Lighting a 600lt aquarium

Neil M

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Hi guys I'm currently running a Malawi cichlid tank, which I want to change to a planted tank. The tank is 60'' X 30 X 24 (30inch top to bottom).

It currently has led lighting which consists of X2 triple Inter pet led bars. These are rated at 10,000k , there are 45 leds per bar each led producing 45 lumens at 30cm.

Im fairly sure from what I've read that this lighting will not do for even a low light planted aquarium.

Am I right and what lighting would I need to make this work ? Thanks in anticipation.
 

Simon Cole

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So you might have 6,075 lumens, assuming that the LED is controlled by a driver. If you had 30 lumens per litre then you would need 18,000 lumens. For a tank this deep defo wait for further advise from other members.
 

Neil M

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Yeh I was thinking low tech as I'm just starting out , with easy plants for the same reason, I have no real idea of budget, but I have kept a reef tank in the past so know things can add up !
 

Tim Harrison

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Or you could try LED; Twinstar 600s series with a dimmer. Take a look at Ady's tank, his is high-energy but they'd also be great over a low-energy but dimmed. They are decent value for money, well built and the colour rendition is excellent. Plus if you decide to go high-energy later they will serve you well.
 

Neil M

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Couple of more questions guys, my tank at the moment has a hood and cover glass, would it be best to remove these before adding lighting ?
Thanks for the led suggestion Tim would one unit suffice on a tank my size ?
 

Tim Harrison

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You'd need two of the LED lights I suggested, that's why I linked Ady's post to show how he's used them over a similar sized tank.
I think they'd also be best used suspended over the tank, so you'd have to remove the hood at least.
But if you want to keep the hood, perhaps you'd be better off going with Eds suggestion of T5 units which could possibly be easier to retrofit in to the hood.
 

Neil M

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Ok thanks for that , are 80w tubes readily available in the UK ? And I assume the led lighting I have at the moment are of no use ?
Are the Giesseman Razor available in the UK or do they have to be ordered from Germany ?
 
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alto

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Yeh I was thinking low tech as I'm just starting out , with easy plants for the same reason, I have no real idea of budget, but I have kept a reef tank in the past so know things can add up !
Giesemann gets my vote :D

Dimmable would be fantastic but significantly increases cost
If you do bring in the Razor T5 system, I’d just order the T5’s as well - they are outstanding lamps in both intensity and color rendition - 2 sets of tubes should last 4-5 years: fluorescent spectra does degrade over time, as does light output which is why some suggest annual replacement; if you wait 2-3 years, then make sure you transition aquarium to the “new” lighting

Unfortunately the 30 inch height + 24 inch back to front, isn’t the most economic footprint to light effectively, I’d want 3-4 T5’s for more uniform light distribution front to back or combination of T5 and LED or LED (most expensive initial outlay)

Green Aqua offers (several display tanks run on the ATI’s) ATI luminaries, including dimmable and non dimmable 80w versions in 4, 6 & 8 lamps (I prefer the Giesemann T5 options over those carried by GA)
The 8 would give you the best light distribution across the 60cm front to back width of tank, but would be far too much light for low tech, depending on how the system is configured you may be able to run the lamps in various configurations (or this may be very limited) so ask how many lamps/power switch, and can you remove lamps etc

eg I have an older T5 luminaire with 4 x T5, with lamps 1&3, and 2&4 on separate switches, removing 1 T5 will shut down that ballast, so I can only choose 2 or 4 lamp configuration
Being able to raise/lower the luminaire will increase options in light distribution and intensity, so pendant style would be my vote
(the luminaire dimensions are a reasonable estimate of T5 spread)

If you look at Filipe Oliveira’s Youtube channel, he has several examples of 70 - 90cm tall tanks, including one long term Aquaflora display aquarium which has gone through the transition from T5 to LED (growth improved)
Depending on local costs, Prime Freshwater HD may an option, each will “light” a 45cm cube with moderate to high PAR (depending) - FO uses these with excellent results even on deeper tanks (I don’t recall the other LEDs used on the deeper display tanks)

Obviously Kessil A360X (tuna sun) would be an option but also may be most expensive, I’d begin with 3, though if you want to do island scapes, 2 would suffice (and it’s very easy to add a third)
These style of LED will give you the most versatile and cleanest profile for lights

It’s well worth a road trip to see the various light options in person


As you surmise, current lights won’t deliver much substrate PAR (I suspect not even “low”)
 

alto

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Depends on your color preferences really, Giesemann has renamed the series compared to my older T5 stock, but I usually choose a “daylight” 6500 in combination with “plant” tubes (which tend to appear pink/purple), or I’ll run with just the “daylight” tubes

The US site seems to still include additional information (or I just can’t find this on the German site :oops:)

https://www.giesemann.us/POWERCHROME_T-5-superflora.html

Like most companies, Giesemann now offers fewer freshwater T5 choices - Tropic (6500) and Superflora (pinkish) seem to be it, if you add a third tube you could mix in the Sylvania Cool White (personally I dislike the yellow appearance of 4000K, note this is non-dimmable)

(a main reason I switched to LED was lack of fluorescent tubes for sale in local shops, especially plant ... if you look at Osram, Sylvania etc they just aren’t manufacturing previous T5 series)
 

alto

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I’d intended to go through Filipe Oliveira’s channel to pick out some of the more applicable videos ...

And then Filipe posted an update of my favourite Aquaflora tank (I can have several “favourites” can’t I ;) )

 

alto

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Altum tank journey

Day 1 (posted May 17/2018)

July 15 2018

June 16 2019

Note lighting, CO2 etc details are listed in the drop down menu
Sometimes there are relevant questions/answers in the Comments

AI has occasionally (substantial) sales on these AI Prime Freshwater HD lights, so I’d consider these for your own tank (spectra seems rather improved over the earlier AI Prime Freshwater, also better depth penetration)
 
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