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FAQs Lighting for Marine Invertebrates 6

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 3, Lighting Lighting Marine Inverts 4, Lighting Marine Inverts 5, & & 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,

Remember... you're lighting all

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

Re: Guys I need advise/help/decisions on Lighting
I'll get to it soon Bob.
<Thank you James. B>
Guys I need advise/help/decisions on Lighting/Reef Lighting/Selection 4/17/13

Hello Everyone,
<Hello Julia>
First off I want to thank you guys again for helping me with my Red  Devil Bubba B back several months ago, I did send you a video and as you can see he is doing beautifully after suffering with that parasite aka possibly anchor  worm.
<You're welcome.>
Now on to my question about Lighting.  I have a 45 gallon bow front, I  turned it into a salt tank.  It was a FOWLF but I have decided I want some soft corals now.  It is hitting the 8 month mark in  maturity.  I used a Zoo Med T5 HO lighting system (2 bulbs only sigh)  for the fish but I need to replace the light bulbs for softies.
<What type of lamps are in the fixture now?>
 What  can you suggest to me guys?  My LFS said a Hagen  Power Glo 18,000K  and I forgot the other but it was Actinic1 blue something it was 54 W.
  Do you think this light fixture is
sufficient with such bulbs and  if NOT can you recommend something to me that wont bankrupt me for this small  tank.
<First I need to know what you have now, it may be all you need for softies.>
What do you think about Marine land LED?
<Good for softies but not much else.>
 I hear bad stuff but  coming to you for your opinion and advise.  I like my Zoo Med and have been  happy with it and was hoping to just get different T5 HO bulbs.  Thanks  again for all the help you have given thru the years. 
BTW, I don't  want Moon lighting or anything going at night, no bells and whistles, just  a light to run during the day possibly 8 - 10 hours and then  off.   Thanks Bob/Neale/Rick  whoever responds to me.   Holler if you need more info.
<As soon as I hear back from you we will set you on the right track Julia.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Guys I need advise/help/decisions on Lighting/Reef Lighting/Selection 4/18/13

Salty hello and thanks for responding to me, nice to meet you!
<You're welcome and nice to chat with you as well Julia.>
Right now I have the Zoo Med with a Hagen Power Glow 18,000 K T5 HO  bulb and a Coralife Blue Actinic 10,000 T5 HO bulb.
<If it were me I'd change the Hagen lamp for a UV, 14K T5 lamp.  See here.
I have a Colt and a Feather Duster inside and don't holler but I have a bubble tip anemone who sits on top center on my life rock and today I actually for the first time fed her Krill and I wished to heck I would have filmed it, it was amazing.  I put the  horse before the cart but I felt I could handle these corals, yes I know the BTA isn't a softie but I got her because the guys mislabeled the price on the tank and I made them stick to it LOL.  Also while I  got you Salty, everyone is screaming I need an RODI unit, is this absolutely necessary, I had LFS say NO to me and they sell these things but I have known them for years.
<All depends on the make up of your source water.  Have you tested for TDS (total dissolved solids), nitrates, and phosphates?  TDS meters are inexpensive and you
would need one with a RO system to determine if the membrane needs replacing.>
I do know I need a  protein skimmer but I do water changes twice a week and not new to this hobby at all.
<Yikes! no skimmer.  You definitely need this tool with a reef tank.  What
are your current nitrate/phosphate readings?>
 My sand bed is 3 inches and tank is matured almost 8 months now.   What say you Mr. Salty?  Do I have  enuf light for these guys, it's a bowfront 45 gallon just so you don't have to re-read all the post.
<As above and keep an eye on the anemone should it move towards corals.>
Thanks very much,
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Mixed Reef Lighting     2/19/13
Morning crew
<Hello Chris>
I really dread asking this question as I'm sure it's somewhere in the archives, but I have had no luck so far with my search.
I have a mixed reef (mostly lps, but working towards more sps) and have gone through a variety of lights (went from 150 mh with pc''s to LED's and have finally settled with a 72" Coralife 250w mh fixture with 4 96 w pc.
The fixture that I recently purchased was used and am looking to change upgrade the bulbs starting with the PC. Right now it has 2 x 50/50 bulbs side by side in the back and 2 actinics in the front.
Question's are: should maintain this configuration or should I go to straight 10,000 pc in the back and should I change from a Coralife bulb or is there way better.
Again, my apologies if this is already posted.
<Chris, I would like to know your tank size (dimensions) and how many metal halide lamps are in the Coralife fixture.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Mixed Reef Lighting 2/20/13

I'm looking at the Coralife website and I have 4 choices on 96W CF Bulbs.
10k, 50/50, 6700 k and Actinic.  I know I need the Actinics. I just need your thoughts on the 50/50 or if I should go just straight bright and would either way be more beneficial to my corals?
Again, thanks for your input...
<I don't understand this, I gave you my suggestion in the last email....UVL PC Lamps, 14K.  I did not mention anything about Coralife Lamps.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Mixed Reef Lighting 2/19/13
Hi James
<Hi Chris, see my comments within the original text.>
Tanks is a 155 Gallon Bowfront (6 feet long)
The light has 3 x 250 w mh
Thanks again
Morning crew

<Hello Chris>
I really dread asking this question as I'm sure it's somewhere in the archives, but I have had no luck so far with my search.
I have a mixed reef (mostly lps, but working towards more sps) and have gone through a variety of lights (went from 150 mh with pc''s to LED's and have finally settled with a 72" Coralife 250w mh fixture with 4 96 w pc.
The fixture that I recently purchased was used and am looking to change upgrade the bulbs starting with the PC. Right now it has 2 x 50/50 bulbs side by side in the back and 2 actinics in the front.
Question's are: should maintain this configuration or should I go to straight 10,000 pc in the back and should I change from a Coralife bulb or is there way better.
<The 10K's will likely give a slight yellowish look.  I would go with an 460nm actinic  and UVL 14K's, one each in front and back.>
Again, my apologies if this is already posted.
<Chris, I would like to know your tank size (dimensions) and how many metal halide lamps are in the Coralife fixture.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Mixed Reef Lighting 2/20/13

Sorry about that...I wasn't familiar with UVL...I thought it was an acronym for a type, not a model.
<No problem Chris.  UVL is a company that have been producing lamps for the aquarium trade for many, many years.  Take a look here.  http://uvlco.com/
James (Salty Dog)>

Reef Lighting/Selection 8/26/12
Good Evening Crew!
<Hello Audreylee>
As per usual thank you for such a wonderful site!
I recommend it to everyone I know in the hobby! Anyhow, I am moving my reef tank soon to a different tank in a new place and I am needing to buy a new light. I currently have a Oceanic Biocube which was great for getting my feet wet but now I would like to step up to a much more serious system. My primary concern is of course lighting! I had originally intended to just buy one of those awesome 4 bulb T5 AquaticLife fixtures that is programmable and fancy. I decided to come here first since I was encountering many other brands while shopping. I was hunting for your recommendation on brands (like the awesome page with the filters, I'm getting a Rena XP3) but I found the Vita-Lite passage. I am 100% for full-spectrum but how do you set this up for a reef tank, especially with a few SPS? By the way I am using an older Oceanic cube that is 21" tall. I have been inspecting the naturallighting.com website trying to piece together how this would work but I am skeptical that it won't be enough light for my corals. Am I looking at buying a T5 fixture and putting Vita-Lite bulbs in it? And if so should I do a 4 bulb fixture with all full-spectrum or do two full-spectrum, one 10k and one actinic since those seem to be the staple for everyone else? I know this is a complex question and piecing together information from these sites is super
helpful but I would appreciate something a little more focused. I would like my system to grow and mature at a reasonable pace but mostly I would like as healthy and balanced an ecosystem as possible even if it means sacrificing minor aesthetics and having fewer frags to trade.
<The term, full spectrum lighting relates to light that covers the visible spectrum of light which falls between 400-700nm.  Although the Vita-Lite does a good job in covering a good majority of this spectrum, corals do not use or need the entire spectrum of light for their photosynthetic needs and therefore much of the light the Vita-Lite produces will be wasted energy. 
The light spectrum corals favor falls between 400-550 and 620-700nm and is called the PUR spectrum (Photosynthetic Useable Radiation).  LED fixtures can more easily duplicate this spectrum because companies combine LEDs of
different color temperatures (Kelvin) to closely produce the PUR spectrum.  If you decide on T5 lamps, go with a mixture of lamps.  My choice would be one dual actinic (420-460nm), one 12K, and two 14K T5HO lamps.  This will provide enough light intensity providing your new tank is not deeper than 24 inches.> 
Thank You!!
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

LED Lighting/Reef Lighting 5/10/12
wwm: Hello Braiden
I am just starting my first saltwater aquarium and would like some recommendations on LED lighting for my setup. I have a 90 gallon reef ready with a store bought (Classic Mission in cherry finish) stand and matching hood. It is in the living room where there is window light coming from the left, right, and front, although there is never a direct beam of light on the aquarium (only ambient light). I am still working on building the sump out of a used 30L aquarium, and it will have a filter pad with bio balls,
wwm: With live rock the bio balls aren't necessary nor recommended.
the partitions to reduce micro bubbles, and about 1/4 of it will be a refugium. I am using a Pond Master mag 9.5 pump for the return and am planning to purchase the AquaC Remora Pro protein skimmer with magnetic drive 3 pump. I am still working on the sump and don't have the skimmer or lighting yet, so I don't have anything in the tank yet, but I would like a good all around LED lighting system that is very low work.
wwm: Most if not all are.
I travel for work and my wife doesn't want to do more than feeding. I would like something with timers or timer capable so I can have night lighting. I don't know exactly what reef items I will be getting yet and I'm assuming my lighting choice should be based somewhat on my purchases, but I would like something that will work for most items I would place in my tank. I was also told by a co-worker that if I can stand it, get everything running and only place the live rock and sand in the aquarium with no fish or reef items for a few months and add calcium often to build up a heavy base of good algae and copepods. He said to keep the glass covered on the outside to block all lighting other than the aquarium lighting.
wwm: The last statement makes no sense. Why block external ambient light and then run the lights. If using live uncured rock, I would not run the lights until the rock is cured and ammonia levels drop to 0. At that time you can introduce a couple of fish.
If I can get the stock of good algae and copepods up, I shouldn't have a big issue with bad algae and the copepods should be plentiful enough to feed my aquarium for a few days if I am on a short vacation. What do you think about this?
wwm: I would supplement with an automatic feeder.
If this process is recommended, are there any changes you would make?
wwm: Other than what I stated above....no. As far as LEDs with the features you want, check out Aquabeam. They have LED tiles that will mount in your hood and they also have optional timers which can control both the blue and white LEDs for the night time effect. You can learn more at www.tropicalmarinecentre.com. Ecoxotic has LED modules that will also mount to the canopy. www.ecoxotic.com. There are other LED fixtures available but most require suspending over the tank and you will not be able to use the matching canopy.
Thanks for your feedback.
wwm: You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)

Combo lighting MH and T5   4/1/12
<Hello Ayre>
I am currently setting up a reef tank. The dimensions are 72" long x 30" tall x 18" width
The lighting fixtures are 15" from the water surface. There are (2) 400 watt metal halide fixtures and (2) 4' T5's. Moon lights are being installed now.
I want the lighting on timers to simulate different times of the day...i.e. morning, afternoon, evening, night.
With the above combination of MH and T5's what would be your recommendations?
<Much of the answer will depend upon the type of corals and other invertebrate you are trying to keep. That being said, for a new set up, start slow with the 400w MH, they are very powerful. Most people run the Actinic T5's for a dawn to dusk purpose for 10-12 hours a day specific to your viewing pleasure. The MH would then come on during the middle of that period to simulate the sun at 'high noon'. I would suggest starting slow at 4-5 hours a day and then slowing move up in 30 minute increments as your corals adjust and settle in. The Moonlights are at your discretion.>
Thank you very much for your time,
<You are welcome, Bobby>

4 bulb T5 36" Wave Point Aquarium Light/Reef Lighting 3/15/12
<Hello Rudy>
I have a 58 gallon Oceanic reef ready tank that I want to setup as a reef tank.
I have never done a reef tank, only FOWLR.
I currently have a 36 inch fluorescent fixture which I know I will need to change out.
What are your thoughts on the 4 bulb T5 36" Wave Point Aquarium Light?
<Appears to be good quality.>
Will this light work for a beginner setting up a reef tank?
I plan on going with easy to maintain soft corals, like the green star polyps.
<This should be fine for all softies, and most LPS corals.  Some species of SPS could be kept but they would have to be placed near the top in lieu of the tank's 21 inch depth.>
Also, do I need to be concerned on the depth in the tank I can place the corals?
<Only if they are light loving corals.  What you plan on keeping will be fine as far as depth is concerned.  I would replace one of the 460nm lamps with another 12K.>
I will have a refugium and Reef Octopus protein skimmer.
<Great!  A good protein skimmer is a must.>
I also have live rock in the tank.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
4 bulb T5 36" Wave Point Aquarium Light/Reef Lighting 3/15/12

Thanks for the advice.
I noticed many T5 lighting fixtures offer timer settings.
How important is getting the blue lights on first and off last to resemble sunrise/sunset?
<The sunrise feature would not concern me as long as the lights go on in ambient light. 
A sudden off in darkness can spook fish possibly causing injury.>
The Wavepoint fixture I am considering doesn't have that; everything goes on/off with one switch.
<Easy enough to hook up an inexpensive timer.>
Wavepoint does sell a separate blue led strip that can be mounted to the T5 fixture that can be setup as moonlight leds.
<There are fixtures that have the blue LEDs built in to them and individually controlled by timers.  Selection will depend on your budget.>
How important is that to the fish/corals?
<Not important for corals, for fish, as above.>
I like the Wavepoint T5 fixture because it has no fan (i.e. no fan noise).
<I do not like that, quite a bit of heat will be emitted and transferred to the water.  My choice in a four lamp T5 fixture with timers and LEDs would be this one. 
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting for the reef! 3/13/12
<Hello Pam>
I have been round and round the subject of lighting for my 75 gallon reef tank! And yes, I've read and read till I'm cross-eyed! At that point, my ADD kicks in and I find myself shutting down computer, books and self! Help!!!!!!!!
I have so many odds and ends, of  lighting fixtures and bulbs lying around, it's truly making me crazy!
Problem is, most of these fixtures have some sort of problem,..i.e.. wrong size, faulty fans, NOISY fans that I removed, falling apart, half of the fixture not working, electrical?? etc,. etc!!
I know I have to bite the bullet and throw out most of these canopies, including 4 Coralife canopies (that are beginning to have problems) and start new!
<Yes, can also be dangerous to your health.>
I plan on having mostly inverts, corals and some beautiful macro algae's.
I would love you, (the experts) to suggest what you consider very good lighting that would fulfill the needs of my reef.
Preferable, under $300.00.
<Unless you have a custom wood canopy to allow a DIY retrofit, there isn't anything out there for under 300.00 that will fulfill your needs.  And even at 300.00 you would be cutting it close.  This T5 HO fixture would satisfy light requirements for all light loving invertebrates and is much more than 300.00.
Thank you so much for your advice!
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

75 gal reef lighting   3/6/12
Hi guys...
<And gals Mel>
I am in the process of upgrading my a 30 gal FOWLR (only inhabitants currently are about 15 lbs of live rock, one Sixline wrasse, one maroon clown and cleanup crew)- to a 75 gallon starter reef tank.  I have researched for months and your site has been helpful (and provided a much needed chuckles at times).   I'm all set on biological and mechanical filtration, water circulation, etc.  I was given an essentially new  48" 4 X 54w T5 HO fixture (2 12000K HO fluorescent and 2 54W actinic w/4 bluemoon
LEDS)  and am wondering if this will be enough light for mushrooms and soft corals, if they are appropriately placed in the tank and if so, would it be beneficial to replace one of the actinic w/a HO white bulb.
<Should be>
or do I need to upgrade before I try my hand at this.
<I wouldn't>
Thanks so much for your help!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: 75 gal reef lighting   3/6/12

<Ahh, like your name, melior-is, from the Latin>
  Thanks!  so should I swap one of the blue bulbs out?
<Indeed I would. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/actinicfaqs.htm

Quick T5 lighting question    3/4/12
First, you guys have a wonderful site with tons of information. Every time I think I may have the answer I read some more. Now for my question. I have 125 gallon tank sitting empty and I was originally going to go with a 72" 3x250 MH light fixture. I am looking at having a mixed reef as the guy at the LFS called it with no interest in clams at the moment. My local fish store recommends the ATI Sunpower 60" 6x80W T5 light fixture. My tank is 72x18x22 I believe.
<Perhaps a few inches less in depth w/ the substrate>
I noticed that with the T5 lights there is not much shimmer like the MH lights
<This is so>
. They said I can add an LED strip to get some of the shimmer affect.
<And this>
Does this sound like adequate lighting or will I be really limiting what I can get with this setup.
<The proposed arrangement can/will provide sufficient photostrength and quality to support most all life...>
Oh, and will the LEDs give
some shimmer as I like that affect. Thanks a bunch and keep up the great work.
<Yes, welcome and will do. Bob Fenner>

112g reef stocking / lighting 11/23/11
Hi there!
<Hello Lisa>
Love the site and spent many an hour sifting through info found here. I greatly appreciate your time and knowledge.
<You're welcome.>
I recently upgraded my 65g reef to a 112g (kind of funky dimensions I hear, 68" long, 16" wide, 24" deep). I have a very shy but well behaved Niger trigger, a purple firefish, and a normal firefish. Also a coral banded shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp, 3 Nassarius snails, 10 reef snails, 10 hermit crabs of various colors, and 1 sally lightfoot crab. As for corals, I have a green star polyp rock, various mushrooms, and a bubble coral.
I would like to add 3 Maldives Anthias, a purple tang and green mandarin, a cleaner shrimp, an emerald crab, some various lps, Zoanthids and a maxima clam.
Like I said, 112g tank with a 30g Sump/ refugium combo with a few small pieces of lr, Chaeto, and Caulerpa, bubble magus nac-6a skimmer, cascade 150g canister filter, 2 1050 power heads, and a 48" 10k t5, actinic 2 bulb light.
N/N/A are 0, Alk is 8.4, temp is 80.
Will my setup be able to handle my fishy wish list? If no, who gets left out?
<The Triggerfish should go, does not belong with this and future group.>
The mandarin won't be added for about 6 months...just got my refugium going.
I know I need better lights. I was thinking 2 30" 250w / 4 t5 combos, since I can't find 68" fixtures and there's a 6" glass support in the top middle if <of> the tank anyway. Will this be enough light for the clam?
<The lighting would be enough but you would have three lower light areas (sides and middle) and will have to place your light loving invertebrates accordingly.
Have you considered having a custom wood canopy built? If so, three 175 watt halides would be better. You can then purchase DIY components and mount the fixtures to the canopy. Two cooling fans will also be required. Your other option would be to hang three 175 watt pendants above the tank. You may want to consider LED lighting. Expensive to start with, but will save plenty in utility cost and yearly lamp replacement. Two Orphek PR156W LED fixtures would be enough light for this system. They would have to be hung above the tank and hardware for this is included
with the fixtures. I reviewed this fixture and the review can be found here. Click on Winter, 2010.
The review was for the PR156. The PR156W is the same fixture but with wide angle optical lenses.>
Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting Selection Question (Octagonal Tank = MH Lighting) 04/02/11
Hello Web Crew,
<<Hey Melissa>>
I value your suggestions and expertise.
I am becoming confused regarding the proper light fixture selection for my tank.
I have done too much reading and have asked too many people.
<<I see>>
My tank is a 50 gallon octagonal. At the present it is housing 2 orange clowns, 1 brittle star, 1 yellow tail blue damsel, 1 coral banded shrimp, 1 peppermint shrimp, 1 lawnmower blenny, and 1 turbo snail. All get along well with live rock and a DSB (black sand).
I would like to add anemones
<<Anemones? Plural? Not recommended Differing species will not tolerate one anothers presence in such a small volumeeven specimens of the same species are not likely to get along unless they are clones. Best to pick a single specimen of one of the easier species to keepespecially if new to this>>
to the community but need to change the lighting before I proceed. Would you be able to suggest the wattage and if I should use a metal halide fixture instead of the fluorescent?
<<I would very much suggest metal halide lighting for this tank shape/design. The single-point light source will provide the penetration youre likely to need. A single quality pendant type fixture should suffice (I recommend CoralVues Lumen Bright pendantsgood spread AND penetration). As for wattage, I would choose a 250 w fixture for the added versatility over a lower wattage. The pendant can be easily raised or lowered to vary intensity as needed, along with experimenting with different Kelvin temperatures>>
Because of the shape of my tank I am receiving mixed responses and I trust the Web Crew.
<<I hope I have lived up to expectation>>
Thank you for helping,
<<A pleasure to share EricR>>

Another PC Vs. T-5 Question/Reef Lighting 1/9/11
Dear Crew,
<Hello Joe>
Again, thank you for your awesome dedication to the hobby as well as the commitment to answer and post questions on a daily basis. I always look forward to reading the dailies- what a treat!
<We are glad you enjoy, and thank you for the compliment.>
This topic has been covered over and over but I thought that I would ask for your opinion on my particular situation.
I have a 54 gallon corner reef tank (mainly LPS) with a 150 watt 10K HQI, as well as a 65 watt 10K PC retro-fitted into the stock fluorescent fixture.
Although the retrofit is working fine, I've had it for some 7 or 8 years and it will eventually need to be replaced.
The replacements that I'm looking at are either the 2x24 watt or the 2x31 watt T-5 (only Coralife makes that latter). The length must be 30" to fit the pie shaped tank. I've also learned that the greater the width of the fluorescent unit, the more the HQI light is blocked (no canopy), limiting the number of bulbs to essentially 2.
<Mmm, without knowing your tank dimensions, I'm thinking the HQI lamp should be all that you need for your system. If you are looking for color accent, consider a LED Stunner Strip.>
I'm assuming that 1 PC bulb will be brighter then 1 T-5 bulb of a similar length and spectrum due to the PC's twin design, as well as higher wattage. In your expert opinion, would either of these units be a cost efficient way to improve my lighting or will the intensity increase be minimal?
<Watt for watt, T5 lighting has more lumens per watt, runs cooler, more cost efficient, and penetration is much better than PCs. Depending on your tank depth, you may also want to consider the LED retro modules which provide a stunning color accent and are extremely energy efficient. Take a peek here for a few examples.
Again, due to the aquarium shape, I'm somewhat limited in terms of choices (aside from upgrading to a 250 Watt HQI). I don't need to replace this fixture now but would like to if the benefits out weight <weigh> the cost.
Thanks so much!
<You're welcome and do write back if you have more questions. James (Salty Dog)>

Reef Lighting / Refugium Use 11/16/10
Dear Awesome People from WWM,
<Hello Ryan>
Hi my name is Ryan. I have so many questions when it comes to my reef tank, and keep finding more each day. For now I will try and limit them to two areas. The first is lighting. I will be the proud owner of a Nova Extreme Pro 6X54w t5HO system (hopefully if my bid wins lol) this afternoon. I've been searching your site and others such as Reefcentral.com and thereeftank.com, but there are so many different opinions to which combo of bulbs to use. I have a 75 gal, 48L x 21T x 18D tank with 80lbs of LR and 40
lbs of Aragonite sand. I have a custom made sump/refugium (so I don't know the exact gal. size, but it is somewhere near 15-18 gallons. I have an AquaC Urchin protein skimmer in the first section of the sump, then it goes to a refugium with a good size clump of Chaeto. In the tank I have a Mocha Percula Clown, Yellow Tang, Blue Chromis, Royal Gramma, and various inverts including a gold & brown feather duster. For corals I have assorted mushrooms (green, red, blue, and a hairy). The hairy is my favorite. I also have a Daisy Star polyp and rabbit ear leather.
So my first question pertaining to lighting is proper combo of bulbs to use on the above fixture that will increase coral health and growth. That is my main focus. I would also prefer a clearer/whiter look, but I do want the florescence of corals to pop. Any suggestions?
<My choice would be UVLC tubes and they would consist of one super actinic (F54/03S), four Aquasun (F54/AQS), and one 75/25 (F54/75.25S). This combination will give you the pop you're looking for while still not appearing too blue. It will also enhance reds, greens, and yellows.>
Also, once having those bulbs, would I be able to keep the full spectrum of corals, sps, lps, soft, etc.?
I suppose placement would be key for certain ones if it is possible.
<T5HO lighting is more intense than most folks realize providing nearly 95 lumens/watt so less light loving corals would likely fair better at the bottom level.>
My second question pertaining to lighting is a photo period. I want to purchase lunar LEDS as well. I'm thinking the R2 solutions LEDS with controller (any opinions on LED fixture?).
<Not familiar with it, but the Ecoxotic Stunner Strips offer a choice of color temperatures and up to six strips can be daisy chained to one controller and they are very compact.>
What kind of photo period is optimal for growth and health?
<For the T5s, I'd start with 10 hours.>
Lastly, I have been trying to find the best way to naturally feed my tank as well as the normal frozen/flake foods I have. My refugium is set up on an opposite photo period to my main tank right now. It has a good clump of Chaeto and a few pieces of LR rubble, and I can see a good amount of copepods in it as well. What I'm wondering is: What is the best way to get those copepods into the main tank (since I'm guessing most are staying in there and not making it through the return pump)?
<There really isn't a best way. Eventually the population will increase and they will slowly find themselves into the main system. Some folks will seed the main tank with a population of pods.>
I know this was very long. Thank you so much for your time and effort.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Reef Lighting / Refugium Use 11/16/10 - 11/17/10

