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FAQs about Fishes and Invertebrates, aka FOWLR Marine System Lighting

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Related FAQs: FOWLR 1, FOWLR 2, FOWLR 3, FOWLR Set-Ups, FOWLR Lighting, FOWLR Filtration, FOWLR Skimmers, FOWLR Livestocking, FOWLR Maintenance, FOWLR Disease, LR Lighting, Fish-Only Marine Set-ups, Reef Systems, Coldwater Systems, Small Systems, Large Systems, Marine System Plumbing, Biotopic presentations,

For the most part, lighting for FOWLR can be minimalized.

Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

LED light for FOWLR selection     12/12/14
Hi WWM Crew,
First let me say that I am so very grateful to all of you for this wonderful service you provide. The wealth of information in the FAQ’s is invaluable, and the timely and knowledgeable answers each time that I have asked a question has been greatly appreciated. Even though I have not had a tank set up for the last two years, I’ve still been regularly reading FAQ’s and learning more and more.
<Ahh; so gratifying to read, value your statements here>
I am in the planning stages of setting up my next tank, a 75 gallon (48” by 18” by 21”D) drilled tank (my first with a sump/refugium). I’m really excited about that part. The tank is going to be a FOWLR though I MAY eventually get a few soft corals. My question today is about lighting. I wanted to go with LED lighting for this tank primarily because I want to save money on electricity and bulb replacement. However, because the tank will be a FOWLR, I don’t need something fancy or really expensive. I have a friend who is in the setup/maintenance business who can get me a really good deal on a Current-USA Orbit Marine LED (the four foot long one). Here is the link to their website: http://current-usa.com/aquarium-led-lights/orbit-marine/
<Ah, yes. Know of these folks. Gave a talk at their facility in N. San Diego last year>
The question is would this light fixture allow me to have live rock with macroalgae and POSSIBLY a few soft corals in my size tank?
<Oh yes; it would. Do look about... ZooMed also has a worthy, inexpensive, simple four foot HO LED fixture worth comparing>
Thank you so much,
<Welcome and happy holidays. Bob Fenner>

Need help changing lighting in 180 gallon FOWLR tank/Lighting/T5/DIY 11/29/11
Hi Crew!
<Hello Susan>
I feel like such a schmuck emailing to ask for your help, but I'm really just at the end of my rope here.
<No need to be a schmuck, is what we are here for.>
I have a 180 gallon (72" x 24" x 24") saltwater setup that was given to me 8 years ago.
<Lucky you.>
We have done pretty well for the last 8 years, and I have done lots of reading here to help me along the way. (Thanks for that, by the way!)
<You're welcome.>
The lighting on the system was set up as follows when we received it, and it has not been changed since...
(2) 32W 48" blue actinic 03 fluorescent bulbs, (2) 96W 34" square pin CF 10,000K daylights, and (2) 34" 96W 10,000K / actinic 50/50 CFs. All three sets of bulbs are mounted about 12-14" above the surface of the water inside a homemade canopy/hood. The ballast that controls the 50/50 lights recently suffered permanent demise, and late last week I discovered that the manufacturer has gone out of business.
Here's where my dirty little secret comes out... I am a pretty smart gal,
<Reminds me of Pat Benatar's lyrics...."I'm a pretty smart cookie with a long history".>
but no matter what I do, I just cannot wrap my head around lighting and electricity. No matter who I talk to, what I read or how much I read, NONE of it sinks in or makes any sense. Watts, volts, amps, ohms, Kelvin...it's all Greek despite hours and hours of effort on my part. In all of my 'research' into what I am going to do with this 'ballast situation,' I stumbled upon the fact that many saltwater enthusiasts are switching to T5 fixtures and bulbs. So, off I went to investigate the T5 situation. All of the literature might as well have been written in Polish, because I still have no clue.
<T5 = T designates it's a tube, and 5 means the tube is .5" in diameter.>
At this point, I am inclined to believe that it might be time to move away from the square pin CF bulbs, as fixtures to accommodate such are becoming fewer and further between.
<They are, and now would be a good time to upgrade.>
It seems silly to replace the ballast and the square pin end caps if it's only going to get harder to find them in the future. I think that I would like to switch to T5 bulbs, but I'm not sure where to go from here and I just need a little guidance. So here are a few questions...
1. Is the current lighting in my system adequate for the FOWLR?
Would it be adequate to add soft corals in the future if I desired to do so?
2. I am looking at the Sunlight Supply T5 Retro Fit Kits, which seem like they would install relatively easily into our existing canopy once current structures are removed.
<Yes, they do install quite easily and everything you need should come with the kit.>
The kits come as long as 60", but the longest T5 bulbs that I have consistently found are 48". I was thinking about purchasing 3 kits at the 48" range, which would give me 6 bulbs. But I'm just not sure... would I be further ahead to purchase the 48" lengths and stagger them left to right as I install from front to back or would I be further ahead to purchase the 36" lengths and install them side by side?
<I would go with the 48" lamps and stagger.>
3. Regardless of which length and install set up I go with, I'm not sure what I need in terms of daylights, actinics and/or combo bulbs. If I go with the 48" kits and stagger them, would I be okay to go with (4) daylight bulbs @ 10,000K to 12,000K and (2) actinics or would a different configuration be better?
<The actinics aren't really necessary for coral growth but they do give a nice color pop if desired. As to K or Kelvin temperature, I'd go with the 12K lamps. Or a couple combo bulbs?
<Yes, two 50/50 lamps over two actinics would provide better light for corals. Most soft corals should thrive with six T5 lamps but there are a few that will not. If I were to upgrade, I'd go with eight tubes which would provide plenty of light for all soft corals.>
(And Heaven forbid you indicate above that I might be better to go with the side-by-side 36" kits....?!?!?!?!?)
<No, would be too much unnecessary hook up.>
4. If the Sunlight Supply T5 retro fit kits are something that I should stay away from, can you recommend anything else that would work to be installed directly into our existing canopy without buying a formal 'fixture'?
<Sunlight Supply is a reputable company and retros are all you need with your set-up. Complete fixtures will cost much more.>
I know that this really seems like such a basic question, and I am sure that you are going to be inclined to tell me to go read what is available to me. I appreciate your time, and believe me when I say that more reading than I have already done isn't going to make a difference. At this point I know and understand enough to have a very vague clue, and the rest simply makes my head spin out of control.....
<If you can read, installing the retros should be no problem but we will be here to help you should problems arise.>
so any input you can offer would be fantastic.
Thanks so very much for your time!!
<You're welcome. I have deleted your personal information for your privacy. These queries go in our Daily FAQ's and I'm sure you do not want to share that information with the general public. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting QuestionVHO or MH? Blue or White? 04/18/10
I currently have a 150 gallon FOWLR and a 75 gallon reef running through two connected sumps.
<<So these two differing systems are sharing water? Never a good idea in my opinion as the usually high nutrient levels associated with a FOWLR can make for big problems with the reef system>>
I am in the process of upgrading the 75 to a 265 gallon (84"Lx23"Wx30"H).
<<Neatthough flipping the W and H dimensions would make this a much better reef tank (just musing)>>
Currently I run (4) UVL 4' VHO (2-50/50, 2-super actinic) on the 75 gallon and like the color put into the tank.
<<Mmm, yesseems to be the current trend (blue tanks). But unless you are keeping deep-water organisms this really is too much on the short-wavelength and not enough full-spectrum light>>
After reading the section on lighting it seemed a little dated as far as the metal halide section.
<<Oh? How so?>>
I plan on keeping mostly Acans and Zoanthids, a couple SPS high up on the rocks and hopefully a clam or two by the end of the year.
<<Then you really do need to consider adding more white light (6500K 10000K) to the system>>
I was looking at doing (6) 6' VHO, or (3) 250W metal halide (10K or 14K) with (2) 6' super actinic, or (3) 400W metal halide (10K or 14K) with or without (2) 6' super actinic. What would you suggest for lighting as far matching the color I currently have on the tank and which lighting setup would you choose for lighting?
<<My fave lighting solution is metal halide for about any systembut especially for systems of depth as yours will be. There are many folks who will say you must have 400w halides on a tank such as you describe, but if you choose your reflectors wisely you can certainly get by with 250w metal halides (the CoralVue Lumen Bright reflector would be a good choice here or maybe one of the more focused LumenMax styles offered by Sunlight Supply). I would not go any bluer than a 14K bulb if you must, and I feel 10K bulbs with the VHO Actinic supplementation (for day/night transitions as much as anything) are the best choice here as this Kelvin rating will give you the best penetration of the two with a good balance across the color spectrum that will be more beneficial to your photosynthetic organisms>>
Thanks, Scott
<<Happy to share Eric Russell>>

