Super cheap lighting

0morrokh

I'm sick of expensive fluorescent hoods & bulbs, so i'm trying cfl's on some of my tanks. (yes reg cfl's like for lamps) I have a couple metal light things like the ones they use over lizard tanks, and 15w daylight cfl's. The light fixtures were super cheap, and the cfl's are much less than reg fluorescent tubes. The spectrum from these is probably not optimal, but I can get a much higher wpg than I could afford w/ reg tubes so I figure that makes up for it. I have yet to try growing plants with them--I'm just rearranging some fish and one tank with a cfl will get plants, but that'll probably just get guppy grass which will grow under just about anything. I was just thinking though, if you don't care how bad it looks, this would be a nice cheaper alternative to buying those expensive hoods--all you need is a glass top. Will post a pic sometime...
 

MrWaxhead

Ya they work just fine, PS you can get them in varied Kelvin ratings, warm tend to be 3200K range, and throw a yellower to red hue to your tank and fish, cool tend to be in the 4300 to 5500 and start to loose some of the red hue, and daylight tend to be in the 6500K range and throw a truer white colour. Personally I like to mix my lighting up, and use 6500k for the most part and but I like to have a 3200K bulb in my tanks as well that showcase the colour in my red plants and red stipes in my cardinals. I also have if I remember right a 9325K ish bulb that punches the blue in my cardinals. Of my four main tubes, I have two 6500s a 3200 and a 9325K this combo seems to punch all my fish and plants colours the best. My spriral bulb that I currently use is only a 3200k bulb as its my morning and evening bulb, IE before mains go on and after they go off so its a tad softer for the change over.
 

JohnnyOcean

Expensive, tell me about it. I was surfing the net and came across one site about coral propigation and the lighting they used were MH. But the author stated that the lighting fixture was from a outdoor security lamp. He hung them up (pendant style) and replaced the blubs with MH and he had no problems. I looked into this and found that some lfs sell the fixture that can clamp on to the top rI'm of the tank. These go for $100-$300. Went to the lhs(local hardware store) and found them for as low as $9.95 (on sale). I'm still researching into the specs of the fixtures though but I think they are the same.
 

Hypnox

Expensive, tell me about it. I was surfing the net and came across one site about coral propigation and the lighting they used were MH. But the author stated that the lighting fixture was from a outdoor security lamp. He hung them up (pendant style) and replaced the blubs with MH and he had no problems. I looked into this and found that some lfs sell the fixture that can clamp on to the top rI'm of the tank. These go for $100-$300. Went to the lhs(local hardware store) and found them for as low as $9.95 (on sale). I'm still researching into the specs of the fixtures though but I think they are the same.

Hehe, you've found the great truth of aquarium metal halide lighting. It's overpriced.
 

Dozey

Hehe, you've found the great truth of aquarium metal halide lighting. It's overpriced.

That stands true even for florescent lights. A replacement tube for my hood at the LFS is $20+ and at the LHS $4.
 

Taku

have you tried plants this way yet? I am anxious to know. BTW- Beautiful tank.
 

cmoreland

Don't know if it's any help but I am running a cheap starter 10 gallon aquarium, came with a hood and had incandescent bulbs in it. I found some self ballasted fluorescent bulbs that fit perfectly and completely transformed my tank lighting, my entire tank glows blue and lights everything very nicely. All for $10.

I've even seen someone use these to grow extremely healthy corals in a reef setup.
 

JohnnyOcean

Don't know if it's any help but I am running a cheap starter 10 gallon aquarium, came with a hood and had incandescent bulbs in it. I found some self ballasted fluorescent bulbs that fit perfectly and completely transformed my tank lighting, my entire tank glows blue and lights everything very nicely. All for $10.

I've even seen someone use these to grow extremely healthy corals in a reef setup.

I too have seen this, but if you have a deep tank then you have to have more intense lighting. Then the price goes up as well...
 

0morrokh

Hehe, you've found the great truth of aquarium metal halide lighting. It's overpriced.

That stands true even for florescent lights. A replacement tube for my hood at the LFS is $20+ and at the LHS $4.

