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FAQs about Fluorescent Light and Lighting for Marine Systems, Very High Output (VHO) Fluorescents

Related FAQs: Fluorescent Light 1, Fluorescent Light 2, Fluorescent Light 3, Normal Output (NO), High Output (HO), Compact Fluorescents (CFs, PCs)Compact Fluorescents 2T5, TN Fluorescent Lighting, & FAQs on Fluorescent: Fixture Selection, End Caps, Ballasts, Regular and High-Output Lamp Selection, PC Lamp Selection, T-5 Lamp Selection, Lamp Life-Span Issues, Power Consumption Issues, Installation-Wiring, Troubleshooting/Repairing, By Make/Model/Manufacturer: & Metal Halide Lighting, Lighting Marine Invertebrates LR LightingTridacnid LightingSmall System Lighting,

Related Articles: Fluorescent Light & LightingSpectral Quality of Various Fluorescent Lamps by Dana Riddle, T5 Fluorescent Lighting, Coral System Lighting

Most anemone species, settings can be satisfied with VHO fluorescents.

Lighting confirmation 2/25/09 Hello Crew <Dave.> I am writing over what is probably a tired and over answered question and for that I apologize. I did use the search and spend much time searching for the answer, however it remains to be a tough one to find, as well as very controversial. I have been growing sps in 1 of my frag tanks for only a short time, I am using VHO's, 4 x 96W and my tank is 5' x 2' x about 1' deep and my lights are about 12" off the tank. I have not been having any problems but am told often (not that I have any good reason to listen to most other people) that my VHO lighting is insufficient. <Hmmm, VHOs can be very effective.> It is my understanding that the MH lighting everyone is so fond of is only so popular and necessary because of it's ability to penetrate deeper into the tank. <Even this can be accomplished with sufficient amounts of VHO/T5/PC lighting. It just gets to the point with deeper tanks that MH becomes less cumbersome and more economical when it comes to replacing many fluorescent bulbs.> In my situation I have no need for deep penetration so am curious if there may be anything my corals are missing out on by using this lighting, or if I may be completely mistaken. <Nope, if it's not broke, don't fix it.> Many praises once again for all you do to help the wet community, and for the record, the new home page looks great. Keep up the good work and thank you. <Thank you and you're welcome.> Dave <Scott V.>

PFO ballast convert PC to VHO 12/28/08 Hello, <Hello Lenny. Minh at your service.> I currently have a 55gal (48 X 17 X 15)reef tank I purchased from a friend who came over and set it up the way he had it. The pumps that I am using are RIO 17 HF for the return (he had a Gen-x 4100. I couldn't stand the noise from that thing so it was changed) and a Gen-x 1000 for the skimmer. The lighting is a PFO-EL 2-2 ballast running 2 33" 96 watt PC 50/50. This canopy setup has the PC's 8.5" above the top of the tank. I would like to change to VHO's which this ballast is capable of. The main concern for my choice to do this is my tank seems to run on the warm side around 82 and that is with 2 fans in the canopy and one more in the sump. I've read and was able to feel myself that the PC's ran hotter than the VHO's. <This has also been my experience.> I have searched for the quick connects that are already wired to the end caps with no luck. I have emailed PFO and was told basically sorry, we don't have any but good luck. I can find some 3pc T12 end caps through aquacave.com(thanks to your site) but can not find a wiring diagram for my ballast. <From my research, it appears that the PFO-EL 2-2 consists of a PFO enclosure and Fulham Workhorse 7 ballasts. You may need to open up the ballast enclosure to verify this information. The Fulham Workhorse 7 ballast wiring diagram can be found here: http://www.fulham.com/Find_Process.php.> Also, not sure how long the bulbs would need to be if needed to be longer than the current bulbs. <The Workhorse 7 is capable of running up to 220W. You can review the specifications on the VHO bulb you are interested in running for the optimal power/length configuration for this ballast.> Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <If the above suggestion does not pan out for you. You can also contact the folks at DIY Reef (http://diyreef.com/shop/index.php) or HelloLights (http://www.hellolights.com), they are both very knowledgeable in fluorescent lighting.> Lenny <Good luck. Cheers, Minh Huynh.  

SW System light/ing Hey Guys and Gals, < Hello >       Someone just posted on one of the lists I subscribe to asking for input about these lights...... http://www.lenslights.com/aqualights/innerpages/faq.html#5 .       Marine and Reef lighting is not my area of expertise. They seem interesting but are only compared to metal halides. Would these be considered VHOs? How would these compare to PCs or T5s? < Not as good as pc's nor halides. A great idea, and a way to make a cheap light okay, but not ideal. > As long as I am asking .... a friend of mine got a great deal on Coral Life T5s  at the Aquarium Warehouse in San Diego and I am thinking of switching.  I am  currently  using 2 65w  PCs on my 50g seahorse corral and 4 65w PCs on my 75 FOWLR. I know I do not actually need that much light for the inhabitants but anything less seems to puts a damper on my photography, which was the reason for the PCs in the first place.  < No kidding, I'd say those tanks are way underlit, even without the need for light. >       I am wondering how the T5s compare to the PCs in terms of heat, electrical costs and mostly appearance. Would the T5s appear brighter? < T5's have a couple advantages.  First off they give off more light per watt than pc's and they are more energy efficient.  However, they are not high powered to begin with.  So you need more of them.  If switching out 65 watt pc's you are okay, but if you were switching 96 watt pc's you would need two T5's for every pc bulb you take out.  Other point of interest.  T5's are a lot more money to buy initially.  However, the bulbs last twice as long.  So in the end you would be cheaper with T5's but not to begin with.  One more item- with T5's you really do need the individual reflectors for each bulb.  That cost adds up as well. > Hoping everyone is well. < I am doin' great. > Thanks, Leslie <  Blundell  >

