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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Light for Planted 100 gal?

I am looking into getting a new light fixture for my 100gal Planted freshwater tank.
I currently have a Coralife with four 6700K 65watt bulbs. The light is on 10 hours a day.
I am having issues with the fan in this fixture as well as other breakage problems...only had it about 2 years boo! It is in need of new bulbs, but if I can find a better light fixture I will buy that instead of buying all new bulbs.

In the tank...
Fish - Botias, Rasboras, Bristlenose Plecos, and Hatchetfish.
Plants - 2 Red Melon Swords, Vallisneria, Red & Bronze Wendtii (Crypt), and Crypt undulata.
I don't want TOO much light.. my melon sword has started to flatten out a bit more, although shes still producing lots of little plants! I have heard the flattening out can be a sign of too much light? Anyone know if thats the case?
Picture of tank attached.

Anyways, the tank is a 5 foot 100gal, so i obviousely need either two lights, or one big one. The space where there is glass on the top measures (2x) 27.5inches.

So.. light fixtures/brands that are good, and types of lights and watts/spectrum


Thanks!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 04:47 PM
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I love T5 compact florescents but that might be too much light. Maybe go for regular power compacts . Power compact bulbs give you more output for less watts. They don't cost as much electricity to run and they don't give off much heat. Oh, and they last longer .

As for brand recommendations, I'm not sure what your ideal price range is. It's been a while since I've kept planted freshwater tanks larger than nano-sized (my current Walstad set-up is only 5-gallons so I used a regular incandescent hood and swapped the incandescent bulb for a Coralife power compact) but I do use power compacts for my marine aquariums.




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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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I have no idea what I need to be looking for haha
Im willing to spend a good deal. I kinda love my plants

For freshwater plants, how much does wattage matter? for a 100gal, 20 or so inches deep, would 56 watts be close to enough? I know ive heard the 2-3 wpg all over, but i was recommended these T5 lights that only have 56 watts altogether. I currently have 260wpg.

????

Would something like this be overkill??
http://www.bigalsonline.com/Fish_Lig...tml?tc=default
The wpg would be less than i have, and instead of 6700K it would be 10000K - whats best for plants? between 5000-7000 is what ive read, but i read different wherever i go...

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 12:40 AM
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Wattage doesn't really matter as much with T5 bulbs. There's probably some "rule" that I'm not aware of, though!

That might be overkill (you could probably get away with a cheaper fixture) but the cool thing about those kinds of fixtures is that you can control bulbs separately to a degree. Usually two bulbs will be controlled by one timer/switch. So if you think the plants are getting too much light, you can turn off half the bulbs or set it to keep them on only for a little away per day. It would give you a lot of flexibility.

I would consider switching one of actinic bulbs for one in the range of 6500-10000K if you feel like your plants aren't growing well or if you get nuisance algae. The actinics don't do much for most plants, they're more for aesthetics (especially in marine aquariums--the actinics give the tanks a more "blue" look). They're neat bulbs, just useless for plant growth.




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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Ok sweet. So... let me get this right... haha
I can have bulbs with 10000K and thats okay. No actinics unless i want them, and wattage doesnt matter much. sweet!
So how do I know that I cant just buy one or two little T5s and be okay? Or that another would be overkill? What do I need to be looking for when im shopping?
I really like having timers on both "sets" of lights. Ive always wanted my tank lights to automatically turn half on in the morning to lessen the fright of the fish, and turn half off in the evening so they dont just go into pitch darkness haha. So it would be nice to find something like that, but I havent seen that on any smaller lights yet..
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nik8806 View Post
Ok sweet. So... let me get this right... haha
I can have bulbs with 10000K and thats okay. No actinics unless i want them, and wattage doesnt matter much. sweet!
So how do I know that I cant just buy one or two little T5s and be okay? Or that another would be overkill? What do I need to be looking for when im shopping?
I really like having timers on both "sets" of lights. Ive always wanted my tank lights to automatically turn half on in the morning to lessen the fright of the fish, and turn half off in the evening so they dont just go into pitch darkness haha. So it would be nice to find something like that, but I havent seen that on any smaller lights yet..
Yup, the 10000K bulbs are just fine for plant growth.

To be honest, it's hard to say since every tank is different. You would definitely need at least two bulbs but whether or not you actually need four bulbs is going to depend. They probably wouldn't hurt and you could always mess with the settings, though. Do you use CO2 injection, add Flourish Excel, or use fertilizers at all? More light usually means more growth (to an extent), but only if they have enough carbon source available. In other words, if you don't use any additives, extra lighting probably won't cause more growth (but it's not going to hurt anything since none of your plants are low-light IMO).

Yeah, those kinds of features are usually only on the fixtures that house at least four bulbs. I run some form of power compact lighting on all of my tanks (except the brackish tank but now that it's been converted to "marine" conditions I'm going to set up a T5 fixture for it) and the only fixture that lets me do that has four bulbs. So if you want that kind of control, it looks like the fixture you found would be ideal .

P.S. Although LED moonlights are pretty much useless, I'm not going to deny that they're really cool, haha!




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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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haha they are cool! I would only use them to see my fish at night before i go to bed i guess. They arent needed.
Yeah. no CO2. im not sure i want to fool with that. I add fertilizers (excel for the most part) when I do water changes at the LEAST. which is about once a week. Im actually in the process right now of making a log sheet so I can keep up on fertilizers better.
My main reason for getting rid of this light is this stupid fan. its going off right now and all i want to do is smash this light to pieces!


