Re: Advice on lighting for 29 gallon tank

> From: Noel Llopis-Artime <llopis at cs_unc.edu>
> Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 14:53:39 -0500 (EST)
> Subject: Advice on lighting for 29 gallon tank
> Hello,
> I was wondering what the best "budget" lighting setup is for a 29 gallon
> tank. Currently it only has one 20W fluorescent bulb (yikes!), and even
> though my Crypts and Java moss are doing fine, I would like to improve it.
> I've read that ideally I would need a total of 60W for my 29 gallon tank.
> Now bulbs of that size (24" I think) only come in 20W so I need to get
> 3 of them. I have only seen another hood that has 2 bulbs, and is about
> $50 (from a mail order place). Should I instead get a glass top and three
> strips of light? Should I get 2 strips and one of them with 2 bulbs?
> The problem is also that both the filter and the heater come out of the
> tank, so a glass top is going to be hard to fit.
> Also, what is the most economical way of getting all this? 
> Thanks for any advice!
> - --Noel

First of all, glass lids only cover about the first 9 inches of the 
tank.  The back of the tank is covered with a plastic strip, which can be 
cut to allow power cords, filters, etc. to get out of the tank.  I like 
submersible heaters because they don't accidentally get bumped off 
setting, you don't need to worry about exposing them during water 
changes, and placing a heater horizontal gives you a better circulation 
pattern.  That's a different issue, however.

The cheapest way to place three bulbs over a tank is as follows.  You did 
ask for it.  Start frequenting thrift stores.  Buy several fluorescent 
desk lamps for about $4 apiece.  Gut the parts.  An 18"-15W setup will 
frequently light a 24" bulb.  My policy is that this constitutes a 20W 
setup.  Buy about $10 dollars worth of hardwood and $3 worth of hinges, 
etc. and make yourself a box-type lid like the type you can buy at fish 
stores for $50-$60 dollars.  Get enough white vinyl floor tile to cover 
the lid or some white paint for less than $5.  Make the inside of the 
cover white and attach your lamp hardware to the lid.  Bulbs can be 
gotten at a hardware store for about $5-7 apiece.  I like to mix daylight 
and grow lights, although full-spectrum bulbs can be gotten for slightly 

I make this to be about $30, not counting tubes, which have to be 
purchased anyway.  You can add a fourth bulb for $4 more dollars.  If you 
don't feel like doing all this DIY stuff, you can purchase some or all of 
the parts.  Buy an aquarium top, for example.  And it costs only 
marginally more to get new electrical stuff at a hardware store, rather 
than the thrift store.

Good luck, fellow cheapskate.