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FAQs Lighting for Marine Invertebrates 3

Related Articles: Lighting Marine Invertebrates, Coral Lighting: what we know and what we don't know (mostly the latter) by Sara Mavinkurve
Lighting Reef Systems: Considerations, Organisms, Goals and Costs by Bob Fenner,Acclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive Lighting, Anemone Lighting, Marine Light, & Lighting, Feeding Reef Invertebrates,
Technology: Putting on the Brakes:  How much is too much? By Tommy Dornhoffer,

Related FAQs: Lighting Marine Inverts 1, Lighting Marine Inverts 2, Lighting Marine Inverts 4, Lighting Marine Inverts 5, Lighting Marine Inverts 6, & Coral Lighting 1, Coral Lighting 2 Coral Lighting 3, Coral Lighting 4, & FAQs on Coral Lighting: Science/Application, Designs/Fixtures, Lamps/Bulbs, Quality, Duration & Intensity, Night-Time, Troubleshooting/Fixing, Makes/Models/Manufacturers, & Small System Lighting, Acclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive Lighting, LR Lighting, Marine System LightingFAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5, Actinic Lighting, Metal Halide Lighting, Fluorescent Lighting, Compact Fluorescent LightingTridacnid ClamsLighting Tridacnid Clams Small System Lighting, Reef Systems 1, Reef Systems 2, Reef Set-Up 1, Reef Set-Up 2, Reef Set-Up 3, Reef Set-Up 4, Reef Set-Up 5, Reef Set-Up 6, Reef Filtration, & Reef LivestockingReef Livestocking 2, Reef Feeding, Reef Disease, Reef Maintenance,

Too little other photosynthetic life? Your lighting may generate copious algal growth.

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

The Right Light? (Lighting Questions)   6/13/06 Hi Bob, <Scott F. in for Bob today> I have a question on lighting for a small reef setup. When I look on line it seems I get 100 different answers. I was wondering if my lighting is adequate for what I have. my lighting is 6.5 watts per gallon. 65x2=130 divided by 20 gallons. <The "watts per gallon" method is not really a great measure of lighting adequacy, IMO. Proper spectrum, proximity of the light, and the life forms that are under it are far more important factors> 1  24 inch 2 X 65 watt power compact aquarium hood, with 1 65-watt 10k white and 1 65-watt actinic blue PC bulb, 20 gallon glass aquarium 25lb live sand about 8+ 1bs of live rock 1 Button Polyp coral medium in size 1 Yellow Polyp coral small in size 1 Rock Coral green, small in size 3 Clownfish 1 Pygmy Angel 1 blue/green fish that is related to the Damsel, but with a lighter temperament. <In my opinion, the coral species that you mention should do just fine under this lighting scheme. I'm not sure what the "Rock Coral" is, but do try to find out its scientific name and lighting requirements. Hope that things work well for you! Regards, Scott F.>

Invertebrates/Lighting    3/31/06 Would two Coralife 150 watt HQI halides support a bubble tip anemone in a 75 gallon fish only tank, with live rock. The tank has a potters angel, yellow tang, twin spot hog fish ,and a solar fairy wrasse, my other concern is having no tops with these type of fish , of course I will be adding a couple of clown fish with the anemone.  <The HQI's will be sufficient.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks Ron
Invertebrates/Lighting    3/31/06
I had emailed you guys just earlier today cause I'm looking to put an anemone in a 75 gallon fish only tank with live rock. I have a Coralife 150 watt HQI halide on a smaller tank, one of the hang on tank models which I was considering moving over to my 75 and adding another one.  The local fish store is telling me I could put these new systems on the 75 gallon tank and it would be enough for the bubble tip anemones. They suggested four T5's.  Are these lights good enough. Thanks Ron.  <The 75 is a relatively deep tank and you would be better off with the twin (you did mention twin 150's previously) 150 watt HQI's.  The anemone would do much better, especially since you already have the lighting.  James (Salty Dog)>

PC Bulb Question  - 03/11/2006 Hi,  I'm currently setting up a 25 gal. (24x12x20)  live rock  tank that will have about 30-35 lbs. of premium Florida rock with live  sand and the rocks will have everything from coralline and sponges to  Christmas Tree worms and many, many other critters, etc. I will  be using the Coralife Lunar Aqualight 2x65 PC fixture that came with one  10000k bulb and one 03 actinic bulb.  I also have a few extra PC bulbs  including a SunPaq 6700k/10000k combo bulb, a SunPaq 420/460 combo actinic bulb,  and a Coralife 50/50 bulb which will all fit that fixture. Given those 5  choices of bulbs, which would be the best two to use for my application  please?   <Mmm, actually all are suitable> Also,  this tank is in a brightly lit room and will also get  about 1-2 hrs. per day of nearly direct sunlight hitting the tank. Thanks  guys! Regards,  Howard W. <Mmm, sunlight can be of use... and can be problematical... like the "greenhouse" effect experience in cars, the natural light passing through media (glass) is "changed", made less useful. Bob Fenner>

Lighting/Inverts/MH   03/9/06 Hello Crew, <Hi Andy>      I have a question about how long I should acclimate my corals with the metal Halides.  The tank is a 150gal XH 48x24x31 that has 5inch sand bed 150 pounds live rock. The corals are pulsing xenia, Ricordea mushroom, green finger leather, toadstool, blue mushrooms, brown mushrooms, green hairy mushrooms, 2 starburst polyp rocks, green open brain, green Goniopora.  Inverts are bubble tip anemone with maroon clown fish, 4 cleaner shrimp, coral banded shrimp, pistol shrimp (somewhere in tank), green brittle star, black and beige brittle star, and a brittle star that came with rock never comes out maybe at night, numerous snails, blue legged hermit crabs and sally lightfoot crab.  Fish are small blue regal tang, 2 yellow damsels (that lay eggs all the time),2 Fiji devil damsels (male and female), 2 domino damsels, purple firefish, Midas blenny, lantern basset, purple pseudo and three green and blue chromis. I think that covers them all.  Never thought all of them would survive that's why I have so many fish, <The idea is for them to survive.  Congrats.> plus the urge of having every fish that I see at the LFS. Filter is a tidepool 2 sump with PondMaster 700gph for return, 3 MaxiJet powerheads 295gph each and Excalibur skimmer and 2 250watt heaters. Okay with that out of the way for about a year I was using 2 pc fixtures that hold 4 bulbs each so I had 4 65watt actinics and 4 65watt 10,000k daylight  with a total of 520 watts.  Now I'm changing to a fixture that holds 2 250watt 10,000k MH and 2 96watt actinics with 4 1  watt lunar LEDs that sits about 3 inches from water.  How long should I leave the MH on I don't want to burn my corals. <I'd start with four hours and increase one hour daily.>   Is that enough power for hard corals? <Yes>  One more question.  When you guys say 4-5watts per gallon rule do you take account for the water displacement from the sand and live rock. <No.  The tank area is the same.  The rule of thumb can be a little iffy as a 150 watt HQI is more intense than 150 watts of PC lighting.  The depth of the tank also adds into the equation.> For example I have a 150gal tank but I only have maybe 110-120gal of water in it.  that just something I've always wondered. your recommendations would be highly appreciated. thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>   Andy

Lighting/Types/Inverts - 03/07/2006 Hello, (and thank you for all the information provided in this sight).<You're welcome.> I need to upgrade my lighting (Cardinal sin of adding Condylactis without verifying  lighting requirements) I've read through many articles on this info packed sight and would like your input.  My setup is as follows; 65 Gallon 36x20x24 Ecosystem 24" Sump Danner 40 watt UV T4 Pump (runs whisper quiet but a little warm) Current dual Satellite 192W After reading through your sight I've narrowed it down to 3 Options: 1.)    Add a Current Sunpod (2x150 MH) and run it with existing192 PC (1hr pc in morning) 8 hr Sunpod (for daylight intensity during peak daytime) 1 hr 192 PC only in eve) Concerned about heat with T4 pump even 6-8" off glass. <Units are fan cooled.> 2.)    Add another 96 or192 PC (96 would be nice for space but 192 will fit) will keep heat and price down but will it be enough light? <With a 24" deep tank, metal halide or HQI is the way to go.  My choice would be the two 150 HQI's> 3.)    Coralife 150 hang on Metal halide on one side and keep light demanding corals on that side. I plan to keep several Ricordea mushrooms {would like to keep them on the rock (down low)} and some brain corals in addition to the Condys. Also my sump is a little small for the T4 pump causing turbulence bubbles through the chambers and into the tank I've tried a sponge in the first chamber and a sponge sock on the outlet in chamber 3 and although it has helped it hasn't eliminated the problem. <If the inlet isn't sucking air you shouldn't have an air problem unless the air is forming from the drain.  Is this pump submerged?  If not, you may be sucking air through a faulty "O" ring in the impeller chamber.> Your opinion would be greatly appreciated. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jim

Lighting Upgrade/Starting A Reef - 12/18/05 Good Afternoon, <<Good morning>> First of all-thank you for all the wonderful information you provide.  Most of my questions have been answered by reading the posts. <<Excellent...tis a wealth of info to be found.>> However, I have a specific need that I can't find the answer for. <<ok>> I have a 29 gal FOWLR tank with an Eclipse 3 hood that I am looking to upgrade the lighting with a SmartPaq retro kit.  The specs show this fixture is a 4 pin compact rated at 65 watts.  I am confused as to if this is 65 watts per bulb or a total for the whole fixture. <<Hmm...according to the info found on a Google search of the net the kit for the Eclipse 3 is a single 65w bulb.>> After this upgrade I would like to start on my mini reef.  With this set up will I be able to have LPS (plate or candy cane), Mushroom Coral, Polyp's or Leather Coral? <<Likely so...can be positioned up/down the water column as/if necessary.>> I will be researching species compatibility before introducing anything. <<Glad to hear it...you should find you don't want to stuff everything you just listed in to this system.  Much better to focus on a specific specie or niche on the reef...much better chance for success in the long-term.>> Also, on a totally unrelated question-are there any practical uses for the used saltwater from my water changes? Thank you, Eric. <<Not that I am aware.  Some folks use the water removed from their FRESHWATER systems to water/feed plants, but to do this with saltwater would be lethal to the vegetation.  Regards, EricR>> P.S. My apologies if this is a duplicate.  Had problems with my server earlier today. <<No worries mate, we have our own server issues from time to time.  EricR>>

Tank lighting  12/18/05 Hi,<Hello David> First I would like to thank you for your very helpful answers on a mysterious angelfish ID and a tang with intestinal problems. <You're welcome>  But I have another question of the lighting sort.  Would it be possible to keep an anemone and basic corals (I realize that this term is very broad but maybe you could give me some choices of suitable specimens) using... 2x36''  Current USA Power Compact Dual Satellite fixtures for a 135 gallon tank (72''x18''x24'') (L, W, H) Here are the stats: * Dual Daylight 6,700k/10,000k : 1 x 96 watt * Dual Actinic 420nm/460nm : 1 x 96 watt * Lunar Light Moon White : 1 * Total Watts : 192 watt * Total Amps : 1.46 Thank you for any help that you can give me.  You guys really are the reason that keep the number of aquarists that quit down.  Thanks. <Dave, I'm sorry to say that your lighting is not going to work. In your two foot deep tank you would have to go with HQI or MH lighting.  Three 175w bulbs should do the trick.  James (Salty Dog)> -  Dave

