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Old 12-15-2009, 02:42 PM   #1
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Lighting price question.

While browsing around for aquarium supplies, I always notice the $150+ price tags on light systems. They'll sometimes have 2, 3, or 4 fluorescent blubs in them.

My serious question for you forum-goers.

Why not just pick up a standard shop light for $11 dollars?
My current 20g long tank uses one with two 20w bulbs. (6500 K I believe)

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Old 12-15-2009, 02:55 PM   #2
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aesthetics, reflector quality, fits the aquarium length for one, fans to remove excess heat, etc.
also a lot of aquarium lights are somethign other than standard output floros. Some of these lights put out more lumins and can penetrate water depth better as well.

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Old 12-15-2009, 02:59 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. : )
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Old 12-19-2009, 02:57 AM   #4
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I use shop light fixtures, but they are 48 inches long. Same length as a 55 gallon tank. Much too big for a 20.
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Old 12-19-2009, 07:11 PM   #5
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i have a 4' shop light over two 10g tanks... 64w total. My plants look great (and so does the bba growing on them lol)... The aquarium light fixtures are better mainly because of the reflectors. You can buy T5HO light fixtures from some hardware suppliers, but the reflectors arent designed to direct the light straight down like the aquarium models are. My shop light lights up the entire living room because it is designed to dispurse the light, not aim it all towards one central location

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Old 12-20-2009, 01:00 PM   #6
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If you have a large tank, shop lights actually work quite well. <I have 4x32W shop lights over 80 gal.> You don't need to have the light focused down to a small area when your tank is big .... the inefficiency of the reflector is made up by the price, you can just throw in another tube or 2.

You can also gut the shoplight for parts & build your own custom canopy. People have used aquarium reflectors with shoplight parts , added fans, etc. But then, once you start to get fancy, the price start to approach a pre-made aquarium light ....
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Old 12-24-2009, 08:24 PM   #7
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People that use shop lights over tanks. Sure they are better than a standard strip light but they still suck. I once had a 55 gallon tank with 160 watts of shop lights over it. And it sure did look bright. But I had problems with a lot of my plants. I switched to a single 2x55 watt kit from AH Supply and actually got more usable light into the tank. Sure the shop lights gave better coverage in the tank and into the surrounding room but the AH Supply kit basically blows the light straight down into the tank where it belongs.
Lighting the Planted Tank | Rex's Guide to Planted Tanks

i fully agree with rex. they can work but not very efficient. in my 120 each time i upgrade my lighting i go with less and less watts since i am getting more and more light into the tank.

now for your tank. if you want a nice low light tank i would suggest a reg hood with incandescent fixture. with these fixtures you can screw in 2 cfl bulbs. they have a lot of restrike but you can get away with it.

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