may be difficult. i can touch my 24" bulbs(which are powered by the 48" ballast) after they have beeen on all day and they are only slightly warm to the touch. the only thing u will have to do yourself will be screw the hood together. aslong as u have a drill and ask the guy at HD what kind of screws to get(ask him after u choose your wood) u will be fine. also make sure u dont get solid wood. get plywood. u can get all different plywoods with all different types of grain(oak, maple, pine...) so just choose one to match your stand. very easy!!
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Old 10-08-2006, 09:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
as long as u get an electronic ballast it doestmatter if it is rated for 72" it will still run your 36" bulb the same.
Ok....I thought so but just wanted to make sure.

One more question....do you know any websites where I could order the ballasts and end caps from if I can't find an electrical place? I'm sure there has to be one somewhere, but I asked my dad and he said he didn't know of any. I haven't looked for one yet though. But, it would be good to have a backup place online.

Thanks for all your help Mr Funk! I will most likely be building me a hood. We do have a couple drills here so I should be able to put something together.

edit: Ok I did a little searching on my own. Would any of these work? http://www.1000bulbs.com/products.ph...tronic-Ballast

It says they will support 4 32w T8 bulbs, but doesn't specify a length of the bulb.
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My links to pics: 40g breeder planted build, 40g breeder planted update, My 38g Reef Build

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Old 10-08-2006, 09:25 PM   #18
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lol honestly if i lived near u i would build it for u lol. i can buy the ballast near me(about 25 bucks) then ship it to u if u want. it may be about 35 after taxes and shipping though. stilla good deal in my opinion. i actually could get u the ballast and end caps and ship them all at once to save u money. will probaably run u around 50 bucks(probably less) were u planning on building this soon? i could get it shipped out maybe next monday if u wanted. i may actually be able to wire it up for u aswell then all u will need to do is screw the ballast down. by wire it up i mean i will do the jump(the only complicated part) and mark with a marker where the wires go. maybe have to charge u extra for that though lol.
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Old 10-08-2006, 10:03 PM   #19
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I wasn't planning on building it for a few months...just figuring out what all I need to get for it. And what I should look for. Would any of the ballasts in the link work? I'd like to build it myself, if I could just get the electrical stuff I need (I'm completely clueless with electrical stuff).
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Old 10-08-2006, 11:09 PM   #20
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all first 3 of the link u posted will work great. that may be the better way to go. u will also want to order 8 t-8 end caps aswell. they seem to be really expensive on that site. i got mine for 75 cents each. they want like 4 bucks each. u can get them cheaper at home depot.
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