Lighting system for reef tank  12/12/05 Hi guys, <Hello Rob> I currently have a 400watt metal halide light fixture for my 60 gallon reef tank.   It's just too loud, so I'm looking for a quieter lighting system. <Shouldn't be noisy.  I suspect your ballast is at fault.> I've heard of VHO's but recently heard of 4x65 watt usa orbit lighting system.  My coral in my tank are some zoo's, and mushroom, but I have allot of SPS corals from sameosis, <?> Montipora, and assorted Acro's.  I'm looking for a quieter setup that will allow my to place my corals anywhere in the tank. <In a 20" deep tank I don't believe the PC system you are referring to is bright enough for your SPS corals, especially the Montis and acros.  It's 48 inches long and 20 inches high.  Also want to make it affordable, nothing over $300.00 .  Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!! <A new electronic ballast can be had for about $130.00 from Premium Aquatics.  This is the way I'd go.  Here is a link. Happy Holidays.  James (Salty Dog)> http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=CoralVueB  Rob
Re: Lighting system for reef tank  12/12/05
Hey James, are they quiet?? <I have never "heard" mine.  You may hear a slight buzz on start up but shouldn't hear anything after that unless you have super sensitive ears.> Thanks again <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Lighting a Reef Tank Round 4  12/16/05
That being said,  could I just use one of the bulbs for now and how high off the tank would you recommend I place it.  I eventually would like to get a 100 gallon tank and then maybe I could use the second bulb of the dual 400 watt MH. <Even on a 100 gallon, x2, 400 watt is a lot of light, this wattage is usually reserved for tanks 30 deep and deeper.  Furthermore hanging one 400 watt light on a 60 gallon tank (48 in length) will cause shadows at the ends of the tank. Much better going off with x2, 250 watts (which is still a lot for a 60) but would easily transfer to the 100 and still be GREAT lighting for a 100 gallon (depending on the dimensions of course), but generally speaking it would be more than sufficient. Of course when it comes down to it, using the measurements of watts is a horrible way to determine the light needed for a reef tank, measuring lumens is of much more benefit. Search WWM Re: Reef Tank Lighting for more detail.> Thanks again and have a great day. <You to my friend.> Jose <Adam J.>

Fluorescent Reef Tank Lighting  12/10/05 Dear Sir, <Hello, Adam J with you.> I have been reading your article on marine lighting with great interest. <I assume you mean Bob's article, he's not in right now, so I'll be filling in for him.> I am a beginner in marines and have found the whole hobby very expensive if our U.K. shops are to be believed, In the U.K. no LFS will entertain anything less than 200litres as a minimum with equipment <Yes, smaller volumes of water can be made to work but generally the larger tanks are better for beginners due to their stability.> that looks more like Frankenstein's laboratory than a pleasurable pastime! <Oh...you should see my wet room...and wet attic.> Through careful reading on the internet, I have managed to keep a pair of clowns (the captive bred small variety) in a 35l tank- with live rock and a skimmer. However I digress, I like to think of myself as a conscientious keeper, and to this end have been constructing my own 100l tank with sump.  <Good move.> I have been struggling with the issue of lighting the general thrust of marine keeping seems to be 'you will have no success without MH lamps, and actinics are a must' <This is not true at all, depending on the size of your tank and what animals you want to keep there are many other viable lighting options other than MH. As for the actinics these aren't necessary at all, they are really for aesthetics.> these lamps are far too costly for me to buy or run so have found your article giving great hope, I have managed to source a reasonable priced T5 over tank Luminaire, it has 3x20wx14000 Kelvin lamps, sourcing full spectrum lamps has proved difficult, would it be possible to have three different temperature lamps that would make up the full spectrum? <Actually most photosynthetic animals prefer light in the 6500K to 10000K spectrum, so I would replace at least 2 of your 14K bulbs with this type for best results. This lighting can be made to work but are these normal output T-5's or high output? This makes a big difference.> (as soon as aquarium is mentioned a cost multiplier seems to automatically become involved £18 for a 2ft actinic!) My tank is a 2ft cube with a 4in DSB and besides the clowns I would like to keep feather dusters and mushrooms of some sort or something a bit more exotic if possible-suggestions would be most appreciated. <Yes this lighting even if it is normal output should be sufficient for the animals mentioned as well as some duller specimens like brown/green star polyps or darker zoanthids.> Is it possible to have success with this set-up? <I believe so.> Yours, Colin. <Adam J.>

Suitable lighting  12/8/05 I know that you guys have been asked millions of questions, <Not quite, but close>  but hopefully mine isn't too repetitive. I currently have a 75 gal starting to become a reef, still fairly new to this, I am running a sump, a Seio 620, a Rio 800, (combined over 1000 gph). My lighting is 4 110 watt VHO. I currently have a Flame Angel and a sixline wrasse. I was wondering if keeping a clam and some SPS corals (what species if any would be best in this setup) <With your lighting you could keep a Derasa Clam, wouldn't try any of the others though. Any of the soft corals would do well in your tank and as far as the SPS corals I'd stay away from them. Most LPS would do fine such as the Trachyphyllia Brain, Plate Coral and Candy Cane. Do research other corals before buying to insure your light level (5.7 watts per gallon) meets their needs.>  I do plan on getting MH, but do not know how soon. Also, anytime I add a new fish they invariably die, and yes I do quarantine them, and parameters have been 0ppm Ammonia, 0ppm Nitrite, 0ppm Nitrate, SG 1.023. Of the species I have tried Kole Tang, Blue Chin Trigger, Yellow Tang, and a One Spot Foxface Rabbit fish, The rabbit being the most recent.  <The tangs aren't the easiest of fish to keep.> <<No, but the Foxface?  Practically indestructible has been my experience.  Marina>>  I of course get a small spike of ammonia, but perform a 20 gallon exchange to help counteract this, the spike never gets more then .25 ppm. My LFS is unable to answer why this is happening, they even help setup the aquarium. And my LFS has some of the best looking Reef Tanks I have ever seen as well. So we are all stumped I am sure that 2 small fish is not an overload of the system. I have seen the Flame Angel slap all of these fish, but all were bigger. Is it possible that they are too stressed by the Flame.  <Unlikely>  I follow all acclimating procedures. So if you can help, oh and they also end up with a different parasite each after about a week in the display, usually on the day they die. Even though I go with a 1 month quarantine, and use only RO water. Help me please. <Jenni, my suggestion to you is to let the display tank go fallow for a month, no fish at all. Any parasites present will eventually die without a host. Lets see what happens then. James (Salty Dog)>

Questions On Lighting and Invert. ID - 12/06/2005 Hi Crew, <Hello.> I seem to have a mental block about lighting. So, if I have a 10 gallon with mushrooms and candy cane and some fish. Am I better off with 96W quad 10,000k or with a 96w quad 50/50 act/10k? Right now I have the 50/50 and it seems ok except for a couple mushrooms that prefer less light. <That's really up to you/aesthetic preference. Either will be fine, so if you've already got it just use it. When it's time to replace bulbs you can try a different combo. and see how it suits you, just remember to acclimate your livestock properly.> I have the candy cane for about a year. It came with various tube worms on it. <Rather common.> Recently I noticed something poking out of the base. It looks like a light brown snowflake about 1/16 of an inch across. It looks just like a magnified picture of a snowflake. There are two of them and I can not see any tube. They seem to be coming out of a space in the base. Where should I look to ID these? <Try searching the net for images of the Serpulid fan worms. That's most likely what you're seeing and they are commonly found in live corals as well as live rock. If this turns out to be the case, then don't worry about them possibly harming your coral. - Josh> 

Are you pondering what Im pondering? Reef Tank Lighting  12/7/05 Hi, <Hello.> My name is Gene, and I currently own a 125 gallon tank. Now, I want to upgrade the lighting so that I can have the opportunity to have corals and clams that require higher lighting. So, my question to you is, what kind of lighting is best for me and my tank and the animals that I want? <Well for animals that demand intense light, metal halide is still at the top of the list for par production.> Let me describe what I know so far. This way you are not tempted to believe I have not done my research. <.Hurry Im getting tempted.hehe.> (A) my tank is an average 125 gallon tank, meaning the dimensions are 7ft x 15inch wide x 24 inches deep (somewhere near these parameters). I have about a 3 inch sand bed, with 110 pounds of live rock. So far my photosynthetic dependent life stock is, two anemones (green bubble tip Singapore anemones), <Not a good idea to mix anemones, both with each other and sessile invertebrate life.> 1 derasa clam, 1 gold polyp. I would like to have some day a tank that has more, more in the sense that I have maxima clams, and possibly some more corals (I'm thinking of Ricordea mushrooms (I will have to do some research to make sure these all match and are happy together). <These two are compatible with each other but may fall subject to a fight with your anemones.> Thus, I have been reading a lot about lighting because I really do not want to plunk down 600 dollars on halides or fluorescents with out knowing exactly what I want. (B) I know a few things of what I like to call knowledge about halides and about fluorescents. First, they say on a larger tank (i.e., deeper than 18-20 inches) fluorescents do not have enough penetrating power to light the tank properly. <Depends on the photosynthetic animal in question but generally this is true for shallow water specimens, like the Tridacnids you want.> Of course, when I read that piece of information I believed that halides were definitely in my future. "They," being some coral books and reef invertebrate books, and reefcentral that shall be nameless. In any case, I know that halides and fluorescents can put out the same output (EMR). <But not the same par <<PAR - Photosynthetically Active Radiation>> or intensity at deeper depths. Halides win that contest easily.> So, the choice it seems is really up to the person, but what I am worried about is. If I do go fluorescents and it is true that they will not penetrate deep enough, I will have to place everything (my future corals) up high. On the contrary, if I get metal halides I will have to be careful of heating issues and my costs on electricity bill will be a bit higher (possibly, I kind of think this issue is debatable). (C) So which lights are for me? <Well you seem to be interested in Tridacnids and while they can get by on other types of lighting, metal halides are definitely the best for them, the anemones will appreciate the light too. For what you have/want and the size of your tank, I think Halides are the best option. Though you are correct about the heating issue with these, at the least you will need a few fans in your canopy or blowing across the surface of the water.> I have been doing reading as you can see in section (B) and I have gone with the choice of metal halides. That does not suggest that I can not switch my mind easily. I just need to know which is going to be best for me. <See above.> So, Ive been shopping around different online marketers because here in Tucson the merchants are ridiculous (in all forms of marketing). Thus, hellolights appears to have a good deal. I want to go the long run cheaper route and I feel two PFO HQI 250 watt ballast are out of the question, because I do not need that kind of power. Thus, I have been thinking about 2 ARO (electric ballasts) HQI 250 watt ballast with two 250watt PFO mini pendants which are equipped with two 250 watt Aqualine AB 13k HQI bulbs. <I prefer 6500K to 10000K bulbs for photosynthetic organisms, and with your tank length I would go with 3 metal halide bulbs not 2.> This is what I believe is a good set up for me, but you know I really am only convinced because of what I have read. I know metal halides do create a lot of heat and they can be dangerous. But what I don't know is why should I choose pendants over Mogul systems? I know HQI does produce higher PAR ratings according to Reefcentral's critique on many brand name lights but do I need the higher PAR? <Im probably a bit biased with this, but I prefer the over all look and efficiency of the HQI configuration as well.> I know I should keep my pendants/moguls at least 8 inches above the tank but how should I mount them to the ceiling? <Depends on the brand there are various hanging options available.> Or more importantly, do I need to ventilate my moguls/pendants since they are not going to be in a canopy? <I would, have at least a pair of small (3 to 4) fans to be on the safe side and reduce some of the heat.> How could I make a cheap canopy that is not going to be to tacky? <Mmm I guess that depends on your own aesthetic preference but solid wood always looks great in my opinion as do sleek black coated metal canopies.> <<Or, hire a good cabinet-maker, or finish carpenter to do the work.  Marina>> If I do have heat problems where and how can I prevent these problems? <Fans as mentioned above.> <<Mmm.. muffin fans.>> If I buy fans and make a cheesy canopy just where do I buy the fans and what fan RPMs are necessary to keep the halides cool? <<I think you're going to be more interested in measuring a fan's capacity in CFMs - Cubic Feet per Minute (think "range venting", I am now practically an expert on range venting) when you're considering air movement, rather than how fast the blades actually turn, which is not a good or accurate measure of actual air movement.  Know also that many of the folks who sell range venting sell different kits, depending on the CFMs you need, for the various vent hoods that might be well-adapted to aquarium use.  If you do decide to try this route, DO be sure to get a "sone" rating (is a sound rating, similar to measuring decibels, but is not measured in decibels), because you WILL want the fans to be as quiet as possible.  Also, I would be more inclined to look to ductless vents/fans, since you won't be needing to move smoke or cooking odors, only heat.  Also, because these fans are meant for home use, they can be placed a bit more remotely (not right on the canopy).  Marina>> <Some fixtures have fans installed into them already, if not I am a fan of the IceProbe fans but for a cheaper option, computer fans work well too.> (D) is my choice of lighting the right choice? <See above.> It says on your forums that fluorescent lights are best for 99% of the people who do reefing. So which lights can be used for a tank that is 24 inches deep? T-5s? <T-5 is a good option to, though you would need a bank of at least 8, 48 bulbs for what you are going fora fixture like this will cost as much as the Metal Halide fixture.> Will they penetrate low enough, and will it be cost beneficial? <The bulb life of the T-5s probably off-sets some of the cost and they do come close to rivaling the intensity of Halides at shallower depths but not deeper depths.> By that I mean how many T-5s will I need to generate enough EMR or PAR or what ever people  <See above.> find sufficient to feed the photosynthetic life forms I have posted above? <Most Tridacnid keepers endorse Metal Halides.> I know these are hard questions, but I must really have some clarity before purchasing a light system this expensive. Thanks for your time. <You are welcome, Adam J.> Oh by the way, I really enjoyed both of your books bob. Heh, some of these answers are in your book but most books that I have read about metal halides really are missing clarity about which lights are best for an average reefer. The sections are typically short and it seems there is missing a lot of pioneered experience that would be very beneficial to average reefers (i.e.. ones who dont have much money, and don't want to get to crazy with equipment). <Bob is out diving but I will pass along your compliments. Also in the future, please spell check and capitalize your I's.with long queries like this, it can be a real pain to proof read. Thank you.>  <<Jesus gawd, you're not kidding!  Thanks for cleaning it up, though!  Marina>>

