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FAQs about Canopies, Tops and Housings for Lighting for Marine Systems: Repair

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A Mithrax forceps out at night in Bonaire.

Issues with Lighting Fixture, fluor.    9/11/07  <hello> I had a hard time finding the information I am looking for. I apologize if this question is similar in content to others you have answered. I have a 55 gallon reef tank that has been up and running successfully for two years. All parameters are normal. Fish and corals thriving. I have a current satellite fixture that has been an excellent choice. However within the past six months the lamps (bulbs) on one of the ballasts began to flicker. At first the flickering was temporary, then it became constant. I bought new lamps and this did not solve the problem. Then my boyfriend (an electrician) disassembled and reassembled the unit. It did not flicker again for about two weeks. Now it flickers randomly once or twice a week, maybe more and I am not there to notice. Several opinions have me confused. One source told me that it was probably a loose wire, not to worry. Another told me that a new ballast was needed. Before I spend the money on a new ballast, is the, now, temporary flickering, harmful and or indicative of a larger issue? If it is, or was, a loose wire would a new ballast be of any benefit? I tend to be a hypochondriac but it seems that my Anemone may be "reaching" for light more than is usual. Could the lamps be producing less light, without giving any visual indication? Is there any way to measure the light that the tank is receiving? Any input would be most appreciated. Thank-you. <The best action is to replace the ballast. While you are at it see if there are fans on the end of the fixture. If there are make sure they are working. If there isn't check into purchasing some and installing them. The fans will keep the fixture cooler and make the ballast and bulbs last longer.> <Rich aka Mr. Firemouth>

Glass covers Hello. I just have a quick question on removing the glass covers over my reef tank.  I have a 75 gallon reef with mostly soft coral (colt, xenia, Shrooms, zoo's, etc). I have a retrofit 4X65 watt power compact lighting setup in my canopy. About 5-6 inches above water.  Should I remove the glass covers? I am worried about splashing and dog hair (yellow lab)?  Any worries or suggestions?  Mike <Hi Mike.  I am assuming you mean the glass covers on the tank, not on the lighting fixtures.  No worries with the dog hair.  I also doubt splashing will be an issue if you are careful.  If you will sleep better at night, you can fashion makeshift covers for the lamp sockets to protect them.  Best Regards.  Adam>

- Eclipse III Hood Problems - I am ready to move on from my Eclipse 3 system. <Seems a familiar theme today.> Right now it's sitting on top of a Sea Clear 30"L x 12.5w x 24H 40 Gallon acrylic rounded corner freshwater aquarium. I have the heater set for 78 degrees, and my two 24 inch lamps are on for about 8-10 hours a day. The reason I want to scrap the hood is despite what Sea Clear said about a perfect match, water condensation keeps dripping down the sides of the hood and then continues down the side of my tank. If there is an solution you can suggest... whether it be a modification to the existing hood or purchasing a new hood/filtration. <No suggestions that I can think of... probably not a marriage made in heaven, this hood and tank.> I have been looking at the Eheim Ecco/Pro canister filters, but if you have any suggestions I would really be grateful. <The Ecco canister filters are very nice - well designed.> Thanks! -- S <Cheers, J -- >

- Eclipsing the Eclipse - Hi all, my wife and I both love your site and try to keep up regularly. We have had moderate success these last 2 years keeping a 29 gallon saltwater setup.  It is in one of those eclipse systems by Marineland.  You are probably familiar, they have all the lighting and filtration in the hood.  A terrific concept but we are beginning to suspect not well designed for saltwater. <Yes, you are correct... you win... a brand new Eclipse system... what? You don't want it? They are a good enter into the aquarium hobby, but not made for upgrading.> We are able to only keep very hardy fish such as damsels and clowns and a few others.  We've tried a flame angel twice without success.  Anyways, we are positive it's gotta be water quality with the lack of protein skimmers etc. <Quantity and quality - the two are joined.> One other VERY disappointing result is our sand.  It started off great the first 6 months, very white, like the nicest beaches in the Caymans.  We both loved the sand.  However, over time, it was taken over by red slime.  We tried the yellow powder (can't remember for the life of me the name) and it helped somewhat, but in the end, it's a real mess to clean up by hand.  Again, I'm sure bad water quality. <Among other things...> So, we think we are ready to move up to a bigger system.  We have the room, the time, the money, and the desire and are considering tanks in the 125 gallon and higher range. <Ahh wonderful.> My questions are these: 1.) We are considering placing all the filtration equipment in the basement, about 10 feet below the tank.  Is this wise? <It will be quiet in the room where the tank is - that much you can depend on. Do take steps in the basement to deal with moisture, water spills, etc. Other than that, many folks wish they had the luxury of this option.> Can we do our water removal and additions from our basement as to not have to stand in front of a tall tank with buckets and hoses all the time? <One of many benefits.> Obviously, siphoning would still be done. <Sure, no worries.> 2.) Given our bad luck with sand, can we steer clear of any bottom material all-together. <If you want, but I think with some research and planning in advance, you can avoid these problems in future systems.> I have noticed this at my LFS who keeps a very nice 300 gallon setup in this manner.  Nothing in the bottom, just lots of fish and rocks. <Many folks do... think the fish seeing their reflection in the bottom glass is a bit problematic for the fish's mental health... best to at least paint the underside of the bottom panel if you choose this route.> 3.) At my LFS, the few display tanks with sand appear to have at least red algae in the sand, not to the degree we had, we had slime.  Is it that difficult to prevent even under the best of conditions? <Not difficult to prevent if you understand the origins/causes - read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm > 4.) Without bashing any particular aquarium manufacturer, are my experiences with the eclipse system common among those who try to keep saltwater in them? <I think so - again, tank was designed to bring folks into the hobby, not be an end-all-be-all system for everyman. Most who use these realize at some point that they won't be building the reef of their dreams in an Eclipse system.> Thanks again for services. <Cheers, J -- >

Heavy Metal In Deep Sand! Hi Crew, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> I need some help!  (what's new -- huh?)  While removing a retainer on my light canopy, the retainer shot into my aquarium.  While trying to dig it out, it got lost under the sand bed.  The retainer is spring steel and contains an amount of metal probably close to that of a penny.  Since the retainer is highly magnetic, I tried to fish it out of the sand (about 3 ½' deep sand bed) with a strong magnet -- with no success.  I have picked up every piece of live rock I thought it could be under but I am unable to locate the retainer. Do you have any additional suggestions for finding a piece of buried steel in a 180g aquarium with a 3 1/2 ' DSB and live rock? <I guess a conventional metal detector wouldn't work under water, huh?> Worst case -- at least this is not copper; how dangerous would it be if this small piece of steel is left in the aquarium?   <Well, It's obviously not a perfect situation, but I suppose that the impact of this piece of metal may be minimal, given the water volume, especially seeing that it is so small. On the other hand, if it makes you feel better, you should run aggressive chemical filtration with activated carbon/PolyFilter, or other "metal removing" media, in the hopes that any potentially toxic leaching could be minimized> Currently this is a FOWLR aquarium but I am getting ready to add corals and begin keeping a reef. Your advice is greatly appreciated!--Greg <Well, short of mounting another dredging expedition, I suppose that you are just as well served to use the aforementioned chemical filtration media full-time. Good luck Regards, Scott F.>

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