Large System - 08/16/05 I recently acquired a 600 gallon tank that I am planning some upgrades  for.   <<cool>> The tank came with 2 - 6' VHO's.  It's a 4' tall tank, and I just want it to look REALLY nice, not necessarily try to grow anything in it (aside from healthy fish). <<ok>> I haven't gotten it filled yet, or the lights hooked up so I'm not sure how bright it's going to be, but I'm curious if VHOs can hack it or would it be recommended to bump it up to halides even though its a FOWLR. <<The VHOs will work fine for the fish (may want to add a couple more tubes), but I wouldn't expect any life to "flourish" on the live rock in the bottom third of the tank.  I prefer the look of a single-point light source myself...and considering the depth of this tank, would likely opt for the halides.>>   I want to mount my 125 above the 600 if that is possible and use it as a refugium/invert display to complement my FOWLR, so it  would be nice if I could avoid the heating issues that would inevitably arise with halides. <<A valid concern...but don't be fooled in to believing VHOs won't be hot.  The use of cooling/exhaust fans will likely be required for either application.>> That leads to my next question and that is...are there any nifty tricks aside from drilling (glass tank), and overflow boxes (the  devil) to getting a top mounted tank to overflow to a tank below? <<Not that I'm aware/would trust.  Drilling really is you're best option.>>   Third question - The tank came with two Oceanclear canisters (which I am scraping for this project), and two 1200 gph external pumps.  There are four drilled holes and bulkheads in the bottom of the tank from this, and two pumps I have no great use for.  Would it be hazardous at all to just run two small closed-loops right out the bottom - provided that I elevated the drains above the substrate? <<Employ "true" closed-loops and you have no worries.>> And would that be worthwhile? <<Absolutely!>> I'm going to plumb a Dolphin AquaSea in for a closed loop on the back so if I had to plumb them any other way it probably wouldn't be worth the hassle. <<More flow the better...whether a reef or a FOWLR.>>   Lastly - just before my dreams get out of control - assuming I have top notch water quality, and 600+ lbs of live rock how many "stocking rules" can I break in a tank this size? <<Every tank has it's own set of rules...>> Can I keep a school of Yellow or Blue  Tangs...or multiple Pomacanthus angels...or keep a Sohal with other types of   tangs...or....you get the picture :) <<Unfortunately yes, I do <G>... You don't give the tank dimensions, but at 4 feet in height I'm guessing it's no longer than 8 feet (96"x48"x30" ?).  The Sohal gets too big even for this tank to be happy/well adjusted for its lifetime...the blue tangs (Hippo?), though not quite as large as the Sohal at maturity, are so robust, active, and high strung/twitchy as to (in my opinion) require more swimming room, more flow, and more "hidey holes", than most casual hobbyist can provide...especially if more than one.  As for the yellow tangs, I might be tempted to try a trio (all same size introduced together) in this tank.  Careful selection of a Pomacanthus might prove interesting as well (two might be trouble)...though be warned, these can/will become bruisers at maturity...choose tank mates well.  At least research your selections (fishbase.org provides good info on adult size, gut content (food), etc.) and seriously consider their requirements/needs before purchase.>>   Muchas Gracias, I always appreciate your input. Scott <<Happy to be here to assist/give opinion.  Regards, EricR>>

Dimmer for 430 Icecap ballast 10/11/05 I have a FOWLR 180 gal. The tank is acrylic with combination of actinic and 50/50 lighting ( t5 t12 ) I decided to simplify things and placed an icecap 430 with 2 x 72 " bulbs VHO URI 50/50. Two bulbs have replaced 8 standard output. I have 3 questions VHOs get hot ( I can touch them but cannot hold on too long ) are they safe mounted in an acrylic hood with acrylic standoffs ? My hood does not have a fan but is open to the air along the back 6 feet. H2O temp does not go up with lighting on.  <It would be safe mounted as you describe though use of a fan is recommended. It will increase bulb life>. Icecap says that the 430 is dimmable. Is this true ? I have heard otherwise from the sellers of this ballast.  <My understanding is that dimmers can only be used for a maximum of a one hour period, and then only with a microprocessor based controller. I'd send an email to Ice Cap to confirm.> Is 320 watts of 50/50 VHO lighting too much or adequate for a FOWLR ( 180 gallon, 3/8 inch acrylic piece is between lighting and water, bulbs are mounted 3" above tank in hood ) <Excess light isn't going to hurt anything, will allow more beneficial algae growth than nuisance algae providing your nitrate/phosphate levels are low. James (Salty Dog)>

Dimmer for 430 10/11/05 Salty Dog, Thanks for your prompt reply.  <You're welcome>  For a 180 FOWLR would I be better off with 160 watts of standard output 50/50 's ( will this be sufficient ? for coralline algae ) or would 320 VHO 50/50 be best ?  <I would go with the 320, that's only 1.7 watts per gallon which should be sufficient enough for coralline growth as coralline generally prospers in the lower levels of the reef. I'd make sure one of the tubes was true actinic rather than 50/50.>  Phosphate 0.1 PPM Nitrate 10 PPM. 160 watts of standard watts run cooler than the VHO. <Yes, obviously> If this were your tank would you go for the 320 w VHO or 160 watt SO 50/ 50 light.  <As stated above my friend. James (Salty Dog)>  Thanks, Jimmy 

VHO Question Bob,  <James today> I am at my wits end here in my decision making process. I currently have a blue carpet anemone and a nice large Squamosa, sorry for my grammar, that I will be moving into a 150 XH (48x24x30). I am going to have about 6 inch DSB (I want a Jawfish) and I also want to move the anemone and clam over. In the future I also want to have some various colonies of Acropora sp. and other SPS corals. So my question is this.  Would I be better to go with 8 110Watt VHO's or just 2-250 watt halides with 2 VHO actinics.  <With the depth of your tank I would go with the MH's and VHO actinics. Much more cost effective. Replacing 8 VHO's is pricey.>  I have been reading on the PAR of each type of lighting and I have found many conflicting opinions. The only reason that I am so torn is that it is a couple of hundred dollars difference that I could roll over into a Tunze Stream. However, if you think it would be wise for the halides please just say so! :) I have always thought that halides were the greatest but there are a lot of educated people out there that say if you over-drive VHO's or t-5's that there is a higher PAR....I don't know what to think but this tank is over a year of planning already so I DO NOT want to waste money at this point. The reason I am trying to stay away from the halides is that I do not want to purchase a chiller at this point so a couple of 4" fans and 8 VHO's sound great.  <Andrew, the VHO's are going to generate 880 watts. The total wattage of the MH system will be 720. The fans should keep your temp at a reasonable level. If the lights are going to be mounted in the hood, its best to blow the air across the lamps rather than suck the air across.> Thanks a lot in advance!!  <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> 

