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made custom lighting...still not happy
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dgaddis1
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Joined: 11 Dec 2005
Location: Statesboro, GA

PostPosted: 2006.01.14(Sat)21:44    Post subject: made custom lighting...still not happy Reply with quote

I have a 29 gallon tank. The hood came with one 24" flourescent bulb. I'm just getting into live plants. All the 24" blubs I could find were only 20W, and I've heard you should have at least 1W per gallon. So, I gutted the stock 24" lighting fixture and put in two 18" fixtures instead. Each bulb is now 15W, so I have a total of 30W. But, the tank still doesn't seem bright enough, but maybe it's because nearly everything is black (gravel, background, and artificial root decoration....everything but the fish and plants). Maybe I need to add more plants to brighten it up. I got the new fixtures out of two "under cabinet" lighting systems I found at a local home improvement place.

The plants don't seem to be growing fast at all. Would upgrading the bulbs to aquarium specific bulbs help? Any other ideas? I'm looking for the lowest cost approach. I've looked into compact flourescent lighting, but it seems really expensive. Thanks for any advice!

PS, just in case it matters, I have 2 paradise fish, 1 curvier bichir, 1 blood parrot, and a huge snail.
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Marcos Avila
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: Santo Andre (Brazil)

PostPosted: 2006.01.17(Tue)3:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's really no way to get enough lighting with only 2x15 W fluorescents in a 100 liter tank like yours. That's just 0.3 W/L, pretty low for almost all plant species.

Since you're posting this in the DIY forum, consider the possibility of redoing your whole hood by yourself. You can transfer the electrical installation of the two 15W tubes into the new DIY hood, then add two more installations for 20 W tubes (24"), which you can buy from a hardware store.

The good news is that this will give you 70 W of fluorescent lighting, which is good enough that you won't need to worry about buying more expensive specialized tubes, the common daylight ones from hardware stores are OK to grow many plant species.

Since you mentioned your population, your tank isn't big enough for a Cuvier's Bichir, and actually a bit too tight for a Blood Parrot as well.
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Oscer
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Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Location: South Africa

PostPosted: 2006.01.17(Tue)8:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my 100L I use just normal round bulb fittings, along with those energy saver bulbs. My water has a bit of a tint so I use a few "Cool White" and a "Blue" one and it gives a real nice spectrum, and next to natural light it's the cheapest Very Happy And it has the ballast inside the bulb, so more room to work.

Here's a pic of the blue one.

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McP
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Joined: 24 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2006.01.17(Tue)10:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out www.ahsupply.com for some good retrofit kits
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Oscer
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Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Location: South Africa

PostPosted: 2006.01.20(Fri)7:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice link, McP

The only thing I don't like is that they use electronic ballasts; I have found that they tend not to last very long.
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number6
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Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 2006.01.20(Fri)9:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oscer wrote:
The only thing I don't like is that they use electronic ballasts; I have found that they tend not to last very long.
Really? Many cheap electronic ballasts are very sensitive to humidity which is why I prefer to wire mine up as remote to the hood. Cuts down on heat as well.

Then I find they last longer than the magnetic ballasts.
When they do fail at least they just quit working as well, no tar dripping out!
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Oscer
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Joined: 03 Nov 2005
Location: South Africa

PostPosted: 2006.01.20(Fri)12:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not saying electronic ballasts are bad, I use them in two of my tanks and they work fine and are not as heavy as the magnetic ballasts.

But in my experience, magnetic ballasts handle humidity and heat better (for obvious reasons) than electronic ones and I
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