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Re: Lighting suggestions please


>I'm conceptualizing a new 75g (48 x 18 x 20) planted
>tank \
 >expect I'll want to keep
>plant species with minimum light requirements that
>range from low to high.
>I'll be using a hood, not an open top configuration.
I have a 75 gallon tank with a similar setup

>I guess the rule of thumb usually tossed around for
>lighting is 2-4 watts
>per gallon. If I split the difference and aimed for 3
>watts/gallon that
>would mean 225 watts. My first question is is that a
>reasonable figure?>

I built a hood for my tank that holds 6 regular 40
watt bulbs. If you don't mind the work, you can do
this a whole lot cheaper than VHO or metal halides.

>- initial cost
>- cost of ownership (electricity usage, bulb life and
>replacement cost)
>- heat from the bulb(s)
>- heat from the ballasts(s)
>- availability of suitable bulbs for planted aquaria
>- form factor and adaptability to the hood and >its
>- aesthetics, i.e. point light from a metal halide
>vs. diffused light from
>the fluorescents
>- dimmability

With my setup, heat was a problem, but then I fit the
hood with some small computer fans (I got them on ebay
for about $1 each) and it's no onger a problem. Your
energy cost is going to be esentially the same with
any setup since you are shooting for a particular
wattage. Replacement cost of regular flourescent bulb
is pretty low, especially if you can find GE Chroma
50s or the like in your area. As far as dimmability is
concerned, I have each of my 3 shoplight fixtures on a
seperate switch. One of the fixtures has one full
spectrum bulb and one actinic bulb. I use this switch
in the mornings and evenings to be the first on and
last off. You could also put them on timers, but I'm
too cheap. My hood looks pretty nice too, even my wife
doesn't complain.
My overall cost was less than $100. (Although I did
already have a few of the bulbs.)

Craig Welch

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