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Old 09-22-2005, 03:13 PM   #1
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Recommended lighting for a 65g Heavily PLANTED tank ??

Hi All,

So I got a call from my mom commissioning me to build her a freshwater showpiece tank.....this is quite an honour for me b/c she was the person who got me interested in aquariums in the first place (about 16 years ago or so!). I want to make sure I do it well.

So...i’ve got most everything planned out....BUT I need clarification on the lighting requirements...so can someone recommend a lighting system for me (what type of bulbs?, what colour temperature?, how many watts?, what brand?)

So here’s specs to help you help me!

Tank & Equipment:
- 65 gallon (36” length x 18” width x 24” deep)
- Rena XP2 filter
- 200 watt heater
- Air pump
- CO2 system (I’ll build a custom one later on)

Plants:
- various crypts (the larger leaf kinds)
- amazon swords
- lots of smaller ones...not sure on names

My goal is to have lots of plants....so the first thing you see when you look at the tank is a brilliant green colour

Fish:
- 3 discus
- 2 large angel fish
- cory cats, otos
- Royal pleco (the rare gold stripe one)

Any ideas?

Tx.

Zach.
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Old 09-22-2005, 03:19 PM   #2
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Moved to Planted tank forum
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Old 09-22-2005, 03:23 PM   #3
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You should start by reading the sticky's at the beginning of this forum. I moved your post here as you will be able to recieve better information than in the General Discussion forum.

The sticky's are a wonderful resource to use at this point. If you have questions afterward, don't hesitate to ask.
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Old 09-22-2005, 03:56 PM   #4
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But in a nutshell, you want about 200watts of lighting. 2x96 watt PC's would normally cut it, but you have a 24" deep tank. Therefore if you want higher light foreground plants, you might want to cram 4x55watt PC's in there instead. If you can deal with less demanding foregroudn plants, 2x96 with ahsupply.com reflectors should cut it.

and of course, pressurized CO2...DIY will be a huge pain to try to maintain on this size tank, with this much light.

it'll need daily fertilization too.
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Old 09-22-2005, 07:04 PM   #5
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I'm thinking 2x96w would work well. If you've got a good deep substrate and a lot of swords and Crypts you won't need any more. I use 2x96 over a 22" deep tank with a thick substrate bed and I've never had any problems growing any kind of foreground plants although there are a few that really do benefit from higher light. And like malkore said, you should really consider going with pressurized CO2 on a tank of that size eventually. There are some good systems for around $150.
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Old 09-22-2005, 07:19 PM   #6
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I would probably go for the 4x55 simply because I might want to mix color temps and being able to spread the light out better. However, most 36" pc fixtures I've seen are 96watt bulbs. Ideally, use a 2x96 with both 10k and another 96 with actinic. It'll be a jungle and tear through ferts but it'll look amazing and none of your plants will stretch but will grow short and bushy instead. You will toss that airpump with all the pearling going on.
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Old 09-23-2005, 11:07 AM   #7
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Good call Hoover...i missed the air pump. ditch it.

i'm not sure you need a full 96 watts of actinics. I think a standard 36" NO tube with an actinic (if you want it) would be enough to highlight fish colors and give the extra boost of blue spectrum the plants will like.
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Old 09-23-2005, 07:53 PM   #8
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It might be usefull to know exactly what plant species that you would like to keep IMO there is a slight chance that you wouldnt actually need extream light unless of course your going "dutch" and want the carpeting species of plants, the above advice would be right on IMO. And ditch the air pump after you start injecting CO2.. it would help untill then. HTH
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Old 09-26-2005, 01:27 PM   #9
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thanks for the responses!

but why PC lighting?? i've read they're a dieing breed of aquarium lights......the general consensus nowdays is that T5s are far superior....more brightness, runs cooler, and lasts longer than PC

RE: Actinic

why on earth do i need an actinic light in a freshwater planted tank?? is it just for LOOKS? or does the actinc light actually HELP the plants grow?

and we're talking about the TRUE 03 actincs, right? (the more purple-ish colour) rather than the non-true actincs (more electric blue in colour)

i've got a 100gal reef system with actincs......i thought actincs are just for saltwater tanks!

????????????????????????

Zach.
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Old 09-26-2005, 01:38 PM   #10
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oh....are metal halides not recommeded for planted tanks??

I was thining of a dual 70W metal halide system as well....any commtns?

Zach.
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Old 09-26-2005, 01:58 PM   #11
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Actinics contribute to bushy growth in freshwater plants, but are hardly necessary. 2x70 MH will do the job as well as PC but is usually more expensive. Around here we're used to more budget-oriented answers. With MH lighting in the 6500K range actinics will be mostly for looks. Might consider 2x100MH as well to assure adequate intensity for ground cover.
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