VHO vs. PC lumens 12/13/05 Hello, A couple simple questions...I have heard that pc's put out twice as many lumens as VHO. Is this true? <There is some variation between brands of lamps and lamps of different color temperatures, but on average all fluorescent lamps will put out about the same amount of light on a per watt basis.  That said, there can be huge differences in how much light gets delivered to your tank, mostly depending on the type of reflector, but also lamp geometry.  Smaller diameter lamps (like PC and T-5) appear brighter because the same number of lumens are being emitted from a smaller lamp.  Also, PC's are usually folded over, so the light is being emitted from an even smaller area.  The downside to PC's being folded over is that some of the light from each tube shines on the adjacent tube and not downward.> I have heard that an ice cap 660 ballast that is using 440 watts of VHO will only actually consume around 220 watts of electricity. Is this true? <I am not sure of the exact figure, but it is true that Icecap ballasts under drive VHO lamps and overdrive normal output lamps.  Icecap ballasts will also under drive PC's if they are loaded to near their maximum capacity.  Icecap claims that their high efficiency electronics result in comparable light to lamps driven at full wattage on conventional ballasts, and this seems to be true.> When it comes down to light output and more useable light for my corals, which is better, 440 VHO watts or 265 pc watts? <In terms of light delivery only, these will be comparable (if you are using icecap ballasts, compare based on lamp rating).  I personally am a much bigger fan of VHO because PC's can be a pain to replace (different wattages, pin configuration, etc.) and there are too many cheap lamps on the market.  VHO's by URI are cheap, widely available and high quality.> Should I buy a reflector for my canopy for URI VHO bulbs with built in reflectors? <I would.  The internal reflectors are nice, but additional external reflectors will result in additional light being reflected into your tank.> Lastly, every time I use your search feature for a question, I usually find the link with the question I have. When I click on it, it brings me to a page with what seems like 100 different questions, and I never find the question from the link that I clicked on. Is that just the way it works? I guess I could use the extra reading anyways... Happy Holidays Thanks a lot.  <This is a common problem.  The link you get when you search brings you to a page that covers a broad category.  A good tip:  Once you reach that page with the 100's of Q&A's, click on "Edit" at the top left of your browser window and select "Find on this page" from the pull down menu.  You can then use keywords to hopefully find more specific info.  For example, if you search for "Berlin skimmer clogged venturi" gets you 100's of entries about skimmers, use the find function to find the word "Berlin" or "venturi" within the page.  Best Regards.  AdamC.> Lighting VHO vs. PC, anemone feeding, color, Clownfish eggs 12/13/05 Hello, I have a 4x65 watt Corallife power compact fixture on my 75 gallon aquarium. I am keeping some SPS's, including a 6 month old Acropora frag that is brown and fuzzy with purple tips. It is toward the top and doing ok, but obviously due to the lack of light it is growing slowly. I am building a canopy soon and I have the opportunity to upgrade to 440 watts of VHO for pretty cheap. Is this worth it? I hear that they don't put out as much light as pc's, even though there will be a big difference in wattage. <The PC's are brighter watt for watt, have a lower operating cost than other tubes and a much better bulb selection.> Also what if I put my pc bulbs and the VHO bulbs all into my canopy... can this be done...why have I never heard of this? <Because it isn't cost efficient.  Next to MH, PC's is the way to go.> If I did end up going with the VHO's will I be able to keep any corals that I couldn't keep with the PCs? I have always liked the look of the light put off by VHO way better hopefully it will be a better choice for my corals too. <The best lighting for Acropora and most other SPS corals is MH or HQI but if a MH/HQI upgrade is not in your budget I would rather see you add another 4x65 fixture than the 440 watt VHO.> Lastly, I have a Sebae anemone that I have had for about 8 months. The base is a very bright fluorescent green, and it has pink tentacles with purple tips. I was curious and looked at as many photos of them as I could find. I found a few that slightly resembled mine, but none that have had color even half as vibrant. Is this a rare find? also what foods can be used to get the best color possible? Right now I use silversides and squid alternating once a week and frozen prime reef cubes about 3 times a week. <The Prime Reef cubes is what I'd stay with and you don't need to feed the anemone three times a week.  Once or twice is plenty. It is also being hosted by a black ocellaris and an orange percula is it possible for them to produce fertile eggs? <I guess it could be possible but unlikely.> Thanks for any help that you could give me. <You're welcome and Happy Holidays to you. In future queries please do a spelling/grammar check.  It sure saves us plenty of time if we don't have to edit these.  James (Salty Dog)>

VHO Bulb Proximity to Acrylic? - 04/18/06 Hello, <<Howdy!>> I've been reading a bunch on your site, (great stuff by the way!!) <<Thank you>> I'm bumping up from a 55glass to a 125 acrylic gal tank for my reef. <<Cool!>> My question is how much clearance do I need to allow between the VHO bulbs and the top of the tank?  I know the MH gives off a lot of heat, the VHO not as much, what is a safe distance? (I'm planning on using 6- 48" bulbs across the top (2' wide) <<You'll want to get the bulbs as close to the water as possible for maximum effect/efficiency.  A standoff height of about 1/2" or so above the acrylic will provide sufficient airflow around the bulbs.  I have known folks to lay the bulbs right on top of the tank...but I prefer not to do so>> Take care, Mike <<Cheers, EricR>>

VHO Bulb Proximity to Acrylic? II - 04/18/06 Thanks a bunch! <<Very Welcome>> What's a good mix of color for the bulbs?  3 actinic and 3 50/50 or some other combination?  I have a mix of corals - mushrooms, toadstool leathers, hammer coral, frogspawn, colonial polyps, Kenya tree, misc. others I have no idea what they are! <<Mmm, a heterogeneous mix indeed.  My vote would be 10,000K for all six bulbs...but...if you want to have some Actinic as many folks do (would be for you...plenty of "blue" light in the 10K spectrum for the corals), then "no more" than two of these.  And do learn what else you have in the tank...else how do you expect to research and provide for their care?  Regards, EricR>>

VHO Bulb Proximity to Acrylic? III - 04/18/06 OK thanks... Will look into the couple things I don't know what they are... Thanks! <<Quite welcome my friend, EricR>>

