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FAQs Lighting for Marine Invertebrates 4

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

Vana... white? No, Vana black!  Diadema paucispinum, a Long-Spined Sea Urchin.

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

Reef Lighting/Selection 1/9/07 Dear Crew, <Hello Russell> I have a one year old 75 gal tank with three fish, two soft corals, two LPS and some zoanthids. I am currently running two 250 watt 10K metal halide lamps and two 110 watt actinic VHO lamps. The fixture is about 15 inches above the water line. The VHO are on morning and evening, the MH lamps about six hours during mid day. Question: What would be the pro's and con's of turning off the MH lamps all together and instead just running the VHO lamps 10-12 hours a day? <Metal Halide lighting is by far the better choice for hard corals.  I also like the shimmering effect it produces.  The light intensity is higher per watt than VHO's. The color temperature stays truer for a longer period of time, and the useable lamp life is longer than with VHO. And finally, clams and hard corals do much better under halide lighting.  My choice would be to run the halides 8-10 hours per day and eliminate the VHO's.> I've had some recent annoying algae growth that is likely more related to water quality than "too much light".... over the holidays. <Very true.>   I didn't keep up with dosing and my ALK, Ca dropped in addition to not keeping up with water changes.  However, I've also had difficulty growing Coralline algae in the directly lighted areas and I suspect the strong MH lamps  may be to blame. Also, I could save some electricity running just VHO.  <Dollar wise, there isn't a big enough difference to matter in the billing department.  Coralline prefers light in the higher Kelvin range. When lamp replacement time comes around, get lamps in the 14-20K range.  Keeping calcium/dKH levels up are necessary also.> I've also considered ditching the VHO's and switching to 14-15K MH   bulbs. With either VHO or MH alone, I'm running >4 watt/gal. <Keep in mind that the halides produce more light intensity per watt than the VHO's.> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Russell

Lighting requirements/combinations 1/08/07 <Hi Lee, Graham here with you.> I thank all of you for your knowledge. <Appreciated!> I have a 110 gal 48w x 30h x 18d with about 4-5 inch sand bed and 14 inch high hood with 2- 175w 1-250w MH and 2-96 pc's. <K...> I would like to keep sps, LPSs, and some softies. Is my lighting ok? <Well, assuming you have a little bit o' actinic in there, then yes! Your lighting is more than ok.> For sps & LPSs what would be the best kelvin for the 175 MH's for growth? <6,700K or thereabouts is best utilized, as it most closely resembles the noon sun. Most folks find that color temp a little too yellow for their tastes, however, and opt for a higher temp in the 10,000K spectrum. I prefer to give the most energy in the wavelengths that are useful for photosynthetic activity, and balance the slightly yellow hue with the lower power PC's. *But*.. you should check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm and spend a few days (months...) skimming all of the related articles and FAQs for more info. I think you will get a good idea of what 80% of aquarists choose. (Which will only work if you are in that eightieth percentile... sigh)> The 250 MH has a 14k and the 2-96 pc's are 50/50's. <Should've read ahead... mmm since Halides are relatively expensive, I would do the research and decide for yourself what ya like. -Graham T.>

HQI vs. VHO vs. T5   1/8/07 Hi, my name is Larry. <<Hello Larry...Eric here>> I have a 90g (48Lx 24dx18w), I upgraded my lighting system to 2x 250watt HQI and 2x95watt VHO.  The things in my tank do not like it at all....I understand that it has to go through an acclimation process and I did not do it correctly. <<Mmm, yes...especially if your lighting was nowhere this intense before, photo shock is a real danger to your photosynthetic organisms>> The only things I have as far as sps is Alveopora and Goniopora. <<Interesting statement...both are from the Family Poritidae as is Porites, though I think most hobbyists don't think of Alveopora or Goniopora as "SPS" corals...and the latter is definitely not a good candidate for captive keeping>> I have some leathers and mushrooms and zoas.  My problem is the lights killed my sailfin tang as he was fine before I did the upgrade, <<Hmm, could have been stress induced I suppose...though I have never heard of lighting killing fish>> My blue regal has a cloudy eye and my xenias melted and died. <<Likely all these are "indirect" results of the lighting upgrade...perhaps some biological/chemical reaction to the large and sudden increase in intensity>> I have been doing research for some time about what kind of lights to get and I wanted to be able to keep just about anything so my original thought was to go with 2x150watt HQI and 2x 110 actinic VHO or just 4 VHO's <<Either of these options could be utilized.  But if "just about anything" means the ubiquitous "garden style reef" there really is no "ideal" lighting solution as this unnatural mix groups organisms from differing niches/environments of the reef in to a very small space.  Some allowances can be made by proper placement of/creating shade or shelter for those animals with lower lighting requirements.  But be aware, lighting is only one consideration, and blasting the tank with intense light does not mean you will 'be able to keep just about anything,' you also have aggression/toxicity/allelopathy issues to address among others (water flow, feeding, etc.)>> Problem number 2 the canopy is only about 6-8 inches tall...so my question is, is the 250's to much light too close to the water and should I trade those back in to get the 2 150's or should I go with the 4 VHO's or an 8 bulb T5 fixture? <<The 250w bulbs are more than you need in my opinion...but that's not to say they won't work as long as they don't cause overheating issues (there are also steps you can take to mitigate these).  But to save you a few bucks on electricity/bulb replacement, you could consider the 150w fixtures.  My personal preference is MH lighting, but with the right combination of wattage and Kelvin temperature the T5 fixture is a fine option>> I would still like to keep just about anything from sps to clams. <<Mmm...or maybe consider limiting your display to just these...>> I read tons of posts about this earlier this morning when I found my tang laid over on his side, but it just left me more confused...any help is greatly appreciated <<Keep reading...the understanding will come>> Frustrated Reefer Larry <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Lighting Options For An SPS Tank   1/6/07 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I am starting an SPS reef tank.  Either 75 or 120 gallon reef. I have a chiller, skimmer, sump, and all the bells and whistles from my previous tank. My question is should I use 400 watt or 250 watt lights, along with T5?  Cost vs. effectiveness.... <Well, if you're looking for "bang for the buck" with light-demanding SPS corals, I'd be inclined to go with 250 watt halides. T5 supplementation is optional, IMO. I am currently running a large array of just T5 lights on a new system, with good results, but I question its value as a supplement with halides, myself, unless it's purely for aesthetics.> Do you suggest the Aqua Medic combo sexy series, or PFO Acrolights? <I have heard good stuff about both of these makes/models. Ask some fellow hobbyists on the message boards and get a feel for what people who use them have to say.> I know I will use 10K bulbs along with the actinic supplementation.... <Or 10k by themselves, if you like the color.> Thanks so much. Ronnie Shingelo <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting Question 1.4.2007 Hi, I have a 20 gallon tank with a 4 inch sand bed and 40 pounds of LR and the dimensions are 24x16H(I believe). I currently have a 130w pc lighting. 1 65w 10k and 65w actinic. I am looking to get an anemone, maybe LTA, BTA, or Sebae. Are the lighting good enough for me to keep anemones? How about soft corals? Thanks in advance. <Hi, Ryan with you.  Yes, this lighting is decent, if the bulbs are changed per the manufacturer's standards.  It is far too common that livestock isn't getting the usable light with a PC system because people use the same bulbs for year.  This is even more tempting because the human eye can't see a difference when the bulb stops producing optimal conditions.  Combine regular bulb changes with pristine water conditions, and this should be fine.  I would look for an anemone that is currently in another hobbyist's tank- The transition from ocean to pet store to tank can be deadly.  You can often find people selling them when tanks are being broken down.  Some soft corals will be fine in this setup as well.  I would recommend a Sarcophyton if you're just starting to keep corals.  Good luck, Ryan>

