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Old 04-05-2005, 09:16 AM   #1
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Lights across the visible spectrum **Update**

Time to get serious. I have a small problem that may be easy to solve. I have a twin tube 40w bulb light set for my 75 gal tank. The amount of light emitted by them into our living room has caused my spouse to be concerned as she feels it is too much.

She has asked me to lower the wattage if possible. I have explained to her that the live plants will need it and that after the tank is populated with plants and livestock, a lot of the light will be diffused and not escape from the tank.

As of now, the light actually emits @ 15 ft from the tank. Two questions:

1. Am I right about the light being diffused once completely planted and
inhabitated?

2. Is their a K rating (with 40w) that is equal to or greater that emits
less "visible" light?

3. Does anyone have any idea of what I'm talking about? LOL
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Old 04-05-2005, 09:36 AM   #2
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I understand what you're asking. Unfortunately, the answer is no; all 40w bulbs are going to put out almost the exact same amount of lumens (light output) if you use a suitable plant bulb. Actinic's seem dimmer, but they don't help plants.
With your lights, you're trying to mimic the sun. 80watts is on the low side for lighting intensity.

The light might seem a little dimmer once plants are in the tank.

I would tell her this: Malkore has a 75gallon in his dining room, adjacent to his living room. He runs 220watts of power compacts on it. He also has a 40gallon reef tank in the dining room with runs 192watts of power compacts on it. Be happy you're not his wife
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Old 04-05-2005, 10:08 AM   #3
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Hmm... I am wondering... she's complaining about the lighting in your aquarium is "too much" in your living room.... is this more of her personal taste and preference or is she concerned the 85 watts might be "costly"?
I've checked out the pics of your setup in your galley and your tank looks nice. Perhaps you need to point out the beauty of your tank to you spouse... sometimes our spouses take our hobbies for granted. And there's nothing more I can think of as a nicely planted tank that "adds" some beauty to anyone's home.

It's only been a few weeks... but there's no doubt my newly planted looks 10x nicer than it ever did compared to it with plastic for the past 8 years. When I brought home the 65W Coralife for my 29gal, my wife's response was "WOW"... and she's more into the tank now than ever. My tank is in my living room too and I am sure I watch my tank a lot more than watching TV
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Old 04-05-2005, 10:11 AM   #4
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Well, well, Malkore... I really value your advise in fish and plants, but I would question your skills as marriage counsellor.

Jchillin, I'd think twice before following this advice. But of course it's just a matter of priorities!

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Old 04-05-2005, 11:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malkore
I would tell her this: Malkore has a 75gallon in his dining room, adjacent to his living room. He runs 220watts of power compacts on it. He also has a 40gallon reef tank in the dining room with runs 192watts of power compacts on it. Be happy you're not his wife.
LOL...she'll probably agree with that statement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quake2player
Hmm... I am wondering... she's complaining about the lighting in your aquarium is "too much" in your living room.... is this more of her personal taste and preference or is she concerned the 85 watts might be "costly"?
It's personal. The tank has "taken" over the entire room. With the lights on, it just makes it that much more difficult. And no, the light does not interfere with anything (TV, Computers, etc.). Cost?? There really wasn't any costs associated with them.

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Originally Posted by Big C
Jchillin, I'd think twice before following this advice. But of course it's just a matter of priorities!
I'm not exactly ready for divorce court. Really don't want to set a new precedent in the State of NY ("Divorce decree approved based on irreconcilable difference in regard to aquarium lighting").
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Old 04-05-2005, 12:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
("Divorce decree approved based on irreconcilable difference in regard to aquarium lighting").
glad to see that you have your priorities straight... at least according to me!



Good luck with this "new project" (convincing your wife). Any possibility to "shade" the light from the aquarium somehow? A plant/screen/ piece furniture properly positioned, so it dissipates the light a little, but not too much so you don't "hide" the aquarium?

Your spouse might enjoy the "re-decoration" challenge... although it may cost you $$$$
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Old 04-05-2005, 01:11 PM   #7
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Wheels are rolling as we speak. The background color will have to be changed to a more absorbent color.

Either this will be the most heavily planted tank in creation or *shudders* the live plants will have to be eliminated.

I personally like option #1.
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Old 04-05-2005, 01:53 PM   #8
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Go with option 1. Actually, I've found that lots plants limit the emmission of light from the tank. But maybe that's just my tank, LOL
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Old 04-05-2005, 03:59 PM   #9
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Agree. id go with option 2 myself.

Failing that... you may want to reconsider your priorities! Just kidding!
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Old 04-06-2005, 12:48 AM   #10
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I've read that yellow light is perceived as being brighter while purplish light is perceived as being dimmer. I don't know the K value for purple light or even if equating a K value to color is as simple as we think it is. A black background and black gravel could also help. (ecocomplete is great for plants anyway)

I know this is not the advice you were asking for, but I had two other thoughts also:
1. The lights could be put on a timer - and off when the wife is around (assuming she is not a stay-at-home mom.
2. Has your wife had guests complement HER on the tank. If not, it might be time to "arrange" someone to complement her on the tank. 8)

Since the topic of marital relations has already come up, I would suggest the psychological warfare of option 2 only be executed with high precision and careful planning.

