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Old 02-06-2003, 08:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Maybe you folks can help. I'm looking for the best lighting for what will be a heavily-planted 29 gallon, 30" long freshwater aquarium. I'd be delighted if you could recommend a particular product or website. Thank you!

And yes, I know there's more to it than lighting, but the lighting is what's confusing me. I read one thing, then another, and then I go to the aquarium store and the guy there insists that a coralife 50/50 bulb is THE perfect thing for plants. Would that do the trick, or is something more powerful necessary?

Hellllp! *bubble bubble*

Kate
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Old 02-06-2003, 08:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Maybe you folks can help. I'm looking for the best lighting for what will be a heavily-planted 29 gallon, 30" long freshwater aquarium. I'd be delighted if you could recommend a particular product or website. Thank you!

And yes, I know there's more to it than lighting, but the lighting is what's confusing me. I read one thing, then another, and then I go to the aquarium store and the guy there insists that a coralife 50/50 bulb is THE perfect thing for plants. Would that do the trick, or is something more powerful necessary?

Hellllp! *bubble bubble*

Kate
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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when Your looking for Freshwater plant lights, stay away from ones that are 50/50. This usally means that the bulb is half daylight and half blue. These are for saltwater reef tanks. If you want to buy a 30" light strip that would be good for plants check out big al's http://www.bigalsonline.com/ or Drfostersmith http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/shop.cfm?siteid=6 Once again watch out for hoods that come with the half & half bulbs.

I think 55 Watts or higher would be a good start.

If your into building your own canopy or hood check out AHSupply http://ahsupply.com/
They have DIY light kits for that sort of thing.

See my tanks here:
http://www.plantedtank.net/paul25.html
and here:http://www.plantedtank.net/paul75.html
Paul Gallant(formerly spihunter)

[This message was edited by Paul Gallant on Thu February 06 2003 at 12:50 PM.]
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Old 02-06-2003, 01:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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If you don't already have the tank think about a different size. 30" long tanks are a royal PITA to light. PC lights are either just under two feet in length or just under three feet. The selection of NO bulbs in the 30" size is very limited.

Semper Fi
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Old 02-06-2003, 05:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Hello Bellyup!

I'm currently eliminating both of my 30" tanks. I will never set one up again for anything other than just plain fish.

A 2x55w PC fixture will get the job done for a 29g, but your coverage will be less than perfect, and that's the biggest issue for us. You really should consider another footprint for a plant tank.....I like the 10g, 20h, 40breeder. You can do a 40 breeder for very nearly the same price as a 29g....Especially if you build your own stand.

If you're stuck on the 29 (that's cool!), then you have some options:

If this is your first plant tank, I *strongly* suggest that you use normal output flourescents. There are are a few ways to get adequate light.

You could get a twin 20w strip and a single 20w strip which will give you enough light to grow *nearly* anything. Depending on how handy you are, you could build your own hood and fit as many as 4 NO (normal output) bulbs into it. There are several commercialy available electronic ballasts that wil make your life easier in this arena. If you're interested, just ask!

Power compacts are now very trendy to use on plant tanks, but are quite powerfull, efficient, and easy to work with. They can be had quite cheaply as a kit from www.ahsupply.com.
Just keep in mind that, with all this power comes another set of problems. With this quantity and quality of light you're much more likely to "crash and burn" with regards to algae, fertlizer prolems and CO2 requirements just to scratch the surface, than with a more modest set-up. I suggest that if you do go this route, that you be very carefull, test often, and ask alot of questions.

You could also use a twin VHO (very high output) set-up that will give you more light than a PC set-up, be as easy to install, but cost you more. Reefers like these alot, but they seem to have gone out of style for us plant guys.

Stay away from expensive, pre-assembled, power compact fixtures like the Coralife Smartlites, Helios PC's, and those crappy All-Glass PC fixtures. They have lousy reflectors and cost as much or way more than the AHS kits for much less product. Unless you REALLY don't like putting stuff together, try to build your own stuff. It cuts down on empty wallet syndrome.

Also, be very wary of advice given from pet store people about plant stuff. Ever hear the saying "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"? That's been my experience with LFS workers *most* of the time.

50/50 bulbs are worthless for a plant tank, BTW.

Hope this helps!!

Best wishes,
John Wheeler
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