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Old 12-15-2009, 04:05 PM   #1
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How do I go about getting good lights that will work well and be more than adequate for growing great plants...without spending hundreds of dollars? I'm ok with spending money but I'd love to do it without over spending. I mean are there other options aside from going to the pet store and buying an expensive lighting setup? Like plant stores? Home depot? Hydroponics stores?
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:42 PM   #2
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I have seen setups with HD T5 lights that have been used on either fresh or salt water tanks. On planted tanks you want to look for 67K for bulbs. You might actually come out better by going to T5-HO Light and checking them out. I am waiting for them to release the 4 bulb lights to upgrade my T8's. It actually is less than DIY.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:05 PM   #3
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what size of tank do you have? joy is right on with the fishneedit t5.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:27 PM   #4
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I just thought of this Current USA Nova Extreme T5HO X2 - Freshwater Light Fixtures I don't know much about the FW ones but I have heard good things on the saltwater ones.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:29 PM   #5
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I get my fixtures at home depot and bulbs as well, t-5 to t-12 in stock cheap.
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Old 12-16-2009, 02:14 AM   #6
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never seen t5 ho fixtures at home depot.

i have 2 of the nova's but mine dont have their one reflectors. not sure if those do or how good they are.
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:26 AM   #7
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Depends on the size of tank as to what is the most economical way to go.

For a 4' or longer tank, the most economical route is to use T8 shop-lights. that is assuming that you can disassemble the shop lights for parts & use that to build your own canopy. My 4x32W T8 DIY canopy costs maybe $50 in parts.

I am starting to see T5-HO's in the big box DIY centers, although I have not seen 6700K's. In theory, you can convert a T8 shoplight with electronic ballast into a T5-HO with the appropriate endcaps. But the main advantage of a T5-HO setup is the reflectors. You won't get the light output with HD shoplight reflectors, so I don't think it is worthwhile doing this mod.

Another cheap way to get light is to use a glass top (or simply leave the tank open top if you don't have jumpers), and hang lights over the tank from the ceiling. You cna then use whatever fixture you can find at the Hardware store that fits your budget.

Otherwise, look for retrofit kits, either PC or T5-HO. AH supply's kits (PC's, link below) are quite reasonable & people have good experiences with them. The T5-HO kits are a bit more expensive, but is coming down in price & may be preferable to a PC.

36 or 55 watt Bright Kits
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Old 12-16-2009, 12:29 PM   #8
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I think the lights on the site Joy posted are extremely reasonably priced. I am using a 20 gallon long and still not sure if I need to worry about CO2 or not. I guess I'll get the lights after christmas and then go from there.
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:02 PM   #9
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Ok, so I'm thinking I could get this fixture: T5-ho 24" /2 lamp aquarium LightHow does that look / sound for a 20 gallon long? Also, it comes with two bulbs, but I can select what kind I want. Do I want 2 67k white bulbs? A white and a blue? Two blues?
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:06 AM   #10
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For freshwater you want the 67K I am not for sure but I think a 20 long is actually a little over 30 inches long, so you might want to consider a longer light.
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:07 PM   #11
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You might be better off buying two 24" T5 (not T5HO) fixtures and staggering them to eliminate dark ends on the 20L. With the 20L only being a foot deep, there's not a lot of room for the light to spread out, but it doesn't take very intense light to penetrate to the bottom well.
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:12 PM   #12
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I don't mind small dark areas on the ends of the tank. I mean it won't ruin the whole setup right? After a while I could eventually upgrade to two lights or a bigger light if I have to. For now I just want to have a fairly densely planted tank and I'm fine with using low maintenance / low-medium lighting plants.
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