I want to upgrade from low light

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by kidster9700, Jul 28, 2015.

  1. kidster9700Well Known MemberMember

    Okay, I have a low light planted tank, but the lighting stinks. It's not bright enough for my tank both visually and for some of the plants I want to add. It's a 38 gal (36"long) but the hood only has a 24" fluorescent bulb holder.
    I think I should first replace just the light section of the hood with something that will stretch the whole length of the tank, or AT LEAST 30". So my first question is, does that sound right/like a good plan?
    Second, I want to get a higher wattage bulb/light. Right now it's like an Aqueon 24" full spectrum daylight and I was about to upgrade to their plant-specific one except the wattage is only 25watts and I grabbed a 36" bulb before I realized my tank only holds a 24" bulb. So if I upgrade my light hood so that it can hold a 30" or 36" bulb, does the brand matter? Like if the hood I get is still Aqueon can I get like a tetra light or whatever?
    I'm also open to getting LED, but I'm unsure about being able to spend that much money.
    My last thought is that if I do need to completely replace my hood (not just the section that hold the light) does anyone know of a good 38 gal hood with two filter cutouts? Because I want to add a second HOB filter to this tank but I will have to cut the plastic myself. That's not really a big deal, but if I have to replace the whole thing anyways then why not save myself some time.
    Any help with any of my questions/thoughts would be appreciated! Thank you!
    (The specific plants I want to add are ludwigia since I can get some nice red variations but they are easily dying with my current tank lighting)

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  2. JswinWell Known MemberMember

    Well you'll need at least medium lighting for ludwigia. I have the finnex planted plus LED and it gets nice reds out of my ludwigia

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  3. kidster9700Well Known MemberMember

    That's why I want to upgrade. That, and my tank is visually too dark.

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  4. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    I really like the glass versa tops. You have to cut sections out for your filters, but it's super easy. They're easy to clean, and there's nothing bulky on the top like you get with hoods. You're much more free with lighting then, and you can put a strip light on top of the glass. I have this light for my 55 gal:
  5. kidster9700Well Known MemberMember

    That's a really nice light! And here's my current hood without the light fixture on it. ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1438111217.217574.jpg
    And one of the hood with the light fixture ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1438111238.374345.jpg
    And here you can see that the fixture is lame. ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1438111273.475357.jpgImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1438111292.316453.jpgImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1438111331.986493.jpg

    I almost forgot, do you think I could just replace my fixture with that light you posted a link to? And set it over the glass section?

    Edit: also, pardon my tank, its quite messy right now. It got super messed up from me trying to catch the glolights. I'm actually about to get a lot lot lot more plants in a week or so since petco is having a 30% off sale on plants and fish livestock.

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    would you say the 30" is best for my tank? i would love to get a 36" light on there but seeing as thats the complete length of the tank i doubt thats possible.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2015
  6. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    I think that would be fine. I got the 48" for my 55 gal, and it goes all the way across. You rest each end on the edges of the tank, with the glass versa top underneath. I'm not sure how if it would work on your hood, unless there's a glass portion that goes all the way across? It might work then.
  7. kidster9700Well Known MemberMember

    well it says the total length of the 36" is 40.9" :/
    and you think it will be okay on top of my current hood? i'll have to double check the width.
    are the bulbs it comes with good for medium-high light? i'm new to actually paying attention to lighting haha.
  8. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    I'd go the size down then.

    I don't know if it would work with your hood. Hard to tell from pics.

    It's good for low lighting, though you could replace the color max bulb with another plant bulb and that should make it medium lighting (though don't quote me on that - I'm still new to the plant world!). You could always get a versa top and put both the new light and the old light on it. That would be lots of light.
  9. kidster9700Well Known MemberMember

    the new light being that plant one i bought for a 36" fixture? or the old one that is terrible and for a 24"? hahaha.
    i just can't seem to find high enough wattage for my tank, i don't want it to be low light anymore. but i also don't want to spend over $100 on new lighting.
  10. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    If it were me, I'd return the 36" bulb and get one for the 24" fixture. Then also get a versa top and the 30" dual bulb T5 fixture with lights. If that's still not enough light, you can replace the color max bulb in the 30" with a plant-specific one. Then you'll have 3 6500 K bulbs (1 24", 2 30") on your 38 gal, and I would think that would definitely qualify as medium (if not medium-high) light. My solution isn't very concise, so maybe someone else can offer a better suggestion!

    You could also get a Finnex planted+. More expensive now, but cheaper in the short run.

    Also, wattage/gallon is an outdated method. PAR calculations are the new gold standard.
  11. kidster9700Well Known MemberMember

    Okay, I'm all for getting the dual light fixture posted earlier, but I don't think I can still keep the current hood fixture with the 24".
    It would be really helpful if someone could post links to what all these things are. I'm starting to get mixed up.

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    after reading it again, i think i would rather not get the versa top, i have one for my 10gal and its great for that tank because i'll have shrimp in there, but i really like how clean the black hood looks. ideally i want to get the dual bulb T5 and have one daylight and one plant specific light in there and use that instead of my current fixture that only supports a 24". I think i will go for the 30" though, as you suggested.

    EDIT: i checked the width and my current fixture is 4.25 inches. i would like something thats a little more snug... like around 4"
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2015
  12. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Hopefully it fits with your hood.
  13. kidster9700Well Known MemberMember

    see my post edit
  14. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    Sorry, no idea then. You can search around for light fixtures for sale.
  15. kidster9700Well Known MemberMember

    okay,, if i upgraded to the dual light and had the daylight and plant bulbs in there, is that still "lowlight"? because on amazon's listing its supposedly only 2" deep which would mean i could totally get another light in there later on when i have more money.
  16. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    I believe that would be considered low light still.
  17. kidster9700Well Known MemberMember

    thats a bummer. i wish i could get like, a triple light hood. is that something that exists?
  18. junebugFishlore LegendMember

  19. kidster9700Well Known MemberMember

    oh wow! thats really nice. what level of lighting is it though? will it be bright enough to reach the bottom of my tank?
  20. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    Yeah it should. It's an off brand, so they don't have PAR charts on it, but the smallest one is almost too bright in my blackwater tank, so the mid-sized one should do fine for you.

    I'll get a photo of the tank for ya, keep in mind though it's a blackwater tank full of peat and oak leaves. :D

    Edit: Actually, here's one better for you. A video! [video=youtube;YQkU4lf9Al4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQkU4lf9Al4[/video]