FOWLR Lighting 3/15/10
Hello guys
<Hello Ryan>
I just set up a new 78gal fowlr tank. I am getting ready to buy a light system and need to know if this light setup will be good for my tank? Or do I need something with more watts?
* 1x 48" CF Dual fixture
* 1x Mounting Bracket
* 2x 65W CF Lamp 12000K
* 2x 65W CF Lamp Actinic Blue
* 4x LED
<For a FOWLR system, your lighting should be fine. James (Salty Dog)>

Eclipse 3 hood lighting 3/5/10
Hello Wet Web Crew,
<Hello Jacob>
I have had a 29 Gallon Eclipse 3 system for about 3 months now. So far it has been a FOWLR system with about 25lbs of cured LR and a 2 inch sand bed.
<Id reduce this an inch>
For Equipment I just run the mechanical/bio-wheel filter,
<probably not needed with the live rock you have in there>
the hood offers with an 802 POWERHEAD, and a marine land submersible heater.
I am planning on buying an in-tank skimmer due to the limiting hood I have.
<Try a hang-on-back, or see if you can put something in place instead of the bio-wheel>
To get to the point my main question is on the lighting. I have standard lighting that came with the hood, I believe two T8's. Although I do not know much about lighting requirements I know in order for me to have macroalgae I will probably have to upgrade.
<It probably will grow, albeit slowly. You would be better off with some T5 or CFs here>
Now I noticed that at the LFS they sell individual lights. Is there a possible way to just swap the lights out in the hood with lights that will allow for macroalgae growth?
<This is difficult for me to say really, since I have not seen this particular model. Yes, with many of these plastic all-in-one hoods you can take the lights out and replace, but this requires a bit of DIY on your part, removing the T8s & ballast, maybe cutting some holes in the back and fixing in the correct fasteners to hold the bulbs in. Cable tying the ballast on the back of the hood is a possibility. It is unlikely that you will find parts that just swap out. This is not the biggest DIY project you can do though so I give you good odds that with a little handiwork this can be done>.
What ones?
<Either Compact Fluorescent or T5 will work here. Measure up your hood and buy what fits in there the easiest. You want at least two bulbs, more if you can get them in>.
Thanks a ton!
<Its a pleasure Jacob>

Lighting FOWLR 1/14/09 Good afternoon. <Good morning, Keith.> I've kept freshwater tanks for over 30 years, some with plants and have done pretty well determining the proper bulbs/spectrums, but in the last 3 months I have converted a 30 gallon (36x18x12) brackish tank to a full marine tank with Live Rock and I am a bit clueless as far as the lighting requirements. I have noticed that I have brittle stars, a clam, some feather dusters and patches of button polyps. I currently have a standard 60 watt double fluor fixture. One tube is a Flora-Sun 5000-5500k I think) and the other is a Marine-Glo actinic bulb. I like the look of this, but is it enough light or of the right spectrum for my tank? <If the clam you mention is of the Tridacna type, then your present lighting is insufficient to keep it alive.> I have a 10000K bulb, and a couple of All Glass aquarium bulbs not in use that I could swap out. Is the Flora-Sun bulb of any use in a marine tank and is the actinic even figured in to total watts? <Yes.> I guess I am mostly confused by the need for the actinic, but I was under the impression I needed it for the inverts and the marine algae. Please help. <Other than the clam (if it is a Tridacna) the only light loving inverts you have would be the button polyps. Three or four watts per gallon should keep them happy. Reading here will answer your questions. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm James (Salty Dog)> Keith

Lighting for 55gal FOWLR 10/23/08 Hello, just wanted to say I LOVE your site and I'm grateful you guys are doing this. The information is endless and very informative, especially to the aquarium NEWB like me. <Thank you.> Here is my question. I recently purchased a 55 gallon aquarium from Craig's list. I want to be sure the light fixture that came with the tank will be able to house enough light to support a FOWLR type aquarium. I have attached a picture of the aquarium light fixture. It is two separate fixtures and each fixture holds one light bulb. I believe the are 24 inch lights. <This is enough for a FOWLR system if it is enough light for your viewing pleasure. Some like dim tanks, some don't! It is just your taste here.> Also, I was wondering if you could tell me what type of bulbs to get, if the fixture will be enough. <I would look for 10000K bulbs, these look to be 15W.> Thanks! <Welcome, Scott V.>

55 gal FOWLR Lighting 11/17/08 Hello, Wes Warren here, <Hello Wes.> I am attempting to setup my first saltwater aquarium. The tank I have has a top lighting fixture that is split in the center of the top of the tank and separates two light holders. Each holder holds one 24" light. Do you think I can use this setup or do I need to purchase a better fixture that holds more? I am doing a 55gal FOWLR. <For a FOWLR this will work fine, you only need enough light to see what's in the tank.> Thanks! Wes <Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: 55 gal FOWLR Lighting 11/17/08 I meant to ask this in the previous e-mail, but what do you recommend as far as bulbs in this setup? <Aesthetics for you prevail here.> The regular HO? Or something better? <Your fixture (if you have one already?) will dictate the bulb type. If you do not have one, consider either T5 or PC fixtures that can light a reef, should you choose to do one in the future (most do).> Also, whats you take on MarineGlo bulbs? <They are fine, but do let price be a factor here. No certain bulb needed for a FOWLR, Scott V.>

FOWLR Aquarium Lighting 10/3/08 Hello, <Hello Sam.> I have a 120 gallon FOWLR. How many watts of light do you recommend for this tank? Some of my rock has nice purple so... I currently have 260 watts, on for about 4 hours a day, and then 130watts on for about 2-4hours... 2 actinic 10,000k 130watts, and 2 white 10,000k 130watts. Let me know what you think. I thought it may be too much... <You very well could get away with less lighting. You really don't have much of a photosynthetic need, just a bit on the rock to maintain the look of it. Otherwise you can light this tank just to the point of viewing your fish, but do realize that the vivid colors in many marine fish do look better under brighter lighting. For my personal taste I think your light is just fine; it comes down to just this, personal choice.> Thanks, Sam <Welcome, Scott V.>

FOWLR Lighting Duration - 07/29/08 Dear Wet Web Crew, <<Hello Lindsay>> I recently purchased a firefish and it doesn't like to leave its bolt-hole much when the lights are off (at all). <<Why would you think it would or should? By the common name I'm guessing this is a Nemateleotris species…likely N. magnifica or N. decora. This is not a nocturnal species, but it is quite shy and prone to hiding when kept with other boisterous species and often will not venture out much from its hiding place even during the daytime. This can sometimes prove a problem re feeding/making sure the fish is getting adequate nutrition>> I have the light on for about 6 hours at night. Is this enough "daytime" for the firefish? <<I prefer and think it better to provide a light-cycle closer to that of the tropics where these animals originated…i.e. - a 10-14 hour photoperiod for your tank would be best>> What is appropriate lighting for a FOWLR system; I also have 2 green chromis, 2 Picasso clownfish, and hermit crabs? <<No different than that of a reef system in my opinion/estimation…still best to try to replicate that of the tropics>> Is it OK to also have the light on for a few hours in the morning and then again at night, or is this bad for circadian rhythms? <<Mmm, this might be debated by some. I suppose the fishes can become accustomed if done with regularity, but how would "you" like it? Best to stick to a single full-length photoperiod in my mind…and easily accomplished/controlled with a simple and inexpensive timer device>> Thanks, Lindsay <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Re: FOWLR Lighting Duration - 07/30/08 So you think it would be better to have at least 10 hours for one straight shot then? <<I do, yes>> I don't want the firefish (N. magnifica) hidden for quite so long; it's amazing how responsive it is to the light. <<Ah yes…does not feel "safe" venturing out otherwise>> Yesterday, I flipped on the light for just a few seconds to see something and it popped right of the rock, and as soon as the light was off she was back in her bolt-hole! <<Indeed>> That's why I figured that even though they are supposed to be shy, that I might want to adjust my light time. <<A more "natural" circadian rhythm of 10-14 hours of "daylight" should help…and give you more time/opportunity to enjoy this animal as well. Eric Russell>>

