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04-28-2012, 07:21 PM #1
32 gallon tank, standard hood - grossly insufficient lighting???
I've been looking for a 30-ish gallon tank for a long time, and after watching my local UsedEverywhere and Craigslists sites for months, finally bought a 32 gallon tank and hood that seemed far superior to those previously listed.
The tank is 31.5" long x 18" high x 13.5" deep, and came with a hood with two T8 ballasts, each holding a Sun Glo 20W bulb.
I jumped on this as other tanks that I'd seen listed (and that were in my price range, ie: not $500+ for 30 gallons...) had only single T8 ballasts. However, with this twin ballast hood, it still only amounts to a tiny 1.5 watts per gallon, which I find incredibly frustrating as I would like to keep plants other than java fern and moss in this tank.
I've been looking at used equipment, as I'm a student on a limited budget, and am finding it very frustrating that I can't seem to achieve even 2 watts per gallon without spending hundreds of dollars on lighting alone.
So I'm looking for opinions, from those who have more experience than I do, on just how insufficient the lighting on this tank is.
Am I missing something (ie: lux, proximity of lights to water surface (very close 2 inches or less), the fact that the tank isn't overly tall, etc.) that would actually make this suitable for plants like swords, or other medium light varieties?
Could I improve the lighting simply by adding reflectors? There aren't any currently in the hood...
Any input is greatly appreciated. I was hoping to turn this tank into a densely planted community system but am currently feeling a bit lost.
Thanks in advance!*We weep for a bird's cry, but not for a fish's blood. Blessed are those with a voice.* - Mamoru Oshii
04-28-2012, 07:37 PM #2
You could always go with the somewhat cheap alternative and get a single T5HO and grow pretty much anything you want, here's a chart I took from Fishtanktv.com:
With this chart, you can see that with a single T5HO fixture, you would be at about 65 PAR, which would put you in the medium lighting range. Currently you are most likely in the low/low-medium range. With good substrate and a T5HO fixture, you can grow plants that a lot of hobbyist grow. If you want to upgrade and go with a dual light fixture, just multiply the PAR rating by 2 and you would be put in the high range with 130 PAR, but will most likely need to have co2 so you don't have immense amounts of algae.
That is basically everything I know about plant lighting, there is also another chart that can be seen here to help you out:
04-30-2012, 02:33 AM #3
Thanks so much for posting those charts, that really helped me compare all of my options (and obviously T5HO bulbs are a good way to go!)
In respect to aquarium lighting, I had an incredible stroke of luck today. One man's loss, another man's gain? A local aquarium store is closing and when I went in to look around, I found a T5HO retrofit kit, complete with two bulbs, for $35! Almost feels like stealing...
So now I have a 24" 2 x 24W T5HO fixture that I can suspend within a couple of inches of the water's surface. And with the tank only being 18" tall, by your charts this suddenly puts me into the high lighting category????
Stop me if I'm wrong, but I'm doing a big, huge happy-dance.*We weep for a bird's cry, but not for a fish's blood. Blessed are those with a voice.* - Mamoru Oshii
04-30-2012, 04:22 AM #4
Sounds good to me, and with 48W of T5 lighting you can keep virtually anything... might want to consider fertilzers though in case algae becomes an issue.
04-30-2012, 02:33 PM #5
That's what I was going to suggest, you could either go with Seachem's Excel or go with DIY/Pressurized Co2 (pressurized can get expensive). They will help your plants combat the algae and grow since they need carbon dioxide anyways.