Too Many Configurations! Help With My 75G Aqua Garden w/ 7 Bulbs - Lighting - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 07-28-2005, 08:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Lightbulb Too Many Configurations! Help With My 75G Aqua Garden w/ 7 Bulbs

Yeah, this is asking for everything but the kitchen sink. No, wait, I'm putting one of those in my tank room also. Crimony.

So I have two light fixtures that'll be placed atop a 75 gallon show set up with many plants and CO2. One is a 3-bulb 48" standard fluorescent unit made by All Glass. The other is a Coralife Aqualight 48" 4 65W bulbs Power Compact unit. This gives me many choices to mix and match colors and temperatures to achieve an optimum result for plant success and viewing pleasure. I'm going for a crisper, whiter sort of overall appearance, and expect to have a ton of plants, many with demanding light needs. There will be a few red plants to complement the three or so dozen Paradocheiron axelrodi schooling around, which I'd also love to pop out and be "luminous" aghainst their backdrop of dense aquatic jungle. The long fluorescent bulb fixture already has three 8000K All Glass bulbs stocked in it, and I intend to keep them, hearing that there are pretty ideal for plant growth. Oh, and so as to not startle the fish and keep things a bit more "natural", I'll prevent all 7 bulbs striking simultaneously by having them on three timers: 2 sets on the PC's and one set on the 3 flourescent bulbs. I wish I could make it sound less complicated!

Now, down to brass tacks: What type of bulbs would you use on this setup, and in what configuration would you have them light up during the course of a 24-hour period, keeping in mind that there are three timers? Would you place the PC's in front or back of tank? Remember- plant success and viewing pleasure! Thanks in advance for you wisdom!


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Old 07-28-2005, 10:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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My LFS has a 75g planted show tank. They use Coralife's 48" 4 X 65w Freshwater Aqualight with 6700K CF bulbs plus a two bulb 48" regular fluorescent fixture with Coralife's T-12 Nutri Grow bulbs. This tank uses a Milwaukee pH controller with their CO2 system. It has Hagen's ladder diffuser and an Emperor 280 filter. This tank is gorgeous.
Some people think that Coralife's 6700K CF bulbs are too greenish looking and that the red colors are muted, so they mix them with the pinkish GE 9325K 55w straight pin CF bulb.
ZooMed makes 8500K Flora Sun regular fluorescent bulbs that are pinkish.
Coralife has a Colormax-6700K CF bulb out now in a 65w straight pin version (part # 54325). One side of this bulb is pinkish looking and highlights red colors and the other side hightlights green colors. They also have T-5 Colormax bulbs as well as T-5 6700K bulbs and fixtures too. (www.esuweb.com)
Think about what colors will be in your aquarium, what colors you want highlighted and pick your lighting accordingly. If you have red colors, you may want to add some of these pinkish bulbs. If your tank has various shades of green and blue, you may not want pinkish bulbs. There's many combinations.Each tank is a little different and everyone's taste is a little different too. Only you know what looks good to you.
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Old 07-28-2005, 10:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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That is a lot of light over a 75g tank! I have the same triple tube setup as you on the front of my 75g with an All Glass 2x55w on the back. That is more than enough light in my opinion. I run the 2x55 fixture for 12 hours and the triple tube fixture for 8-10 hours and usually need to trim weekly.

As far as color temp of the bulbs, I run 8800K in the triple tube and 9325K in the 2x55 fixture. I like the color of the light with my black substrate. I had Cardinal Tetras and Rams in the tank in the past and the light combo really brings out their colors. The same fish in a 55g with 6500K, 91 CRI lamps seem washed out. The reds are not a vibrant IMO. This color combo may not suit your tastes though and will require some experimentation on your part to find a color combination you like.

As far as when to have the lights come on, again that is personal preference. I would have the 4x65 fixture in the rear of the tank and have 2x65 on for 10-12 hrs. I would run the triple tube on the front 8-10 hours and the middle set of 2x65 for maybe 4 hours in the middle of the photoperiod. Play with the photoperiods and see what works best for the type of plants you will be keeping. Most of my plants "close up" after 10-11 hour time frame.

As far as demanding plants, I have R. macrandra, P. stellatus, Ranunculus papulentus, Pogostemon helferi (Downio), and Nesea pedicellata under my lights (<3wpg) without any problems. You will have more than enough light for anything you want to put into your tank. The only thing you may have to worry about is trimming and keeping up on the ferts and CO2
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Old 07-28-2005, 05:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for all your input, guys!

OK, so this is considered a lot of light! By the way this is my first tank, and I'm just trying to cover all my bases. With this much light, I can afford to have a slew of different valued bulbs in my arsenal.

I assume I'd have to increase my CO2 dispersal as well as use a lot more liquid ferts, until I find a happy medium between all three. I can use one bulb then as a "night-viewing" light with moon color, which is what color naturally?

Also, I notice here at work, where we have a cornucopia of different bulbs, that most consumer grade bulbs do not list their color temperatues anywhere. Does anyone know where to obtain this information online or otherwise? I'd hate to waste so much money on boutique bulbs.
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Old 07-29-2005, 07:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Current makes two different colors of Moon Light. I think they're called Nocturnal and Moon Light. One's blue and the other is white. ESU's Lunarlight are blue.
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Old 07-29-2005, 05:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow...sounds like a lot of hassle with all those bulbs/fixtures. I have a 75g tank. I used to use a 4x65w Coralife fixture. It grew many plants very well, although at a slower rate than a very high light set-up. Currently, I use 4x54w T5 fixture suspended from my ceiling, and the tank is open top. I can grow anything my water will allow. Ultra soft water plants (R. macrandra, L. pantanal, etc) give me trouble with my very hard water, but I can grow the likes of P. Stellata & nesea like a champ.

I think that the most important question is what do you want to grow and how fast do you want to grow it? I think lighting is overrated. Nutrients are the key, and that includes CO2. With lighting, your main focus should be proper intensity and light spread, NOT wpg. A little more explanation of what you are trying to achieve, including growth patterns (fast? slow? etc), would be more beneficial than how many light bulbs you can stick above the tank. For a crisp, white light, stick to 10,000K bulbs; they grow plants very well.
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Old 07-29-2005, 06:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avalon
I think lighting is overrated. Nutrients are the key, and that includes CO2. With lighting, your main focus should be proper intensity and light spread, NOT wpg.
I totally agree with you on the lighting and nutrients. I actually prefer the linear tubes over the CF's. It seems to give a much better spread both for the length of the tank and the width.

Don't find too many folks these days talking about lighting being "overrated"
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