Good luck!
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Old 04-06-2005, 01:43 AM   #11
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Maybe your wife would like it better if there was a beautiful silk scarf drapped over the front of the aquarium so that it wasn't so disruptive to her. You could just move it easily or tie it aside when you wanted to gaze on your little ecosystem. The other option is to get a translucent paper screen like those found in Cost Plus. They are usually rice paper & can be quite attractive. Both these options would reduce & tint the light. I can't agree with her tastes but maybe a planted tank isn't beautiful to her. At leat get a scarf up before you get it planted so she doesn't have to be overwhelmed with the light. I find that spouses are a lot more willing to get used to something if you compromise initially & just get them used to it a bit at a time.

I think the plants will help & the background. I personally like using my aquarium as a light source for reading (it sits at the end of the couch) but we did initially have problems with the lights (weird track light setup shinning in my SO eyes). I had to adjust it so the bare bulbs where not visible. A strip of mirror or something might help if the bare bulbs are visible.

I guess another more long term solution is to get that dark tinting stuff that you can put on car windows yourself. It would still allow you to view the fish but would reduce light output from the aquarium.

Good luck! & try to appear accomadating even if your long term plan isn't
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Old 04-06-2005, 11:24 PM   #12
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You guys are killing me...LOL.

Arranging tank compliments are easy...spouse will just think they are just as nutty as I am... For the moment, she is a "stay at home" mom so the tank is omnipresent for her.

Heavily planted tank...will need time to convince her that this will work. Keeping fingers crossed...is there such a thing as a half-way house for husbands?
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Old 04-07-2005, 03:47 AM   #13
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Take her to a LFS with heaps of plants.... I have approx the same set up ~75 gal with 76 watts. I have Crypts, Java fern, various Echinodprus, Val., and a Red Lotus seedling that is finally growing larger leaves (still juvenile leaves though). All the plants are doing well. I have a pic in my gallery.

My wife helped pick out the plants.... I gradually add a few every few weeks, but as long as what she likes is in there, she is happy. She loves the look of it.
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Old 04-07-2005, 12:37 PM   #14
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What kind of reflectors are on the fixture? If the reflectors are not of optimal design they can scatter the light more than is desirable.

That said, I do think once the plants have grown in she won't notice this as much, and by then she'll be used to this huge bright thing in the room. I think it is just a question of getting used to it, and beginning to see it as a focal point in the room rather than something that needs to be camouflaged.
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Old 04-08-2005, 08:48 AM   #15
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Here are two options to keep in mind if you still want to have a planted tank.
First you could take something like a background (I was cheap and used construction paper) and carefully cut it to size to fit the back and both sides of your tank. The light will hit the sides and back, and suprisingly for the most part stay inside the tank. Once you get some taller plants, or a bunch of plants in the tank, the light will just remain in the tank and bounce off the leaves, back and sides of the tank. Granted, some light will escape out the front of the tank, but in my 10 gallon it was greatly reduced. You could also check at a car place or somewhere like walmart for window tint. You could get a light tint that would once again dull the light that is being emitted out the front of the tank, while still being able to see into it.
Or, you could cover the back, sides of the tank AND put tint on the front, which would look a little odd, but it would definitely look unique, and would allow you to keep your planted tank while making the mrs. happy.
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Old 04-08-2005, 10:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jchillin
I'm not in this to make my wife happy
Don't quote me on that...LOL.

There is light (no pun intended) at the end of the tunnel. For the past couple of days, I've noticed that there are no more complaints coming in and she is actually leaving the lights on during the evening hours.
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Old 04-15-2005, 07:47 AM   #17
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(Pssst...seven days and no mention of the lights being a problem anymore...I believe she has become quite comfortable with them...keeping fingers crossed).
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Old 04-15-2005, 08:20 AM   #18
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Shush!! She might hear you!
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Old 04-16-2005, 12:56 AM   #19
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If she did hear you, you might try sneaking brighter bulbs into the room lighting. If the room is brighter the tank will appear dimmer (grinning diabolically).
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Old 04-16-2005, 11:34 AM   #20
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... or *shudders* the live plants will have to be eliminated.
That ain't gonna happen.

...ummm, errr.... Let me rephrase that, please tell me that will not be the result!

Anyway, real solutions: Once the plants have grown in, it will cut back the amount of light escaping into the room, at least to a degree.
Probably not something you really want to do at this point, but brown or black substrate would cut down on the reflection factor a LOT. Those colors absorb light, and look natural while sky-blue gravel *grits teeth* reflects far more light than it absorbs.

Sounds like you have reached a truce at this point, let's hope it holds!

Jchill, please pardon my distaste for the blue gravel, I really can't help myself!
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