Coralife Aqualight Pro (New Lighting) - 06/26/08 Hello! I would like to thank you all for all the help your have given to me. <No problem! That's what we're here for> Unfortunately I still have some questions for you. :-) I'm going to upgrade my fluorescent (42 watts) to this new 72" Coralife Aqualight Pro 3x125W MH with Actinics and moonlight. I have standard 135 Gallons FOWLR right now. I only have a glass top. Now my questions below: 1.) Should I just swap the lighting and setup the timer like below? 2 hours actinics 8 hours MH + actinics 2 hours actinics 12 hours moonlight <Actinic dawn/dusk is in some ways cosmetic and unnecessary- on the other hand, it won't hurt.> 2.) I figured that if I'm going to install this fixture, my glass top cannot be open wide because the fixture will be blocking the path of the glass top when opening it. <Correct> Looks like the mounting leg is just 3.25" in height. Should I remove the glass top or should I buy the suspension cord to mount into the ceiling so I can put the fixture at least 6" above the aquarium glass top? 3.) Is it safe to use the fixture without the glass top at 3.25" height? <Well...CoraLife might have other things to say, but a lot of people do use these on uncovered aquariums. 4.) In the future, what type of corals I can put on this type of lighting? <Depends on where in the tank, color temperature of the bulbs, etc, but you should be able to keep a pretty wide variety> 5.) Lighting includes 3 heavy ballast. How much heat does this ballast emit? Should I put it outside my furniture cabinet or is it fine to put it inside? My cabinet is open at the back and there's 6" gap from the wall. <They make a fair amount of heat; wherever you put them just make sure they aren't less than 3-4" from each other and have opportunity for good airflow.> I will appreciate any help. I thank you for being helpful for us. There will be a lot of lost aquarist without your help. <No problem, Ray! Thanks for the support!> Ray <Benjamin>

Lighting a FOWLR 6/25/08 What T5 bulb temperatures would you recommend to make a mixture of tangs/angels looks "the best"? <Heee, a loaded question with a simple loaded answer, whatever looks best to you! With T5 you have the ability to swap bulbs and experiment to find out what suits you.> I also will have some live rock in the tank but nothing too fancy. The livestock would be an Emperor angel, a Yellow tang, a Purple tang and some dither fish like Blue-Green Chromis, most likely in a 180-210 gallon tank... <You will likely have issues mixing these two Tangs in this tank.> I'd like to stay away from metal halide, but if that truly provides the best viewing ability I might be convinced to go that route. <Functionally other lighting can provide all you need for a FOWLR tank. But, the look of the metal halide is hard to beat for it's shimmer effect. The LED lights that are out now also provide this to some extent, although a bit pricey for the time being.> I traded in a 6 inch T. Squamosa to my LFS today and it was amazing the different in appearance between my lights (54x4 T5 lighting at 460* actinic blue and 54x4 T5 lighting at 10K) and the store lights which were metal halide. The clam looks WAAAAAY better at the LFS and this is just after an hour of acclimating and opening up, it isn't as if it's been there a month and is much healthier and you can attribute that to the appearance... it has to be just lighting related. <It's color will change a bit after a few weeks, for even better or worse. It is hard to judge this long term effect after just an hour. The other thing to consider is that critters often look better to us in someone else's tank, I suffer greatly from this!> Anyway, if lighting makes that big of a difference with a clam that just sits on the bottom, I'm thinking it might be the same with a fish. <It can, spectrum more than lighting type. Higher K or actinic bulbs will bring out more of the blues in your fish. Lower spectrum bulbs will bring our more of the red and yellow in things.> Also, is it "bad" to just maybe suspend one MH pendant, say a 250w of whatever temperature you recommend, over one side of the tank and let the other side be in the dark? <Not unless you intend to keep photosynthetic organisms in the dark end. If you do down the road you can always add another pendant.> Of course it wont be dark at all, but it just won't be directly lit. I was thinking that might actually be good so that the fish can go over to that side of the tank if they want a little less brightness in their face all the time, kind of like going in a cave but still having swimming room. <I agree. Personally I like tanks with lit and unlit areas. It give the tank a more diversified look. I hope this helps you decide, Scott V.> Light in my FOWLR 2/4/08 Hi guys, <Dan> So finally I decided which tank and set-up I want :) It is going to be 125gal FOWLR (5ft long). Now I have problem with choosing right lightning for that tank. At first my LFS wanted to put in my canopy some standard fluorescent fixture (I didn't like it), so my idea was to put there like 2x96watt PC, but now I am thinking about HO T-5's, like 2x54watts. What do you guys think about it? Which idea is better, remember that this T-5's are going to be only 4ft long, is it going to cover the whole tank? No darker spots? It is very important, I would be very thankful if you give me an answer about these T-5's. regards' Dan <Lighting on a FOWLR is mostly personal preference for viewing. If you like the T5's, I say go for them (less wattage). They can easily be added to if you wish to convert this tank to a reef later. If you are concerned about the ends of the tank being dark you can always off set the bulbs 6" from one another, much like you would have to with the PC bulbs you propose. Have fun, Scott V.>

Lighting FOWLR 10/18/07 Gentlemen, First let me thank you for the helpful advice over the past year. <You're welcome.> I've had my 75 gallon FOWLR up and running for about 10 months now. Without your information I wouldn't have made it this far. It's time to replace my lighting (bulbs) and I have a quick question. I have a standard triple strip fluorescent fixture. I currently have 1 50/50, 1 20k and 1 blue actinic bulb. I'm on a tight budget, can you recommend which type bulbs to use? Due to my limited experience I do not plan on adding any corals. I currently have 2 True Percula Clowns, 1 Blue Damsel, 1 Yellow Tang, a Coral Beauty, 1 cleaner shrimp and about 20 assorted crabs and snails. I'd greatly appreciate any guidance you can offer. <If you are on a tight budget and do not plan on keeping any corals or invertebrates that require specialized lighting, I would just go with daylight tubes which are rather inexpensive, and most home improvement stores should carry them. If you like the look of actinics, then go with one of these and the others daylight. James (Salty Dog)>

FOWLR set up 3/3/07 <Greetings, Mich here.> I am planning on setting up a 72-gallon bow front w/corner filter for fish and few inverts such as crabs, shrimps, and snails. I will not be going to a reef in the future. <Famous last words.> No corals or anemones. <Yep, Mmmhmm, sure, righto, I believe ya! Hee! But I will go with the info given.> The tank will have about 50 lbs of live rock. The system will be filtered with a wet/dry with bio balls, in sump skimmer, and power heads. I already own this equipment. <OK. But would be better to skip the bioballs and go with a small in sump refugium to reduce your nitrates. Simple to do. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm many more related links in blue.> I have a strip light that holds to 48" T-12 40 watt bulbs. Would this be sufficient? <For fish and inverts, is fine.> What type of bulbs would be best? I was planning to use 2 50/50's or 1 10 K and 1 actinic. <I would do the a 10K and a 50/50 or 2 50/50.> Finances are limited and was opting to buy an R/O DI instead of upgrading the lighting. <A wise decision. No need to upgrade since you're not doing corals... correct??? Hehehe!> Thanks for your assistance. <Welcome! -Mich>

