lighting for a 55g fresh water cichlid tank

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Jun 5, 2009
Very new so be gentle here. I just bought and have set up 55g tank, the lighting came with 2 23inch hoods plastic crap ones I would like to know what to buy that wont cost an arm and a leg for lighting. Any suggestion etc wattage for that size of tank. Thanks . the tank is exactly 48 inches long.
What type of Cichlids do you plan on having? Most Africans will either eat or dig up plants (except for a handful of safe plants) so you don't really need special lighting. Other Cichlids would be more plant safe though.

If you are doing Africans or just don't want plants....then I'd get something that accentuates the colors of the fish. A single or double 40w fixture would be fine. I suggest an actinic bulb or 50/50 bulb and then a 10000K bulb...or just a single 50/50 if you get a single bulb fixture.
if you dont want plants or even simple plants i would just go with some shop lights. get some daylight deluxe bulbs from home depot / lowes and call it a day.
I should have explained better details i want to accentuate the color of the fish. Is 65w single on each side good enuf. 2 x 65w around 23l inches to cover 48 inches across.
the shop lights would do that. the cf would also do it prob go with 50/50 bulbs.
If you are talking about 65W CF, then you might have algae issues there. If you don't want to stick to the stock hood, then I would say get a shop light, or t5 fixture. I have a fixture on my 55G now that has 4 48" t5's, and it's a bit much for it. I should have gotten the 2 bulb fixture instead. And with the 2 t5's you could do one as a regular daylight bulb, and one as actinic. Or if you went with the 4 bulb like I did, then 2 daylights and 2 actinics would work. I have 4 daylights and am really starting to get algae all over everything.
Home depot has a 65 watt T5HO shop fixture 48" long with an aluminum diamond plate reflector, I think it was in the $50 range.
Thank you for all the replies I have saved around 140 bucks. I just went and bought 48" 2 x 40 w 6500 shop light and it is exactly what i was looking to do. It fit without any mods just have to paint it black because its silver reflected. The fish look so much better I will post a pic today or tomorrow. Thanks again guys.
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