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Old 09-28-2007, 08:25 PM   #1
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lighting question for a 55

Hello -
I've got a relatively new 55 gal that I'd like to begin planting in. The current set up is two mismatched tops with two mismatched lights, total output: 30W. I'm not planning on going high light or even med. light, I'd like to start with low-light but not hobble myself if I do decide to up the light and add CO2.
My options as I see them:

1. ebay - the oddysea 48", 260 W (I would only run one or two bulbs at a time but would be able to easily increase my light). bulbs are included and it's about $130.

1.a. MHS 48" T6 HO Aquarium Compact Lighting 216W, again, about $130

2. DIY via A H Supply. I may be reading it wrong but I think I need to get the 2x55 kit to cover all 48" of my tank. So I'd have 110 W and no room to grow. I'd need the enclosure and bulbs too so that comes to about $175. And no nifty LED lights.

3. Drs. Foster & Smith: Double-Bulb Strip Lights 48" Black, 2 bulbs gets me 80 watts, no room to grow. ~$140

4. Big Al's: Coralife F/W T-5 Aqualight Double Strip Light-48", 56 W, no room to grow - ~$60/70 if I add the LED.
Big Al's 4.a. Current USA Satellite 48" 2 x 65 Watt Power Compact-Single Strip W/2 Lunar Lights - ~$130

With all of these, I need a new top as well so I'm not factoring that into the cost.

The T-5 double strip lights from Big Al's and the two ebay deals are my front runners right now. I've read that the Oddyseas are hit and miss. If it works, it's a good deal but many have issues. If my current light holders matched I'd be more inclined to try and retrofit them but they don't so I'd rather a matching look. My tank has the center brace so I can do two 22" fixtures.

If you've made it this far, thank you! If you have any advice for me, I'd love to hear it.

TIA -
~g
edited to fix url code
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Old 09-30-2007, 11:55 PM   #2
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If it were me, I'd go with option 4a.

Power compact is great. Not too much light, but enough if you decide to go with CO2 and all that stuff.
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Old 10-01-2007, 11:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devilishturtles
If it were me, I'd go with option 4a.

Power compact is great. Not too much light, but enough if you decide to go with CO2 and all that stuff.
I have been going 'round and 'round trying to decide between T-5 and PC. I'd like to avoid the need for CO2 at this point. Can I do that at 2.3WPG? Or am I asking for a pool of algae?

Thank you!
~g

Edit to add:
I really am liking this one. I would leave half of it off for now and then be able to increase and use CO2 if I wanted later.

Too much light for a newbie?
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Old 10-01-2007, 11:52 AM   #4
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if you have the same wattage of T5 and PC, the T5s will give you higher effective WPG. So I'd go with the PCs if you want to avoid CO2. I wuld also go with option 4a. Currently I have 96 effective watts on a 55 (I actually have 2x96 but 1/2 of each bulb is actinic and doesn't "count"). FYI I still have DIY CO2 on this tank, and while I haven't kept up as much with changing the yeast mix as I was when I was running 192 watts, the tank still lets me know when the CO2 runs out, as the algae starts to increase.
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Old 10-01-2007, 02:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by newfound77951
if you have the same wattage of T5 and PC, the T5s will give you higher effective WPG. So I'd go with the PCs if you want to avoid CO2. I wuld also go with option 4a. Currently I have 96 effective watts on a 55 (I actually have 2x96 but 1/2 of each bulb is actinic and doesn't "count"). FYI I still have DIY CO2 on this tank, and while I haven't kept up as much with changing the yeast mix as I was when I was running 192 watts, the tank still lets me know when the CO2 runs out, as the algae starts to increase.
Interesting. I hadn't thought of it that way. I saw <2WPG (108) vs >2WPG (130) and figured that was the magic, No CO2 cut-off. Not so, huh?

Thank you,
~g
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:58 PM   #6
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There isn't a hard and fast cut-off....I think if you're really good at balancing your ferts you can have no algae with no CO2 around 2 WPG. But for me, keeping the DIY CO2 going to control the algae is easier than messing with test kits and ferts (I still do add ferts but not on a set schedule, it's more of a "feel" thing, look at how the plants are doing).

I have T5s on my 30g reef tank and they are BRIGHT.....the 154 watts there seems more intense than the 192 watts PC on my FW 55. I've actually had to "hide" some of my corals under things to get them away from those T5s.
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