Possible Correction (VHO vs. PC) - 03/08/07 Hello, <Cheers John> On the daily FAQs March 8, 2007, the following was claimed: "I was considering changing the 4 VHO to power compacts 96w each double actinic. <<I would stick with the VHOs mate...more efficient with better bulb life over PCs...in my opinion>> " <Ah yes...not a scientific declaration...but based on my experiences, is my "opinion" as was stated> The efficiency claim of VHOs relative to power compacts seems patently false (unless 'efficiency' refers to something other than 'lumens per watt').  Any data here that I'm ignorant of?  Everything I've read on luminous efficiency indicates PCs are somewhere on the order of 30-50% more efficient than VHOs. <Mmm, I have read similar claims as well...  I have also seen tables where VHO bulbs were listed with higher "rated" lumens than PC bulbs.  Efficiencies vary among the different color temperatures and even among manufacturers, and it seems to me that with actinic bulbs, as what was being discussed in this instance, VHO usually wins out over power-compact.  But "lumens per watt" aside, efficiency can relate to other things as well.  Regardless of Kelvin temperature, is it more efficient if a PC bulb often costs more and requires more frequent "normal" replacement?  Is it more efficient if a PC bulb is more likely to "prematurely" fail?  Also, for a long tank as was also the case here, a more even spread of light can be attained using fewer of the longer VHO bulbs.  I wish to stress that these too are "my" perceptions/experiences with these lighting technologies as they relate to the reefing hobby> -John <Kind Regards, Eric Russell> <<Maybe a matter of useful photonic energy per cost/dollar total consumed? RMF>>

VHO Lighting For Reef Tank...? -- 11/27/07 Hey Crew, <<Hey Holland!>> I love what you guys/gals do! <<Many thanks>> I just picked up a used 125 gallon tank with IceCap 660 ballast and 4-sets of end caps that will house 48" bulbs. <<Neat!>> I was wondering, what type of bulbs would be best to get; <<Daylight (6500K) bulbs will give you the best output, though for aesthetic appeal many hobbyists find 10000K bulbs more to their liking>> and more importantly, what type of corals can this system actually support? <<Mmm...you could 'support' just about anything with careful placement, feeding, water flow...but whether or not all would 'flourish' is another matter. Though not my fave, I have seen some beautiful reef tanks under fluorescent lighting. Spreading four 48' fluorescent bulbs over a 6-foot tank doesn't provide the best conditions for high-intensity-light requiring organisms. For simplicity/best chance for success I recommend low-moderate to moderate light requiring organisms. Perhaps a collection of 'green-colored' Euphyllia species; adequately spaced to prevent physical aggression from sweeper tentacles, placed in the top to middle tier of the water column...with some Fungiid species and 'red-colored' Trachyphyllia species on/near the bottom (If something proves to need more light, moving it towards the center of the tank where the bulbs overlap and thus provide greater intensity may prove adequate). Other species and themes are possible and will require some research on your part prior to species/specimen selection. I suggest you start by gaining a better understanding of marine lighting by reading here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm), and following/reading among the associated links in blue to help with species selection and placement>> Thanks, Holland <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

LIGHTING??? I wanted to know your opinion on Ice Cap VHO lighting? <A nice product and lighting format.> I am setting up a 55 gallon reef tank. I also wanted to know why do they sell lights that are 46.5 and lights that are 48 in length? <48" is pretty standard, but sometimes will not fit inside of a canopy for a 48" tank.> Which ones do I get? <The larger ones if they will fit.> It seems that the 46.5 would be fine and so would the 48's? Also, if I use this type of lighting what is the minimum and the maximum wattage I can use? <Depends on what you want to keep.> I would like to fill my tank with mushrooms, polyps, soft and hard corals! <Hard corals is a rather large and diverse group. If you stick with what you mentioned and LPS hard corals, two 110 watt VHO's should be fine.> I want enough light to start out with to get what ever I would like in the future. <Impossible> Is there such thing as too much light? <Yes> One more? Again with the VHO there are three kinds of lights: URI Actinic white URI AquaSun URI Actinic 03 What is the difference and what would you recommend for my 55 gallon reef tank? <The AquaSun is a full spectrum lamp, actinic 03 is a blue lamp, and white actinic is a combination of the two. One AquaSun and one Actinic 03 should be good.> Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Nattalie <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Lighting How the heck is everyone tonight?  <working hard :)> All is good over here but could be better if you would share with me a tiny morsel of lighting knowledge. What color does a VHO fluorescent light give off?  <every bulb has its own unique "color" and rating (CRI).> And can I use these bulbs in my regular ol' strip lights for my FOWLR tank?  <VHO bulbs are simply more intense (brighter/higher wattage) lamps... however, they do require a special fixture (ballast and end caps for heat produced) to operate them. They will not work in your regular light fixture. Look around at some of your options for getting a VHO fixture for your sized aquarium... it is a very attractive intensity when sized appropriately. I'd recommend lamp colors between 7,000 and 10,000K> By the way, your guys are great! I always come here with my big ol' dumb questions and you always reply to them with big ol' smart answers. Thanks.*********************Kyle******************* <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Advice Please Lighting Afternoon Robert hope you are having a fantastic day. <Steven Pro with the follow up.> Staying in South Africa we aren't yet as on the ball as we would like to be (especially with this hobby). Do you know where I can purchase Ice Cap VHO or Sea Life VHO? <I would first contact Icecap and Custom Sea Life for referrals to overseas dealers. If you strike out there, I would try several e-tailers and see if anyone is willing to ship overseas.> Thanks, Werner Schoeman <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

What kind of VHO works best? Hi my fellows from WWM. <HEEEELLO> Is always a pleasure to navigate into your site! <I hope you're learning a lot!> I'm going to change my lighting to VHO system. My tank is  15 3/4" deep (40 cm) my option is an ICE-CAP 660. I'm intending to set 3 110w lamps (URI) my intention is keep some SPS + Zoanthids.  URI promotes 3 different kind of lamps (at list I know). Actinic White lamp (50/50), Aqua sun (just say sun day light temperature), Actinic 03 (phosphor, 420 Nm) In your opinion or expertise (if you have ever used this brand/kind lamps) what would be the best combination? <These are the lamps that I use. I would go with one of each. You don't say how many gallons your tank is but with the 660 you could use 140 watt bulbs. One word of warning re Icecap: NEVER get even the tiniest bit of water in or on the ballast. It will short out. I've had it happen twice. Mount the ballast away from the water.> Best regards, Carlos Díaz <Have a good evening. David>