Hi James,
<Hello Ryan>
Thank you so much for the information. I am going to be ordering the bulbs you recommended! I do have some follow-up questions. After the 10hr photo period with the T5HOs, do the corals benefit from the lunar LEDs?
<Not enough to matter.>
How long should they be on?
<Your decision, doesn't really matter unless they are overly bright which is unlikely.>
With the 10hr photo period, is it beneficial to have the "dawn/mid-day/dusk" period I keep reading about?
<It does help prevent fish from going into photo shock if the T5s come on in a darkened room. The LEDs would be sort of a wake up/go to sleep light.>
Thank you!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Upgrading from VHO to Metal Halide 11/12/10
Hello Crew,
<Hi there Dave.>
I wanted to get some feedback from you in regards to upgrading my lighting on my 210 gallon reef tank. Currently I have 6 six foot bulbs 3 Aqua Suns and 3 454s staggered. I would like to upgrade to the BlueLine Spacelight EX 72" fixture consisting of 3 250w(14K) halides and 4 (454) T5 bulbs. I wanted to get your opinion on whether I should make the upgrade.
There are a few reasons that I would like to upgrade to the MH lighting, one of the being the depth of the tank. The tank dimensions are 72X24X29. I have three six inch clams on the bottom of the tank that don't appear to be getting the light that they need. They seemed to have more color when they were in my previous 125 gallon reef that was only 22" deep. I also have several different Acans and Zoanthids that are on the sand as well. The other reason is that the tank is mainly SPS and LPS and I have several SPS that aren't anywhere near what their true color should be under the VHO lighting. The SPS are mainly four inches from the top or a little lower in the tank. I also seem to have brown diatoms only on the sand that I haven't been able to get rid of. I am wondering if it is from the spectrum of light that is reaching the bottom of the tank being too weak.
<Too weak or shifted to the red end of the spectrum. For a keep whatever, wherever in this tank I think the upgrade is worth doing. Do consider T5 units also, many tanks this deep have great results with them.>
My tank is built into the wall and unfortunately I only have 9 inches of clearance from the top to the water. closer when accounting for the fixture itself.
<A concern, you will be tight in there.>
I am concerned about acclimating my corals to the new lighting. I have several older corals including a ten inch round Platygyra Brain that I have had for almost nine years. I don't want to sacrifice my LPS for the SPS.
<See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm.>
I just want to be able to keep the SPS at lower depths and get their true growth and color out of them. My plan was to mount the fixture as high as possible and cover the top of the tank with three layers of screen over the top of the tank and peel off one layer of screen per week with 5 hours of lighting and then adjusting from there. Does this sound reasonable to you?
<Oh yes.>
Do you have any other suggestions or tips that would be better or do you not recommend the upgrade at all?
<I would, but like I said, do consider T5s and possibly even some of the newer high power LEDs if you have the $$.>
About my tank. Lighting has been covered already, the Actinics come on an hour before/after the main lights. Total lighting period is 9 hours. Temp is between 78- 80 degrees. Water flow is handled by two main pumps 1800 and 1200 GPH. They are controlled via two SCWDs and four returns. I also have two other powerheads for dead spots, 800 GPH and 300 GPH. I have a 45 gallon ADHI refugium with some Chaeto and Caulerpa algae and a Red Mangrove plant. 40 gallon water changes are done weekly. I am using an Aqua FX RO/DI system for RO water and have a dedicated 30 gallon trash can for freshwater top offs and a 42 Gallon can for pre mixed saltwater. Salinity level is at 1.025; pH 8.1(at night); Alk 10dkh; Calcium 450ppm. I have a My Reef Creation dual chamber Calcium reactor that keeps my CA, ALK and PH where they need to be. Skimming is handled by an ETSS 600 XR skimmer. My tank is also located in my basement where it stays fairly cool and have avoided the need for a chiller thus far =))
<The cooling would be my biggest concern here. If you are already running around 80 the addition of MH in such a tight space could very well push you into a chiller. The usual ventilation fans to the extreme will likely be needed here!>
Thank You for your help in advance!
<Welcome, happy reefing, Scott V.>

T5 Bulbs Question/Reef Lighting 10/31/10
Hello to all at WWM,
<Hi Benny>
I recently purchased a 24 inch Wavepoint retrofit fixture for my 29 gal reef tank. The fixture brings 2x Sun Wave 12k and 2x Blue Wave 460. I just changed one of the Sunwave for another Blue Wave and was wondering if coral growth will suffer with this combo.
<Yes, too much blue. PAR values may be high with this combo, but we are more interested in PUR (Photosynthetically Usable Radiation) values which� will drop with this combination of lamps.>
If so can you recommend a better Wavepoint bulb combo that will allow me to keep my sps happy and thriving.
<My choice would be three of UVL's (formerly Ultraviolet Resources) Aquasun lamps and one actinic for color pop. The Aquasun lamp has major peaks at 440, 540, and 600nm. This combo will provide a higher PUR value for your corals. See UVL's Spectral Graphs attached to this email.>
Thanks for all your help
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

T5 HO Lighting System 10/28/10
<Hello Dave>
Hope things are well, I have written in the past and you have always had the right answers, My 150 reef tank has 6 T% HO 39 watt bulbs 3 actinic and 3 aqua blue for a total of 6 lamps, the lighting appears to be fine, would like to know what your opinion is on the longevity of these bulbs and any recommendations on the height above the water they should be placed at and any other tips you may have.
<Knowing your tank dimensions would be of much help here. I'm trying to comprehend the use of 36" lamps on a 150 gallon tank. Can you provide tank dimensions so I can elaborate further?>
Thank you for your time
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re T5 HO Lighting System 10/28/10 - 10/29/10

Hello James
<Hi Dave>
Thanks for responding, my tank is 36" wide, 30 deep and 27 " high, my T5 expel a lot of heat as my tank is built into a custom kitchen with cupboard below to house the sump and a cabinet above the tank for storage. I'm not sure if my lights are too strong or incorrect,
<They are not too strong, especially with a tank depth of 27".>
they are on from 7:00am to 8:00pm and I am having some difficulties controlling the everyday green algae. Any assistance you can provide would be appreciated
<There are several factors that can cause excessive algae growth. You did not mention whether you use a protein skimmer,
and/or chemical media to filter your water. You also do not mention what your present nitrate level is, so at best, all I can do is suggest.
Your present lighting is much too blue which makes this more favorable to algae growth than "whiter lights" would be. A combination of five 12-14K lamps, and one actinic would help reduce algae growth providing all other parameters are favorable, and still give a pleasing appearance. Do read here and related articles/FAQs found in the header.
To answer your other questions, the useful lamp life of T5 lamps is about 18 months depending on your photo period. As to height above water; this largely depends on whether you have corals. If so, T5 lighting will not support light loving SPS corals if placed on the bottom of your 27" deep system, they will need to be placed in the upper third of the tank, and in that regard, the lighting fixture should be as close to the water's surface
as safely possible. If you have a fish only system, I'd place the light 6-8" above the water to help reduce heat transfer to the aquarium.
When writing to us in the future, please follow these guidelines.
Cheers. James (Salty Dog)>

84 Gallon Reef Lighting 10/26/10
<Hi Blain>
I am going to set up a lighting fixture, buying retrofit kits and welding up the fixture. I have an 84 gallon reef tank, 6 ft 1/2 inch x 15 1/2 inch x 17 inch (LxWxH). I was planning on getting two MH 250 W bulbs with 4 - 3ft T5 lights to run along the front and back of the fixture. I plan on getting a retrofit bundle with a Blue Wave 2 Dual 250W ballast, with 2 CoralVue 250W 14k bulbs, and 2 spider reflectors with mogul socket. Haven't really research the T5 options but was thinking about getting 4 - 50W or so bulbs.
My questions are:
Is the above type of MH ballast and equipment a good brand? Total package is about $300. From my research it seems to be a good value but I am still novice in reef keeping.
<I haven't heard anything negative about them. I do know the ballast has been discontinued.>
If I am going to get the 14k MH bulbs should I make the T5 bulbs actinic or would that be "too much blue"? Due to the already slightly bluer tint from the 14k MH bulbs?
<Let me stop you here. With the length of your tank (72 inches), two MH lamps are not going to spread the light over the entire tank length. With tank depth of 17 inches, 250 watt lamps aren't necessary. My suggestion would be to go with three 175 watt 14K halides. If additional pop is desired, you can supplement with the very energy efficient LED actinic stunner strips. See here. http://premiumaquatics.com/aquatic-supplies/EX-8010.html >
The total wattage for the tank would be around 700W per 84 gallons, 8.3 watts/gallon. Is this a good value for a range of corals such as low light requiring corals (mushrooms) then going up to hard corals and clams?
<Stated above.>
Also if you have any suggestions on the T5 or other types of Fluorescent lighting to run along the back, such as type of ballast and wattage, I would love to hear your comments.
<My MH suggestion along with the stunner strips will provide all the necessary lighting you will need for corals/clams. The metal halides will provide all the PAR you need while the actinic LED strips provide a pleasing color accent.>
Thank you very much and I have always had a great experience with your website.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

T5 Questions/Reef Lighting 10/22/10
Hi Guys!
<Hello Doug>
You answered some questions for me once before and were a big help.. I've done tons of reading and ultimately am still at a cross roads in trying to determine what to do..
My questions pertain to T5 lighting..
I am currently running Current's 67 Solana XL.. I had a custom canopy built to match the stand and it is beautiful all the way around. I just wish the stuff inside the tank was as nice looking as the stuff outside the tank!
<It may hinder my response not knowing your tank size, length, width, and depth.>
I have 4 T5's tucked up under the thing and can operate any 2 at a time or all 4...
But I just can't get the bulb configuration how I want it..
Here's currently what I am running under there..
1 - AquaticLife 700+ 54W HO 10000k
http://www.aquaticlife.com/lamps/index.html (Spectral Graph under the lab test results link)
<A good spectral range capable of producing a high PAR value.>
1 - Korallin Zucht Fiji Purple (Spectral Graph at the bottom of this page)
<Mmmm, too much red.>
1 1 - Korallin Zucht Super Blue 20000k (I cannot find a Spectral Graph for this bulb anywhere.. Do you guys know anything of it?)
<No, but the Kelvin temperature indicates it would be very heavy in the blue (440-460nm) range.>
1 - D-D Giesemann Powerchome Actinic+ (There is a Spectral Graph for this bulb on the same page as that Fiji Purple..)
I currently have the 2 KZ bulbs on one ballast and the AquaticLife and the Giesemann on the other..
This configuration does not give me a very good (actually none at all) "Pure Actinic" type view of the corals in the evening and that is what I am looking for..
I can switch and run the SuperBlue with the Actinic+, and the Fiji Purple with the white AquaticLife, having the latter turn off earlier in the evening and giving me the evening views I am looking for; and I have done just that, but still not getting quite the result I wanted. My question is this though.
If I were to purchase a Giesemann Pure Actinic bulb and replace the Actinic+ or the SuperBlue and run those together, I think I may accomplish what I am striving for, but what am I doing to my overall light output? Am I taking away too much in the other spectrums by getting rid of one of those two bulbs and replacing it with a Pure Actinic? Should I maybe consider getting rid of one of the other 2 bulbs? Do I really need that White and Fiji Purple? I like how the Fiji Purple and the SuperBlue look together, and would be satisfied with that during the day, but is it enough? If I ran a Pure Actinic and the Actinic+ in the evening.. I would most likely have that combination overlap for several hours.. Currently I have my "brighter" "white" light come on at around noon.. The "bluer" lights come on at around 3.. The white turns off around 7 and then the blue turns off around 10.. So I have 4 hours of overlap.. Is this sound like a logical approach? Too much light? Too little light? Too many total hours?
Should I just leave it all alone and add another 2 bulbs (two pure actinic)
for 6 total bulbs and have these pure actinics just run the last couple hours of the evening with the other 4 off...??
I'm so lost. Too much reading. Trying to understand too many spectral graphs, Want good lighting for my corals AND want my pure actinic type viewing in the evening.. Please help. Oh, and one more question... If I did run two of Giesemann's Pure Actinics' and did a 6 bulb combo... Do I need to consider the time the Pure Actinics' are on as part of my overall photo period? Or can these run an additional 3 or 4 hours over my 8-10 hour normal photo period?
<The problem I see is that you want the best of both worlds. With only a 4 bulb T5 fixture, you do not want to waste energy by using too much blue which does little for PAR (Photosynthetically Available Radiation) values of which corals depend on to photosynthesize. Rather than add two more T5 lamps, I would concentrate on providing around 10-12K out of your present T5 system and add actinic LED lighting strips as needed for the desired "pop" you want. The strips are rather inexpensive and extremely efficient to operate, and best of all, no lamp replacement needed, and one power supply will operate up to six strips. Have a look here. http://premiumaquatics.com/aquatic-supplies/EX-8010.html>
Thanks for your response in advance! I look forward to the next time I get to write you guys!
<Do let me know your thoughts on the above. If this isn't something you are interested in doing, we can go further. James (Salty Dog)>

Reef Lighting 10/10/10
Hello to all at WWM,
<Hello Benny>
I love your site.
<Thank you.>
I have 29 gal reef tank its 30 inch by 12 wide by 18 tall, I was running it with 130 watts pc and changed it yesterday to a 4x 24 watt T5 HO total 96 watts. The lfs store that I bought it from told me I can keep clams and SPS under that. Is this true? It has individual reflectors and is really brite <bright> compared to the PC.
<Yes, it holds true with your system. T5HO lamps are capable of putting out 90-93 Lumens per watt which is going to give you a total of around 8600+.
Individual reflectors will add even more to that number. As a tidbit, a single T5 lamp produces nearly twice the light output of one standard T12 lamp.>
Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting Questions If You Don't Mind?/Reef Lighting 9/23/10
<Hello Brent>
I appreciate the time you are taking to answer my questions!
<You're welcome.>
I recently purchase the Book Of Coral Propagation by Anthony Calfo. Mr. Fenner referred this book to me and it has been unbelievable!! Such a wealth of information and you can really tell He cares about what He is saying.
Upon reading and then re reading this book I have just a few questions if you don't mind?
My aquarium is 96"x36"x36". It is made of acrylic and it has two holes cut out on top measuring 24"x30". I plan on placing a few lps corals such as Frogspawn, Torch, Bubble and Hammers. A few Colt Corals and a few Montipora capricornus.
I was always under the impression that they need metal halide lighting.
After reading the Book Of Coral Propagation it states that these types of corals do better with fluorescents.
<Will all depend on tank depth, and you have a deep tank.>
I know that these corals could slowly be acclimated to metal halides in time but would these corals be better off if I used T5s in a 36" depth?
<The T5's wouldn't be too effective for corals in the bottom zone of your tank.>
Or would you recommend 250w metal halides and have the corals slowly acclimated to the light? Could I still place the torches and hammers in the top of the water column with metal halides?
<With your tank dimensions, I'd go with two, 250 watt HQI fixtures. Much more compact than the mogul based MH systems. And yes, you could place the Torch and Hammer Corals near the top of your tank, but not too close to the surface. Generally we will put corals requiring more light nearer the top, and place other corals in areas based on their light requirements. Have you read here?
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting a New to be reef with fish Tank 120 gal 48 x 24 x 24 9/3/10
Just setting up tank. 120 Gal 48 x 24 x 24 with 2 overflows. 100 pounds of live rock on order, just waiting for a light to take delivery. Sump w/three socks, 3 chambers, phosphate reactor, Red Sea Protein Skimmer on the way. RO water used to fill the tank and sump, Corallife salt. Water temp 74. Glass tops covering the tank.
After I put lighting on, I will have a hood resting on top of the tank. I have been stressing out over what light to buy. So many options in fixture or retrofit and bulbs, and so many opinions on the web. I know the first question is what king of coral will I be keeping. The problem is I don't know yet, and don't want to be limited by the light.
<This is a big point to know in making this decision!>
I am drawn to the combination fixture to be mounted on top of the tank with the legs. MH, HOT5, with LED too.
But, I fear that may be too close to the glass top or water.
<The fixture should be far enough off all with the legs.>
For a 24 inch tank should MH be 150 or is 250 necessary?
<For many corals the 150s will do. If you want to set your lighting up to keep say SPS or clams near the bottom you will need to go 250.>
Do I need to retrofit on my hood, or can I use a fixture?
<Which ever fits your tank plans better. The light will be the same.>
Is combination fixture better than separates?
<I like them myself. The MH can provide the main light, while either the LED, T5, PC, etc is swappable to get the look you want. Typically actinics are used here.>
Any recommendations or assistance would be greatly appreciated. One more thing, my past reef experience was only with a 10 gal. Nano and small polyps and mushrooms. That tank got overrun with red slime and I could not get rid of that. I was told that smaller is much harder that larger, so I started putting this 120 together, but now am stuck on this last decision.
<You will find the larger tank easier to manage in this regard.>
The light.
Please help.
<Enjoy the new setup, Scott V.>

Watts Per Gallon 9/3/10
Had a question on the Watts per Gallon rule. I've had a 30 gallon tank setup for quite a while with a few corals, Heteroxenia and such, along with a few anemones. The anemones are a Haitian and bubble tip.
<It is not going to work well in the long run mixing these two in a system this size. It is a bit on the small side for even one.>
I've just recently heard of the watts per gallon rule that i should have at least 4 watts per gallon.
<This is a widespread, but poor rule of thumb. These need a certain lighting intensity, increasing or decreasing the water volume around the organisms does not change this.>
The Corals and Anemone's in my tank I've had for a little over a year now and they're doing quite well. The Lighting I have is a T5 strip with 2x 14 Watt 10000k lights and I have a one strip Actinic. I wanted to know if I'm in any danger of losing anything, or if the watts per gallon rule is more of a guide line.
<It is a very loose guideline. That being said, your light is nowhere near adequate. See:
and the linked files above.>
Thank you for your time.
<Welcome, Scott V.> 

(More) Reef Lighting 08/28/10
Dear WWM Crew,
I am trying to find the best lighting for an SPS nano reef tank that is 18"L x 18"W x 18" T.
<<Many options herebut MH is still my fave solution>>
Would a 70 watt HQI metal halide work for this setup?
<<Probably As long as you dont go too high on the Kelvin scale and stick with a 10,000K or even a 6,500K bulb. But If you go with a 150w MH you could likely do well with a 14,000K bulb if you want more blue to your lookplus there would be a wider assortment of reflectors available (a well designed reflector can make a world of difference)>>
Would this fixture work if the tank has just LPS?
<<Indeed it wouldthough you will have to experiment some with placement (height over the water) and Kelvin temperature depending on what you keep>>
Thank You.
<<Quite welcome EricR>>
Re: (More) Reef Lighting 09/04/10

One more question, would a 150W HQI Halide work for an SPS tank that is a 40gallon breeder?
<<It can, yes, with thought given to - maintaining water clarity, livestock needs and their placement in the system, bulb color (Kelvin), reflector type/quality and its distance above the water surface, et al. EricR>> 

light for reef tank    8/12/10
Dear Crew,
<Hello Igor>
One more time, thank you for all information on your web.
<Thank you for thanking!>
Every morning I print a few pages and then, during lunch time, I read them.
<Me too! With a nice strong coffee>
This time I have a question about my light. I read all pages but still can not figure out what light will work for me. I have 75 G tank with six 65W PC. I learned from you, that penetration of PC is about 12". My SPS and Maxima clams on a top of my rocks are doing just fine. However I have Trachyphyllia on my bottom, about 22" from water level. I think they don't have enough light (slowly getting less bright).
<Is the coral expanding normally? Maybe the coral is adapting>
I feed my corals 3 times a week with home made preparation ( Borneman "mix" :)
<You can often substitute light with extra feeding... as long as you keep on top of the nutrient export>
Thanks to you my NO3 is about 5 (thanks to you I upgraded my skimmer to Turboflotor1000). CA 450, Po3 0.5, <This is very high, perhaps due to this food mix, and could be a factor.. high phosphate can inhibit calcification, thus stressing Scleractinians
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-09/rhf/index.php#5> no No2, SG 1.025, Mg 1280.
Please advise with set of T5's will work for me.
<Yes they will. T5's are marvelous, but I am surprised that 6 x 65 PC's are not enough.. are you changing the bulbs every 6 months?>
I can not use MH because of canopy.
Thank you very much.
best regards,
Re: light for reef tank 8/14/10

Hi Simon,
<Hi Igor>
Thanks for your fast reply.
<Okey Dokey>
I have my Trachyphyllia for more than a year. Now it seems ok, expanding normally and eating well. At night I can see its tentacles. But 3-4 months ago I had to move my Lobos and Trachyphyllia about 3-4 inches higher using LR. They were not doing well (losing some tissue, color, expanding less). I cut the rock flat with a handsaw, then smoothed with a file to create kind of acceptable base and avoid irritation of a soft tissue during expanding. All this makes me think to upgrade my light to light the bottom of my tank better. The top of my rockwork is good. The SPS are growing like crazy.
<Ok, but are you sure there was nothing else that you changed at the same time that could have helped the coral recover?>
So please tell me if possible, what setting of T5's will be at least equivalent to my PC's (I change the bulbs every 6 months). I really would like to have my Trachyphyllia back on sand.
<Go for a fixture with as many bulbs as poss. for your tank & decent reflectors. Be sure to carefully acclimate your animals and dont just chuck the new light on.. read on WWM re>
I started my tank about year and half ago, and then much much later discovered your outstanding website. Before, the only source of info was a local fish store... I created a "beautiful" garden reef, mixed all kind of coral ( multiple mushrooms on a bottom, Galaxy, Frogspawn, Lobo, Trachyphyllia, Duncan, Acans, Blastomussa, Chalice, Paly, Zoas, Green Star Polyp, Goniopora ( was born and survived in my tank) #
<wow, as a hitchhiker?>
, Acropora, Montipora, Seriatopora.. in 75 gallon tank!!!. And too many fish too... I slowly moving toward getting just one group, but it is hard to give away such beautiful creatures. So far ( so far ;) ) my reef is doing well thanks to your directions.
<Thats good news>
Even such a simple thing, how to mix water, I learned here, hehe. It takes a lot of work and money : 10-15 g water change twice a week, change Chemipure Elite twice a month,
<You would need this with such a mix>
checking water chemistry 2-3 times a week, additives, cleaning, feeding... But I LOVE what I am doing ( so far ;) ) It is my second full time job.
Regarding PO3.
I use RO/DI water, running Chemi-pure Elite, Rinse food well before adding into my tank. I will try to get a new test kit. May be the reading in not correct, or possible I'm little bit color blind. I did not pay attention to PO3 just because I got water testing in the fish store, and they said that PO3 was fine.
<You should always test yourself, and 0.5 is far from fine. You need to test/ fix this before you do anything else>
So sorry for such a long message, wrong spelling or grammatical problem. English is my second language.
<You have done very well, I do not have a second language so you have done far better that I could have!>
Again thank you for your advice.

Lighting Questions (livestock selection, Kelvin vs. PAR, etc.) 08/04/10
Hello -- hope you love your job -- 'cause I've got questions!
<<We are pleased to be of assistance>>
I have a 125g display tank in which I'd like to keep some SPS corals.
<<Okayand a descriptor (SPS) that can prove rather ambiguous when trying to determine environmental requirements>>
I now have a CR <<Calcium Reactor>> and keep the KH at 9 or 10 and CA between 420 and 440 day in and day out. Now, I want to ensure my lighting is sufficient. I realize not all SPS require the same lighting
<<Indeedthough many/most prove to be very adaptive in their requirements. But much of the time these requirements are more for the coral keeper rather than the coral itself. For instance, the requirement for a coral to produce bright color is not necessarily a requirement for the coral to liveor even to thrive>>
-- but perhaps you could recommend some that will thrive with my lighting: 3x150w MH + 4x96 Dual-Actinics (Outer Orbit fixture). The light is about 6" from the surface of the water.
<<The Kelvin or color temperature of the bulb can/will have a large impact. A lower Kelvin will generally produce a higher PAR (given bulbs of the same wattage and similar lumens). Reading ahead I see you are using 20K bulbs. At 150-watts, on this system, I think these will limit your ability to keep some of the higher-light loving Acroporidsnot that you cant keep them alive, just that they wont be as spectacular, as indicated earlier. Green Pocilloporids and Montipora will probably do fine, but the pinks likely wont color-up too well unless very high in the water column, if even thennor will the German Blue M. digitata. I suggest you either increase the wattage of the MH fixtureor more simplyreduce the Kelvin temperature of the bulbs (10K would be my choice here)>>
I also was wondering if there is a correlation between Kelvin and PAR?
<<Indeed there is Among bulbs of the same wattage lower Kelvin = higher PAR>>
By the way, I have not measured the PAR value in my tank -- I hope to do so in the next week if my local reef club will loan me a PAR meter. I currently run 20K MH bulbs and have been thinking of trying some 14K bulbs next.
<<A good solutionbut I feel a change to 10K (for what you are aiming) would be best>>
I do replace them every 12 months.
Thanks for your time to reply,
<<Happy to share EricR>>

55 Gallon Mixed Reef Lighting Question - 7/03/2010
I recently upgraded from a 29g to a 55g tank.
<What, no hello? No offer of free food? I'm hungry! ;)>
My lighting system consisted of 96w T5HO 36w, T8NO, and 28w T5 NO which altogether still only covers half
of my new tank. My question is this I can either afford a 30" 250w MH fixture that also has 130w power compact actinic supplementation, or I can buy a 48" T5 fixture with four 54w T5's.
The four footer would cover my tank better
<Unless you suspended the halide>
but would it keep my Birdsnest and LPS alive?
<Depends partly on placement...both should do fine>
Also If the metal halide is the better option, my tank has a plastic strip on the top of the tank right in the middle can I cut this out so I can place my metal halide in the middle without it blocking all of my light?
Or is this some kind of support that keeps my tank from exploding?
<I'm not going to recommend you start dicing away at the tank's bracing...it's likely there for a reason>
It does not feel like it has much tension on it but I thought I should ask anyway. Once again I humble myself to
ask your opinion.
<It's always a better idea to purchase lighting for the animals you intend to keep, not "for the tank". If you intend on purchasing more SPS, then suspending the halide might be a better option, and then you can place LPS on the sides of the tank if you decided to keep a mixed reef. If you intend mostly on LPS/softies, or want a more uniform lighting, go with the T-5 (just make sure they have individual parabolic reflectors)>
Thanks for all you guys do!
<Mike Maddox>

Upgrading Lights/Reef Lighting 6/29/10
Hello again,
<Hello Zach>
I am currently running 2, 24w T5 HO actinics, 2, 24w T5 HO 12K's, with 2, 14w NO T5 actinics, and two 18w NO T8's with 10k's on my 29g reef system. I am thinking of upgrading to a 250w metal halide with two 65w
actinic pc's. My inhabitants are 1 Birds Nest Coral, 1 Hammer Coral, a few candy canes, Green Star Polyps, assorted false corals, and a few Zoanthids.
I want to keep some more SPS corals and maybe a clam. My question is would my current lighting work or should I splurge and buy the metal halides.
This is a small tank and I dont want to burn everything and make fish stew so any input would be much appreciated.
<Your current lighting array is fine with the exception of all those actinics wasting energy
and doing little for photosynthesis. Replacing two of the T5 HO actinics, and one of the T5 NO actinics with 10 or 12K lamps will greatly increase your PAR value which will benefit light loving corals and clams. James (Salty Dog)>

