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Old 03-29-2011, 10:24 AM   #1
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Adequate Lighting for 29-Gallon Planted Aquarium

I recently received a 29-gallon tank as an early birthday present from my girlfriend's parents. I moved everything over from my existing 10-gallon tank and was quite pleased with the new room.

We got the tank used, but by all I could tell, it was a Tetra brand kit, just like my 10-gallon, but the fluorescent bulb seems so much dimmer than the one in my 10-gallon. I took a trip to Walmart to find a brighter one, and I was able to find a GE 24-inch, 20-watt, 1080-lumen bulb, which really improved the lighting in the tank.

However, my girlfriend read somewhere that our light is quite low for a planted aquarium as we have less than one watt/gallon of water. Does anyone know where I might be able to get a 24-inch fluorescent bulb that has a higher wattage and lumens? Or if not, any recommendations in improving the lighting in my tank? Or if the lighting is actually adequate for the plants I have?

Plants are as follows: Amazon Sword, Amazon Frogbit (floating at top), Green Myrio, Moneywort, Moss Ball, Red Anacharis, and Spiralis.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:20 AM   #2
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Unfortunately fluorescent lights don't come in a range of wattage for a given length and diameter. You're pretty much stuck with what you've got. I think your sword, myrio, and moneywort will suffer under that lighting. I killed filigree myrio and nearly killed moneywort and amazon swords under two 18W CFLs on a 29g. I've never heard of red anacharis (red ludwigia maybe?), but red plants generally need at least medium light.

Your options to improve your light really depend on what plants you want to keep and how handy you are.

1. Use a glass canopy and add a second light fixture. You can DIY a fixture for CFLs pretty easlily.

2. Retrofit your current fixture. There are kits available to put T5HO lights in your current fixture. You could also put CFLs in it.

3. Replace your fixture. If you're going to do this, look at T5HO or LED. Avoid any fluorescent fixture that uses 30" bulbs. They're a pain in the neck to find and expensive when you do find them. I built an LED fixture for my 20H that would be more than adequate for your plants in a 29g. There's a link in my signature if you're interested.
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Old 03-30-2011, 11:28 PM   #3
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Thank you BigJim!

What do you think about this fixture here?

Amazon.com: Zoo Med AquaSun T5-HO Double Light Linear Fluorescent Hood, 24-Inch: Kitchen & Dining

I have a Tetra 29-gallon kit, so I'm not sure of the repercussions of using a different fixture on the hood. Obviously, I would want to measure it so that I know the new fixture will fit, but are there any other things that I might want to be wary of or at least aware of before dumping the 80 dollars?
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:32 AM   #4
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You'll probably have to replace the hood with a glass canopy or just remove the hood and go with an open top to use a light like that, but that light will give you the results you're looking for.

I don't see anything about that fixture adjusting to fit a 30" tank. The two links below will fit a 30" tank and will support your plants.

Amazon.com: 24-36 in. Marineland Double Bright LED Light - 8 x 1W white - 4 x .06W blue: Kitchen & Dining

Amazon.com: 30 in. Nova Extreme T5 HO Freshwater Aquarium Light Fixture - 2 x 24W: Kitchen & Dining
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:36 AM   #5
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I agree with BigJim... a 24" fixture is going to be hard to fit on your tank. Check those links he provided, and also check out fishneedit.com. A 2x24w 30" fixture will give you plenty of light for all but the higher light plants IMO, and won't push you to the point of having to go co2 if you don't want to (though it wouldn't hurt anything).
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:23 PM   #6
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Thank you both very much. I greatly appreciate it! I have looked at the links and the Nova seems best out of the two.

I was interested in the one I linked because I was hoping I wouldn't have to replace the hood. But if you guys think I'll have to, would you also point me in the direction of a hood you would recommend? Funds are a little slim right now.

Measuring the top of the aquarium, 30.25 x 12.5in.

I assume this would be adequate?
http://www.amazon.com/Perfecto-Glass...1620843&sr=8-1
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:35 PM   #7
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A glass canopy like the one in the link is exactly what I would recommend. Some people go without a top on their tanks, but I like having one to keep my fish in the tank and limit evaporation.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:41 PM   #8
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I intend to have a full school of Danios in my tank, and I know they can be jumpers at times... And my family also owns a cat, so as soon as any fish were to get out, that would be the end of them.