Lighting a Reef Tank (Aesthetics and Necessity)  12/2/05 Love your site. <I do too, thank you.> Always my first source for opinions, but this is my first time writing in.  <Long time listener, first time caller.welcome to the show.> I have reviewed your info on lighting and did not see my specific issue addressed, so here goes. <Okay.> I have purchased a "complete" 180 gallon system from someone, and so have inherited his used equipment setup. I plan to have an in-wall setup with a coral reef and some fish. I am OK with what he had (or know how to make adjustments) on all aspects except lighting. He had an over-engineered heavy wooden lighting structure, with 3 x 400W 10,000K MH and 4 x 96W Actinic 03/7100 K PCs attached to the boards. Seems like way too much light to me. <Depends on what the targeted photosynthetic animals are but in general, yes this is A LOT of light and A LOT of heat.> I would like to know if there is any benefit (for the corals) to running MH in conjunction with the PCs, or should I just pick one lighting type and eliminate the other?<Most folks who run MH (myself included) also run some type of florescent lighting like PCs, VHO or T-5 for aesthetic reasons. For example my MH are all 10,000K but I use VHO for actinic lighting. Personally I think its quite nice.> As a note, I've read somewhere about a dawn-to-dusk schedule of turning on and off the lights to simulate a full day, and I think that is what he was set up for (something like PCs in the morning, then fire up the MH, then MH off and PCs on). <Thats how I do it.> I was thinking about changing the setup to 3 x 250W MH for about 8 hours a day, probably 10,000K but tough to decide.  <Animals hosting zooxanthellae <<a.k.a. hermatypic>> prefer Kelvin temperatures in the 6,500K to 10,000K range. As for the 3 x 250 watt that is sufficient for almost all zooxanthellae hosting animals.> If I use the actinic PCs, I may only use them alone when the MHs are off, for viewing with a little less brightness, but I don't know if I'd need all 4.  <That will be up to you, how much blue do you want?> Any thoughts here? <See above.> Reece Nanfito <Adam J.>

FOWLR or Reef? Stocking and Lighting. 12/1/2005 Hello, <Hi David.> I have a 50g Uniquarium, making for about 40g usable. <I hope you have purchased a protein skimmer.> The tank is newly cycled with about 15 lbs of LR and 3 damsel fish. <Did you use the damsels for cycling. If so please dont use this method again in the future. See here for more detail: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm. Furthermore damsels will make it very hard on future livestock to be happy. A friend once said, If there was a damsel the same size as a great white sharkthe shark would be running.> I do plan on adding about 15 more lbs of live rock. <Make sure it is fully cured.> I currently only have a NO 50/50 fluoro tube for light. The idea is to have a FOWLR tank, but I would like to have an anemone and a clown fish. I would also like to have a dwarf lionfish. <Well first off an anemone will turn this tank into a reef not a FOWLR. Anemones need pristine reef conditions. They are notoriously short-lived in captivity and have very specific needs. They are not for beginners. Furthermore clownfish DO NOT need them to be happy. The clownfish will however not be happy with a dwarf lion in the tank, though they are dwarfs they are rather large dwarfs generally at around 6 to 8 inches and will make a snack of a clownfish. The lion would also eventually outgrow these quarters.> Do you think an anemone, a clown fish and a dwarf lionfish will all get along?  <No.> Can you recommend which ones I should consider in that combo, like a Tomato or Maroon clownfish, a fuzzy or zebra lion and what sort of anemone perhaps? <It is possible that a large adult female Maroon could survive in a tank with a fuzzy lion. However both are large and aggressive and as I mentioned above the lion will get quite large. I would wait until you gain a lot of experience with various other animals before thinking about an anemone.> Also, I asked for LFS for advice regarding Power compact lighting versus T5. I was leaning towards T5, but the LFS guy said he would strongly urge me to go with Power Compacts as he says T5 is very new and "tests well", but in terms of who has actual hands on exp and great results, the numbers are still there for Power Compacts. What do you think? <It is true that PCs are used on a much more broader scale than T-5s, however if I were choosing between the two right now I would choose T-5 High Outputsno question about it. T-5s due to there sleek profile can be combined with much more efficient reflectors causing them to easily surpass PCs as far as lumen output and the bulb is CONSIDERABLY longer.> Thanks <Welcome.> David <Adam J.>

Reef Tank Lighting: Metal Halide versus T-5 High Output  12/1/05 Dear Crew, <Hello.> Thanks for teaching all your great knowledge to new hobbyists like me! <Thank you for the compliments.> I have a question about lighting. Currently I am running 2 power compacts rated at a total of 130 watts (10Kx2, actinic 03x2) on a tank that is 36Lx15Wx16H. I would like to be able to keep most corals and high light requirement species (such as clams) so I do want to plan ahead. The system I have my eye on offers 2x250W MH + 2x39W T-5s. <That is A LOT of heat. At the least you will need fans blowing across the surface and an auto top-off system.> My questions are: 1. Is this totally overkill?  <Yes I think one 250 watt bulbs with an efficient reflector would be more than enough.> 2. Can I get away with just T-5s or are we all eventually going to buy those MH anyway? (if so, I might as well). <In this size tank a bank of say 6 or 8 T-5 high output bulb would allow you to keep most organisms hosting zooxanthellae. The T-5 bulbs will easily out do your current PC's however the lumen output is still not as strong as MH, though they come close.> 3. My tank is a TruVu and is made of acrylic. Do you think the MH will melt the top? <No but as mentioned above you will need fans and also a way to suspend the fixture at least 8 to 10 inches above the surface.> Also, when researching on the difference between the available options, it seems that light intensity pops up quite often. The question I have is, if let's say we run 2 T-5s that add up to 250W somehow, <You would need more than 2 T-5 bulbs, and when looking at T-5's I usually take into account the ballast they are run on and the reflector they are using. I say that because a low wattage T-5 bulb can have a high lumen output in comparison to a PC bulb of higher wattage.> versus 1 MH at 250W, same color temperature, what is the difference? <Sounds like you want a shallow water biotope here, and while I am a fan of the T-5's, in your case I would go with the tried and true MH, but just one bulb not 2. And please don't forget to take the extra heat into account.> Thanks again! <Welcome.> Ambrose <Adam J.> 

Types of Reef Lighting  11/16/05 I have a FO tank, L 48", W 16", H 24", 70g, with 4" crushed coral. I'm going to upgrade my current lighting system from 140W, 18K power glow to two 96W, 10K and two 96W true actinic  <From the wattages given I surmise that the current bulbs are Normal Output Florescence and the new lights in question are Power Compact Florescence.>  blue because of a surprise gift,10" BTA, 20 green mushrooms and 60 lbs LR.  <Well it is agreed that the anemone needs the intense lighting, as for the mushrooms and live rock you could probably get away with the lighting you have now, but yes an upgrade is needed nonetheless.>  All existing fish are compatible with new tenants. I have completed a crash course over last 2 days on FAQ web media on lighting and care for all. This predicament pushed me into this field a little head of schedule. Now planning on LPS and low light SPS later in the future.  <Yes in general PCs are not intense enough for SPS, though some like Turbinaria sp. may work in this tank.>  For my peace of mind....do you agree with the new lighting system knowing that I can change the actinic to 50/50?  <Well to be honest Im not a big fan of power compacts; the bulb life is not appealing to say the least. (Replace every 6 9 months for best results) To be honest when lighting a reef tank with for florescence (excluding metal halide right now for sake of discussion) I prefer T-5 high output fluorescence.  Although, they may look week in wattage the efficiency of the bulb more than makes up for it and the bulb life is nearly 2 years. To be honest I would even rather use VHO, very high fluorescence.  <<VHO = Very High Output.  This is applied to fluorescent lights, but does not address the "fluorescence".  MH>> Having said all that the PCs can definitely work in this situation and as you suggested I would use less actinic lighting when replacing the bulbs. Also keep in mind (and be cautious) that anemones are not the best-mixed reef/invert denizens. Furthermore be careful when adjusting to the new lighting, upgrading all at once is not advisable. I would start the lights suspended up high and slowly lower them over a few weeks or possibly start with short photo-periods and work your way up.>  Or another daylight if I need more?  <See above.> Thanks <Welcome.> Mel <Adam J.> 

Lighting 10/11/05 Hello  <Hello, James here today> I've been reading up on a few additions I'd like to make to my 25 gallon on your site, a proven technique. However, I thought I'd just drop a few questions to be sure. Currently I have a pair of perculas, a coral banded shrimp, some mushrooms, and assorted snails/hermits in my 20 some pounds of live rock. After the disappearance of my Pseudochromis diadema a few months ago, I began to consider some new options. I'd like to add a citron goby and a six line wrasse, but now I'm having second thoughts about the wrasse. There seems a good chance that it would kill everyone, down to the cbs and hermits. Any advice would be appreciated. :) Thanks...I wouldn't want to make any poor decisions.  <The six line wrasse is relatively safe. It may try to intimidate smaller wrasses/fish. I wouldn't place the citron in with it. As far as inverts, the six liners have been known to eat Pyramidellid snails (clam parasites), flatworms and some unwanted live rock pests including small bristleworms. Never known one to eat hermits/shrimp (at least not the ones we stock our tanks with)> Oh and one more thing.. I have the NO lighting that fits into an eclipse system (not the bulbs that came with it, but one actinic and one "daylight 10,000k" Coralife bulb). This qualifies as "low" lighting I assume, but it seems to be enough to provide for my mushroom colony (purple mushrooms which sprouted from a single, $5 polyp). What other kinds of corals can do well with this kind of light? I know not many.  <Don't know the wattage of your fixture but you'd need about four watts/gallon for maintaining mushrooms. If the wattage is maintained you can keep the various mushrooms, polyp colonies etc. Stay away from sps/LPS corals as they require more lighting. James (Salty Dog)>  Thanks again very much  <You're welcome>

Reef Lighting. But what type of reef?  10/6/05 Hey there, <Hello David.> I currently have a 72" PC setup with 2 96W 12K and 2 96W blue bulbs. The total is 384 watts.  As I have many corals and a BTA, I need to increase my output. <Ok.>  I have considered metal halide and am about to "pull the trigger."  However, one fleeting question keeps running in the back of my mind (there is not a lot of space there anyway.....when I find it(). <I think a lot of us feel that way.>  Would there be a substantial benefit to using metal halide lighting (I would use the Coralife Aqualight Pro) over adding a duplicate PC setup? <Well other than your BTA, I dont know what your targeted livestock is. MH has considerable more par output than PCs, not to mention a longer bulb life. However for your application, without more information, I cannot tell you which one would be better for you. I do think your BTA would appreciate the extra intensity. >   I have the space on the tank to just put another of these units on....the cost would be considerably less. <David if you dont mind I would like you to send in a response to this, please tell me what your targeted livestock is, and what plans you have for the future. Also do you plan to place photosynthetic organisms on the bottom of your tank? Having said that I really enjoy my upgrade from PC to MH, I have noticed significant growth and responses from my animals hosting zooxanthellae.  They have also allowed me to keep more photosynthetic animals in lower positions of the tank and take on more light loving critters such as T. Clams. I also enjoy the bulb life of MH versus PC. The only downfall I have noticed is heat, but this is easy controlled through fans or chillers.> I appreciate your response - and all of the work that you and your team do.... <No trouble David.> Thanks, David <Adam J.>
Re: Reef Tank Lighting. But What type of reef?  10/6/05 Hey Adam, <Hello again David.> Thanks for the speedy reply. <We do our best.> Right now I am caring for: Xenia Assorted polyps Assorted leathers Frogspawn Goniopora Green star polyps When they were living in a 75g, I had metal Halide.  I moved all to a 125g approximately 2 weeks ago  they all look good - but I want to be certain before I spend extra dough for no reason..... <You can certainly maintain what you have with the Power Compacts.  Though you will be limited (not able to sustain certain creatures) if you ever choose to get into "shallow-water" organisms like Acropora. But again if you only choose to keep what you have and organisms that have similar needs then the PC is fine. Please keep in mind that due to the bulb design on PC's they literally cook themselves and thus the bulb life is short at 6 months to a year.> Thanks again, <No problem.> David <Adam Jackson.>

