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Lighting and aquascaping for a 55gal freshwater reef.


(I've been lurking for years and finally coming
out to help a friend with his tank.  Very scary.)

I am trying to help a friend of mine with his
55 gallon acryllic tank.  It is unique in that
he has a reef (many rocks) glued up and down the
back of the tank. The rocks probably displace 10-15
gallons, leaving this as a 40-45 gallon very narrow
tank.  It is actually very pretty with the fish
swimming in and out of the rocks.

He has been trying to grow Amazon Swords and hasn't
had much luck.  He currently has two 36 inch NO
tubes in a 42 inch hood.  He has a flourite substrate,
uses TMG, and flourish Potassium and Excel.
At one point I had him add jobes spikes to the
substrate also.

His swords seem to do well for a while especially
after he puts in new bulbs, but eventually they
get yellowish and thin (I think).

I'm pretty sure he needs more light, especially
since the back bulb gets obscured a little bit by the
reef.  (He is going to get pressurized CO2 before
he adds more light.)

I was looking at getting AH Supply retrofit kits
for his current hood.  Unfortunately the double 55
watt kit is too long for his 42" hood. (I think the
bulbs should stay in a single row because of the

To keep his current hood the alternatives are to
get either a single 96watt retrofit (which wouldn't
span the whole length of the tank)
or use 1 55 watt and 1 36 watt bulbs giving 91
total watts.

The other reasonably economical alternative is
a Phazer II XHO which consists of two 55 watt pcf
bulbs which I saw on sale.

Would 110 watts be too much light for the limited
space he needs to light?  Does anybody have any
thoughts on these alternatives?

Also I think the reef both limits aquascaping
possibilities (because of the even more limited
depth) and opens up some possibilities because
of what might be done with the rocks.
Does anybody have any ideas on how he would exploit
the reef?



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