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FAQs about Light and Lighting for Marine Systems 8

Related Articles: Marine Light, & Lighting, Marine Aquarium Light Fixtures and Canopies, Lighting Marine InvertebratesAnemone LightingAcclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive LightingCoral System LightingMoving Light Systems

Related FAQs: Marine System LightingFAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5, FAQs 6, FAQs 7, FAQs 9, FAQs 10, FAQs 11, FAQs 12, FAQs 13, FAQs 14, FAQs 15, FAQs 16, FAQs 17, FAQs 18, & FAQs on Marine Lighting: Fixture Selection 1,  Fixture Selection 2, Fixture Selection 3,  (incandescent, fluorescent, MH/HQI, LED, natural...), Lamp/Bulb Selection 1, Lamp/Bulb Selection 2, (See Fluorescent, LED, MH... below), Installing, Waste Heat Production/Elimination, UV Shielding, Measure, Troubles/Repairs, By Manufacturer Make/Model: & Actinic Lighting, Metal Halide Lighting, Fluorescent Lighting, Compact Fluorescent Lighting Small System Lighting, Lighting Marine Invertebrates LR LightingTridacnid Lighting

How much light is enough? Ok, second question today/tonight.  I very much appreciate the service that you are doing for your fellow (and usually less experienced) aquarists.  It says a lot about a person to put up with, and answer so many questions from strangers regarding tanks you have nothing to do with! <Our pleasure!> Anyway, to my setup and question. . . I am building a 70 (18" tall I believe) gallon reef tank.  I will be using an EV-120 skimmer, and supplementing/buffering as needed (how is undecided yet).   The tank will be home to leathers, polyps, and mushrooms, and some hard corals including a hammer, and open brains.  I believe that the toughest thing I would like to incorporate is a maxima clam.  After reading over your lighting FAQ's, I am confused on how to size my compact fluorescents for the tank.  My main goal is NOT maximal growth, it is good health of the animals, and enjoyment by me!   <Yes...not mutually exclusive, in fact, one in the same. Maximum health equals maximum growth.  Any less is less.> I  was planning on going with a CSL 4x96w fixture.  Should I go with the original plan, or would a 4x65w fixture be better if my goal is not maximal growth?   <No, with a maxima clam you need the intensity of the higher wattage.  A clam will still need to be placed at or near the surface of the water.> Also, I definitely want to run the front right and left bulbs actinic, and the rear right and left 8800K or 10000K.  Does this combination of bulbs play any role in the decision? <No. I would recommend as even a mixing of bulbs as possible for even light coverage.  50% 10000 and 50% actinic blue provides a good balance and pleasant appearance.> Thanks once again, Your confused friend, Scott <Hope this clears your head my friend!  Craig>

Reef lighting, Hagen Lamps Bob, <Hi Frank, Craig here today.> Good Day ! Is Hagen Powerglo Fluor. Aquarium Lamp: - Service Life - 9000 hours - Promotes coral, invertebrate and plant growth - High intensity - Photosynthetic deep marine spectrum - Total illumination for living corals, marine algae and freshwater plants; and Hagen Marine~Glo Fluor. Aquarium Lamp - Service Life - 7500 hours - Promotes marine reef life - Standard intensity - Visible actinic blue spectrum - Simulates deep marine light - Stimulates marine growth Are the above two Hagen brand bulbs suitable for a coral reef tank as I noticed "plant growth" on the product.  Thank you for your advice. Regards, Frank <Your lighting demands are determined by the type of reef inhabitants you wish to keep and the depth of your tank. There are many aquarium lights that are labeled for use in reef aquariums, but there are some caveats to such use, i.e: lighting requirements of inhabitants and depth. The shallowest of tanks (just a few inches) can use normal output florescent lamps, any deeper than a few inches requires high output, then Very High Output, PowerCompact florescent, and the deepest tanks, metal halides of increasing wattage. Your question needs to be framed with the required information to come to such a conclusion, i.e: what inhabitants and how deep? The best all around lighting in my estimation for shallow to medium depth tanks with a general population is VHO florescent. For much more information on lighting surf over to WetWebMedia.com, scroll to the Google search, and type in "lighting". Please write back if you have any further questions! Craig>

Lighting a small hex reef system Hi Crew, I have a question concerning my lighting of an 8 gal. tall hex.  It's water column is about 15" deep.  Right now nothing is in there but LR (Caribbean from Tampa Bay Saltwater) and the stuff that came with it:     8 Arca zebra     1 Rose coral     2 clusters of  Siderastrea radians     A few nice size colonies of Tubastrea     About a dozen Solitary Cup Corals, perhaps Phyllangia The Rose is my pride and joy right now.  But I want to make everyone happy. I retrofitted the hood to accept a 4x9W PC Blue 7100K light.  It was sold with the retro (Champion). I didn't like the lighting so I bought a 4x9W 6700K lamp. I've been reading a lot that corals need the blue end of the spectrum.  So I put the blue bulb  back into the unit.  I hate the color, but if it's the best for the critters then so be it. Thoughts on these two lamps in my situation? Thanks so much for a fantastic site with truly responsible aquarists guiding the rest of us.  Mike <Hi Mike, Your Rose coral and Siderastrea are shallow water higher light corals as are some cup corals depending on variety. 4 X 9 watts (36 watts) over 15" of water is not a lot of light.  The volume (8 gallons) is not much, but the depth is more than the average 8.  I would at the least place the light demanding corals at or near the surface with this wattage or seriously think of upgrading.  While many corals need lighting containing the blue spectrum, they also need a balanced full range of light. Most hobbyists use 50% actinic white light (around 10000K) mixed with 50% actinic blue. All blue isn't what you want. 50% would be fine.  Much of this decision, once the needed spectrum is satisfied, is personal choice and taste in color rendition. Have Fun!  Craig>  

Lighting (Gage's turn) Hi Crew, <Hi Mike, I consulted with Anthony regarding your situation, I have included his responses in this message.> I have a question concerning my lighting of an 8 gal. tall hex.  It's water column is about 15" deep.  Right now nothing is in there but LR (Caribbean from Tampa Bay Saltwater) and the stuff that came with it:     8 Arca zebra     1 Rose coral     2 clusters of  Siderastrea radians     A few nice size colonies of Tubastrea     About a dozen Solitary Cup Corals, perhaps Phyllangia <The Siderastrea will adapt to any light but prefers bright. The solitary cup corals fare well in low light and need almost daily feedings to survive. The rose coral needs very bright light but must be kept on the sand bottom. There is some concern that it will not survive under these lights. All of the above listed coral are protected (illegal to collect wild harvested). The cup coral and Siderastrea commonly come in on cultured live rock and are exempt. The rose coral (Manicina) is a free-living coral and almost certainly was collected easily. A beautiful coral though.> The Rose is my pride and joy right now.  But I want to make everyone happy.  I retrofitted the hood to accept a 4x9W PC Blue 7100K light.   <Only the cup corals could live under this light.> It was sold with the retro (Champion). I didn't like the lighting so I bought a 4x9W 6700K lamp. I've been reading a lot that corals need the blue end of the spectrum. <Reading where? And what corals? Certainly not the rose coral which is collected in ankle deep water in the keys.  This coral needs to be flooded with intense daylight (6500-7200K).> So I put the blue bulb  back into the unit.  I hate the color, but if it's the best for the critters then so be it. Thoughts on these two lamps in my situation? <Yep... get the blue out as it will definitely not support these corals. Of course, 36 watts of daylight won't either. In the case of the Rose coral though... you can at least feed daily (be strict!) to compensate for the lack of light. The Siderastrea however cannot be fed easily and may dwindle under this modest light.> Thanks so much for a fantastic site with truly responsible aquarists guiding the rest of us. Mike <Thanks for saying so.  Best of luck.  You may also want to check out Anthony's article on lighting. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm -Gage>

