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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Talk to me like I'm stupid.... I won't take offense.

I bought a 75 gallon tank and want to have it heavily planted. I love having thick green places for small fish to hide and do fishy like things. So what kind of lighting do I need? I bought a glass lid and a 48 inch strip light. I don't see any other bits of information on it. How do I know if it's bright enough?

I'm looking at the back of my strip light now. It's made by Marineland. It's holds a 48 inch light. On the back it says: Rated 120 VAC, 60 Hz, 40W.

What does that mean? The bulb says NOTHING except that it too is made by Marineland. It's Fluorescent.. thats all I know. It lights up the tank well enough but I'm interested in growing some really healthy plants. Should I keep this and add something else? Change the bulb? I'm lost lost lost...
 

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What you have is not nearly good enough for A lot of the plants you might want. Also when you get into really serious plant keeping there is a lot more involved that lighting. In a 75 gal aquarium, you are going to need in the neighborhood of about 3 watts per gallon, there again depending on the plants you choose. Also there is the proper substrate, co2 dosing, etc. Lots involved in keeping nice plants. Thats why i dont try :) Im not trying to discourage you by any means, but having a nicely planted aquarium, is like a lot of other things, If youre gonna do it right you gotta do it right. There are also other options, using plants that are less dependent on intense lighting but etc., we need to know how serious you are.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well I don't mind putting some money into more lighting, but not really considering the c02 dosing just yet... maybe some other time. So basically I'm running about 1.87 watts of light per gallon. To increase that to 3 watts, what do I need to do? Buy another light strip? I didn't know you could run two at the same time.
 

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Well there are plants that only need about what you have now, they are designed to be used in tanks with low light, Any good plant sight will show you what they are. off the top of my head im gonna say crypts, and i had pretty good luck with, amazon swords, in a low light setup.
 

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that is to support, plants that require a lot of light. Normally in a tank like that your talking compact fluorescent or T5. Did you look at some of the setups in our plant section ??
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I looked at a few..

Right now I've got some Amazon swords, java moss, and well I don't know what the others are called. I'll get the name of them tomorrow. I simply don't want to be using the bare minimum.. that's all. And I'd like to have a heavily carpeted tank so I'm thinking I need the better lights. When I looked at the t5's, that did't give me nearly 200 watts though which is what you're saying I need. =(
 

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Not sure where you got 1.87 watts per gallon, but if you take 40 watts and divide that by 75 gallons you only have about .5 watts per gallon... I have the same set up, and what I did was get a 18" compact florescent and put that on one end and the strip on the full tank... basically I have more light at one end than the other... Then I put my high light plants on the one end and the low light plants on the other... You can see pics in my photo album... Mine seem to be doing good... Someone on this forum also told me that they just used 2- 2 bulb shop lights... that gives you 4 bulbs, and it worked good for them... this particular person has over 15 tanks, and I would assume they would know if it worked... I am thinking on trying that myself... you can pick them up at Lowes for about 20 bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, I did the math wrong. The more I read about this, the more I'm getting confused. Some sites say watts isn't as important as lumins... light quality etc... Ugh! I'm hitting up the fish store in about 2 hours.
 

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Forget about what everyone has said for now...sorry guys....and first determine what type of tank you want and how much time/money you can spend on it weekly. There are low tech tanks, mid-tech, and high-tech.

A low tech tank can be run up to about 1wpg with slow growing plants that do not need high light, regular gravel, and no CO2 and minimal nutrients.

As you go higher, you will need more lights and 3wpg is a good cut off. At this level, you can grow most plants, but low level plants will suffer. You will proabaly want a better substrate than gravel, and you will want CO2 and nutrients. You will also need to have good filtration and plan to spend some time pruning plants on a weekly basis.

Now to throw a wrench into everything I stated above, the wpg is not a hard fast rule, due to the various types of lights out there now. These T5 V/HO lights have more lumens and will have more penetration power than another bulb even at the same wattage. You also have to look at the color spectrum of the bulb. You want a range between 6700K and 10,000k (yellow to white) for best plant growth.

I am currently running 1 6700k and 1 10,000 54w T5 HO bulbs on my 75g tank. This is about 1.5wpg, and I still dose with nutrients and CO2, since I am using T5s. Hope this clarifies a few misconceptions. Once you figure out what type of tank you want, we can fine tune what you will need.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah, thanks for the input. I've already got the tank up and running so it's too late to start over with gravel. I'm going to the store in about an hour. It's a high end shop so I'm sure they'll have the answers I need.
 

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If you plan on buying anything and the store is pushing for this and that....write down the product and prices. Do not buy anything there, just yet. Chances are you can get it cheaper online (especially light setups). Most "high end" shops still cannot do a good planted tank....good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Been to this place a few times and they've never been pushy. I was back and forth on a tank for a couple of weeks and they never pressured me on anything. Only problem is I didn't ask enough equstions about the lighting.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Okay..guy there told me I should get the following:

48" Glo T5 HO double 108W (2-54W)... I know it's only 108w total, but his argument is wats isn't as important as lumens etc... I was reading this article which would support this.

Aquarium Lighting; Kelvin, Nanometers, PAR, Bulb, Watt, MH, LED, light basics.

He also suggested two different bulbs... sun glo and power glow for the different light spectrums etc. Over all it's only about $200 or so... does this seem a better alternative to my crappy 40 watt light strip?

***crap*** Just read a review where the person loved the fixture but said it couldn't be used with a glass top.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Damn don't you people play on the net 24 hours a day like I do? I was hoping to get an answer on this before leaving for the day so I could take it back. LOL! Apparently you can't use the leg risers when using a glass top. You can, however, lay it directly on the glass. I worry that would transfer too much heat though.
 

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Well I don't mind putting some money into more lighting, but not really considering the c02 dosing just yet... maybe some other time. So basically I'm running about 1.87 watts of light per gallon. To increase that to 3 watts, what do I need to do? Buy another light strip? I didn't know you could run two at the same time.
Let's not make this too hard and hopefully I am not repeating what others have already posted.

4' tank almost cry out (my opinion) for 2 tube cheapie utility fixtures from home depot. Last time I got some they were $8/fixture. And 6500k tubes were like $7/package (2 tubes).
With narrow reflector fixtures you can get 3 over a 75 g and each tube is 32W (t-8) or 40w (t-12) 32*6=172W, 40*6=240w. or 2-3 w/g or so.

So you should be able to keep just about any plants with those fictures. In fact 2 would probably due fine.



my .02
 
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