I want to know about your lighting set ups!

The place for all discussions not loach-related concerning freshwater fish keeping. All our members keep other fish so you may benefit from their experience.

Moderator: LoachForumModerators

Post Reply
User avatar
vealboy
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 3:05 am
Location: Cleveland, OH

I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by vealboy » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:45 am

I am finally going to replace the tank lids and standard issue lights on my 55gal planted community tank. I have already decided to get All Glass Versa Tops, but I cant decide what kind of lights I want to get, or how they might look installed. I know I need about 2-3 watts per gallon, but I would like some suggestions from you all, and of course pictures would be most helpful. I don't know if I should get a T5 set up with two 24" lights, or maybe a singular fixture at 48". Does anyone use LED to light their tanks?

Here is what I have:
Image

This set up in an anemic 36watts...

Not too much else to tell...it is a 55gal planted community tank with 2 clown loaches and 3 South American Cichlids. I have a powerhead there in left corner, and a HOB filter, a heater and some airstones.

UVvis
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:51 pm
Location: Central Florida

Re: I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by UVvis » Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:07 am

I have used T-5's on planted tanks before. For the depth of a 55gallon, you'd want at least two T-5's bulbs. Two 24" units each with 2 T-5's would be good. This also gives you the ability to mix blues and reds for a daylight color. Plus, with 24" units, you can try different tubes on different sides to see how your plants respond to your set up, so you can pick and choose the lights that give you the best color and growth.

I've used LED's quite a bit, for terrestrial and a bit for aquatic plants. The biggest obstacle most people have with LED units is that people are caught up in the wrong measurement mode. Watts per gallon is going to be a pointless measurement soon as LED's are becoming drastically more effecient. Most folks are going to PAR mearsuments at depth as it gives a 1:1 ratio of units of light energy.

Anyhow, the downside to LED's is the upfront cost. The pros are the longevity and lumen maintenance. Most metal halides last maybe 6 months. T-5's would be an annual replacement. LED's would be 5-10 years depending on your lighting demands.

Some of the less bright LED's are going to be good "all the time" lights with higher output options like halide and T-5's turning on to give you your 3-7 hour plant growth window.

What type of CO2 injection do you have, or want to move to?

User avatar
vealboy
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 3:05 am
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by vealboy » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:57 pm

Thanks for your thoughtful response about the lights. I found a 48" that has 4CF tubes, and 4 blue-ish LEDs from an online retailer. I think I like it because it alows me the flexiblity that you suggested with each half of the tank with different lighting if I choose and the thing has a timer. The fixture is supposed to crank out 260 watts, which seems to be about right for my needs. Here is a link to the manufacturer site: http://www.aquaticlife.com/products/296.

Here is a picture:
Image

As far as CO2 injection, I have none currently. What do you suggest?

UVvis
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:51 pm
Location: Central Florida

Re: I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by UVvis » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:11 am

When you step up your overall lighting for more plant growth, the higher plants have an increased CO2 demand. If you starve them for CO2, you'll end up with an effecient algae reactor. This is where the balance between plant nutrients comes into play with lighting and CO2. Then you have to adjust your balance based on demand. The overall goal is to keep the plants happy, which keeps algae at bay.

Before you commit to a light fixture, make sure to look over the lamp options available and see if they have lamps that will meet your needs, or at least options to play around with.

User avatar
vealboy
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 3:05 am
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by vealboy » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:23 pm

UVvis wrote:When you step up your overall lighting for more plant growth, the higher plants have an increased CO2 demand. If you starve them for CO2, you'll end up with an effecient algae reactor. This is where the balance between plant nutrients comes into play with lighting and CO2. Then you have to adjust your balance based on demand. The overall goal is to keep the plants happy, which keeps algae at bay.

Before you commit to a light fixture, make sure to look over the lamp options available and see if they have lamps that will meet your needs, or at least options to play around with.
So would you say that a CO2 set up is crucial?
I'm not overly concerned about algae, I plan to move a juvie pleco from my Q-tank to the 55 soon.

UVvis
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:51 pm
Location: Central Florida

Re: I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by UVvis » Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:19 am

With lots of lighting, CO2 is needed. A pleco wouldn't be able to keep up with the algae growth, and it could/would suffocate the plants.

