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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm unsure what I should be looking for in a light. My girlfriend has a tank that is about 4 feet in length, and she has a 20 inch light for it. This is inconvenient, since she has to constantly move it around.

What should I be looking for? Watts/etc. I'd like to help her shop around for one, and I thought about the classified section, but I cannot post there yet. (And I'd rather not spam my way to the number of needed posts.)

Are there any websites/stores you guys would recommend? Or if you are selling one yourself?
 

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I'm unsure what I should be looking for in a light. My girlfriend has a tank that is about 4 feet in length, and she has a 20 inch light for it. This is inconvenient, since she has to constantly move it around.

What should I be looking for? Watts/etc. I'd like to help her shop around for one, and I thought about the classified section, but I cannot post there yet. (And I'd rather not spam my way to the number of needed posts.)

Are there any websites/stores you guys would recommend? Or if you are selling one yourself?

Go to lowes or home depot get a 75w day light bulb that is 6500. The day light bulbs always in a blue package.
 

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Depending on your tank, a 48 inch light is needed and I would think two or three for good coverage. I actually have four 48 in lights on my 72 inch tank. If you are trying to keep plants alive, the lighting needs to be 6500 Kelvin. T-5 are a very good choice. I have VHO(very high output)left over from me reef tank, but finding the 6500 K is difficult. The wattage varies depending on the plants. Shade loving plants require less wattage than full sun plants. My lamps are 100 watts each. My plants do well. Hydroponic lighting is a very good place to start since the requirements are the same. Do not use the aquarium lights since their output is for light that penetrates water and is different than normal lighting. If plants are not as important to you, one standard reptile light will be enough. I hope this helps. Johnny
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. I'll check out Home Depot and Lowes then. :) Do you have a price range for them?

And that's strange..the light she has currently seems to be for an aquarium. It's from an aquarium website anyway. Her plants have been fine though and it's not too hot.

Great advice all around though. :)
 

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If you are on a budget, you can buy a 4' shop light(~$20). Get two 6500k 32 watt T8 bulbs (I think a 2 pack is about $5) and you will be good to go
 
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I'm going to back Phender. Best way to do it on a budget. On the other hand, if money is no object, I would like to be your best friend! ;) JK If you are willing to spend more, look into T5s as a more efficient, brighter system. Don't skimp on a reflector. A good reflector can easily double the intensity. I would rather have 2 bulbs with good reflectors than 4 bulbs with cheap reflectors any day. Better for heat, too, as it's only 2 bulbs.
Led's are another option but are even more expensive for a good one.
Whatever system you choose, 6500 K is the best option for plant growth and true to life colors.
 

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If you are not so much on a budget, a Sun Blaze 42 HO T5 fixture is great at about $115. 2 6500k bulbs are included with the fixture. The 42 stands for 4' long with 2 bulbs. It produces about 10,000 lumens of light. More than enough light for almost all applications.

Sun Blaze fixtures (or similar brands) are available at most hydroponics stores. In SoCal we have one is just about every strip mall. :)
 

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+1 to what Phender said. if your looking for cheap, the inexpensive shop light fixture and 6500K T8 bulbs are the way to go. you may need to rig some way to raise the light off the top of the tank for heat issues.

If you have the money to upgrade, High Output T5s give more lumens per watt than T8s so they are more energy efficient. Sun systems does make some solid T5HO fixtures. T5's do get warm bordering on hot so if you get the sun blaze fixture, you may still need to rig a way to raise the fixture off the top of the tank. FishNeedIt is a halfway decent cheaper brand of T5HO if cost is a concern.

If money is no object or you have a strong DIY streak, High power LEDs are the way to go. DIY LEDs are pretty decent price-wise especially considering heat transfer to the tank is not an issue, and the bulb life is about 10 years at 12 hours of burn a day. Commercial LED fixtures are still fairly expensive, at least for the ones that use good components.
 

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Another option:

Compact Fluorescent Lighting Kits

96 watt kit, DIY enclosure.
CF lights are less efficient than single tubes with reflectors. The shape of the bulb casts light into the coiled or U of the bulb.

Plus in my experience with many many CF aquarium fixtures at work and home they run the hottest of all types of fluorescent, and the bulbs need to be replaced the most often (every 6 months due to color shift if your trying to grow corals with them, I've rarely gotten more than 12 months out of a CF bulb even on planted tanks and vivs where color shift isn't as big an issue).

If cost is the biggest issue and your willing to DIY you can wire mogul bases (standard household screw in bulb socket) into a chunk of 4 inch PVC pipe cut in half and use screw in 26W CF spiral bulbs.
 

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Whoever said don't use "aquarium bulbs" has been smoking some fish goo...the spectra and emissions are perfect for frog tanks. I run 4 6500k bulbs from what was a planted aquarium now on my dart frog tank, T5HO, it's the same bulb. Its an over-abundance of light, to be sure, but I don't have to run all 4 lights at once, I can turn two off. IMHO, if money is not an issue, go with either LED or T5HO. A 4x24w T5HO fixture would be, pardon the term, "kick ass." You could grow any plant you wanted, get some amazing colors, and get good compact growth without leggy, spindly plants. Just make sure you're getting the right spectrum and spikes in the right places.
 

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Whoever said don't use "aquarium bulbs" has been smoking some fish goo...the spectra and emissions are perfect for frog tanks. I run 4 6500k bulbs from what was a planted aquarium now on my dart frog tank, T5HO, it's the same bulb. Its an over-abundance of light, to be sure, but I don't have to run all 4 lights at once, I can turn two off. IMHO, if money is not an issue, go with either LED or T5HO. A 4x24w T5HO fixture would be, pardon the term, "kick ass." You could grow any plant you wanted, get some amazing colors, and get good compact growth without leggy, spindly plants. Just make sure you're getting the right spectrum and spikes in the right places.
I think they mean tohse 20w bulbs you can buy for 15$ at the petstore labeled "aquarium bulbs" which put out almost no lumens.
 

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Whoever said don't use "aquarium bulbs" has been smoking some fish goo...the spectra and emissions are perfect for frog tanks. I run 4 6500k bulbs from what was a planted aquarium now on my dart frog tank, T5HO, it's the same bulb. Its an over-abundance of light, to be sure, but I don't have to run all 4 lights at once, I can turn two off. IMHO, if money is not an issue, go with either LED or T5HO. A 4x24w T5HO fixture would be, pardon the term, "kick ass." You could grow any plant you wanted, get some amazing colors, and get good compact growth without leggy, spindly plants. Just make sure you're getting the right spectrum and spikes in the right places.
If you go back and read the post, he is specifically talking about the Reef tank VHO bulbs, mentioned earlier in his post. Reef tank bulbs generally have actinic, blue bulbs included. I completely agree that those are NOT to be used for a frog vivarium.
 

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I guess I misunderstood. And yeah, I definitely agree, actinics do nothing for plants, at all. But when I think aquarium lights (I'm coming from an aquascaping background) the aquarium lights we as aquascapers use are ideal for vivariums. Aka "aquarium lights" make great viv lights. Difference in perspective I guess, lol. I would say that actually, aquascapers as a general rule delve far more into lighting that what I've seen in the viv. hobby.
 

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Sorry to hijack, but this thread has got me thinking: has anyone used the cheap double t5 fixtures that HD sells? I was thinking about buying a couple and building a reflector for them, but don't want to do it if they are junk.
 
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