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Re: Lighting Question
I'm wanting to add more lighting to my 40 gal aquarium which currently has
only a (eek!) 24" Power Glo fluor. bulb (a limitation of the tank's
original light strip). The little light is supporting a healthy, but
centralized, stand of Hygrophila polysperma and some crypts. Now I'm
planning to take a step up and get two 30 watt bulbs.
1) What are people's opinions regarding setting up a dual-bulb light
strip (with two bulbs in about 5" width) versus setting up two separate
single-bulb strips? It's cheaper to get the dual and I suppose that you can
have a region of higher light intensity for demanding plants versus having a
medium overall intensity across the tank...?
I wouldn't go with the 2 30 watt lamps. I would go with a single 55 watt PC.
You will probably get about 15% more light with this single lamp. That is
however, a guestimate based on the probable ballast factors of the available
ballasts. The lamp won't light the tank evenly but this is something you can
use to your advantage. You can plant light demanding carpet type plants
directly under the lamp and less light demanding plants in the corners and
at the sides. Using this method I think you will be able to grow any plant
3) I would like to get a pre-manufactured set up, although I guess I
could construct a hood. I haven't found a good on-line site with a broad
selection (or complete product descriptions), but I am currently taken with
a Coralife poduct advertising the following gee-whiz features on the
MailOrderPetShop site (but I'm not too happy with MOPS right now): "space
age highly polished anodized reflector for 99.9% reflectivity, a dual
electronic ballast which uses 35% less energy than conventional tar
ballasts, and BJB end caps...pre-wired [with retrofit mounting
kit]...designed to work woth T-12 bulbs".
Like many people I am very taken with AH Supply. They sell very complete
kits that can be retrofit very easily into existing, homemade or store
bought hoods. The 55 watt lamp I am talking about may well fit into your
current setup without any trouble at all. The reflector is only 2" x 4" x
24" Check it out at http://www.ahsupply.com/index.html I think you are
looking at about $70 for the kit and lamp. You will have to replace the lamp
every couple of years. I am sure the Coralife product is good too but I
don't think that it will fit into what you currently have and I don't think
you will be able to grow high light plants with it. Making a really nice
custom hood can be a lot of fun but in this case I don't think it is worth
it as you can retrofit a 55 watt lamp into almost any existing hood. If I
was going to go through the trouble to make a hood I would buy a 4' or long
tank and use T8 lamps with electronic ballasts but that's another story.