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> What sort of fluorescent lighting do you have in India? For instance
> what normally is the diameter and wattage of a 4' lamp? You can do a lot
> of things by overdriving regular fluorescent lamps with electronic
> ballasts to get higher light levels. If an electronic ballast is
> commonly available then it is likely that you can DIY something using
> cheap commonly available lamps. Reflectors that will actually do
> anything though are damned hard to make. I would try to avoid this. The
> other obvious answer is to just use a 20" deep tank.
We do get NO T8 and T 12s, 2 ' and 4' Fluorescents. Their wattage is 36W for
a T8 and 40 W for a T12.
The best I have found is Philips Trulite T8, 6500K. My plants did really
well except for the forground plants like Tellennus and Lileopsis. Their
growth was slooow in a tank 21 inches high. I did use electronic ballasts
with a factor of 1.05 the results were still the same. VHO lamps I have not
been able to find here.
Also available are Philips PL-L/85s 36 W power compacts at 6500 K, even with
these the growth was marginally better. I have not been able to find
reflectors - the kind you see in the TFH ads for 4' Fluorescents.
I did find excellent reflectors for the Philips PL-L/85s, but the reflectors
were shaped in such a way that the light would get concentrated and not
spread out. You needed 4 of these bulbs and reflectors for a 3 x 2 x 2 feet
tank or you would end up with dark areas. Plants did well but there was the
question of that elusive lush forground.
Substrate and water column fertilisation was almost the same in all these
This again was expensive.
Then I got my MH and converted my tanks to open top. One single Tellennus
plantlet that grew into about 10 in 18 months exploded and I have a great
foreground now. All things considered I find MH lighting the best for tanks
2' in height and for tanks of 20" depth there needs to be some planning and
DIY with regard to lighting in order to ensure you get a good foreground.
You have to get the lighting right first before you can setup your tank and
the wait is very frustrating. I am not obsessed with forground plants but
getting them to grow has been a challenge for me.
Also available are Azoo lighting fixtures with a great reflector and 2 x 36
watt PCs for a 4' tank the cost USD 200/- per fixture. Imagine having to
light up a 4X2x2 feet tank with these, IMO that sets you back USD 600 for
My MH cost me USD 50 each, but then again not many people have the time to
get these made.