Reef Flow/Lighting - 10/04/05 Hi All, <<Howdy>> Wanted to say thanks for all the time and money I've saved by using your site, actually, I've saved more time than money, but hey, you can waste your time and you can waste your money- we can only get one back right? <<Mmm, true...easier for some than others...>> I recently purchased 2 Tunze Stream pumps for my 180 gallon reef, the 6000's and the 7095 multicontroller. <<Excellent!>> I thought it might do a better job at internal circulation than the 2 SEIO's (850's) and 2 Maxijet (400). <<duh! <G> >> My question is 1) are they difficult to mount, they are smaller than the 4 pumps, but with 1860 gph flow rate, are these little rails gonna hold them? <<If you are referring to the mounting system that comes with the Streams, yes, they will hold them.  I used them on mine, but later built "custom" hangers from acrylic to better suit my application.>> Seems like they will fly off and away, wreaking havoc through out my reef. <<If assembled correctly they will hold quite well.>> I was actually thinking of mounting the rails to the canopy with bolts. <<If the canopy is stationary (i.e. - not "suspended" above the tank) this is possible.>> Which leads to my second question 2) How deep should I mount them, the web pictures show them close to the surface- seems a waste if the flow area is so large, but what do I know. <<Up to you really. I have mine (six in all) near the surface to minimize disturbance of my DSB...works out quite well.  I do suggest you keep them a minimum of about two inches from the surface to prevent cavitations and creating a "bubble machine.">> Also, should I hook them up at each end of the aquarium facing each other, on the corner overflows directed diagonally at the front glass, or on  the overflow's towards each other?  The latter would require a change in aquascaping.  Again, the Tunze sight shows them on one side facing the other directly. <<My preference is to have them face each other.>> Ok, Last January I got on the band wagon and bought 2 400 watt 20k bulbs, I didn't get the mileage out of them I was expecting, seems they didn't last, cheesy internet sales. <<ok>> I bought 2 Hamilton 10k bulbs and decided to supplement that with 2 140 watt VHO actinics- where before I used 10k in the VHO fixture just to offset the utter "blueness".  I know that the 10k's are going to be more intense, and without stressing my corals, what kind of light schedule should I follow with the new bulbs?  Right now the Halides are on at 8am and off at 7pm, the VHO's are on at 9am and off at 6pm.  Should I start at say 8 hours and increase to 10 or 11 over a few weeks? I think my 20k's were utter kimshe, and I'm thinking Hamilton's are going to be quite a bit stronger- again, just my opinion, I could be wrong, am I? <<The 10K bulbs should be somewhat brighter as you surmise.  Rather than mess with your lighting schedule, I would like to recommend you get a piece of eggcrate to fit the top of the tank, along with a few sheets of plastic (fiberglass) window screen of the same dimension.  Throw a couple sheets of the screen on top of the eggcrate when you install the new bulbs...then remove a sheet every five days until all are gone.  The screen/eggcrate will shade/protect your corals from the new bulbs and allow you to acclimate all to the increased light intensity.>> I know I should have three on a six foot tank, but I have a low light area in the middle, and a few extra bucks in my pocket! <<Can place animals with lower light requirements here...>> Any info is, as always, very much appreciated.  Thanks and have a Happy Rosh Hashanah! Thanks, Aaron <<Regards, EricR>>

Lighting for a 40 gallon tank  9/22/05 Hello, <Hello Sam> I am 13 and have just set up my first marine aquarium. I am living in Australia and have a 4ft tank with Fluval 204 and an Berlin airlift protein skimmer ( I know its not the best)<True> . The tank is 18 inches high and 13 inches wide and I would like to no if you think 120 watts of half blue actinic and white light would be good enough to have an anemone and some soft corals. <Sam, it would not be near enough.  Please don't start with anemones and corals.  Not easy inverts to keep for a newbie, especially anemones which are difficult to keep for any length of time to start with.  Search the WWM for requirements on species you are interested in.  Make sure your budget allows you to accomplish this. A good investment is a reference book you can keep by your side, Conscientious Marine Aquarist is one I'd recommend, but there are several others.  James (Salty Dog)> From Sam

Bulbs  9/20/05 Hello, <Hello David> I am running a 125 gallon reef tank with soft corals and starting to acquire SPS corals For the lighting on the tank I am using a Coralife 150 watt 20,000k HQI x3. The formula  to my knowledge is 4x watts per Gallon. <Depends on what your keeping Dave.  Most soft corals can get by with four watts per gallon but hard corals will require more for successful keeping of these.  Six to Eight watts is more in line.> If this formula is correct I am under in watts by 50. Is this acceptable? I was considering buying 3, 175 watt electronic MH ballast retro kits with  10,000k Reeflux bulbs. If I do this it will put me 25 watts over. Is this acceptable? Last question   Which is the better scenario? <As above.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, David

Reef Lighting 9/19/05 Hi guys.  I have a 110 gallon reef tank.  The tank is 30 inches deep.  I only have 2 96 watt power compacts lighting my corals.  I only have soft corals; a colt, some toadstool mushrooms, polyps, Goniopora (flower pot), and an elegance. <Goniopora and elegance are both hard corals!> I also dose Kalk at night, as well as add weekly additives.  Do you think I need more lighting????  If so, there are 2 fixtures I've been looking at. One is a 36" power compact with 4 96 watt bulbs, and the other is a 36" power compact and metal halide combo, with 2 96 watt PC's and a 150 watt halide (also with 3 moon lights).  There are about the same price, the 4 PC system has a total of 384 watts, and the PC/halide combo has a total of 342 watts.  Does having a metal halide in the mix make a difference with my 30 inches deep tank????   Thanks for your advice.  Jeff. <Most common types of lighting produce roughly the same amount of light per watt.  The big difference is that fluorescent lights distribute the light over a larger area.  So, metal halide tend to produce brighter light directly under the lamp, but more shady spots farther away from the lamp.  Metal halide lamps do produce "glimmer lines" which some folks find attractive.  Your decision should primarily be based on what kind of animals you wish to keep.  If you think that you might like to keep more light demanding animals, you may want to choose halides and place those animals closer to the lamp.  In any case, acclimate your corals slowly to any increase in light.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Lighting  9/7/05 Hello Crew, <Dr. E, are you related to Dr. No? :):) Just a quick question. I have changed my lighting from 130W Actinic+ 130W daylight to 300W Metal Halide + 192W Actinic (the new Coral Life Aquatic Pro). Wow! What a difference the MH makes. I have some assorted corals (polyps, mushroom, brain, and leather) and 2 clams is this going to be adequate for the corals? With this lighting is there any type of coral I should stay away from?  <Doctor, it depends on the size tank you have.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks. Dr. E
Re: Lighting, Dr. E 9/8/05
James, I have a 120g reef tank. Is the lighting going to be adequate?  <Dr. E, the lighting will be adequate for most softies and some hard corals.  As far as clams and brain coral, you will be borderline unless you have some indirect lighting from nearby windows.  James (Salty Dog)> Dr. E

Light Conversation! 8/21/05 I want to turn my 42 stretch hex into a reef tank, already has 30 lbs of live rock, CPR refugium with skimmer, Flame Angel, Four Lined Wrasse, False Percula. Hard to get lights on this tank because of dimensions. I want to keep a Bubble Anemone, Mushrooms, Star Polyps- easy stuff. <All of these animals can be maintained with relative ease, provided their needs are met. However, I would recommend not mixing any other corals with the Bubble Tip Anemone; it's just not a good idea in a tank of this size. Anemones really should be kept in a dedicated systems.> I'm considering a Coralife double-ended HQI 20k halide that mounts to the tank, any input would be helpful. I like the look of halides but before I purchase, would like suggestions. Thanks, Ron. <Well, Ron if you are dead set on the anemone, or possibly (gulp) SPS corals somewhere down the line, then you might want to consider a 150w HQI fixture. It can be bit overkill with some animals in a tank of this size, and heat may be an issue, but it can provide greater flexibility for the future. Do, however, study carefully the lighting requirements of the animals that you intend to keep, and acclimate them carefully to any new lighting regimen. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting a 75  08/08/2005 Hello, <Hi there>    I've read all of your FAQ's regarding PC lighting and your main lighting pages but have heard so much conflicting information from on-line forums I'm getting frustrated.   <What's the sense of this? Discern fact from mere opinion/noise... and get on with it>    I've got a 75g tank (48x18x21) and that's been up and running for one year.  The tank has 75lbs of live rock with a 3 inch sand bed.  I've only got mushrooms in the tank right now but am hoping to add some other soft corals, <Mushrooms are not soft corals> LPS, and possibly a BTA.  The problem is the only lighting a have is a 4x55 watt PC fixture I got from my local reef club (used for $30) and cannot afford the costs of MH nor the additional heat.  What color spectrum would be best for the corals I plan to keep? <... something more than 5,000 K... likely in the ten K range...> And is this enough light for these corals to thrive?   <Is what?> The people on another forum have advised me this is not enough light to even keep Mushrooms happy! Thanks and any help would be greatly appreciated. <Keep reading... start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marcanopies.htm and on to the linked files above... Simple facts for you to be aware of, and choices to make... important to understand in terms of up front cost, but also continuing, operational expenses... as well as what you desire in the way of livestock AND what you want to do with it. Bob Fenner>

Giant Carpet & SPS lighting 6/31/05 Hello, <Hi Joe> I am setting up a 55 mainly for SPS's, I also want a purple Giant Carpet Anemone. I have a 30 already setup (Without SPS's) all of the stuff in there will be transferred over (and more will be bought) and the 30 will be a refugium for the 55. I also have a wet/dry rated for 150 gallons, a skimmer, and a UV. My question is about lighting. I am looking at a system with 2 175 metal halide's and 2 110 VHO's (the VHO's are actinic). Would this suffice for the anemone, and the SPS's? I plan on having the anemone in the sand bed (bed will be 8 inches deep)<The anemone is going to go where it wants to. and as it does any coral it touches will be zapped.  Really not recommended in a reef tank.  As far as the lighting, two 175's, 10K should be fine for the corals and the anemone if you want to lose some money.> as the centerpiece of the aquarium, with the rock and SPS's climbing up to the sides. Should I get 250's instead of the 175's? Thanks a lot for your help. You guy's perform an awesome service, keep up the good work.  Joe <Good luck.  James (Salty Dog)>

