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Old 05-10-2011, 06:21 PM   #1
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Lighting dilema.

I have recently relocated abode's and have a dilema with the lighting on my 75g.

I have about 28" of clearance from the ceiling to the top of the tank, the tank is located on an internal wall in the basement. I have cut insulation sheets for keeping the tank warm but its the only place I can put the tank in a 100+ year old house(building code back then was lacking to say the least).

I have electrical directly above the tank and would like to use some screw in bulbs for it that I can pick up practically anywhere if needed.

What are some of you using for DIY lighting? I was envisioning a can light style set up with 3-4 bulbs at 6500K around 75w each above the tank.
I want a minimum of 2wpg a maximum of 2wpg, the tank does get some ambient natural sunlight as my basement windows are crystal clear and above grade.

Thanks in advance, pics will be taken as I get the set up rolling.

This will be a angel/ram/tetra/corydora/dwarf pleco tank and they are all in my 52g for the remainder of the week, I have well over 100 plants in the 52g that will be transported to the 75g along with 100 pounds of BBB substrate. I am assuming two 250w heaters should be enough to keep the tank at temperature. Its about 80 degrees here today and my basement even with the doors and windows open it stays around 64 degrees.

Filter is an aquapro 175 w/ mag drive 9.5, cs102 overflow w/ new light pump.
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:30 PM   #2
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Sounds good. I'm working on a CFL canopy right now myself.

One issue with CFLs is that they are way less efficient than their fluorescent counterparts. There is a lot of restrike because of bulb design.

That being said, I would worry first about getting a good even coverage over the tank. You can adjust the intensity/wattage later by picking certain bulb types and reflector types/materials. Possibly mount them in a way to where you can add more later without much issue.

A standard 75g is 18" wide, which means for a good even spread you 'll be better placing two rows of lights across the length of the tank, or mounting single lights higher above the tank. Since you don't have much room to work with, I'd go with the former.

Depending on the style of can/reflector you use, I think that 2 rows of either 2 or 3 lights would do the trick. What is your plan for planting? Anything serious?
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:50 PM   #3
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I dont really dose or use Co2 just lighting and fish dook to take care of the plants plus overfeeding a bit, got more then enough BB to handle it thats for sure. I was thinking maybe two 3 light pendant lights. I could easily do a 4xT12 but I really dont like to use the cheap twin strips for over the water.

Ive got as far as plants, pretty much crypts,vals,C spiralis, R ludweiga,some repens various swords,ect. I dont have very demanding plants but without the dosing and Co2 I keep the light around 2wpg and they grow like weeds. Ive scoured hydroponic stores and lighting stores in my area with nothing that really pops out at me. I can paint very very well and have a few rolls of aluminum tape(hvac metal tape) that is about as reflective as a 1957 bel air with the chrome package.
I appreciate the hints and will take them into consideration while I continue my search, I just need to figure this out by friday night lol.
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:59 PM   #4
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What kind of cost is it to do the pendant lights? You could likely get comparable performance out of a cheap 2x54w fixture.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:06 PM   #5
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Not sure it depends where I go, some stores are cheaper here then others, local big business we get them cheaper but lowes and home depot I pay a good chunk for the good lights. I only saw T8's there the past two weeks though and Ive never had luck with those housings.

I dont want to spend over $50 on the lights so that leaves me with a few choices but alot of feasibility and cosmetics. I am married after all lol
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:11 PM   #6
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lol. I know what you mean. There is a cheap oddysea fixture 2x54w that ends up being around 65 dollars shipped. Not the best reflector ever, but I know several people who have them and apart from poor reflector housings the reports seem good value for the money.

Just one of the things I've run into when planning DIY lighting, at some point the cost /effort was far in excess of just getting something already made.

I've also run 2 sets of dual t8's over a 40b and it worked good. I ended up having to raise them up to reduce the light intensity a bit, but that setup was ~$20 per fixture and ~$25 for an 8 pack of daylight spectrum bulbs @ lowes.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:16 PM   #7
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Home depot sells the t8 fixture but not the bulbs, go figure, I do have to go to lowes this weekend and got a $10 off $50 or more card so I think with fixtures, bulbs and some outdoor flowers for the wife I should be good. I am going to search the sites as well incase something has to get shipped to the store or me.

My pops has a 60" t5ho 8x80w tek light but thats way too much for the 75g and at the height I got it would give me a premature fish fry.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:21 PM   #8
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yeah I had to get the bulbs separate also, which is a good thing though, because you'll want some nice daylight bulbs anyway. Sometimes lowes has cheaper prices on their online site also, so I end up paying for it onlien and then picking it up in the store.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:31 PM   #9
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Well the depot by me is a smaller one, a "top 30" store(top 30 best sellers and like products) and they dont have any linear bulbs in 48" they got 6 and 8 footers and 24" ones but nothing in t8 (t5 yeah right) and their t12's are only in the 3000k spectrum which kinda in itself in my mind anyway defeats the purpose of selling these products. Its like buying shoes at footlocker and having to go elsewhere for laces.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:46 PM   #10
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I`m not much on planted tanks but could you use VHO retro fits? Mine are VHO bulbs with endcaps on the bulbs of my SW tank. I just dont know if VHO`s are for planted tanks.
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