Protein Skimmer Selection Awesome site! Thanks for taking the time to answer so many questions. I just set up a 75 gallon tank and would like your advice on 2 things. What high quality (hang on) protein skimmer would you recommend? <Please see our extensive coverage of the topic on www.WetWebMedia.com.> I have been looking at a Berlin Turbo, Prism Pro, Remora, Turboflotor, & EuroReef. Which does the best job and what makes it the best? <When evaluating a good skimmer, the things we look for our performance, ease of cleaning, ease of installation, and ease of adjustment.> Also, do you recommend a VHO unit with 4 bulbs or (2) sets of 65 watt (total 4 bulbs) PowerCompact Smartlights and why? <To me, VHO or PC is pretty much a toss up. Equal wattages of either should give similar results.> I will be doing a fish, invert. & soft coral tank. I've got a 4" bed of live sand and approximately 100 lbs of live rock. Respectfully, Frank <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

Coralife VHO  ballast kit Hey Gang, How ya doin'?   <Good... "how you doin" <insert Brooklyn accent here>> Alrighty then, what is the opinion of the crew concerning the Coralife 4 lamp VHO ballast kit ?(comes complete, minus the lamps). Thanks from Denver.....Scott <my very biased opinion is that ESU/Coralife has had a long standing reputation for sexy advertising and marketing/packaging that exceeds comparative standards of quality. To their credit... they make a short and sweet product for aquarists with modest demands. Best regards, Anthony>

At a Lighting crossroads, need input Bob et. al.., Real quick question, I have a 55 reef with several sps (just got a monstrous yellow Acro from Tonga! intent is to propagate), I have a 175 10k halide (bulb year old), 2 110watt VHOs. I have been looking into replacement of the VHO's with 96w (2-3) pc's, the VHOs are end of life and instead of dumping more money into them I figured now was a time to get out, I was thinking two dark actinics and one 10k, I have had tremendous success with 10k+ temp, not to mention I would be improving reflectivity as I currently do not have reflectors for the VHO's, what do you think? <I don't see any significant advantage to PC's over VHO... all fluorescents are only good for about 6-10 months. When halide is an option (lamps last 2-3 years easily), the fluorescents are merely aesthetic. Halide is a much better quality light and is more economical (bang for your buck on PAR produced versus watts consumed). Your call on which fluorescents to buy or simply adding another halide (better). Best regards, Anthony>

DIY VHO 7/16/03 Hey ya'll, I was at Home Depot and saw a ballast with this rating 120v, 60hz, 1.39amps.Also, it is for 2xF96HOT12/SS, 2xF96HOT12, 2x72HOT12. Can this run a VHO light on my reef tank? I have NO right now.   Thanks for your time, Kevin <regrettably I have no idea and no-one handy tonight has been able to chime in on the subject. You may want to take this to the message boards... but then again, if you are not handily enough to recognize the ballast as compatible or not (as I am not) then you are not a likely candidate for DIY wiring. Home/safety/life concerns here for such a small savings over a professionally wired unit. Do reconsider. Anthony>

VHO Lighting for Reef 7/11/03 Hi, I have a 135 gallon that's about 24 inches deep and planning to make it into sort of a coral reef tank. What I mean is putty a couple corals that are easy to maintain and don't need the very critical special attention that other reef tanks need. Well I was wondering if I could use 4-160 watt VHO bulbs for this application. <likely so, yes. 3 white (6000-10K) to 1 actinic blue ratio> But, I have not a clue in what types of bulbs should I use. Should I use 2 daylight 1 actinic and 1 AquaSun (URI brand of VHO) Please help me make the correct blend that will be able to support this application. <50/50 or 3:1 depends on your coral choice and/or aesthetic preference> I also wondered if I should go with the Coralife Brand of VHO or the URI brand which one would be better. <I find the URI brand to be significantly better. I cannot name any of the former company's products at large that I admire/use... they do have good marketing and packaging though> Also I wanted to know what kind of  corals, fish and or invertebrates would you recommend for a beginner like me. <for invertebrates... stay with soft corals only... Corallimorphs and common leather corals are best bets. For fishes... some peaceful Chromis damsels and small wrasse(s) would be a fine start... perhaps hardy coral beauty angel in time> Thanks for your time   <best regards... and do consider Bob's Conscientious Marine Aquarist book for an outstanding book on this subject (selection and care for beginners). Anthony>

VHO Good Morning, <hello> I am wondering what to buy as far as lighting. Let me 1st say that I can't have MH. I know you guys are big on it but it will be in a future tank(3 or 4 years). My current tank is going to be 100 gallon standard. 60h X 18d and I think is 20 tall maybe 19). I am about to purchase Ice Cap ballasts. I was going to purchase 2 430's and I would be able to run 4 60" bulbs. But I got to looking at prices and for $20 more per ballast I could get 660's. Would this be a good move money wise? <if some day you plan on going to a bigger tank yes> I would then be able to run 6 X 60's. Is that over kill? I would like to keep some SPS's. <then I would say no> I've heard lots of success stories on VHO but wanted your opinion. Also, I've heard of people keeping T. Maxima and T. Crocea under entirely VHO lighting for years with success as well. < this is true I have a friend how has been keeping a crocea under power compact for over 2 years now> What I don't know is the depth they were kept, but I would consider my tank to be shallow(< 24"). <his is kept in a 90 gallon tank about half way down> I would love to hear your opinion or several opinions) on if I should fork out the dough for the ballasts or just give up for about 3 or 4 years until I build my house? <do it now you can always use these ballast on your new tank> One more question totally unrelated. Do you guys ever give seminars or hold conferences on the Gulf Coast? Biloxi, Gulfport, Mobile, or Pensacola? I wish you guys would!! I'd Pay to listen to any of you all day and night! <not sure will get back to you. good luck MikeH> Kind Regards, Jason

