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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:25 pm
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Does anyone use those typical fluorescent shop lights for their planted tank. They are typically 40watt single or double T-12's? Some have reflectors. I know they are not the best color for plants but I am curious to know people's experience.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:30 pm 
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Fishkeeper
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Location: Hingham, MA
The standard shop light brand, I forget the name, has a bulb specificely designed for plants and aquariums. I had decent success with one for a while, but nothing extraordinary because I only used one bulb.

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Trying to concentrate on dart frogs, African cichlids and Aphyosemion killifish (oh, and mysnake pair and reef too). I've always got something for sale, PM.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:06 pm 
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I had a really nice planted 55g for a while, using two 48" twin tube shop lights.
(ok that's relative - nice for me. Not up to what Michele keeps, or Lori, or a most of our members with green thumbs - I'm not artistic, I put plants in for the fish, not for looks)

I used the 48" daylight bulbs - originally the T12 bulbs, then the T8 bulbs when Phillips started packaging two T8 daylight bulbs in one pack for like $6 (at Homedepot and/or Lowes).
I always looked for the word "daylight" or a color of 6500k or 6700k.
These bulbs are bright, cheap, and look good to me. I use 2 bulbs over most of my tanks, and used 4 over the planted tank, for a nominal 160w (really 128w because the T8 bulbs are 32w each not 40w each).

The one trick I found was that there are wide shoplight fixtures and narrow shoplight fixtures - the wider fixtures often cost more because they have better reflectors - and I only really had luck fitting two of the narrow fixtures over a 55g, the wide ones are a bit to wide.

The drawbacks I found are :
a) these are hanging fixtures - they work great in a fishroom, less so in the living room.
b) these are not "pretty" fixtures - again, great in the fishroom, but not for a "show" tank in the living room
c) there's a fair amount of light that "escapes" out the sides - so the area above the tank looks bright, not just the tank itself. Ditto fishroom yada yada not living room yada yada :mrgreen:


Other thoughts - the shoplights themselves are cheap - but they're not designed for high humidity so they need to be replaced every few years (maybe 3-5 years) - but at $20 each thats not a big deal.


Most recently, I had one shoplight over my 55g "ancistris breeding tank" -- which is planted with lots of amazon swords, some crypts, etc. I also had some sort of step plant, which preferred growing emersed. This step plant completely filled the gap between the tank and the light, about 40" wide, 8 inches front to back, and 1 foot high. It looked like I was growing tomatoes :mrgreen: -- all on two 48" bulbs.
However - these "tomato" plants were starving all my other plants for light (and probably nutrients) - so I ended up pulling them out recently. But they were in there for at least 9 months (at the end, they had actually grown up into the light fixture itself).
If I decide to make that tank more of a planted tank and less of a "kinda planted" tank, I'll throw another shoplight on there again.

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Rich
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Part-time fishguy at Uncle Ned's Fish Factory (saturdays)
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Species I am currently keeping/breeding include :
Copadichromis borleyi "redfin"
Labidochromis caeruleus yellow labs
Aulonocara sp. "Lwanda"
Ancistrus cf. cirrhosus "Super Red Ancistris"
Xiphophorus montezumae Montezuma Swordtails
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(I'm in the middle of resetting and redesigning my fishroom - so things are kinda quiet)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:20 pm 
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Fishkeeper
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Location: Hingham, MA
Oh, we're talking about fixtures!

I've never tried one, but my grandparents have an unused one sitting in a box in their huge barn and they're always asking me to take stuff because they're never going to use it. Maybe I should use it... Rich, couldn't you just put glass between the light and the tank to prevent the high humidity?

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Trying to concentrate on dart frogs, African cichlids and Aphyosemion killifish (oh, and mysnake pair and reef too). I've always got something for sale, PM.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:14 pm 
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Fishkeeper

Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:25 pm
Posts: 19
I appreciate the feedback on shop lights. I also noticed that there are very few 36" fixtures since the world of construction works on the 2' X 4' concept. I think these lights will be fine over the tanks in my basement. As for the color, difficult to get a 6700 but I did see some at 4500 and 5100. The newest fixtures seem to have better reflectors.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:40 pm 
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Fishkeeper
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Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:41 pm
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Location: Hingham, MA
The one for sale at Lowe's was $68. Can someone link me to where you're getting yours?

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Trying to concentrate on dart frogs, African cichlids and Aphyosemion killifish (oh, and mysnake pair and reef too). I've always got something for sale, PM.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:38 pm 
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Home Depot has them cheap. If you wanted to try them in a show tank make/get a canopy, or paint them black...

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