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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I have a 20g Long and I was wandering,
What is the best lighting for medium-high lighting that will not need CO2?
Would T8's work?
Would T5HO work?
 

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All planted tanks need carbon... so all need CO2 or alternative source for carbon like liquid carbon supplements. If you go really high light for a prolonged period, then what (I think) you are worried about is the need to add CO2 gas to the tank from a generator or a pressurized tank.

My suggestion: you can always reduce your lighting by raising lights, leaving some off, etc. In your shoes, I would look into T5HO light fixtures that have more than one on/off switch. Invest in a good timer that will allow for multiple on/off durations per day and you can setup a great planted tank! :thumb:
 

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Here's a link to Hoppy's lighting chart, scroll down until you get to the 2nd chart:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/light ... 12-pc.html

A 20g long is only 13" high, you'll have an algae farm before long if you go with a T5HO fixture, even with only one bulb. I have 3 planted 20g long tanks set up, all heavily planted, the T5NO fixtures are perfect for them. Plant growth is slow, but steady, algae is almost non existent. There are a few T5NO fixtures out there, pm me if you would like to know where to buy them.

T8's would work also, but I've found the bulbs need to be replaced every 6 months or so.

I also dose all my smaller planted tanks with Excel, which is liquid carbon. 2mL a day is all you will need, so a 500mL bottle lasts quite a long time on a 20g tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok so i decided T5HO it is!
What plants will do GREAT with them?
I will have Serpea Tetra, Neon Tetra, Otocinclus catfish, and 1 pair of double red cockatoo cichlids.
 

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I would also consider how your fish will look with intense light. I had 5 14w cfls over mine 20 long and the looked really washed out. I need up pulling 2 of the bulbs and the llook alot better. The high light also caused the slowergrowing, lower light plants to do poorly. That said I'm switching to t5no soon gonna run one 6700 and an actinic.
 

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Aulonocara_Freak
Find the light, design how it will sit on the tank or above it and then pick plants. E.g. let's say you find a 24" fixture with one single t5ho AND a 2 bulb t5no 30"fixture. You may decide to go with the NO light simply because it could sit right on top of your 20g long.

If you find a 2 bulb t5ho fixture with separate switches then you will want to pick your plants accordingly. A lily (for example) might be exactly what you chose as it is a full sun plant that will then shade other plant choices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
what amount of lighting would a 2 T5NO give?
Would it give me low, medium, or high lighting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Grumblecakes said:
I would also consider how your fish will look with intense light. I had 5 14w cfls over mine 20 long and the looked really washed out. I need up pulling 2 of the bulbs and the llook alot better. The high light also caused the slowergrowing, lower light plants to do poorly. That said I'm switching to t5no soon gonna run one 6700 and an actinic.
I want to put cfl's over the tank but there are no hood's like that.
Where did u get yours?
Did u make it?

On my 10g I have a double bulb hood that has 2 x 13 watt 6500k and 800 Lumens bulbs. I wish i could do this on my 20g Long.
 

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Look at the link I gave you above. Hoppy's chart (he has a par meter, and has done extensive testing on lighting in the aquarium) puts 2 NO bulbs both sitting on top of the tank and 4" above the tank as medium light.

By comparison, you'd have to have 1xT5HO sitting 4" above the tank for high light. All my T5HO fixtures only sit 2" above the tank with legs, you would have to suspend the light from the ceiling or on brackets to get it 4" above the tank.

High light and pressurized co2 go hand in hand.
 

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Aulonocara_FreakDon't feel bad...
I don't understand the table that Lodonloco linked to and I have rented a PAR meter before!

The poster of that table neglects to post details that I find pretty darn important. He never seems to have tested many real world scenarios so I'm sorry, but I just don't find that link to be helpful.

Typically, this type of fixture ends up being low light that borders on insufficient lighting:
http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/209846/product.web
I can grow some plants under that light on such a low tank as a 20g long but not others that you'd think you ought to be able to. Personally, my fave light for a 20g tank is a two bulb T5 HO with seperate switches. I build my own lights with a great reflector so I am not sure if there is a commercial unit with two switches or not. You can hang the kit from a light hanging kit over glass hoods and I'd describe one bulb as medium light, both bulbs as high light using a hanging kit and glass lid.

In a perfect world, (which I get by wiring up my own lights) then I wire up the two bulb HO T5 fixture so that each bulb has it's own power supply and can be run off seperate timers. That way you can run one bulb for a full photo period and then start up the second bulb for that higher intensity mid-day sun effect! :thumb:

I hope this all helps.
 

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Number6 said:
Aulonocara_FreakDon't feel bad...
I don't understand the table that Lodonloco linked to and I have rented a PAR meter before!

The poster of that table neglects to post details that I find pretty darn important. He never seems to have tested many real world scenarios so I'm sorry, but I just don't find that link to be helpful.

Typically, this type of fixture ends up being low light that borders on insufficient lighting:
http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/209846/product.web
I can grow some plants under that light on such a low tank as a 20g long but not others that you'd think you ought to be able to. Personally, my fave light for a 20g tank is a two bulb T5 HO with seperate switches. I build my own lights with a great reflector so I am not sure if there is a commercial unit with two switches or not. You can hang the kit from a light hanging kit over glass hoods and I'd describe one bulb as medium light, both bulbs as high light using a hanging kit and glass lid.