User avatar
vealboy
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 3:05 am
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by vealboy » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:04 pm

UVvis wrote:With lots of lighting, CO2 is needed. A pleco wouldn't be able to keep up with the algae growth, and it could/would suffocate the plants.
Oh, ok so CO2 is pretty important then. I appreciate you spelling that out for me. Before I buy lights, I will also investigate a CO2 set up, thanks!

KittyKat
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:11 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany
Contact:

Re: I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by KittyKat » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:51 am

I have used everything from 0.5 wpg of T8s over a 24" deep tank to 7.2 wpg of T5s over a 12" tank, all with success. Light, nutrients and CO2 are all related to each other in that if you have more of one, you probably need more of the other two. But, it is possible to have a lot of light without so much of the others if you use floating plants. Without floating plants, I recommend 1-1.5 wpg of T5s, with floating plants, 1.5-2 wpg.

The most efficient and best value for money lighting currently available is T5 bulbs with an electronic starter unit/ballast. I use only non-aquarium branded cool daylight bulbs because there is often absolutely no difference between the two and I like the colour of them.

Standard T5s (28 W for a 4 ft bulb, for example) produce more light per watt than standard T8s (36 W, for a 4 ft bulb, produces the same amount of light as the 28 W T5), but high output T5s (54 W for a 4 ft bulb) produce about the same light per watt as T8s. You can increase the light by 30-90% by adding a reflector.

Cheap LEDs produce a lot less light than T5s or T8s per watt, but *very* expensive LEDs produce about the same or slightly more… the technology needs to develop some more, but it is moving in the right direction!
Kat
stock list | main display tank | 60 litre cycle log (ex- guide for beginners) | Flickr

User avatar
vealboy
Posts: 146
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 3:05 am
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by vealboy » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:10 pm

Thanks for your insight KK.

I ended up purchasing a 48" fixture with 2 high output T5s (1 Actinic and 1 10k Daylight) and 8 "moonlight" LEDs. I did not get the one that I have pictured in an earlier post, as it was cost prohibitive. This fixture seem to have what I want, and I spent just under $70 for it, which I thought was decent.

monicalovefish
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:33 pm

Re: I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by monicalovefish » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:55 pm

I use Seachem's Excel for my tanks as I'm scared to do the CO2 system. I tried once and nearly killed my ghost knife. I actually had to dump him into my other tank to revive him as he almost died. At this point, I'll stick to using the liquid stuff. You still need to be careful though as it can hurt the fish. I'm actually experimenting right now by taking out some algae laden plants and putting them outside in a a bucket with an algaecide to see if maybe they'll survive the experience.

Other than than, I've found that if you have the right amount of fertilizers, keep up with regular water changes, and reduce lighting if you suddenly see tons of algae, you'll be able to manage without a CO2 system. I also spot treat with Excel. Oh, ya...and if you're into plants...plant heavily as this will help with eating the additional nutrients. I use the Seachem fertilizers but there are lots of good ones out there to select from (Brightwell - even companies that do the dry powders and more). Have fun with your tank!

Image

User avatar
ClownLoachSharky
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:27 pm
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Re: I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by ClownLoachSharky » Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:13 am

mine.
Image
Image

they are diy 20w led floodlights from ebay. dong good for the plants so fat but if i didnt have plants, i would have gone for 2 for my 4ft.

they are very bright.
Image

and tank filled
Image
Image
You wouldnt have that problem with a V8

starsplitter7
Posts: 5054
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:04 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by starsplitter7 » Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:05 pm

I really like that stone/stick piles. Looks good and natural.

I have to cover my tanks to prevent my fish from bailing.

monicalovefish
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:33 pm

Re: I want to know about your lighting set ups!

Post by monicalovefish » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:26 pm

I agree. I have glass tops too and need them for my more active jumpers. Heck, every once in a while my ghost knife does some sort of jumping up in the middle of the night so I don't want to loose him either. But, I've been thinking of building a frame using mesh and window like corners to put under my lights for the summer (found a youtube video showing that one). The lights for some reason really heat up the aquarium too much in the summer so I need a way to vent without my Bala sharks going kamikaze. I can't really afford a chiller at this point so I've been putting some little suction cups under the glass edge to let the air out for now (seems to work) but I definitely want to build a screen to improve ventilation.

Moni

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests