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Old 06-18-2014, 10:03 PM   #1
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Lighting Questions

So I am setting up my 36Lx24Hx18w aquarium which has been stored in the garage for the last 2 years. It calculates to be a bit over 67 gal but I would guess that it's technically a 65 gal. I bought this tanks about 6 years ago for $100 and it came with 2 filters, stand, siphon, and other supplies. I had successfully kept it a community aquarium for several years learning as I went. I now want to set it up for a planted aquarium which it will probably be low tech because I don't want to make it too complicated since it will be my first planted aquarium. I would like to stay away from having to use co2 or anything else that would make it a really high tech aquarium.

I currently have 2 single bulb t12 lamps that match the aquarium but the t12's seem to be pretty outdated as far as the availability and strength of bulbs that are needed for planted tanks. I am thinking about retrofitting them to t5's and more than likely t5ho. I have looked into using LED's but not really sure the cost. I would like to keeps the cost down since right now I will be moving and am a bit tight with cash at the moment until my fiancée starts her new job once we move.

The ballast i have looked into getting are the workhorse 3 which will run a 24, 39, or 54watt HO bulb. Everything would cost less than $50 besides the bulbs. My questions are would 2 39watt bulbs be sufficient enough for my tank being planted tank and what type of plants could i use? Would it just be low light plants? Would the light penetration be sufficient in this aquarium with 2 39 watt? It seems most t5HO bulbs are 39 watts. Are there any 54 watt T5HO's? I haven't seen any. Are there any budget ways to retrofit my lamp with higher watt LEDs? Any advice or ideas would be fantastic. Thanks!
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:28 AM   #2
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So I got to thinking and if it's going to cost $50 to retrofit my fixture plus another $30-$40 for lamps, it may be smarter to go with a LED system. I am wondering if the Current USA Satellite Plus LED Fixture 36" - 48" would be sufficient to grow low light plant in my aquarium? I appreciate anyone who would be able to help me out in answering my questions.
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Old 06-19-2014, 02:30 PM   #3
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Would really love some help
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:18 AM   #4
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Questions about plant lights generally get more responses in the planted tank forum FWIW. However, the current USA light will give you low light on a tank that small. Instead I would suggest a finnex ray 2 fixture as it has a higher par output and is still affordable. I would probably avoid trying to retrofit the current fixture you have.
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:03 AM   #5
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Thanks Mebbid for replying. I registered for the planted tank forum today and have had a few responses. Mostly really technical information that is hard for a beginner to understand at once but good information none the less.

I have looked at the finnex ray 2 fixtures and do like them and the par they put out. The only concern I would have would be it would take me into the medium light range thus making my tank higher tech than I am wanting. It would be about 44 par at the substate and substantially higher as you get closer to the light. the fugeray has 31 par at substrate and 73 par 12" from the light. The current LED+ would be about 23 at the substrate going up to 36 par 12" below the light. I also like how the current has more options.I think if I went with finnex it would be the fugeray or planted plus. Being a beginner, it just hard to make a decision that you know will work out.
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:40 AM   #6
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The only difference between a high tech and low tech tank is co2 injection. On a medium light tank you definitely don't need co2 to be successful. When figuring the light level of your tank you also really only count the par at substrate.

However on medium light fertilizers and excel definitely help. If you don't want more than a low light tank why even bother changing the fixture? The one you have now will be just fine for low light.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:14 AM   #7
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That seems pretty good advice. So if I went to a medium light tank I wouldn't necessarily need to have Co2 involved. I wasn't sure about that. I wouldn't mind growing a few more plants than the low light would allow me to as long as it wouldn't take me into the high tech tank. It seems that if I wanted to take it to the medium light range the fugeray would be the better option than the current LED +. Am I correct at that assumption since the LED + would be about 23 to the substrate? I would need 30+ par for a medium light tank. Thanks for helping out this noob.
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Old 06-20-2014, 08:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtWeirdo View Post
That seems pretty good advice. So if I went to a medium light tank I wouldn't necessarily need to have Co2 involved. I wasn't sure about that. I wouldn't mind growing a few more plants than the low light would allow me to as long as it wouldn't take me into the high tech tank. It seems that if I wanted to take it to the medium light range the fugeray would be the better option than the current LED +. Am I correct at that assumption since the LED + would be about 23 to the substrate? I would need 30+ par for a medium light tank. Thanks for helping out this noob.
A ray 2 imho would be right up your alley. You might however end up needing to add ferts and excel to keep algae from forming.
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