Marine Lighting Greetings WWM Crew! I'll try to keep it short and sweet! I am currently in the construction phase of a planned 75G Reef and am basically DIY on everything besides skimmer and the tank itself. I am now working on the plans for the lighting and am very confused as to which direction to go after reading all the FAQ's, consumer info, etc. (sometimes too much is as bad as too little). I have really been leaning towards going with an IceCap 660 and wiring 4 3ft. 96Watt Compact Fluorescent lights to it but seem to be unable to find a good supply of these 4 pin bulbs, including waterproofing caps, etc. I know AHSupply.com has the PC kits including the ballast (inferior to Icecap?) and reflector but no waterproofing is apparent in that kit for where the bulb connects. I seem to be having a hard time finding the connectors, bulbs, etc if I want to DIY. I have spent a lot of time on Philips and Panasonic but those Compact Fluorescents are not listed on their sites. Could you guys give me a heads up where I might be able to find those parts and if you think for the 75gal that that would be the "ideal" solution? Thanks again to the crew for all the wonderful info and help! I know I will be a long time visitor and sending many others as well! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! <I am currently building a canopy for one of my tanks.  For the bulbs and fixtures I had to support my LFS.  That is not to say that there are not better places to find this stuff, check out some of our sponsors.  I would try to find a reef club in my area and ask them, or just post a question on a chat forum, lots of people with lots of opinions. http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ http://reefcentral.com/ Sounds like a good setup depending on what you plan to keep in the tank. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm Good luck, Gage>

FOWLR I have a 280 gallon FOWLR tank (72x30x30). I'm looking to up grade my lighting from normal fluorescents to maybe (2) 175 watt Metal Halides or (4) 96 watt Power Compacts from AH Supply or (3) 160 watt VHO lamps driven by an Ice Cap Ballast. I'm having a hard time trying to see what would be my best bang for the buck. The fluorescents are not doing the job compared to my old setup that had (2) 160 watt VHO bulbs on it that I no longer have. <175 watt MH's won't cover your 72" as well as the PC's or VHO. Other than that, it's a matter of taste. If you intend to make future changes the VHO would be the most adaptable (you can drive pc lamps with the IceCap)> Another thing is a question about circulation. I wanted to use my Ampmaster 3000 in a closed loop situation and use an old Mak 4 pump to feed the sump. Will this be okay? Right now there is no way that I can get rid of all of the bubbles that the Dolphin Pump is making because of its flow rate (2700 gph). I'm currently using a Turbo-Flotor in the sump but seriously considering getting a Aqua-C 240 because the turbo-Flotor isn't pulling out much of nothing in my opinion. <Engineer it backward....up to ten times turnover. So the dolphin is right....I'm not up on the flow rate of the Mak 4 but I would make sure all possible air leaks are totally resolved before blaming flow rate. I doubt it's the pump flow rate, more likely sucking minute amounts of air from fittings. Resolve these. The skimmer upgrade is a great idea.  Craig>

Lighting? for 36Lx18Wx18H tank HI again Bob....:) <actually its me, Anthony Calfo again> Thanks for reply my email Bob.. You are saying that you are coming to Singapore? <Yes.. Bob, myself and many of the WetWebMedia crew are together> That's sound great Bob....and I hope I will be there Bob because I have already checked the website that you gave to me...that's cool and I'm happy with that. I have couple of questions here. I think I will not use the (JBJ DESKTOP FORMOSA) that I told you because it's damn too expensive here Singapore) it cost about $300+ dollars. <OK> Talk about the lighting, I like to do it by myself, my tank is 36"x18"x18" and I like to keep fishes and some soft corals. How about compact fluorescent bulbs with 36Watts each and I think I bought around 4 bulbs is = to 144Watts.What did you think? <the lighting all really depends on the exact species of coral you pick. You must choose the species of coral you want. Among soft corals they run the gamut from needing very low light (Palythoa grandis) to needing very high light (Xenia umbellata).> Is 144watts ok for my tanks or I need to increase more than 144watts? If I need to increase,  how many watts must  I need for my tanks? Can you help me?  Hope you can reply as soon as possible. Thanks again. Sincerely, Azman (Singapore) <a very good all purpose light would be a single 175-watt 10K Aqualine  metal halide mounted horizontally or a 150-watt 6500 K Iwasaki bulb. Suspend about 20cm off the water and you will be able to keep most corals under it... and for very demanding corals you can lower the lamp a little bit (towards 15cm off the surface). Best regards, Anthony>

Lighting The Way Greetings! <Hi there! Scott F. with you this afternoon.> I am a new enthusiast who is planning on setting up a custom 75 Gal as time permits. I currently have most of the stand done and am looking forward to getting the hood built. As this is a completely custom rig I had some questions regarding lighting as I have read over the FAQ's and done a forum search but still need some advice please. <I'll do my best!> I wanted to achieve around 4-5 watts/gallon and at this point kind of favor the Compact fluorescents due to bulb life and heat generated. If you were going to do a custom hood and had your choice would you go with the Compacts? Or would you do 2 MH w/1 or 2 NO/VHO Actinics or see if the T5's are going to be worth the wait or would you go with a completely different setup? <Well, I use and like power compacts a lot, but if I were doing a custom setup, I'd probably go the halide route, supplemented with PC's. Why, you ask? Even though you are going the FOWLR route now, there is always the chance that you'll be seduced by the reef concept, and halides will give you much greater flexibility to keep many more types of corals and inverts, clams, etc. They are more expensive now, but you'll thank yourself later if you go the reef route 2 years down the line!> >I do plan on using an intake and exhaust fan built into the hood to handle any heat generated and since this is a custom hood I can pretty much fit any lighting solution that would be best for my animals. <Great thought process!> >My current thinking called for 3 96 Watt Compacts (2 6700, 1 10K with a regular NO 40Watt Actinic). My problem with the Compacts revolves around the 96 Watt CF bulbs. I cannot seem to find a good source of these bulbs, waterproof end caps and finding the base fixture (gy10Q)... GE, Sylvania and Panasonic do not list these 96Watt bulbs in their catalogs online although I sure that Panasonic makes some of these as AHsupply's offers some. Is there a good dependable source to order these bulbs and parts online? <try hellolights.com, a good source for DIY lighting stuff> >Does the above rig sound or would you go another direction  <As above> I know a lot depends on the animals I plan to keep and at this point (subject to change) I plan on a FOWLR and find myself drawn to clowns although my wife is absolutely in love with the chocolate chip starfish. I don't know enough yet to know if this would be a good mix (as I know some starfish are pretty predatory) but plan on continued self education as I want to avoid hurting or killing any of these beautiful animals through my own stupidity. Any help would be really appreciated! Thank you guys so much! <So much depends on the combinations of animals that we keep, and their relative suitability for captivity. Do look into the wetwebmedia.com resources to study up on your prospective purchases. Feel free to ask us if you have any questions on your choices. I commend you heartily for your forethought and research that you've done already! You'll definitely be successful if you keep doing things like this! Thanks for stopping by!>

