Advice please - Should I add lighting? ***Updated with pics!

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Mr Bee, 28 Jan 2009.

  1. Mr Bee

    Mr Bee Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    Hi, I've had my current tank and stock for about 1 - 1.5 years and the light never worked from buying it, but I wasn't bothered about using it really. This is mainly due to my previous experience when I had a goldfish and a few white cloud mountan minnows - whenever I switched the light on or off it seemed to shock the fish and make them go crazy for a few minutes.
    This is why when I started my tropical tank I never bothered to repair or replace the built in light, and have since just removed it all and cut all the cables!!


    Anyway, last summer I got some RCS and then put some spiky moss and a cladophoria (sp?) ball in for them. They loved the moss, and during summer it was coming on nicely, and spreading and bushing out. But since the days have got shorter and darker around winter, and less daylight, it has gradually died off, and now I only have a couple of tiny bits left :(

    Should I add some lighting to bring it back, and if so what sort of lighting could I use? - would have to be something easy to attach and be a kind of stand alone unit really. I've seen this LED light bar on ebay, what do you think:-

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=360094324168


    Would turning lights on and off shock or scare my tetra's or the shrimp?
    How long does a light need to be on each day?
    And do you need to wait for it to be generally daytime (i.e.- light) before switching on, so as to avoid a kind of "Oh my god! - Its suddenly very light in here!!" feeling from the fish?


    Please help, I'd love to revive my moss, but also want to be nice to my fish and shrimps too!
     
  2. Egmel

    Egmel Member

    Messages:
    724
    Location:
    Guildford, Surrey, UK
    Re: Advice please - Should I add lighting?

    Ok, so yes fish usually are a bit startled by the lights coming on and going off but nothing that lasts more than a few moments.

    For a tank such as yours you should be able to have the lights on for just a few hours a day - maximum would be about 8hrs.

    You don't need to wait for natural daylight, it will be shock to them regardless of the the magnitude of the change. If you watch them they'll react the same when the sun comes out from behind a cloud! It's just the change in lighting that makes them more wary until they realise that they're still safe. It's a natural survival response.

    I'm not sure the LED bar will be enough for the moss, you might need to get a T5 or a T8 light fitting (a fluorescent tube type). You don't say what size your tank is but as a rule of thumb with T8 or T5 lights you probably want about 1W per US Gallon or less. So if you have a 20G tank then I'd look at putting a 15w light in there.

    I can recommend the arcadia light ballasts (that's the official name for the bit that powers the bulbs) they've always worked well for me. They're also quite easy to fit, you just have to screw in a couple of holders and then pop the bulb into place.

    Get back to us with the size/type of your tank and then we can probably help more.
     
  3. Mr Bee

    Mr Bee Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    Re: Advice please - Should I add lighting?

    I have a 60L (13 UK gallons) Tetra Aqua-Art tank, but as I say, I removed the original light unit, so the inside of the lid is just bare. But if it's easy to add some lighting, and it will all be waterproof and safe then that would be cool 8)
     
  4. Egmel

    Egmel Member

    Messages:
    724
    Location:
    Guildford, Surrey, UK
    Re: Advice please - Should I add lighting?

    Right well I don't know much about that tank but a quick google suggests thatyou're not the only one to have had problems with the lights.

    The light that was in there before was a 15w and you could probably replace it with something similar. You'll have to measure what space you have and find a fitting that will fit. If you take photos and get some dimensions then people on here should be able to suggest alternatives.

    As I say I can highly recommend the arcadia T8 lighting ballast but these are all I really have experience with when it comes to modifying a tank lid.
     
  5. GreenNeedle

    GreenNeedle Member

    Messages:
    2,706
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Re: Advice please - Should I add lighting?

    You could go open top (ditch the hood) and then get a clip on Superfish 18W which would let you go planted. Also means no ballast.

    AC
     
  6. Mr Bee

    Mr Bee Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    Re: Advice please - Should I add lighting?

    I've been looking at the Arcadia Ultraseal light controllers, it looks like they just plug onto the ends of a light tube with watertight sealed plugs, and the light tube glass itself is the exposed surface - Is that right?

    As long as its safe, they look quite good units, and reasonably priced too. What's all the stuff about T5 or T8?? It seems if I want a 15W though, its a T8.

    Here's a couple of pictures of my tank lid:-
    Lid1.jpg

    Lid2.jpg

    The 'wall' in the picture obviously faces downwards when the lid is closed, so this could be a possible piece of the lid to attach the light to I'm thinking. It seems you just need to attach (by screws) clips to a surface and then clip the tube of the light into them - yeah??


    This is the light controller I've seen, the 14/15W model - http://www.swelluk.com/aquarium/aqu...eal-light-controllers-single-double-6666.html

    Are bulbs a standard size, just different wattage? The same shop has 14W and 15W tubes for sale, at 360mm & 450mm respectively. I'm guessing the 360mm 14W one would be enough, as the 15W might be too long to fit in really. Also, there are "Freshwater Lamps" and "Tropical Lamps" - what's the difference, and which would I need?? It seems the Tropical one is better for plants according to the info on the site.