Lighting, 45 gal. FOWLR 12/28/06 Hi All, <And to you> I hope all of your holidays were joyous and your new year is a happy and prosperous one. <Me too!> As always, many thanks for your website. It's been crucial in me and my partner's aquatic endeavours over the last year. Now for the fun part . . . <There's an even more fun part?!> We've been through the archives and the FAQs and (literally) countless other websites and haven't really figured out what we need to know. By all means, if I've missed this information, please point me in the right direction and I'll happily do the reading. <Okay> First the specs: Our tank is a 45 gallon established (just under 1 year in life) FOWLR bow front with no fish right now; only inverts. We are planning on getting fish but we're still gun shy after out tomato clown and rusty angel died of saltwater ich in our quarantine tank and are taking our time before purchasing new ones. The tank itself is a bit over 30" long and a bit over 20" deep at the peak of the bow, standing just over 30" high and is populated by two emerald crabs, a chocolate chip starfish, two cleaner shrimp, a blood shrimp, a peppermint shrimp (that wouldn't stop jumping into the net when we were getting the emerald crabs), six zebra hermits, four electric blue hermits, two Halloween hermits, a hatpin urchin, a pencil urchin, a fighting conch and five turbo snails. Everyone is happy, healthy and living life to its fullest, due mostly to my partner's obsessive compulsive water changes which are about 10% every three days or twice a week. The substrate is about three inches deep and we've about fifty pounds of live rock and a giant piece of coral (dead) that provides hiding places for the shrimp, urchins and snails. As things stand right now, we are not planning on moving into a reef setup although with the live rock we do have a fair amount of coralline algae growth which Spike and Ursula (the hatpin and pencil, respectively) love to eat. <All right> Currently, the aquarium has a power compact hood that came with the tank and the bulbs that are in it are due up for replacement and we were thinking about replacing the entire hood with a raised fixture as the hood sits only an inch or so from the top of the water and tends to add a fair amount of heat to the water (that and the cooling fans are failing; the aquarium is really nice but the hood has given us much grief since we got it - the fans sound like a 747 taking off when they first turn on in the morning and it takes about an hour to two hours for them to silence). So we're struggling with figuring out which lighting is the best; for critters primarily, but also for us from an aesthetic point of view (so to speak). <Am with you so far> In most of the aquarium stores we've visited since we got the tank up and running; we've seen metal halide lighting in use and really, really liked the visual appeal of the lighting. The livestock seemed much more colourful, vibrant and active and the tanks just seemed all around healthier than in the stores that were using plain actinic and power compact fluorescents. However, most of the tanks we've seen have been in excess of 100g which is obviously a bit bigger than ours. <Yes> So here are the questions that are plaguing us: If we are to upgrade the lighting, we want it to be the best as we don't plan on doing this again for a very long time (lighting is SOOOO expensive). The consensus seems to be that metal halide is the best aquarium lighting with the caveat that it isn't necessary for FOWLR tanks but it is also not detrimental (that of course is a seriously simplified view of the hundreds of hours of investigation and wading through multiple grey opinions of what lighting is best that we've done on this subject; so please correct me if I'm wrong as I trust your opinions above all others). <Mmm, yes... this is about the common spiel> Now, assuming that the above statement is correct, if we upgrade to metal halide lighting it would be strictly for aesthetics which brings me to the TRUE question: Is metal halide OK for such a small tank? I noticed in one article that the author (I can't remember who the respondent was but I do remember it was a WWM crew member) stated that as much light as possible is a good way to go. That was in reference to a reef tank though and I don't know if that applies to FOWLR tanks. <Mmm... there is such a thing/expression as "too much" light...> In one of Bob's articles he states that a good rule of thumb for lighting is 3 to 5 watts for each gallon and if that is to be used faithfully, we should be able to use a small metal halide without hurting our animals (this is the absolute main concern; their health and safety comes before all other considerations). Now for the pinch, I also read in one article (I think it was Anthony responding) that expressly said that too much light (it was in response to an individual who was using two 400 w MH lights on a 125 g tank) could be potentially hazardous to the animals in the tank. <Yes, this is so> The fixture that we are looking at is a 36" Odyssea light with a single 250 w MH bulb; two power compact fluorescent bulbs including one 10000 K and one blue actinic bulb and four blue LED 'moon' lights. The total wattage is only about 75 watts more than the 3 to 5 rule states is 'acceptable' for our tank at its high end (it maths out to about 6.7 Watts/Gal) which doesn't seem like a lot but again, being new at this, a professional's input would be most helpful as I certainly don't want to sacrifice the comfort and health of my animals just so the tank looks good. <Could be made to work...> And last, if you do think it's OK to go with this amount of lighting, do you have any opinion on the Odyssea line of lights? <Jebo products seem to be well-regarded... nowadays> I found a site on the net with posts from about three years ago that were describing situations where the Odyssea ballasts actually caught catching. I haven't seen anything to that regard posted recently and was curious if you guys had any opinions about that particular brand of fixture. <Best to search, sort product lines in/on various BB's... like Reef Frontiers, Reefs.org...> As always, your help is invaluable and I look forward to hearing from you. Warmest regards, D <And now a couple of summation comments... The choice of lighting presents a balance of considerations... Functional and aesthetic... Having more light intensity here is going to cause/entail more maintenance... and possibly an excess heat issue... Which you appear to be aware of. However, considering that you've stated that this is to be a "one time" upgrade... and the fact that you might well "go reef" in the future... I do encourage you to pursue the single MH fixture route here. Bob Fenner> Lighting Questions 10/29/06 I have been visiting your website for several months and it has helped me so much. I have a 46g bowfront tank that has been up and running for almost 2 years. It has been a FOWLR tank and is doing great. I have only been running it with NO Fluorescent lighting but now would like to start adding some corals. As for what corals I am interested in, I have no idea yet!! Today I ordered a Metal Halide Combination light with a 150w MH, 96w 10K Daylight, 96w Actinic, and some lunar lights. Would you consider this as a "moderate" light? <Mmm, not here... more "intense" for this size/shape system> What type of corals could I expect to keep under this light? <Posted on...> I have researched your sight <site> and read the articles about lighting but still am a little confused. Any help/clarification would definitely help me. Thank you! Trina <Keep reading my young friend. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Info! - 10/18/06 Hi Guys, Great site, my productivity has dropped 150% since finding it! I have read just about every article and FAQ here about lighting and I am still having a difficult time choosing the right light set-up for my tank. I have a 54 gal AGA Corner Bowfront tank. What I do know is that I don't want to hang lights from my ceiling and I have an 18 month old daughter that loves fish and have no desire to expose her to the possible dangers of MHs. So that obviously leaves me with the fluorescent options. <Actually you still have quite a few options. T-5's and my new favorites LED's.> My space on top of the tank being a bowfront corner is limited. I plan to do a FOWLR set up. My wife is mostly interested in the fish (so they take priority) but I would like to do some corals and my wife would really like a clownfish with an anemone (which I know might not be possible from what I read). I realize my lighting choice will limit the choice in corals I can get but I have to think about safety of the little one first and foremost. I will stick with mostly soft corals but would like to have adequate lighting that I might be able to try some hard corals at the top of the tank. <You might be able to get by with some LPS but I don't think you'll find any lighting without halide that will get you SPS. I know at MACNA there was an amazing new led set up by PFO that just knocked peoples socks off.> Also if you could comment on the rest of what I plan for my setup I would appreciate it. Because of the limited space I am going to go with an Aqua C Remora or Remora Pro, about 50 pounds of live sand, 30 pounds of live rock and two power heads in the tank. <I'd add more live rock! My personal recommendation is one pound per gallon and I've been known to go higher if I have the room.> This is a new approach for me. The last marine tank I had was 20 years ago and the state of the art was an under gravel and canister filter. Thanks for any advice and help. <Lord I hate to admit that I was doing it way back then, but I was. Its a lot more fun now because the animals are a lot more diverse and you can do things you never dreamed of. Good luck Rob!> Rob