Lighting for my new 120 gallon reef tank.   1/3/07 WWM Crew, <Don> I have bought a used 120 gallon, 60"x26"x18" all-glass tank, stand, and glass cover, which came with two dual 60"  fluorescent light fixtures with 48" Eclipse Natural Daylight F40T10 bulbs (made in Japan for Marineland) from a friend.  I have decided to make it a reef tank, which is what my friend had it set up to be.  I would like to design the lighting for keeping anything up to and including SPS, rather than starting with too little light and having to upgrade later.  I figure that I can always turn off any excess light.   I have installed Active Home Pro and Reefcon 2000 on my computer to give me the option to control the lighting that way, if necessary. <Okay> However, reef tank lighting seems to be subject to a lot of differing opinions. I have been told that all 20,000K is the only way to go, <Mmm, no> but I have read on the web that reef organisms only use light in the 5,500K to 10,000K range. <Mostly these... but 20k lamps do produce useful photonic energy... and all "temperatures" of lamps light production are influenced, modified by factors such as water depth, suspended solids, dissolved color...> It has been recommended that I use anywhere from  two to twelve watts per gallon. <Heeeeee! Now there's a range!> It is said that compact fluorescent bulbs separate where they are joined, <... no> but some people recommend them. <... okay> I tend to think that HQI metal halide is better than mogul metal halide, but I don't know why. <You tend to think... of something as different, better... but don't know why?> Do compact florescent bulbs really separate? <No my friend> Is it impractical to get enough light from fluorescents? <In some settings, for some functions, yes... but not here... CF's, T-5's and higher would be able to work here... for this depth, length, width of tank... space above...> This is obviously a major purchase, and I want to start out right. It seems to come down to the temperature, wattage, and types of bulbs, and their combinations.  What would be the most desirable and practical lighting fixture if you could design it yourself? <Posted...> My short list has come down to one of the following. The Odyssea 60" with three 250w HQI metal halides, four 65w compact fluorescents, and eight Bluemoon LED's for $479.00 looks like a steal, but the reviews on the web are mixed, to say the least. <And you will need to buy, operate a chiller here due to the waste heat produced>   Some people even claim that they can burn down your house!  Unless someone like you guys has had a positive experience with this brand, and whole-heartedly recommends it, I am afraid to take the chance. <The various "apparent" manufacturers products do/have changed considerably over years time... and often folks impressions therein> If not, I will probably bite the bullet and buy one of the following fixtures, depending on your recommendation.   The Current USA 60" Outer Orbit with two 10,000K 250W HQI metal halides,  two 54w Actinic  460nm T5's and two Actinic 54w 420nm T5's, and nine blue and nine white led's for $940.75. <A better choice...> The SunPod 60" with three 14,000K 250w HQI metal halides, and twelve blue and twelve white lunar lights for $935.00. The Protostar 60" with two 250w 10,000K HQI metal halides, and  two 54w "blue" Actinic T-5's (or two 140w blue Actinic VHO's) for $815.00 ($827.00). The Aquatinic 60" with two 250w (400w) CoralVue 10,000K Single-ended (mogul?) metal halides with IceCap E-Ballasts, and two 80w Actinic blue T-5's for $965.10 ($1,125.90) This lighting decision is the final determining factor that is holding up my setting up my reef tank.  Your opinion and any help will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks. Don H. <For such an expensive investment... I would take your time a bit longer here... read the various BB's re actual users opinions... Bob Fenner>