R6: Reef Setup Critique 06/13/10
It's been a couple hours since I have emailed you guys so I guess it's time to bug you again.
<<No worries Mike>>
Onto the lighting...the tank has a canopy with 2 VHO's (I'm going to run actinics on this) and 3 mogul sockets for 400W metal halides.
<<I hope there is some means of venting air/heat from this canopy>>
What brand bulbs do you guys like?
<<Often, what you pay for is what you get Some bulbs worth looking at include offerings from Ushio, Hamilton, Phoenix and Aqualine-Buschke (not necessarily in that order). Im currently trying out the CoralVue ReefLux 10K bulb and thus far consider this my fave among 10K bulbsbut it is still early in the testing>>
Being that I have actinics would you recommend 14k or 10k?
<<A multitude of factors at play here (do peruse WWM re), not the least of which is the planned stocking of this system. Generally my preference would be 10Kmore natural appearance, better PAR/penetrationbut if this tank is not going to house high light requiring organisms the 400w 10K may prove to be too much; considering the close proximity of the bulbs to the waters surface determined/limited by the use of the canopy, in which case less potent 14K bulbs may prove more appropriate for the organisms being kept>>
<<Happy to share EricR>>

R7: Reef Setup Critique 06/14/10

Eric, Should I downgrade to 3 x 250W MH's or maybe just 2 x 400W on each end of the canopy?
Mike Z
<<Hi Mike I would keep the number of bulbs over this 6 tank to three. And if I recall accurately this will be a mixed reef so 250w bulbs should be plenty strong enough (again, many factors can affect this e.g. bulb type/brand//color temperature, water clarity, reflector quality, etc.), even with the less than optimum reflectors I would expect to find in a canopy installation. Organisms with high light demands can be placed higher up in the water column and or more directly beneath the bulbs. The lower wattage bulbs would certainly help with energy consumption, and may also help with heat gain. EricR>>

55 gallon reef set-up, stkg., lighting f's...  5/19/10
Hey Crew hope this find everyone well,
<I'm a bit blurry from IPA sampling ayer>
My wife and I have been keeping fish only saltwater aquariums for about 5 yrs, and now we are setting up our first reef. It's a standard 55 gallon 48" by 13" x 20". So far we've set the tank up with 60 lbs of sugar fine aragonite, and a Marineland T5 HO Deluxe Strip light that has 4 - 54watt bulbs. Two Marineland Daylight bulbs and two Actinic bulbs giving a total of 216 watts of light.
<I'd ditch/replace at least one of the actinics...>
The 60 lbs of sand seem to be giving in about 2.5 to 3 inches of sand bed.
We're planning to added between 50 and 70 lbs of live rock over the next month to form the back bone of the filtration along with a protein skimmer.
After the tank has cycled and been stable for at least a month we plan to start adding animals slowly at 2 to 4 week intervals.
The only fish we plan to add are 1 Clownfish, 1 Royal Gamma, and 1 Firefish.
<Mmm, do read on WWM re the Grammatid and separately Firefishes... these are often incompatible in such small systems... and Microdesmids really are social animals... depending on species, should be kept in twos or more...
not singly>
Coral wise we are wanting to keep a Colt Coral, Pulsing Xenia, Colony Polyp, Candy Cane Coral, Frogspawn Coral, Hammer Coral, Fox Coral, and a Brain Coral.
<Then I definitely would be reading re Actinic light, switching out... for more "white">
Plus a Derasa Clam,
<This animal may need more light in particular... perhaps a "spot" pendant can be arranged, shined down on it>
and some Cleaner shrimp.
Our questions: Are we heading in the right direction and will our stocking plan work? If not we're open to any and all suggestions.
<Do take the time, enjoy reading re the animals you list here... on WWM, elsewhere... Take good notes, and do write back if you have further questions, concerns. Bob Fenner>

Re: New Setup, Lighting 4/23/10
Thank you for your help. Since I only can use a fixture about 16-inch wide (my tank is built in the wall), I have the following options:
1) 48 inch 6x54W Sunlight Supply Tek Light High Output Fluorescent Lighting Fixture
2) 48 inch Current USA Nova Extreme 8x54W T5HO with 4 WHITE Lunar Lights (LOUD FAN? QUALITY?); comes with Bulbs: 4x54W-10,000K Daylight / 4x54W-460nm Actinic
3) 48 Inch 6x54 Watt AquaticLife T5 HO Light Fixture w/ 4 BLUE LEDs; it comes with three 48" T5 HO 54W Actinic / Blue Lamps, three 48" T5 HO 54W 10,000K Lamps, and four 1W Lunar LEDs.
Currently I have only soft and LPS corals but in the future I would like to have some giant clams and some SPS corals.
<Might be worth investigating MH fixtures to give you more stocking flexibility.>
My tank is 2x2x5
Could you please tell me which unit would work best for my tank and which you would recommend?
<I have not used any of these models specifically, I do have a Current USA fixture I use for a freshwater planted tank and am happy with it, although the fan is a little loud. I would check out some of the bigger forums/BBs to get opinions on these specific models from a wide range of users.>
Re: New Setup, Lighting 4/23/10

So I would be better off with something like this?:
<That is probably a better way to go long term than PCs then deciding you need to upgrade your lighting for new livestock.>

Lighting/Reef Lighting ?? 3/15/10
Good day crew,
<Hello Chris>
I have a 155 gallon (6 foot bow) that I am slowly turning into a reef (that's the plan anyways).
My suspended light contains 3 x 175 20k mh and 2 vho actinics I am currently running the lights for 12 hrs per day with my refugium running opposite.
Problems & Questions are:
1) I currently have a glass lid on top of the tank. I have removed the back plastic strip in an effort to allow evaporation. Would you recommend removing the entire lid?
<No, what for, what is the problem you have?>
2) The light is currently situated approx 16" above the glass...Should I increase this distance? If so, how high up should I go.
<What is the reasoning behind this?>
3) Should I be reducing the amount of time that the MH are left on?
<I think 12 hours is a bit much, may want to drop it down a couple of hours. Again, I haven't a clue as to why you want to do this.>
4) Would it affect my tank in any way if I was to remove one of the actinics and replace with a full spectrum (Makes the room way too blue when only the actinics are on).
<As long is the unit is capable of running one light.>
Please advise your thoughts.
<? >
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Yet Another Redundant Lighting Question   1/31/2010
Hello Crew,
<Hello M.D.>
Once again I am faced with a decision only your years of experience can help me make. OK, maybe I'm pushing it but I would appreciate your advice.
My peninsula style 100 gal reef aquarium is currently illuminated by a pair of 250w 14000k DE Ushio bulbs mounted in Lumen Max 3 reflectors, bulbs parallel to the long sides of the tank. These are quite large so to simulate dawn to dusk lighting I only have room for a pair of 36" 39W T5 14000k bulbs within the canopy.
<I would have had one of these at 20000K>
The canopy is fully enclosed but well ventilated and places the bottom of the fixtures 12 1/2 " from the water's surface. This arrangement works well enough but I would like to see more fluorescence from some of my corals.
My plan is to replace the 14000k T5 bulbs with Geissmann pure actinics but this would eliminate the dawn to dusk effect.
<Why? Can't you use the T5's for this anyway? To get more colour you could play around perhaps with one purple (pure actinic) and one blue (20000K) here>.
To compensate I plan to add an additional HQI fixture to the canopy which would fit nicely between the two Lumenmax, the bulb perpendicular to the long sides of the tank.
<Ok, but this will mostly light just the centre of the tank, not all the way along like the T5's, but could look nice>
Here then, is my question. Should I use a 70W or a 150W bulb here? The actinics and the additional halide would be on simultaneously primarily for evening viewing after the 500W of primary lighting is off. Energy conservation dictates 70W but I don't want the tank's illumination to vary too much at this time of day from the current pair of 14000k T5's.
<If this is purely for a visual 'dawn/dusk' effect then the 70W might be more relevant. If you are hoping to get some photosynthetic benefit as well, then you will be better off with the 150W, although this will be brighter>.
I realize this is a minor concern when compared to some of the horror stories you deal with on a daily basis but I would appreciate your input.
<No problem at all>

Upgraded <reef> Lighting 1/27/10
Good Morning Crew!
<Hello Jeanne, James here with you.>
Hope this finds you all well.
<I'm fine.>
I've asked some odd and as of late often antagonistic questions of you in the past,
<Is no problem, is what we do.>
so I thought I might be able to glean a little bit of useful knowledge from you this time around. :) James might recall a few correspondences discussing a 55g of my fathers that I've been working with him on over the past year.
<I do recall/recognize your name, but as to the individual query, no cigar. I've likely answered 3000+ queries in the last few years and placing individual queries with names would be nearly impossible. Your place of employment does stand out as my brother-in-law retired from Stryker as VP of Finance (Kalamazoo Headquarters) and now resides in AZ along with the rest of my wife's family.>
This question is in regard to this system which for the rest of you has almost completed a 180 in terms of health and I'm happy to report the success of keeping a small colony of Zoanthids happy in the tank.
Not an enormous feat for many of the reef keepers across the world, but for this particular system... think of landing on the moon for the first time. I believe the biggest part of that particular success is a few weeks ago the lighting system was upgraded from regular fluorescent lighting to 216w of T5 (2x white; 2x actinic) + blue led moonlights.
<You've found the missing piece of the puzzle.>
Since adding this new lighting system there has been an expected algae bloom in the tank. Diatoms are whisked into the water column almost daily in an attempt to keep things clean, most rocks have a 'healthy' coating of filamentous green algae of some sort (hair?) and a few patches of bubble algae have been spotted also.
<Ah, nutrient levels need to be controlled. Do you use an efficient protein skimmer and/or chemical medial?>
The photoperiod has recently been scaled back to compensate and we're awaiting results from that adjustment before taking other measures such as a few more snails, maybe a lawnmower... Anyways, my questions today is that since the implementation of the new lights there has been an explosion of bubbles coating everything (rock, gravel, glass, all underwater equipment), and I'm not sure what to think. My theory is that the new light has increased photosynthetic activity in the algae and that the bubbles are the resultant oxygen accumulating, another theory we've discussed is maybe nitrogen gas, but I don't have a way to test it other than patiently waiting for a bubble to surface and seeing if it catches on fire with a lighter. :)
<May want to grab some sand/gravel and bring to the surface to smell/detect hydrogen sulphide.>
Seriously though, is it something to worry about? Is this an indication something is wrong (ex: too much dissolved gas in the system; something breaking down) Should we continue to blast the bubbles in hopes that things stabilize (which is/has been a daily thing and most days could be done 2-3x just to keep things clean)? Just hoping for some insight, the only thing I could find on bubbles was microbubble subjects from skimmers and such.
<Since this coincides with your new lighting, and all animal life is fine, I would carefully continue to observe. Nitrogen gas bubbles generally form on the surface of the sand/gravel bed, not the entire tank. Have you tested for nitrates recently? Is possible that the more intense lighting and an excess of nutrients may have something to do with this, as in excess CO2 being produced from the sudden increase of photosynthetic activity,
<<? O2, RMF>>
or the timing of the events could/may just be coincidental. Mr. Fenner may also comment here with his vast store of knowledge/experience.
James (Salty Dog)>
Jan Dodes

Re Assorted SW Questions/Reef Lighting 1/26/10
Thanks for the rapid reply James!
<You're welcome, Drew.>
Regarding my tank being fully stocked, do you think it would be unwise to add a Flame Angel or C. argi as well? Just to make absolutely sure.
<Your tank's length and width are not suitable for these fishes.>
Good to know about my clowns' behavior, I'll try out the Chemi-Pure, and I'll take your advice on the Pistol Shrimp. Thanks for these replies.
<You're welcome.>
I'll stick with the 14k on the MH, so now I'm looking into some additional actinic supplementation. I've been looking at the various LED's, like the one you mentioned, and I've been having a hard time finding good accounts
as to whether they will be noticeable through my 250W MH? What would your thoughts be on me using a Current Nova Extreme 2x24 T5 fixture with an 1 ATI Blue-Plus and 1 ATI True Actinic as supplementation to my MH?
<If you already own this fixture, then yes, use it. Otherwise, it will be more economical to use an Ice Cap LED tube which sells for much less and will not generate a noticeable amount of heat into the system, something you may want to think about, especially with the use of the 250 watt MH.>
Thanks again!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting/lighting articles, SW, Cnid.s   1/9/10
Hello Crew!
First, I hope this is not too long winded! I am going to purchase a new lighting system for my new setup (using an old light fixture right now, PC 260 watts) and of course came here to read about lighting. I do seem to find some conflicting information in the lighting articles though.
<Mmm, to be expected... they span some four decades of writing, and present more than one person's input>
For instance in this article it states nothing more than normal fluorescents are needed and the other technologies are 'way over the top' (not a literal wording, just the message):
<Very olde>
Perhaps that article should be labeled as a dated piece like this one:
<Ah yes. Good idea>
So all well and good if I consider those two outdated, and I consider this article:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm
This makes no mention of T5's, so I am guessing it is a bit dated as well?
<All are dated... some not as much>
Of course if I knew more I would be glad to help, but I am learning quite a lot every time I visit the site.
<Good... and please note. Re such "gear" questions, it is strongly advised that you read the current bulletin boards re the more/most recent choices, and actual end-users (hobbyists) input re>
So this leads to my real question(s!); I have a 75 gallon tank, 48" long x 21" deep, with a water depth of 14" to 15" (considering water level and sand bed). I currently have:
BTA (Entacmaea quadricolor)(settled itself at the bottom of the tank)
Zoanthids & Palyzoas (scattered in depth, bottom to high in the tank)
'Cabbage' leather (Sinularia dura)(mid-high in tank)
Monti Cap (Montipora capricornis)(high up in the tank - growing well)
Frogspawn (Euphyllia divisa)(mid-tank - growing a new head)
Candy Canes (Caulastrea echinulata)(mid-high in tank)
Ricordea yuma (high in tank)
Would you have any recommendations on my placements?
<I would not more any of these presently. I would take special care to observe the behavior of the BTA every time you view the tank. It may well have "troubles" with your other Cnidarians over time here>
I would like to be able to keep a clam or two.
<Could be done>
As stated earlier, my current lighting system consists of a 4ea 65 watt PC fixture, 2 actinic bulbs and 2 10K bulbs. Is this enough light for what I have and what I potentially want to have?
<Mmm, yes. Is sufficient. Perhaps not "ideal" or maximized in effect, practice, but suitably bright (intense) and functional (in light quality)>
I am considering purchasing a 6 bulb 54 watt T5HO fixture to replace my current setup. I really do not want to get a metal halide setup if I can avoid it due to energy costs and heat (although common thinking may be incorrect that T5's use less power per lumen and generate less heat than metal halides?).
<This is so>
Any recommendations are very welcome.
Thanks in advance for your answer.
Helmut Fritz
<Thank you for your intelligent discourse. Bob Fenner> 

Re: lighting/lighting articles 1/9/2010

Thank for the reply. Would it be more optimal to go with a 6 bulb T5HO (324W) fixture vs. my current 4x65W PC fixture?
I know in the end it is lumens and quality, but the T5HO's are supposed to be brighter (could be a subjective term there based upon bulb color though).
<The lower "T" technology is progressively better... in terms of light quality and cost per value>
Are there any T5HO bulbs that replicate a full spectrum (like those old Vita-Lite Supreme's)?
<Mmm, some that come very close>
Most of those I have seen are concentrated in blue and 10K and 6500K. If not, what mixture would be recommended?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/t5self.htm>
In addition, is it beneficial to run the moonlight LED's at night? Some  or all of the time?
<At night alone IMO/E>
And in the comment below on the T5's using less power per lumen and generating less heat doing so, were you agreeing with that comment (I believe you were!) or stating that common thinking is incorrect and metal halides and T5HO's are fairly equivalent?
<The T-5s are superior in terms of useful photonic energy produced per quanta of potential consumed... and "produce" much, MUCH less waste heat.
Metal halides are more/useful for deeper systems, situations where cost per function is not "so" important, and their lights shimmering "looks" are desired>>
Sorry if I did not get it the first time around!
<No worries. Clarity is pleasurable>
Would you recommend one system over the other? MH vs. PC vs. T5 (in consideration of my current reef keeping desires)?
Thanks again!
<For you here... the T5s. BobF>

 I wanted some help if possible! I have a 3x2x2 marine aquarium that has been running for 4 months. Ive a 150-watt metal halide light and also 2 blue tubes with reflectors. I have a few soft corals and a rose bubble tip anemone. I am doing the Berlin method system with live rock and protein skimmer but I wanted to add another 150-watt metal halide light but was wanting to (know) if that would be too much lighting for my aquarium. I have spoken to a few marine shops and some say yes add another, and some say no it would be too much. What do you think?
Ive attached a picture of my tank for you to see, thanks again
From Alison

A. What a lovely aquarium you have Alison! It is apparent you have done your studying concerning proper set up and arrangement of the components here. To respond directly to your query, yes, you could have another 150 watts of Metal Halide light here but this is a qualified yes or at least a yes with a proffered explanation.

            I would like to ask you in turn if youre aware of the consequences of doubling the lighting here? Principally, the issues of increased metabolism and its related effects on water quality, your maintenance And the generation of waste heat, increased evaporation And lastly, the increased cost of operation of another 150 watts per hour of the proposed added fixture? Lets elaborate on each of these. 

            The rates of physiology of fishes and invertebrates are directly linked with temperature, and for photosynthetic life, with the availability of PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) Increasing one or the other will boost the metabolism of your livestock and its use of foods, soluble biominerals increasing wastes and possibly undesirable algal growth. The worst scenario is if something were to go wrong in the system, the boosted light would make things much worse, much more quickly. Do you want to take this risk?

            Having more heat, light will definitely add to your rate of water evaporation, likely much more than doubling the current rate. Do you want to top off daily? This may be necessary. And is increasing the humidity in the house an issue now? It will become more so.

            Are you charged with the electrical cost for this tank? The operation of the lighting is very likely the single largest expense. Please take a look at your electric bill there will be a stated charge for cost of power by the kilowatt hour (the equivalent of running one thousand watts of consumption for sixty minutes) It is easy to calculate the direct cost of all components, by their measured or stated consumption levels

            I would propose that if you do want to increase your light intensity, that you look into switching out the current fixture for one of 250 watts instead of adding another 150 and if so, that you grade the increase in intensity here by using sheets of flame-proof screening (such as that used for gardens), removing a layer every few days, to prevent burning your livestock.

            Otherwise, if this were my system, I would not increase the lighting for all the reasons stated above. It is lovely and fully functional as it is, and adding more light would really not be of great benefit Instead it might well shorten your livestocks lifespans, and greatly increase your maintenance Aspects that Im sure wed both rather not address.

Cheers, Bob Fenner

Lighting Question/Reef Lighting/Selection 12/17/09
You guys run a great website that has guided me greatly through the last five years of my reefing hobby.
<Why thank you, Ryan, glad you are learning/enjoying.>
I have never run a tank over 40 gallons in that time. However, I have upgraded to a 165 gallon tank (8' long x 21" wide x 19" deep) with a 60 gallon sump/refugium.
<A great size.>
I want to keep SPS, LPS, Softies, Zoos, and most importantly Deresa, Maxima, and Crocea clams (I wish to have the clams in the substrate). My question is about lighting. I am debating between having 4x175 watt MH with 2x96 pc actinic, 3x175 MH with 2x96 watt pc actinic, 3 x 250 watt MH with 2 x 96 watt pc actinic, or a 250 watt MH on one side above the SPS and clams and 2 x 175 watt MH and 2 x 96 on the other side above the LPS and
softies. Which one of these setups (or another setup that you would recommend) would be best for the wide range of species that I want to keep? And, what Kelvin do you recommend (mostly thinking of the clams)?
<I would go with your first choice, 4x175 watt MH with 2x96 PC actinic, and I would use 10K lamps.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting Question/Reef Lighting/Selection 12/17/09
Sorry about writing two emails, but after sending the last one I thought about it and realized that I should elaborate more on the Kelvin question.
What I meant to say is that I would prefer to use 14k (because I assume that that Kelvin will show the color in the clams and corals better). So, will the coral and clams be healthy with the 14k or do I really need to go with 10k?
<I would go with the 10K lamps, less intensity is wasted and you should get a good amount of color with the two actinics providing they are staggered.>
Thank you and sorry for the two separate emails,
<Not a problem, and you're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Ryan Lundstrom

Re Lighting Question/Reef Lighting/Selection 12/17/09

Thank you very much. I am very impressed with the quickness of your replies. I will do what you recommended.
<Do keep in mind that this is my opinion, other peoples opinions can be different. I just feel that the 10K lamps are a better light source for SPS and clams, and do not waste intensity. I have switched over to Ice Cap 10K lamps some time ago and I did see an improvement in my SPS growth. You may be interested to read part of an email I received from Steven Pro, VP of sales at Ice Cap. "Although I will say that the amount of blue in a 10,000 K lamp is something that is not universally well understood. When looking at the spectral chart of our 10,000 K versus 14,000 K versus 20,000 K lamps (or that of other respected companies such as Ushio for example), there is
no more blue in the 20,000 K lamps. In fact, all three color temperatures have the exact same amount of blue in them. The way manufacturers get a lamp that appears more blue is not to add more blue to the 20,000 K lamp, but to remove the green, red, and yellow from the lamp." With that said, it is the green, red, and yellow that our shallow water corals and clams benefit more by than the blue.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Ryan Lundstrom

Saltwater Transfer and Reef Lighting 11/27/09
I enjoy all that your website has to offer and have read many helpful articles. Fantastic website!
<<Thank you We are happy to know you find the collective efforts here of benefit>>
But, after hours of research I am coming up short on a few questions.
Hope you can help.
<<I have my moments [grin]>>
I've got a question on saltwater transfer pumps.
I am trying to transfer saltwater from my Brute trash can in the basement to my 90 gallon display tank.
<<I see>>
I have 12 ft of vertical and 15ft of horizontal piping all in 3/4'' ID vinyl tubing.
<<Mmm The diameter used, and tendency of this material to collapse just from the weight of gravity, makes your project more difficult. I suggest re-plumbing with PVC pipe (the flexible variety is fine if you wish, as it will not collapse like the vinyl tubing) with an inside diameter of 1, preferably>>
I tried my Rio 3100 submersible pump which will get it upstairs but will only trickle into my sump.
<<Indeed These pumps dont handle head-pressure well at all>>
Are there any pumps or methods that you could recommend to get my pre-made water up to my tank so I dont have to carry buckets?
<<Yep I use two very similar systems to transport both pre-made saltwater to my display, as well as filtered freshwater to my top-off reservoir. I have a vertical lift of about 10 with a horizontal run of about 25 and use Mag-Drive 18 submersible pumps plumbed to 1 flexible PVC. This make/size pump works very well for me and one would probably serve your situation too, especially if you upgrade the plumbing. I would also very strongly suggest you install a contact-switch to operate the pump at the point where the water terminates. This is a simple spring-loaded push-button switch that must be pressed and held to operate the pump. This is a bit of extra electrical work (extending and routing the pump cord along the plumbing route), but doing so is the absolute best way to NOT flood your floor with this automated water transport system. Installing such a switch means you have to stand and watch the vessel/tank fill while pressing the button and activating the pump. Once the desired amount of water is transferred, you release the button and the pumps stops. This also happens should the phone ring, someone knocks at the door, or some other distraction occurs, and you walk awayget the picture?>>
Also while I'm asking, I have a problem with lighting. My tank is made out of acrylic and the tank hood measures 47 1/2'' wide which makes finding a suitable light to fit very difficult. To make matters worse my hood is about 6"deep.
<<Mmm, yesnot easy to work with aside from maybe a DIY T-5 system>>
I like the looks of my oak top and would like to keep it in addition to reef lighting. I am currently using a cheap 2 lamp 36" Coralife fixture until I find an upgrade. I would like to try fluorescent lighting due to heat and space confinements.
<<Fluorescents get hot too, especially high-output unitsyou will still need adequate ventilation>>
I am very new to reef keeping and would be happy to have an anemone for my clowns as well as some very beginner corals.
<<Do research WWM re our cautions and reservations with such systems (water quality issues, mixing sessile and motile inverts, etc.)>>
The tank measurements are 48"x18"x24" but like I said the hood only allows a 47 1/2" work space.
Any Info would be a huge help.
<<Do check out online the available retro-fit T-5 HO lighting gear available. You should be able to find something you can make fit>>
Thanks in advance,
<<Happy to share Eric Russell>>

Re: Saltwater Transfer and Reef Lighting 12/04/09

Thanks for all the helpful info.
<<Quite welcome>>
I'm taking your advice on the Mag 18 pump, piping, and switching.
<<Excellent You will find the Mag-Drive pump to be a big improvement over the Rio unit>>
Im glad you shared your experience on how to transfer saltwater.
<<Was my pleasure>>
I'm sure it will prove to be a real money/time saver.
<<Ah yes! I do 50g water changes at a time and have even semi-automated draining of the display (I turn a valve and the water drains to the sewer system)hauling buckets to drain and refill was not a long-term option [grin]>>
As far as the lighting is concerned, I think I will try a 36" 6-lamp T5 HO fixture made by Current, the Nova Extreme Pro.
<<Okayshould serve fine>>
I have an open back on my aquarium top combined with the fans on the fixture and maybe some additional fans should keep it cool enough (I hope).
I will do more research on your site before putting in corals.
<<Very good>>
Once again, thanks for taking time to assist me in my reef adventures.
<<Any time my friend Eric Russell>>