Lighting? for 36Lx18Wx18H tank Hi Bob, I have a questions about lighting. My tank is 36Lx18Wx18H.This is my first time keeping reef tank and I haven set up my tank yet! <welcome aboard! and kudos to you for being thoughtful enough to research before you buy your animals... we talk to too many impulsive people killing creatures for doing that the other way around> ...I plan to have live rock, corals as well as fish in the tank. I want to know if the (JLB DESKTOP FORMOSA) that is  36"long with 4x 36watts is the proper lights for my tank. <Can't say... you have to pick your corals before you can say if the lights are good enough. Coral all have different lighting needs. Read these articles first... they will reveal all to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fdreefinverts.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm and there you have your crash course. If you are interested in more... look up Eric Borneman Aquarium Corals book or my Book or Coral Propagation ( http://www.readingtrees.com/bocpV1.htm). We also have a new Reef Invertebrates book coming out in a few months. See here: http://wetwebfotos.com/store/nma-ri.html > It is good for my fishes and corals?. <the fishes will likely be indifferent> this is the website of the JBJ light  http//www.jbjlighting.com.can u help me bob THANKS BOB.....Azman from Singapore. <Excellent to hear from you in Singapore my friend! Our whole crew will be visiting Singapore this spring for the Aquarama conference. Will you be going? Information here: http://www.aquarama.com.sg/index.html I will be touring Singapore for a few days before flying on to give a couple seminars on Reef Coral keeping in Hong Kong. Can you recommend any good aquarium shops in Singapore for us to see? How far is good diving from Singapore too? Can you recommend a dive charter company? Ha! I bet you did not expect to be asked questions in return :) With kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Lighting Hi Robert <please note that our new address is crew@wetwebmedia.com for bookmarking> Can you differentiate Bright lighting from Intense lighting because I have read of some articles that "this coral needs bright lighting", then there was "this coral needs intense lighting" <it is relative to the corals needs and water depth... but see here for an overview: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm > And can those blue fluorescent lightings sold in hardware stores be used for lighting reef aquariums. Those that are labeled as F40B, TL40B etc... <if they are actinic in wavelength (420-435 nm)> Since Actinic 03 and F40B are both blue though the latter doesn't have the fluorescence effect on corals.  <even if it has the aesthetic effect, it is weakly supportive of symbiosis. It just looks cool. Corals need clean bright daylight (6500-7500K) to survive. Only add enough blue for aesthetics> I've thought of this to save money since F40B's are a lot cheaper than the 03's. <I didn't think that Phillips 03s were that expensive... around $15 retail. I know that they are only about $5 wholesale. Heck... even if they are $25 retail, a small price to pay for insurance of quality light of a several thousand dollar reef tank> The F40B's light spectrum peaks at 430-500 nm compared to the 420nm of the 03's. <I could live with it for aesthetics> So can the F40B lamps be used as a replacement for 03's. I know corals needs a lot of blue light 420-450nm and ultraviolet radiation. <nope... not correct. Some but not a lot> And also I just bought a white pulsing xenia.  <majorly high daylight needed here. Shallow water... keep in top 10" of surface> When it was in the LFS it was pulsing like mad. When I placed it in the tank it was pulsing great, then the other day after I bought it was changing color from white to a slight pinkish color.  <a sign of lower light. White pom xenia is one of the most demanding corals for light> And the polyps was only half open and the pulsing speed decreased. What could have caused this? <commonly caused by low pH. For Xenia you need 8.5-8.6 by day and never below 8.3 at night. I bet you day pH is rather low. Raise slowly, add small amounts of iodine daily instead of weekly, and I bet your Xenia will resume> My tank parameters are: Calcium 450 ppm, Alkalinity is at 8 dKH,  <the above two are fine... but you are on the high-lo splay of their ranges. Don't let that Ca get any higher for risk of a "snowstorm"> and PH is at 8.2 when the lights are on (have not tested pH during non light hours.)  <too low for corals in general... definitely too low for Xenia> and SG is 1.025 I don't dose Iodine since the LFS told me that pulsing Xenia's can also live without Iodine supplementation.  <they can live without it if you bring it in from somewhere else... heavy feedings, heavy algae (some rotting regularly), weekly water changes or better, etc> Although I have read some articles that they need Iodine, and some articles say they don't. <in my coral farming greenhouse (commercial 10 years), I had a colony of xenia that peaked at 8,000 individuals (over 6 pools). You could watch them stop pulsing like clockwork when the pH meters dipped below 8.3 or if I skipped two days of iodine> And one last thing, if the ph at night is below 8.0 can I use baking soda to increase it? <temporary, tedious but yes, possible. Correct the problem instead (aeration, poor alkalinity, etc). A calcium reactor would be a lot less work and save money on additives in the long run> How do I use baking soda in raising pH and alkalinity in my tank? dosage? <slowly and as per test readings merit/indicate. Every tank is different.> Thank you. <best regards, Anthony>