65 gallon reef lighting  12/20/06 Dear Mr. Fenner: <Greetings, Mich with you tonight.> I am about to set up a 65 gallon reef tank, and I wanted to ask your opinion on lighting. <OK> The inverts I plan to keep are mostly LPS and some soft corals/mushrooms/zoanthids/octocorals, although I wouldn't mind having some SPS such as Montipora Digitata and Capricornis and possibly some type of tridacnid clam. <OK> What lighting would you utilize?  Metal Halide (150, 175, 250?, mogul base or HQI), or maybe compact fluorescents?  Also, what color spectrum/combination would you use. <There are many options out there.  This is very much a personal choice.  Each lighting option has its' advantages and disadvantages.  I think a 10K lamp is the most versatile.  If you are interested in Metal Halides there is much that can be learned about how different brands of ballast, bulbs and reflectors perform in combination on this website:   http://www.reeflightinginfo.arvixe.com/ Thank you in advance for your advice. <You are welcome.> Sincerely, <Hope this is helpful.  Mich>

Lighting for 40 gal tall   12/17/06 Good evening! I have a concern regarding lighting. I currently have a standard 29 gal glass aquarium with a 24 in. PC Orbit lighting 65 w 10000K daylight SunPaq x 65 w actinic Sunpaq about 2 inches above water surface. Recently I was given a Sea Clear 40 Gallon Tall Eclipse 3'¦. I know'¦ not much of an upgrade. My question is do I need to add more light to this new setup to account for the added depth. <Mmm... what you have can/will work with an assortment of low to medium intensity-light-use organism groups...> My corals are doing wonderful right now in the current 29 gal setup. (Kenya tree, toadstool, green star polyp, several zoas, Hairy mushroom, xenia) <These fall easily into this category> as the reason I would like to have more tank space without having to buy all new stand and equipment. I was reading in a previous post in which you suggest replacing a PC setup with higher wattage in a metal halide 10K pendant is this something I should consider or will the halides cause problems for the acrylic tank (read about cracking due to intense heat output from lights). <The trade-offs in energy consumption, waste-heat production... are not "worth it" to me... I'd stick with fluorescent technology here> Cost is a little bit of an issue'¦was hoping to upgrade without having to buy a complete new lighting system. <I agree with your position>   Thanks for all the great info,   Carrie   P.S thanks for all the help on the set up of my refugium-wow what a difference it makes in the tank. <Ahh! Good. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Selection 12/15/06 Hi all, <Hello fellow cigar smoker> I having a difficult time picking a lighting system. I would like to keep Zoo's, a Maxima clam and maybe some Acro. My problem is not knowing if I need MH lighting for what I want or if my animals will be happy with the Solar Flare fixture by Aquatinics.    http://www.aquariumspecialty.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1088 If I'll be fine with the SF what bulbs are best for the health of the afore mentioned animals? <You do not mention the depth of your tank and the link does not say what wattage this system is.  Pretty hard for me to make a reply here. For what this system cost, I'd definitely go with HQI lighting which can be had for a much lower price.  Acros and clams love this type of lighting.  As for Kelvin temperature, I'd go with 12 to 14K lamps.> Thanks for any help/suggestions. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

10000K through 20000K I'm Freaking Out  - 12/04/06 Hello guys hows everyone doing? <Doing pretty good given the cold weather, Michelle here chillin in the Poconos!>             I have a 125 gallon reef tank with over 15 different   corals ranging from LPS, SPS and Goniopora. I have three 150 watt halide HQI lights with 12000K bulbs currently. However I want to be able to see the glow of the corals better.   <No room to add even a 1 foot T5 actinic between the halides?  Could give you the glow your looking for, especially if you extend the times past that of the halides.>    I do not have room for PCs on the top or T5s so what lighting spectrum would be the best for me and my corals. (more worried about the corals doing better than my concerns, but still would like the looks). There are so many articles out there, but I can not find one that states this exact answer.   <I just heard Sanjay Joshi give a lecture on lighting this weekend.  The spectral plots is what is most important.  Some bulbs say they are 10K or 12K or 20K, but when analyzed this is not truely the case.  Your output will also vary with different combinations of ballasts and bulbs.  Different reflectors can also make a huge difference.  Please refer to Sanjay's site for specifics.   http://www.reeflightinginfo.arvixe.com/userguide.htm > <Hope that helps.> Thank You <Welcome.>

