Can anyone point me in the right direction please?

ollyhtafc

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Hi, i would like to buy some lighting (both starter units and lamp) for my 20 gallon long clear seal tank. However i'm just getting a bit confused looking online! Could someone please kindly point me in the right direction of what i should be looking at?
The main problem i have is length of light starter unit. Does the length of your tank restrict what light starter unit you should buy, and therefore what wattage of bulb? I've been researching the topic and i know a little bit on it but this stumps me.
If someone could reccomend a product that would be fantastic. Thank you.
 

Steve Smith

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Hi Olly, welcome to the forums :)

Basically, the length of your tank will dictate what maximum wattage tubes you can have. The starter unit itself is usually in the cupboard away from the tank, with the tube clipped into your existing hood. Each wattage of tube is a specific length (most of the time). For instance:

T5 tube Lengths (inches/wattage):

22" - 24 watt
34" - 39 watt
46" - 54 watt
60" - 80 watt

T8 tube Lengths (inches/wattage):

15" - 15 watt
18" - 15 watt
24" - 20 watt
30" - 25 watt
36" - 25 watt
36" - 30 watt
42" - 40 watt
48" - 40 watt
60" - 58 watt

This is all fine untill you look at replacement light bar units, or luminaires. You can get Arcadia I-Bars which are an all in one unit designed to sit on your tank, with plastic flaps (bought seperately I think). Much like the Juwel aquarium light units. This is an all in one light starter/double tube setup. You would need to buy the correct length for this as it sits on your tank rim and replaces your hood.

Luminaires are similar, but sit higher and are designed for open top aquariums (as a lot of us on this forum favour!). Again, you'd need to make sure you get one that fits your tank. Luminaires have more options though. You can buy an 80cm luminaire with either T8 or T5 tubes, and either 2 or 4 tubes. Often you can buy something like 4x 24w or 4x 39w in the same length too. Much more flexibility, but often a lot more expensive.

I hope that helps, and makes sense :)
 

ollyhtafc

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So the best possible option for my 30inch tank would be 30" - 25 watt T8?

My aquarium is open top i don't see the point in buying a lid. I plan to buy a reflector (which i see are pretty cheap) and make my own stand for the lights using drain pipe or something similar from a DIY store.

P.S i remember you ha!
 

Steve Smith

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ollyhtafc said:
So the best possible option for my 30inch tank would be 30" - 25 watt T8?

It does also depend on what you want to grow. 25 watt won't give you a high light tank but it'd be sufficient for lower light plants, and slower growth.

ollyhtafc said:
My aquarium is open top i don't see the point in buying a lid. I plan to buy a reflector (which i see are pretty cheap) and make my own stand for the lights using drain pipe or something similar from a DIY store.

Cool. I did this on my 24" tank :) I had an 18w T8 crammed into it. Something I haven't mentioned is Power Compact (PC) lights. You can buy T5 power compact light units in 18, 24, 36 and 54w. They are a double tube design and give a lot more light in a short length.

T5 PC tube Lengths (cm/wattage):

22.8cm - 18watt
23.3cm - 24 watt
41.8cm - 36watt
57.1cm - 54 watt

As you can see, much higher wattages in a much shorter tube. Interpet make a range of these types of light units. I have an 18w PC over my little 30cm nano tank. The tube and the light socket are just over 30cm in total length.

ollyhtafc said:
P.S i remember you ha!

Yeah? TFF or something?
 

Steve Smith

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This is a power compact:

http://www.aquatics-online.co.uk/catalogue/interpet-t5-power-compact-lighting.asp

It only has the one end cap. It takes tubes like this:

http://www.lampspecs.co.uk/Light-Bulbs-Tubes/Long-2G11

If you want recommendations on what to buy, you're going to need to give us some specs of your tank and what sort of plants you're growing :)

Are you dosing any fertilisers, using any CO2 etc? It's not as simple as buying the most light you can unfortunately :( It's all about getting the balance of light, CO2 and Ferts correct, though CO2 and ferts are probably the most important, with light levels following on.
 

ollyhtafc

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Yeah sorry. I'm dosing ferts and have laterite mixed in with sand. The tank is 30 x 12 x15 i think.

Don't worry i have read the tutorials i'm aware i won't succeed with just a ton of light :)

I run a fluval 4+ with no CO2. I can't afford a system so i'm gunna have to use a simple yeast-bottle method.

The look im going for at the moment is a triangle design. All i have in at the moment is abit of java moss on a few stones and wood and a plant i got from petsathome which i don't plan on keeping, it's just something to provide shelter. It's been in there a few month now and it's root system reaches every corner of the tasnk. Removing it could be tricky :D

I can't remember the name now. Some stem plant with thin long leaves.
 

ollyhtafc

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No i don't think it's vallis. I'll take a picture later, it's annoying me that i can't remember the name!

Thanks a lot. Your information is priceless!
 
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