Lighting I am just beginning to keep a marine aquarium. <Let me suggest Mike Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium" as an excellent first book.> What light must I use for my 33 gallon fish tank (size 36" L x 18" H x 18" B)? <There is no standard answer/lighting for any and all situations.> I like to keep fish and corals as well. What light must I use and what is the total watts needed for my tank? <There is no way I can answer that. It is like asking what size kennel do I need for my dog? Is it a Miniature Poodle or a Great Dane? No way of answering until you know specifically what you want to keep. Please see www.WetWebMedia.com regarding lighting issues.> Thanks! <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Reef Lighting O.K. guys, Anthony if this you , Hello  <cheers, Peter> Here goes... VHO VS PC. Any comments or at least opinions between the two. <either will serve you fine... I have a slight personal preference for URI brand VHO actinic blues and common (inexpensive 6500K from hardware store even) Daylight VHOs. They are less expensive for most folks to acquire, cover greater areas than PC's and are time-tested to grow coral fast and maintain superb color. You only limitation with all fluorescent type bulbs (NO, VHO, PC) is water depth. None should be trusted too far below 12" for good coral growth. Certainly not past 18"> I have done endless research..... I did find myself at Sanjay Joshi's website and I do agree about what I think all of you are saying, that the intensity....ie penetration is of utmost importance. <agreed> I do also understand the one halide per two feet of length of aquarium.... but what I can not seem to figure out is which wattage, <watts per gallon is an absolutely useless rule of thumb. Means nothing. You need to pick your inverts first, asses their needs and then measure it against the water depth of your aquarium (summed up in my lighting article here on wetwebmedia.com)> I would imagine it is relative to the depth of tank <yes... but more importantly the coral you keep! Their needs are what determine light levels. Your job is to provide it. A mushroom coral at the bottom of a 24" tank  will need very different illumination than a finger leather and ever so much more different than a yellow Porites sps or clam. Three different corals.... same depth in the same aquarium... but three different needs for light. Pick your corals first my friend> and I understand that the majority of you gawk at the site of 400 watters. <they are overkill if not ridiculous unless you are a sps hard coral or clam specialist in tanks deeper than 30"> (Invert Soup) Any way two last concerns... one is on any lighting unit is there any sort of concern to humans with regard to uv ( aside from looking right at the bulb...( I have a new born.... over protective already I guess huh) <yes... a serious concern. no lamp should be mounted above the aquarium shining unfiltered light into the room. A simple glass or acrylic lens will filter it out. Necessary> Lastly here  is a unique question... I have 36 gallon Bow front by AGA. I have other tanks and halide was usually the route I took (except for my Africans of course) What I feel is a unique question is this...in debating on how I will light this tank I had settled on either A JBJ 2 bulb formosa dx at 65w per bulb ....keep in mind the unit is 30 inches just as the tank is. OR a custom sea life compact prism which is a 17.5 inch unit that houses three 32watt compacts. Now am I correct in that given the increased wattage on the CSL in the Decreased space, that I may be looking at a more INTENSE lighting scheme at least n the center of the tank????? <I don't think so... not at all. If you have a four foot deep tank, for example, and you have a high light needs coral or clam on the bottom of the tank. One 40 watt incandescent bulb will not keep that invertebrate alive of course. But neither will adding another 100 40watt incandescent lamps. They are all still equally unable to penetrate the water. They are no more intense in pairs, quartets, herds or gaggles. You simply have a whole lot more inferior light. > also, do you think there would be too  much fade off to the side of the tank. <again... we cannot possibly say without knowing your corals, their needs and their placement in the tank. If you have no coral on the perimeter... then it will be no problem. If you will have coral on the perimeter... what coral, and what are their needs?> The residents would be softies and such. maybe sps up top. <OK... sps tells us likely high needs at the top, but softies could mean anything running the gamut from high light yellow leathers to medium light finger leathers to low light Corallimorphs> I would have liked a halide pendant but given the tank dims I was afraid I might be throwing too much light onto the living room floor. Do you agree. <nope... I think a 150 watt Iwasaki mounted horizontally (never pendant) would be your easiest and most widely serving lamp> And also was concerned cause of uv given the baby. <UV occurs with all... some more than others. A valid concern though> Can't find much on UV out there, at least when I do I am too tired to want to comprehend it, so anything in laymen's terms would be appreciated.....Thanks guys Peter <a heat safe plastic or glass lens for all lamps, kept clean (weekly from dust and salt), and 175 watt Aqualine or Ushio lamps for all-purpose lighting to serve most corals. 250 watt Iwasakis for slightly better growth at the expense of aesthetics. Best regards, Anthony>

Lighting Hi! I had a few questions about lighting. I have a 90 gallon tank that I'm going to set up as a predator tank. I will have a lionfish in it. I really wanted to grow some macroalgae in the main tank for aesthetic reasons and suppose to be good nutrient export. <I agree.> I have seen some tanks like this that are just stunning. <Yes, can be truly beautiful.> On my tank right now I just have 2 NO bulbs (80 watts). With the lion being sensitive to light, what would be the best lighting that can accommodate the lion and the macro?   <I would probably keep the two lamps you have, make them actinics, and add 110 watts of full-spectrum PC light.> PC's (if so how many watts?), VHO (watts?) Are there certain bulbs that I should go with that fair better with the lions and macro together? <Full-spectrum for the macroalgae and viewing the Lionfish. The actinic is really more for color.> Or is this pretty much just an impossible dream to have the lion and macro? <No, very easily done if you exclude Tangs/Surgeonfish, Angels, or Foxfaces/Rabbitfish from this tank. Keep the herbivores out and enjoy a lush garden.> The more I read the more I seem to get confused. Eventually I'm going to figure this hobby out. Thanks much, Matt <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Lighting I went ahead and picked up the 2 NO actinic bulbs today. Boy are they blue! I am going to order the 2 x 55 watt PC's tomorrow and was wondering what would be a better choice to get the macro to grow and be aesthetically pleasing 10,000 K or 6,400 K bulbs? <I would opt for the 6400 K lamps.> I was figuring 10,000 K then I read somewhere that the 10,000 K with actinics will give the tank a bluer look then the 6,400 K. Is this true? <Yes> Thanks for all the help, Matt <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Changing Bulbs Hello again. I need some opinions or facts on when to change bulbs. I have three 175 watt 10,000K MH bulbs and two six foot VHO blue actinics. All have been on timers and in service since December last year. I thought the general rule is one year, so I thought I would just ask the guru for the correct answer. <When to change a lamp depends on the format. Generally, MH's last 12 to 18 months, PC's about 1 year, VHO's about 9 months, and NO's about 1 year.> Thank again in advance, Joe <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Lighting Hello, Thanks for all your helpful information. I have a 7 gallon reef tank that the lighting system died on. It had a 27 watt PC bulb that was half daylight and half actinic. I replaced the unit to one that has 2 9-watt standard bulbs, 1 daylight and 1 actinic. The corals (frogspawn, Blastomussa, and star polyps) all of a sudden quit opening up as much, the pink Zoanthid quit opening up all together. I even increased the duration of the lighting, no change. I tested the water and all is well. The SG is 1.025. The temp is 79.5, however it raises a couple of degrees during the day which never seemed to bother anybody. At the same time I also added a poly-filter to the filter, as well as changed my carbon. I feed phytoplankton every 2 weeks. <Phytoplankton is useless for the corals listed.> Is the lighting to blame, or the SG? <Your SG seems fine, but the change in lighting could be your problem. You had 27 watts and then went down to 18. That is a 50% reduction. Also, depending on the time between the light breaking (no light) and the new lights, that could be another stressful factor.> Am I missing something else? <You chose not to give many specifics about your water quality, so I am only able to advise you so much. -Steven Pro>

