55 Gallon Tank 55g planted lighting choice/help

Trenzalore

I've had a 5.5g tank for a couple years and done great, but I've upgraded to a 55g and feel like a complete beginner when it comes to shopping for tank lighting. I have a budget of about $80 for lighting for my new Aqueon 55g freshwater aquarium. It needs to either be some sort of hood with built in lights that are replaceable when they get old (cost effective), or one of those glass flat lids with a light strip I can just set on top - I need it to be able to reduce water loss, but also have holes for my heater, canister filter tubing, bubbler, possibly C02 in the future, etc.
I've looked everywhere, but it looks like what's within my budget is either this hood for $43 or a combination of this glass top with a light I can just set on top like this one, which still isn't saving any money at all. (Could be either one, the other, or one of each since the tank is divided at the top). I'm at a loss to whether I should just suck up and pay or if there's something a little cheaper out there that I can afford to get the job done.
Other questions!! If I get the hood I mentioned, can I/should I swap out the light bulbs to something stronger so I can have medium/high light requiring plants? And, can I use reptile lights for an aquarium (what kind, should I use the glass top and set the light on top of that, ???)? I have a turtle basking strip hood with a 15w tube light in it that still works, thought about swapping out for a stronger bulb but I can't find the og box and the tags on the cord don't have any helpful information.
Any recommendations for cheaper lights and hoods would be much appreciated!!!
 

Trenzalore

Additional questioning added here - can I use a t5 light fixture like this or a t8 like this with a flat glass topper? The reviews say it is low heat and that it's been good to their reptiles and indoor plants of all kinds..
 
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LeviS

Did you ever get an answer about your light question?
 
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Trenzalore

Honestly, not really - I just ended up getting two of these fluorescent hoods from Petco for about $28 each. I still don't know for sure whether that's enough lighting for medium-high light requirement plants, but for now it's better than nothing and if I found anything better, I still have the receipts and 60 days to return them. My tank is still cycling fishless and as of right now, plantless as well. Every plant I have is being stored in my established micro 5.5gal.
 
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toeknee

Sounds like it's too late but the Beamswork DA FSpec led lights on Amazon are top notch for the price point and would have put you into the lower end of the medium light scale. I have two of them on my 55 high tech setup. The hoods you bought will probably need upgraded light bulbs inside, otherwise the lights that usually come with those are on the very low end of lighting.
 
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Trenzalore

This is the lightbulb and hood rating - what do you guys think? I could have one end of my tank be the default bulb for plants that require less lighting or else they'll melt, and on the other side I could have the higher rated bulb if I need/get a better replacement. Does anyone have any bulb recommendations off ebay, home depot, amazon etc? Thank you so much

20200903_164230.jpg
 
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LeviS

55g tanks are kinda deep, as mentioned the Beamswork DA lights work pretty well for a budget light, I have 1 on my 40 breeder. Another option is the led shop lights you can find for pretty cheap at Costco, Sam's club, ive seen some at Rural King in my area. I tried several cheaper lights and even bought a t5HO I believe its called a sunblaster but in the end led lights are the way to go for the long run. The t8s will grow low light plants but they recommend changing bulbs every 6 months due to the light degrading.. If you intend to get deep into the hobby and have a heavy planted tank and maybe co2 later on id recommend save some $ and invest in a fluval 3.0, its adjustable brightness and can adjust colors, i know they are expensive $180ish range for a 36" but they have great reviews.
 
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Trenzalore

By Led lighting, would these work (1) or (2)? I looked at LED shop lights on Lowes and Costco but none of them looked like I could afford to piece it all together - I can't hang anything above my tank because of the location, and getting a light without a hood would mean spending even more money getting separate glass tops to cover the top of the tank as well; that was the initial problem with getting light fixtures that didn't come with something to help with condensation. Unfortunately I'm on a pretty tight budget, I definitely won't be able to afford anything really nice for quite a while.
I'm still hoping I can find some T8 bulbs that are stronger than what I have to switch out and use with the hood, but I am still looking and researching for new lights, I just haven't really had any luck.
 
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LeviS

By Led lighting, would these work (1) or (2)? I looked at LED shop lights on Lowes and Costco but none of them looked like I could afford to piece it all together - I can't hang anything above my tank because of the location, and getting a light without a hood would mean spending even more money getting separate glass tops to cover the top of the tank as well; that was the initial problem with getting light fixtures that didn't come with something to help with condensation. Unfortunately I'm on a pretty tight budget, I definitely won't be able to afford anything really nice for quite a while.
I'm still hoping I can find some T8 bulbs that are stronger than what I have to switch out and use with the hood, but I am still looking and researching for new lights, I just haven't really had any luck.

Option 1 seems ok, I'm only familiar with Beamswork though, generally all of those lights are made by same companies in China, so nicrew, beamswork etc are all similar. As far as your top I use a panel I purchase from lowes thats a plastic grate, it will not be a solid top that holds in moisture.. https://www.lowes.com/pd/PLASKOLITE...5-sq-ft-Louvered-Ceiling-Light-Panels/3280904 fish keepers that need a top and have several tanks tend to favor this as its cheap and can cut to size as needed. Its also sturdy so can cut sections for your filter, wires, other accessories. I have this as a top and my beamswork sits on the tank and havent had any issues myself. Sorry not able to really help much but maybe keep the panel idea in mind when you swap over to led.
 
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Tallen78

By Led lighting, would these work (1) or (2)? I looked at LED shop lights on Lowes and Costco but none of them looked like I could afford to piece it all together - I can't hang anything above my tank because of the location, and getting a light without a hood would mean spending even more money getting separate glass tops to cover the top of the tank as well; that was the initial problem with getting light fixtures that didn't come with something to help with condensation. Unfortunately I'm on a pretty tight budget, I definitely won't be able to afford anything really nice for quite a while.
I'm still hoping I can find some T8 bulbs that are stronger than what I have to switch out and use with the hood, but I am still looking and researching for new lights, I just haven't really had any luck.
What type of fish are u keeping
 
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86 ssinit

Getting here late. But a great cheap led light is the vivagrow 24/7. It has 10k lighting. Probably get a 48” one shipped for around $60-70. Or 3 24” for around $100. May be cheaper. Just remove the light fixture from those hoods and place these there. I have them on 3 of my tanks and I’m happy with the plant growth.
 
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Trenzalore

What type of fish are u keeping
I'm cycling the big tank, but i got 8 endlers in a different tank that will end up in the big one. I'm thinking peacock gudgeons, endlers, 2 bristlenose plecos, otocinclus, and green or chili rasboras. Will settle my decision when the tank stabilizes but I'm really hooked on PGs. I plan on understocking my tank quite a bit and encouraging breeding.

Getting here late. But a great cheap led light is the vivagrow 24/7. It has 10k lighting. Probably get a 48” one shipped for around $60-70. Or 3 24” for around $100. May be cheaper. Just remove the light fixture from those hoods and place these there. I have them on 3 of my tanks and I’m happy with the plant growth.

I'll see if I can get a good deal on the vivagrow, I could have one half of my tank well lit and the other side low. This is so cost prohibitive it's killing me; either I could get the expensive lights and afford almost no plants, or I could stick to low light plants and not have as many options. I think we all know what the answer is for me at this point. Unless I can find a good deal on vivagrow on ebay or elsewhere, it's going to be low light after all
 
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