Reef Lighting 10/15/09
<He Terrence>
I need help in regards to lighting a SPS tank. I am setting up a standard 75 gallon tank, 48x18x20. I have a 150 watt HQI setup from a previous tank that I took down when I moved. I am trying to figure out if I should buy another one of these fixtures and run 2, 150 watt or upgrade to two 250 watt systems. I would like to be able to have SPS close to the bottom and also plan to have a clam or two.
<Two 150 watt HQI lamps should give you enough light providing you go with 10K lamps. The 10K lamps will give you more PAR value than bluer lamps and are better appreciated by SPS corals and clams.>
Thanks in advance,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Basic Reef Lighting/Reef Lighting 9/18/09
Dear Crew,
I don't know what I would do without your wonderful website and fast responses.
I have 55g with LS, LR, and skimmer. I would like to make it a reef system.
I can't afford to buy a $500+ system plus electric bills. So the few questions are:
Will black or chrome fluorescent shop light from Lowes with two GE Sunshine(32W 2800 Lumens, CRI 86, 5000K each) bulbs allow me to keep soft, hard corals and clams?
If not, with the setup above can I keep any of the above mentioned species?
What do I need to add to the system above (of course at reasonable price) in order to keep these species?
<You would be much better off looking for a fixture that uses T5 lamps.
They have close to twice the intensity as T12's and are much more energy efficient.
I do suggest reading here and linked files above.
Can I place the shop light directly on top of open aquarium or perhaps on top eggcrate?
<If a glass top is incorporated into the system, yes. Definitely not recommended placing over open water.>
Thank you for your answers.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting A Frag Tank/Reef Lighting 9/3/09
Greetings WWM,
I'm in the process of setting up a 4' x 2' x 12" frag tank. It will be primarily SPS, I was thinking of buying a friends old Sunlight Supply Maristar metal halide/T5 fixture. My only concern is that it is a magnetic ballast which can be rather heavy and loud.
<Mmm, the Maristar fixtures come with dual electronic ballasts. Your friend's fixture must be an old one. All ballasts operate on the magnetic principle, the electronic ballasts incorporate special circuitry to electronically control power to the lamps which makes them more efficient.>
I've also heard they can interfere with radio frequencies if not properly shielded.
<Nonsense. I can set my battery operated radio on top of my non-electronic MH ballast with no RFI noted.>
Another fixture I'm intrigued by is the Aquatic Life HID/T5 fixture. I understand the "spotlight" reflectors are popular in Asia and Europe.
I'm concerned with the lack of fans or any par tests. Have you any experience with these fixtures ?
<This fixture's internal electronic ballasts work in conjunction with a special aluminum housing to help dissipate heat away from the fixture without the use of fans, and, this fixture is not designed to be enclosed. As far as my experience with them, I have none. Would be better to post this question on one of the reef forums where you will get feedback from actual users of this fixture.
James (Salty Dog)><<Well done James. B>>

Lighting/Reef Lighting 6/28/09
Hey Crew,
<Hey Carter>
Once again, thanks for the truly amazing and helpful job you do.
<You're welcome.>
I'm searching for a little guidance here. Any words of wisdom would be very much appreciated.
I've had a 26 gallon FOWLR for a while now, and decided I wanted to upgrade to a larger reef tank. So, I went out and purchased a 55 gallon tank and a set of Nova Extreme Pro 4x54 watt HO T5 lights.
Long story short, the tank wasn't even through cycling yet and it started leaking (from the bottom where I couldn't get to it). So, I returned the tank and got a nicer brand. For just a little more money, I ended up with a 75 gallon tank.
It didn't cross my mind until I got home that lighting was likely going to be an issue for me now.
<Because of increased depth?>
That's where my question comes in...
Would Zoos/Star Polyps/Mushrooms/Leathers do ok under 2.88 watts per gallon of T5 HO with individual reflectors?
<Should be fine here. Compared to standard fluorescent light, you are likely closer to 4 watts
per gallon.>
What about a frogspawn or torch? I do have a set of 2x65 PCs that I could put on there too, but that would look kinda dumpy, and I'd have to get new bulbs for it.
<Frogspawn and Torch Corals require medium to high light intensity.
Keeping these corals at the upper level of the tank should give them the light the require. Keep in mind that these Euphyllia species are very aggressive as to allelopathy.
Do read here
for more info in these corals.
Anyway, any input would be greatly appreciated.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting, Reef 6/25/09
Hi WWM Crew!
<Hello Dan.>
So, I've just set up my 135-gallon tank. I've got the rock and substrate in there, got the skimmer all set... Now I'm working on lighting.
I have a closed 6-foot long hood that has this pesky support brace in the center that would prevent me from putting a full-length light. Thus I have a 36-inch area on each side to work with. I would like to keep fish,
anemones, and corals.
What would you use? I was thinking of two 380-watt fixtures (mixed metal halide/power compact) -- one on each side.
<This can work, it will leave some shadows/dark spots in the tank though (some like that look).>
Would you suggest something different?
<I have installed lighting for a few of these tanks over the years, I would go with T5s on a tank configured like this myself. You will save money on powering the lights, cooling and get an even spread of light throughout the tank. And you can keep anything with these you can with MH!>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Lighting, Reef 6/25/09

<Happy to assist.>
How much total T5 output would you use?
<I would personally shoot for 400 watts or so for a "keep what, where you want" type of system.>
Do you have a couple favorite brands?
<Not really...kind of a controversial subject, big reflectors vs. individual reflectors. My take and end experience is the light ends up reflected down for the most part anyhow. If you have a canopy do look into the "retrofit" types of kits. These can be had for about half the price.>
<Scott V.>

Lighting set up   6/4/09
Dear Crew,
<Hi there Eric>
Thanks for all the info so far, site is great as always! Just a quick question, I picked up a 48 inch light fixture from Sfiligoi (Infinity XR4, got it second hand... great deal!), and I was just wondering what kind of
tank it would work to light. It has 2 x 250W metal halides (10,000 or 14,000K) and 4 T5 lights, at 54W each. I've always wanted to do a bowfront tank, I was just wondering if this would be sufficient lighting to light up say a 175 Gal bowfront (72" wide), with the hope of doing SPS and clams?
<Mmm, yes.... such an arrangement of lighting and lamp types could work on up to a six foot wide, two foot deep body of water... for the types of animals described>
Or would it not be wide enough?
<I think it would be wide enough... and actually rather attractive... perhaps mounted a bit off-center, the more "light loving/needing" organisms placed more directly underneath the MH areas>
Would I have to stick to tanks 48" wide?
<Mmm, wouldn't have to stick thus>
Thanks a lot!
<Welcome in kind/sufficiency. Bob Fenner>

T5 Compaq combo? 5/5/09
Reef Lighting
Hello Crew,
<Hello William>
I'm completely confused by the mixture of info and lack of numbers to judge by when dealing with light bulb types, and I could use your help (and please correct me if I list something as a fact that is actually wrong).
I have a 72 gal bowfront tank, which is 48" long by 13" deep by 24" tall.
I also have the Coralife (Oceanic) 48 " deluxe light with Compact Fluorescents. It comes with 2- 24", 10k, 65 watt bulbs and 2-24" actinics (which I assume are 65watt as well), for a total of 230 watts of lighting.
I've been told this isn't enough for sps.
<Would be borderline for most light loving SPS corals, but there are a few species this lighting could support. Most etailers will list light requirements for species of corals they sell. In your case, based on the depth of your tank, corals requiring "moderate" light should survive in your system.>
I've taken LUX readings with the CF (don't have a par meter yet). Just below the water surface it's 5800 LUX , and my sandbed is at 1300 LUX. I converted LUX to PAR (but I haven't found any listing for the compact florescent coefficient to use so this is a guess) and get something like 116 at top and 26 at the bottom.
<Photosynthetically Active Radiation, often abbreviated PAR, designates the spectral range of solar light from 400 to 700 nanometers that photosynthetic organisms are able to use in the process of photosynthesis.
This spectral region corresponds more or less with the range of light visible to the human eye. Since we use lamps of the proper Kelvin temperature, I would be more interested in LUX values rather than PAR values for our purposes. I might add not to confuse lumens with Lux. Lumens is the total amount of light that a lamp is capable of generating, usually available on either the lighting package or from the manufacturer's data sheets. There are two values usually quoted for fluorescent tubes: initial lumens and design lumens. Initial lumens describe how much light it produces when first turned on. Design lumens describe how much light it will produce for a much longer term. After an initial 20 percent drop in brightness, the light output will slowly decrease over the lifetime of the tube. Lux is a unit of measure equal to lumens per square meter or, a measure of the actual intensity of the light falling over a specified area.
Because Lux depends on how the light gets from the bulb to the area, it can not be specified by the manufacturer, but must be measured by the aquarist.>
I need to bump my lighting in the tank. I want to add a single strip T5 HO fixture. This housing will be 3 inches wide, which is all the real estate I have left to sit a light on top of the tank. I estimate this new light will cost me around $140.
So here's the problem.
I can't figure how much more PAR this will add to the tank, and therefore whether it's worth it. I don't want to waste money by adding a light that really won't be felt, but I don't have the ready cash available to buy a whole new lighting system. I don't understand how to judge watts to PAR <Watts has nothing to do with PAR. The watt is used to specify the rate at which electrical energy is dissipated, or the rate at which electromagnetic energy is radiated, absorbed, or dissipated.>
between Compaq's and T5s and MH. Any help?
<If keeping SPS corals is your goal, I would wait till you have enough cash to replace the unit with a twin 150 watt HQI lighting system. Adding an additional T5 lamp for 140 bucks would not be a good investment.>
From what I've read, the new T5 HO's are just as good as MH's these days.
Is this true?
<Yes and no, will depend on the depth of tank and number of lamps used. In shallow tanks such as yours, the T5 HO is a good way to go. I personally like the look of metal halide lighting.>
If so, how do you judge how many bulbs you need? As I stated my tank is 48" long, 24" tall and 13" deep.
And lastly how do Compaq's compare to T5 HOs straight up?
<The T5's, in my opinion produce a larger light distribution pattern and produce more lumens watt for watt.>
Are 2, 24" 65watt 10k Compaq's equal to 1-48" T5 HO?
<No, we are comparing 130 watts to 54 watts.>
Are the CFs 1/2 as strong as the T5 HO?
<I don't believe to that margin, again, watt for watt.>
Are compacts equal to the older T5s?
<Likely close, but the T5's have an edge on efficiency.>
These are the kind of facts I could use right now.
<I suggest you read here and related articles/FAQ's.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

T5 or MH 4/4/09
Reef Lighting

Hi :)Hope all is well with you folks :))
<Still kickin'>
My tank specs
52"x30"x18" (LxHxW)
Substrate is 4"-5" DSB so the actual depth of the tank would be 23"-24".
Further, the water column is only 21" since the top 3" is occupied by the brace.
Photosynthetic life I look to sustain (some already existing in the tank)
* Leather coral
* Zoanthids
* Mushrooms
* Palythoa
* Moon/Pineapple coral
* Xenia
* Bubble coral
* Turbinaria
* Fungia (disc corals)
* Montipora
T5 seems to be quiet popular with reefers.
I was wondering if replacing my current 2x150W MH with 4x54W T5 is a good idea.
<I would not, you are only reducing the wattage by 84 watts, and trading off excellent
lighting for corals/clams and just to save a few watts, isn't worth the change, yet alone the cost of
the new lighting at $350.00 a pop plus shipping. Would be a long time before you would recover the
savings on your utility bill to make up the cost of the new lighting.>
The fixture I had in mind is the Giesemann Razor.
I would be using 2 of these and a line of high power LEDs (DIY) in between both Razor units to get a bit of shimmer lines :)
I need to change my existing light setup due to HEAT. Room reads 40 degrees
C with existing 2 MH and the chiller.
This is causing a vicious circle where the chiller runs more to reduce the temperature and throws more heat in the air and back again. All this totals to higher electricity bills.
<Are you running cooling fans in your hood? Is necessary and will help much in keeping the tank
temperature down and reducing cycling of the chiller along with adding more life to the lamps.>
The whole point of thinking of T5 was because it will not generate heat more than standard NO tubes. Am I correct in this assumption or am I way off?
<Watts produce heat, no other way to look at it. The T5 platform just provides more
lumens per watt, but they are still throwing off 54 watts of heat per lamp.>
I plan to screw the Razors to the top of my hood and put regular 8mm glass below them.
The distance between the bulbs and the 8mm glass would be half an inch.
The glass would be left open in the ends (short sides) to allow airflow.
Each of the Razor units would have independent 8mm glass panes below so I can service them independently.
End result, the bulbs would be 4"-5" above the water column. Would this be ok considering the above livestock?
<It likely would be fine. The most light loving corals may have to be placed at the mid level of the tank.>
Do I really need to have cooling fans with the Razor units (since they are in a closed hood)?
If I need cooling fans, which option would you suggest?
* 6 CPU fans above
* 4 CPU fans above pulling OUT air and 2 CPU fans (one on either side)
PUSHING in air.
* 2 extractor fans "http://www.cataindia.com/Fan-X-Mart-Matic.php"
model X-MART MATIC 10. I would hook these up to a thermostat so they would run only when the temperature would get to 40 degrees C.
These are high powered ones that are rated [ by the company :) ] each to ventilate a 10x10 room.
The fans would be mounted on top of the hood in the middle such that they pull air from the enclosed tubes which would get air flowing through the open side.
Please can you have a look and let me know what you think.
<Ah, this tells me you are running no cooling fans, not good, and is not helping your problem. If it were me, I'd go with two Ice Cap fans and mount so the air is blowing in, providing your canopy has an open back, and most do. The Ice Cap fans come with a temperature sensor that regulates the speed of the fan in proportion to the heat it senses. Use them myself and they are virtually silent. See here.
As to your lighting idea, I think your money would be better spent investing in two Ice Cap Electronic Ballasts, and along with the fans, would be much less than the cost of the T5 system you are contemplating, and should save you some money on your utility bill. The maximum current required for this ballast to drive a 175 watt MH lamp is 1.56 amps. They will also extend your lamp life, and the lamps tend to run a little cooler with electronic ballasts. The ballast can be found at the above link.>
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>

Re T5 or MH 4/4/09
Reef Lighting

Hi James
Thanks for the pronto response :)
<You're welcome.>
I am running two 6 inch exhaust fans in the current setup.
They are both pulling air out.
The hood is not open from behind.
<Are you also drawing air in from the sides of the hood? You need to be able to draw air into the hood while exhausting warm air out. Simply said, the air in
the hood needs to be exchanged.>
The problem is where I live!!
The ambient temperature is 41 degrees C in the day and 35 at night.
This is summer so will drop in 2 months but only by 5 degrees respectively.
<Where do you live, in Arizona or the Gobi Desert.>
When the MH are on they heat the water and the chiller needs to cool the water and thus adds to the heat.
<I do understand.>
One can't even remain in the room to enjoy the tank :(
<Unless one wants a sauna bath.>
That is the reason why I wanted to get out of MH.
Are you saying T5 will be no different?
<Oh, there will be some difference, but I'm thinking not enough to warrant the expense. Have you considered an energy efficient air conditioner for that room?
Even keeping at 32C would be much better than 40C.>
At present I have the MH 3-4 inches above water level in a wooden canopy/ tank cover.
There are 2 exhaust fans 6" each running when the MH come on.
They are attached near the MH and the canopy top is cut to fit them.
Basically, the hole is sized to slip the fans through and they vent the air pulled.
Standard setup.
My question is, will any kind of ventilation to push air out of the room help since the ambient temperature is so high ?
<Exhausting the air to the outside is an idea running through my mind, but I think it might be difficult to make it a decent looking set-up unless aesthetics are not a problem in this room. I'm thinking along the lines of a clothes dryer set-up. I guess if you flex hosed it from the back of the canopy down and to the outside would be a fairly clean looking install.>
Please help. I can buy one light setup and want it to work.
Staying away from clams or acropora is not a problem.
Just need a solution for the heat.
<The T5 system will help, but I'm wondering how much of an effect losing +/- 90 watts would be. I'm hoping my mentor/protégé will chime in here as I am not comfortable telling someone to go out and spend near $800.00 on lighting without being sure this is going to be a solution or even a drastic
improvement to your heat problem. The least expensive fix would be venting the warm air to the outside. That I feel would help you very much.>
<And to you my friend. James (Salty Dog)>

Re T5 or MH 4/4/09
Reef Lighting

Sorry I missed one more question
Why do people say T5 runs cool??
<Maybe they mean the term like LL Cool J:)
Likely because it does put out more light per watt than NO/HO or VHO lamps.
I'm going to contact Steven Pro at Ice Cap lighting. A while back I was attending a Marine Conference in Detroit and was talking to Steve about the T5 system and he did make a comparison as to how many T5 lamps would be needed to obtain the same light output as a 175MH, but do you think I can remember, nope. I will send this along to him and get his input.
Wait a minute, would be much better turn around time if you did this.
Contact Steve here.
<Ditto my friend. James (Salty Dog)>

Re T5 or MH 4/5/09

Reef Lighting
Hi James
<Hello Ranjith>
The current MH needs to be properly setup anyways, as I have to buy the pendants and change my copper ballasts anyways.
The bulbs I use are 20 dollar bulbs I found at the hardware store (lucky find) they don't last more than 8 to 9 months.
Thus I don't mind spending a bit (500 dollars max) now.
However, want to spend it on the RIGHT hardware :)
Yes I plan the exhaust fan approach.
Nothing cleverly DIY but getting the electrical guys to cut my window a bit and setup the exhaust.
However, will this really help is what I wonder.
<It will help in keeping the tank temperature down, but obviously, your chiller is still going to be needed.>
Reason is that due to a heat wave, the temperature outside the house is 40+.
<Yikes, James, make a note never to visit Ranjith unless he has plenty of ice cold beer..>
So whatever air comes in will be not much cooler than that being vented.
<Bingo, but the hot air in the hood will always be vented out thus helping to keep the tank temperature down and thereby keeping the chiller from cycling as often as it does now.>
As an option, I am looking at LED lights. I came across a LED torch that runs off three 1.5v batteries. This has an amazing throw of 20 to 40 feet. Basically able to have a clear spot on the next building wall 30 feet away.
I think the lenses they use are the key.
<Am thinking so. I use LED flashlights and am amazed at the intensity they produce.>
Am I being dumb here?
<Don't know yet.>
They retail for half a dollar a piece.
I tested this on my Zoanthids and saw 70% polyp extension as I would with my MH.
If I got enough (100) of them wired close together AND supplemented with one razor unit, do you think I would even come out even ?
<Bottom line is knowing what the Kelvin temperature of the LED's are along with lumens intensity measured at your water depth.>
That way I need to spend 50 dollars for the LED light and 200 dollars for the razor.
I asked one electrician to wire a sample of small size to test it.
What experiment would you suggest to verify the effectiveness of this?
<If the Kelvin temperature was proper...between 6500 and 20,000, the next step would be to find an electrician with a LUX meter with a waterproof sensor to measure the light intensity of this rig, at the bottom of the aquarium. Even if it is small in size, placing the sensor directly under it would give you some idea whether this would even be feasible.
PFO Solaris markets LED fixtures designed for reef aquariums that are powered by LED lights .
They have been getting good reviews lately, but are rather expensive. I'm thinking they are in demand for people in climates like yours, as two sites I visited were out of stock or backordered on these fixtures. Your last option would be to have a fish only system with non light loving invertebrates, and go with using the DIY LED's.
I cannot offer you any more options. Based on your climate, there will be an expense keeping the temperature down, now it's time for you to choose the route you want to go. You may want to read a review of the Solaris system here.
<Ditto my friend. James (Salty Dog)>

"Moderate" lighting??? Also, an Anthias question for you... 03/27/09
Hey there, Crew!
<<Hiya Crystal!>>
So I've driven myself crazy with reading through the lighting FAQs and the low-moderate light corals FAQs.
<<Have you now>>
I am still doubting myself that I have the "right" amount of light that I need.
I have a 75 gallon Tenecor with approximately (guessing) 100 lbs. of live rock, live sand, skimmer in live rock filled sump, yadda, yadda, yadda. It's been up and running for five years with minimal stocking (have a love for tiny fish like gobies and blennies) so it's all sorts of stable and a very happy place to be a fish.
Here's the lighting question that I'd like an answer to -- even if it's only a personal opinion with no specifics (as I've learned that most "facts" of this addictive hobby are):
One 96W Actinic PC
One 96W 50/50 PC
One 96W 10K PC....all over a 20" tall tank.....would you call this "low" or "moderate" lighting?
<<Hmm Considering that two-thirds of the bulbs are Actinic and 50/50, I think this is in the bottom-half of the moderate scale (make sense?) and likely ideal for many of the Corallimorpharians and other organisms with similar lighting requirements>>
As in I can feel comfy making a home for mushrooms (especially Ricordea), zoos, and MAYBE even some LPS's that state "moderate" as the lighting needs?
<<Ah, yes Corallimorphs (as stated) and Zoanthids (though some Ricordea and Zoanthid species also do well/color up nicely under more intense lighting) should do welland for suitable LPS specimens I would look to the genus Plerogyra (Bubble Corals) and some of the Red Colored open brain species (red pigmented specimens seem to do better/have lower light requirements than green pigmented specimens)>>
Now for the Anthias question. Since my love of gobies and blennies and a Jawfish, oh my, has left me with a tank that does not have a whole lot of action from across the room.
<<Mmm, indeed Sounds like a tank that spends most of its time watching you [grin]>>
I've had my eye on adding an Anthias. GORGEOUS!
<<Agreed, though these fishes pose certain obstacles. Many species are difficult to feed, most all are easily intimidated by other fish, some species just dont do well in captivityandbeing haremic in nature, most species require others of their kind for their long-term physical and psychological wellbeingwhich makes the size of your tank a limiting factor here as well>>
Understand that they can be shy at first but eventually will swim around once they are comfy.
<<This is not a certaintydepending much on species selection and environment>>
And I think the fish I have are lovers, not fighters.
<<Many are relatively peaceful toward other fishesbut not when it comes to conspecifics. These fishes all utilize aggression to maintain their sense of order among the social group>>
The particular Anthias I'm interested in and can't seem to find all that much info/opinions about is the Ignitus Anthias (Pseudanthias Ignitus) or Flame Anthias.
<<Mmm, yeshas not been often seen in the West I think (and thus not documented), though it seems to be turning up more lately>>
Both the male and the female are awesome in coloring and I'd only be looking to get a bachelor or bachelorette. What, if any, opinions do you personally have about this fish?
<<From the little I have read/know, it seems this Anthiine species may be on par with Pseudanthias bartlettorum (Bartletts Anthiaswhich by the way, would make for a good alternative species here) re hardiness, ease of feeding, suitability to captive care I also think this fish will fare much better in a group than as a single specimen. Do consider a trio (male and two females)though if your tank is as lightly stocked as it sounds, four females and one male of this small Anthiine species might prove to be a better numbers>>
Hardy, shy, easy to feed, likes long walks on the beach and getting caught in the rain -- oops, not that one.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
<<You have' em>>
As always, thanks so much for any and all anecdotes and I look forward to hearing from you...
<<A pleasure to share Eric Russell>>

Opinions on lighting. Reef, t-5 lamp sel., colour   02/23/2009 Hi crew, <Hi Marc, Mich with you tonight.> Looking for a quick second opinion. I have a 75 gallon tank with LPSs and assorted soft coral. <Ahh! Sounds nice! I like seeing tanks that aren't dominated by SPS's.> I have 220 watts of t-5 lighting, right now I have one 10k, two 18k and one 6500 bulb. I'm looking at changing the bulbs, do you think the combination I have now, or 3 6500 and one actinic bulb would have more useful light for my corals? <I would not go with 3 6500 unless you are planning on doing a planted marine tank.> Or the same, <The same is fine, but if it was mine, I would go with at least 2 and perhaps 3 of the 10k. The lighting is more full spectrum and you will get better growth on your corals. I would not do the 6500 unless you have an interest in growing sea grasses or ornamental algae, and if you do, by all means go for it!> just preference? <Of course your own personal aesthetic plays a part as well. But I say more 10k!> Thanks again, <Welcome!> Marc <Mich>

Reef Lighting, incl. fluor. lamp sel.  2/19/09 Dear WWM Crew, <Rusty> I having trouble determining if the fixture I have will work for my reef tank. I plan to get a 6'x2'x2' 180 gal aquarium that I will be making into a reef tank containing moderate light corals. The light fixture I have is a 72" T-5 HO fixture with 8x80watt bulbs. The bulbs are the Giesemann brand and I have four blue actinic and four 50/50 daylight bulbs. I recently bought a LUX meter to test the intensity of my lamp. I placed the meter on the floor and held my lamp 2 ft. above the sensor and I only got a rating of 3,200 LUX. I fear this may be too low since natural sunlight produces about 10,000 to 20,000 LUX and even the low to moderate light corals have a saturation rate of 5,000 to 6,000 LUX. Are there any other 60" T-5 bulbs that have a higher output than the brand I mentioned. <Not that I'm aware of, but your lamp configuration is what is giving you low LUX values, four actinics and four 50/50's aren't going to do it. You can greatly increase the LUX value by going with 10K 80 watt lamps. If it were me, I'd go with seven 10K's and one actinic.> I know this sounds like a stupid question, but do VHO bulbs have a much higher output than T-5 bulbs in terms of intensity? <T5's boast the highest lumens per watt output of any fluorescent lamp on the market. Keep in mind though, "per watt". Six foot VHO lamps are 160 watts versus the 80 watt T5 lamp. Your fixture would be the equivalent of a four lamp VHO fixture in terms of intensity with all lamps being equal in Kelvin temperature.> Would I need a chiller if I use VHO's <Would depend on where you live, the temperature you maintain in your home, central air, etc.> or could I just turn my heater very low? <How would you maintain water temperature when the lamps are off during the nighttime hours? For keeping moderate light loving corals, the eight lamp fixture you have is fine. You just need to reconfigure the lamps. James (Salty Dog)> <<In other words... heaters are thermostatic... they won't run if the water is warmer than what they're set at. RMF>>

Re: Reef Lighting 2/20/09 The only T-5 bulbs that I can find in a 60" are 60% actinic/40% white, 11,000K bulbs, and 6,000K sun bulbs, will these work if I do a 7 of these to one actinic configuration? <Sure, go with the 11K lamps. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting For My Zero Edge Aquarium 2/18/09 Reef Lighting I've been working on my Zero Edge aquarium for over a year. The cabinet arrived last week, so now I need advice on lighting. <Is ironic, as I've been looking at their products on the web just minutes ago. Look pretty pricey but it appears the quality is there.> The size of the tank is 36" x 29" x 13.25" in depth. I am looking for a sleek looking light. I have been studying the Elos Planet II. I have been testing lights and it seems that a 24 inch metal halide pendant with T5 gives me the coverage. A 36" seems to light up my entire living room.! <Is there one lamp in the pendant?> I will have both soft and hard corals. With the tank being 13.25 inches in depth, will a 150w 14k pendant be enough? <OK, one lamp.> Someone suggested a 250w 14k, but would that be too much with the tank being shallow? I will be hanging the light from a bracket attached to the cabinet. Is 8-10 inches above the water be high enough? <Geez Paul, if it were me, I'd go with the 250 or the aforementioned Elos Planet II. Tridacnids and SPS will love it, and it will not be overkill. I happened to come across a chap who has an Elos Planet II for sale for $800.00 on one of the forums. Might want to take a look here. Seems like a good buy versus a new one at 1300.00. http://www.reefsanctuary.com/forums/drygoods-sale-trade/42908-elos-planet-ii-sale.html > Thank you, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Paul