Lighting a deep 150gal   11/25/06 Hello, I am a beginner to reef aquariums and have learned tons of information from all your responses to peoples questions. I have recently acquired a 150 gallon glass aquarium 48"x24"x31". It currently has 200lbs of sand(4-5" deep) and 40lbs of liverock to start (planning to get more). My question is, will a 4 foot, four bulb t-5 setup be sufficient for most LPS and some SPS corals as well as some mushrooms, polyps, zoos and possibly anemones. <Mmm... not likely... and this mix will present iatrogenic problems... Please take the time to read on WWM re each of these groups of Cnidarians (in)compatibility> I figure I will try to keep my low light inverts towards the bottom of the tank and my more light needy inverts towards the top.  Will this be enough? If not, what do you recommend?  Thanks for your time -Alan <That you read a bit more... Likely you will want to settle on at least adding one MH pendant here. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Issues,  Tunze Osmolator -- 11/20/06 Hey Eric, <<Hey Ken>> Regarding the light what I had meant was, would two 150 watt HQI with four 54 watt T5s be a better choice for softies, LPS, and an anemone?  The wattage in total is about the same as what I have now (600 versus 608), except I have the 250's.  The tank is 24" deep. <<Mmm, you sure you want to put an anemone in with the other planned mix of corals?  These creatures are so much better of in specimen or specie specific systems.  But as for your question, yes, the 150w system would be entirely adequate and save you some coin in power consumption/bulb replacement to boot>> I have a friend that we could do a swap as he has the other fixture.  I would obviously do it if it is good for me. <<Up to you as either lighting system will 'work'>> He has the Outer Orbit I believe.  I'm not sure if the reflectors in that using are same quality or better than my Maristar unit. <<The Maristar is a better quality unit in my opinion>> By the way, getting algae or not getting algae won't be affected by either of these fixtures? <<Not in my experience...you would likely be surprised just how 'little' light the alga need to survive, even thrive>> I would assume that if the conditions are right in the water, you will get the algae. <<Bingo>> Both fixtures put out a lot of light. <<Agreed>> What is your honest opinion on the two fixtures? <<Honestly...  I would not trade away the Maristar fixture for the Current Outer Orbit fixture unless you are truly unhappy with the 250w lighting>> With regards to the CO2 in my home, is that an uncommon problem? <<It has become more prevalent with the advent of 'tighter' homes.  A tightly sealed and insulated home will retain a higher percentage of respired CO2.  There are some commercial options (usually not cheap) such as installing a whole-house air exchanger to more simple solutions like cracking open a window in the vicinity of the tank.  Which you choose (if any) will likely depend on the severity of your climate>> Can I get this looked into? <<Sure...you could start by contacting your heating contractor/service company or local EPA office and ask them about measuring levels and options to reduce the amount of CO2 in your home>> With regards to the tank, I had that you could take the tubing from the air input on the skimmer and run it outside to introduce fresh air.  Will this work? <It might provide some reduction...is worth a try>> The new corals that I mentioned seem to be adapting fine, do I need to add anything to the water for them, or is the light enough? <<Frequent partial water changes will provide for now.  Do research the individual species for information on their particular care/husbandry requirements>> Lastly, the Tunze Osmolator, how far does the pump draw and deliver water? <<Hmm if memory serves, the pump can push water up about 8 feet or so>> If I wanted to have a reservoir of top off water in a closet about 10-12 feet away, will this do it? <<If the 'rise' is not too much I think it would.  But, go here ( http://reefcentral.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=92) and post your question with the specifics of the installation.  Roger from Tunze USA (very nice guy, very good customer support) will be able to give you a good answer re>> Thanks and regards, Ken <<Be chatting, Eric Russell>> Lighting Issues (Additional Info) - 11/20/06 Eric, <<Ken>> Correction, the other unit is two 150 watts and four 54 watt T5's for a total of 516 watts. Ken <<Ah, ok...of small consequence.  EricR>>
Re: Lighting Issues -- 11/21/06
Hi Eric, <<Hiya Ken>> I guess I'll stick with the light fixture that I have. <<Should do fine>> I didn't mind going to the lesser wattage HQI, but not at the expense of the fixture quality. <<Mmm, yes...I do feel the Maristar is the better fixture>> I called Sunlight Supply (Maristar) today and asked them why they didn't offer the 150 watt HQI fixtures and only the 250 watt?  They said that they used to make that, but they said that they did not sell well, so they only make the current unit. <<Ah, I see...and not all that surprising considering the current trend of 'blasting' our tanks with light>> Out of curiosity, who do you think makes a good quality two 150 watt plus T5 fixture? <<Hmm...I tend to build my own lighting setups, but Aqua Medic, PFO, and GIESEMANN are worth looking into>> I did buy fiberglass screening today to see how it works. I put on 1, 2, 3 layers to see the difference. <<Very good>> It certainly gives you a lot of choices. <<Yes indeedy>> When I get my next coral and I put a layer or so on the top, will this affect corals that are already in the tank and used to the full lighting at all? <<Mmm, I think I didn't explain this previously.  Cut the screen to size so as to only shade the coral(s) being acclimated.  If you need something to support the pieces of fiberglass mesh, get some 'plastic eggcrate' material (fluorescent lamp diffuser) and cut this to fit the top of the tank and then lay the mesh on top of the eggcrate>> I'm going to play around with the skimmer air tubing and put it out the window and see if there is any difference. <<Do let me know re>> I checked my measurement for the Tunze Osmolator and it looks like I need about 9' horizontal and 4.5' vertical.  I will call Tunze tomorrow and see what they say. <<Excellent...you will find Roger to be very helpful>> Thanks and regards, Ken <<Cheers my friend.  EricR>>
Obsessing Over Lighting - 11/25/06