- VHO vs. PC Lighting - Hello knowledgeable person answering questions today, <Hello, not so sure about the knowledgeable part, but I'll do my best.> I have a lighting question pertaining to the setup of a new 55-gallon marine tank.  The tank will start off as a LR only tank for 1-2 months after cycling to let everything grow without too much nibbling by fish, then fish will be added, followed by some hardy inverts.  Ultimately, I'd like to graduate to some sponges, macroalgae and soft corals, but initially I will focus on growing nice coralline algae on the live rock, etc. <Sounds like a good plan.> My lighting concern regards the choice of a VHO system or a PC system. My plan is to build a DIY 48" lighting hood, and I would ultimately like to arrive at 220W of lighting.  Logical choices seem to be either two 2x55W PC retro kits from AH supply, or a 2x110W VHO from either IceCap or PFO.  Also, cost is something of a factor.  With the power compacts, I could start with a single 2x55W set, and then add a second one when the animals require it and budget permits.  However, if this is ultimately going to prove more expensive (four lamps to replace instead of two) or less good in terms of quality than going with VHO's, I'd rather just spend the money and get the right product. As it stands now, here are my thoughts about pros/cons of the two systems: Power compacts: good things might be flexibility in terms of cost, four lamps means I can mix and match spectra with more flexibility, plus I am essentially assured two separate circuits so that I can achieve dawn/dusk lighting to some degree.  Bad things may be that I end up paying more money for more replacement lamps in the long run. <Perhaps.> Also, a number of discussions both on WWM and the WWM forums suggest that the PC's have a less pleasing color rendition than some VHO's. <Is highly subjective - try to get out and see both, see which pleases your eye more.> VHO's: good things are fewer lamps to replace, although they seem to be a bit more expensive per lamp than PC's. <Hmm... just quickly checked an online retailer - $20/bulb for VHO, $24/bulb for PC.> Color rendition is (purportedly) better, although I have no first-hand experience with this. <All the more reason to get out there and try to see these.> Possible downsides are a higher startup cost (although identical in cost to the final 4x55W PC system I have in mind), less flexibility with spectra since I only have two lamps to play with.  Also, I'm leaning more toward the PFO retro units than the IceCap due to the PFO unit having two switches. I guess what I need here is the benefit of your considerable experience in terms of quality of lighting, maintenance costs, heat generation (DIY hood will have at least one ball-bearing muffin fan installed), and which is likely to lead to greater overall happiness on my part. <Not much to say here - is really a bit of a coin toss in benefit. Also, as you've noted, color produced by the bulbs is different, but you need to determine for yourself which is best for you - beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say. Do own and use both systems... think the PC bulb design was not originally for use around saltwater so I find that they don't last as long, although there is much debate about the 'when' of decline in output spectrum in the VHO bulbs. Think for the better or for ill both these lighting choices come out even in the pro/con analysis and again would suggest you get out there and look at both running to form your opinion.> Thanks so much in advance, Andrew <Cheers, J -- >

Will VHO cut it? Hello, <Hi! Ryan with you today> First, let me thank you your all the help that you/your site provides. A little background:  My tank is a standard all-glass 55 gallon with a 5-6 inch DSB and refugium, I do frequent water changes, use very few additives (B-Ionic, occasionally Iodine and strontium/magnesium), feed the few small reef fish sparingly and feed the corals frozen Cyclop-eeze. <Sounds like you're doing well- A nice, tight schedule> I am contemplating trying to use 440W URI AquaSun (3) and URI Super Actinic (1) VHO lighting for a SPS coral reef.  I have looked through the FAQs and have read the pros/cons of the different type of lighting. <Truly, all types have great features> I also looked at the GARF site and looked at tanks that they have set up.  Do you think that this would doom the Acros?  Some people say they have great luck with the VHO (growing, nicely colored corals), others say you would be wrong to use VHO, only MH will work well. <I believe that VHO lacks one key element to the health of Acros- The shimmer lines.  When you see a nice metal halide bulb functioning properly, you will see the light reflect down, shimmering and reflecting into the depths.  These emulate the natural sunlight effect, which reaches the zooxanthellae deep inside the SPS.  This naturally magnifies the light, and some think this is key to the great colors you see.  Others believe that VHO is every bit as good- But I'll never keep SPS without natural sunlight or metal halides.  Now, if you're interested in growing frags, VHO is every bit as good-The calming light actually seems to spark growth rates.  I know we have come full circle, but the bottom line is that every system creates it's own "preferred" list.>  This is my dilemma, and I wanted to ask the experts! Thanks again for all your help. <I hope this helps! See ya, Ryan> Cheri

PC/VHO lighting Hello, I am currently setting up a reef tank and looking into what type of lights to put on it. I have a 55G tank right now with about 20 lbs of live rock and about 20 lbs of CaribSea base rock, one 50/50 NO lights (as of now), 2 Yellow tail damsels, 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Percula Clown, 1 Scooter Blenny and several Blue legged Hermit Crabs, can not keep snails alive?, <The hermits are most likely killing them.> 29G sump (DIY) with Macro algae 10lbs live rock and sand (hoping to turn into live sand. I plan on putting a few Anemones and Coral in the tank in the near future. <Anemones and corals aren't always good together (anemones may wander and sting corals).> I (or my wife) is not prepared to spend the money on MH yet!! <Do consider that you will spend money on one system now (which will be nearly worthless later) and then start over. It is cheaper in the long run to get what you want up front.> So I am looking at either getting VHO or PC. I was told by a LFS in VA not to get PC because they are not a true Actinic light and that I would be better off getting VHO. Is this true? <This is not true. True actinic PC's are now available. You will have to research what brands offer these and be sure to get a compatible fixture.> If it is, why are PC still so popular <It's not, but I am still at a loss as to why PC's are so popular. They offer a cheap initial investment, but multiple lamp standards and a market full of cheaply made lamps make PC's quite a hassle.> what is the damage done to inverts? <None. The difference is aesthetic. As long as they get enough total light, inverts don't need actinic light, it just looks nice to us.> One more question, while looking for some lights I say on EBay some one selling a 48" 4X65 PC hood. He said he had a 55G tank and the lights were too much for him and was downgrading to 2X65 in stead. Which should I get? a 4X65 or 2X65 for my 55G tank? <If you do go with PC's, I would go with 4x65. I really can't think of any corals that this would be too much light for.> You have a great site and I have learned a lot from it. Thanks a lot. Geoff <Good to hear! Best Regards, Adam> 

PC or VHO 5/10/04 Hello Bob and Crew! <cheers> Currently running 2 ea -  2x96w (384w total ) PC's on a 125 reef.     Looking to add either 2 - 160w VHO's (URI) or another set of 2 ea 2x96w PC's.     Total PC   8x96 = 768w      or     (4) PC's + (2) VHO's  = 704w. <either way... go more white/daylight than blue actinic for optimal coral growth>     I've got Coralife pc bulbs now <sorry to hear it <G>> (4 pin square) and in 4 months, two of the actinics are failing which leads to some concern of costly bulb replacement.  Who makes good pc bulbs?   <a matter of some (consumer) perspective in the absence of watchdog data in our industry. Do visit the big message boards and post a query for a consensus here> or any links to research on the PC bulbs or manufacturers?  I've seen a lot of praise for URI VHO bulbs but little on PC bulbs. <correct and agreed... URI is outstanding> Space wise, I'm leaning to the VHO's, but bulb replacement would be spendy at 2 bulbs every 4-6 months.  Is this an accurate assumption.   <10 months on URI bulbs IMO> Either addition would be a retro kit.   To summarize:    1)   Any information on PC bulb ratings or manufacturers? <nope> 2)   Sure would appreciate ANY recommendations ;  PC or VHO.    RJShudes,  Redding, California. <halides will be the best value long term re: lamp life (2-4 years) and value (amount of light produced per watt consumed). Between fluorescent choices here I favor VHO, and suggest that you research the better option of T5 fluorescents. Anthony>