FOWLR Lighting/Coralline Growth - 08/09/06 Great web site. <<Thank you...a collective effort>> I wanted to get your opinion on the lighting for a 75 gallon FOWLR set-up. <<Okay>> I currently have a Finnex 47" T5 with a 54W actinic and a 54W 10,000K white bulb. A glass cover is on top of the tank and the light is supported by legs about three inches above the glass cover. Is this sufficient and correct lighting to promote coralline algae growth and should I be concerned about the build up of salt etc. on the glass cover and or height of the light above the tank. <<Hmm, well...there are differing species of coralline algae with differing light requirements. This wattage/spectrum will probably suit one or more of them...as long as the required mineral elements are available as well...though I would replace the actinic bulb with another 10,000K bulb unless you are planning to keep "low light" fishes. As for the glass cover, yes, salt build-up will be a concern as this will greatly reduce light penetration. My preference is to remove such covers/tops to allow better gas exchange and evaporative cooling. If jumping fish are a concern a piece of plastic "egg-crate" material laid over the top will usually prevent such occurrences...and the three-inch height of the bulbs over the water is ideal>> Thanks again for your help. <<Quite welcome. EricR>>

Actinic Lighting Needed on a FOWLR? - 04/25/06 Hi Crew, <<Morning>> I have a 200 gallon FOWLR setup and was using 4 four-foot daylight bulbs. I was wondering if I need to add actinic blue bulbs to my setup or are the daylight bulbs enough? <<Is just fine as is. Regards, EricR>>

Lighting/FOWLR 2/9/06 Hello, <Hello Lee> Two quick questions. My current substrate is fairly course (CaribSea Aragonite 5-10mm, 1" to 1.5" in depth) and I would like to add a fine sand (Seaflor Aragonite reef sand, 1" to 1.5") on top of it, would this be alright or would the fine sand eventually work it's way to the bottom? <It will eventually work its way down.> Second question, is my current lighting (Current Orbit fixture- 2x65w dual daylight, 2x65w actinic) adequate to support live rock? I have a 135 gal tank. <Yes, as long as there are no light loving animals on the rock.> Thank you <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Aquarium lighting for large fish-invertebrate tank 1/31/06 Hello to the Crew !!!<Hello> I have a 220 gallon saltwater aquarium (72 inches long, 24 inches wide and 30 inches deep) in the basement of my home. I wish to install a new lighting system because I would like to have a mixed tank (fish and invertebrates). Before, I had fish only so lighting was less important. There is approx. 250-300 pounds of live rock that covers the bottom half of the tank so the invertebrates on the top of the rocks are approx. 15 inches under the surface of water. I have tried metal halide (3 X 250 watts HQI) with electronic ballasts but I did not like it because it generated so much heat that we were suffocating and I had to open the windows, even during the coldest Canadian winter times !!! Not to mention they were very $$$$$$ Also, I am very uncomfortable with the high level of ultraviolet radiation and the risk of explosion of the bulbs. So I have begun to install the Aqualight retrofit kit from Coralife. There is an actinic blue and a white 10,000 K compact fluorescents, both 96 watts. I have 2 of those installed and I will install 4 more for a total of approx.575 watts. I like this product very much and the few specimens of invertebrates that I have at this moment (mushroom, blue tip anemone, green polyps, leather coral) seems to be ok with that form of lighting. Do you believe I can go ahead and operate successfully a large fish-invertebrate tank only with those compact fluorescents ? <Yes, as long as you stay with moderate light loving inverts. What you have at present should be fine. They are probably not going to get the light they require if they are placed on the bottom of the tank, stay mid level to above.> Thank you very much for your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Robert Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Lighting For A FOWLR... Must Make A Choice - 01/19/06 Hello WWM, <<Hello Matt>> I am grateful for you in reviewing my email. <<Thank you for writing in.>> I just have a quick question. <<That's what they all say <grin>.>> I have a 240 FOWLR and am curious as to what sort of bulbs (color spectrum etc.) to use as far as lighting goes. <<A combination of Daylight (6500K) and 10000K bulbs would work well here in my opinion.>> I have two ballasts in use with the following bulbs...2 POWERCOMPACT 96W 10000K, 2 POWERCOMPACT 96W ACTINIC03, 2 POWERCOMPACT 96W ACTINIC03/10000K. <<WAY too much Actinic. Leave the two 10000K bulbs and replace the others with 6500K bulbs and I think you'll find your fish's colors look better.>> My main goal is to illuminate my fish to the greatest degree and maintain and grow as much coralline algae as possible. <<Mmm...pick one or the other my friend. My vote is to illuminate to show off the fish (6500K lighting)...after all...this is a FOWLR tank...not a LRWF tank (Live Rock With Fish)...isn't it? You will still get coralline growth as long as the necessary earth elements of the water are in correct supply/balance.>> Thanks for your help, Matt <<Cheers, EricR>> Lighting for 70 gallon FOWLR Hello Crew, I am currently redoing my 70 gallon (36" long, 18" wide, 27" tall). I have planned everything except the lighting--a topic that confuses me the most when it comes to this hobby. Since this is just going to be a fish only tank with live rock I want some color on the rocks so coralline algae is a must for me. So my question is--what lighting (please specify bulbs and hood/fixture name) would be the best for sufficient coralline algae growth? Previously I had two 30 watt fluorescent bulbs (one actinic and one white spectrum). That grew some coralline, but not as much as I see at most local shops and other saltwater hobbyists' tanks. I really don't want to spend too much money. My budget would be less than $125 for the bulbs and hood. Here's my species list of fish: - Marine Betta - Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish - Hawkfish (not sure what species, but not aggressive) Since the fish I plan on keeping are secretive and almost nocturnal, will the light needed to coralline algae stress them? <I don't believe I can help you Greg. I've looked at several sites and you can't even get into retro fits for $125.00 and since you want the complete fixture we are way over your budget. With your deep tank and wish to grow coralline, you would need two 96watt PC's. Coralline does not require a lot of light to grow, in fact it does better at lower light intensity, but with a 27" depth I feel you would need the two 96 watters, and the least expensive one I found was $177.00. For bulb selection I would go with one true actinic and one 10000K. James (Salty Dog)> Lighting for a FOWLR 10/13/05 Hi crew, I have spent the last three hours reading about lighting, however I can't seem to come up with a definitive answer. I am starting my first marine in a standard 55 gal from All-Glass that was given to me when a friend upgraded to a 125. <A great way to get started! Welcome to our addiction!> I have spent about the last two months researching, (including THE book) before I found this website trying to save my daughters goldie from ich (too late :( ). <Glad you found us! Sorry it was too late for Goldie.> Anyway, I have decided on a FOWLR, but I am not sure that my lighting is sufficient. I am running the NO 48" fixture that came with the tank. The bulb is a 50/50 bulb from Coralife. Is this enough to promote the growth of coralline algae on the live rock? <It should be. Adding a second of the same is a very inexpensive way to be sure you have plenty.> I don't want to upgrade to PC yet as my wife is already screaming about how much I have spent on my free tank, (filter, heater, test kit etc) and I don't even have any fish yet! <PC's are not necessary at all. And you may want to start figuring out clever ways to hide aquarium expenses from your wife! Ha!> I also I have read a few places that that LR needs the addition of certain trace elements, notably, strontium and Iodine. Is this true? Thanks for your help. Evan H. <Calcium and Alkalinity are very important for healthy coralline algae growth and alkalinity is also important for pH stability. These should be tested and maintained. All other "trace elements" can be adequately maintained through regular partial water changes (20% per month is a good starting point). Be very wary of "trace element" preparations. If you are adding something without testing for it, you can easily over dose it! Best Regards. AdamC.>

Lighting For Tall FOWLR Tank (And Inverts? - II) - 05/09/05 I understand and agree. By invertebrates I was thinking more of crabs, snails and such and not coral (except perhaps some mushrooms if I see nice looking ones). My highest rock will be about 18" below the surface so I can probably attach some things there. <Agreed, mushrooms would probably do fine at that depth under those lights. Though they even may suffer some predation depending on your fish species. But overall, have a good chance to be left alone.> I will be watching the rocks to see what grows there. I am also looking at some of the synthetic coral (Nature's Image) as my service guys reports it looks pretty good when mixed in with live rock and underwater. <Ughh...do these guys sell them by chance? Do check them out in a display for yourself before you buy if you can; make sure YOU like the look.> Thanks for the advice. <My pleasure, Eric R.>