Re: Lighting For My Zero Edge Aquarium    2/20/09 Reef Lighting Thank you crew (James) for your information, I still have a few questions. <You're welcome.> Since it has taken me over a year for my decision making on the tank and cabinet, I want to make sure the lighting is correct. <Understood.> I purchased a 36" Aquaticlife 1x150 14kHID with 3X39 watt 420/460 nm T5 HO light fixture. When I hung the fixture from the brackets, it took away from the look of the overall tank. It was not sleek enough. I hung it 6 inches from the top of the tank. When I turned it on the wash from the lighting lit up the entire room. <Difficult to avoid with that type of set up.> The tank is located in the living/family room. I experimented with the light and cut 4 pieces of black cardboard and covered the ends of the T5's which made it into a 24" light. The wash was so much less. If I go with the Planet II 24" 250w 14k with the T5's, will the 250w make it too bright? Is there a big difference between a 150w and 250w 14k light in brightness? <Yes, a 100 watt difference. Is this fixture available with just the 250 watt halide?> Because of the tank being only 13.5 inches deep, I will have a 1-2 inch sand depth. With 11.5 inches starting my rock formation, will it be too much light? <I don't think so. I used a 150 watt HQI on a 29 gallon tank and I didn't think it was too bright or too much light.> I plan to have the Acros centered at the top of the aquarium, the Acros will be 8 inches from the light. The softer corals will be placed lower in a stepped down look from the center of the tank. I am concerned with 1) coral bleaching from too much light (250w) <Bleaching generally occurs when corals do not get enough light, they expel their Zooanthellae.> because of the shallowness of the tank. 2) Having a major glare from too much light. Do you think the Elos Planet II 150w 14k with 4 T5's is plenty of light, or will I be better off with the Elos Planet II 250w 14k with 4 T5's lighting fixture? I just want to make the most informed decision. <Yes, when you are about to spend quite a few hard earned dollars on a light fixture, you want it to be right. For Acros, Monti's, clams, the 250 is not going to be too much light and for that matter, not too much for the softies being the light will be well above the water surface. I have visited a shop here in town that has a 450 gallon reef set up. He is lighting it with four, 400 watt halides with actinics, and he has softies galore just looking great. I have never saw mushroom anemones that large. To give you an example, a 100 watt metal halide has the same light intensity as three 48" T8 HO's. Metal halide lamps will average 65-115 lumens per watt. Now, if we multiply say 90 lumens by 250, we have 22,500 lumens, much less than direct sunlight which is a minimum of 32,000. The lamp lumens will vary depending on the Kelvin temperature of the lamp. For clarity's sake, the difference between the Lux and the lumen is that the Lux takes into account the area over which the luminous flux is spread. A flux of 1,000 lumens, concentrated into an area of one square meter, lights up that square meter with an luminance of 1,000 Lux. However, the same 1,000 lumens, spread out over ten square metres, produces a dimmer luminance of only 100 Lux. The 150 watt fixture may be enough, but considering it will be hanging 8" above the water surface, the intensity/lumens will drop some.> Have you had any pros or cons on the Elos Planet II light fixtures? <I'm not familiar with them but I've heard no negatives.> The reason Im studying the Elos fixture is because of its sleek looks. <Yes, very nice looking and appears to be a quality fixture.> Thanks for all of your information. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Paul

2/18/2009 Lighting - Little Information, Reading Sorry to bother you. I can't seem to figure out this lighting stuff. Will this light be sufficient in a tank 50cm deep and supportive of live rock, frog spawn, mushrooms, and an anemone: Current USA 48" Nova extreme T5 fixture 2x54w 10k/460nm? If so what bulbs should I use and will this work with canopy, or get to hot? Thanks for your help. <Hi, My immediate thought on reading your question is no, that is not an adequate amount of light to keep the invertebrates that you mentioned. However, to best answer your question I am going to need more information. What kind of Anemone? How much live rock? How large is your tank? What kind of filtration would you be using? All of those facts are important, as even with correct lighting, if your filtration system is inadequate, your animals will die. I would suggest that you start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm If you open that link, and look at the top of the page, you will see links to 45 different pages written about marine system lighting. I'm sure that the answers you seek will be found there. Lastly, please check your spelling and grammar before sending an inquiry. MikeV>

Re: Lighting Question, MH... 55 gal., SW, waste heat concern     I'm so very sorry to bother you again, but I have run across more conflicting info in the FAQ's and have another question. <No worries, Matt. This is why we're here.> Since my tank is a standard 55gal, would metal halide lighting be too hot and burn everything up? I have seen that it is recommended not to use MH lighting on a 55gal tank, but have also seem recommendations to use 2 150 watt MH pendants above this same setup. All of this conflicting info is starting to get confusing to me. Any input would be greatly appreciated. If the 2 pendants would be fine, how far above the tank should I keep them to minimize evaporation and bleaching of my corals? <First, let me preface this by reminding you that every set up is different. So, just because someone had heat issues with MH lighting over a 55gal that does not mean your set up will as well. Whether your tank will overheat depends on several factors. First, what is the highest temperature your tank has reached with your current lighting method? If it is in the upper levels of the acceptable range, then you should consider using more efficient equipment (such as cooler running return pumps or circulation powerheads) and/or increase cooling (by adding a chiller or fans) before upgrading to MH. Second, not all MH setups are the same as some are terribly inefficient. Consider going with a proper MH set up with a quality electronic ballast like the Icecap 150W ballast and bulb like the Phoenix 14k to maximize efficiency. Review this site for more information on efficiency: http://www.manhattanreefs.com/lighting. For reference, I live in Southern California where ambient temperatures can be quite high in the summer and I am able to hang a 150W MH set up 12" over my 24 gallon Nano Cube. I use a fan to blow cool air over the water surface to increase evaporative cooling and water temperature is table at 80-81 degrees even on the hottest days.> Thanks again Matt <You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

Lighting Question - please help, my corals HATE me!! Multiple Problems In Reef Tank 2/9/09 This is my first post here, although I read your forums almost daily. I have benefited greatly from the advice given here, although you wouldn't know it by looking at my very sad corals right now. My question is in regards to MH lighting and I think I have too much. I would like to know if I do in fact have too much, and what can be done to remedy this with my current setup. I am guessing I should switch to lower intensity bulbs, or can I just reduce my photoperiod? Here is what is going on - I have a 55 gallon setup with 2 MH bulbs, 250W each and 10K. I also have 2 actinics, 96W and 36 inch each. These are enclosed in a canopy hood. I obviously had a heat problem, so in addition to fans I bought a chiller. Heat seems to be managed ok. My photoperiod is only 5 hours/day currently. The bulbs sit approx. 8- 9 inches above where my first layer of LR starts. I do think my 55g is a little deeper than most - it is approx. 20 inches deep. <The MH lamps will provide plenty of light, I'd stop using the fluorescent lamps, cut down on heat/energy.> My main problem is algae. My soft corals seemed to be doing very well, but any hard corals that I tried succumbed to being over taken by algae. I have hair algae to be exact. In doing some research I learned that phosphates were likely the cause (were ranging around 0.2 - 0.3ppm). I bought a phosphate reactor and over the course of 3 weeks have gotten these down to non-detected. Still I have hair algae, although not as bad. My MH bulbs were 14 months old and my actinics were 6 months old, so I changed all 4 of them out (thinking bad bulbs were causing the algae). This is when my corals really started to go south. I acclimated too fast for one thing. I kept them on for one hour a day, and increased by an additional hour each day or two. <I don't think the acclimation was too fast.> My red Scolymia coral is bleaching, my bubble coral seems to be screaming at me (bubbles are deflating), my button polyp looks like he is receding, and my green open brain used to be gorgeous and now looks shrunk. The only 2 corals I have which look gorgeous are my finger leather and colt coral. I moved my red Scolymia into a shaded area at the bottom of the tank (question about him - when he started bleaching, I noticed inside his "mouth" opening that you can see white hard looking stuff. What is this? Is there any hope for him?). Also my fire coral, which I thought took higher lighting, yesterday looked very pale. Please help me to rectify this situation! Reduce my photoperiod? Switch to lower bulbs? Something entirely else? Here is my stocking list and tank parameters. I already know that you are going to say that I have way too many fish and this is causing my algae problems also. I agree, they were just so beautiful I couldn't stop buying them!! Should I trade back one or two or three? Truthfully, I thought I was compensating ok for them with the protein skimmer and phosphate reactor. Also, I feed every other day. <There is more to keeping corals than just providing light. What are your calcium, magnesium, nitrate, and pH levels?> Stocking list 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Hippo Tang, 1 Powder Blue Tang, 1 Coral Beauty, 1 Flamehawk, 1 Lawnmower Blenny, 1 Ocellaris clown Bubble Tip Anemone, Elegance Coral, button polyp, Fire Coral, Colt Coral, leather coral, red Scolymia, bubble coral, green tooth coral, green (with some red) open brain, crocea clam, orange ball sponge, yellow Acropora, and a red vase coral frag. <YIKES! Your tank is too small for these tangs and the BTA does not belong in this tank, they can/will move and sting corals in the process along with risking the fish to their sting. The BTA needs to go.> I have approx. 100 pounds of LR, various clean up crew snails and crabs, and mushrooms growing on my LR. I have a protein skimmer (AquaC), UV sterilizer, chiller, phosphate reactor, and I filter with a sump (with bioballs.....ack!). I use carbon sporadically. Water changes are weekly with RO water and automatic top-off is RO water buffered with reef calcium and reef buffer. I do not test for, <Do not test for? How do you know if you have the proper levels of calcium and magnesium which are both important and necessary for coral growth.> or add, any trace elements except what is present in my reef calcium (I think strontium and magnesium) Tank parameters (measured yesterday) temp hangs around 75.8 - 76.1 at night and climbs to 78 - 79 with halides on SG = 1.025 pH = 8.28 (taken 1.5 hours after lights on, with a pH meter) calcium = 420 ppm dKH = 10 NO3 = 20 ppm <Too high here, likely the cause of your algae problem.> PO4 = 0 - .05 ppm (hard to tell exactly with this test kit) Alk = 3.0 mEq/L <This is the same as dKH, no need to test for both. Meq/l times 2.8 will give you the dKH.> Any suggestions at all that you have for my tank I would greatly appreciate, even if it means getting rid of some fish and my bioballs. <Yes, your fish stocking level is too high and likely is why nitrate levels are high. Do the tangs a favor and find are larger home for them, will not last long in this system, especially the Powder Blue. Do read here and related articles/FAQ's. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm James (Salty Dog)>  

Lighting (Too Much?)  1/30/09 I've read and been told that 2 175 watt metal halides would work for my 55 gallon reef tank. <<Okay>> I've found a 48" fixture on eBay, but the bulbs that come with it are 250's. Would this be too much light intensity? Tank is 18" deep. Thanks, Pat <<Speaking at a very high level with virtually no information about your system or its occupantsno, this is not too much light versus the 175w system (and raising the fixture can lessen intensity, if necessary)though it is probably more than you need. EricR>>

Lighting - Not Enough - Too Much 1/13/09 I read everything I can find on the hobby. I have "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", "The Reef Aquarium, Vol. 3", Matthew Wittenrich "Breeder's Guide to Marine Aquarium Fish", and Joyce Wilkerson's book on Clownfish and have read them cover to cover numerous times. <Great, all of us can always learn more!> I have also read your site regularly, which is an awesome service to the hobby. <Thank you!> Still I can't seem to get a grasp on the lighting situation with all of the combinations, NO, HO, VHO, PC fluorescents, Metal Halide, new technology, etc. I want the best combination, spectrum, and brightness to keep my livestock happy and healthy and still be able to afford my electric bill. Background: I have a 1 year-old 29G with a mated pair of Ocellaris Clowns, a 7-month 29G with a mated pair of Australian Black Ocellaris Clowns, and my Christmas present from my wonderful wife, a new 75G which will be a reef tank. My in the near future plan is to build an approx. 550+G (120"x36"x30") built-in wall reef tank in my living room. <Quite a nice jump in size!> My question pertains to the current reef tank and future reef tank. There seems to be conflicting opinions from two of my most valuable sources, Mr. Fenner's book and Sprung/Delbeek's book on spectrum. Mr. Fenner suggests full spectrum fluorescents in the 6500K color temperature range to be acceptable and Sprung/Delbeek suggest more light in the blue range (10,000K+) for proper Zooxanthellae photosynthesis in corals and other invertebrates. Which is best? <Well, the short answer is what you like best. The lower K bulbs give what your corals actually need while the trend of the last few years is to go to a bluer bulb for the look. The 10000K bulb is generally considered the best compromise between the two. Actinic supplementation will give the bluer look that many seek.> <<Oh, and my incept date for this opinion is some thirty years old... pre-dates MH use in the hobby interest. RMF>> My 75G has hood equipped with two fans that I robbed from a broken computer one blowing air into the hood and one sucking air out of the hood. Fans are on timer and only come on when lights are on. I have a 18G refugium, separate 18G sump with DIY Kalkwasser container dripping at the same rate as evaporation (about 1 1/2 gallons per day, installed 2 days ago), approx. 3" sand bed, 100 lbs live rock (purchased dry rock and placed it in my other aquariums to seed). I have (2) Hydor Koralia 3's on each end of the tank facing each other. Quiet One 3000 main pump (750Gph rated, about 450-500 Gph after head pressure calculated). The output of the main pump feeds a small amount of water to a DIY Algal Turf Scrubber above the refugium and the remainder is branched into two output that are aimed directly into the flow of the two Hydor Koralias to crate a chaotic flow. <Sounds nice.> The current randomly changes throughout the tank. Is this adequate water flow for SPS corals? <Yes, but you certainly could swap the 3s for the 4s.> I have (2) Koralia 4's not being used. Livestock is currently two very small Gold-Stripe Maroon Clowns that I hope will pair, a Bubble Tip Anemone, a Bubble Coral, small Yellow Toadstool Leather, and a Purple Tip Acropora. <A dangerous mix. Do search WWM re allelopathic interaction.> My wife has me on a one aquarium purchase per month allowance (better than nothing), so will add more coral slowly, mostly SPS and LPS. <Do check re compatibility with what you have.> Water parameters (Tank has completely cycled): Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, PH 8.2, Calcium 340 ppm, Alk 10 dKH. Trying to get calcium up a little. Temp 79.4 at night 79.8 during day. Back to the lighting question, I have a DIY lighting arrangement that I want to make sure is going to be enough. I have (8) T8 bulbs, trying to split the difference between full spectrum and blue light I went with (3) 6500K full spectrum, (3) 10,000K and (2) Actinic bulbs. All are overdriven 2x, I am aware that this will shorten bulb life, but I wanted to make sure I had adequate light. Is this enough lighting for SPS corals AND to maintain bright color. <Yes, the lighting is fine.> Most of the sellers online say that their SPS corals need Metal Halide lighting to maintain their color. Is this true or can it be accomplished with fluorescents? <The T5 bulbs can do the same thing as MH here, it is all in the application. Yours is fine.> I purchased the Acropora before I had the 75G and placed it in one of my 29G about 4 inches below two T5�s (One 6500k and one Actinic.) It turned brown after a few weeks. I moved it to the 75G about 12 inches below the surface under the 8 T8�s and it has recovered about half of the purple color and seems to gain more purple everyday. Is this a good indicator that I have enough light or is it something else? <The lighting spectrum and intensity can affect color, it is not necessarily an indication of health either way.> One last thing: What do you think about the Fluorex lights available at Home Depot? <I love them, even used to sell them before subsidies here in Ca made them illegal to resale specifically for our purpose.> Lights of America website says their 65W is 6500K full spectrum 500W equivalent and 6825 Lumens. And they have a 100W 6500K, 1000W equivalent that produces 10,500 Lumens. Could these be a more cost effective alternative to Metal Halide? <They indeed can be if you do not mind the yellow look. I have used these for refugium lights and freshwater planted tanks. My big issue with these lights it the cost of replacement bulbs. It is cheaper to buy a whole new fixture! Many of the Costco's do carry these off and on too, even cheaper.> I would like to see these bulbs available in higher color temperature. <Me too!> And how can you figure watts/gallon correctly if all of the different technologies have different lumens/watts. <You cant, that is why WPG stinks.> I don't see how comparing watts/gallon is comparing apples to apples across different technologies. Is there some easier way to be sure you have proper lighting on a reef aquarium? <Comparisons to systems that work, experience.> Thank you for all that you do and sorry for the long email. This problem has been bugging me for a year now and I value your opinion. Matt <No problem Matt. I do hope this sheds some light on the subject for you. Scott V.>

Lighting Cnidarians, 75 gal., T 5s      1/7/09 Hi crew, <Hi Marc, Minh at your service.> Real quick one. Just would like your opinion. I have 220 watts of t5 lighting on a 75 gallon tank. One actinic bulb, two 18k bulbs, and one 10k bulb. Do you think this would be enough lighting for mushrooms, and leather corals? Cauliflower, Finger, and Toadstool leathers. Also do you think it would be sufficient for some LPS, mostly would like to add a Frogspawn, Torch or Hammer coral. <Although there are many varieties of T5 lighting each with different performance capabilities based on the brand of bulb, type of ballast and reflectors used, the average T5 set up should be more than adequate for the corals you want to keep. To find out performance data on your particular set up, you can visit this excellent lighting information page: http://tfivetesting.googlepages.com.> Thanks again, Marc <You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>  

Reef Lighting/Selection 1/5/09 Looking to by bulb combo. For a 4ft 23inch deep tank. Looking to do fish and soft corals. Looking at the TEK 6 bulb light fixture. What is the best setup? Choice of Giesemann and ATI. Someone said 3 ATI blue plus and 3 Giesemann aqua blu. Or add 1 UVL AquaSun and take out a Giesemann. Want bulbs for growth and light without it being too blue. <Personally I think the fixtures you mention are pretty pricey. Take a look at the Current 8 bulb fixture which can be had for 100 bucks less with lamps. Look here. http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_AquariumPage~PageAlias~lighting_fluorescent_ current_usa_nova_extreme_t5_high_output_ho_lunar.html As far as bulb selection, I'm thinking dealers are not going to open boxes and switch lamps for you. If you find one that will, then I'd go with a 3 to 1 ratio of 10K and actinic. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Reef Lighting/Selection 1/5/09
Bob, You may want to post this in addition to my reply of the above query. Drs. Foster & Smith has a sale on the Nova Extreme 8 lamp T5 fixture. Their sale price including lamps is 386.99, item number AKA-21109. www.drsfostersmith.com. James <<Have forwarded to the querior as well. B>>
Re: Reef Lighting/Selection 2/2/09
Salty Dog Thanks for such a quick and informative reply. Unfortunately the 175 watt is not an option with the light fixtures to the UK. What are your thoughts about 1 x 250 watt 13,000K, with 2 x T5 24 watt actinics and 2 x T5 24 watt 10,000K or if they can do it the same combination but with 39 watt T5's instead. <Being this is a corner tank, you could likely get away with it if this is your only option. The intense light loving corals/clams would need to be kept directly under the halide in about a two foot or slightly more in diameter zone. The other less light demanding corals can be placed accordingly as to their light requirements. I'd opt for the 39 watt T5's with your 24" deep tank.> Many thanks <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Wayne

Adequate Reef Lighting? ~ 01/05/09 Hi Guys, <<Howdy Peter>> I recently purchased a lighting canopy from a friend. This canopy is outfitted with a 2 65watt compact fluorescents (one daylight 10000k/one actinic) as well as a 150 watt metal halide. I will be using this canopy for my 65 gal reef aquarium that is 3' long and 18" deep. I currently have several mushrooms and xenias, Zoanthids and a toadstool coral. Is this enough lighting for this size tank and corals? <<Strictly speaking, yes, this should be plenty of light for this tank/these animals. Whether or not it is *optimum* is a different matter. I have seen Corallimorphs turn brown under lighting that was too intense for their needs, though they did just fine otherwise. And if the Toadstool happens to be the variety commonly known as a Yellow Fiji Leather, then it will likely appreciate a bit more intensity though it will probably do fine here if positioned correctly. My point to this is there are no pat answers. Yes, this light can/will keep your corals alive in this tank. But you will need to research the individual lighting requirements of each to determine their best placement re orientation and height within the water column>> Also, when I determine the amount of watts I am providing to my tank, is this just an addition of the fluorescents and halides? <<Indeed But this *rule of thumb* is a poor guideline at best. In addition to the individual needs of the corals, the efficacy of the lighting is also affected by water clarity, reflector quality, bulb and ballast type/manufacturer, etc Even effective supplemental feeding (or lack thereof) of your corals may have an effect on the lighting needs/effectiveness>> Thanks, Peter <<Happy to share. EricR>>
Re: Adequate Reef Lighting? Actinic f' ~ 01/06/09
Do the actinic bulbs count toward the total watts of light being delivered to the tank or is it just the whites?? <<The basis of the formula is ANY wattage But A 10,000K bulb is going to provide more useful output than an Actinic bulb of the same wattage And points out yet another inherent flaw to using this woefully poor *formula* for determining the effectiveness of your lighting>> Thanks again, Peter <<Regards, EricR>>

Lighting 200 gal reef 12/16/08 Thanks for doing an excellent job. <Thank you for reading, writing.> I have a choice of two light fixtures for a 200 gal. tank which measures L72" X W24" X H30". They both have four PC's which I believe are 96watts each, but the choice is the three metal halides, either 150 watts, or 250. Which would you recommend? I currently have 6 X 96 watt PC's and want the metal halides. <If you intend on keeping the same livestock you have with your PC's the 150s can do, but for a 30" deep tank 250 MH bulbs are the way to go. It will give you the flexibility of keeping just about anything lighting wise within the tank. Light intensive livestock in the upper half, with less needy inverts down towards the bottom. With 150s you will be a bit more limited, keeping things such as SPS in the upper third or so.> James Wedel <Scott V.>

Reef Lighting During Winter Question � 11/17/08 Hi all, <<Greetings Skaife>> Great information on your site, and I use it frequently to expand my knowledge. <<Very good to hear>> Now for my question. I have a 125g saltwater tank with 4 X 96W PC lighting. I have some xenia, a few Kenya trees, and a purple ribbon gorgonian that were on my live rock and have flourished in my tank. <<Mmm, okay but I would expect the gorgonian (likely Pterogorgia sp.), and even the other corals you mention, would enjoy/benefit from a bit more light intensity than you now have especially since Im betting that at least half these bulbs are Actinic vs. Daylight>> My question is about altering my lighting schedule during the winter. <<Not necessary Most all tropical locations where these organisms are collected have about the same duration of daylight year-round (i.e. � 12 hrs)>> I do not use a heater on my tank, as it stays very consistent between 77-79 degrees during the summer months as that is our room temperature. <<This is not an uncommon practice. The gear (pumps, lights, etc.) used to keep our reef systems going generally produce more than enough heat delegating heaters to an �emergency only� role for the most part>> During the winter, we drop our temperature down to 75 degrees in the house, which is changing the tank temperature to 75-77 degrees. <<Should be fine>> With this water temperature change, I was wondering if I should alter the lighting times to relate to winter months. <<Nopefor the reason stated>> I currently run the actinic 8 hours, and the 10K daylight bulbs 6 hours. <<Mmm Insufficient in my opinion You say your corals are flourishing, but I'll wager they are not Not under this lighting combo and regimen They may be living, even growing a bit but I do also believe they would fare better under more light. At the least, I recommend you increase the 10K photo-period to at least 10-hours per day with 12-hours being even better. There's been some speculation that increasing the photo-period can in a small way compensate for lack of intensity, but adding another couple 10K bulbs, in conjunction with increasing the lighting duration, would be of great benefit here in my opinion>> I was thinking of reducing it down to 6 hours actinic and 4 hours daylight. Would this be ok? <<I do not recommend this>> Or should I leave it on the normal schedule? <<The schedule you have now is not �normal�bump up the light, mate. Here's some additional info/reading on marine system lighting: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm >> Thanks, Skaife <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Lighting for 55 gallon reef 11/15/08 I am looking for lighting for a 55 gallon reef, 36x18x20. I am planning to keep softies and LPS corals because, as Bob writes in his book, I need to learn the craft before I start on the more challenging stuff. I have been researching and have narrowed the field, and am hoping you can advise me. <Sure.> I am leaning towards T5 fluorescents. <Great choice.> The two fixtures I am looking at are the Tek Light (6x39w), or the Aquactinics Tx5 (5x39w). Is there a big difference between the two fixtures? <Just the one bulb difference.> Do you know if the design/materials of the Aquactinics make up for having one less bulb? <No, both appear to have individual reflectors.> The third option I am considering is the SunPod MH, 2x150 watt MH HQI. I would either run a Ushio 10k or Phoenix 14k bulb. I may need actinic supplementation for aesthetics. <I would stick with the T5 on this tank.> Are any of these options better than the others? Is there another one I am missing? <Nah, either of the T5 offerings you mention will serve you well. Look at price, the inclusion of bulbs with the fixture. All of that being equal, do opt for the 6 bulb.> I do appreciate the help. Thanks dean <Very welcome, Scott V.>
Re: Lighting for 55 gallon reef 11/16/08
Thanks Scott. <Welcome.> With bulbs and all, they were very close in price. It seemed that the Tek light was the better deal, but with the Aquactinic rep I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. <Nah, same basic thing except the extra bulb.> dean <Scott V.>
Re: Lighting for 55 gallon reef Further Comment on Light Posting, fluo. fixt. choices 11/18/08
Hey, <Hello Dean.> I was reading the dailies and saw a response to my post. I have comment of my own. <Okay.> Scott and Andy, I did choose to go with the Tek 6 HO light for a couple of reasons. I agree that the Aquactinics TX5 has some performance characteristics over the Tek 6 Light, but the Tek 6 has some as well. The Aquactinics has better reflectors and active cooling, and both contribute to the fixtures performance. From my research, the TX5 can penetrate better. My tank however is only 20" deep, with a DSB also in the mix, so I cannot take full advantage of the reflectors. If my tank was a 65, 36x18x24 it would be a different story. As for active cooling, I saw my third snowstorm of the season today, My place doesn't get that warm, and I can always add a fan. In the end what was the deciding factor was the sixth bulb. Not because extra wattage, but because a sixth bulb give me more flexibility in mixing bulbs and tuning the spectra. <A good point not yet mentioned.> My bulbs are: Back ATI Blue Plus ATI Korallin Zucht Fiji Purple Giesemann Midday ATI Blue Plus UVL 72.25 ATI Blue Plus Front The TX5 may be the better fixture, but the Tek 6 made more sense in my situation as it turns out. I would have had to give up my 75.25 and I really wanted that to pull out the reds in my firefish and coralline. But thanks for the help! This has been very educational for me. Y'all rock. Dean <Thank you for the further input Dean. My stance re has already been posted. Glad you are happy with your choice. Scott V.>