Hi Eric, I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. <<Very nice...thank you>> HELP! I am obsessing big time still over this. <<No need...I assure you>> I guess this comes from my previous tank maybe years ago where I had 805 watts on a 20" deep tank. <<Honestly...the "number of watts" over a tank is meaningless/useless without taking many/all other factors under consideration>> I didn't acclimate at the time and nothing did well. <<But now you know better...>> As you know, I know have two 250 watt HQI 10,000k bulbs and two 54 watt T5 bulbs on a 24" deep tank which I will be keeping soft, LPS, and the now infamous anemone. <<Mmm...indeed...>> I see in stores often corals doing well under not as intense light as I have and wonder. <<Highly adaptable...but the presence of an anemone will now dictate your lighting scheme...= intense!>> Even as I look at my tank now with room lights on and tank lights not on that almost all coral are open.  I was wondering if I would be better off with two 150-watt HQI bulbs and a combination of T5 or VHO, or maybe a combination of standard mogul 175-watt MH bulbs with VHO. <<Not necessarily "better off"...but these too will works, as I have mentioned before>> Also are watts, watts? <<Depends>> In other words, if you get 500 watts by either two 250-watt MH bulbs, or by two 150-watt MH bulbs PLUS 200 watts of VHO, is this the same as far as intensity? <<Nope...  The metal halides provide far greater "bang for the buck" than the fluorescents, thus, even with "total" wattage being equal, the higher wattage halides will provide more intensity (assuming the same Kelvin temperature is used all around)>> I'm not talking about shimmer effect. <<Nor am I>> Whatever you advise I will go with (stay or replace).  Don't let the money be an issue. <<No worries mate, I LOVE spending other folks money <grin>.  But truth to tell, I think you will be fine with the fixtures you have.  Research your tank inhabitant's lighting requirements and "place" them to accommodate>> What would be the best combination to go with, what I have or, something else? <<Mmm...I can smell the smoke from the money burning a hole in your pocket <grin>, but I don't think "something else" is needed here unless you want to go with the 150w halides to "maybe" save on electricity/heat issues (but then, how long will it take to recoup this cost?).>> Thanks so much. Regards, Ken <<Welcome as always.  Eric Russell>>
R2: Obsessing Over Lighting (And More) -- 11/27/06
This certainly is a damn if you do and damn if you don't hobby. <<At every turn my friend, and reason enough to study/learn as many aspects/approaches/theories/opinions as possible.  There are few if any 'absolutes'...and what applies/works for one tank may not for the next...>> I gather that from your response that you are not a big fan of the 14,000k Phoenix? <<Mmm, no...I don't really have any practical knowledge/experience with this bulb.  I was merely stating that 'I too' might give it a try based on your comment of 'hearing good things' about the bulb>> The brand or the Kelvin rating?  What do you suggest? <<I suggest you research/ask opinions of folks who have tried the bulbs you wish to use.  I've only recently begun experimenting with 14000K bulbs myself (having always used 10000K bulbs).  I have Hamilton 140000K on my tank now, but will be giving a 'mixture' of manufacturers a try with the new fixture I'm building...likely Ushio, XM, and 'possibly' Phoenix...all in 14000K but for the XM which is 15000K but 'appears' less blue than the Hamilton bulb.  And if the 14000K bulbs don't 'pan out' for me, I might give 12000K bulbs a try>> I wanted to get better appearance in the tank. <<Understood>> I figure that with the amount of light that I have, and what I want to keep, switching to 14,000K or so wouldn't be a problem. <<And it shouldn't...though I would stay away from 20000K bulbs>> I see more brownish algae today so maybe I spoke too soon. <<Hee-hee>> With regards to your comment on stocking the tank, I would guess that it would be pretty difficult for most people to set up the tank and leave it empty for 6-12 months. <<Ah yes...is natural to want to get some macro-organisms in there...some folks even fidget over/during the cycle period>> Not all, but most I would guess.  I thought had suggested to add some life to the tank to compete with the algae. <<Indeed I did...once you put fish in the tank, the addition of corals would help compete for nutrients need by the nuisance alga>> Anyway, I would have done it regardless as long as the tank was cycled. <<Ahh...as do the vast majority...>> I read your comments on the infamous clean up crew.  What do you think will work on the green tinted algae on some of my rocks? << Good husbandry/maintenance...not stressing over the little things>> With regards to ROWAphos, I have it running now.  How do you run it "part-time"? <<By observing the tank and its inhabitants...assessing the 'need' with water tests if things begin to look amiss>> I figured at the beginning where I did not have many animals in the tank but possibly a lot of nutrients, it might be a good idea to use this as well as weekly water changes and good skimming to try to keep the algae at bay. <<And indeed it may.  You can see your tank, I can't...you have to decide if the extra expense/bother is warranted.  But for my money...judicious feeding, regular maintenance/cleaning of detritus traps (canister filters, filter socks, etc.), utilizing a 'good' skimmer, and frequent partial water changes is 'very often' enough>> I do have a controller already.  I don't think this will do anything for my Ca reactor in terms of pH.  Yes, I know I can plug the CO2 into the X10 module and have it shut off the CO2 at my preset value, but I would be turning this off due to a high alkalinity level, before I would hit the low CO2 level. <<But isn't the high alkalinity your concern at the moment re the use of the calcium reactor?  Another option would be to 'adjust' the reactor (CO2 and effluent) 'down' to keep your earth elements in balance...and then let the reactor run 24/7>> At least that is the way it is now without a lot of things in the tank taking up the alk.  For example, I shut it off last night when my alk hit about 12 dKH, but my pH was 8.06.  I would most likely have set the controller to shut the CO2 off at say 7.90.  Did you mean something else? <<Only as just stated.  But I just had a thought...what is the pH of the reactor effluent?  The fact that your alkalinity rises so fast (and you pH drops accordingly) when the reactor is running makes me think you may be injecting 'too much' CO2.  The pH of the effluent should be around 6.7.  If this is not the problem, then maybe you are just flowing 'too much too fast' for the tank (see previous remark re)>> Thanks and regards, Ken <<Be chatting.  EricR>>