Marine lighting Sorry, <Oh, no worries!> I thought you had already answered all my questions but I have one more if you don't mind. My tank is exactly 24" long which unless I am missing something leaves me with 3 options... (1) Go with 4 x 18" 40w URI bulbs (2)go with 4x 21.5" 75w Coralife bulbs or (3) go with 3x 55w PC's. If I am going with VHO I would ultimately like to go with the URI bulbs as I have used there NO bulbs in the past and was pleased with the overall look. Won't I need additional length in the hood to accommodate the end caps if I go with the URI Bulbs? If I went with the Coralife I think I would have enough room in my hood to fit the 21.5 with a little room to play with. Do you have any experience with the Coralife bulbs? Thanks again. <Well, you still have three choices. With the URI bulbs you can make the hood 3/4" longer on each end and accommodate the end caps. Don't like that? I would then compare the Coralife and PC to see which I like the look of and weigh that against the amount of light I need. Which ever had the color rendition and put out the most light. Maybe the local fish store has a Coralife fixture they will run for you? You won't do too badly with any of these. Good luck! Craig>

Night Time Hello: <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> If I set my aquarium lights to be on from 11AM until 1AM for better viewing times, what effect does normal daylight (from around 7AM - 11AM ) have on this cycle? <Good question. I run the lights on my reef from 12PM to 10PM. Part of the "night cycle" is in daytime. I have had no problems to speak of> The room isn't that bright, but I don't need a light on to read.  Also, if I have lights/TV on after "lights out", is that the same thing? <Well- it's not truly "dark", like night time, but I don't believe that it is harmful. At least part of the "night" in your tank is truly dark, so it seems okay to me. Your fish don't really care what time of the day is night, and what time is day, as long as you keep a regular day/night cycle> If I want to see actual nighttime activity, is there a night-light made for aquariums, or something else? A flashlight seems disruptive. <I have seen a product called "Moon Lights" (cannot recall the manufacturer), that supposedly provides a soft, moonlight-like light source. May be worth trying to locate. Also, check on the WetWebMedia chat area to see if any of your fellow hobbyists have had experiences with this or similar products.> Thanks, Rich <You're welcome>

Re: Where do I begin... Hi Craig, I live in MA so I don't think heat will be a major concern for most of the year at least. Another major issue I have with the MH is the center brace. I don't like the look of a pendant hanging over the tank and would like to put the fixture in a hood. How high would I have to build the hood? If anyone has any pictures that would be a great help. I am wondering if I were to remove the center brace and put a 12" piece of acrylic in its place, would that provide enough UV shielding? In regards to the acrylic, would nylon screws and nuts hold it? Would I be better off with a glue? I think someone has a glue that will bond acrylic to injection plastic. Or do you think a combination of chemical and mechanical fastening would work better?  <I wouldn't remove or replace the center brace. Acrylic won't fare any better than the plastic the center brace is made from.> Or, based on this new info, should I go with VHO or PC in a 5 inch hood and just settle on a Squamosa?  <If you choose to go with fluorescent lighting, my personal choice is VHO and as much as you can fit over the tank. You can run them all with an Ice Cap ballast and it will run PowerCompacts as well. You won't have to "settle" with VHO or PC, perhaps just place strong light lovers at or near the surface.>  Whichever lighting choice I go with I will be putting in at least 1 fan in the hood with preferably just an opening on the other end. Would I still be able to keep a BTA?  <Yes. They do not need as much light as many. VHO, PC or MH would be fine.> If the answer is PC I guess I could get a 65w 10K and a SmartLite from CSL, a 55w Actinic 03 from Hello Lights to cover the spectrum. Thanks in advance. <I would use what fits. 24" VHO bulbs are 75 watts each. Maybe check out lighting at several of the WetWebMedia.com sponsors. Lots of choices to do what you want. Maybe visit some different tanks with various types of lighting and see which look you like best. They are all different in the eye of the beholder. Go for it! Craig> 

Lighting Distribution Hello! I do not remember why (maybe I read it somewhere), but I thought it was important for the light bulbs to go across the whole tank. I am looking at 48" CF's and with double bulbs each reaches about 3/4 of the way across from opposite sides, totaling 110W. Does it matter? <Somewhat, in that you will only have indirect lighting in some areas, but not a major concern.> If not, can I get 2 separate 24" hoods (55 watts each) and run them on two separate timers? <I don't think that will make much of a difference.> Thanks, Rich <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Question regarding aquarium purchases from overseas Can you or your staff recommend any overseas dealers where I can buy marine filter equipment and lighting? I've been looking at some online dealers for my Power compact lighting and a Berlin system sump, but it's so expensive. I was hoping that If I were to buy from Canada or Japan I may be able to save big bucks. Have you heard of any people doing this before, and if so who can I contact? <Good question... as far as I'm aware there is no better deal to be had than just buying (even imported) products of these kinds w/in the country... A few problems of freight, payment (many co.s don't take credit cards), suitability of electrics... Not worth "bringing in yourself"... But, I could easily be wrong... Do ask this question on the various BB's... of other hobbyists who've tried/done this. Ours: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ Bob Fenner> Thanks, James

Re: HQI Lamps Hi, another one, from the same subject... <Mornin> Ok, I could find a range of lamps over 5000 ?k, but over 40 CRI... That kind of lamps will not work right, am I right? <Right, the CRI (color rendering index) should be 90 or greater, closer to real sunlight. There is some good information regarding this at the link below. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/lightingags.htm Best Regards, Gage>

Beginner Follow Up! Scott, Thanks yet again. I will follow your suggestions and do my best to keep my little world happy. Final follow-up ... What is your take on the best all-around lighting for a reef tank in which I'd like to get a variety of corals but nothing too exotic/difficult to please? <Ahh- the $64 million question! Really hard to generalize; so many answers, largely depends on the types of corals that you wish to keep (You knew I was gonna say that, huh?).>  Here's why I ask. I was using NO FLO but the 60 Watts was clearly not enough. I like the FLO color spectrum and I received my new VHO fixture from Custom Sea Life. <I think that VHO is a fine, versatile all-around choice for reef lighting. Corals that require a lot of light can be placed higher up (after appropriate acclimation) in a VHO lit aquarium.> Besides little annoyances like a couple of missing O-rings, this seems like it will do well with one exception. It sounds like it's about ready to take off! Even my fish spooked when I turned it on. I've got this entire set-up in my office and the fan in the CSL fixture is about as loud as a hair drier. Is this a necessary evil? Any work-arounds that you're aware of (replace the fan? or does it really need to be running?). Is this a universal problem or limited to CSL hoods? Thanks, Bill <Unfortunately, fans are a necessary evil, IMO. They prevent heat build up in the hood, which, of course, can affect the tank. As far as the noise level is concerned; that might be a bit unusual. Maybe you have a defective fan. I have used CSL products for a number of years and have found them to be reliable, well-constructed systems. You certainly could look into other brands of fans (like Ice Cap, for example), but I'd drop an email to the Customer Service department at CSL and let them know the problem. I have found them to be quite responsive. Good luck and continued success with your system! Regards, Scott F.>