Shining Some Light on A New Tank (Lighting Quandary) 30 Jun 2005 Hey Crew, <Scott F. with you tonight!> I would first off like to thank you for such an awesome site and will apologize in advance for the lengthy question. <No apologies required!> I have a 29 gallon tank (30" long x 12" wide x 18" deep) currently with about 30 lbs. of live rock, 2 Ocellaris Clowns, 1 Banggai Cardinal, 1 Engineer Goby, a few hermits, and 1 Mithrax crab.  I would like to add some coral to my tank and I know you buy your lighting around your planned livestock so here goes it.  I plan to get medium light level corals that could be sustained by power compact lighting; LPS corals, Zoanthids, and Soft corals.  For my tank how much lighting would be enough?  I was think about purchasing a 2x65 watt PC Current USA satellite with 50/50 split of actinic and 10K bulb.  Would this be enough lighting to allow for the coral to live and ultimately reproduce? <This would be sufficient for many LPS and soft corals. In a tank of this diminutive size, I'd try to "specialize" in one group or another. This amount of water (further reduced by rocks, sand, etc.) is really too small to prevent the potential "chemical warfare" that can arise as a result of mixing LPS, soft corals, and zoanthids.> I was at first thinking about a 1x65 watt but I feel that this is barely adequate at best. <Agreed- the 2x 65watt would be better, IMO.> I was also thinking about starting a 10 gallon Nano reef. <I cringe at the thought of "nano reefs". My feeling is that it's really an attempt to make a tough hobby even tougher...However, many successful hobbyists maintain these types of systems...The margins for error are really slim.> What would be an appropriate amount of light for this kind of setup? <Again, depends on the animals that you intend to keep. Heat is also a factor in such a small body of water...> I am leaving a link to a site I found that has the cheapest PC lighting I have been able to find.  The link is to a chart they have on their website that show various tank dimensions and size and tell what amount of lighting could sustain what corals.  Does this chart seem to match up with what you think would be good?  Any thoughts would be appreciated and thanks much for your great site. HERE IS THE LINK : http://www.marineandreef.com/Info/lightingchart_hood.html With kind regards, Aaron Loboda <Well Aaron...Again- it's easier to simply decide on the types of corals that you intend to keep and choose a wattage that would be appropriate for them. Remember, even though the lights might be small, they can put a lot of light into a very small area, so there are lots of considerations. Research and decide from there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting Quandary I have a new dilemma. <All part of the hobby! Scott F. here today!> I am starting out a 55 gallon reef tank and am not sure which way to go for lighting.  I would like to keep some lower-light- requiring polyps and soft corals, but I may want to step up to medium-light- requiring animals in the future.  Money is a factor for me so I am trying to get the most bang for the buck. <I can relate!> I was looking at an Orbit Power Compact Fluorescent unit in a 4 X 65 watt configuration (Dual Daylight, Dual Actinic, 260 watt).  Will this be enough for my current and future needs or should I invest in the 4 X 95 watt configuration? <I would go for the 4-95 (are you sure that it's not 96 watt?) configuration, which will serve you well in your future plans.> I am thinking that if I go with the lower wattage lights first, I could upgrade later to metal halides if I needed to and would not be out quite as much cash. <True, but if you feel that you want to switch to metal halides at some point in the near future, I'd be inclined to bite the bullet and go for a single double-ended pendant system (like 150 watts) right now. There are a number of newer, less expensive systems on the market that can fill the bill.> I also might be able to retrofit the hood if need.  Just thought I'd ask the experts and get some ideas. <Not an expert, but a crazy hobbyist just like yourself!> Also, on a side note, I just completed fitting a closed loop manifold to my 55 gallon setup in preparation for converting to salt water.  I had to alter the All-Glass Mega-Flow return to 'T' at the top and send the water in two directions.  When I first hooked it up, I only drilled about 12 holes in the PVC surrounding the top of the tank.  This caused way to much flow from my 600 GPH pump so I decided to drill about 12 or 14 more holes all the way around the manifold.  This works great now and I am amazed to be able to actually see how much current flows around and through the tank. My Angels and tetras seem to like the extra current and they are not getting plastered to the walls.  When I do get switched over, I will exchange the drilled PVC for solid sections with 'T's and directions jet ends.  I just thought I'd let you guys know since it was your web site that gave me the idea and knowledge to do this. <Glad to hear that! Thanks for sharing your story; perhaps it will motivate other "fence-sitting" DIY'ers to do the same!> Thanks a million!!! Jeff Smith <Glad to be of service! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting Hi Crew, I have had my 85 reef for 4 years with very mild success. My yellow leather has turned brown along with my bubble coral. I bought a purple tip anemone a year ago, it was white then now it has turned green. My lighting consists of 2 40 w. actinic blue & 2 10k actinic white VHO. Do you think its too much or to little light ? I have read that the animal might be protecting itself through its zooxanthellae algae. <Tom, no where near enough light.  You need to be around 400 to 500 watts.  If clams are planned in the future, you can add another 100 watts to that.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Tom

Lighting concern James, thanks for the quick reply to my e-mail regarding the amount of lighting needs for my reef. I have to admit I must have been having a senior moment when I stated the VHO lights were 40 watts.  In fact they are 4 mos. old. There are 2 48" 110 watt actinic white & 2 110w super actinic-r. So my question is why do think my yellow leather has turned brown, a purple tip anemone has turned green, the bubble coral is a light brown. They seem to be doing ok but they were almost pure white when I bought them over a period of 2 years. Maybe add more light as you said ? <I based my answer on your original query, but as you said you were having a "senior moment" as I do at times.  I forgot what your  wattage was.  You should always include the original message in your reply as we get so many queries it is impossible to remember the contents.>Thanks Again. <Tom, the color changes are generally due to the color of the algae present in the animal.  Most corals do have algae present which does supply most of the food for the coral.  As far as correct lighting, these corals aren't strong light lovers, 4 1/2 to 5 watts per gallon should give pretty good results, but with the anemone present, more wattage may be required.  James (Salty Dog)> Tom   

Lighting For Anemones Hi, I have a 5ft (L)  by 60cm (w) by 70cm (H) saltwater tank and was wanting to keep a couple of BTA's and some soft corals I was wondering If  2x 130 watts PC (on the ends) and 1x 250 watt MH would be enough light for these creatures? Thanks <I think that the combination of PC and metal halide is fine, but you would need to make sure that the anemone is located in close proximity to the halide. To be honest, I'd recommend two metal halides in a system of this length. Also, do reconsider mixing anemones and corals in the same tank. Yes, it can be done, and is done, but anemones really need and deserve a system dedicated to themselves and their special needs. Give it some thought! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting Calculation - 06/15/05 Hello all! <<Howdy!>> I have written you before about my large bristle worm and on your advice captured it one night with salad tongs. <<Um...does the Mrs. know?>> It is almost 15 inches long when stretched out. <<Yikes!  Hide the small children!>> I keep it in a small tank as I could not bring my self to kill it. <<Excellent!  Would think it would make an interesting display in itself.>> My question is about a lighting calculation for a 90 gallon reef system which has the dimensions of 48x18x24.  24 inches is the height.  There is a deep sand bed of 8 inches making the effective height 16 inches. <<OK>> I currently have 4X65watt fluorescent lighting and I am adding a 2x65watt unit.  Half of the light is actinic and half is 10000k. According to my calculations, the height of the tank is reduced by 1/3 due to the deep sand bed and therefore has reduced the volume to 60 gallons.  This yields 6 watts per gallon.  I wish to add some coral with higher lighting demands and possibly a clam.  Does this seem reasonable? <<Actually Pete...it's not that simple, not in my opinion.  First of all, do consider that water flow and feeding play as big or bigger a role than lighting when it comes to the health/vigor of your reef.  Secondly, forget the "watts per gallon" rule.  Several things will determine the "wattage" you require.  You've hit on a couple of them...water depth, light needs of the animals...but other factors such as water clarity, the source of the light (halide, PC, etc.) and its height above the water, as well as the spectrum used all play a part.  The fact that you want "coral with higher lighting demands and possibly a clam" means you need to squeeze everything you can from those PCs, no matter how many you add.  This doesn't mean you can't realize your goal, but make sure you have good reflectors, keep the lights as close to the water as possible (3" or less), stay mindful of water clarity, keep the more light loving critters in the upper half of the water column, and change out some of those actinic bulbs for more 10K (or even 6.5K) bulbs.  Also, have a look here and among the associated links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm>> Thanks for all your help. Pete <<Kind regards, Eric R.>>

Lighting? Hi bob, <What? Lower case? People's names are proper nouns!> Great site! I have a question about my lighting. I have a 54 gal corner system with two 65 watt bulbs one white daylight and the other is blue actinic 03. this has about 10000 k. my LFS says that this lighting is insufficient for a reef system and I should just stick to mushrooms, xenias (sp?), and polyps and recommended that I buy the metal halide upgrade (I guess I still should though). I think this is B.S. but I do respect them because they are very honest. Is what they say true? Any help would be very appreciated. Brian <This amount, quality of light is insufficient... They're being honest. Bob Fenner>

Light, testing Hi, I hope I am not becoming a pain with this many questions. In the article http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/lightingags.htm Osram lights are been mentioned, are they good light (T5) for corals? <Yes> When test the quality of lights using a LUX meter what must the reading be like vise if a PAR meter is used what must the reading be for low, medium and moderate corals please? < PAR for Corals (via Google)> Reading information on the apogee, the sensor can be submersed into water. Is this the way one tests for the quality of lights in a tank by placing the sensor in areas within the tank to get a reading?  <Yes, this is the best area/site... Do be aware that water quality can severely affect, change the PAR reading, reality in time. Bob Fenner>

Reef Lighting...Which Wattage? - 05/26/05 Thanks. I just bought a well established 140 gallon reef tank with 19 fish in it and about 7 different corals and polyps. Everything is running fantastic, the only this is that they have two different metal halide bulbs....One side is a 175 watt 20k and the other is 400 watt 20k....Which one should I replace? Is there a benefit in have one over the other?  <My personal opinion is there are very few instances where you really need 400 watts of halide lighting...and I'm an Acropora reefer! I would probably go with 250 watt setups on this system but given your current equipment, my vote would be to replace the 400 watter with another 175 watt setup (you do realize you'll have to replace both ballast and bulb, yes?), and use 10K bulbs in both. Research your corals and place the ones with greater light requirements higher in the tank and I'm betting you'll be fine.> Thanks <Regards, Eric R.>

Planning Tank Size - 05/26/05 Hi, I currently have an arcadia 150 watt, metal halide pendant, with two actinics. I would like to keep SPS corals, and clams.  I would appreciate your advice to a compatible tank dimensions. Thanks so much for your time. --Ryan <Hi Ryan! Much debate/opinion on reef lighting, much of which can be found here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lgtmarinvfaqs.htm  and at the associated links in blue at the top of the page. I'm not a fan of small reef tanks, and multiple pendants of this type could be used on a much larger system with great effect, but generally speaking I would consider a 20 or 29 gal. aquarium to be a good candidate for a reef display supported by a single 150w DE halide pendant. Regards, Eric R.>

Corals for light Hey guys, How are you all? <Can't speak for anyone else, but I feel like a truck hit me... too much physical labor the last few weeks, and those beers and hot wings last night... yikes!> I have a question for you. I have a 30 gallon reef tank (or trying to be reef) right now its just one mushroom and a shrimp+ 40 lbs live rock. I have a PC fixture of 1-55w daylight and 1-55w actinic. I was wondering if you would be so kind as to put together a small list of corals that would be ok for my lighting situation. :).........I was thinking of xenia because they require moderate light and are mostly feeding corals. Anything would be appreciated.  - Thanks for taking the time to read this -Aaron <Mmm, no. Please take the time to read through the "coral" (soft, hard, what have you) sections on selection, compatibility... posted on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm.  There's more, much more, to this process than light consideration. Bob Fenner> 

Lighting Hi Crew, <Mohamed> Thanks for all the help, it's appreciated. <Welcome> I will like to keep some corals, low light to moderate lighting. I am uncertain of the amount of light required, the tank size L 118.11 inches * W 33.46 inches * H 27.56 inches. I was thinking of 6 T5's 48 inches, 3 on the right (2 * 65K white and 1 * blue) and 3 on the left (2 * 65K white and 1 * blue) of the tank using reflectors.  Will this light be sufficient? <For many, most species, yes... you may need, want to be selective in what you plan to place (the easier, hardier species that will get along with others later) first... and reserve some of the stackable upper space for species that don't occur on sandy/muddy substrates, that enjoy brighter light. Much of this is gone over in more specific detail on WWM... I would be reading there. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Lighting for a mixed tank Hello, I am preparing to set my reef tank (72' X 18' X 22') up again after an overheating incident with a new MH system last year which wiped out just about everything in the tank. I intend to have a mixed reef, mostly Soft and LPS corals, however, I would very much like to move into clams, and perhaps SPS at some point, and would like to have a lighting system which will be sufficient for all of them. I currently have a triple 175 W + PC deluxe hood, but I may sell it to a friend. I was thinking of getting 2 250W HQI MHs and dual T5s. I realize that this is probably overkill for the softies and LPS, but to my knowledge would be better for the clams. Will the extra light actually harm LPS? <Mmm, not likely> With my tank depth, which is about 22 inches without the sand, would it be possible for me to get away with 150W HQIs and T5s and still be able to keep SPS and clams? <Yes> Should I just stick with the system I have? <Could... just not much growth, not as much color...> I hear a lot of conflicting information. What would be ideal? Thank you, Frank Janes <Either wattage choices of the HQI's... If it were me/mine, likely the lower... less induced maintenance, potential problems. Bob Fenner> 