Thanks so much for your help! lights are kinda confusing! lol
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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What is this 650, 400something nm
what is best? does it really matter? some lights are coming with sayyy a 6000K lamp and a 650nm lamp.....?? what?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 06:23 PM
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What's wrong with the fan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nik8806 View Post
What is this 650, 400something nm
what is best? does it really matter? some lights are coming with sayyy a 6000K lamp and a 650nm lamp.....?? what?
That's referring to the light wavelength in nanometers. The pigments in a plant absorb light at specific peaks in the wavelength. Photosynthesis is usually the most effective at two peaks, one around 430nm and one around 680nm (because Chlorophyll a absorbs light the best at those wavelengths). Other plants (and algae) will vary but not in your situation.

Those two wavelengths you mentioned would be fine. If you want to really take advantage of wavelengths, mix a few different kinds of bulbs.

In case you're curious, these "peaks" translate to violet-blue and orange-red light. They (the plants you have) absorb green and yellow light very poorly which is why they're green--the green light is getting reflected off instead of absorbed .

Most plants don't seem to grow well with actinic bulbs alone (even though blue light is one of the peaks, they make better use of the other peak) and there is some evidence suggesting that actinics cause plants to focus on growing upward (they "think" that they're being shaded and need to reach towards the sun), leading to more straggly (not lush and bushy) plants. Many algae species also make better use of the blue light than plants do which could technically lead to algae growth (not usually an issue in mature, well-maintained tanks but I figured I'd throw it out there). The only reason to use actinic bulbs is to get a more blue color or as evening "moonlight" type lighting. There's no problem with doing that, many people do. But if you don't like the "blue" look, just switch out the bulbs for more daylight bulbs .

As for the numbers like 6000K and 10000K...all you really need to know is that it's referring more to what the bulbs will look like. Higher numbers closer to 10000K will produce a crisp white light, getting more blue as the number gets higher (12000K is really blue!). Lower numbers like 6000K will be more yellow-ish, looking more like sunlight. And of course the actinics are deep blue or purple.

Hopefully that helps a bit. I'm definitely far from being an expert on lighting, though, so if anyone reading this can chime in, great!




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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much! You have helped!
I am thinking I will TRY and find two 24" fixtures with double T5 bulbs. Its hard to find T5NO though, and freshwater as well aaahh
Wish me luck! lol
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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http://www.bigalsonline.com/Fish_Lig...s.html?tc=fish

Do you think something like this would be enough? Having one of these on either side of the aquarium? Thats only like 56 wpg. And it has one Colormax Full Spectrum and one 6700K T-5....

I can switch the bulbs I guess.

Im finding it hard to find something simple haha

Oh... and the fan... the fan... grrrr.
It will be nice and quiet, working perfect, then it slowly starts to make this horrible loud noise and sounds almost like its rattling in there. I go and hit the top of the light and it will shut up for maybe.... 10-30min. then its back. I can hear it all the way upstairs and to the front of the house! I actually got fed up with hitting it every 10 min and about 30min ago i went and turned half the light off. my poor fish and plants are probably getting annoyed, with both me turning off the light and hitting the top of it.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 07:12 PM
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Argh, had a long response and it got deleted.

You don't need a "freshwater" fixture, they're all the same thing. If a fixture says it's for marine, it probably has more "blue" bulbs (like actinics and 10000Ks). If it says for freshwater, it probably has bulbs in the yellow 6000K-7000K-ish range). Either way, you'll probably find yourself swapping bulbs around .

That fixture might work. You won't have control of both bulbs separately, though, like with the first one. The output would probably be similar to what you have now but a little better (you have four regular florescent lights right now, I think?).

Also, to help clear up the color temperature thing...

I went through old photos to show the different colors you get with various bulbs . The first few are of the same general area (different times but same camera...only thing varying is the lighting).

Actinics only:



10000K daylights only:



3 daylight 10000K bulbs and one actinic (sorry, closest picture I have to that rock) :



50/50 mix of 10000K daylights and actinics:



Freshwater 6700K:



5000K-6000K (can't remember but note the yellow tint) :






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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-07-2011, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting! Yeah all my lights say is they are 6700K 65watts each. I can definitely see the difference though! Very cool.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-08-2011, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, just to get your opinion... Im leaning towards that first huge light fixture...
http://www.marineandreef.com/Aquatic.../ral01035f.htm
This one. And thinking that I will get two, for each side, and maybe only keep one switch on and see how that goes? They are only 24w each. but you said wattage doesnt matter as much, and im trying to get over that haha.
I like the fact that it has No fan, and has timers for all lights.
Do you think just having two T5HOs on each side of my tank would be too much?? I really dont want any more algae than I have, which isnt much at all. And from what I understand my plants dont really need TOO much light. But I just cant find many T5NO fixtures that seem good enough.
Otherwise I was looking at this one...
http://www.marineandreef.com/Aquatic...p/ral20142.htm
Or Just found this one! Which is the exact length of my tank....hmm -the lights themselves are only 48inches long though... But the reviews on this light are all excellent... maybe ill go with one of these last two
http://www.marineandreef.com/Aquatic.../ral01186f.htm
Thanks Again!

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-08-2011, 04:28 PM
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I think getting the last one would make more sense, as opposed to having to buy two fixtures. I know you said you like the first one because there's no fan but that's not a good thing at all. These fixtures can get pretty hot even when a fan IS running! Not having a fan is going to mean a shorter life for both the bulbs and the fixture (might also give you issues with tank temperature, too).

To prevent the fans from having problems, check them over every so often and clean off any dust.




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