Moon light for spawning fishes and sighted aquatic animals Hello! <cheers> What would you suggest as moonlight. I want to have luminescence effect. What do you think about Philips Tl05 actinic 5W for example? How can I make moon cycle? I enclose spectral characteristic of TL05 <your choice of lamp for moonlight really depends on your purpose. intent. If it is mainly aesthetic, the TL05 looks very fine to me. If it is for the fishes and other sighted animals, however, (to stimulate spawning for example) then it really isn't as important. Studies have produced results (manipulating spawning cycle) with simple incandescent blue bulbs! (like colored party/holiday light bulbs!). The light is to be plugged into a rheostat and the bulb is run 24 hrs daily and made to wax and wane with the lunar cycle. You can do this manually or use a computer microprocessor to do it. I describe a very simply method in my Book of Coral Propagation for how to do this with a rheostatic light switch for a ceiling fan. A template is made to cover the switch plate and hash marks are made around the "Orbit" of the rheostat. You can then simply follow an almanac and make occasional changes on the switch dial to follow the waxing and waning moon. Best regards, Anthony>

Lighting Question I have a 38 gallon w/LR, a few fish and live sand. It has the same dimensions as my 30 gallon with the exception of a few more inches of depth. My 30 gallon has a 36" 50/50 96w SmartLite and I've had great success with a bubble tip anemone, a Clarkii clown, Dottyback, and dwarf angel. In fact, the anemone has split after a year. I was wondering if I put a 36" 50/50 96w SmartLite on my new 38 gallon if it could sustain the same life forms. I didn't know if the depth difference would cause that much more loss of light distribution. Thanks. <Good question. If the tank is somewhat deeper than your previous tank, there will probably be a slight loss in intensity. Theoretically, you could compensate by gradually moving your animals higher in the tank to compensate (use caution and common sense when doing this, of course), but I would observe the animals under your current layout before doing this. Scott F.> 

HQI Lamps Hi my friends from WWM, this is me, again! <HI!> Just 2 questions with its respective commentaries. The special HQI lamps for aquariums are expensive by much against the regular HQI from a regular dealer of electrical parts. If the ?k are over 6000 can the regular HQI lamps work? <Yes Sir, Anything over 5000K is fair game. Ideally 6500K-10000K> The LFS says that the HQI lamps for aquariums has special UV filters? Is it true or is just a marketing lie! <The LFSs say a lot of things, mine tells me I cannot buy parts for filters and what not at Home Depot. Even the thinnest of glass will filter out most harmful UV.> As always, my best wishes for you <And to you as well> Carlos <Gage>

Lighting for a Fresh to Reef Conversion Hello. I have a 30 gallon freshwater tank. I am planning to turn it into a reef tank. I was wondering if a 55 watt Power Compact light would be enough light to support a Bubble Tip Anemone or coral? <This seems like not enough to me.> If it could help I could also leave the fluorescent bulb the tank came with on it. If this won't work what will? <If it were me, I would use one 65 or 96 watt PC full spectrum lamp with two 30 watt NO actinics, assuming this is a 3 foot tank.> Thanks for all your help. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Changing from PC's to MH's Hello gentleman! First I wanted to thank you on some previous advice you gave regarding an algae problem I had. Removing the bioballs helped control the growth of the algae. I also added a large number of snails and hermit crabs and within a week they have eaten 99% of the nuisance algae. Now I hope that they do not starve. <I am glad your problem has been alleviated. I would slowly remove a few hermit crabs at a time until you felt like their was enough remaining herbivores and surface area to reach a balance.> Anyway, I need your wisdom and experience regarding changing lighting on my 100 gallon tank. I currently have two (2) 96 watt 10,000K Premium Daylights and two (2) 96 watt 9700K Super Actinic power compacts from CustomSeaLife lighting my tank. The super actinics are on for 14 hours and the super daylights are on for 12 hours, all on timers. The tank has 2 pajama cardinals, 1 Banggai, 1 blue damsel, and 1 saddle grouper. <I would think about relocating the Grouper. I am unfamiliar with that common name, but I would guess most of the other fish are potential food for it.> Invertebrates are a Derasa clam and 3 Mushroom corals, and 1 candy coral. I am planning to add a couple more fish, tridacnid clams, and more soft corals. Under the current lighting everything is doing well (especially fun is how fast the Derasa is growing!) My reason to switch lights is we are going to have new addition to our family and my wife wants the lighting and cables to be out of reach of the little person. Therefore I am looking at installing metal halide pendant lamps above the tank as I have a shelf 36" above the tank. My tank dimensions are 60" L x 18" W x 24" H. My questions are: (1) Are pendants effective way to light my tank? <I prefer the fixtures where the lamp is arranged horizontally and perpendicular to the tank.> (2) How many pendants do I need based on the length and width of my tank? <You could probably get away with two for your current creatures and if you intended additions have the same lighting requirements.> (3) Are there metal halides that will give the same lighting mix that I get from the PC's? <Sure, I like Aqualine-Buschke lamps a lot and have also seen nice colors from Ushio's.> (4) What metal halides (wattage and Kelvin) do you recommend and if possible, from who? <Two 175 watt fixtures in 10,000K or 13,000K from the above manufacturers.> Thank you for all you help, Kevin <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Lighting Controllers Hello all, I have a live plant tank and am looking for a way to automatically turn on and off the lights. I have a Custom Sealife 4 bulb 96 watt retrofit kit. The thing sure is bright now I want to control it. I have tried using regular timers you get from the hardware store, but out of three I bought, 2 have stopped working all together. <Really, that is surprising.> I need something reliable. <Unfortunately, that is all I use. I will give you a few tips that I use. I always buy ones with three prong plugs and make sure they are UL listed. I have used the $7 cheap ones with the little red and green tabs and also the $25 digital programmable ones and have never had a problem.> Thank you for the help, Philip <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Two quick questions...one last quickie...:)(marine lighting ongoing) <sigh> I'm incorrigible. Once there is someone who will answer questions, I lock in like a scud missile. :) <that reminds me... I shouldn't have eaten all that chili today> Without going into the details of my prior questions, if I did step down my 75 gallon tall (24" deep) from 2 250W 10K MH to 2 175W 20K MH, would those 2 175W MH 20K bulbs and 4 55W actinic PCs be good enough for not only Acropora and soft corals, but my 2 clams (maxima/crocea)? I don't want to step down from 2 250W MH to 2 175W MH and make my clams unhappy. <the tank is so shallow (assuming some sand in there too? 3-4" or more? I know that most all soft corals and most SPS will be just fine. The clams too although any halide over 10K has "too much" blue wavelength to be useful. Simply more than you need at the expense of desirable daylight colors to grow coral faster. Not much to worry about. The clams will be fine... just not grow as fast perhaps. Do check out the 20K light on this tank that I photographed. A very nice display: http://www.reefcentral.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s= ab85c8f5e0d63ccb5ea8b16054dddfe9&postid=836290 > Thanks... Arthur <best regards, Anthony> Re: Two quick questions...one last quickie...:)(marine lighting ongoing) On my 75G tall reef tank, if I shift from 2 250W MH to 2 175 MH bulbs, should I also switch from 10K to 20K as recommended?  <some compromise on growth of corals for aesthetic pleasure here (going over 10K)> Is that too *much* blue?  <yes... in terms of coral growth and usable light (PAR)> Would the drop from 250 to 175 allow my 4 55W actinics to shine through, or will it still be white-light overload and a shift to 20K is still warranted?  < I have no idea... thanks for asking though <G>> Would a shift to 20K but staying on the 250W bulbs lower the light level enough (so I could keep the ballasts and my wife won't kill me)? <nope... intensity is still an issue here... right or wrong color for coral health/growth> So many options - this time I want to make sure before I do anything. Thanks, as always... Arthur <understood and agreed. Best regards, Anthony> Re: Two quick questions...one last quickie...:) (marine lighting ongoing) Thanks for the quick response...you've been immensely helpful.  <my great pleasure!> I'm going to shift to the 175W 20K Radium's as you suggested...it was what I was thinking of.  <OK> One last question that I can't seem to find an answer for on the web - can the Icecap 250W MH ballasts I purchased just recently drive 175W MH bulbs, or is my wife going to scalp me? :) Arthur <hmmm... very good question. I have never asked the mfg but have seen hobbyists do it with some. I would not recommend it unless the mfg explicitly says so... I'm worrying about fire hazards, insurance violations, etc here. Best regards, Anthony>

