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Lighting a 55G showtank

RMoore asked about lighting options for a 55G that measured 36" wide x
15" deep x 22" high.

To do a nice set up, you could put 2 96watt Power Compacts from AH
Supply, which would give yhou about 4 watts per gallon.  You could use
a 96watt and a 55watt if you wanted a bit tamer tank.  The Reflectors
for the 96watt bulbs are 34.5"L x 4"W x 2"H so you could easily fit two
over your tank.  The 55watt reflectors are the same dimensions except
22" long.

An outfit, including ready made hood would run, for example:

2 x 96watt kit $119 (reflector, cord, electronic ballasts, sockets,
2 96watt bulbs $35 ea = $70
Hood (36.125"L x 9.75"W x 3.45"H)        $38  
about   $227 total plus shipping and some assembly required.

To go much cheaper, you could make your own hood, find some "3-foot" T8
or t12 bulbs, some Advance or similar brand standard ballasts from Home
Depot, get some reflector material (either AH Supply's 34" reflectors
or those sold by many on-line fish stores and LFS.  You could then put
in one, two, three, or up to four rows of T8s or T12s depending on the
reflectors you use.

But before you crank up the lumens, consider whether you will inject
CO2 to help the plants keep up with the lights.  If not, algae might
have an advantage over other plants in your tank.

Good luck,
Scott H.

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