Coral Lighting Query From the State of New Jersey... Hi guys. <Scott F. here today!> I have a question regarding an acquisition of Acropora frags from a fellow reefer. I currently have a 55 gal reef, 40 lbs of live rock ( a little light in weight but will be adding more cured rock later). 40 lbs. live sand. Tank parameters, temp 77 F, s.g. 1.023, ph 8.2, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 10ppm, dKH 9, calcium 300ppm. ( additives B-Ionic and Kalk slowly on the rise with target of 400ppm). Coral: 2 Green Sinularia, 1 Xenia multiple stalks, neon green Zoo's, red and metallic red Mushrooms, neon green Clove Polyps, and Pagoda Cup Coral. I plan on adding an Open Brain (Trachyphyllia wellsi), Moon Coral, and some more orange neon zoo's. <Interesting mix of corals> I know- I'll get to the question. I currently employ Coral life's power compact lighting system 4 X 65, 2- 10,000k whites, 2-6500k actinics, with 4-three quarter watt lunar led. This is close to five watts per gallon, I believe in the right spectrum. <Nice lights for most of your livestock. I wouldn't be too caught up in the "watts per gallon" thing. It's more important to provide lighting with the proper PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) per watt. WPG is really not a great measure, as total irradiance is most important.  In other words, if a coral needs several thousand lux to thrive, the capacity of the tank is not going to matter- if the light source doesn't provide enough intensity, then it won't matter.> Light on for 12 hr cycle( timers), with actinics on one hour before and after whites. Lunar light are on after all other lights are off. Would this system be adequate for Acropora frags placed high on the rock approximately 6 inches from the light source? <Well, many hobbyists can grow Acropora with PC's, but the other parameters (water quality, current, and food) must compensate for possibly less-than-perfect light> Any information will be appreciated. Thank you and keep up the good work. New Jersey <My pleasure. There are no absolutes at all here, but I think that you can be successful if you pay attention to the specific needs of your corals. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Marine Lighting Bob,  <James today> Great article. I have read your article and some of this is sinking in. 5 more readings and I'll get it. I am confused as to why they promote 10000k and 20000k bulbs if you are saying 5000 to 6000k is most preferable. I am currently using a fluorescent on a 55 gallon corner bow. Fish, invertebrates, live rock and some corals. I am using 50/50 18 watt, 20 watt Actinic and a 20 watt 10000k.  <No where near enough lighting my friend. You need at least 200-250 watts for soft corals and more for LPS/SPS corals.>  I am currently looking to upgrade to a power compact and thinking along the same combination. Now I am not sure of the 10000k part of the equation.  <Before the advent of the higher Kelvin ratings, the norm was usually 5500 to 6500K with actinic lighting. With the higher Kelvin ratings we can eliminate the actinics and still show good color rendition. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting for LPS and Softies Hi guys and gal. Great site. I have a lighting question. My tank is 125g. It is 60x18wx24h. I intend to keep mostly LPS, soft corals and some SPS at the very top. My options are 2x250MH or 4x96w compact or 6x96w compact (other options if you think is better). Question is: which is the most efficient and cost effective to run in terms of electricity and bulb replacement over time. I live in southern California, so electricity cost is the main issue.   Many thanks. Keep up the good work. David Wang <Mmm, depends really on "what you want to do"... For instance, if you intend to be a "farmer" of such, commercially I'd go with the MHs and drive growth, color the most... the most conservative route for little regard for driven photosynthesis is the fewer CF's... placing more high-light-intensity species higher up in the water column (on rock mainly)... Bob Fenner>

Lighting Hey WWM crew, To whoever is up this late, or whoever got up really early, I've got a specific question. I have a 55 gallon FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock for the casual readers) and want to convert it to a reef. I'm looking at a Power Compact system as Metal Halide lighting would be too much and would probably force me to get a chiller. So, I'm wondering if I should get 4x65watt or 4x 96watt. The 96 watt is about twice as much, but I don't know if I'd need it. I plan on keeping mainly soft corals such as zoanthid polyps, mushrooms, and the like. However, if possible I'd also like to keep a bubble coral as well and maybe a torch coral. Would 4x65watts be enough for this? Would it be enough without the LPS (Large Polyp Stony)? What do you recommend? Thanks for the help again guys, you rule. <You're lighting would be enough for all softies and some LPS's.  Do a google search on the Wet Web on "corals/lighting.  James (Salty Dog)> Nick Reef

Lighting 4/14/05 Good morning sir Anthony <Cheers, Genaro :)> I want to thank you in advance for all your help. I need some good advise again and hope I will not bother you in a while. This is what I have. A 55 reef with a 220 watt of VHO one Aquasun and one actinic 03. I want to upgrade to MH. Do you think option#1 one MH 175 or 150 10k or 14k with the addition of two VHO 03 or option#2 standard 2 swatted [swapped] 03 and one MH 175 or 150 be better for my system? This is what I have, mushrooms, anthelia, sinularia ,some polyps and in the future Ricordea, Sarcophyton and I know I need to hang MH 9 to 12 inches from water line thank you again. Genaro <Either will work my friend... the fluorescent lamps (VHO versus standard) are mostly just for aesthetics. Do add whichever you like better (VHO for heavier blue color). Kindly, Anthony>

Lighting for corals Hello...thanks for all the great advice.  <You're welcome, Brian>  My last question concerns my current lighting. My tank is 90 gal FOWLR, 80 lbs live rock, 1 bubble tip anemone, 2 true percs, yellow tang, Desjardin tang, hippo tang, damsel, royal Gramma. I want to be able to play with some easier corals over time as well. My light is a power compact with 2 55w 4pin straight bulbs. I believe the bulbs are the cheapest to fit..  I say this because the LFS I bought it from does the bare minimum with things.  I have read that the pc is ok for what I want to do but I am not sure what type of bulbs I should upgrade to. Any thoughts??? Brian <Brian, two 55 watt PC's are no where near enough light for keeping corals in your 90. You need to be up into the five watt per gallon area to keep some of the easier corals. I'm running two 65 watt PC's on a 29 mini reef. Here is a link for you. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm.  Brian, also in future queries, watch your capitalization and spelling. It just adds more time per query to have to edit, as the queries eventually end up in the FAQ's. Thank you. James (Salty Dog)>

MH question Hi, my tank is 170 gal marine tank which is 5ft L by 26inch deep and was wanting to keep a BTA and corals in it soon and was wondering my lighting options. I had a look around and found a 130watt marine blue light fluorescent and was wondering if three of them would do the job also could you have 1 400watt metal halide in the middle of the tank would that do the job to light up the whole tank. What are the other options? PS the problem is it has 2 braces on top of it like( so you either have to have 1 or 3 I suppose but I think 3 MH is to costly to run ETC) <Neither one of these options will be enough light for your tank. Consider using three HQI's. They are a little more efficient than MH and put out a little more light per watt. Your other option would be to use electronic ballasts for the MH system if money is not an issue. James (Salty Dog)>

New 120 Gallon pentagon tank part 2 3/30/05 I have another lighting question for you. Answer at your convenience! The company I bought the 3 SunPaq quad 96w retrofit kits from suggests I add Metal Halide if I want to do reef. Is that true? I get conflicting answers, but I want to know what I really need.  <Metal halides have their place, but are NOT necessary. I would suggest doubling the PC's, and this would give you plenty of light for 90% of the corals out there, and even clams if you place them in the top 1/3 of the tank. If you really want more light, I would suggest no more than 250w Halides in addition to your current PC's. Keeping the reflectors clean and your water clear (using carbon or ozone) dramatically increases the amount of light that reaches the corals.> One last question! (yeah right) Since my tank has tank has a second plumbing circuit installed in the tower (other than the overflow/return), what should I use it for? I have ball valves installed to turn it off, but it seems like an easy way to add. I could just hook the diatom up to it for the occasional polishing. Thank you so much for your help! Clint  <If you can, I would suggest using it for additional water movement. If you have two openings to use, you could use it for a closed loop. If there is only one, you could use it as an additional drain and use a larger return pump. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Lighting needs of corals Hi, its Miles again. I was wondering, I have a 55 gal. aquarium and 2 65 watt bulbs on each side of the aquarium. Some of my corals are slumped over. When I saw that I added some more light to that side and they stood up. But at the top of the aquarium with all that extra lighting I have no room to open the top.  < Yes, this is a problem with lighting a 55 gal with pc lights. >  So I was wondering. I went to Wal-mart the other day and saw some halogen bulbs. there were four sockets hooked together. And so I would put 4 bulbs on each side of the aquarium. The lights are 90 watts a piece.....so that is 360 watts of light on each side. This is the question. Would my corals and anemones live with that kind of light.  < Live, yes. Thrive, no. I don't think that is a good idea. That is a lot of light, but not really the light you are looking for. I don't think you will get the colors you are looking for nor the growth. Well actually, you may get better growth but I wouldn't do it. Those bulbs are probably very warm light (4,500K) and you need more of a white light (10,000K). >  And could I get stony corals.  < You really need to look into VHO, more pc, or even halides for your corals. If you want to go with stony corals then you really need to look into halides. If not, you'll buy a lighting set up and regret it later. > best regards  < Good luck. > Miles < Blundell > 

Light and copper concerns for a reef tank Dear Adam, < Hey Narayan. > Quick question... I purchased a used 100G acrylic aquarium 60X18X20 to use as a FW planted tank. It has a 322W orbit fixture -2X96W and 2X65W. My current reef is a glass 72G with a 384watt orbit fixture - 4X96W. Since the 100G is already drilled, I think I want to move the reef to the 100G and keep the 72G as the FW planted tank. My corals see 4 PC bulbs next to each other now - 4' fixture has 4  96W bulbs each 3' long next to each other. The 100G's 5' light fixture has two bulbs next to each other -a pair of 96W at one end and a pair of 65W at the other end. So, basically only two bulbs are next to each other at any given point. I'm willing to keep the daylight wattage the same if that will help. I don't see a problem with this lighting for Xenia, Capnella and hammer/frogspawn corals which is all I'd ever want to keep. Plus with a 4" DSB, the water will only be 15" deep in the 100G, compared to 18" in the 72G. Any comments...?  < Well the wattage doesn't seem like a lot to me. But as you said, if you are dealing with 15" of water depth that should be enough. I would definitely make the change, mainly because the 100g would be so much better for a reef tank. > Since the 100G is a used tank, I went with the assumption somebody used Copper in the past! Based on the WWM FAQ, I gather that sand and rocks absorb Cu primarily and I need not be concerned with Copper absorbed by the acrylic. Just wanted to run things by you...  < I would wash it out good, and run a copper remover for weeks. Then, I'd have the water tested a local pet store. > Thanks! Narayan < Blundell >

Flood lights for reef use? I was hoping you might be able to help me. I currently have a 46 gallon bow tank, FOWLR (50 pounds).  Tanks houses: Coral Beauty Angel, Pygmy Angel (they are buds), 2 Percula Clowns, 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 2 Snails, some hermits, and too many to count Astrea stars. I am running an AquaClear 300, Knop Excalibur skimmer. The problem is the lighting. I am looking to upgrade.  <By your desire to upgrade, I assume you mean that you intend to keep corals. In that case, your tank sounds perfectly suitable for coral life in all aspects aside from lighting. An upgrade is certainly in order.> IT is a shame that tanks are not made to accommodate marine lighting to begin with.  <It certainly is. However, most people looking to get into the hobby are not looking for a full blown reef or planted tank, and the prices of the "elite" lighting used over reef and planted tanks tend to scare people away.> I currently am only running 2 30 watt bulbs in my tanks hood.. from what I understand, I'd either have to put ballasts in or purchase a separate unit to accommodate more wattage.....Been looking at VHOs, etc.. not quite ready for halides.... <Your assumption is correct. Replacing your lighting fixture altogether is also a valid option.> This guy on e-bay (see link) takes flood lights and modifies them for aquarium usage. Please look at the specs and tell me if this could possibly work. What is appealing, is the small size.... http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=4366433668  <After thoroughly reading through the auction and looking at all of his pictures he provides, I would deem the lights he sells as suitable for use over a reef tank. Do be aware, however, that the color temperature of these bulbs (he said they were flood lights) may very well be quite a bit on the yellow side. I have searched the 'net a bit, and have not found much of anything on these lights over reefs, though they look very much like beefed up PC bulbs. I say give one a try and see if you like it or not, and report the results back to fellow aquarists, Mike G>

