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It depends on how high above the water your pendant is, I personally use between 5 and 8 screw in lamps over my 34 gallon and they sit about 3-4 inches over the water with no splash guard, I havent had any problems at all.

You can see my light fixture by clicking the tank in my signature - it will take you to my journal.

I know lots of others here like to take out the splash guards that come with their toods / fixtures just so they don't have to clean them as often.

as long as you don't have a powerhead spraying water up and out of the tank, or a giant fish that likes to jump a lot, you will be just fine hanging the fixture over the tank without a splash guard. just be sure the fixture itself is well secured and can't fall into the water.
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