Thank you again Jim. This helps a lot!
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:42 PM   #9
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yep, glass lids if a top is necessary... I don't have cats or notorious jumpers, so I run my tanks topless.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:44 PM   #10
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In total, I'll have Serpae Tetras, Glass Catfish, Danios, Otos, White/Black Skirt Tetras, a Hillstream Loach and a couple Peacock Gudgeons when all's said and done.

I also have a few ghost shrimp and snails in there. The shrimp might jump too...
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:46 PM   #11
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I wouldn't worry about the shrimp jumping, but i've heard stories of zebra danios jumping. I had zebra danios in a topless tank and never had issues, but every fish has a different personality. it's definitely not bad to take precautions though.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:42 AM   #12
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I kept finding RCS cooked under my lights until I put the rest of the plastic extension back on my glass canopy.
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Old 04-02-2011, 04:42 PM   #13
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All right, so I caved and dished out the money.

This is what I got:

Amazon.com: Zoo Med AquaSun T5-HO Double Light Linear Fluorescent Hood, 30-Inch: Kitchen & Dining
Amazon.com: Zoo Med Flora Sun Plant Bulb T5 High Output 24 Watts, 22-Inch: Kitchen & Dining
Amazon.com: Zoo Med Ultra Sun Trichromatic Super Daylight Bulb T5 High Output 24 Watts, 22-Inch: Kitchen & Dining
Amazon.com: Perfecto Glass Canopy 30 Inch: Everything Else

I liked the fixture more than the one you recommended due to the dual switches to manually control each light. I may get a timer to keep the tank on a schedule.
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:39 PM   #14
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That's the fixture that I recently bought as well - I like it a lot. BUT - The clamps that hold the light to the tank don't allow room for the glass cover that sits down in the rim of the tank... You run into the same?

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Old 04-28-2011, 08:44 PM   #15
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Same exact issue. I was quite irritated by that. Although I did find that with the heat the fixture put off, it was warming the water in my tank. Yesterday, I removed the glass canopy and had fans blowing on the fixture and over the water. Temps have dropped.
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Old 04-28-2011, 09:08 PM   #16
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Interestingly enough - while I thought the heat from those lights would warm my water - that hasn't really been the case. Of course, we keep our house at aroun 72-74 degrees, so I guess that may help some. I do have increased evaporation - which probably helps with keeping the temp of the tank reasonable.

Also - my target tank temperature is 80, so that may be a factor as well.
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:58 AM   #17
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I have a Marine Land 28g Euro bow front with a glass top. As soon as my fishless cycle is complete, I plan to add plants and a new light strip with brackets that hold it above the tank. I'm concerned about the comments of the glass top interfering with the brackets.

Do you think it is possible to get a glass cutter and notch the top to make room for the brackets? I'm hoping that would solve the problem.

The other post regarding the water heating up due to the new fixture directly on the top doesn't sound good. I will HAVE to run a top because I don't want to deal with evaporation and/or fish jumping. It sounds like brackets for the fixture combined with the glass top are a must.
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Old 04-30-2011, 09:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royta
I have a Marine Land 28g

Do you think it is possible to get a glass cutter and notch the top to make room for the brackets? I'm hoping that would solve the problem.
depends on the light you get. The ZooMed fixture I bought is rather bulky and even if I could trim the glass hood, it wouldn't leave enough of a "lip" to support the lid.
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Old 04-30-2011, 09:16 AM   #19
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You could always hang the fixture. IMO, I wouldn't worry about jumping. It hasn't happened to me in over 5 years.
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Old 04-30-2011, 09:17 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royta
I have a Marine Land...

Do you think it is possible to get a glass cutter and notch the top to make room for the brackets? I'm hoping that would solve the problem.
Depends on the light's bracket design. The ZooMed's bracket is bulky and even if I were to cut/trim the glass lid, there wouldn't be enough "lip" to support that lid.
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