Lighting upgrade... too much too soon... marine I recently upgrade my 72 gal tank (21 inches deep) from 260 watts PC to 440 watts PC. I made the switch about 3 weeks ago. In fear of bleaching out my existing corals, I started off with 330 for the first 5 days and then went to the full 440 watts (220 blue/220 white). I have several coral plugs from GARF both soft and SPS. In the last few days , I have noticed some of the Ricordea mushrooms not opening and other soft corals not losing their color but developing a whitish tone. Is this a form of bleaching?  <Surely stress from such a large increase in lighting (doubled in five days). Mushrooms and some soft corals do not require or tolerate this much light, so do place/shade accordingly. Your sps will want to be near the top (where their growth can help shade the Shrooms below.> Or is this too much for soft corals? I though my increase was gradual enough.  <This is the trick with mixed tanks. You have deep water mushrooms that like low light and LPSs which likes moderate to high light, and you have SPS which tend to require high light levels. You now need to raise the light so you don't shock/burn/bleach even your SPS. Place the low light corals out of the light or shade them, and very slowly lower the light over weeks, not days.>  I have been running the lights 12hrs on 12hrs off. Should I cut back on hours?  <NO.> If so for how long? At the same time I don't want to deprive light to my SPS. Please let me know what you think. - Thanks Ron <It's easier for corals to adapt to temporary lower light levels that huge increases in light levels. Raised the lights and use shading materials. Craig>

Lighting Fan Help Please: <No problem Steve!> My 125 gallon reef tank is running 84 degrees. I have ordered 2 ice cap 4 inch fans to cool the canopy lighting power compact 72496 retro. Do you recommend that the fans blow into the canopy or out from the canopy? Also, do you recommend that the fans be installed inside the canopy or outside the canopy? <Where they are mounted, inside or out is a matter of taste and where they fit best. Most are mounted inside with the finger guard on the outside. Mount one exhausting and one blowing.> I also ordered an ice cap 4 inch fan to cool the lighting for the ecosystem filter lighting. Should the fans blow inside towards the lighting or blow out from the lighting? Thanks, Steve <Mount it exhausting (blowing out). The incoming cool air will fill the hood from wherever air can fill it. Blowing in is less efficient and cools less. Should keep you cooled a few degrees. Craig>

Two quick questions... Snail marks, marine lighting Hi, all... Thanks for keeping up an invaluable resource. Two questions, one fairly quick and one a little more involved. - I have a variety of snails in a reef tank (margarita, Nerites, Cerith, turbo, etc.). I noticed yesterday that on the front glass panel of the tank (a 75 gallon acrylic) there are multiple little white spots. These aren't wide swaths, just tiny little pinhead white spots. I don't have a microscope, but I would swear they look like little eggs, although everything I've read indicated that if they were they would be all clustered together. They're not, but they *are* sometimes arranged in a straight line -maybe 5 or 6 of them, a half inch apart, in a row. There are maybe 12-15 in all. Are these eggs? I've seen them before and just wiped them off, but I'd leave them alone if it's possible they'd grow; otherwise they're right in the line of view. <Possibly Cerith eggs, they have been known to lay their eggs in patterns, instead of clustered together.> - A lighting question: a few months back I had a chiller catastrophe in which I lost a good portion of the tank. I had to replace the chiller, and went with a larger one, meaning temperature control is very good right now. So I also took the opportunity to upgrade my VHO lighting to MH and PC. I did a lot of research, and finally picked what I thought was good lighting for my 75 gallon tall (24 inches high): 2 250W MH 10K, and 4 55W true actinic PCs, in a tall canopy (with fans, of course). I have the PCs on a timer and on around 12 hours a day, and the MHs on a different timer for around 9 hours a day. Health-wise, the tank is doing fine: I was finally able to get and keep alive Acropora and clams. I did have a circulation issue that caused the death of 2 pieces of Acropora (within just 24 hours!). When I replaced one of the pieces (which are towards the top of the tank), I didn't light-acclimate, so it got toasted (stupid, but a learning experience). So now that I've replaced it (again), I'm acclimating like I did when the lights first got added - cut the MHs down to 3 hours, and ramping back up to 9 hours over a span of about 10 days. So far so good. But my question is really concerning look, something that's bothered me since installation - when the MHs are on, because they're 10Ks, the look is fairly daylight-oriented. The PCs help, but the overall color of the tank is white. The tanks in the LFS all look great, because apparently they mix up 10K and 20K (400 MH pendants) to get a nice look. I can't really do that, because the 2 MHs on my tank cover half the tank each - a mix wouldn't look right. Can I change the 10Ks to 20Ks without depriving the clams and coral of enough light? Is there a "hybrid" that I could use somewhere in between? The literature I researched indicated that 10Ks were the best for the tank, but the MHs sort of bleach out the look of everything while they're on. Good for health, not so much for looking. Any ideas? I always appreciate your response, and thanks again. Arthur <This is a lot of light for a 75gal my friend, unless you are planning on keeping only SPS and clams. Anthony has written a great article on lighting that should help you out. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm Let us know if you have any more questions, Best Regards, Gage>