    Freshwater - http://www.swelluk.com/aquarium/aqu...l-units-184/arcadia-freshwater-lamp-6672.html

    Tropical - http://www.swelluk.com/aquarium/aqu...-184/arcadia-original-tropical-lamp-6669.html


    Any more thoughts, ideas or advice is greatly welcomed :D
     
  7. Egmel

    Egmel Member

    Messages:
    724
    Location:
    Guildford, Surrey, UK
    Re: Advice please - Should I add lighting?

    It's good to see someone doing their homework so thoroughly :D

    Yes those were the light fittings I was talking about and I think that wall looks a good place to connect the light clips too. Just make sure the light wont actually be in the water when you close the lid.

    Here's a picture of how I used those fittings in my old tank lid.
    2377791958_a74d710c13_b.jpg

    T5 and T8 relate to the diameter of the bulb(lamp). A T8 lamp is an inch across a T5 is 5/8th of an inch (I think) so you can't mix and match.

    However you can use any T8 bulb of the correct length/wattage (even just one you find in B&Q) there are some more (and cheaper ones) available at Lampspecs. I've used them and they're service was great, others on here have found the same.

    Which colour bulb is up to you, since you're only growing low light plants then you should choose the colour that you like best as the plants will use it anyway, yes a plant specific one will probably be better for your plants but at the low levels we're talking about the difference will be negligible- though something like the grolux looks less bright to human eyes but still offers the plants a good amount of light. There are a couple of threads worth reading before you decide:
    James' Sticky where he tests different colour bulbs
    The general lighting tutorial

    Any desicion you make about light colour isn't permanent as it only costs you the price of a bulb to change it :D

    All of this assumes that you only want to grow low light level plants, if you change your mind at a later date you could easily add a couple more lights in that hood and go for a high tech system. :twisted:
     
  8. Mr Bee

    Mr Bee Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    Re: Advice please - Should I add lighting?

    Oh yes, I like to research something I don't know about well before going into it! Thanks for the advice and info Egmel, it was very useful and worthwhile :D

    I've decided I'm definately gonna go for a ballast setup, most likely one of the Arcadia ultraseal ones, with a 14W T8 lamp. I just need to decide on the lamp colour really now.

    Oh, one more thing, would you reccomend using a reflector above the light tube? If nothing else to minimise the amount of heat being applied by the lamp to the plashic hood - I'm scared of it getting too hot, or melting!!
     
  9. Egmel

    Egmel Member

    Messages:
    724
    Location:
    Guildford, Surrey, UK
    Re: Advice please - Should I add lighting?

    A reflector is probably a good idea, not so much for heat reasons, more for making the most of the light reasons.
     
  10. Mr Bee

    Mr Bee Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    Re: Advice please - Should I add lighting?

    I got myself an Arcadia ballast unit, and a Interpet Triplus Tropical buld from the LFS, and have fitted it today :D :D

    The bulb I think is a Triphosphor bulb - if that means 3 light peaks? - with red, green and blue spectrum peaks according to the packaging! And it also says it has a built in reflector, which is why; I assume; the bulb has a 2-tone effect to it when lit.

    Here's the tank before:-
    Before.jpg

    And after:-
    After2.jpg

    The lamp gives a kind of pinkish/reddish glow which I realy like.


    I'm not sure which way up the lamp is supposed to be though.... There is one part which looks brighter, and one part which looks like it may be coated. I have put the brightest looking part upwards at the moment, because that had the interpet logo and some writing printed on it, so I assumed that was the 'back' of the bulb. And so, the part which looks coated, or more matt, is facing down to the tank - I just assumed the coating was giving the specific light output designed to promote plant growth?

    You can see the 2-tone look in the pic below:-
    Bulb.jpg


    I'm really pleased with the result, totally transforms the look of the tank. Here's what is left of my moss, I'm hoping the use of lighting may just promote it back to recovery:-
    Moss.jpg


    And just because it was lit up nicely, and close the glass sitting still - a gratuitous picture of a RCS :D 8)
    Shrimpy.jpg
     
  11. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    It should be the other way round! The internal reflector on the top half. Funny why they put the logo on the other bit though. :?:
     
  12. Mr Bee

    Mr Bee Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Wakefield, West Yorkshire
    OK thanks Ed, I better swap it round the other way then!!

    Thanks for letting me know :D
     
  13. Egmel

    Egmel Member

    Messages:
    724
    Location:
    Guildford, Surrey, UK
    So you can easily see the make/model when you need to change it without having to take the bulb out ;)
     
  14. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    That's some great DIY skills :) tank looks loads brighter now :)

    Don't forget, with the extra lighting you'll probably need to add fertiliser for the plants and CO".

    Sam
     
  15. Egmel

    Egmel Member

    Messages:
    724
    Location:
    Guildford, Surrey, UK
    Shouldn't have thought so, it's not extra lighting, it's just a replacement of the original one. Still only about 1WPG. For mosses etc it should be fine and the most I'd add is some trace.

    Now if you want to go high tech.... then that's a completely different matter :twisted:
     

Share This Page

Facebook Page
Twitter Page
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice