Lighting for freshwater planted 120g tank

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jake72

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Jan 28, 2019
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I've been trying to figure out what lighting i need for a 120G tank. I currently have a 40B with a 36 fluval 3.0; My thought is i would need two 48 fluval 3.0 for a 120 or 1 48 and 1 36 (reuse the one I have) or just 1 48 fluval 3.0. But then I started looking and notice there were less expensive 48 inch led lights like beamworks but I couldn't find much in the way of reviews that compare them to the fluval (which I've been happy with but only had it for 4 months).
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So I guess the questions are do I need one or two lights for the 120G (which is 24 inches tall - the 40B is 18); and is fluval 3.0 the way to go or should I be looking at some alternative.
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This will be a planted community tanks. The fishes will be a couple of angels, 12 cardinals; 2 or 4 bgr; 8 panda cory; mix of pangio s and m (kuhli loaches), a few random guppies (which the angels might or might not eat when they get bigger) and maybe 5 zebra loachs (but the bio load is pretty high).
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Plants are simple stuff that grow well - amazon swords, anubia, hornwort, val (which is growing like a weed in my current tank), and maybe something to carpet the bottom.
 

FreshyFresh

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Having been through a few beamswork and odyssea T5HO fluorescent and LED fixtures now, I wouldn't recommend going cheap. Stick with the name brands like Current Satellite, Finnex, etc..

I haven't had a cheaper one last more than 2yrs without loosing the ballast or some part of the electronics. On the other hand, I have my 48" Current Satellite planted+ going strong for 3-4yrs now, 8-9hr/day, every day.
 

jake72

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Jan 28, 2019
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Do you recommend the satellite or finnex over the fluval 3.0? Also how many do i need for a 120g - is 1 48 enough or 1 48 and my old 36 or 2 48 ?

Having been through a few beamswork and odyssea T5HO fluorescent and LED fixtures now, I wouldn't recommend going cheap. Stick with the name brands like Current Satellite, Finnex, etc..

I haven't had a cheaper one last more than 2yrs without loosing the ballast or some part of the electronics. On the other hand, I have my 48" Current Satellite planted+ going strong for 3-4yrs now, 8-9hr/day, every day.
 

dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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I would recommend the Fluval over either. The finnex maybe has a more controllable spectrum though.

I would think that with your current list of plants, 1 should be fine... But you can always add a second later on if you want.
 

jake72

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Jan 28, 2019
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Thanks! Just wasn't sure if the 24 width of the tank would be an issue but as you said I can always add a second or use the 36 i currently own.

I would recommend the Fluval over either. The finnex maybe has a more controllable spectrum though.

I would think that with your current list of plants, 1 should be fine... But you can always add a second later on if you want.
 

dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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Thanks! Just wasn't sure if the 24 width of the tank would be an issue but as you said I can always add a second or use the 36 i currently own.
Also remember that the light will come down at a triangle shape, the size depending on the fixure.

I.e. if it is across the middle of the tank, there will be a dark spot at the top of the front and back.

You can cover more of the aquarium by lifting the light higher, which makes it less efficient. Or you can get a second fixture to cover more of the aquarium.

Some fixtures (BML spring to mind) can be angled so they do not point straight down.. my preference is to move the fixture toward the front of the aquarium and have it tilted slightly towards the back.


Hope that helps.
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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I'm not sure I understand your tank's dimensions. I have a 110/120g 5ft x 18 inches x 24 or 25 inch high tank...but there's also a 120g 2ft x 2ft x 4ft...which do you have? I haven't set mine up yet, but back in the day, it came with 2 x 2 30 inch T-8s (or maybe T-5s)...& that's ok for my intended low light eventual set up. A 2 x 2 x 4 ft tank, will, as dougall said, need different lighting especially if you want a "carpet" plant along the substrate, those are more difficult.
 

jake72

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Jan 28, 2019
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The intended tank is 48x24x24. If I'm unable to buy it then i would likely go with the 75 gallon which is 48x18wx21h

I'm not sure I understand your tank's dimensions. I have a 110/120g 5ft x 18 inches x 24 or 25 inch high tank...but there's also a 120g 2ft x 2ft x 4ft...which do you have? I haven't set mine up yet, but back in the day, it came with 2 x 2 30 inch T-8s (or maybe T-5s)...& that's ok for my intended low light eventual set up. A 2 x 2 x 4 ft tank, will, as dougall said, need different lighting especially if you want a "carpet" plant along the substrate, those are more difficult.
 

jake72

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Jan 28, 2019
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I like the 75's height but prefer the 120 depth. I always felt a narrow tank is somehow restrictive.

All things considered, a 75g is my favorite tank size! It's not so deep front to back, so easier to light & nice for 'scaping too.
 
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