In a perfect world, (which I get by wiring up my own lights) then I wire up the two bulb HO T5 fixture so that each bulb has it's own power supply and can be run off seperate timers. That way you can run one bulb for a full photo period and then start up the second bulb for that higher intensity mid-day sun effect! :thumb:

I hope this all helps.
To each his own I guess. I'm not a lighting guru, but find that table spot on. I totally disagree with putting T5HO over a 13" tank, I really think it's way to much light, especially without pressurized co2.

However, I totally agree with separate switches. All my T5HO fixtures have each bulb on a separate switch. I have a 26 gallon bow (excel and pps dosing daily) that is 19" high with 2xT5HO on separate switches. When I ran both bulbs at the same time, I started to see several types of algae starting to grow. I now have one light on for 4 hours, when it goes off, the next light goes on for 4 hours. No algae in this tank, ever, since I've changed the lighting scheme. Other tanks I run 3 hour mid day bursts.

I have three planted 20g longs, with a T5NO 2x18W fixtures on them (again, excel and pps dosing, the two tanks below also have soil/3M color quartz as substrate). I run both lights (67K and a pink bulb) 8 hours a day. Plant growth is slow, but steady. Here's a couple of pics I took today.....both of them are still works in progress:

Endler holding tank, not sure what it will hold next:


This tank holds 3 punks that were being bullys in my 125g and 5 serpa tetras, I love these tetras, such a beautiful color they are:
 

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londonloco said:
I totally disagree with putting T5HO over a 13" tank, I really think it's way to much light, especially without pressurized co2.
It might be, and it might not be... that's what I don't like about the chart. A bulb with a good reflector will shine anywhere from 60 to around 80% of it's light downwards... really great reflectors may get more, but you get the idea. No reflector immediately loses 50% of any light made. Glass tops will eat up to 12% of light IME.... not the 6% mentioned in one of his replies. Perhaps his lids were very thin or very clear glass? No idea... he doesn't say.

So, let's take a cheap 24" bulb at around 4100K (I'm cheap so I use standard sizes even on non-standard length tanks and love to go for cheap bulbs if I know I can).
with no reflector I lose 50% So, now I'm down to about 900 lumens... another 90 are eaten up by the glass lid. 820 lumens... it's only a CRI of 85, so how much red and blue light is now actually shining onto plant leaves? It was mostly green light to begin with...

Now, let's get back to the problem at hand... Aulonocara_Freak, you seem to be willing to order online, yes? If so, then you need to simply decide if this is sitting on top of the tank on it's own housing or legs or suspended. If it's going to be on top of the tank, then T5 NO (2 bulbs) or 1 T5 HO would likely be plenty depending on a few other choices.
If you'd like a few examples to choose from then I could post a recommendation as long as 30" light hoods were fine for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would like a fixture that clips/holds on to the rim of the tank rather that 1 of the fixtures that go on top of the glass lid. My price limit is $55~, If anyone knows of a hood that is T5HO please get me a link, also a DREAM hood would be a hood with 1 bulb blue/actinic and 1 T5HO bulb that has 2 switches so i can turn either bulb on when i want to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Aulonocara_Freak said:
I would like a fixture that clips/holds on to the rim of the tank rather that 1 of the fixtures that go on top of the glass lid. My price limit is $55~, If anyone knows of a hood that is T5HO please get me a link, also a DREAM hood would be a hood with 1 bulb blue/actinic and 1 T5HO bulb that has 2 switches so i can turn either bulb on when i want to.
ANYONE???
 

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When I first started to dabble in planted, I was pretty much where you are now. No real way to tell what would work and all the fixtures are an investment that may not work. So I built my own that is cheap and can be rearranged as much as needed. If you have minimal wood working skill but are willing and inventive, you can do it cheap.
I built a wooden frame to set on the tank edge and added bulb holders for CFL mini-twist bulbs. You can add more or take some out as you feel without any real expense. No wiring skills required.


Cheap, flexible, works, and doesn't have to be pretty as it is out of sight under the cover. I found it very handy to find what worked in my tank with my plants. Each tank is different anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
PfunMo, it looks like a good idea but is there a splash guard or anything like that?

Can u get me some pic's of the whole fixture?
Can u please tell me how u made it?

Thanks,
Aulonocara
 

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I have either glass lids or plexiglass laying across under the bulbs. Sometimes there are massive waves! For a picture of the whole fixture, it would only show as a wooden canopy as all the lights are inside and hidden. i have done these in a number of different ways for different tanks. The base of the whole idea is the construction bulb holders that have a screw down lid. The extention cord wire lays in grooves and when the lid screws down a metal probe pierces the wire insulation to make contact. Once wired and sure it is where I want it, I silicone the opening shut to seal it from water. Then I strap it to boards where I feel I want more light.
I get the best value buying cheap extention cords as they come with the plug already on and are cheaper than buying wire off a roll. Go figure?
This is one on a 55 with the cover open.

These are on glass under cover on a 75


The rest is just strapping the cord up where I want it and plugging it in.
Inside a planted 20

The 20 gallon tank closed on right, 75 on left


The last two are tanks that I wanted light some places and dark in others for CA cichlids
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
PfunMo, thanks!

Ok so that's an idea on a DIY fixture.

Aulonocara_Freak said:
I would like a fixture that clips/holds on to the rim of the tank rather that 1 of the fixtures that go on top of the glass lid. My price limit is $55~, If anyone knows of a hood that is T5HO please get me a link, also a DREAM hood would be a hood with 1 bulb blue/actinic and 1 T5HO bulb that has 2 switches so i can turn either bulb on when i want to.
anyone have an idea for this???
 
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