The post was: *Comment on Light Posting, fluo. fixt. choices 11/18/08* <Hello again Andy.> I was reading Today's Questions and saw a snippet of a post about the TEK vs. Aquactinics lights. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the original post/answer, so forgive me if I'm way off base here.
The post/answer was: "Re: Lighting for 55 gallon reef 11/16/08
Thanks Scott. <Welcome.> With bulbs and all, they were very close in price. It seemed that the Tek light was the better deal, but with the Aquactinic rep I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. <Nah, same basic thing except the extra bulb.> dean <Scott V.>" I assume the poster/you were talking about the TEK 6 light HO T5 versus the Aquactinics TX5 fixture? <Yes.> I have seen/observed both of these in action, and I can tell you that there is a pretty significant difference between the two fixtures, IMO. The difference in output/light quality/brightness is pretty astounding, with the Aquactinics being the superior fixture. I'm not poo pooing the TEK, which is a fine fixture, but the 5-bulb Aquactinics I've seen produces a much better/brighter output than the 6-bulb TEK. Maybe it's the reflectors, maybe it's the ballasts, maybe it's the bulbs that were being used--I don't know. I've been told that the TEK runs very hot, which I'm also told reduces the efficiency of the fixture/bulbs. Although I don't always subscribe to this way of thinking, I honestly believe there is a reason the Aquactinics fixture is more expensive--because it is hands down a better fixture. My LFS uses both, and the difference really is impressive. I'm sure you/others have a lot more experience with light fixtures, and maybe these models in particular, but I just thought I'd share my impressions/$.02. <Thank you for your input, I do have to say I myself have not seen the difference. There are so many factors to consider: bulb type/spectrum, age of bulbs, fixture maintenance (reflector cleaning), and even the perception of light put out. Both of these fixtures use HO T5 bulbs with individual reflectors. I do appreciate your comments and this will be posted for others to make a more educated choice. Thank you.> Andy <Talk again soon, Scott V.>

Re: Stocking, Questions in general- now marine invert lighting 11/4/08 Thanks for the quick response! <My pleasure.> I went to www.asira.org, another awesome website! <Tis, put together by WWM's own Sara M. (when she is not dressing up dogs).> <<Haha... thank you Marc, Scott.>> Just wanted your opinion on one other thing. the lighting in my tanks consists of two lights. A Finnex, t5, with two 55 watt bulbs, and a Coralife t5, with two 26 watt bulbs. So, in total, about 160 watts of t5 lighting. So just over 2 watts per gallon. But, I have my liverock stacked in the middle of the tank, and by middle I'm referring to back to front, and then running from one side of the tank to the other, left to right. So the rock wall divides the tank in half, it almost makes it like a 55 gallon display, with the back half of the tank just adds to water volume. So I have the two lights in the very front of the tank, with the one actually tilts back at the front of the rock wall, and behind the rock wall is not lit up at all. So am I right in assuming that this is more intense than if it was lighting up the entire tank. <Yes, concentrated in one section.> Also I don't know if you are familiar with asira.com's rating system with lighting, but if you are, what you consider the lighting i have, they rate moderate t5 lighting to be a 3, and then extensive t5 lighting to be like a 5 or a 6, according to this ranking system, where would you rate my lighting? <Sara herself may very well chime in here, but I would call this a 3-4, do also keep in mind her scale depends on placement also.> <<Yes, indeed... especially with T5 lighting (well, any lighting really), depth makes a *huge* difference.  I would rate it a 3-4 at about 2ft+ down, from the top down to 1.5 to 2ft, it might be closer to a 5. -Sara M.>> Thanks again for the help! Marc <Welcome, Scott V.>

T5 lighting for 30 gallon mini reef 11/2/08 I am saving up for a lighting upgrade on my 30 gallon tank. For corals I currently have some softies and a sun coral. <The latter can be tough, depending on the species. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dendrophylliidae.htm.> For lighting I'm temporarily using power compact lighting (4-foot light on a 3-foot tank) which I got for free. <Can't beat the price! I have yet to pay someone to take my *old * lighting!> I have been saving up for months to get upgraded lights that will allow me to handle some LPS and a clam (not too interested in SPS at present, but it seems the clam is just as demanding). <For the most part, yes.> I think T5's seem a good way to go because they are cheaper than Halides both initially and down the road (electricity, cooling, bulb replacement). Also since my tank is not huge or deep, I'm guessing that T5's can penetrate deep enough without help from Halides. <T5s are the way to go IMO, save the �shimmer� effect.> I plan to get a fixture (no canopy) with individual reflectors. What would be the appropriate amount of T5 bulbs to have a happy-healthy clam in a 30 gallon tank? 4x39watts? Or would I be better off with 6 bulbs? <The 6 bulb configuration.> I wouldn't guess that less than 4 bulbs would be advisable. <No.> The clam could go towards the top, if that is an issue. I'm leaning towards Current Sundial (4 bulb) and Current Nova Extreme PRO (6 bulb). I know there are better and more expensive fixtures out there (like TEK) but when it already takes me 6 months to save up $250 for lights, I would need a good reason to save up for a $400ish fixture instead. <Do realize that for clams that will not outgrow this tank, intensive lighting and high placement will be necessary, meaning high placement in this case, can be done. Ca supplementation in such a small volume will also be an issue. Daily, if not automatic.> Thanks for the help, Jack <Welcome, Scott V.>

Fiber optics, sunlight and reef lighting 11/2/08 Hello again WWM crew and thank you in advance for your help (past, present and future!). <Glad the site has helped you out!> I was wondering if there is any available information about reef lighting using fiber optics to transmit actual collected sunlight. I have seen articles about using fiber optic lighting using MH and other synthetic light sources, but I am unable to find anything about using natural light source with fiber optics to light a reef. <I too have been wondering this, searching for possibilities lately.> I know there are technologies out there that use fiber optics to carry sunlight indoors to be used to light areas of rooms, but that doesn't necessarily require the spectrum to be transmitted. I know these systems are typically supplemental lights, since the sun isn't always bright enough on rainy days and gives no help at night, but it seems to me that may actually be beneficial in a reef system as long as the spectrum is maintained. <Yes.> It seems it would provide a year round natural light cycle that could have its own benefits. I realize that you would have to have enough fibers to attain the proper intensity, but I do not know how many fibers that might be. <Nor do I, it would depend on the ambient intensity.> So, basically what I am wanting to know is can fiber optics be used to transmit sunlight to a reef tank in place of artificial lights? <I have no doubt it could.> Can it maintain the proper quality and quantity for photosynthetic creatures? <Don't see why not.> Would such a system be possible and feasible or would it necessarily be too large in order to maintain light intensity? <I suspect it would likely be cost prohibitive.> It seems to me that even if there were more initial cost, the long term savings in electricity and replaced bulbs would offset the initial investment rather quickly. <To a point. I do love, am captivated by the idea. With new emerging technologies, the power cost to light our reefs is dropping all the time. Free would be nice. T5s have started to change the way reef lighting is implemented, with the LEDs being the future IMO. Below is the best material I have found thus far on the subject, though not directly reef related.> Once again, thanks for all your help and for a great site. Rob Watson <Welcome, Scott V.> http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/246/ http://pesn.com/2005/07/27/9600139_Fiber_Optics_Bring_Sun_Indoors/
Re: Fiber optics, sunlight and reef lighting 11/5/08
Thanks for the quick response and good info. <My pleasure, learning here too!> It seems to me from the info you pointed me to that the technology is probably there. <Definitely, the question is, is it worth the cost or can it be done DIY?> The system that seemed most promising in my opinion is the satellite dish style collector that moves with the sun. I had seen some info on these systems already, but what you pointed me to was more informative. As a follow-up, if I were to query these companies about the light quality their systems emit at the business end of the fiber optics, what questions would be pertinent? I am aware of the guidelines for artificial light (Kelvin rating preferred 10-20 K, 4-8 watts per gallon depending on species being kept), but I am sure there are other questions that would be more informative in this natural lighting type scenario. <That is one question, what is the color temperature that is actually transmitted. From what I have read the data FOs use shorter wavelengths than we would use in the reef. But, I do also realize it is more of a matter of the source light, which in our case is the sun. If the spectrum is transmitted without alteration, actinic lighting can balance things out for the tank.> For instance, is there a PAR rating of the light exiting the fiber optics that I need to look for (based on mounting the "lamp" end either at X distance from the water surface or even under water)? <I would ask in regards to spectrum and lumens emitted. I doubt (though it would not hurt to ask) that they will have a PAR value to offer, it would be nice.> Since one of their main points is that you get natural color, does that need to be a concern? Or, does that most likely mean the light will be around 6700 K and not near the 10K or more desired? <Actinic supplementation would be required. If a filter is employed to alter the spectrum (or if the optic line itself changes things), it would simply filter out the lower wavelengths, not increase the shorter.> Is there some other measure or light intensity I need to seek, or if they claim their light is equivalent to X watts, would that be more useful? <Watts in relation to whatever bulb they are comparing it to can be useful, I would like to know a claimed lumen output, although this will depend highly on the input!> I saw an article (I believe in Advanced Aquarist) that mentioned the possibility of the light-emitting end being placed under the water surface, since there isn't heat emitted and no electricity to prevent this, that would allow for lower light levels since you would be losing no light to surface reflection. Not sure I am a total proponent of this, since you would lose the dappling effect that you get from single point light source. Plus, it seems you would inevitably get salt creep into difficult to clean places, even in a very well sealed unit. But I can see the benefits of requiring less light and making this more feasible since there is no surface reflection. What are your thoughts on above the water surface versus below the surface lighting in this type setup? <I see many problems with below the water, mainly light dispersion. Even though it is �free�, we still want the whole tank to be lit!> The articles I read also state that the reflector of this systems blocks UV and IR. While I can definitely see the benefits (no cancerous UV and no heat transmission from IR), is there some amount of these spectrums that is currently considered necessary in a reef? <Not really, we do take steps to filter out UV with our halides. Some do argue that some UV is necessary.> I am aware that in many species, lack of UV-B can cause calcium deficiency. Do corals and other photosynthetics also utilize UVA and UVB? <No.> Would the lack of all UV be detrimental? Would it be better to only block the cancerous UVC for a reef? <These all bring us back to the basic question, what spectrum do these systems transmit? Filtering out the shorter wavelengths will lower the Kelvin rating. Do realize many indoor lights are 4000K, or even down to 3000! If this is what they are comparing to then.  However, I do suspect the filtering of shorter wavelengths is intentional, likely with a simple filter, that should be able to be omitted from the system.> Thanks again for all the help. Sincerely, Rob Watson <Thank you for spurring me to investigate this further. I have talked to a couple of engineering/reefing friends and they both seem to think there is great promise in this, even as a DIY! One even has the idea (and wants to try out) of aluminizing (like they do for telescope mirrors) a satellite TV dish. It is a parabolic collector with a known focal point! Pricing out some FO lines, we speculate this may be able to be done for the price of a nice MH fixture. Time and experimentation will tell, as will spectrum and intensity! One great link I was pointed to, hopefully this will help you out too. I will keep in touch with what we find, as I urge you to do to. Scott V.> http://www.nait.org/jit/Articles/grise122002.pdf

Lighting Choices... reef  9/26/08 Hi everyone. I have a lighting question for you. I have looked at your site but the more I look the more I get confused. I was reading this article from Bob http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm and it states in his opinion that full spectrum florescent lighting VHO is the best most appropriate lighting. <In some situations, less so nowadays.> But then when I read more into other articles others there answer say that PC and VHO are basically the same but PC has more density than VHO but Metal Halide would be the way to go. <Again, it depends on your system and livestock.> This is my plan and then you can give me an idea if you don't mind. I have a 55g that I want to move over to a 125g AGA that I got a few months ago. I have finally finished the sand bed and plumbing and want to start on the light. The light I have now on my 55 is a Odyssea 260w CF and I don't think that will be enough of my 125. I am going to build a canopy and was planning on pulling the fixture apart to put in there but again I don't think that is enough. I was planning on putting some DIY MH till now. It has a 6in sand bed right now. All my stock is still in my 55 which is a 4ft Zebra Eel (reason why I need to switch to my 125) 1 Clown, few Dempsey, Angel, butterfly and yellow tang and a few sps. <Yep, time to upsize!> I want to be able to really stock this once its up and going to lots of coral. <What corals do you wish to keep?> What is you recommendation on the light and how much (wattage, quantity, etc..)Also don't want something that will bring my electric cost up. Single parent. <More wattage equals more power used regardless of bulb type. For what you are looking to do you may want to consider T5 bulbs. They tend to impart less heat into the water and are as energy efficient that you can get right now (except for LEDs, but these are big money). How much wattage depends on what you wish to keep. A little research on your part regarding your desired livestock will answer this.> Been doing this for about 5-6years so I'm not really new to all this. Thanks!! Bill M <Welcome, Scott V.>

Odd Lighting Question revised (sorry guys and gals), SW fixture choices, reefs...  9/25/08 Hello crew, hope you all are well. <I am here, thank you.> So I have a lighting question for you. I have a 60 cube that is 30" long x 24" tall x 18" wide. I was using two t5 lighting units, both 48 watts. I recently upgraded to a SunPod 30". Its a 150 watt MH with all the LED's ( very happy to have those for night time viewing). I took the t5's down, but after chatting with some reefer friends that use other types of lights with there MH's, I started to think about maybe using the t5's with the MH SunPod. Would you recommend this? <You could, its up to you. Most use T5 actinics with MH to blue the water a bit more and make the livestock fluoresce a bit. Realize that all light transfers some heat to the tank, even T5s.>br>I am not doing any sps, just softies, LPSs, polyps, and Shrooms. Also, I have read/heard never to remove the center plastic beam on the top of the tank, and I haven't, but it casts a shadow in the center of the tank from the MH. What's your take on that black plastic beam? <I hate the danged things, but if your tank was designed with it leave it be.> I am hanging the MH pendant about 10" above the tank, do you think I should lower it? <7-10 is about right.> Also because my tank is so tall would I benefit from lowering the light, as well as using the t5's? <What you list will be fine with the light you have, but the T5s will not hurt anything either. They can have quite an impact on the look of the tank depending on bulb choice.>br>Also, given the right conditions how long does it usually take coal to grow/propagate? <Depends on the coral.> II have notices some of my zoo's grow new polyps, but my hammer hasn't gotten any bigger or shown any signs of new growth. I also have never had Mushroom reproduce either. I have heard stories of people putting mushrooms in a tank and two weeks later splitting occurs. All my water parameters are in line and I test and change water religiously. I feed the coral with DTS 3 times a week. Any suggestions? <Mushrooms do appreciate more of an indirect, subdued light and current. These are one of those corals that can grow like gangbusters in ill maintained systems and just be there in immaculate tanks. More info at the link below and linked pages above on the page.>br> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallim.htm Thanks again guys and thanks for your continued support and information. This site has been a wealth of information for me over the past year. <Heee, thank you and welcome!> Spencer Hall <Scott V.>

Lighting for a 150 gallon reef tank 09/18/2008 <<Hi there, Andrew this evening>> I recently bought a 150 gallon reef ready oceanic tank, about 29 inches deep. This will be my 4th and largest tank. I plan on making this one an SPS and clam tank, and am going through my lighting options. I would like to go with metal halides complimented with some t5's or PC's. A few concerns here. The oceanic 150 tank has a very large and thick piece of glass used as the center brace. This sort of rules out the common and easy to find 3x xxxWatt fixtures, as the middle bulb would be blocked significantly by the brace. <<Ahh yes, a very common issue>> I guess these are the options I've come up with. 2x250 watt, 2x400 watt, 4x150 watt, 4x250 watt, 4x400 watt. Most of these have 4x pc's or t5's. I think that the 4x250 watt system would work well, but for some reason is about $500 more than the 4x400 watt system I had found, which I fear may be overkill - plus a burden on my electrical system. The tank I planned on leaving with an open top and no canopy. The 2x400 watt option I feel would work well, however that would be 2 pendants without the complimenting t5's. I'd like to keep the look as simple and aesthetic as possible, and a strip of t5's I feel would hurt the look with some clean pendants. I wish that a 3x 400 watt system would work on this tank, but I fear the middle bulb would be blocked too much, as well as potentially melt the small piece of plastic which runs across the glass brace. Of the combinations I've listed, which do you think would work well for a tank this size? <<Josh, my suggestion to you would be 4x250w. This will give a nice coverage of light, down the full length of the tank, and be good enough to penetrate to the depths. Thanks, Josh <<Thanks for the questions, i hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Reef Aquarium, lighting, stkg.  09/18/2008 Hello, <<Hello, Andrew this evening>> I am currently setting up a 65 gallon reef aquarium 36x18x24 and I have a few questions I would like to ask. <<Certainly, let's get to them>> It has a Tunze DOC protein skimmer and a Tunze Calcium reactor and 65 pounds of LR and as well I use RODI water. <<Nice>> I am planning on putting mainly LPS, Zoanthids, Clams, and maybe Montipora in the aquarium, The lighting on the aquarium is 1- 14,000k 400 watt bulb and 2-96 watt power compacts is that sufficient enough? <<Certainly, yes. Might be too much for some, but, simple use of shadier areas are were good>> Secondly, how long should I wait till I had clams from the species Squamosa, deresa and/or gigas into the aquarium? <<On the clams listed, i would not suggest any of the ones listed, as they all get to a foot or more in length>> In addition, can I add LPS corals into the aquarium after it is done cycling? <<Sure thing>> Thirdly, I plan on having 2 Percula clowns, 1 mystery wrasse and I wanted to put a tang in the aquarium as a centerpiece. I was wondering if that was possible and if so which species? In about a 60 gallon tank, the only tang i would suggest is Zebrasoma flavescens>> Thank you very much for all your great advice Sam. <<Thanks for the email and questions, Sam, I hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Lighting ??...I'm in over my head!! Reef  9/1/08 Hey Crew, <Phil> After much reading, and little understanding, I have decided to ask the crew for lighting help. <Okay> I have a 75 gal reef tank. Along with fish, I have a Colt Coral, Finger Leather, Candy Cane Coral, Zoanthids, mushrooms, polyps, and Open Brain Coral. I have a Current T5 Nova Extreme Pro (3 54w 10K, 3 54 w 460nm). I want to use the best bulb setup for my tank...but the choices are immense. <They are and growing all the time!> Please help!! Giesemann makes AquaBlue + (60/40 combination of 6000K and 22000K phosphor blend), Midday (6000K 5 point Spectrum), Actinic + (60/40 combination of deep blue and actinic), and Pure Actinic. Furthermore, besides the bulbs that came with my fixture, Current makes a 420nm actinic and a 6700K bulb. FosterSmith also has 10K Reef Blue, 10K Reef White, Actinic White 12K, and Super Actinic 420nm. Yikes!! Stop the madness!! Will you please tell me what the best combination of bulbs would be for my 6 bulb T5 fixture would be?? <The best combo is hugely personal choice, but I can certainly tell you what I would do and why. I would run four of the white 10000K bulbs with two of the actinics, with one actinic placed in the very front of the fixture, the other pretty much wherever. The daylights will provide the light for your corals to grow, while the two actinics will provide a look that most would be happy with. By placing at least one of the actinics in the front you will see the maximum effect of it when viewing the tank from the front.> Thanks!! Sorry for being...forever...a lighting noob. -Phil <Welcome, enjoy the system, Scott V.>

Lighting New Reef 8/22/08 Im setting off on a new path and wanted to ask a few questions. The answers are there, for sure, however much reading has left my head spinning as usual. I have decided I want to take the next step and have purchased a reef tank the tank is a reef-ready 65 gallon, 36 long by probably 24 high and 19 wide. <Do check out WWM re these "reef ready" tanks, most are not.> We are doing this ultra slow, as in all I have purchased so far is the tank and stand, and as I am planning only to purchase the best items possible, I am purchasing them as funds allow. This is good, because it is giving me more time to learn about the future inhabitants. I think Ive settled on a skimmer, an AquaC Urchin model to go in a 20 gallon refugium I am working on building myself. <Fine choice.> My questions revolve around corals and lighting. The LFS I purchased the tank from uses T5HO lighting instead of Metal Halide. The brand he recommends is Tek, which Ive never heard of. <Nothing wrong with those fixtures.> Lighting has been a big question, because obviously this will be a costly investment and it needs to be the right decision. Ive looked at several pendant or hang on type Halide lights, which would provide 300w of halide lighting from two units, but they dont offer any other forms of lighting. Ive also considered the big units that combine a halide light with PC lighting and the aesthetic moonlight. Now, of course, this T5HO lighting has entered the running and stirred things up even more. Any way you dice it up, it looks like lighting will be a $400 to $500 investment. I do not want to over light the tank, so to speak, and will not be adding a chiller to this tank. Which direction would you lean? <Definitely with the T5. You will have more flexibility in swapping bulbs to get the look you want, you wont have to worry about the pesky center brace on your tank, and this will be your best shot to avoid the chiller (least heat transfer to the tank).> Im trying to refrain from coral questions till I have read more. If you can think of some common names I can use in the search engine to find some of the easier beginner corals that might narrow my search, Id love to see them. <A trick question! I suggest picking up a book or flipping further through WWM and deciding what you are interested in, that is what counts! Then you can build your system to suit the needs (amount of lighting/water flow, placement, general care). Do be sure to also take a look at compatibility between different corals that interest you.> <<Good answer. RMF>> Thanks again, Thomas Roach <Welcome, Scott V. Oh, one last thing. Do check out the site listed below, it was put together by our own Sara M. Great site giving you the basics on many of the commonly available corals.> http://www.asira.org/caresheets
Re: Lighting New Reef 8/27/08
T5 it will be then! Thanks so much again. I've noticed that these fixtures all seem to have 39w bulbs, but how many is sufficient? 4 bulbs? 6 bulbs? 8 bulbs? Those seem to be the common offerings. <It again depends on your desired livestock, but the 8 bulb could be suitable for most anything. This will give you the intensity to keep higher light needing corals (with correct placement) and the ability to keep lower light corals if you wish. You can always run lower intensity (bluer) bulbs, or even shut some bulbs off. > My interpretations from the reading is that a 10k mix with some Actinic bulbs would be best. <It is the best mix, dont get too caught up in having a ton of actinic. A few is all that you will need to get the look. Where the actinics are positioned inside the fixture itself can have a huge impact on the look of the tank. Play with the configuration a bit to see what you like.> Oh, and by 'reef ready' I mean that it has a built in overflow. I want everything contained within the sump so that nothing is visible or hanging on the tank. <Very good.> Thanks again! <Welcome, Scott V.> Thomas Roach

Lighting for 55 Gallon Reef 8/16/08 Hello All, <Ramon.> I have a 55 Gallon tank that I want to start growing mostly polyps, and mushrooms, maybe one or two pieces of soft coral. <Okay> My lighting now is 1 32w 48" single light strip with a "zoo med" Flora Sun bulb at 8500k, 1 17w 24" single light strip with a "zoo med" Reef Sun 50/50 bulb and 1 48w 24" Nova Extreme with a 10,000k bulb and a 460 actinic both T-5. My question is will this be enough light for what I want to survive and grow or do I need to get a different fixture? <It will be a bit on the low side even for this livestock.> I also have 1 40w 48" 18000k bulb that can replace the 8500k bulb should I replace it or just leave it alone? <The lower Kelvin bulb will offer more usable light.> I also have a dual PowerCompact light fixture that has 4x65watts with only 6700k bulbs in it. <I would add this fixture to the tank, if it is not already. The 6700K bulbs will be yellow for the taste of most, swapping these out for a couple of 10000K and a couple of 50/50 actinic/daylight will give you an appealing look and enough light. Of course, if you do not mind the look of the 6700K bulbs, they will work fine.> Thanks again for your help and also for the best website on the web. When I first go online your daily asked questions are the first thing I read, even before I check my mail. As always keep up the good work and I will keep reading. I'm glad help is just a "click" away thanks to you and your staff. <Heee, thank you.> Ramon Ortiz, Tampa FL. <Scott V., back in Fresno Ca. for the time being.>
Re: Lighting for 55 Gallon Reef 8/17/08
Wouldn't having the 67k bulbs on bring unwanted algae? <Not without the other factors that fuel algae (nitrate, general excess nutrients). The holy grail for coral growth is still the Iwasaki 6500K bulb. This spectrum bulb is better for growing photosynthetic organisms, zooxanthellae and unwanted algae alike.> Also, how long should I run the lights? <Twelve hours or so for this lighting.> Right now I have button polyps and it's 3/4" from the top should I move it down when I put the other light fixture? Also how far down should I go? <I would, to 10 or so, move up over time if you wish.> I can't change the 67k right now, I can only change a bulb once a month, would this be fine or just wait until I get all of them? <You could wait with your polyps this close to your current lighting, or make the switch if you are okay with the look.> Thanks again, Ramon Ortiz. <Welcome, Scott V.>