Yeah, all aquarium lighting is ridiculously overpriced. Especially for a teen without a job (actually i'm getting one soon...)

have you tried plants this way yet? I am anxious to know. BTW- Beautiful tank.

Nope haven't done plants with them yet, actually I'm just setting up a breeding tank with guppy grass using a cfl, but I don't do fancy planted tanks with harder to grow plants...

Don't know if it's any help but I am running a cheap starter 10 gallon aquarium, came with a hood and had incandescent bulbs in it. I found some self ballasted fluorescent bulbs that fit perfectly and completely transformed my tank lighting, my entire tank glows blue and lights everything very nicely. All for $10.

I've even seen someone use these to grow extremely healthy corals in a reef setup.

Yeah another option is to get an incandescent strip and replace the incandescent bulbs with cfl's, but that's still more expensive than the individual fixtures I have.

Btw my cfls are 6500k, in case anyone's wondering...that's pretty good for plants I think??
 

0morrokh

Pics.... the fixtures cost me about $13 each if I remember right, bulbs maybe $7/pack?? Can fit 2 fixtures on a 10gal, though I just have one. (yes the tank in the background has the hood on sideways, I was doing some work on it) The lighting is visibly a lot brighter than a normal hood.
 

snowball

You can't get any cheaper than free dude.
Give it some sunlight with 50%shade
So far ive gone 3 months with out a problem
 

0morrokh

You can't get any cheaper than free dude.
Give it some sunlight with 50%shade
So far ive gone 3 months with out a problem

Yeah I'd do that if it wasn't -30 all winter here
 

mr. Clown Loach

omg -30 what country do you live gosh down in tx it only gets like 34 in the winter lol
 

2lucky

Great thread!

Pics.... the fixtures cost me about $13 each if I remember right, bulbs maybe $7/pack?? Can fit 2 fixtures on a 10gal, though I just have one. (yes the tank in the background has the hood on sideways, I was doing some work on it) The lighting is visibly a lot brighter than a normal hood.

Questions: How many WPG would those lights give and could you grow plants with them?
Also do they create much heat?
Thanks
 

0morrokh

Great thread!



Questions: How many WPG would those lights give and could you grow plants with them?
Also do they create much heat?
Thanks

I don't really know how to compare wpg cause they produce a lot more light with a lot less watts than reg lights. Like the ones I use are 15 watts but they are a lot brighter than my 20 watt tubes. Yes plants should grow fine under them but you might need to mix bulbs depending on what types of plants you have. They do get a bit warm but I don't think they get so hot it's a problem...
 

2lucky

Thanks for the reply.
What do you mean by mixing bulbs ???
 

0morrokh

Like using one plant bulb and one strip w/ cfl's. The plant bulb to provide more light of the best wavelengths and the cfs's for extra brightness.... I'm no lighting expert but serious planted tankers sometimes use several different types of bulbs to get the right combo...
 

pepetj

I'm experimenting with some CFs at 25W and 6400K housed inside a standard light assembly (I removed the fluorescent unit), they seem to work pretty good. I installed only two (as of tonight) but I could easily place up to five of those in a 36" long light strip. Need to solve the reflector issue but likely going to use glass mirror (custom cut) since aluminum foil is a nightmare for me, and some fiber glass sheet (or whatever is used) as temp insulation.

Pepe
Santo Domingo
 

namehater

its been a little bit since the thread has been touched, I'm curious to know what everybody thinks of the CFL's now that you have been running them for a little while.

tomorrow I'm going down to my LHS to pick up the supplies needed to retrofit CFL's into my existing light strip. I'm not sure how many bulbs I should go with or how bright is safe for the tanks.
 

≈ D ≈

IMO, the spiral CFL's (ones that are labeled Daylight 6500K) found, at say your local Walmart, are a great alternative to the expensive tubes you'd get from your local LFS.

I currently have 4 over a planted 55 gallon but I haven't yet tried very high demanding light type plants (Watersprite, Java Fern, Anubias etc). I also use Flourish Excel as my carbon source. The tank is now a jungle ;D.

Once the other tubes burn out over my other tanks, I'll be switching over to the CFL's completely.
 

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