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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
the plants in my vivarium aren't growing well...much at all. and i had some moss die. so i decided i had bad bulbs in (just 2 15W basic tank bulbs from a pet store) and went to home depot and got a 14W compact spiral fluorescent light to put in (60W output). now it seems insanely bright in the tank haha. is this too much light? when everyone is talking about their lighting im a bit lost in the lingo and im not sure exactly waht i should be running. the output for these bulbs are 800 lumens. thoughts?
 

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I don't think you need to worry about too much light if you only have 60W going in there right now. What size is your tank? It'll kind of depend on what kind of plants you're trying to grow too. As far as what lighting people use.... some people use DIY lighting that you can find pretty cheep on ebay, (still quite a bit more expensive than what you have though.) Others (like me) use standard fluorescent tubes. I have two 20H tanks right next to each other, and have 4 x 48 inch bulbs about 2 inches above the tanks. They grow the plants I have in there fine. I use phillips full spectrum bulbs from home depot, they're cheep ($3-5 per bulb) and still put out good light. You can pay 30-40 bucks and get the lights that they use for reptiles like reptisun, but bear in mind that the only thing that you are paying extra for is the UV output (most of which is lost in the glass lid of your tank anyway) so I don't really feel that it's worth the extra.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i have a standard 10gal....i just started a tank (clearly my first one haha) from an old fishtank...just using the fishtank hood for lights. one side has one of the 15W bulbs from before..while one side now his this CF light. it just seemed really bright to me but i guess that's because i had small lights before. in the tank i have a couple air plants, a brom, moss, and a couple ferns. what's DIY lighting?
 

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DIY is building your own light hood/setup. For example buying shop lights at HD and building a wooden hood, attaching ballasts and then the lights inside. It's basically just building a light setup for a fraction of the cost of actually buying a ready one.
 

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I have been wondering what to little and to much light.

I have 4, 20 gallon long inverts- 2 tanks side by side- on 2 seperate shelves. When the tanks are side by side its 25 inches accross. I need to get light down to the botton of the tank, about 20 inches. I am growing ficus repans, neo broms- and others I have not picked out yet- not planning on having any moss- but wanted well planted. I was thinking about one 55 watt power compact for each set of two-
TQ
 

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DIY = Do It Yourself, so a DIY Lighting system would be one that you buy the parts for and assemble yourself. It is a cost effective way to get more lighting for your $.

Lighting is not as complex as it seems. But there are some things to keep in mind:

Watts - Watts are a measurement of energy used, not light produced.
Lumens - Lumens are a measurment of light produced.
Color or Kelvin Rating - Is a measurement of the light spectrum.

So ideally, you would find a light that maximized Lumen output while minimizing Watt usage.

As for spectrum, according to the AH Supply website - http://www.ahsupply.com/bulbs.htm - plants will thrive with a color spectrum between 5000 Kelvin and 6700 Kelvin. They, also, claim that their 5500 Kelvin bulb produces the most accurate color rendering.

Tim
 

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Usually, when plants start to die, its because of a lack of light...A good simple rule to follow would be to have about 1.5W of light for every gallon at about 6500k...Somehow, I think having standard 15W T8's used for aquarium lighting isn't enough.

When I built my first tank, a standard invert 35 gal, I used 2 14W CFs...they were clearly not enough. For the life of me, I could not get anything to grow in it.

Now, I made a 90 gallon tank with about 2 65W CFs...well, it's still a bit under lit but the broms are growing, ferns are blooming, moss started to grow (well I think that what I have growing in my tank is moss...hehe...)

Don't worry about having insanely bright tanks...no matter how you compare it to ordinary sunlight, we just can't seem to have enough brightness!

Trimtrig,

I think having a 55W over 2 20 gallon tanks is ok...but if you haven't bought the lights yet, maybe a 65W would be better...You'd have more plants to play with...As the CFs get older, they kind of lose their brightness so it is good to have some added capacity to lengthen the tank life of the light.

I haven't been using my lights for a long time but I think a lot of other people actually change their lights a year after although the lights have a life span of 6 years. It is because as bulbs get older, they get dimmer and don't hit the brightness that they are advertised to have.

Hope it helps...

bluetip
 

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For anyone who wants cost effective lighting, I would strongly suggest simply going to home depot and buying a couple 36" or 48" shop lights (depending on the size of your tanks) then mix 2 philips 5000K lights with 2 philips 6500K lights, (I've tried other brands, but philips seems to work the best.) I'm not sure how many lumens this produces alltogether, but my plants are growing wonderfully. Also, it's much less expensive than buying a compact, high intensity fixture. Although those high intensity ballasts produce a stunning amount of light and make any viv beautiful, they are pretty heavy on the wallet. Save the money and buy a few more frogs.
 

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Thanks for the info. I cant seem to find a 65 watt cf. Online its 55 to 96 watt, and at my local fish store its the same. I would like to use normal bulbs, but I need a 24 inch fixture. I cant seem to find one.
TQ
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow, light requirements swing far in both directions. I have a ODNO 15 watt unit over my 10 gal. The plant growth is not great, but the tank is about 1 month old. Same thing with misting/watering. The amount that everyone mists there tanks starts at 1 and goes all the the way past 10 x day. I want my plants to grow like weeds.
 
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