Photoperiod for Reef Lighting? - 11/20/06 Hi Crew, <<Hey Richard>> Thanks for beautiful website. <<Welcome>> I have a question about this combo on my fish tank. <<Ok>> First let me describe the tank:- 150 liter bowfront, (25kg LR) 2" substrate with 30 liter refugium/sump (2kg LR), venturi protein skimmer, 1500ltr/hr powerhead, canister filter, heater, 2 x powerheads for circulation, and 2 x T5 24W plus 150wMH combo from eBay. Live Stock: 2 chromis 1 clown 1 bubble tip anemone <<Mmm...>> 1 yellow leather coral 1 brain coral 1 acropora 1 sun coral 1 red star 2 Trochus snails 10 small turban snails 2 turbo snails 10 small hermits 2" blue-leg hermit crab My question is: - How long should I leave the T5's and the MH lights on for each 24 hour period? Appreciate any advice, Regards, Richard W. <<I prefer a 12-14 hour photoperiod for reef tanks.  You could have the T5s come on 30 minutes before the halides and go off 30 minutes after the halides to keep from abruptly casting the tank in to light/darkness...is less stressful on the inhabitants.  Regards, EricR>>

Re: Lighting Question 11/05/06 Hello, <Greetings!> I have a tank that is 8 years old. For the first 6 years, I had 4x96W PC bulbs and things were fine. I have mostly soft corals and a few hard corals like Pagoda, Red Brain and Bubble coral. I switched to retrofit 2x250 MH 14K lighting about a year and a half ago. I have since switched to 20K bulbs. In the past six months I have seen many of my corals die or look horrible, losing color and not opening up. The bulbs are 16" from water surface and my tank is 90G 24" deep. Is this too much light or not enough? I am really at odds with what to do. Many thanks. Bryan <Bryan - It sounds to me like the corals are not getting enough light. Typically, the higher you go with bulbs color spectrum, the lower the PAR drops.  Ideally, the lights should be around 8 to 10 inches off the surface of the water.  I would lower your lights and see how that works.  If they are still dying, try switching to a lower Kelvin bulb.  Cheers! - Dr. J> Many thanks, I have lowered the lights to 10 inches and will monitor the appearance of the corals. Thank you <Ah, good. BobF>

Lighting a 135g "Mixed" Reef - 11/04/06 Hey. <<Hey!>> Just wanted to say a quick thanks to Eric for answering my last few questions and to the rest of the crew for putting together such a great website. <<Quite welcome, and we're all glad you've found the site useful...EricR here again>> I have been planning my new tank (upgrading from a 55 gallon to a 135 with a 55 refugium) and had a question about lighting. <<Ok>> I did some reading and think I have it pretty well figured out, but I just wanted to run it by the experts to make sure I'm good to go. <<Mmm, not so sure about the "expert" part (prefer to consider myself a "student" of the hobby) but I'll give it a go>> I plan on setting up the main display tank (135 gallon, 72 X 18 X 25) as a mixed coral reef, focusing primarily on soft corals (mushrooms, zooanthids, leathers, etc) and LPS. <<A popular "mix">> I would also like a crocea or maxima clam and maybe start slowly experimenting with some SPS. <<I'm sure you are aware that, while it can be/has been done, the noxious grouping of soft corals you have chosen makes keeping clams and other sensitive inverts for the long-term a difficult prospect>> My plan for the lighting was 2 X 175watt MH 10K on either side of the tank (these I already have on my current tank), 1 X 250 watt MH 10K in the center of the tank, and 4 X 96 watt PC's actinic evenly distributed along the tank.  I figured this would allow for the low-medium light corals I'm mainly keeping now to be happy growing along either side of the tank, but still allow a brighter area in the center where I could place the clam(s) and a few SPS (near the surface). <<Indeed>> Will mixing the 2 wattages make the tank look very unevenly lit? <<It will be noticeable, but not necessarily distracting...you will have to decide>> I was considering adding another 250 watt in the center and just lining up the 4 bulbs a little closer together, but would 2 X250 and 2X175 be overkill on a 6 foot tank that is only 25-inches deep? <<If not keeping high light-requiring organisms, yes, is more than you need.  But, you can mitigate the effect somewhat by raising the lights off the water (if possible) a bit more than "normal" to reduce the PAR/intensity reaching the tank inhabitants.  Another option is to use higher Kelvin rated bulbs which will have a reduced PAR (usually) and also simulate the deep/deeper water environment from which the majority of your coral choices were likely collected>> I haven't heard of to many people mixing bulbs like this so I just want to make sure there isn't a reason for it that I may be overlooking. <<Mmm, maybe so...but I currently have three 250w SE MH and two 175w SE MH bulbs over my 8-foot display.  With my particular configuration (250-175-250-175-250) the smaller wattage bulbs fill the gaps nicely between the higher wattage bulbs providing an overall "brighter" effect.  I keep predominantly Acropora species, M. digitata species, T. crocea clams, and a few LPS (brains, acanths)>> Thanks again for all your help. Jon <<Happy to assist.  Eric Russell>>

Reef Lighting 10/26/06 Hello Crew: <Hello, that's a new one.  Hi Craig> I just received my Satellite lighting to set up my 55 Gallon Tank for Mushrooms and Polyps.  The light has 2 65 Watt PC that are 50/50 10k Daylight/460 Actinic.  Would you recommend changing this our should this work out?   <This would have been a good question to ask before you bought the lighting.> I also wanted to know If I will be able to place the Mushrooms throughout the tank or will I have to stick to the top portion using this lighting? <Not quite enough lighting stretched over a four foot long tank.  A four lamp fixture with 65 watt lamps would work fine for the corals you want to keep.> Thank you for all that you do and all the help that you give. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Reef Lighting  -- 10/25/06 Hello, all. <Hi> Great web  site. Your feedback through answering my mail has helped me considerably  though out the years. Thank you. <You're very welcome.> I currently have a 55 gallon  mixed reef system that has been running for over two years.  It is home to  fifteen different species of soft and LPS corals.  It has a 2-3 in. deep  sand bed, numerous inverts 65-70# live rock which is covered in coralline. I  have five fish: a Vanuatu mystery wrasse ( 3" unbelievable beauty) a Bodianus  bimaculatus (3") stunning yellow, orange and red pink, a Pseudochromis  elongatus( red head elegant pseudo), geometric pygmy hawk ( Plectranthias  inermis) and a blue streak cleaner wrasse 1.5. yrs old still going  strong. My lighting system  is Coralife Lunar light Deluxe with 4 lunar lights and 4x65w PC ( 10k & 03  Actinic) totaling 260w.  This is all going great.   Health and  growth.  I wanted to start to keep SPS coral which I can obtain from a  fellow reefer who has a 200 gallon system ( amazing).  I tried a few frags before but they browned out, still alive and thriving, but not with the pigmentation they had in their previous caretakers system. I wanted to upgrade my lights to metal halides and try to keep SPS.   With the narrow  dimensions of the 55 gallon it is hard to find a MH/PC or MH/T5combo that  fits.  I looked into numerous manufacturers.  One light that I liked  was the Current USA SunPod with 2x 150w 14k HQI with 9 lunar lights( both white  and blue)  It is strictly a MH light totaling 300 watts.  The manufacturer states that the bulbs provided eliminate the need for supplemental  actinics ( HO, VHO, PC, T5).  How true can this be? <Very true.  In this regard, some aquarists will just use actinics to simulate the dawn to dusk effect.  I know several aquarists who run strictly MH/HQI with great results.> Everyone I know  who runs MH supplements the light with actinic.  Would it be possible to  keep SPS with this type of fixture or am I doomed to the " brown out" and  wasting money for nothing?  If not what do you think of this make and model  MH light fixture. Any help and feedback is appreciated. <I have a Current fixture and find it to be very well made.> Thanks.  Mile Square  Reefer <You're welcome.>