FOWLR lighting I'm setting up a 54 gallon corner tank - FOWLR. I'll use about 50 lbs. of live rock. The lighting is a 30" twin strip with standard fluorescent T-8 bulbs. Will this be OK with the live rock or should I replace the bulbs with different ones, and if so, which ones? Thanks. Mitch <Should be fine. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrlightingfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Lighting for Fish Only With Live Rock Tank Hi Bob, <Gary> Thanks for your timely response. Can you please offer me your opinion on the following light fixture in terms of what you recommended below. Thank you in advance. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm? pcatid=12109&N=2004+113030+22749 Best regards, Gary <The price is right, and I do like the 3/4 watt LED moonlight... This is about right in terms of the amount of light I'd look for you FOWLR system... but would likely pull the actinic lamps and replace with other whites. Bob Fenner> Lighting for FOWLR I am setting up a 180g oceanic reef ready tank (72" * 24" * 24") and would like to know your recommendations for lighting. I plan on housing primarily fish and live rock. I have read through many of your FAQs and when I think I have got it a wrench is thrown in. You seem to favor PC lighting but every once in a while you throw some metal halide in there and even a VHO bulb or two. What is your suggestion (type of lighting, quantity, spectra, etc.) for what I should use. Whatever you suggest is going in a custom wood hood 12 inches in height. Thank you for your time, Dwayne <Well, Dwayne, if this is FOWLR then enough to see the fish is what you need. In that case maybe 4x96w pc with 4 10,000K or 2 10,000K and 2 actinics. Combinations like this look very different to different people. The best bet is to find other tanks in your area that have different lighting so you can see for yourself. If you would think that corals are 'down the line' then at least 3 175W MH for low to medium needs or 3 250W for medium to high lighting. Good luck, Don>

RE: Lighting for FOWLR If I went with 3 250W MH will that be too much light for any fish? Do you recommend one manufacturer of MH bulbs over others (maybe better quality/value/etc.)? <Well, D'Wayne, that will certainly provide ample light for a FOWLR <G>. Should not cause a problem. The Aqualine/Buschke seems to get high marks around here. Don> D'Wayne

RE: Lighting for FOWLR Will any of the suggestions you made require the use of a chiller given the following (My biggest concern are the metal halides): <That will depend on a number of variables. If heat becomes a problem, many have been successful using evaporative cooling by putting small fans directed across an open sump.> - The tank is in a basement that stays between 72&75 degrees F - I will use an inline pump so that should not add to much heat - In addition to the custom hood the tank will be covered by a full glass canopy <I would not use a glass canopy but egg crate instead> - I will have 2 4" fans (105CFM each) one to force air into the hood and one to pull air out of the hood (I plan on placing them on the sides in the center of the hood unless you suggest something different) <Lots of work and experimentation documented here on the issue of fans and hoods. Use the search engine at the bottom of the WetWebMedia home page to search the archives. Or use a search engine (like google) to find DIY plans on the web.> Is there a big difference in the heat generated by 3 175w as opposed to 3 250w halides? <Yes as 3 250s are the same as 4.28 175s. The type of ballast and the location of the ballast will make a difference too.> Thanks again, D'Wayne

Lighting for a 15 gallon salty - 10/10/03 Hi guys, <Hiya> You have the best, most comprehensive site on the web for marine aquarists. <Well......I agree> I have a question regarding a 15 gallon FOWLR system. <OK. Shoot> I currently have only a single florescent bulb, a Rio powerhead, and an AquaClear 150 running on my tank. <On a 15 gallon? Is this enough? Heheheh> I'm thinking about moving up to a power compact lighting of some sort and possibly a Prizm skimmer. <The Prizm skimmer is fairly loud and not exactly getting rave review from aquarists. Please, check through the many reef forums out there for some opinion. (make the best decision possible the more you know) I like the CPR Bak Pak or the Aqua C line of skimmers. It doesn't hurt to have skimmer rated a bit higher than your system. Lighting is always a nice upgrade if it can be afforded and in most reef cases, even very necessary> I have a pair of ocellaris clowns, <In such a small space....hmmm......> jaw fish, <Deep sand bed?> a royal Gramma, a star fish, one cleaner shrimp and a few snails. Do you have any suggestions as to what types of lighting would be good? <Well a power compact will likely be fine here. Again, only to bring out colors of the fish as you didn't mention any corals. Lighting in a Fish Only With Love Rock tank is less necessary than if you were to say....plan coral additions or macro algae, in my opinion> I am thinking about the new custom Sealife PC/moonlight systems (are they worth the $$$?) <Well, I use them. Have for years. Good quality for the money, in my opinion> or a Coralife PC (or anything you suggest, hehe). <All good choices here> Also would it be OK to add some corals or should I get some kind of sump going before I do that? <Get the sump going for the fishes sake not the coral. It is up to you, but be sure to find the corals you are interested in and then research their needs for lighting, compatibility with your current inhabitants, water quality needs, feeding, flow, etc. and then purchase your items around that information. This is an often overlooked and very important step in my experience> THANKS!!! Mike Chang <Thank for asking. -Paul>

Lighting for FOWLR hello, I just got 7lbs or live rock for my 55gal (I'm going slow), and I am using 1 PowerGlo and 1 marine Glo. is this enough lighting for my FOWLR tank?<it should be> or should I replace the 1 Marineglo with another PowerGlo?<you could> do the live rocks need actinic lighting?<they look better, most of the LR will die anyways w/out reef chemistry> I like the look of 2 PowerGlos better.<me too>also, I have a remote 5 gal tank with 4 inches of DSB in it. will this give me denitrification if run slow water to it thru my system? if so, how much water turnover? <you could make this into a small refugium and then upgrade to say a 20gal aquarium later, It will be very beneficial for your fish-do read about refugiums on the WWM site http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm> what plants do u suggest I add to that refugium to help with water quality? I was thinking of Chaetomorpha or tang heaven.<yeah these two sp. have proven to work well> I heard of staying away from Caulerpa.<agreed> also, what supplements do I need to add now that I have live rock? calcium or Kalkwasser? and how about if I add macro algae?<you really don't need to add any supplements in a FOWLR system, good luck with everything, it sounds like you are on the right track, IanB>

-Lighting a 'FOWLR'- Hi Guys, Am setting up a 125 gal. reef set-up with anemones, fish live rock, live sand, shrimp, crabs, etc. (no coral). <Keep in mind that you should only have one anemone per tank (unless it's a cloning BTA), and that, generally speaking, it's best to get your feet wet in keeping coral (you'll find that many species are much easier to keep than anemones)> The tank is 72 Lx18Wx22H. I would like to hang 2or3 Aqualine 175 ,10,000k pendants 12" over top. How does this sound? <Sounds great!> Also, should I cover the tank with a glass hinged cover, egg crate type ceiling light cover, or just leave open. <If fish jumping is not an issue, I'd leave it open. The egg crate is pretty blinding when you walk up to the tank, and glass can trap beaucoup heat, along with adding a potentially significant light reduction.> How long should I leave on every day and should I put on a timer to go on and off during the day e.g. on at 7am for 4hrs, off at 11 for 4 hrs., on at 3 for 5 hrs.??? <I'd put them all on timers for 8-10 hours straight per day.> I figure I could probably get away with Fluorescents but I like the look of metal halide light and the open top style of tank. <I hear ya, I'm a halide user for life. -Kevin> Thanks in advance. Louie

