Thread: Shop Lights
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louphoenix louphoenix is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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Default Re: Shop Lights

A tank with just fish and some low light plants doesn't require as much lighting and will do fine with one or two Aqua Glo, Color Max or other similar lights.. One thing to keep in mind is that even though Aqua Glo and Color Max type of standard flourescent lamps are more or less 6500 K, they simply lack the output (lumens per watt) for any thing more than low light plants. A Power compact bulb or two will work much better, but you would need to get a fixture compatible with these bulbs
If you're going to get into medium to high light plants, you will need more ultra-violet and infrared light, and also more lumens/watts of intensity. Photosynthesis takes place at the blue end and at the red end of the Nanometer spectrum (420 nm blue and 670 nm red). The 'sweet spot for photosynthesis is in the range of 550 nm, this is where most visible light is present and is why plant leaves mostly reflect green light, while they absorb red and blue. This curve drops sharply below 400 nm and above 700 nm. Using 6500 K bulbs will get you within that desired spectrum. For my 55 gallon planted tank, I use 2 65 Watt Power Compact Fluorescents (PCs), each 6500K. That is a total of 130 Watts output which keeps ALL of my plants very, very happy...everything just grows and grows, not to mention that the colors on the fish REALLY show.
On a side note, PCs will put out quite some heat. If your lights are close to the water surface, you will not need a heater when the lights are on, otherwise your tank will cook. I originally solved this by setting up two timers in the tank, opposite to each other, one controlling the lights, the other the heater, when the lights are off, the heater goes on, and viceversa.
Nowadays, I simply keep the fixture above the water surface by as much as the canopy will allow and I also run cooling fans whenever they're on (I don't use heaters anymore - it's Florida after all). That has worked out pretty well.

Hope this helps!


Last edited by louphoenix : at .