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Re: lighting

> Lighting seems to be the major uncertainty.  My original intent was to
> use MH pendants, but after shopping about I found myself unhappy about
> the market for new and replacement bulbs, insecure about the amount of
> lighting I would need to use in an already brightly-lit setting and
> unhappy with the prices.

If you DIY it is not bad. Bulb cost are steep unless you like the 4300K
which are rather cheap at Home Depot(about 20$ for 175w). A raised box
housing 3 x 175 or 2 x 250's would look nice and you could add some PC's if
you wanted in there also if you allowed for some more room. Depends on how
much light you want. You could do the same thing with PC's and have it look
neat. A 16"W x 6"T x 60"L box with the sides pieces longer say 2-6" inches
would allow easy access and heat dissipation. Another idea is to have it
16"W and simply have it slide back manually.


You could get out for about 300$ for 2 x 250 or 400$ for 3 x 175 or 3 x250
for 450$ for MH.

6 x 55 - runs about 300$+ and 8 will be about 400$+. They are going to be
about the same cost DIY.
You will get a little more out of the PC's IMO. I like the light from a MH
better. The PC bulb will last longer, no doubt about that(at least 2-3 times
longer from practical usage). You will likely experience less ballast
problems from PC's and they are 100% quiet, no hum.

Non DIY will run about 500-600$ for the MH's. The PC's will about 550$ or
you could go with a 2 x 175 watt plus 4 x 55W PC's for about 540$ but it's a
nice retro kit instead of a full hood.
If your sure you will like the DIY and all do it. It's a lot of money, often
the most for a planted tank. Wise to consider the end product and is it
worth it.

> So I'm falling back to fluorescent lighting,
> which provides considerably greater flexibility and control.  The tank
> is an odd size; the surface to be lit is 5' long and 2' across.  The
> best fit I've found is to run 6 or 8 55W pcf tubes front-to-back on the
> tank.  The reflectors for the tubes are 22" long, and should fit nicely.
> The problem is that I've never known of anyone to light tanks with tubes
> running front-to-back.  Has anyone tried that?  If so, how did it come
> out?  I doubt the plants care much, but I might.

Well the only drawback I see is that you could not make a narrow pendent
type hood for that open top effect. Having all the wiring going out the back
is nice though but you can do the same thing in the middle back. If you have
a full hood make sure there's enough clearance to shut it.
You will have decent spread over your tank either mounting method you choose
since you have a deeper tank. You can also bend the reflectors out a bit.
I would consider the open top "light rail" type of light with PC's. I did a
4 x 2 x 2 tank and we added 6 x 55watt and it looked/worked good for higher
light plants. I'd go with 8 PC's 55watts at 4 5000K and 4 6700K's in a
pendent type rail that I could lower/raise easily. I'd also make the stand
24 inches max so I could work in the tank easily while still able to put a
10lb gas tank under it.

Tom Barr