Lighting...Difference of Opinion - 10/25/06 Hello Crew: <<Craig>> At the beginning of the week I sent an inquiry regarding 130-watts of light on a 55 for Mushrooms and Polyps.  I was assured it would be fine and ordered it. <<Okay>> I received it and asked if I should change the 2 50/50 (10,000/460 Actinic) bulbs and have both be 10000.  I was told at this point that the lighting is not enough. <<Ah, I see...differences of opinion indeed>> I understand that everyone has an opinion but I'm really confused now and would appreciate your help. <<You have the 130-watt fixture so give it a try.  I think it likely if you keep livestock selection to corallimorphs and the less light-demanding polyp species that it will be fine>> I also wanted to know if I could locate various mushrooms throughout the tank or if they would have to be located near the top.   <<I have seen mushrooms "lose" color (turn brown) from lighting that is too intense...keep reds and blues midway down and toward the bottom...greens toward the top.  I would also keep the 50/50 bulbs for now (will be more aesthetically pleasing), you can switch to the 10K bulbs if you determine you need more intensity>> Thanks for the help. Craig <<Happy to assist, EricR>>

Halloween Lighting  -- 10/25/06 Good Evening All, <Good morning.> I have a question which is probably not my greatest display of intelligence, but curiosity has gotten a hold of me. Since Red Blue and Green = White (respectively) what would happen in a reef environment where you mixed all three of these colors (Say in a 6 lamp system using 2 of each color).  Would the results be beneficial? <Nope, none of these lights either singly or in combination could produce the needed Kelvin temperature for light loving invertebrates and/or macro algae.  Might be a nice porch display for Halloween though:):) James (Salty Dog)>

Reef Lighting - 10/18/06 Hi Guys,  <Hi Rajeesh, how are you?> You people are doing a wonderful job. I am more concerned about the lighting part of my 120 gallon reef tank. Right now I have installed 120 watts 20000 K MH + 12000 K Fluorescent tube + 1 Actinic tube. The tank dimension is 4feet in length , 2 feet in depth and 2 feet in width. <Personally, I would recommend that you go with higher wattage. I think 120 is not high enough to get to the bottom of a two foot tank. You also don't mention the amount of current that you have. The corals you have suggested need a strong amount of current.> Supported by a sump of 3 feet in length , 1 1/2 feet in width and 1 1/2 feet in depth. Tank Inhabitants : - 1 Half Black angel, 1 Bicolour angel , 2 Sebae clowns, 1 Fridmani man, 2 Algae eating gobies, 1 CBS. Corals - 1 Leather Finger, 2 Daisy corals ( Green and Yellow Each ), Protopalythoa, sea mats , Feather dusters and many types of Hairy Mushrooms. The Palythoa are not opening much to the expectations and same is the case with Zoanthids. Ammonia <0, Nitrite < 0, Nitrate < 10 ,Ph 8.3 , salinity - 1.023 Temperature maintained at 28DC Need your expert advice. <I would up the wattage of lighting you have. Good luck, MacL> Thanks and regards Rajesh India

Reef Lighting 9/21/06 Hi Guys! <Hello Shaun> 36 Gallon 19" deep corner tank. I am trying to replace my 96 Watt PC quad, but am having trouble deciding on a light. I am thinking about buying a 24" 4x24 T-5 HO. Looking at the NOVA Extreme or TEK. I would like to keep softies, a few LPS and maybe a SPS or two. I live in Las Vegas, (115 degree summers every year). I also would like (against better judgment) a bubble tip anemone preferably one that lives past 6 months) <Most anemones rarely live longer than a year in the home aquarium, even under the best conditions.> Will this light git 'er done? I am also considering a 24" outer orbit, but think it may be too strong. Any advise would rock. Love your site, best around! <Shaun, if it were me, I'd go with the Aqualight 150 watt, HQI clip on fixture, very well made, and it clips to the wall of your tank, and is adjustable.  A 20K bulb is included, and this unit sells for about 240 bucks through Foster & Smith and other on-line dealers.  Aquariums with HQI lighting should have a glass or acrylic top to minimize UV light.  James (Salty Dog)>   Shaun

