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Old 02-19-2004, 04:09 AM   #1
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Calling all 50 gallon lighting experts

I've had 10 gallon tanks for the longest, and now I scored myself a 50 gallon from craigslist (Along with a lot of other goodies). My new tank is 48" wide and it came with a 48" single fluorescent tube strip light. The tank will be a community tank with mostly tetras, and mostly "easy" to maintain plants. I currenty have java fern, rotalla, frog byte, etc. However I might want to tackle the harder plants in the future. What would you guys recommend for lighting? Single, double, or triple fluorescent tube strips?

The All-Glass Aquarium 48" triple tube states that it has an electronic ballast vs a conventional magnetic ballast. More light output, less power usage, longer bulb life. Did I get that correct? The only drawback I see is that it only accepts T-8 sizes.

Or should I just order the 48" twin tube version and use in conjunction with the single tube light that came with my tank? (And possibly stagger the timers on both units). It accepts T-8, T-10, and T-12 sizes. It's not clear what kind of ballast the twin tube versions have. Anyone know?

I was looking at the other kinds of lighting technology because I was curious. VHO fluorescent, T-5 HO, power compact, and metal halide. After the sticker shock, I kind of thought to myself I won't be spending that kind of money, with one exception. Cost of the 48" Custom Sea Life SmartLite is similar to buying a 48" triple fluorescent tube strip light. The 48" model:

http://www.championlighting.com/e/en...g/pcsmart.html

Sorry if I'm too wordy and have to many questions. What to do, what to do.
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Old 02-19-2004, 08:41 AM   #2
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i'm not sure what to suggest, but i don't think i've ever seen a 48-inch T-8 aquarium bulb.

my light fixture was advertised to take only T-8's, but it actually does take T-12's too. might be worth checking out.

good luck.
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Old 02-19-2004, 08:46 AM   #3
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Take a glance at the 2x55watt kit at ahsupply.com..

http://ahsupply.com/36-55w.htm

This is a partially DIY solution. You'll be needing a drill and wire cutters to complete the installation. They sell enclosures too. I'm very happy with mine (Though mine is 4x55).
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Old 02-19-2004, 08:54 AM   #4
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The Twin Tube flourescent setup is still only 80 watts, which is not much so you would end up with a Triple Tube or using two hoods. The Triple Tube setup is a waste of money IMO, and using two hoods is just a pain. I think you would be happier with a 48 inch PC light compared to using flourescents. Sure PC might cost more, but few people regret the choise to use it.

Customer Sea Life went out of business, so do not buy that 48 SmartLite :P You can get a Coralife 48 inch PC for almost the same price right here:

http://www.hellolights.com/482xcofraq2x.html

Also check out http://www.ahsupply.com/
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Old 02-19-2004, 10:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by fearlessfisch
i'm not sure what to suggest, but i don't think i've ever seen a 48-inch T-8 aquarium bulb.
If you look on bigal's site, they have 48" T-8s for Interpet and Coralife bulbs.
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Old 02-19-2004, 10:28 AM   #6
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I used ahsupply's site to educate myself on retro fit kits. Thanks a whole bunch Grimlock3000 for the Hellolights link. If nothing better comes up, I'm definitely ordering those instead of the Custom Sea Life Smartlites.
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Old 02-19-2004, 12:19 PM   #7
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I love my power compacts...I'd never mess with normal fluorescents or ODNO's now that power compacts are becoming more available and cheaper
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Old 02-19-2004, 12:45 PM   #8
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Go with PC lights--so much better. I've got 4X55W (coralife) on my 55Gallon, and the plants look great. Technically, the ballast is a 4X65W, but I took those bulbs out since they were Actinic and 50/50.

PC lights add more lumens per watt and save a lot of space. Trust me, I went the single-strip way for a while and had so much on the top of my tank--it was ridiculous.
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Old 02-19-2004, 04:07 PM   #9
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What does these PC Lights go on? a 55gal with a glass top? Do you all have co2 for you 50 gallons?
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Old 02-19-2004, 09:50 PM   #10
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What does these PC Lights go on? a 55gal with a glass top? Do you all have co2 for you 50 gallons?
50 gallon with a canopy. No glass because I think the previous owner broke it. No co2 yet.
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Old 02-20-2004, 04:52 PM   #11
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WildFrisco what kind of canopy do you have?
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Old 02-22-2004, 01:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by PK Tester
WildFrisco what kind of canopy do you have?
It's a solid wood canopy made by Island Aquarium I think. About 6 inches deep and the top swings open.
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