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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everybody,
So i am making 40 gal palu (obviously, check the title haha) and was wondering about the lighting.
Keep in mind that i am trying to keep it as cheap as possible-under $50 hopefully.
-THe plants will be almost all tropical plants.
-The intended animal may be a lizard so the light must have UVB in it
-The water part of the palu will have fish in it so any needed light for that as well.

I have heard of the one watt per gallon saying. Is that usually true or will it change because i have a nano-aquarium in it?
When looking at lights at pet stores or fish stores, there have been a couple different kinds: some have the two little prongs at each end and are one solid tube, others have both sets of prongs at one end and looks like one tube that does a 180 at one end. Are there differences between the two kinds?

I do not know much about the K rating. Do i need specific ratings or a couple of different bulbs for different K ratings?

Also, i do not have a fixture yet. I do not really know what i need to set u the lights and the pre setup kits seem a little on the expensive side and i think that i could buy the things seperately myself.
I assume that i need
-a reflector (the big tmetal thing behind the lights but i heard that some have a reflector in the bulb)
-a ballast (i think that is the thing that the bulb plugs/screws into)
The top of the palu will have a custom built cover. Does this mean that i still need a reflector? Can i just mount the ballast (correct me if im wrong) to the wood sides and plug in the light right there?

The top of the tank is a piece of plexiglass that is about 1/8 or 1/4 inches thick. Will the light penetrate that and all the nutrients get through or do i need to cut a hole and screen over it for the light to penetrate?

Thanks in advance for all of the help.
This is my first big palu and so any extra lighting or other info will be helpful.

137 Posts
I see you're new Welcome!

First off are you trying to spend $50.00 TOTAL for everything or just the light fixture? If you need a light search the forums here or craigslist another is kijiji (ebay classifieds). Also it's never good to skimp on good lighting especially if your planting the tank.

Watts per gallon don't really matter since it's not a true fish tank it's all about light penetration. I think you would be good with a two bulb fixture and a smaller one for your UVB/UVA lighting.

What you are seeing with the lights are tube flourescent bulbs (straight) and Compact flourescent bulbs (180). Stay with either T-5 or T-8 lighting (straight lights) it more efficent and gives off much less heat. Also 6,500k is best for plant growth.

As for UVB lighting you will need two seperate light fixtures since i don't believe they make UVB or UVA T-5 or T-8 bulbs longer then 18" i could be wrong haven't had ot use them for some time now. also you will need to keep the bulb close the tank since UVB/UVA rays don't penetrate very deep (12inches i think is max).

If you build a light you will need a reflector it bounces light from all around the bulb and aims it down right into the tank there are also no reflectors in the bulb. That's as much info as i can give you on building one i never have.

You also might want to get a piece of glass cut for the top of the tank since i believe after time the lights will make the plexi cloud though i maybe wrong if not cloud i believe moisture will make it start to weaken.

Hope this helps best of luck.
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