VHO, T5, PC Lumen Comparison Rob, Do you know where I can find a lumen output comparison of VHO, T5 & Power Compact? Can't seem to find one anywhere. I was told the new T5 lamps actually have more lumen output than even Power Compact bulbs. Would love to see some stats on this.  Thanks, Rob <I am not sure that such a comparison exists, and if it does only a few brands/models are probably compared.  The bottom line is that the differences in efficiency between types of florescent lamps in terms of lumens/watt is probably trivial.  PC's and especially T-5's are brighter because they pack the watts into a smaller package which also allows more lamps to be placed in the same amount of space and permits more efficient reflector designs.  Smaller lamps also cast a smaller shadow (this is not a trivial consideration), and double ended lamps (as opposed to the "horse shoe" design of PC's) allows light exiting the sides of the lamp to be reflected downward as opposed to shining onto the adjacent tube.  I hope this helps.  Adam>

VHO Reef lighting 10/14/04 Hi Anthony, this is Genaro again. I have a question about VHO  lighting. will two 110w: one actinic 03 and one AquaSun? or one actinic03  and one 50-50? <actually... for the corals, more daylight (white) is better... so one AquaSun plus one 50/50 is better IMO> Be sufficient for soft corals, mushrooms, leather  Sarcophyton, hammer. <yes... as per above> and how high  from the water. or a three bulb system. <no higher than 3" (75 mm)> one  actinic03,one AquaSun and one  50-50. <ah... very nice. Yes, more AquaSun and 50/50> my tank is 48x15x18 I thank you  again

VHO vs. PC lights hi, << Hi. >> First wanted to thank you for organizing such a nice website, lots of great info. I recently decided to frag a tan colored gorgonian by simply cutting off a branch with scissors and then attaching the branch to a rock with a rubber band.  Originally this branch was touching a group of mushrooms and the polyps had been retracted for awhile.  It actually seems quite happy so far with it's new location and all it's polyps have extended.  I was curious if the fragment will eventually attach itself to the rock (the site of the cut is not touching the rock) or this is a temporary solution and I should attach it more permanently using superglue.  << It takes a long time with gorgonians.  I'd try superglue, but even that won't really work.  The key is just finding any way to hold it there until it does grow over. >> Also, I had a lighting question.  I have 2 x 96 W power compacts lighting a 30 g reef tank (one 03 actinic and one 6700).  When I got the 03 actinic it was intensely blue for the first week and all the corals were very fluorescent, but after the first week the intensity of the 03 actinic dropped considerably (the blue hue in the tank was gone).  The tank looks nice now but certainly not as nice as that one week when the bulbs were new.  All the corals have been growing. I've used VHOs in the past and it seemed like there was more of a blue tint to the light and the corals were more fluorescent. << Yes I'd consider getting a new bulb fast.  Also, VHO actinic is much more intense than the actinic from pc's. >> For overall coral growth and fluorescence is there a big difference in VHOs versus power compacts? << In the actinic range yes, in the whites I don't see noticeable differences between tanks. >> I was debating switching back over (I guess it would be 4 x 24" bulbs, 2x 50/50's and 2x actinics  - the tank's 36" long). << That sounds much better. >> Or perhaps you could recommend a different PC lighting combination that may give me more of the actinic effect I was looking for?  Is there a big difference in PC brands?  the ones I've been buying are from premium aquatics. << I buy my lights there as well.  I'd probably switch to URI VHO tubes. >> Again, appreciate all your help. << I eventually switched to halides in my tank, and you may want to consider that. >> Thanks, Ben <<  Blundell  >>

VHO vs. PC lights hello there crew! << Hello Chris. >>         Thank you guys in advance for the response.  Its about  time for me to upgrade my bulbs on my tank.  Currently there are 4 VHOs powered by an icecap 660 ballast.  They're 3ft long over a 70g tall tank.  I've been reading up on different types of bulbs and their spectral outputs and I'm thinking of changing from my 2daylight 2actinic setup to an all daylight bulb setup. << I wouldn't do that.  I think the spectrum you have is great. >>  Considering the actinics don't do too much in the way of usable light for corals compared to a daylight colored bulb(6700\10000k). << I don't know if I would say they do much.  That light is what causes your corals to have their colors. >> Now my dilemma is that I have found that PC lights run a wider color gamut than the VHOs.  If I were to go VHO Id buy URI bulbs and the most daylight geared bulb they make is a 10000k bulb, however,  for PC lighting I've found 6700k bulbs as well as 10000k.  Id like to know if VHOs are any brighter or offer any advantage over PCs or vise versa.  << I tell people with pc's to go with VHO.  If you already have VHO then don't go to pc.  Your light set up is great.  If you are thinking of changing then consider the metal halide set ups.  Otherwise don't go with a 6500 or 6700k when you can go with a much better looking (in my opinion) 10000k. >>  Since the PCs offer a 6700 and a 10000k Id probably use one of each in a 4 bulb setup.  Where as with VHOs Id use 4 10000k's. << I'd use two 10000k and two actinics. >> I think the PCs would give me a better spectrum of light than just the VHOs.  Although I don't want to short myself by switching to the PCs if they actually put out less light than the VHOs. << With white light there isn't much difference.  But with blue light the VHO is considerably brighter and more affective. >> I plan on keeping light hungry corals that are found in shallow waters which would be perfect for with the spectrum of light of the PCs.  Eventually I want to upgrade to MH lights of the same spectrums (6500k Iwasakis\10000k Ushios) when I get a bigger tank.  So in essence the corals will be used to this spectrum of lighting as well when I switch over.  Sorry for all the info but I want to do  this right.  SOOO basically I'm asking are VHOs better than PCs and so on so forth.  Both will have and aluminum reflector over all four lights. << Stick with your VHO over the pc's.  However, if you want light hungry corals (as you said you do) then I would consider running halides instead or in addition to VHO. >> Thanks again Chris aka -fishtank- <<  Blundell  >>