- FOWLR Lighting - I wrote earlier this week about a problem, but I'm not sure if the email went through or if you have been backed up and unable to respond. Anyhow, the question I had was about the lighting for my 72g Oceanic (23" height). The lighting I currently have is the typical Twin tube strip light that accommodates 2 48" bulbs with a polished aluminum reflector (AGA light, Oceanic tank). The bulbs I am using are a 50/50 Actinic/Daylight 6000k and a 10000k daylight. I will eventually have a FOWLR tank w/90 lbs of live rock, assorted hardy inverts, and 5-6 small, peaceful fish. From what I have been reading in 'CMA' and other sources, the lighting I currently have may not be strong enough to sustain some of the life that may grow on the live rock. Is this the case? <I don't think so... do believe this will be plenty of light for a FOWLR tank. The live rock will do fine.> If so, what type of lighting would I be able to use along with the canopy I purchased w/the tank (Space/heat concerns)? <You could upgrade to Power Compacts or VHO if you wanted more lighting intensity, but I don't think it's necessary.> If not possible to use w/the canopy, then possibly something that will rest safely upon the glass top? Any recommendations are more than welcome. Thank you very much. -Brian <Cheers, J -- >

-Lighting for FOWLR- I am considering purchasing better lighting for my 72g bowfront w/the canopy. The lighting that came with the setup is a typical Twin tube strip light that accommodates 2 48" inch bulbs. I will eventually end up w/90lbs of live rock, assorted peaceful fish and hardy invertebrates. From what I have been reading in 'CMA', this type of lighting may not be sufficient for the live rock and invertebrates. Before I go spending the money, is this the case? If so, what type of lighting setup could I go with that would also fit in well with the canopy I purchased (not too hot or bulky)? I currently have one 10,000K daylight bulk and one 50/50 Actinic/Daylight. <This question has been answered plenty of times here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrlightingfaqs.htm Try to use our search feature more often, as this site is spilling over with information. Hope this helps! -Kevin> Thank you, Brian

FOWLR Lighting Hi crew.<Howdy!> I've been reading you site for the past few months and its very informative. I'm in the planning stage of setting up a 100G FOWLR (no corals for me). My question is about lighting. You recommend getting around 2-3 watts per gallon. Why is that? Any special reason? Is it for the algae (coralline algae growth?) or for the fish? Thanks and more power.<It is a very good idea to have upgraded lighting with live rock as it keeps many of the photosynthetic creatures from dying and there for less pollution. I think it also looks much better.> Jeto PS. I intend to follow what you preach in fishkeeping.<We try no to preach but thank you for the complement. And as Bob always says take any advice like a grain of salt and make sure you get as many different opinions as possible, or some thing to that extent. Cody>

Lighting a 40 gallon FOWLR Hello Bob, I have been using this site ever since Christmas Day when I first set up my tank. Anyways, I have a question about my lighting. I have a 40 gallon breeder tank, with a cardinal fish and a sergeant major, about 35 pounds of Fiji / gulf live rock, and I was wondering, what would be a good amount of light to have to keep the coralline algae and Caulerpa growing well?<< More blue light for coralline, and more red light for Caulerpa. So, I guess a good balance is needed here. >> I'm pretty sure about the fish not needing much light, but I'm still not sure about the algae and plants, any help would be appreciated, << Well, I like lots of light, and I don't think you can ever have too much. I would go with 4 VHO tubes. Two actinic and two whites. I think you will be very pleased with that. Best of luck. >> Anthony << Blundell >>

Lighting For A FOWLR Tank About how many watts of light does a 135 gallon tank need? the ballast I'm looking to purchase is a H4 electronic ballast from J&L Aquatics. It can run either 4-96W PC Bulbs 4-75W VHO Bulbs 4-95W VHO Bulbs or 4-110W VHO Bulbs <Well, there really is no "correct" number for "watts per gallon". What you need to do is get sufficient light of the proper spectrum for the animals that you intend to keep. PC and VHO bulbs are excellent, economical lighting methods for many animals.> What would be the best to get for a FOWLR tank. There will be no corals. <For a FOWLR tank, either configuration that you are considering would be just fine. I'd go for a mix of daylight and actinic bulbs or nice coloration, myself- but it's your call.> Thanks again. <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F.> Lighting a 55 gal FOWLR Hi I have not written to you guys for about two years, since all my problems w/ my baby morays. Anyways I feel I have come a long way, and am past the point of no return :). Anyways, I'm nearing completion of my tank setup, and was really hoping you could give me your views on how it is going, and I also have a few specific questions as well. Well, here's the setup: 55 gallon tank, FOWLR, inhabitants are 1 medium purple mouth moray (Gymnothorax vicinus - what a pain it was identifying this guy! I know this cannot be his final tank, he will be moved in about a year's time to his final home which will be over double this size), 1 coral banded shrimp, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp ( they have homes on opposing sides of tank, and haven't killed each other yet), 1 starfish, maybe 15 snails. 1 hang on tank mechanical/biological filter, with some ceramic beads I'm slowly removing because they are a detritus factory, and the unit has 2 carbon holding sponges, of which I change one side every other week. 1 aqua C remora skimmer, with maxi 1200 upgrade, constantly cleaned 2 maxi jet 1200s on the ends of tank for circulation, thinking of throwing in a Rio I have sitting around, don't even know if it's necessary in the tank though. << You can't have too much flow. >> 1 pc lighting unit, w/ a 36 watt 50/50 bulb << That is very little light. >> also I'm very good about water changes / top offs etc.. okay, any criticisms / ideas would be greatly appreciated, now on to my questions. as far as biological filtration, I have a 1.5 '' aragonite bed ( probably doesn't' do much at all), and only about 20 lb of live rock. << I'd double that. >> here's question 1: instead of purchasing live rock, which turned out to be a disaster (I used to have more than 20lb, but any piece that wasn't large the eel would bang into the glass when he played w/ them), I decided to make 2 large structures w/ the Aragocrete method. the first, which should be done curing in about a month, is 30 lb, and is composed of 20 lb dry Tufa base rock and the rest an Aragocrete mixture. the second structure is 30 lb, but is a mixture of maybe 4 cement : 1 crushed oyster shells, and the exterior is totally covered in oyster shell. << I've heard, and personally seen, really bad results with oyster shell. I'd be hesitant to use it ever again. >> I know adding aragonite helps with porosity, but I painstakingly made this structure day by day for weeks, adding layer by layer of pebbles of cement/oyster shells, so I'm pretty sure water can get through the entire structure. << I just saw a fantastic presentation the other day on Aragocrete construction. This guy (who is amazing) said the key was to use as little water as possible when mixing up your cement. That was the key to increasing porosity. >> this is actually a multiple part question. will coralline develop quicker on concrete, especially if it is covered in oyster shell? << Hmmm, no. I'll say light is more important than the material. But darker colors help. >> can I count the second structure pound for pound in my LR: gallons ration if it is a very loose structure? << I don't like that measurement anyway. I'd say just fill your tank so there is plenty of rock. Whatever weight it is what it is. >> will 80 lb of rock in the tank be too much? << Impossible. Don't worry that won't happen. >> the second structure weighs 30lb, and only has 3 points of contact with the tank. << That is cool. >> my next question is about lighting. I had been told by some people that 1watt no= 1 watt pc, but in re reading all the lighting faq's I see you're saying 1 watt pc is 2-3 times brighter than 1 watt no. << Absolutely. >> all I plan on doing in my tank is keeping it looking nice aesthetically, keeping it feeling natural enough to the inhabitants, and making coralline grow like crazy. (side note - just turned around and saw cleaner shrimp - just got him yesterday - cleaning eel for first time!!!) like I said I have 1 36watt pc 50/50 over the tank. I also just ordered 4 moonlight led bulbs (matching the moon's spectrum). now, my plan was to purchase another lighting unit, and a new 50/50 bulb (mine's like 2 years old, making the Cyano come in!!), and then run a timer system like moon: dusk: day: dawn: moon, with the dawn/dusk being the new lighting fixture which would be 100% actinic, and daylight being the 50/50 plus the actinic, so during the day it would have a bluer effect. like I said I am concerned with coralline to grow as well as possible, and I want to have a blue effect even during the day. << This should be fine for what you're looking for. Still very little light, but that is what you want for coralline. >> what type / wattage lighting fixture would you suggest for the actinic one? << Well I'd probably run two VHO tubes, but if you already have one pc, then I'd just rig up another 55 watt pc. >> I was thinking of getting a NO fluorescent strip, which would be 40 watts, but actinic doesn't' look very bright, and the 36 I have is pc, so if I add 40watts actinic NO I feel like it won't seem that I've done very much. so maybe VHO 48''? << That would be great. >> I don't want to get a multiple bulb pc system, and the 1 bulb, I believe 96 watts, wouldn't really cover the length of the tank, and since my pc is only 24'', I want something that will provide better lighting. oh my bro goes to trade school and does carpentry/cabinet stuff, so he's coming down to my school in the next few days to get measurements, going to build me a custom hood, super deep so I can feed the eel by hand w/o worrying of him diving out of the tank (I feed him off a fork now w/ the tank cracked 1/4'', he's too crazy to open the top when he smells food! the hood will have a fan on both sides, creating a decent current over the lights, so I think they will be fine as far as heat goes, although I don't' have experience with this so I could be wrong.) Oh, if I wanted to add to the blue effect during the day, could I just leave the moonlights on always? << Yes, but they are very dim. I don't think you could see them during the day. >> if you would even be able to see them once the other lights are on *doubtful*. Well, sorry for such a long email. I've been shopping these questions around reef central and other places, but am getting mixed / insufficient responses. I just read through your LR lighting faq, and answered some of my q's, those faq pages are the greatest. thanks again, I think once I get these issues taken care of this tank should be quite nice, but I'll wait on your response before getting too comfortable << Good luck. >> << Blundell >>