Reef Lighting - Would like to purchase new bulbs 8/1/08 - need help. Reef Lighting 8/1/08 Guys: <And gals!> I am rounding the corner to understanding the last frontier of reef tanks for me - since I've made most mistakes that could be made (except overstocking, compatibility and not waiting for cycling), <The most common mistakes.> in the last 18 months (despite months of beforehand reading), and I am now making a genuine effort to understand reef lighting, now that I think I've got my flow problems solved (the second to the last frontier for me). I know, I know, lighting (and flow) should have been first in my understanding, but it just seemed too complex and controversial for me to tackle then. I have the time and money wasted to prove it. <Trust me, we all have the time and money to show! Lighting and flow can be changed after the fact, tank, stand and drains should be the first consideration. These require tearing down the whole system to change. What you are going through is the natural evolution of reefkeeping.> Now that my bulbs needs changing (overdue actually) - I've stepped up my efforts to get lighting right this time (and not just listen to the fish store people). <!> I think I understand all the facts of light (though not the nuances) and am ready to purchase new bulbs. <OK> However, since lighting is most expensive, I just flat out want your opinion on what to do for my specific wants and needs, tank size and inhabitants. What lighting is best for a 26 gallon bow front reef tank? <Depends.> My current light is a 24" Nova Extreme T-5 HO 10,000K daylight with actinics and moonlights - but for a total of only 96 watts, daylights and actinics included! <This ratio can be changed by swapping bulbs, if you are ok with the look.> Now that I better understand lighting (I think), it seems to me that there is little wonder I have had very little success with most corals (when all other factors are controlled for). This seems like very minimal light - all things considered. Am I correct? <Really depends on what you want to keep. Lack of success in such a small system starting out could very well be due to instability rather than just lighting.> At 8 wpg - it seems that I should have at least an approximate total of 200w. Or would 6 wpg be better (150W)? I've even heard up to 10 wpg (250W)! All I know now, is I have about 3 wpg and they are old (as bulbs go). <WPG is a poor measure of lighting. In a small tank like this you can in many cases get away with less due to the fact that your corals will inherently be close to the light.> Welcome nuisance algae (even when all other factors are controlled for). <Another common hazard in small systems, but large systems as well.> I do not have room for a chiller (unless I get one of the nano hang-on-tank ones (that got surprisingly good user reviews), so it looks like metal halide is out of the question for now, at least. <Without a chiller, likely is out of the question.> So, I guess I'll stick with fluorescents that go in my current fixture, but I REALLY want to achieve the crisp shimmery look, with a bright white light with slight purplish color (rather than the bluer look) that I see in some tanks on the web and in stores. <I love this effect, but have also grown tired of it in time. The overall power savings of T5s now have me enamored. LEDs provide both, with a huge upfront cost!> I absolutely do not prefer yellows, which accentuate any flaw in the tank, such as the seemingly obligatory occasional spot of Cyano or green algae. Seems to me not only is the crisp white-purple appealing to the eye, but it also hides the drabber colors in an aquarium - something I wish to do, at least until I get a tank full of colorful corals. I've had it with the grey-greens! I need enough watts to grow a mixed reef - but not "fry" my 2 false perculas and green chromis damsel with the intensity or heat (or my detritivores, for that matter). This is just about all that is in the tank, save a few zoo frags and a finger leather frag. <You will not want to mix too much diversity in such confines.> Can you tell me what 4 bulb combination to use (that can be accommodated by my current fixture), so far as the Kelvin rating, the wattage, variety, intensity and spectrum of each bulb to achieve the visual effect I want as described above? (I hear there are different ranges of blues and purples in actinic bulbs, to further confuse me.) <If you are looking for a very blue hue you will want two true actinic 03 bulbs, peaking between 420 to 430 nanometers. The balance will be 10000K daylight bulbs. But, for more useable light for corals, I would recommend going with a single actinic, placed in the front of the fixture, with three daylight bulbs. You will actually be able to keep quite a variety of corals with this.> Obviously, I want the best prospect of succeeding with a varied range of corals, and heat reduction without having to use a chiller, but still be able to achieve that bright white-purply shimmery effect. <At most I would consider adding a bulb or two to your current setup.> Is this possible with the type of bulbs my fixture takes and under which different varieties of corals can survive/thrive (softies, stonies, etc.). Your recommending a photo cycle will be helpful also. <It is possible to achieve a happy balance, but I would not keep both soft corals and SPS/LPS in such a system. Photo period will need to be 12 hours a day.> P.S. Just got Bob's book and love it - read it all in one night! <A fellow addict!> Should have had it from the beginning, instead of having stacks and stacks of internet articles. <Some of the internet resources, particularly those from WWM are great.> Bob covers it all in one place. Too bad he did not directly address a 26g bow front reef with a white-purplish shimmery effect. LOL <I had the same problem years ago ? The book really is an invaluable resource.> Thanks! Again! <Very welcome.> Aleasha Baltimore, MD <Scott V., Fresno, CA.>

55 Gallon Flat Back Hex Lighting Question, Reef set-up   6/26/08 Hello! <William> I just recently went to a club meeting at which Bob Fenner spoke for a few hours and I must say that I learned a great deal J. <Me too> My question relates to a new tank that I am setting up. I purchased a 55 gallon acrylic flat back hex tank (48 long x 20 tall x 16 deep) used from a LFS used this summer (darn being a poor college student). <Richer than I was!> It came with a Marineland Canister Filter, Coralife 4x64W PC light, stand, and a 10 inch tall canopy. I recently purchased a Pacific Coast Imports RPS-1000 skimmer to go with a sump/refugium that I am putting together to go underneath the tank. The plan is to be patient and set up the tank when I go back to school in early August so I am gathering all the pieces for the tank before I go. <Good> Currently I have a 37gallon tank (30 long x 24tall x 12 deep) with about 50 pounds of live rock. I am running a Koralia nano, Koralia 2, and a powerhead from Petco for water flow. I am using a BAKPAK 2 skimmer hanging on the back of the tank. Also a 250w/ 2x24w T5's combination light by Sunlight Supply (Maristar). The tank has been running for around 10 months and going strong. I have two percula clowns, a mandarin, and a peppermint shrimp. There is also a GBTA, <Mmm... this may eat your Mandarin> and a purple long tentacle anemone. <And not a good idea to mix anemones! Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/CnidIndex2.htm> A little bit of xenia, some Zoa's, a green/pink Yuma, and some sun coral (the non light using kind, can't remember the name for it). The GBTA has been in the tank for about 8 months and the long tentacle about 6 and a half months. <Well... looks like they're getting along> My question is that when I move the inhabitants to the new tank what would be the best light for the new tank? <Posted... for a two foot depth of watter... of this length system... two smaller watt MHs of about 14K temp.> The only thing that I would be adding to this tank is possibly a few more LPS and maybe a Kole Tang. (would also like to know if he will be unsuitable for a 55g as I will be keeping this tank for sure for two more years at school). I am interested in something along the lines of MH as that seems to be treating the anemone's well and that is the main focus for the new tank the relationship between the Percula's and anemone's. I am planning to have about a 3 inch sandbed in the new tank as the long tentacle is buried very deeply in my 3-4 inch sandbed in the 37g tank. So I am just wondering what would be the best wattage lighting for this tank as I don't want to have too much on the tank, and I don't plan on having sps anytime soon, the anemone just fascinate me too much to get away from. Thank you so much in advance I seem to have run into a wall on this one. ~Will Bowen <And here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm the tray at bottom. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Lighting 100 gallon Reef 6/20/08 I'm upgrading to a 100 gallon aquarium ( 72 X 18.5 X 19.5 ) which will house LPS ( specifically bubble, lots of Euphyllia ) and some soft corals and Zoanthids. For the lights I'd rather stay away from metal halide, I'm wondering if T5's or Power compacts would be enough for a tank of this nature. <Oh yes.> Theres a fixture I'm looking at that has 4 96 watt power compact bulbs. I'm hoping since the tank is relative shallow that this lighting will be good, but I'd much rather go a little high on lights than a little low. Thanks for you opinion. <This fixture will work out fine. Do consider the T5s also for the flexibility of bulbs. With the PCs you will likely end up running two actinics and two daylights, making your lighting 50% actinic. With a T5 fixture in a comparable wattage you will be able to fine-tune the amount of actinics to get the look you want since each individual bulb is of smaller wattage and will run the span of the tank. Welcome, enjoy the new tank, Scott V.>

Coral Lighting/Reading 6/12/08 Hello! <Hello.> I would like to get some advice about coral lighting. <OK> I have 135 Gallons tank FOWLR (72"x18"x22"). I got peaceful fishes and they are reef safe. I have a castle decoration on my aquarium and around 60 lbs of live rocks and 125 lbs of live sand. I'm using 2 Fluval FX5 filter, AquaC Remora Pro protein skimmer and 4 Koralia #4 powerheads with alternating setup (2 running and 2 off then will switch every 15 min.s). <This will wear them prematurely, startup is the hardest phase on an electrical motor. Simply pointing them at each other to create a turbulent/random flow is sufficient.> My plan is to put 5-7 corals and anemones as addition to the decorations. <Corals and Anemones do not mix well. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm > I'm already looking for the lighting with daylight, actinics and moonlight fixture. What is the minimum watts I can use and what type of corals I can put? <It is a matter of researching exactly what you wish to keep and build your lighting around the needs of the desired livestock. Anywhere from a few hundred watts on up.> I have a pair true percula so I will need a suggestion what type of anemones with get along with them. <Posted in the above link.> Also will appreciate if you can list the corals that I can put on my aquarium. <Well, without shooting at the mouth too much, nothing and anything. Obviously nothing until you get lighting, but anything once you do (with the lighting built around what you wish to keep). You are starting with a fresh slate here. Start a list with the corals you desire the most and work down researching WWM and other resources regarding compatibility. All the answers you desire are posted throughout. The biggest piece of advice I can give you here is to stick to this list, carefully planned out. Avoid impulse buys, look before you leap. You will save yourself much trouble this way.> Thanks! <Welcome, Scott V.>

Reef Tank Lighting Change 06/11/08 Morning Crew! <<Hello!>> I have a 40 gal. reef tank currently using a Coralife 50/50 96 watt light. The tank includes: Finger Leather Bubble Coral (Reef Tank Lighting Change Take Two) Sorry for the screw up, I sent my e-mail totally unfinished. <<No worries, I have merely appended it here>> Anyway, back to the corals. Finger Leather Bubble Coral Condylactis <<Mmmcan spell trouble, especially in such a small volume (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/condylactis.htm)>> Hammer Coral Colt Coral 3" Green mushroom 2 large Mushroom polyp frags, 30 - 40 polyps each Red Button Polyp frag Green Button Polyp frag Christmas Tree Worm rock And for the non-corals Maroon Clown Coral beauty <<Really needs more space than this tank provides>> Pajama Cardinal Lawnmower Blenny Sally Lightfoot Peppermint Shrimp Snails and Hermits As I said we currently use a Coralife 50/50 96 watt, and want to upgrade to a Coralife 50/50 192 watt we got a good deal on at our LFS. <<Hmm, okaythough I think the first unit was probably adequate for this tank>> Since this will be roughly twice the amount of light, I would like to know, first, if it is too much light, <<Possibly for the Corallimorpharians and even the Plerogyrabut you may be able to position these to reduce the amount of direct light they receive>> and if we make the switch, what is the best way to adjust the corals? <<One method is to use a piece of plastic egg-crate, cut to fit on top of your tank, to support three or four layers of fiberglass screen material (also cut to fit the top of the tank). Place the egg-crate and screen material under the new lights and remove a layer every three days until all is off. You can have a look here and among the associated links for more ideas (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm)>> I've read that Mushrooms can be very sensitive to lighting change, but the Leather and Hammer both need LOTS of light. <<Many factors can affect this (e.g. species, collection location, water quality/clarity, placement in the tank, etc.), but generally speaking yes, the Corallimorphs will fare well (as will that Bubble Coral) and show better color (many have a tendency to turn brown under lighting that is too intense) under less illumination than the other species you listed. Even so, in this 40g tank the single 96w bulb was probably fineor you could simply have exchanged the 50/50 bulb for an all 10K bulb and been fine as well>> Please give me some pointers if you could. <<Hope I have!>> Much appreciated! Amanda <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Coral lighting 06/06/2008 Hello everyone, <<Hello Marc, Andrew this afternoon>> I appreciate all your help. I've had a lot of questions, here at the beginning of my saltwater hobby, but I just want to get things right the first time. I have already asked before about corals that are compatible with my light. I have a 75 gallon tank, with a Coralife compact fluorescent with 2 65 watt bulbs. And I was told mushrooms, polyps, Xenia, and some leathers. I'm really just looking to do mushrooms and a toadstool leather. Is this light sufficient, or will it just "get me by". What ever I go with, I really want it to thrive. Thanks again for your help. <<To be honest, its sounds fine to me. I would not say the leather will "thrive", however, its "acceptable" lighting.>> Marc <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

Lighting, reef  5/3/08 Hi everyone, <Marc.> I have doing a lot of research on your website, and it has helped me out a lot. <Great!> I have been reading up on lighting and I still can't find a straight answer to my question. I have a 75 gallon fowler tank, and I'm starting to look into doing some corals. I have been careful not to add any fish to the aquarium that are not compatible. <It is a good practice to research and plan stocking.> The tank is still new, about 8 weeks, and the livestock seems to be doing well, now that I fixed the problem of fish jumping out of the tank! <Oops!> Currently I have a Coralife PC with two 65 watt 10,000k bulbs. I am looking to replace the light, even for just looks alone, but I figured, if I'm going to switch, I should look into to getting a light for corals now. <More planning ahead, awesome!> I was really hoping to get either a PC fixture with 4 65watt 10'000k bulbs, or a T5 fixture with 4 55 watt HO bulbs. Are either of this adequate for any corals, and if so, which ones? <Lower light corals such as zoos, most soft corals and many LPS will work with this lighting.> And how about for anemones? <No, you will need about twice this amount of light, more for some species. Even with adequate lighting it is a good idea to skip the anemone unless you want a tank nearly dedicated to one.> That is the other route I was looking to take. And how long should I wait to add corals or anemones if I have the right light? Or am I all set now that the water quality is where it should be? <I will have to take your word the water quality is good. The another big factor with a newer tank is stability. Assuming both these are there you will be ready to start adding corals if you wish, do so slowly.> Thanks Marc <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Re: Lighting 5/4/08 Thanks for your help. <Welcome.> After receiving that information I've decided to wait and see if I'm going to want to do any stony corals that I would just have to replace the light again anyway. In the interim though, is the light I have now ( the Coralife with just two 65 watt bulbs) enough light for live rock, and will it still produce coralline algae? <The light will be fine for coralline algae and the live rock.> Also, are there any corals that can live in this light, if so which ones, and would these corals, if any, be able to survive if I end up switching to metal halides in the future? <Any of the corals mentioned in our previous correspondence will work and make the switch fine with careful placement and acclimation.> Thanks Marc <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Reef Lighting 4/26/08 My head is spinning trying to make sense of lighting ... I have a 95 gallon wave aquarium (very similar to the standard 90 gallon). I am looking at a fixture which has 2 x 150 watt HQI's and 4 54 watt T5 HO's for accent lighting along with some lunar lights. <A nice combo.> Would this be sufficient to house softies, LPS, SPS and clams if placement is done carefully. <Yes, with careful placement as mentioned.> The reason I'm looking at this fixture is I'm really trying to cut down on the amount of heat so I can avoid a chiller. <I hear you, a constant battle to avoid a chiller!> Thanks for any info Tim <This combo will work out fine. Keep in mind the 10000K bulbs will give you more usable light out of these 150s than the higher K bulbs, this can make a huge difference in success with this lighting. Welcome, Scott V.>

Coral Glue And Coral Light Absorption (Photoperiod) 04/12/08 Awhile ago I got a couple of corals that came with a silicone type glue that mounted them to the rock. At the time, I didn't think it would be so good and don't recall where I got these corals. This glue bonds to rock just by placing it on top of it. I have tried to locate this material at all the tropical shops in my area but no one carries it or knows what it is. It is not "super glue" or putty - it stays flexible and doesn't need to be reapplied. Can you help? What is it and where can I get it? <<I can only guess, but there are some better underwater epoxies that remain flexible. These products form a molecular bond that is quite tenacious. Theyre quite pricey tooat around $50 per quart>> On the coral's light absorption - how many hours of light do they really need daily using optimum lighting? <<Optimum lighting will vary by speciesbut lighting in the tropics where most all specimens we strive to keep hail from averages a bit more than 12-hours per dayand at an intensity we can only dream of replicating>> Does it vary by type of coral? <<Indeed>> I have polyp types, leathers, frogspawns, elegance and coral plates. Thank you. <<I suggest you provide a lighting period of somewhere between 10 and 14 hours per daydepending on quality/intensity of the lighting. EricR>>

Re: Setting Up 110 Gallon Reef System... Why not read?  03/22/2008 Hello Again Crew, Mystery man, Ron here again. <<Hello again, Andrew today>> I have attached your last reply to me. You have addressed all of my concerns, so far. I hope this is the last one??? <<Ask as many as you like>> Here's my question for you. I have decided not to hold off on getting my lighting system. The tank is a 110 gallon 48 Lx 18 W x 30 D. It is going to be a reef system with no SPS. I do want to be able to keep Clams, LPS, soft corals and of course inverts.. <<Sounds good>> Now, I needed your suggestions. I have looked at the Outer Orbit HQI + HO T 5, 2 x 150 10K HQI, 4 x 54 T 5 actinic, 18 lunar and the Obit HQI-Metal Halide & Actinic Power Compact 2 x 150 10K HQI , 2 x 130CP actinic, 6 lunar lights. Would either of these supply enough light and do I not need to use Halides at all? I want a nice looking system when the lights are on at a reasonable price. I am not stuck on the Orbit brand, so if there is some other brand you prefer, let me know. <<With the depth of your tank, 30 inches, i think it would be best to go with a halide system if you want good light penetration down to the bottom of the tank. Something like a 2 x 250w or even 2 x 400w system would be a good choice in my opinion as depending on the type of clam you want, some prefer to placed on the bottom of the tank..>> The whole crew has been great at answering my questions and in record time. Thank Again, Ron <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Lighting? 3/10/08 I have a 90 gallon marine aquarium that is 25 inches tall. Is four 54 watt HO T-5 bulbs enough light for this tank with low light corals and an anemone? <This will be a little low for the anemone, I would add another two or more bulbs in the daylight (10K) spectrum for the lower light anemones, some will require the leap to metal halides. You will need to research the specific species of anemone you want to keep for its lighting requirements and compatibility with whichever corals you want to keep with it, generally not a good idea to mix.> If not, what is your suggestions for additional light? Tanks a lot! <Welcome, happy reefing, Scott V.>

Lighting... 75 reef...  03/09/2008 Hi crew, <<Hello Ron, Andrew today>> my question is about getting the most bang for my buck when it comes to lighting. My tank is a 75 gallon ,with protein skimmer, refugium, and live rock. The fish that occupy the tank are a potters angel, leopard wrasse, yellow tang, two percula clowns, and two Bubbletip anemones that have divided several times. My current lighting is a four bulb t5 system. I was considering increasing the light for the anemones, and would like know if it would be a good idea to go with metal halide lights or a six bulb t5 lighting system some of my concern is overheating. Thanks Ron <<The answer, in my opinion, would be to upgrade to either 150w or even 250w metal halide unit. This will remove near enough all limitations on stocking capabilities. Heat wise, a simple clip on fan from a DIY store would suffice, blowing across the water surface.>> <<Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Thanks/ Lighting/ ID 2/29/08 Hello Crew- <Esther...> As I approach the one year anniversary of very first marine tank I would like to thank you for providing so much information on your site; which has led to my success in this hobby! My fish are waving their fins in cheers as well, as they benefit the most I think! <You're all welcome> Setup/ Specs: 75 gallon (48 x 18 x 21), Aqua C Remora Pro with Mag pump, 90 lbs. live rock, 3 power heads for water movement, and Corallife PC 260W lighting fixture. Ammonia: 0, Nitrate: 0, Nitrite: 0, dKH: 11.8, Calcium: 440. Aside from the hitchhiker Zoanthids, (and the ID below) I am just starting into corals and only have a Candy Cane coral right now. But as it is time to change my light bulbs again, I started thinking that at $30 each bulb for 4 bulbs every six months it is, in the long run, not very economical and that there better options out there. I have been looking into T5 lighting (I am not able to do MH) but want to know if you really don't need to change the bulbs as often? <Correct> So I have been looking at the Nova Extreme and the Nova Extreme Pro. The Pro has 6 x 54W, but with individual reflectors, and the other has 8 x 54W but with a single parabolic reflector. After some reading, I think that the individual reflectors are the better choice because of the 'light absorption back into the bulb loss' is less with the individual reflectors. Thoughts on this? <This is also so> My wish list for future corals would be: Blastomussa, Cynarina or Lobophyllia, and a plate Montipora; could these be kept under either of the above lighting? <Yes> Lastly, I have a small colony of hitchhikers I can't seem to identify and hoping you might have a clue. They are about 1/8" in diameter and after I noticed the first one, (about 4 months after getting that piece of rock), they have started multiplying. I've included (for hopes of an easier ID for you) a shot of a grouping of them, as well as the mouth and a skeletal make-up. I would love to know what they are so I can record it in my saltwater log. Thanks again! Esther <Are stony corals... scleractinians... I think a Caryophylliid... testimony to your good care here. Bob Fenner>

Reef Lighting 2/28/08 Evening Crew, <Good morning here.> Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with all of us. <You're welcome.> You all were of great help as I selected my pumps and skimmer. I went with an Iwaki MD-40rxlt for my closed loop, an Eheim 1262 for my sump and the EuroReef RS-100 skimmer. I'm getting to ready fill with water and LR and want to start preparing to upgrade the current 48" Top Aquaria Series light that contains 3 10k 36w bulbs. I have an 80gl bowfront tank in which I plan on stocking with a combination of LPS (Frogspawn, Hammer Coral) and SPS (Montipora capricornis, Acropora), Zoanthids, a BTA, <Would not put the BTA in a coral system.> xenia, leathers and a clam or 2. I've tried to read up on lighting requirements but am just not sure which way to head. All the lighting options and wattage ratings are confusing me. Can you simplify the pros/cons of MH vs. T5? If I go T5, will 6 54w bulbs be enough? If I go with MW, will 2 150w with T5 actinics be enough? I'm hoping to just make one purchase and not have to upgrade in a year. My only current experience with lighting is> currently a 24" Corallife pc with actinics and lunar LEDs on my 20gl. I really enjoy the variable lighting from dusk to dawn and the faint lighting in the evening from the LEDs. However, I've been considering upgrading the 20gl as well so I can add a wider variety of corals. <Do read here and linked files above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm Thanks in advance. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Reef Lighting, metal halide and livestock requirements  2/19/08 Hi, <Hi Jay> Great website and I have enjoyed researching on it. <Thank you.> I have a quick question on a newly acquired system that I got from a friend of mine that was moving. It is a standard 75g, 48Lx18Wx20H. It has a dual Hamilton ReefStar unit with two 150w HQI DE 14K bulbs in a wood canopy (2 fans, one pulling and one pushing). The protective glass under the bulbs is about 10" from the waters surface. It also has a retro unit consisting of 2-96w PC bulbs mounted in the top of the hood, but they are about 12" from the surface, hence I'm thinking the PC's are not going to be much benefit being so far up. <Not too much with a 20" deep tank. Can you lower the hood anyway?> My question is on livestock with the dual 150w HQI's: Would a couple of blue/green Crocea Clams/ Blue Maximas and a few SPS do well in the middle to upper part of this tank? I also plan on having some Zoanthids, Ricordea, and LPS like Frogspawn, Hammer, and Acans. It would be a slightly mixed reef, with less emphasis on the clams and SPS, maybe 1-2 clams and 5-8 SPS. Thanks for your great work and help. <Clams seem to prefer being on the bottom, preferably on a sandy substrate. In this regard, considering the depth of your tank and lighting placement, I'd go with either Derasa or Squamosa Clams which do not require the lighting intensity that the Maximas do. Any SPS should be kept in the upper third of the tank. Read here for more info on clams. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/Clam_care/Clam_care.htm James (Salty Dog)> Jay

Lighting a 65 Gallon Reef 2/13/08 Hello, I've found your website very helpful for many things, and have searched it over and found many conflicting opinions on lighting. <Lighting a reef has personal preference as a component, hence the differing opinions.> I realize that there is no "right" answer, but I was looking for an opinion on this specific tank. I plan on setting up a 65 gallon tank with sump, skimmer, approximately 100 pounds of liverock and a 4 inch sandbed. <Sounds like a nice setup.> Right now I have mostly LPS and some soft corals in a smaller tank, but in the new setup I would like to experiment with some Montipora and clams. A lot of the articles seem to prefer VHO, HO etc. fluorescent lighting, but I worry about the light penetration from these lights in a 24" deep tank. <With enough bulbs fluorescents will work fine. Perhaps consider a T5 fixture with six or so 39W bulbs.> Would metal halides be my best bet? <It is definitely a viable option.> If so, would a 250 Watt HQI IceCap Pendant be sufficient? <Definitely, the problem is that these tanks generally have a plastic center brace. If it does you will likely want two Halides to avoid casting an unsightly shadow in the tank. In this case I recommend two 150W units. If you have no center brace one 250 will be perfect. The center brace will not be an issue with fluorescents.> With no hood on the tank, would heat buildup be an issue if hung approx. 12" off the surface? <You will have more heat imparted into the water with halides, but you can help this out with a fan blowing between the surface of the water and the light. You may need a chiller depending on the ambient temperature in your area and your other equipment; it is possible you may need one anyway without the halide.> What bulb would you recommend? <Again, this is greatly personal preference. I like the 10K offerings out there, they give more usable light for your money spent on electricity without looking too yellow for my taste.> Thank you. <Welcome, happy reefing, Scott V.>

Re: Need Lighting Help... reef  01/25/2008 Hi Andrew, <<Tiffany...>> Thank you very much for the timely response. I have been contemplating between two lighting systems.... the first obviously has more wattage and is a big more expensive, but the second one has built in timers which I thought was a great feature. Both have individual reflectors which I thought would be good for the light intensity. Any opinions or have you heard anything on either of these fixtures? 48" Nova Extreme Pro 6x54watt --> 359.00 48 inch Current USA SunDial T5 HO 4x54W w/ Timers & LED --> 269.99 <<Both are good lighting fixtures. My preference would be the Nova extreme out of the two, I feel this is a very good choice although, yes, you would have to buy timers too. The Sundial, although cheap is 100w less and I feel the extra 100w form the Nova pretty much covers you in lighting requirements to keep a huge selection of coral in the tank>> Thanks! Tiffany <<Thanks for the feedback, reply.. A Nixon>>

Lighting Overkill? 1/23/08 I currently have a 65 gallon, 36x18x24, I already have 2 150W halides with 20K radium bulbs. I would like to upgrade to a system that has 2 250W 10K halides with 4 T5 actinics. This would give me around 656W, but that is over 10 watts a gallon. I plan on housing more sps and clams in the future. Should I stick with this idea or go with a less wattage of halide, like 2 175W mogul with T5's. <I would be inclined to stay with your current fixture with bulbs in a better (10K) spectrum.> I currently have DE bulbs and the lighting in question has DE bulbs. I currently have just polyps, some micromussa, a tort, purple fuzzy and a BTA. Would like clams to live in the tank, 2 died under the 150W's. <Not enough usable light with the 20K.> I'm having a big problem deciding. Thanks for your patience. Also, no heat issues right now, but will I have serious heat issues if I do go with the 250's, <Quite possible.> Thanks <You will realize a large increase in light your corals/clams can use with the simple switch to a lower wattage bulb. Two 250W would be overkill in my opinion considering it is a three foot tank and the lights will overlap quite a bit. The 175W would be fine, but again different bulbs in the 150W fixture would be the way to go considering the lighting will overlap. Check out the link below, noting the difference in PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density; what your corals use) between the 10K and 20K bulbs. Welcome, hope this helps you decide, Scott V.>  