Lighting Configuration Hey, great site!!!!! I've been with this $$ hobby for about 2 years. I have a question about my lighting setup. Right now I have a 90 gallon reef with 480 watts of light. 220 of VHO and 260 watts of Power Compact. One blue actinic VHO is mounted in the front then (2) 65 watt 10,000k 22" PC's. Then (2) 65 watt blue actinics, and in the back I have the 10,000k Aquasun 110 watt VHO. I am starting to get into stony coral, but right now I mostly have soft. My question is what configuration would you recommend, and what bulbs do you think I should use? Should I stay with what I am using? I was thinking of keeping the VHOs the same but going with (2) 8800K PC and (2) 50/50 blue/10,000k PC's. What about 6500Ks? All of my stony frags are at the top in the back of my tank. All I want is the best lighting for my tank and the best mixture. I don't know a lot about lighting.  <I'd replace the two 65watt actinics with 10K tubes, other than that it looks good, maybe a little borderline for SPS corals with the depth of the 90. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting for 120 Gal Reef Follow-up - James Gives it to You Straight Hi, I got new coral, a candy cane, one pineapple brain, and a plate coral, I have two 65 watts on my 29 gallon. Total is 130 watts or 4.4 per watts per gallon is this enough light?  <I'd say you're on borderline. It would help some to have 10K's unless that is what you have. James (Salty Dog)>
Lighting for 120 Gal Reef - More Follow-up
Thanks for the quick response, but when I asked "are there any colorful options", I was asking whether there are colorful invertebrates that would do well under two 175W 10,000K's. I know some require the output of 250W MH for the depth of my tank. Perhaps corals in the top 2/3, and my existing inverts lower down? <That will help>  What inverts would you recommend that would provide color and interest that would do well under 2 175W 10,000K's?  <The Montipora corals are available in purple, orange and green. Green brain coral is different along with the Fiji yellow leather coral. Blue Linckia starfish and scarlet cleaner shrimp are two inverts that stand out. Pick up a book, and you will see a great variety of colorful items.>  To add a new question, would 6,5000K bulbs be better in any way (growth)? What benefit do 10,000K's provide, other than color?  <Dan, SPS corals and clams seem to do better with 10K light, along with the fact that actinics are not needed, so with all 10K's your intensity is increased by not using some actinic lamps. The 6.5 lighting seems to improve coralline growth as do actinics. James (Salty Dog)> 
Lighting for 120 Gal Reef - More Follow-up
Ya satellite compact fluorescent 65-10000k,and one 6700k, last 65 is - 420 and 460 nanometer actinics. When it's time to replace (l year), I'd go with all 10K's. James (Salty Dog)

In The Dark About Lighting? (Lighting Requirements) A quick response please. I wrote you a few days ago about a choice I should make between a Skilter 250 or a Prizm Deluxe, and I got my answer. <Good!> But now I am wondering if I have enough light for live rock and corals. I have 4- 48" strip lights on my canopy 2 being white and 2 being actinic. Do I have enough light, or do I need more? Regards, Roger <Well, Roger, it really depends upon the animals you intend to keep. If you are dead set on keeping demanding SPS corals, which have very high lighting requirements, regular output fluorescents are inappropriate in all but the most shallow systems. On the other hand, if you are keeping animals with lower lighting requirements, such as some of the hardier corallimorphs, then you may be able to squeak by. In the end, it's always better to have more light than you need, IMO. You can always back down on the light if it's too much. Think about the animals that you intend to keep, and light your tank accordingly. This type of approach will serve you well! Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.> 

Lighting Reef Hi,   
<Hello Ian> I have a 6 x 2 x 2 foot reef tank lit by 2 x 250 watt metal halides and actinic tubes , my bulbs are up for renewal but I am not sure if I should go for the 10000k bulbs or the 20000k. what do you think . I keep getting low growing algae on my sand bed during the day which disappears when the lights are off.  <Well Ian, that's a matter of preference. Personally, I like the 10K's, the 20's are a little too blue for me. James (Salty Dog)> Many thanks Ian 

Lighting - Coral? Clam? Hi all, I have a quick question. My tank is a 125gal 72Lx18Wx22H. I would like to know if there would be any type of coral or clam that I could not keep in this tank with the following lighting?. It will have a 4"-6" DSB and Coralife light 3x175w MH with 2 48" VHO actinics.  <Keith, I think your lighting will be fine for all corals/clams. I would go with three 10K bulbs in the MH's and replace one actinic with a 10K tube. James (Salty Dog)> Thank You  <You're welcome> 

Reef Lighting 3/13/05 Thanks for the tip. I have been looking online at lights. What do you think of this light? Let me know if this will work for my 55 gal. Thanks. Mike <Michael... from the number of queries you've been sending lately, I have concern that we are "enabling" you to ask/look for quick answers... rather than help you to help yourself. In this case of lighting, we have a remarkable amount of free info in our archives on this subject and for this very purpose. To help you find what specifically suits you best. Without knowing your exact corals being kept (by species)... we cannot say what lights are best for you. Do see my lighting articles in the archives at wetwebmedia.com and the many FAQs. Best of luck and life, Anthony Calfo>

Reef Lighting 3/11/05 Sorry for the constant messages, but I just read an article and it said something that I have never heard before, and are doubting. At www.saltaquaria.about.com I was reading about lighting for reef tanks and it said "O.K., remember how I said that each company likes to tout its product as the savior of the marine community? Well, I can tell you that you will have equal success with fluorescents as well as PCs (Power Compact fluorescents), MHs (Metal Halides) and power stars (a differing bulb manufactured than standard MH)." ? <similar success can be had under any/all such lights indeed. Yes. Under weaker (fluorescent) lamps... you keep specimens shallow (less than 10" of surface). Do read some of my article on lighting here at wetwebmedia.com in the archives and on reefkeeping.com e-zine (last years archives)> This came as such a surprise to me that I wanted to make sure that my belief of corals will not survive without metal halide or another kind, <not true... no worries> I cannot remember the type of lighting at the moment, was correct. If I am wrong, please correct me, because I already have fluorescent lighting on my tank <and can have a fine tank of corals under it. Keep water clear (weekly carbon changes)... weekly water changes (20% would be nice)... and change those bulbs often (6-10 months). Anthony>

Lighting Rule of Thumb 3/11/05 Thanks Anthony, <always welcome mate> My light being able to work is a weight lifted off my chest and my wallet, because I was soon looking to buy a metal halide light that is several hundred dollars.  <understood... no worries. While they are the best long term value, they are not necessary> What I didn't say before is that I have a fluorescent light fixture that has only one 48" bulb. Is that still ok or should I upgrade and get a light with more bulbs?  <for most popular reef corals and other cnidarians, you need at least 5 watts of light per gallon> Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions let me know. Thanks a lot, Mike <kindly, Anthony>

Lighting/MH First of all. I just found your site and think it is fantastic. I am relatively new to reef keeping and have a question about lighting. I currently have about 4 watts per gallon (PCs with actinic supp.) but was told by my LFS that in order to keep some of the clams and stonies I wanted I would need 8 to 9 watts per gallon. Without researching (I know. I'm an idiot) his claim, I went out and bought 2 x 400W 14000K Metal Halides (and all the fans, ballasts, etc) which will bring my tank to 8.6 watts per gallon. Now, having read a lot on your site, I am worried that I am about to bake up some livestock. For a 93-gallon tank, is 800 watts way too much? Or can I slowly acclimate the tank and get away with it? Thanks, Michael Stoner  <Mike, it's not an unusual amount of light for keeping SPS, LPS, and clams. As you say, slowly acclimate the critters to the higher intensity lighting. I think you will love the way it will look. I envy you. James (Salty Dog)> 

Lighting/Reef Hi WWM Crew, I've read here MANY times for advice and appreciate your providing such a great resource. Now to my question. Like many in the hobby, I started out thinking I was going to do a FO tank and then quickly decided to add soft corals. As such, I went with 4x65 PC lighting (2 20K and 2 actinic). This has worked well for my fish and soft corals but I know I need more since I want to add clams, LPS, and SPS.  I'm trying to decide if I should switch altogether to VHO or T5 or just add MH to my current lights. My thinking is the MH would be the best bet. I have a standard 75gal tank. Would two 175w MH be enough or will I need 250w? Also, if I get MH's, should I go to actinic for all for PC's or would that be overkill - maybe 2 actinic and 2 50/50?  <Sean, clams will require MH lighting in a tank your size. I believe two 175 halides should do the trick. I don't think it is necessary to use actinics as long as your MH's are 10K or more. Some people like to use them for the colors they bring out. If so, I would say one tube would be plenty. I'm posting a link that you can read on reef lighting. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm. James (Salty Dog)> 

Lighting for soft corals/BTA Hi, I have a 5ft L x 58cm w x 66cm H marine and was wanting to keep a few soft corals and a BTA what sort of lighting (with out braking the bank) would you recommend?  <Ryan you will need at least four 65w PC's. A company called "Current" makes a nice aluminum hood model with fan and four 65w PC's and a couple lunar lights. You can usually get these for around $210-220 mail order. Drs Foster & Smith is where I bought mine. Seem like a well built unit and have had no problems in six months. James (Salty Dog)> 

Lighting/Reef Hi, I want to thank you guys for such a great site, being new to this hobby, I find this site extremely helpful. Keep up the good work.  <Thank you>  Now my question is, I have a 29g tank with 220 watts of compact lighting consisting of 110 watts of 10000K white light and 110 watts of Bright Blue Actinic. I was considering changing the Bright Blues to 03 Actinics. Which type is better for the tank inhabitants? Is it easier to obtain a dawn/dusk effect using the deep blue actinics?  <Larry, I don't think the dusk to dawn effect is necessary. I look at the overall light quality for the entire day. I would replace the bright blue with another 10K.  <James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting/Reef - Follow-up James My overall lighting consists of 4 55w bulbs, should I then change out one of the bright blues (7100K I believe) to another 10000K and leave one the bright blue. I could bring that half on with 1 timer and the other half with a second timer. I also have a moon light setup that I made using LED's at 472nm. I'll forgo the dawn/dusk in favor of what's better for the inhabitants.  <Larry, if you have four bulbs, then I would go with three 10K and one true actinic. I'll post a link to FAQ's regarding your lighting. Please read.> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/fluoltgfaqs.htm Thanks <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

-Perplexing Hex, A lighting conundrum Hello, <Hi Justin here> I'm in the process of setting up a 29g Hex Reef tank with a tank depth of ~24". The tank is currently cycling with 60lb of fine sand and 20lb of live rock. My long time goal is to have some soft corals and anemones. I'm current looking at the 20" Current Orbit PC with 1 40W 10k bulb and 1 50/50 40W bulb, because of my limited hood space. <I understand, but that light is not enough to sustain most anemones and high light corals as its only around 3ish watts a gallon (horrible rule that watts per gallon, but the real rule is very complex ) >  I understand I'm pretty low on the light requirements BUT I was wondering what are my limitations in keeping soft corals or anemones. Thanks in Advance. <Well you have two things working against you; the depth of the tank, and the hood requirements. So to keep corals with the lighting you have they would need to be 12 or less from the top to get enough light. And most medium light or low light corals would be fine. As for anemones, or highlight corals I would look into a MH pendant to hang on the ceiling or retrofit to go in the hood with wattage around 150 or 175 watts. This will penetrate the 24 depth and ensure your overcoming the saturation point of photosynthesis in the corals and anemones so they grow and thrive. With a MH you can keep most any coral you want though the low light ones need to be shaded so they do not bleach out.> <Justin (Jager) > 

