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RE: [AGA-Member] More on lighting than on undergravel heaters

Regarding under tank heating. 

Under the heading of 'for what it's worth' I have six tanks set up in my
greenhouse.  Tanks are sitting on my standard greenhouse benches which are
wood slats with about an inch gap between the slats.   I have a small water
heater under the sink connected to pvc pipe that runs between the slats on
the beds and recirculates hot water in a closed system under all the tanks.
It doesn't cost much to run, doesn't keep the beds hot, just warm, and works
great in my Portland OR climate.  It also runs under my orchids, fuschias,
and other tender plants that overwinter in the greenhouse and the starter
vegetables I plug into my hydroponics pots and later outdoors.


-----Original Message-----
From: aga-member-bounces@thekrib.com [mailto:aga-member-bounces@thekrib.com]
On Behalf Of Heather J Gladney
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2005 11:10 PM
To: Aquatic Gardeners Association Member Chat
Subject: [AGA-Member] More on lighting than on undergravel heaters

I understand Dupla and Amano are both reliable but expensive on 
undergravel heaters.
Lots of websites I see have advised spending the money first on lighting 
and trying CO2 injection.  I can swear to the results between that and 
balancing nutrients correctly--very impressive, though I'm still 
learning how to balance all that.

Re: your last question, I'm not sure of your tank's dimensions, so I 
can't advise you if inexpensive standard 4-tube shoplight at certain 
length (4' etc.) would work for you.  Somebody round here can. But if it's a
standard 55, then there's commercial CF hoods (compact 
flourescent) or CF/MH combo (metal halide) hoods (pobalby with built-in 
fans) that can sit atop your tank, made by companies such as Coralife or 
See the HelloLights set of links at end of my message--they sell 
complete hoods made by those companies.  Or you could get metal halide 
pendants from them.
Disclaimer:  I don't work for any of these companies, I don't know them 
personally, no one in my family works for them.
(Saying I *wished* that they did just won't improve my tank hoods in the 
least, either.)

If you go with metal halide pendants, it' probably be easier to zap it 
with six times as much wattage as you've asked for, sooner than keep it 
down to 120 watts.  (Also not cheap.)  But you could raise the MH 
pendants higher off the tank to reduce the light intensity in the water, 
and thereby have an interesting stray light source for lovely 
houseplants too.  I mean, if you have room around the tank.
No more technical advice from me on MH--I'd have to turn you over to the 
much more experts round here.

I like CFs, as they run cooler.  Hotter than conventional flourescent. But
I'd go with T-8s in shoplights instantly if it would fit my tank 
(sigh, it won't.)
Either conventional flourscent T-8s (narrower bulb size) or CFs or MH 
can all be put into custom-built hoods.
Build your own hood as narrow as you want,  using a light kit bought 
with lengths & wattage you want, with however many bulbs you can fit.  
CFs and MHs can be built in using preassembled wiring, "light kits".  
Feel up to building with simple directions?
Lots of info on the retrofit kits and how to build them, from the folks 
that I *think* invented the idea in the hobby.
(correct me if I'm wrong...)  I had very good luck buying light bulbs 
(which ain't the easiest to pack) with these folks,as they came recc'ed 
by other hobbyists.
For example:  Two 36w bulbs will fit nicely end-to-end under the 34.5"L 
x 4"W reflector or side-by-side under the 17.5"L x 7"W reflector. Bulbs 
must be ordered separately. *Note* that the 17.5"L x 7"W reflector will 
fit over a standard 10 or 15XH gallon aquarium for great mini-reef lighting.
You could also talk to them to get the parts, such as correct ballast 
and endcaps, to make it exactly the length and size you want.
I don't know if they could get you T-8 endcaps (as T-8 bulbs are cheaper 
and lower wattage and sturdier bulbs than CFs) but you could certainly ask.
They also sell finished enclosures in which you install your parts, or 
the correct light kit.  For instance, note the width here:
*48" Black Enclosure* 	




Actual outside dimensions 48.25"L x 9.75"W x 3.45"H. 

Another lighting supplier I've had good luck with:
How about a compact flourescent light kit  with four 55-watt bulbs?
** Approx. Kit Dimensions w/bulbs: 36"L x 10"W x 2 1/4"H
*or you could do some metal halide pendants supported above the tank. Both
Coralife and Aquamedic 150 watt pendants are distributed by this 
(two examples from a distributor that I've had good luck with--scroll 
down to see specs.)
150 seems to be their lowest standard wattage.
Either pendant would have enough clout by itself, but a very long skinny 
tank you'll probably want 2 or 3 pendants in a line.
You see what I mean about the great houseplants!  And tank water is 
really great for watering with.
Hope this is some help!

Nora Charney wrote:

>I'm setting up a 55gal. tank with an undergravel
>heater. I can't seem to find anything but a no name
>brand from Pet Solutions and am wary of spending 160$
>on something I know nothing about. Does anybody have a recommendation 
>of a very reliable undergravel heater and where I might get it. While 
>I'm here I might as well ask if anybody knows how long and at what 
>temp. you "bake" a piece of wood you want to use in your
>tank that you found in the woods (to kill the bacteria
>and whatever). Also how do you pack 120 watts of light
>over a 12 inch wide tank? I guess that's enough for now!
>Celebrate Yahoo!'s 10th Birthday! 
>Yahoo! Netrospective: 100 Moments of the Web 
>AGA-Member mailing list

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