Best Lighting? 1/21/08 Hello, <Hello Tom.> I have a four year old 20 gallon setup with the following livestock: maroon clown yellow-tailed blue damsel coral banded shrimp feather duster star polyps torch coral birdsnest xenia zoanthids Palythoa 2 acropora (ora roscoe and a brown one received at MACNA this year) Pavona snails (Cerith, margarita, and Nassarius) Oxypora (frag 1 inch) <Wow, one busy 20 gal.> Hardware: 24" Coralife PC (one 65watt 10,000K and one 65watt 50/50) Hydor Koralia #1 Sea Clone 100 (I modified it to be a needle wheel and adjusted the collection cup.) I would like to purchase a HQI light for my tank, so I can add more SPS and get the best color out of them but I do not want a chiller and can not hang the light from the ceiling (because I rent). I would like to know in your opinion what would be the best possible fixture for me? I was looking at the 24" SunPod with a 14K 150 watt bulb but it would have to sit on the mounting pegs it comes with and I did not want to "cook" my tank. Is there other options for me to get the best lighting or should I stick with what I have do to my tank volume? <Depending on the ambient temperature you may be able to run the MH, but there is always the chance this will push you into needing a chiller, especially on such a small system. I would either stick with what you have (it is working, right?) or look into some of the T5 fixtures out there if you want more intensity from your light. The PCs you have can sustain what you list, of course with the SPS closer to the light.> I appreciate your help! Thank you, Tom (enclosed is a picture of my current setup as of today 1/22/2008) <Welcome, this looks like a nice system, you may need more room as everything grows! I hope this helps you decide, good luck, Scott V.>

Reef Lighting Upgrade Do I need It? 01/11/08 I have a 75 gallon reef system which houses a variety of LPS, soft corals and Zoanthids. <<Okay>> I currently have two 175 watt 15000K metal halides providing the light for this setup. <<I see>> While this, to me, seems more than sufficient, <<Agreed>> I was recently tempted by an advertisement for an Odyssea Metal Halide system with two 250 watt HQI's and four 65 watt compact fluorescents with lunar LED's all for a very modest price. <<Mmm, more light than you need I suspectand do be aware, you get what you pay for>> The metal halides I currently use are nothing special, a retro kit I got online, <<Nothing wrong with retro kits>> so I assume I won't be deviating too far from where I am currently regarding quality. <<Not necessarily Personally, I am leery of this product/vendor>> Unfortunately, my current budget wouldn't allow a "name brand" higher quality lighting setup. <<Best to stick with DIY fixtures built from retro kits thenin my opinion. You can go too cheap>> My main question is whether or not a 760 Watt lighting package can be maintained in a tank such as mine or will this level of lighting do more harm than good to my coral inhabitants? <<I dont think you need it. If you have a desire for more intensity/PARthis can easily be attained by replacing the 15000K lamps with lamps of a lower Kelvin. If youre worried about losing that blue look, spend those bucks on some T5 fixtures with Actinic lamps to add to the existing lighting>> My tank is an open top and, without running fans, it stays between 77 and 80 degrees. <<Going to a higher wattage MH bulb may change this>> How much temperature increase should I expect if I were to upgrade? <<Hard to say Will depend much on currently airflow, ambient room temperature>> Thanks for your insight and advice. <<Hope its been of use. Regards, EricR>>
Re: Reef Lighting Upgrade...Do I need It? - 01/12/08
As always, thanks for the fast response. <<Quite welcome>> I realize that 760 watts is overkill for my tank, <<Indeed>> but do you feel it would harm the inhabitants, or is it simply more light than I need? <<More than you need The current inhabitants could likely be acclimated to more lightbut that doesnt mean they would prosper under more light than they need/can make use of. It is not unusual for deeper water specimens (Corallimorphs, some LPS species, etc.) to lose color/turn brown under lighting that is too intense/more intense than that in their natural surrounds>> Thanks again for your help! <<Cheers EricR>>

Reef Lighting 1/10/08 Hello, <Hi Renee> Again, I find myself confused about something and needing a steer or two in the proper direction. <We can do that.> I have a 75 gallon Tru Vu Aquarium (4' long...standard sized) with an overflow built down the center (wrong spot for an overflow, IMHO, but it works for me), and the first question is if the lighting is sufficient. I have a wet/dry, Bak Pak skimmer, heaters and various powerheads in the tank, as well as a hood and stand. On that tank, I have 2 50/50 96 watt CF 34" bulbs staggered. So, I'm not sure if each bulb contains 192 watts or 96 watts. <Each lamp is 96 watts for a total wattage of 192.> What I grow in there are Colt, polyps, mushrooms and Condys. <No where near enough light to satisfy a Condy, and may not be enough for the Colt Coral.> In my next tank, a 29 gallon standard sized aquarium, I have no lighting as of yet. What will go in there is almost anything I can put in. I have an opportunity for a 150 watt HQI Pendant. I would add to that a T5 strip with one blue one white, if necessary. What kinds of corals would I be limited to if I go with this setup? Can I put a BTA in there and would it be sufficient lighting for it? <A 150 watt HQI would allow you to grow most anything. The 29 is too small for a BTA, water parameters have a better chance of changing in smaller tanks, something the anemones don't tolerate too well. As for the strip light, it would just be in the way and isn't really necessary with the 150 watt HQI. My choice here would be to go with a 14K lamp.> Last, but not least, I have a 25 tall Eclipse 2 converted system. It has a compact fluorescent double white bulb in front, and a set of T5s in the center, by Corallife, one white, one blue and I have one small CF daylight lamp on the side of it aimed at my BTA which lives in there. I wonder, is that enough light or should I amp that up? Do you have any suggestions as to the type I should place on there or should I just put that BTA into the 29 when it gets going? It is healthy, not bleached at this time. I am sorry for such stupid questions. I am not only a novice, but being a woman, I don't deal with lighting very often. In freshwater systems, it's so much simpler.:) Renee, I'd like you to read these links and related articles contained within. This will help you understand reef lighting requirements and also the needs/systems for keeping anemones. And, being a woman has nothing to do with succeeding in this hobby. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm> I thank you ahead of time for your expertise. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Thank you, Renee

New Setup, Marine Lighting 1/10/08 Hi, <Hello> I have another question: I am setting up me new 150G tank (60x24x24) and I am trying to figure out what type of light would work best for me. I have a very good water flow (20 times+) and two 90G refugia for nutrient transport and food generation so I hope that I don't need to go crazy with light. <Depends on what you want to keep.> I am considering two options: 1. 432W (8x54W bulbs) Current USA Nova Extreme T5 HO fixture (or similar T5 HO system) 2. 3 x 175W MH reflectors. I am going to start slow with adding livestock but will probably end up with a small number of fish and reef garden so basically I would like to be able to grow most things. <The first option will be fine for most corals, but if you want to keep really light demanding corals the MHs will be necessary.> Also, I would like to minimize the electricity consumption and would like to have a system that has most flexibility to modify as needed (e.g. adding more light bulbs as the tank matures and the light needs increase). <Either setups should be all you would ever need.> Could you please advise if Option #1 would be sufficient? <Depends on the specific corals you wish to keep, most would do fine under either setup. See these links for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm , http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/fixtures.htm , and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm .> Thanks again, John. <Welcome>

Reef Lighting/Selection 1/1/08 Hello! Happy Holidays! <And to you my friend.> I first wanted to thank "the crew" for all the great hours of reading, sound advice and establishing the trust you have from the readers, myself specifically. Your website is in the first slot on my Favorites link on my computer. It's been said so many times, but nonetheless, you guys are great and your advice is invaluable. <Well thank you!> Okay, now to the situation at hand. I came home from walking my dog yesterday and instantly could smell burned plastic or rubber or something of the sort-very distinctive smell. I immediately ran to my aquarium and saw that half of my lighting system was dark. I don't know anything about electronics, but I think it's toast. It was a 6X96 watt PC unit. I wanted to upgrade anyway, and now my hand has been forced (which is okay). <Mmm, were the cooling fans operative?> It is a 72", 125 gallon reef aquarium that houses a healthy load of fishes (yes, maybe a little overloaded and therefore, not optimally healthy, which is why I hesitate to list the inhabitants-please don't yell at me, I don't think it's terribly so) as well as lightly stocked LPS and SPS corals that are all doing very well. They consist of 2 growing Montipora frags which I've been surprised to say have flourished in this "lesser" Power Compact Fluorescent climate, <Mmm, 600 watts of PC lighting is not all that bad for your shallow tank.> a Caulastrea Furcata colony, an Acanthastrea colony as well as some unidentified corals imbedded in my live rock (I believe one type has been described as a "cup" coral, whatever that means and the other type appears to be a kind of colonial SPS or LPS coral). There is also a hitchhiker anemone which I've found described as a Curly Q Anemone. Since the "burnout" has occurred (and it is the unit that is fried, not the lamps), I've grouped the peaceful corals somewhat closely and have used my only backup to light them, which is a hang on 150 watt MH unit. I need to quickly purchase a new system, but am somewhat limited financially. <Have you contacted the manufacturer about the problem. If you haven't had the light very long, most will take care of the problem.> Around $700 is probably my maximum. I also have the added issue of probably not being able to hang lights since I live with my parents and my dad probably will not let me. <If you have a wood canopy, a retrofit system is the least expensive.> I've come up with a few options that I want to run by you and hope to get a clear ranking or just ones that you think should be good and ones to avoid as well as requesting any additional suggestions. I would like to support high lighting required inhabitants including SPS and clams. Okay, here are ones that I've found to both be in my price range and should be a good upgrade to what I had before. I will list and link so you can see them in case you are not familiar. The first seems too good to be true, but if it works well, should bathe all inhabitants in tons of light: 3X250 watt metal halide, 4X96 Watt PC with 8 lunar lights and electronic ballasts from Aqua Trader. http://www.aquatraders.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=332 <My dealer tried one of their PC systems and thought they were of good quality, no experience with the MH's though. You are correct in saying "too good to be true". Does sound like too much for the money. You may want to contact Aqua Trader and ask about the warranty. Another option, post this question on one of the salt water forums. We had one but I do not see the link anymore on our homepage.> This one is not nearly as powerful and not as much wattage, but from an established and well known company (but also the company that sold me the PC system that just burned out, not that I fault them. 72 inch Current USA SunPod 3x150W 14K HQI-MH w/ 24 Lunar Lights http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewItem~idProduct~CU01066.html <I have a Current PC system on a tank, and have had no problems with it in two years. On another note, Marine Depot is a respected company and I doubt they would handle a product that has a problem reputation.> Next is more powerful and looks like a great option, but I just haven't heard anything about them. 6 Ft. Captive Sun Deluxe Hood Lighting System-3X175 Watt MH+2X160W VHO (bulbs not included) http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewItem~idProduct~CP4116.html <Again, as above. Tell you what I'll do...I'll contact Marine Depot and get some info for you and get it back to you in a day or two.> I'm also considering the following due to all the positives I've heard about T5 lighting, but not sure that it would be sufficient for the inhabitants that I would like to keep. The bulbs seem to have individually wrapped reflectors which I've read makes all the difference. 72" Current USA 12X39W Nova Extreme Pro T5HO 6-10K/6-460nm Actinics http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewItem~SearchStr~pro~action~view~idProdu ct~CU01082~idCategory~FILTFIT5T7~category~72_inch_Current_USA_12x39W_Nov a_Extreme_Pro_T5HO_6_10k_6_460nm_Actinics_Saltwater_Aquarium_Supplies_Li ghting_Fixtures_T5_Lighting_72in_Units~vendor~.html <For what you want to keep, I'd be safe and go with MH or HQI lighting. Clams seem to do better under this type lighting.> I know you guys don't always like recommending products and are not always familiar with the overwhelming amount of products on the market, I'd just like a clear opinion from an expert (I know you guys are too modest to consider yourselves "expert", but to me, you all clearly are, so just accept the positive title:-)) about what they (you) would do if you were in my place. Lighting is such an important aspect of reef keeping and SO expensive to someone who is lower middle class at best that I just want to make the best decision possible. I've worked so hard to improve my water quality and flow (which is why I think my Monti's are doing so well even in the lesser light-I've got great flow now after adding over time), that this lighting issue may very well be the difference in having a really nice reef tank or one that still looks a bit amateur...or at least can't house some of the more advanced corals I'd like to try. Of course lighting doesn't determine your aquatic abilities. I consider myself an intermediate aquarist who's been keeping reef tanks for 5-7 years and I feel like making this tank successful will be a huge step for me. I appreciate your consideration and the time you've taken to read this long query regardless of the outcome. Thanks for everything you do. <You certainly are on the right track. I'd be comfortable with either of the two products you list from Marine Depot.> Please add any suggestions for lighting units I have not listed that you think might fit both my needs and budget. <If you have a wood canopy, consider the PFO retro systems from Premium Aquatics, is what I use and a very well made product.> As a side note, I'm writing this from my work email address, can you send the response to my personal address, please? <Not a problem.> Thanks so, so much! <You're welcome Nicholas. James (Salty Dog)> Nicholas Sadaka

Re: Reef Lighting/Selection 1/2/08 Thanks so much, James, I really appreciate the response! <You're welcome, Nick.> Unfortunately, I don't have a wood canopy, which stinks because I would certainly go the retrofit route if I did. Your question about the cooling fans being operable is a good one and one that I just couldn't say for sure. They've always been so quiet that I probably wouldn't be able to tell on an average day without really tuning into it. Let's just say that I hadn't noticed that they were not working, but it's certainly possible. <The fan(s) also need to be cleaned periodically, do mine twice a year.> I also don't know ANYTHING at all about electronics, so I'm not even sure if it was something with the ballasts or the wiring or what, but it certainly gave off a very strong odor and had my parents running around looking for a fire! Now, after saying that, let me just say that I do believe that Current is a great company and if I did not, I would never consider getting another unit from them. I've had PC lights from them that I got when I started in the hobby that are still to this day running well, so, I hope anyone reading this did not take my story as a slight against Current at all. <No worries here, we like to hear about problems people have with components, keeps fellow aquarists aware of potential problems with such.> I haven't contacted Current about the light (it's probably about 4 years old), but that's more because I really want the upgrade now, with the ability to keep Acropora and clams and such. <Four years old, without cleaning the fans, I'm pretty sure they were not working properly.> I was planning on doing that within the next year anyway, so now is as good a time as any. I certainly would love to take you up on your offer to talk to Marine Depot on my behalf, and I appreciate that immensely. That is very kind of you and I look forward to hearing your response! <Sent off a message this afternoon, should hear from them sometime tomorrow and will forward to you.> If you get busy and don't have a chance to get to contact them, that's okay too, I'll just go with one of the two MH systems from Marine Depot (and you're right, Marine Depot is a great company and I buy from them constantly and have NEVER had a problem). <Good to hear.> I probably have to make a decision in the next couple of days so the tank can be lit again, so I look forward to hearing from you if you speak with them, but again, if you can't, that's okay too. Thanks again for your response. I always feel like I got a chance to talk to someone we look up to in the aquarium hobby when I get a response from one of you guys! Thanks again. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Re: Reef Lighting/Selection 1/2/08 <Nick, did receive a reply from August at Marine Depot. Below are the contents of his email. Hope this helps you. James (Salty Dog)> <<Hello, Thanks for the email. Since the maximum amount is $700, the closest metal halide with legs in that price range is the Current USA SunPod. Here is the quick link http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewItem~idProduct~CU01066.html. This is a really good product. It comes with LED lights for moon lighting and to slowly acclimate the tank everyday. It comes with 3 150W bulbs. Everything is included. For a shallow water tank, T5s can also be used. The only issue is the length of the bulbs. The biggest we have is 48 inches. So unless 2 x 36 inch lights can be used, the only option is the metal halide. If you have any other questions, please feel more than welcome to contact us. Take care!>> Re: Reef Lighting/Selection 1/3/08 Again, James, thanks so much. I sincerely appreciate all of your effort on my behalf. Through reading the daily questions and reading through the content on WWM, you eventually get a feel for the personalities of the experts. That being said, I really feel like you are a good, stand up guy and a valuable asset to the hobby. If this is posted, <All queries are posted in the dailies.> some people are going to read and say, "boy, that guy's kissing some butt", but the bottom line is that I have nothing to gain by sharing this opinion and if I did not truly feel this way, I'd just keep my mouth shut. Everyone really needs to realize and understand the service WWM is doing by providing this information free of charge. That's rare and special and without speaking for anyone else, greatly appreciated by me. I genuinely extend this sentiment to the whole crew and request that the occasional disgruntled aquarist that writes in keeps this in mind before attacking a helping hand. <Well said.> No one is right all of the time, but the ability to share unselfishly separates the masses. Okay, don't want to get too wordy and mushy, just want to say "thank you" one last time! <Nick, thank you so much for the kind words. Nobody on the crew is "kissing butt". As aquarists with years of combined experience (+30 for me), our goal is to help others avoid mistakes we have made in our learning process. When I started in this hobby, there were no forums and such you could go to, in fact it would have been difficult since there was no internet back then. All we could rely on was a good book or two, but the books back then rarely gave any info as to requirements/compatibility etc. You pretty much rode the horse alone. Good luck to you in this hobby, and I'd like to thank you for doing such a fine job in writing. It is rare that I do not have to edit queries as to caps, punctuation, etc. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Reef Lighting/Selection   1/3/08 Bob, Below is an email I just received from Marine Depot, is from Keith MacNeil. It is in regard to the Reef Lighting/Selection query. Thought you may want to post his email on the dailies. Regards, James <Will do. Thank you James. BobF> Hey James, Thank you for inquiring about these fixtures. I was looking over our emails and noticed this one wasn't quite answered the way I think you were looking for. I believe you are looking for more of a quality issue than alternatives. The CurrentUSA fixtures have been getting good reviews. I have one of their metal halide fixtures that has been running flawlessly over the last 2+ years. CurrentUSA offers a 1 year warranty on their fixtures that would be handled by the place of purchase. One of the nice features are the internal ballasts for their 150 watt units. The Captive Sun fixtures are custom made exclusively for Marine Depot. These have been being made for us for quite some time now with very few problems. Any issues that have come up have been resolved very quickly. Again warranty issues are handle by Marine Depot. I have talked with people that have been using their fixtures for over 5 years with no issues at all. I hope that helps out some and I apologize if the first email was not what you were expecting. Lighting Query From Wet Web Media (Thread:1103937) Hello, Thanks for the email. Since the maximum amount is $700, the closes metal halide with legs in that price range is the Current USA SunPod. Here is the quick link http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewItem~idProduct~CU01066.html. This is a really good product. It comes with LED lights for moon lighting and to slowly acclimate the tank everyday. It comes with 3 150W bulbs. Everything is included. For a shallow water tank, T5s can also be used. The only issue is the length of the bulbs. The biggest we have is 48 inches. So unless 2 x 36 inch lights can be used, the only option is the metal halide. If you have any other questions, please feel more than welcome to contact us. Take care! Thank you for choosing Marine Depot. We are always available for any support that you may need. August Sicat Marine Depot Customer Service www.MarineDepot.com Phone: (714)385-0080 Fax: (714)385-0180 Hi gang. I've got a query from a gent inquiring about two different lighting systems you sell. I'm not familiar with their MH systems. Can you help me out. He seems to be concerned about quality/longevity. I'll post the query with my notes in carets below. I did send the query but will reply to him with your input. Thanks much, James Gasta (Salty Dog) Wet Web Media

Re: Reef Lighting/Selection...Queriors Input... cave canem  1/3/08 Dear Crew, <Hello> I saw the messages between poster/Salty Dog re the Aquatraders.com 72" 3x250W MH system and wanted to provide him/her with some info. I purchased the 48" 2x 250W MH/4x65W PC system for $379 and am very pleased. It is made by Odyssea. So far, it works well, the fan is quiet, it runs cool and, most of all, my corals are very happy under it. Before I purchased, I read about 10,000 posts <Naw, c'mon.> on the several threads on reefcentral.com re: the experiences of hobbyists with the MH Odyssea fixture. Almost all posters that I read have been very pleased and feel that the fixture is an exceptional deal. <I thank you for this, will post for others to read. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Reef Lighting/Selection...Querier's Input 1/4/08 James, <Andrew> Well, it was probably like 9,990 posts. In all seriousness, I urge anyone interested in the Odyssea MH fixture to set aside about 30 hours and review the 1 billion-post threads on the fixture in reefcentral.com <Again, thank you for your input. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Reef Lighting/Selection Query. More re Above Water Photography   1/5/08 Boy did I open a can of worms with the Reef Lighting/Selection Query, Whew. I believe much good was done here, especially regarding the Odyssea MH fixtures. For the price, it appears they are a quality fixture. <Yeah... I read this ten bazillion times, and I still find it hard to believe> On another note, why are the manuals you get with cameras so vague? <Wish I knew> Tells you want does what but not why or why you should use certain functions. Oh I wish I had my Nikormat 35mm camera back. What a joy to use and great pics. Didn't have a menu with 500 options. Sheesh. Time to start looking for a book on the G9 that is more user friendly. Wonder if there is anything out there like that. James|<The very best thing to do here is to search on the Net for folks who have used the model, or one close to it... for their insights into use/settings... Believe me. B> <The very best thing to do here is to search on the Net for folks who have used the model, or one close to it... for their insights into use/settings... Believe me. B>

Yet another lighting upgrade question 12/30/07 Hi WWM Crew, <Hi Jason!> Let me start by letting you know how much I appreciate all of the useful information you freely give to your readers. I can only imagine how many aquarium critters youve saved. <Thank you.> Now a little background information I currently have a 55 gallon flat back hex acrylic aquarium with 4 55w PC lamps. Right now Ive got a Candy Cane Coral, Frogspawn and a Pulsing Xenia. All of them are placed in the upper 2/3 of the tank. I believe that my current lighting is enough to sustain these corals, but they may not truly thrive (I do feed the Candy Can and Frogspawn every other day). For the New Year Id like to upgrade my lighting system; Id really like to go the HQI metal halide route and maybe use 2 of the PC lamps for supplemental actinic lighting. However, with my canopy closed I only have 4 ¾ inches from the top of the aquarium to the canopy (the shape of the flat back hex canopy has also proven to be problematic for lamp placement). My concern is that the heat output from the MH lamps will be a problem; especially given the fact that its an acrylic aquarium. Removing the canopy and using a pendant really isnt an option. <With that kind of height restriction I am concerned about the same issues.> An alternative would be to go with 4 or 6 - 36 39W T5 bulbs instead of the MH lamps; I may not gain as much intensity or any shimmering as with MHs but Ive read that T5 lamps do not need to be replaced as often as PCs and that they are more energy efficientwhich could potentially offset the cost of the upgrade. <Eventually.> I realize that the inhabitants I wish to keep are really the driving force behind my lighting; first and foremost I just want to ensure that my current corals are happy with an eye on the future (my crystal ball tells me anemones and clams are not in my future). <Possibly a clam higher up in the tank with the T5s, if you have the real estate. Anemones no.> I have read through your site regarding lighting, but I would really just like a little hand-holding on my lighting decision. <Your current lighting is adequate for what you have, but the T5s sure wouldnt hurt. Be sure to invest in units with individual bulb reflectors.> I would appreciate any insight you can give me on my upgrade options. Thank you and I hope all of the WWM Crew a wonderful New Year! Jason <Happy New Year to you too. Have fun with your new project, Scott V.>

Mushroom tank lighting? 12/13/07 Hi guys and gals. <Hello.> I am setting up a 110 gallon mushroom tank (no Ricordea) currently cycled with live rock. My question is concerning lighting. Right now I am running a twin tube N.O. fixture with a marine glow and a power glow, 40 watts each. I have a 175 watt metal halide fixture that I purchased from Craig's list for $75, what a steal. The guy gave me two new bulbs as well, a 175 watt 20000K actinic (unknown brand), <20K spectrum, not actinic.> a 400 watt Blueline super white. He said that either bulb would work with the fixture (no brand name on the M.H. fixture just a really well made hanging pendent fixture made by the local aquariologist at the aquarium). Which bulb should I use in conjunction with my N.O. fixture or should I buy another M.H. bulb that would better suit these creatures? <Either light may work with this fixture (sounds like all mogul base), but not with the ballast. Assuming the setup came with a ballast to power the bulb, it will only work with its rated wattage bulb. 400 watt will be way overkill for mushrooms. 175 will be fine, but you will need two to get an even light spread across this tank. Good luck, Scott V.>
Re: Mushroom tank lighting? 12/14/07
Yes it came with a ballast . I took a closer look at the 175 watt bulb it reads "blue line m.h. 175w 20k";.When I plug this one in its extremely blue. Thanks to all you guys for all the help. <Welcome, glad to help, Scott V.>

Bulkhead Flow Rate And Reef Lighting 12/8/07 Hello, <Hi Terry> I have a question about bulkhead flow. I have purchased a 90gal AGA with built in overflow, and I am planning on using a 30 long that I have picked up for the sump/fuge. I have been looking at different calculators and I'm all confused now, my question is how much flow can I get using both the bulkheads that are in the tank to drain? <I have no idea what size your bulkhead fittings are so that would be difficult to answer. Are they 1 inch, 1 1/4, etc?> I am planning on doing over the back returns. <May not be necessary if your drains provide enough flow.> My other question is about the Current USA SunPod lighting, I really like the halide shimmer <And I also.> and the LED shimmer so I thought this lighting would be great but I haven't found many reviews or if this would be a good light for a reef LPS SPS and maybe a clam? (sorry I'm referring to the 250w version, it has 2 250w halides and wh,bl LEDs). <I have a Current SunPod fixture on a smaller experimental tank. I think the quality and workmanship is very good and I've experienced no problems with it in over a year. The system you refer to would be an excellent fixture for a 90 gallon tank allowing you to keep any light loving corals/clams you desire.> Thanks in advance, <You're welcome. Do let us know what size your bulkhead fittings are and we will be able give you a flow rate for these. James (Salty Dog)> Terry

Reef Lighting 12/8/07 To The WWM Crew <Hi Flavio> In order to have some glitter lines in my 450 litre tank, I am thinking to add two or three halogen (4000 K) lamps mixed with the 6 T5 fluorescents that are installed at the moment. Do you think it will affect the corals life quality? <Shouldn't, as long as the T-5's are going strong.> I have Fungia, Sarcophyton, Favia, 2 Turbinaria, an Hydnophora, a Pectinia and two Euphyllias, all of them growing and living since several years only with fluorescent lamps. Thank you for your help. <I don't think you are going to like the look the 4K bulbs will produce. It will give the tank a yellow look, yuk. James (Salty Dog)> Flavio

Small Marine Aquariums
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