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Hey all, have a few questions on lighting, and a few options to get your opinion on, and experience with specific fixtures if you have any. I did search around prior to posting this to see if I could find the answers, but I think some of my questions haven't been covered, or are hidden away in the billion posts on here :D

I am looking to light a 29 Gallon paludarium (still building). It will of course have a variety of plants from bottom to top...perhaps a few aquatics, up to terrestrial plants, then up to background and maybe some epiphytes, moss etc. I have found a lot of inspiration from the vivs I've seen here on dendroboard.

Note this paludarium will not house DF's, it's for my japanese firebelly newt. There will be plenty of cover for my newt via floating plants, overhangs, roots etc so it can escape the light if it chooses to.

Questions :confused:

1. My research makes it sound like a good option is T5 HO's...is this what most of you use for your vivs? And would you recommend this for my planted 29 Gallon?

2. If T5 HO's are good a good option for this situation, would a 30" 2 x 24W setup be a good choice? (too much light? too little? just right?)

3. I've noticed most people usually elevate the light fixture several inches above the top of the tank via wires or the legs that usually come with the fixture. What is the purpose(s) of elevating the lighting? (seems counter-intuitive to a noob, like there would be more light loss due to distance and also via the space all around the light where it's not at the tank level)
- Also, can those fixtures be set directly onto the tank with a glass lid?

4. Is there a difference between lighting for aquariums vs vivariums? Seems like a lot of people use the aquarium setups for vivs..?

5. Two options that look nice to me are these:
A.
B.

Questions regarding the above fixtures, that I can't find answers to anywhere:
- Do either of those fixtures' legs allow placement on top of a tank that has a glass lid? One person commented on one of those that it can't be used with a tank lid, but I am not sure if that is accurate. If anybody here has one or both of those fixtures how does it fit on and do you use a glass lid?

The bulbs that are listed with the zoo med fixture on amazon that "are usually purchased with the zoomed fixture" are:
- do those sound like a good combo?

Thanks for all of your help, I know you are probably sick of lighting questions
 

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I have the ZooMEd AquaSun in 24" using the FloraSun and UltraSun bulbs. I get great plant growth.

Mine are directly on the glass. They do elevate the temp in the viv by about 4-5 degrees. If it gets too hot in there, you can hang them instead of placing them on the glass. I am not sure if others hang them because of the heat issue or because they like how it looks. But the few added inches off of the top of the glass is not going to make a huge diference in light that hits the plants, but does make a big difference in heat transfer.
 

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I originally set up a 29 gallon planted tank using (2) 2x24 T5 shop lights. The $30 fixtures from home depot. When I turned it into a paludarium, that ended up being too much light and burnt some of the leaves that were higher up. Now I just have one of the fixtures on it and it's doing quite well, though it hasn't been set up long. I never bothered to switch to better lighting because it seemed to be working, even though I know it's probably not optimal.
 

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I use 2x40w compact fluoros( not spiral type) in a custom hood that is about 6 inches above my 33 gallon x tall. They work great. Can be hot but that's why I raised em up. I like about 2.5 watts per gallon.
 

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Hey all, have a few questions on lighting, and a few options to get your opinion on, and experience with specific fixtures if you have any. I did search around prior to posting this to see if I could find the answers, but I think some of my questions haven't been covered, or are hidden away in the billion posts on here :D

I am looking to light a 29 Gallon paludarium (still building). It will of course have a variety of plants from bottom to top...perhaps a few aquatics, up to terrestrial plants, then up to background and maybe some epiphytes, moss etc. I have found a lot of inspiration from the vivs I've seen here on dendroboard.

Note this paludarium will not house DF's, it's for my japanese firebelly newt. There will be plenty of cover for my newt via floating plants, overhangs, roots etc so it can escape the light if it chooses to.

Questions :confused:

1. My research makes it sound like a good option is T5 HO's...is this what most of you use for your vivs? And would you recommend this for my planted 29 Gallon?

2. If T5 HO's are good a good option for this situation, would a 30" 2 x 24W setup be a good choice? (too much light? too little? just right?)

3. I've noticed most people usually elevate the light fixture several inches above the top of the tank via wires or the legs that usually come with the fixture. What is the purpose(s) of elevating the lighting? (seems counter-intuitive to a noob, like there would be more light loss due to distance and also via the space all around the light where it's not at the tank level)
- Also, can those fixtures be set directly onto the tank with a glass lid?

4. Is there a difference between lighting for aquariums vs vivariums? Seems like a lot of people use the aquarium setups for vivs..?

5. Two options that look nice to me are these:
A. 30 in. Nova Extreme T5 HO Freshwater Aquarium Light Fixture - 2 x 24W
B. Zoo Med AquaSun T5-HO Double Light Linear Fluorescent Hood, 30-Inch

Questions regarding the above fixtures, that I can't find answers to anywhere:
- Do either of those fixtures' legs allow placement on top of a tank that has a glass lid? One person commented on one of those that it can't be used with a tank lid, but I am not sure if that is accurate. If anybody here has one or both of those fixtures how does it fit on and do you use a glass lid?

The bulbs that are listed with the zoo med fixture on amazon that "are usually purchased with the zoomed fixture" are:
Zoo Med Ultra Sun Trichromatic Super Daylight Bulb T5 High Output 24 Watts, 22-Inch by Zoo Med $13.19
Zoo Med Flora Sun Plant Bulb T5 High Output 24 Watts, 22-Inch by Zoo Med $14.24
- do those sound like a good combo?

Thanks for all of your help, I know you are probably sick of lighting questions
1. T5HO is about the best option for display tanks. It gives you great growth, high efficiency, and not a whole lot of heat. If you have a lot of tanks to be lit up, t8 shop lights are probably the best because they can be bought for less than 20 bucks a fixture. I see you have already seen my guide to vivarium lighting, so i'm sure you know all the other options out there :D

2. A 2x24 watt fixture should do fine for your setup, and provide decent plant growth.

3. Elevating the light fixture is basically for heat dissipation, lowering light levels if you have to much, and it looks better in my opinion. not necessary, but be careful about placing a fixture on top of a tank. If it is running too hot, it could crack the glass or fry your animals inside. you can retrofit computer fans inside the fixture to help with the heat though.

4. There really isn't a whole lot of difference between vivarium lighting and aquarium lighting. In fact, 99% of my limited lighting knowledge came from planted aquarium forums like theplantedtank and aquaticplantcentral. Keep in mind that saltwater reef lighting is a lot different than freshwater. I practically know nothing about lighting for corals and such. Anyways, aquatic plants and terrestrial plants use the same light spectrum, but the main difference is that light doesn't travel near as well underwater as it does through the air. The air has a lot less floating particles in it that absorb light compared to aquarium water. The thing is, terrestrial plants utilize more light than aquatics, so basically what i'm saying is that you can use the same light fixture for terrestrials as you would aquatics. The terrestrials just have more access to light and use more light.

5. Both those options are pretty good. I've heard a lot of positive things about the nova extremes, but i haven't bought one yet. Some other good brands are: sunlight supply, geissman, aquatic life, TEK lights, etc... Check out horticulture source.com. They have a really good selection of T5 fixtures and even some retrofit kits if you're up for a DIY light. I'm sure the website is popular among pot growers hahaha.

If you want some really good T5 bulbs, look into geissman middays. I have heard nothing but great things about them (other than the price)

Hope that helps some.

Ryan
 
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