Lighting for a 180 FOWLR If I run 2 48" T-12's (one being actinic and the other white, 80 watts total) in the rear of my 180 FOWLR tank over a pile of live rock, will that allow coralline algae to grow without blinding my Lionfish? << Yes, but that isn't much light. >> or do I need to double that? << I would >> I just don't want blind lionfish!!! << Don't worry you could have a ton more light on there and be fine. Blundell >>

How much light do I need for a 45 gal tank? Hello. << Hi >> I was running a FOWLR 135G tank for several years and looked to your sight for assistance from time to time. You were always helpful to guide me in overcoming any issues that I may have had and it has always been appreciated. I am setting up a reef tank and have a very generalized question about my lighting and what I may be able to keep in this setup with the lighting that I have readily available. I am currently reading several books on the subject of corals and reef setups and, as always, am looking to Bob's book for some of the usual helpful info.<< Best thing I could have advised. >> Sorry for rambling and here is my question: The tank I will be setting up is a DAS 45G show tank (prefer non show tank but might work better with my lighting anyway- besides, it's free) with dimensions of approx. 33Lx16Dx26H. I have a PFO hood setup with 1x175 10000K m/h and 2X URI super actinic VHO which I intend on using with this setup. << Great lighting. >> Temps in tank will be resolved with a chiller so I don't need to worry about potential overheating. Again, I understand that this is a very broad question that will result in a vague answer but I would appreciate any info you can give me about what could be successfully put in a tank such as this. << Just about everything. I would put stonies and clams towards the top, and everything else just spread around. You could have two halides, or go with a 250 watt, and that would be better, but I don't think you'll have any problems. >> Thank you very much for your time and all the help that you have given to me in the past. << Good luck. >> Chris << Blundell >>

Halides for a FOWLR I've read probably every one of your FAQ pages and articles on metal halide, lighting for a FOWLR tank, but still have a few questions. Do I definitely need a 72"hood for a 72" tank (180 gal, 24" deep)? << No way. You don't need a hood at all. In fact I kind of like the new trend of no canopy tanks. >> Is the fire/heat hazard situation, with adequate ventilation, enough to forego the use of metal halides? << I think halides are fantastic. Yes there is a risk, but still think they are fantastic. >> Do the good characteristics of VHO and compact fluorescent preclude the use of MH for this application ;cost considerations aside? << For fish only, I'd probably use a bunch of VHO bulbs. As you said you really don't need the halide lights if you don't plan to grow coral. I think it would be better to invest that extra money into a refugium or something along those lines. >> Thanks, Scooter << Blundell >>

Lighting for Fish Only With Live Rock Tank Dear WetWebMedia crew, <Gary> Thank you once again for putting together and consistently maintaining such a wonderful site. I greatly appreciate all the help you have offered me in the past. Before I ask any questions I also want to wish everyone a very happy and healthy holiday season. <Glad to share> My question is regarding what kind of lighting system you would recommend for my system. My tank is a 175 Gallon (72x28x18) with the following inhabitants: 7" Volitans Lionfish 5" Clown Trigger 6" Imperator Angel 5" Passer Angel 4" Yellow Tang 4" Humu Trigger well grown snowflake eel <Quite a collection> I also have about 45lbs of Fiji Live Rock (I will be getting some more to replace the bioballs in my sump shortly) <Good> I would like to purchase a new light that would best serve the following 2 goals: 1. Bring out the natural beauty of my fish, while keeping them healthy. 2. Encourage as much growth on the live rock as possible. <I see> What do you recommend? <A "boosted" format of fluorescents... either T-5's or VHO's... with a mix of 6,500 to 10,000 K whites, perhaps one actinic> Thank you in advance for your help and I look forward to hearing back from you. Best regards, Gary Belyalovsky <Bob Fenner> Lighting for a 55 Greetings, A great website! I have a quick question, can't seem to find exact answer on web. I have a 55 gallon FOWLR system. I have approx. 20 pounds of live rock and plan on adding a few pounds at a time until I get about 50 lbs or so. System has been up and running for about 4 months and doing quite well. I have an Emperor 400 and a remora skimmer running. Ammonia =0, nitrites=0 (have been that way for over 3 months). Nitrites vary from 20ppm 40 ppm, hoping skimmer will help out there, along with additional live rock. The LFS sold me a piece of LR with some mushrooms on it. He said that they are hardy and should be ok with my system. My question concerns the lighting. Having started out wanting fish only, after seeing the beauty of the mushrooms, I would love to be able to keep these beauties as well as fish. I have only the two lights than came w/ aquarium and I have changed to 1-50/50 and 1-Triton ( 15 watts each). I know this would be fine for a FO system, but with LR and some mushrooms, is this enough? <No> I cringe when I see how much upgrades cost! What can I do without breaking me up? <I have a 55 and I use four 40 watt N.O. fluorescents. This is plenty of light for mushrooms and various LPS's and a few low light SPS's.> Will the LR be ok with this lighting. <Your coralline will not grow very much.> Aquarium is 48" long by 12 5/8" wide by 20 7/8" deep. Could I buy an extra 24" hood and add in front of existing hood? <You are going to be better off using four foot lamps. Four foot lamps cost about the same as two footers and you will need less of them. Also, look into compact fluorescent lighting.> Any suggestions or sites to visit to find a solution would be appreciated. <Check out the various e-tailers on the WWM links page as well as AHSupply.com> Again thanks for a great site, Keith Caudill <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Lighting Wattage For FOWLR Happy (???) Last Day Of Summer :( <Ah, tempus fugit, indeed> As I am about to switch my FO to a FOWLR, I am noodling around with how to upgrade my lighting. I would like to maintain coralline and grow a few inverts in my tank to make it look more natural, but yet keep the emphasis on the predators I own. Hence I am not desiring 7 watts/g to grow the most light hungry corals, but something more moderate in intensity. Note that I will have two morays in this tank, and I don't want to freak them out by making the tank too bright -- though I will have caves and overhangs for them. I am currently at 1 watt/g. What do you recommend for wattage for a 180g with these parameters, and are power compacts the way to go or will a number of simple NO tubes do??? <Maybe doubling to two watts per gallon of full spectrum fluorescent (either CFs or added fluorescents of whatever output fits) will do, be best (life is a series of compromises... in general) will serve to boost the photosynthetic aspects/life of your LR and accommodate your muraenids. Bob Fenner> Thanks gentlemen! Steve

Lighting for FOWLR Anthony, On lighting for a FOWLR can PC and VHO lighting be used together? <certainly... very attractive color/rendition. If the tank is less than 24" deep it may be more light than you need though. No harm for most fishes though. Aesthetically attractive for sure> Thanks, Mark <kindly, Anthony>

FOWLR I have a 280 gallon FOWLR tank (72x30x30). I'm looking to upgrade 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

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