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I just buy the best light i can afford according to plants i'm planning to get then add some more if it doesnt grow red or shoots up towards light when its supposed to carpet (like glosso) thats just my submission move for the plants
 

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You see post all the time about lights and bulbs. They talk about watts/gal and spectrum of light along with lumens. These are talked about as if there was a rule of thumb as to what combinations should be with certain size tanks. This conversation is good but very misleading I think. Every tank I have responds differently to the same combo of watts/gal with different bulb. I think the only rule of thumb is certain bulbs are for plant tank and others are for marine tanks. I have used 8800k, 6700k, 9325K and a real learning experience with a 50/50 bulb that came with my first light kit. The only difference I could tell was the 50/50 bulb was not made for plant growth. All the other bulbs grew plants just fine. I think all this talk misses the most important factor in all size tank as for as light, that is light penetration.

The best way to get penetration is by using the right reflector. Notice I said the right reflector and not the best. You don't need to penetrate as deep in a 15gal compared to a 75gal. If you are using the same Watts/gal you can get penetration to grow foreground plants in both tanks. How ever the 75gal tank would require the best reflector and 15gal you could get by with a plain cheap-o white one.

I hope I got my point across. I think the right reflector used is more important then watts/gal as long as you are in the 2-3w/gal range.

Hawk
 

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>>'what is the best way to determine ideal light level?'

i believe that experience is the best teacher. i have set up a few planted tanks in the 15- 35 range, and i know what plants i like and how i like them to grow.

when someone asks the question '75 gal tank how should i light it?' the reason there are so many answers is, that everyone who has tried to light one has come up with a different answer, based on their own exp's and ability to sink large amounts of money into them or not.

i like my 35 with 3 36" t-8 lamps (75 watts). i can grow the plants i want and the tank is pretty much hassle free once it sets in. others may want more light, others less. the guidelines for light are like the guidelines for fish stocking and that is, YMMV.

i believe that people should keep their options open when buying lights as much as possible. building (or buying) a hood with the ability to add more lamps, different lamps or disconnect some when the tank is the way you want it helps a lot.

jmo, rick
 

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Good points made by all. I want to add that the old "guideline" for determining appropriate lighting level, i.e., watts/gallon be heaped into the trashheap of past aquarium keeping, at least for planted tanks, much like the undergravel filter. What with newer bulbs having a greater output of light and with better reflectors, a compact fluorescent bulb packs much more punch than a regular fluorescent bulb of the same wattage and a metal halide probably even more. I made the mistake of adding three 96 W CF bulbs for my 90 gallon tall tank. The plants in the center of the tank would become all "bleached out" with so much light, and yet, I had a little over 3 watts/gallon.

Definitely decide on what kind of tank you want and how much time and how often you want to prune you aquascape.

As for the color temperature of the bulb, after seeing Senske's discus tank with 10,000K bulbs, I'm convinced that some plants will adapt to meet their needs. In this case, perhaps the ratio of certain pigments (photoreceptors) will increase to take advantage of this wavelength of light. Since replanting my 125 gallon tank with crypts, anubias, the lacey java fern, and even drawf hairgrass, the plants have grown, multiplied and look very healthy with a single 65W 50/50 compact fluorescent. It's been growing slowly and has been stable for about a year now without any algal outbreaks.

So your lighting needs depends on how much time you're willing to spend on your tank(s).
 

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quote:

I want to add that the old "guideline" for determining appropriate lighting level, i.e., watts/gallon be heaped into the trashheap of past aquarium keeping, at least for planted tanks, much like the undergravel filter.
Heh, except I just added a DIY version of the undergravel filter using perforated PVC pipes, and the tank has never looked better. I also had 3-96W AHSupply lamps/reflectors over my 90 and it was just too much work. Plus the heat was a problem. Much better with two lamps, which is about 2 WPG. So the rule of thumb does still work for certain tank sizes. I'm anti-carpet plant though, so it's just IMO.

quote:

I have used 8800k, 6700k, 9325K and a real learning experience with a 50/50 bulb that came with my first light kit.
I currently have 6700K lamps and I'm thinking of trying the 8800K lamps. How did you like them?

TW
 

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Anyone have specs on lumen output/watt on powercompacts vs t5/t8 flourescents?

Compact flo. conventional lightbulbs are very bright for wattage, so I am looking for actual specs to see if this applies in aquarium lighting.

Specifically Coralife 24" Aqualight Freshwater single strip 55W.
 

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I can't wait, I'm getting 2 150W HQI MH pendants delivered late this afternoon! I'm through with CF and that awful retrofit reflector hanging off my canopy lid which has sliced and diced me for the last time! While I like the look of CF, it seems to me that all that light is diffused a little too evenly and not concentrated and directed down to where I would like it. A 24" deep tank needs this type of light, IMO, if I want to keep 'scaping the way I do; plants in bunches and close together. That's what determines, for me, an ideal light level, where the bottoms or my stem plants can also get enough light. I plan to unscrew the lid off my canopy and just use the decorative cherry-stained wood rim to keep the pendants' light from flooding the room. I've always wanted an open top tank and finally, I'm getting it, albeit it is a plexiglass tank. with the cutout tops, but what the hey!...

I'll also be getting a shipment of plants today, as well, that I've never tried and that require high light intensity. As soon as they get settled in, I'll have to take some pictures.
 

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Just got 'em in last night and installed them immediately. Pretty easy, really. It is so nice to get all that crap off the top of my tank so that I can stick my arm in anytime to remove that pesky leaf floating around or use the long handled algae scrubber without trying to balance the lid/retrofit CF reflector. The effect was great, and the plants close to the substrate started pearling soon thereafter.

I had 256W CF lighting for 90 gallons and I traded up to only 300W of HQI MH lighting but the difference is astonishing. In my case, watts per square foot is more pertinent than watts per gallon. At 25W/sqft it seems, for now, to be enough...'til the electric company cuts me off!

One more thing about the Coralife retractible pendants. They're BIG, about 9.5" in diam. and at 6" above the water line with an 8' ceiling, they can't retract any further, which is fine...for now. I did what I said I was going to do and look the lid off my canopy and using just the 6" rim which keeps the room from being flooded with too much reflected light and it frames the aquarium nicely. This was my b-day present to myself and the reason I only have $20 left until the 15th! Oh well, today I also received my plant order, Drs.F&S order and my new TAG membership mags. A fitting b-day, although a few days early, indeed!
 

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Creature - just curious, do those pendants have any UV-coated glass shielding? Using an MH bulb without a UV glass shield on a planted tank could lead to some serious problems. I just noticed earlier that you mentioned that you've now got an open-top tank.
 

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I had to go check the PDF instruction manual at the website. Yes, it does have a UV shielded glass cover. I was thinking about that very thing last night after I had been working with my arm in the tank for about 4 hours, wondering if I was getting UV'd. It's great having the pendants because I can do minor 'scaping without it being a major production.
 

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creature,

what kelvin rating are your bulbs?
 

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update please! hows the growth! thanks!
 

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A little BUMP is in order.
 
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