Lighting and corals with tiny little sunglasses Hi again, crew... <cheers> I read the Calfo article on lighting...helpful, but doesn't answer my main question: what's the best way to shift the lighting in the tank a little more blue when the halides are on?  <bluer halogen lamps (20K) or add fluorescent blue (VHO actinics)> Recap: 75 gallon tall (24" deep), 2 250W 10K MH, 4 55W PC actinic. Sounds like a lot of light now,  <sounds like?! It is a lot of light, my friend. Too much for almost everything you will want to keep unless you are keeping only shallow water SPS corals and clams. Even then it is a stretch> but at the time I installed, it was recommended by several sources.  <OK... but do consider that these sources might be wrong or inexperienced (tanks set up less just a few years). I assure you that many corals will seem to fare well for as much as a year before suffering from photoinhibition. Pale colors, mysterious deaths (zooxanthellae shut-down and corals starves), etc. I still haven't heard your complete livestock selection (fishes and corals) but again... this much light lets you safely keep less than 20% of what's on the market>> Very white when the MHs are on, even with the actinic PCs. Should I lower the 2 250Ws to 2 175Ws?  <that would be awesome... and if you really like blue color, do get 20K Radiums... the best of the blue halides> Change the spectrum on the bulbs from 10K to 14K, or even 20K?  <indeed if it suits you. 20K Radiums give a wonderful blue color in my opinion, grow most corals reasonably well and keep most (not all) iridescent pigments from shifting (the sexy colored corals)> And if I change the bulbs, any recommendations on how to break them in?  <the bulbs or the corals?> When I installed the MHs originally, I burned in the bulbs for 100 hours, but I don't have any "spare" ballasts to do that...how critical is the 100 hour break-in?  <not that critical here stepping down from the 250s> And if I lower from 250W to 175W bulbs, is there a way to help the corals and clams keep from suffering in the transition to lower light <regular feedings> levels, or will they even notice?  <they will notice but adapt> A lot of questions, but I'm unsure how to proceed at this point. <no worries at all... I hope we are helping you along!> Again, thanks for your time... Arthur <best regards, Anthony>

Aquastarlight What is your opinion (if you have one) on the Aquastarlight MH fixtures? <They seem very nice. Richard Harker just wrote a piece on them for Advanced Aquarist. It is here http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/oct2002/review.htm -Steven Pro>

Lighting Equip.  Hello, Not sure that you could answer this but, <I surely can wager an educated guess.> I was shopping around for power compacts and the Custom Sea Life 2 x 96 watt hood is selling at around $400 and the JBJ Formosa 2 x 96 watt hood is selling at about $200. <I would continue to shop around. I am betting you can find the CSL cheaper. I did some quick looking around and found better pricing.> They both have fans, the Formosa offers a 10k daylight and an actinic, CSL offers a 6700k daylight and an actinic. Any idea why there is such a huge difference in price? <Construction, suppliers, parts, etc.> Are the ballasts or bulbs better for CSL? <I have heard some complaints about the JBJ fixtures holding up.> I was under the impression that a 96 watt power compact bulb will give off the same light given they are the same degree, no matter what companies hood they are in. <Correct on that point, but many other things to compare. Any car can get you from point A to B, but there is a world of difference in makes and models.> Thanks, J <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Lighting question Just a few "boring" lighting questions if you don't mind: <Hi Dave!> I have a 100 gallon tank with soft corals, mushrooms, Zoanthids, star polyps, and algae. I hope to add a bubble coral soon, and maybe a frogspawn. . .Maybe an LPS. That's all the hard corals I will ever add. It is time to replace the lighting bulbs and that is what prompts this email. Currently, I am using an Icecap 660 (420 watts). The bulbs are 1x50/50, 1xAquasun, and 1xsuper actinic, all URI brand. 1) Should I replace these bulbs with a different selection? Maybe. . .2xAquasun and 1xActinic, or 2xAqausun and 1x50/50? Leave as it currently is? <Your first mix seems good and your inhabitants have acclimated to that light. Most use and recommend a 50/50 mix of 50/50's and 03 actinic, but the 50/50 , AquaSun and actinic is likely a good mix, perhaps a bit whiter than an equal mix of 50/50 and actinic. Your LPS will do well. Make sure they are a little closer to the top if this tank is much over 20" deep (a certainty with a 100!)> 2) What about all Aquasuns? Would the 10000K bulbs be okay for this application or do I need a lesser K? <Would not advise. Your softies and mushrooms like that actinic light and will look better too.> 3) If I went with all Aquasuns of the 10000K variety, how blue would the bulbs make the water appear? I would not really want a stark white aquarium nor a flashback to "Jaws". . . <Then don't use all Aquasuns which will appear very white. The choice you made is pretty good.> 4) Assuming that you choose a mix of actinic and AquaSun, would I be better off with bulbs in the 5000-7500K range or would the 10000K bulbs that General Aquatics sells perform just as well for my particular situation? <URI are the best. I would stick with them. Do shop for good deals on URI VHO bulbs with the WetWebMedia sponsors!> Thanks for the help boyz!! Try getting these questions answered at a fish store!! Dave d. <One WARNING Dave....replace them one at a time over three or four weeks, don't shock your inhabitants with the new higher output and improved spectrum of new bulbs. I would start with the actinic and then the 50/50 adding the AquaSun last and most cautiously. Please read more excellent information on lighting at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm and jump down to the High Intensity Fluorescent Lighting chapter. You will be happy you did! Have fun! Craig>

Re: Lighting ? I think I understand, and maybe it is just me wishing it was ok, however with a 180 and being only 4 inches deeper than my current set-up. How can I not keep much of anything as your reply states? <Maybe I was a little too short in my reply. You may be able keep some low light "corals" in the top third of the tank directly under the lights.> I guess I am just trying to use the logic that everything is working great now and by just extending my lighting system 2 more feet longer, why would it not still work? <First off, you are already keeping low light corals in a fairly low light environment. That is fine, as long as you recognize your limits. Secondly, you are using 260 watts of PC light over 864 square inches of surface area and in a 21 inch deep tank. You want to go to 390 watts over 1728 square inches of surface area and 24 inches deep. You are increasing your lighting 50% while doubling the surface area said lighting has to cover. At the same time, you are increasing the depth. Fluorescent lights, as a rule, do not penetrate very deep. Your current system is at the lower end of the spectrum in regards to light levels. If you increase the tank to 180 gallons, I fear you will slowly lose your photosynthetic animals due to attrition. They will pan and attempt to absorb adequate light, but slowly fade. You would be better off saving some more money for your upgrade and get a new lighting system to go along with that new tank. -Steven Pro>

Re: Lighting ? If I need to start from scratch for lighting, what would you recommend on a 180? <It really depends on what you want to keep, but MH's give you the most bang for your buck. Nothing more than three 175 watt units. With nice lamps, no need for additional actinics, either.> Would higher watt PC's work or would I need something different? <You could go that route, something like six to eight 96 watt PC's, but hard to justify the difference. Six to eight replacement lamps every 12 months versus three every 12 to 18 months, additional cost of the fixtures, etc. Please see our coverage on www.WetWebMedia.com for more in depth comparisons and recommendations. -Steven Pro>

Glass reducing light How much of a problem will the extra glass cause in light penetration? Will it reduce light effectiveness by 10% 25% 50%? Thanks - Mark

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