Unsure about lighting
G'day folks, I'm getting ready to lightly plant a 125 and I thought I had my lights all figured out, but the more I research the more confused I get. The list of plants I would like is as follows:
Red Wendtii Crypt x 1
Dwarf hair grass
Moneywort x 6
Vallisneria Spiralis x 6
Ludwigia Repens x 6
This will be a low-tech setup, I do not want to muck around with CO2, but will fertilize with tabs and liquid as needed. I'm also not looking for extraordinary growth, I want this to be a fish tank with plants, not the other way around. I have a raised planting bed area about halfway up the height of the tank, so the red crypt and dwarf grass will be a lot closer to the light than everything else.
At first I had planned to put 3 double strip T8s in my canopy, which would give me about 1.5 Watts per gallon, but some info has led me to believe I'll need a lot more, so maybe I'll swap the T8s out for T5s and get up over 2.5 Watts per gallon. The cost is quite a bit more obviously, but if it's what I need it's what I need. My only concern then is, with such a light plant load and all those Watts, would I just be building an algae farm?
Thanks a bunch for any advice.
You omitted one important number. The depth of the tank or the depth from water surface to substrate surface. 125g tanks come in several sizes.
I believe T8s would do what you want and cost is low enough that most could afford to experiment. Where the strips over lap, you may have a problem with algae. That can be corrected by putting light blocking sleeves on two of the lamps.
Thanks for the info. I thought a 125 was a 125, but it's about 22 inches deep.
Given the depth, you're going to want T5HO or LED.
Originally Posted by Hookiethe1
Two of the nominal 48" and 24" T5HO, ideally spaced about eight inches apart.
Thirty six 3 watt LED emitters, on dimming drivers would also work well. DIY has the advantage here, in that you can add more now, or later, and dim as needed.
That is really good info, thanks a bunch. I was thinking about doing LED, but was a little gun shy. I have zero concerns about being able to put it together, but I'm right in the last few weeks of semester and cramming for a certification exam at work and I want to get this together by Xmas, so I just won't have the time to go from zero knowledge to figuring out what I need in the timeframe. But if I had someone willing to help with the design it's certainly achievable.
Like I said, cramming for an exam right now, but if I can get some better details together (some pics and maybe a drawing or 2) and post tomorrow night would you help me come up with a plan dbosman? You'd have a friend across the lake!
OK so I made a basic drawing so hopefully dbosman or anyone can give me some pointers. The first is a top view, the black areas are voids behind the background for equipment where I would like as little light as possible and the green areas are where there will be plants. The row across the back will be taller stem plants obviously, and you can see from the pics the raised beds I have at either end, where the plants will be closer to the surface.
So currently I am in between getting 3 2 foot 2 strip T5 grow lights to put over each plants area(something like this), or getting a 36 LED DIY kit like this and making 3 2 foot strips of 12 LEDs to focus over those areas.
Cost seems to be a pretty tight race between the 2 options, although it is kind of irritating that those 2 foot T5s are so extortionate I could cover my entire space with a 4 foot 4 bulb and a 2 foot 4 bulb for a similar price.
The T5s are ahead on convenience, but if I can keep the cost of the LEDs lower it might be worth it. How important is a heat sink? Instead of the super expensive ones they have on that site, could I grab some good sized channel from home depot and rely on length and volume of aluminum to carry heat, or is that too risky?
Sure do appreciate the advice!
(or, as yet another alternative, something like this, which wins on cost, but leaves an uncovered foot at either end of the tank, and I'm not sure how well light carries past the ends of those fixtures, I think they're pretty directional?)
Last edited by Hookiethe1; 12-05-2012 at 01:25 AM.
I've looked at leds and wasn't very impressed with the low end of the market yet.
I don't think hair grass is going to do well for you. The rest will do already do good with a T8 setup but a T5 might be better.
To me that big wood just begs for an anubias or two.
OK, first thing's first - hahaha big wood!
Now that that's taken care of, I had thought about attaching something to it, but the missus and myself both like the look of the bare wood at this point, we'll see how it progresses.
So I guess what i'm getting from the feedback is that I can probably survive on T8s, but T5s would be better, and stay away from LEDs unless I'm willing to pay for the good ones?
Are there any better options that haven't come up yet, like maybe track lighting to focus light on the planted areas or clamp lamps with high wattage CFL grow lights? My conundrum is getting the most light to the places I want it and not anywhere else.
Also talldutchie, the dwarf hair grass is supposed to be for the raised beds only, you still don't think it'll work being that much closer to the light?
Angle Aluminum instead of steel will work find for the lower end of the LED cost range. There is no need to run low to medium tech setups at the full capacity of the high end Cree or Bridgelux emitters. Some are so powerful or bright that you could mount them on the ceiling and still use optics to keep all the light in a tank.
Originally Posted by Hookiethe1
I run twenty four inexpensive LED emitters at 670 mA over my 75g. Plant growth is excellent. The only option I'll add is a dimable driver. Someday.
Well, I found 2 strip 2 foot T5 NO lights local for 25 bucks a piece. I think it's the best and cheapest route for me. They are 28 Watts and 2700 lumens, I am thinking of putting 2 right against each other in the back middle section and one each at the ends over the raised beds. I'm no expert, but I think Watts per gallon is less relevant when you've got lights directly over your planted areas?
I think I'm going to try it this way for the convenience of not having to build an LED system and the low cost and see how things progress. If I think I need it down the track I can always swap out the ballasts and put HOs in there.