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Old 08-01-2006, 11:04 AM   #1
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Question about lighting a tall pentagon tank

I've been gifted a tank, have spent a few days reading up around various web sites and have an idea about the direction I will go for most things but lighting is still an issue due to the tank I've been given.

I was hoping to use it to hold some basic fish and grow plants, not a jungle but using plants as the main feature.

No brand name on it but from pictures and dimensions it's a Perfecto 44 gallon pentagon which gives me just 22*13 square across the back. It currently has a (nasty looking) plastic hood on it with openings for 2 18 inch units (diagonally placed across the center). The 2 units I have are cheap plastic things with 15W tubes (unknown age).

I was thinking to maybe get the glass canopy for it and mount a new light unit across the back but the 22 inch width makes most of the commercial units a bad fit, and I'm sure my woodworking skills are not up to fabricating a new hood for the shape of this thing.

So, to get up around 2 WPG on a tank with this odd shape, any suggestions for either 2 18 inch units to go in the existing hood or a new fixture to sit on or be mounted above a new glass canopy?

Or should I give up and buy plastics?

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Old 08-01-2006, 11:58 AM   #2
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Assuming you have a perfect pentagon (which I doubt it is) you have at most 216 square inches of surface area. In reality you probably have less but I'm not about to guess at that. I stole the caculation from somewhere else so don't ask me how I did it or if it is correct.

With 2 18" bulbs I figure you should be getting effectively ~1.0 WPG. There are no magic bulbs that will get you more light. I think you could do 1 of 3 things.

1. The only way you could get to 2 WPG with your current hood would be to perform a 4x overdrive on your lights. This would involve replacing your ballast and some wiring.

2. You could also buy an AH Supply retro fit kit. A 36 watt CF retro fit might get you to 2 WPG. I've never done AH Supply lighting though.

3. A more extreme option would be to buy a MH lighting system but I've never done that either.

There are other things you could do, but I don't know if you would get the intensity you need to penetrate that much water. Most pentagon/hex tanks are a little deep for normal fluorescent bulbs.

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Old 08-01-2006, 02:59 PM   #3
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I think they make a 20 in long Aqua Light that uses compact fluoresent lights, I don't know the wattage so you might end up with more that 2 wpg.
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Old 08-01-2006, 04:29 PM   #4
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Both Coralife and Current make a 20" fixture. The Current fixture has two CF 40 watt lamps for a total of 80watts and the Coralife fixture has a single 96watt bulb. Both of these will generate a fair amount of heat so you'll probably want to mount them above the glass canopy instead laying the light directly on top of it. Both have nearly identical footprints of 20"x7".
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