Lighting I know you are an advocate of full spectrum lighting. Will two VHO AquaSun 5200k (termed wide spectrum) and two VHO Actinic 8000k be appropriate for a 55 gallon tall tank that will hopefully be a long time home to some soft and stony corals, as well as fish and inverts? I was not able to find any full spectrum VHO lamps in the 36" length. ( Vita-lite has a 48") Thanks for your wonderful attention to the hobby. >> >> Hmm, take a look here: http://www.championlighting.com/ and get their real "full spectrum" lamps... not the ones above... in 36" lengths... Bob Fenner, who thanks you for writing

Lighting I have a 125gal fish/invert. tank with current lighting of two antic 03 40 watt bulbs and two 50/50 40 watt bulbs. I'm thinking of adding two 140 watt VHO bulbs to thisset up. What do you think about VHO lighting?? This would put total wattage to 440, might be a little short but metal halide is a bit expensive. If VHO is all right do you have any suggestions on good ballast?? I'm thinking of the Sun Seeker 2 ballast. >> This proposed addition is excellent. You will be very happy with the quality and quantity of light the tank will soon have. Regarding the electronic ballasting... I am a much bigger fan of the Ice Cap product: http://www.championlighting.com/ a proven winner. Bob Fenner

VHO compared with CF lighting hey Bob. I have a few questions...I have a 55 gallon reef tank (standard size 55 gal.) right now, I have 2 - 55 watt power compacts on the right side of the tank and 2 - 35 watt power compacts on the left...is this sufficient lighting??? <For? What sorts of organisms, desired results?> ..it is a homemade hanging hood, so I was considering putting all of the power compacts on one side and getting one metal halide for the other, does this sound better?? <Perhaps, with the MH lighting over more light-needy/using life> ... also, I have a Acropora coral that completed lost, or should I say, shed its color of green and is now completed white...did it die??, <Possibly. Or has just lost all its zooxanthellae... should have algae growing over its skeleton if gone> why would this happen??? <A few possibilities... could be the lack of adequate lighting, lack of biomineral, lack of alkalinity, infectious or parasitic disease...> will this process have any effect on the other corals??? <Depends on the cause/s> I have a calcium reactor and add strontium and iodine on a weekly basis, I do weekly 5 gallon water changes (with ro/di water), all other parameters are fine...thanks, Jeff <Time to re-read (leisurely) through your reef aquarium reference books, the gamut of material on marine set-up and maintenance posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com in search for "things that click" here. Bob Fenner>

Going From NO to VHO Hello Steven, or Anthony??? I would like to ask you a lighting question today. Brief tank setup is as follows. 5'L x 30"H x 16"W. The tank is a see through from both sides, and overflow is on 1 end ( not in a corner). My rock is setup in a 2 level formation, and runs the whole length. I did this so I have more play with positions for my corals. I keep mainly soft, and LPS corals. I like that blowing in the wind look.. heh, heh. The lights are about 28" from the sandbed, and between 15", and 18" from the upper level of rockwork ( depending where you measure from, it varies). I currently have a Icecap 660 running 2 actinics, and 2 white fluorescents all from Coralife. They are presently NO lights. ( I am pretty sure this is not enough. I would like to go to VHOs. My question is this. I currently have all 4' long lamps that don't light about 6" on either end, and I want to change them to 5'. Will it be o.k. if the light will also shine directly down my overflow ( I have a standpipe in it that silences the noise), I am thinking if algae starts to grow down the overflow, it will make kind of a refugium ( I already have a refugium with Miracle Mud, LR, and Caulerpa as my filter system in my basement). Will going from 4' to 5' lamps increase the intensity also, even if I did put back the same types of lights, only longer ones. The fact that I want to upgrade to VHOs will increase the intensity already, and what concerns me is I cannot just turn them all on at once since the corals, and fish are currently not used to this brightness ( they are not even used to VHOs!!) Yet I have to move the end caps to add the longer ones. If I change all 4 NOs for 4 VHOs at the same time, but only turn on 1 of each at first for a week, or 2, should this be o.k. Or what is your opinion of how to go about the change, keeping in mind that the distance for all 4 end caps have to be adjusted at the same time. Also what do you think of the URI brand, or do you know of another brand that makes 5' long fluorescents? I do not want MH, as I think I don't need it, and the electricity, and heat problems! <Do change your lamps to four 4' or 5' VHO's. For the first week, run only two of the VHO's for your normal photoperiod and the other two for two hours in the middle of the day. Gradually increase the other two lamps two hours per week until they match your regular photoperiod. URI makes great lamps, my personal favorite. I would recommend two actinic 03's, one white actinic (50/50), and one AquaSun. -Steven Pro> Thank a bunch in advance, Greg N.( Montreal, Canada)

VHO Lighting Systems for FO I recently purchased a tank used. It is in very good condition and has an almost new VHO lighting system on it. I was planning on making this tank a fish only tank with maybe some live rock. Is the VHO lighting system ok to use if it's not going to be a reef tank? It does come with a fan so I think the temperature will be controlled under the canopy. I was just wondering if it was bad for the fish to use two 110 watt bulbs. . . will it be too much for them? <No, it is not even close to how powerful the sun is in the tropics. It may fuel algae if you do not have your nutrient levels under control, but would be excellent for macro-algae growth and coralline.> Thanks for your help. . . hopefully my questions weren't too dumb! <No dumb questions here. Our purpose is to help and advise mostly new people. Do make use of the other resources on WWM; articles, FAQ files, etc. -Steven Pro>

VHO Lighting Systems for FO II Excuse the questions again, but what do you mean by "nutrient levels under control"? <Low levels of nitrate, phosphate, dissolved organics, etc.> If there is algae growth is that bad? <There are what are referred to as nuisance algae growths; Cyanobacteria, hair algae, dinoflagellates, etc.> Would my three tangs appreciate it? <Many of the nuisance algae seem to be unpalatable and go uneaten.> Would they take care of it? <It would depend on exactly what was grown.> How do you know the difference between good algae and bad? <Take a look here for the many writings on algae http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Marind4of6.htm> Would keeping the lights on 8 hours per day be a good time limit? <Better to control the nutrients.> Thanks. <Please read as much as possible of the various articles on marine aquariums and their care. -Steven Pro>

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