Reef Tank Lighting 2/28/05 Hi my name is Devin and I have a 30x12x18 29 gal tank. I am starting a reef tank and I did some research, and bought all of my equipment. (Your site was a big help)  <Good to hear!> The only problem was that I used the lighting guide of another web site that I bought my lighting from, and after I got it I saw your lighting guide was different.  <You cheated on us? Who was it? I am just kidding of course! The more info you have, the better as long as you use it to make good decision!> The light is a Coralife Aqualight and it is 65 watts. I read on your website that you need 3-5 watts per gallon, and I only have 2.25. Would I be able to house any corals with this? If so, what types. Thank you so much for all your help. Devin O'Dea <I generally don't like the "watts per gallon" rule (See! yet another opinion!), but I would agree that you should have more light for most corals. A second 65w PC fixture should provide enough for a good variety. In the mean time, I would suggest limiting your choices to those corals that will tolerate lower light. This includes most "Large Polyped Stonies" like open brains, Euphyllia and Blastomussa. Some soft corals may also tolerate this level of lighting, especially mushrooms. I would also suggest maximizing water clarity by running some carbon and performing regular water changes. Also, keep the glass or plastic covers on the lights impeccably clean. This will ensure maximum light penetration to your corals. Best Regards, AdamC.>
Reef Tank Lighting part2 3/2/05
Thank you for your reply. I have just a couple more questions. Do you think that I would be able to house leather soft corals in my tank? Also what level would my light fall into on liveaquaria.com. Low, medium, high? Thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Devin <You could keep leathers up high and directly under the light. If the liveaquaria.com scale rates your lighting as anything but "low", I would ignore their ratings. A second 65w lamp would get you into a reasonable range for most corals. Best Regards. Adam>

Lighting for a standard 55 gallon reef aquarium Hello, <Hi> I have been doing all the research I can regarding lighting--most of it helpful, yet conflicting. <Been there done that>  I have determined so far that metal halide would suit my desire to keep a variety of corals, both SPS and LPS. <Yes>  Since my money must be spent carefully (teacher's salary dictates frugality. . . .), I would like to get some advice to narrow the field down. The first issue is wattage; from what I understand, for a 4' tank ~18-20" deep, 2 fixtures would be ideal. <Correct one for every two feet or so>  Most of the deals on retrofit units happen to be on 250 watt systems. Some suggest that either 175 watt single-end or 150 watt double end would be just fine for eventually keeping SPS, clams, and such. Others say it's OK, but 250 watt'ers would be better (either kind). Since the cost of both the bulbs and equipment are comparable for both wattages, what would your advice be? I have been reading for weeks on this trying to make the best choice to no avail. Thank you for your time and assistance. Sincerely, Gordon Ray <I try to go with the least amount of heat versus the most usable light so I'd lean toward the 175 watt MH bulbs, as they would allow you to keep almost any coral or clam, the 250's would be almost overkill in a 55 but would guarantee you meet any lighting requirements, though they can hurt some corals especially for any lower light corals. This means you need to plan rock shelves to shade them some and place them at the bottom of the tank. The biggest concern is the heat factor. Can you sustain the steady temperature of your tank now with a MH setup? usually MH lighting requires a chiller be used to combat the intense heat produced or a series of fans at the least, as they can literally cook the fish and corals if they are too close to the water. While 175's do create a lot of heat they are less so then the 250's. I would compile the exact list of what you want in the tank as far as corals and clams and then see what they require as far as lighting to be sure but for most corals and clams 175 watt MH lighting would be fine to use. Do budget money for that chiller because you will probably need it. Justin (Jager)> 

Brighter than the sun? Not quite. Too much Reef Light 2/25/05 Okay, time to call in the serious help! I am trying to be environmentally responsible and order propagated frags, but I'm batting .500 and losing money and life at a serious clip. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I have ordered about 10 frags, and half have bleached on me. <buying mail order/sight unseen is not recommended for livestock... do avoid this when possible. If you also do not quarantine all new livestock in a separate tank, then you are really asking for trouble ;) Do QT faithfully to acclimate and screen new additions properly> I seem to have more mortality with purple monti's for some reason. I get them, acclimate them with care, and after a day or two, they turn brown, then the next day they are white as bone. <water quality params? Test readings?> This doesn't seem to happen with the Acro frags, but I have lost one of those too. <hmmm... colorful acros often need very bright light while colorful Montis tend to be deeper water/lower light. A poor mix perhaps> Oddly enough, I got a green Monti frag, and before I thought I knew the proper way to acclimate, I put it towards the top. It is doing awesome under 3 x 400W 13K lighting. <good grief... 1200 watts of light?!?!?! Unless this tank is literally 240 gallons or larger, you simply have too much light and are bleaching your corals, mate> It has grown about 10% in just a couple of weeks. I can't explain the losses, however. For instance, I had two pieces of a purple Monti, one midway, the other on the bottom of the tank. The piece midway up is totally bleached, the piece on the bottom turned brown, but has polyp extension. The third purple Monti I put on the bottom, semi-shaded. One corner turned brown, then bleached. The next day, the entire coral is snow white. <sigh..> My levels are 0 for everything, including nitrates. It doesn't seem to matter how I acclimate them to the light. <beyond acclimation or stressed/air-shipped corals to QT first... you must do this to screen for predatory flatworms, nudibranchs, hydroids and many other dreadful pests that WILL infect your tank if you do not learn to QT fast> Some do awesome, some die within days? Any thoughts? It's a 125G reef tank, again with 3 x 400W 13Ks. I've got lots of current with a Tunze stream, alternating strength of current, and a sea swirl with plenty of current as well. Thanks. <sounds like you've been getting bad advice from hardcore SPS keepers, frankly. They commonly recommend excessive light. It rarely serves well long term. FWIW. Anthony>

Excessive reef light 2/27/05 Thanks much for the advice. I admit to being very confused, and your book has really helped. I have read about tanks in the book "Ultimate Marine Aquariums" and they all seem to be really heavy on the wattage, so I thought I would try it. <without knowing your species being kept or tank size, I cannot say much more my friend> Would 1200 watts still be too much if I switched to 20K radiums, or should I just go back to the 250W bulbs no matter what the Kelvin rating is? <it depends on the needs of the species you are keeping... but generally about 5 watts per gallon is all that is needed for most reef corals in tanks less than 30". If you specialize in shallow water corals or want to go heavy on blue lamps such as 20k K, then perhaps slightly more than 5 watts per gallon is fair game. Else, go easy here mate... too much light is not a good thing. Anthony>

Lighting specification and Pachyclavularia violacea  - 02/16/2006 Hello Bob and WWM crew,   I would like to thank you for answering my hardy starfish question dated 2-14-2006 so promptly.   In answer to your Coralife 48" light fixture wattage question, each double fixture is rated at 260 watts, (4-65 watt bulbs per fixture), 2 actinic and 2 10,000 K.   Please inform me if I need to add more lighting for the Pachyclavularia violacea, or the Briareum violacea you so helpfully recommended. I have decided on both species and a Fromia indica seastar. My local fish store has agreed to hold the Fromia for me 3 weeks after order and his arrival there, though this will wait until the 55 gallon sump/refugium has been installed and running for about 2 months.    One question if I may, would any red or blue Corallimorpharia be appropriate?   Thanks again, this site is great,          Mark Gallan <... posted on WWM. The polyps and gorgonian mentioned are of low light requirement... Bob Fenner>

Lighting/Corals ... cnidarians - 2/11/2006 I currently have a 60 gallon FOWLR. 48" by 18h by 15w. I want to at some point get coral (within 6 months). I have PC Coralife Aqualight 130 watt 2 dual actinic and 10k bulbs. I was wondering if I can keep any mushrooms, leathers, zoos, and frogspawn or xenia or anything for that matter... would my lighting be considered low lighting? or less than that. <You could keep mushrooms, zoos and xenia providing they are kept at the upper 1/3 of the tank.  Your lighting/depth combo will not work in keeping SPS/LPS corals.  Do search our site on the subject for additional info.> thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Alex

The Right Light For The Right Corals?   2/2/06 Hey Scott, <Hello again!> can't thank you enough with the help, 1 more for ya please. What can I put in my tank and be able to take care of and survive in my 90 gallon tank with my lighting: This is what I have now: 48" Nova Extreme 4x54W T-5 W/4 Lunar Current Two 54Watt 460nm Actinic Blue Two 54Watt Daylight 10,000K SlimPaq high output T5 Lamps Thanks, John <Well, John, it really depends upon where the corals/inverts you intend to keep are mounted, etc. Many soft corals and LPS can thrive under this light. For that matter, if you compensate with feeding, you could conceivably keep some of the less demanding "SPS" corals under this light as well, provided they are mounted close to the light source. I'd research the types of corals that you are interested in keeping, and then we could get a better feel for how your lighting system will work. Keep in touch! Regards, Scott F.> Fixture Includes: Two 54Watt 460nm Actinic Blue Two 54Watt Daylight 10,000K SlimPaq high output T5 Lamps Performance driven electronic ballast Four Moon white lunar lights for nocturnal viewing Parabolic reflector Fan cooled for maximum efficiency Energy efficient Two independent circuits with 6 ft. grounded power cords independently control 10,000K Daylight lamps and 460nm Actinic Blue lamps. Moon White Lunar Lights operate on their own transformer, providing complete control of timing periods. Dimensions: 48" x 7.25" x 2.5"

WWM cook book for soup..I mean lighting a reef tank.  1/8/06 Hey again, <Hi Jenna, Adam Jackson with you this time.> Lighting on my 50 Gallon SPS reef consists of 1 400 watt 10,000K MH   Mogul, and 1 96w PC Coral Life actinic. <Okay.> The pendant sits over the middle of the tank.  How high should it be   from the water?? <At least 12 to avoid any large shadowed areas, and not to cook those critters towards the mid-section of the tank.> Do you suggest 2 250watt pendants on each side instead? <Would be aesthetically better in my opinion, you would not have any shadowed areas. Though I would rather have x2, 150 watt DBL ended HQI (such as the PFO acolyte pendants) than x2, 250 watt standard mogul. Generally speaking the small profile of the HQI bulbs allows them to be paired with very efficient reflectors, which makes them more efficient than a mogul bulb of the same wattage generally. Again though thats just a personal preference. And do be careful with the heat, this is a lot light/heat over such a tank.>   I find that   the corals directly under the light are more colorful than the ones   on the sides... <They are getting more light.> Thanks, <No problem.> Jenna <Adam J.>

Reef Lighting and Mixing the Reef-Up   1/4/06 Hello crew and greetings from Orange County... <Hello, I'm not to far from you. Here in Redondo Beach tonight.> I have a 40 gallon tall (30L/12.5w/24t) and I want to keep most corals and a bubble tip. <I would advise against mixing the bubble tip and coral as it will come into contact with and harm sessile invertebrates. Furthermore the term "most" corals, many of them should not be kept in such quarters together.> I have pristine filtration, euro reef skimmer and my lighting is as follows... 2x65 10K power compacts and 1x65 actinic. My question is, should I purchase another 65watt 10K or scrap everything and get 2x250 MH? I do have a chiller so heat isn't much of an issue... thank you in advance <I think 1, x250 watt HQI, 10,000K would be plenty for this tank.> Matt <Adam J.>

Fighting over lighting 01-01-06 Hello gang---Happy New Year!   <Happy New Year to you and your as well.> This is what I do now to celebrate New Years. First--thanks a ton for taking the time to read my email and for helping sooooooo many people.  Here's my current problem.  (No pun intended.)  My wife doesn't share my fondness for aquaria.  The only aquarium she would "allow" was a corner tank---"because it fits into a room better than a square....blah blah".  So I got the 44 gallon corner tank and set it up with about 60 lbs of LR, a skimmer and a dual PC fixture with  65W white and 65W actinic bulbs.  After I set everything up, I realized that the light didn't adequately cover the interior of the tank. There were some darker areas. When I move it certain ways, because it is 24 inches long,  I deprive other areas of lighting.  Also, I have been told that 130W for a 44 gallon pentagon isn't enough.   <This is true for general reef tanks, but it truely depends on what you plan to keep in your tank.> Do you have any advice?   <Get more light.> I was thinking about getting a supplemental MH lamp.  Possibly a pendant that I wouldn't hang. <If you are not going to hang the light, don't waste money on a pendant, buy a retro-fit single halide.> Which wattage would you recommend as a supplement to my existing 65W/65W PC fixture?   <A 150-175 watt would work for soft corals. Use 250 watt for SPS or clams.> After that question----I have the temp question.  Which temp bulb would round out my existing lighting most effectively?   <14K or 10K(using 2 65 watt actinic bulbs)> I apologize for all of these questions---but my wife is MAD AS HE#@ about my news that I need to buy another light.  Do you think I can support an "typical reef" tank with the existing PC lighting alone?    <No, you would need to stick to low light soft corals with those lights.> I already have some softies in there and made sure to put them on the uppermost area.  Again, my wife thinks I have spent a lot already and I am trying to do this economically.  I would even build a kit if there was such a thing.  My wife is crazy----Everyone on this board knows that a few frags only cost a couple bucks.......;) Again---thanks for your time and a Happy New Year! <Glad to help and good luck, Travis>

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