Reef Lighting  - 09/14/06 Hello Wet Web Media Crew, Jeff here again, except this time for lighting questions. Your greatly appreciated and well respected insight is very much needed. I have a 220 gallon DAS tank. It's been set up now for about 2 months. I have decided to not do a fish only tank and go for a reef tank. As of right now (I am no expert by any means) I know quite a bit of information on corals, fish and reef keeping. I've been reading book after book and have been reading over Wet Web Media, gaining information needed to help me become successful in reef keeping. The one thing I can't seem to grasp is lighting. I've been in the hobby now for about 6 months and have a 55 gallon reef well maintained. But now for the bigger tank, I don't have a clue on lighting this tank. I want to be able to keep most corals without any problems. I currently have 6 (4') VHO bulbs on two ice cap ballasts (3 bulbs on each ballast). I have gone to my LFS and discussed my plans on starting a reef. They told me I would need 6 (6') VHO bulbs; two on each ice cap ballast and two more on another VHO ballast, and they said that would get me a little over 4 watts/gallon. What route should I go? Should I look into Metal Halides or stick with VHO's? I know nothing on any lighting system and getting advice on what lighting system I would need would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for making this question so long! Thank you very much. <Jeff, the 6' tubes will give you about 4.3 watts per gallon.  In a tank such as yours, this type of lighting system is going to be borderline for SPS corals and some clams. I would suggest you look into HQI lighting.  The watt per gallon rule doesn't hold true in all cases. Depth of tank can change this equation along with using high intensity MH/HQI systems.  I would go with a three 250 watt MH/HQI  system.  This translates to 3.4 watts per gallon, which should be fine, due to the high intensity of MH/HQI bulbs.  I know someone who has a 750 gallon reef lit by four 400 watt MH bulbs, and the corals are doing great in this system.  This only boils down to 2.13 watts per gallon, keeping in mind that this is a three foot deep tank.  Do check out articles on WWW for this subject, if you haven't done so already.  James (Salty Dog)> Jeff
Re:  Reef Lighting ... LEDs!  9/15/06
Thank you for your response. <You're welcome.> Well a good friend of mine led me to the new Solaris LED system. And I went all out and spent $3,500 on this system, after doing research, or as much research as I could since this Solaris is fairly new. Thank you so much for your respected insight. What is your view on this new system? Thanks again. <Jeff, I am not familiar with this product at all.  Dana Riddle has tested and evaluated this system.  Here is a link to that review. http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2006/8/review2  James (Salty Dog)> Jeff

Deep Aquarium reef lighting  - 09/03/06 Hello Crew, <Nate> Nate here with some more seemingly endless, novice reef tank questions.   I just bought a 180gal tall (and I mean tall - 42"Lx42Hx24W) <Yikes, hope you have long arms!> and I want to start a reef tank.  I have owned fish only marine tanks for 10+ years and am starting to fall in love with the idea of owning a small portion of a beautiful reef.  I am only doing research right now, as I know it will probably be a year before I am able to afford all of the necessary peripheral equipment.  I understand that you guys like specs, so I will give you what I've got so far, even if they are imaginary.  I plan on running a 60gal sump, divided into a lit refugium with a 5" aragonite DSB, 50-70lb of LR, and algae, and a space for an aqua-c (the one I have for my 60gal FOWLR is awesome).  I also plan on running a Knop CR, using a MagDrive (2000gph) <Mmm, not necessary to have such a pump with this unit... or I'd plan on diverting the majority of its flow> as the main return, and making good use of a recommended chiller.   Still debating between multiple, multidirectional return lines, or powerheads to create sufficient circulation, <I'd go with a manifold return> as well as whether or not to place a UV in the system. <Up to you... I'd rather have an ozonizer...>   Either way, the UV will be the last on my list.     Perhaps I should have mentioned intended live stock before specs, but here we go.  I am planning on a tank with mostly SPS, and further research will determine if I can put LPS along with them (so much to learn!!).  I also want to put one or two clams - I really like the squamosa  and derasa. Now here's my dilemma, and probably one of the most frequently asked questions you guys (girls) receive about reef tanks - how should I set up my lighting? I have read through dozens of articles about reef lighting, marine clams, and SPS corals, but I could not find a question that answered any questions about illuminating a tank of this depth.  I understand that SPS and LPS corals rely on photosynthesis to survive/thrive and that the marine clams that I mentioned need large amounts of quality light as well.  I almost certainly will need to run MH's (10k preferably) that I will supplement with blue actinics.  Now I realize that most people are reading this article and making their foreheads and saying "you idiot, why did you buy such a tall tank and plan on putting corals in it! - you knew that this would present a lighting problem!".  The justification would be a waste of time, and I am asking for your help/suggestions about lighting, and coral/clam placement in such a deep tank.  Is there any amount of lighting that would provide enough light for corals for this tank, from the top to the bottom, and enough light for a couple of clams at the bottom.  If not, would you suggest staggering the different types of corals according to their lighting needs, and if so, how should I stagger them? <Per their and your needs/desires...> Or maybe a better way to ask is, if you had this tank and this desired stock, how would you set it up with regards to lighting and livestock placement.  Thank you very much for you time, concern, and invaluable input. Nate <Likely with Metal Halides, sans actinic... possibly two pendants... likely if so with one as a 10k, the other a 20k lamp. Bob Fenner>

Reef Lighting Upgrade (Probably Not Necessary), and Zeolite Filtr. tech. SW - 07/30/06 Hey everyone, <<Howdy Marc!>> Thanks as always for the time you put into helping others with what can be a daunting hobby at times.  More so when you are only starting out. <<We're happy to assist>> My email is to ask about two areas that I have to finalize with my reef tank (4x2x2). <<OK>> I am in the process of upgrading from an LPS and softy dominated tank to SPS, corals and clams. <<I see>> 1. Lighting - I currently run two 150w DE MH with 14K globes and four NO fluorescent actinics.  As I plan to change over to an SPS tank I am keen to increase my lighting to improve my chances of color and growth with the corals. <<Mmm, likely no "upgrade needed re the lighting...but if you wish to increase PAR, a simple change to 10K bulbs will do it>> I have read a great number of the posts on the web site.  I take it from the various authors' comments that I should not go with 400w MH for this depth tank but rather go with 250w MH at around 6 inches above the water. <<Well Marc, you likely also realize that the opinions on lighting vary about as much as the number of questions re.  Were this me, I would give the 150w DE 10K bulbs a go before spending the money to "upgrade" to higher wattage ballasts/fixtures>> I have looked at many tanks and I am confused then why there are still so many tanks running 400w MH halides and what benefit they may see from this over 250w MH (although many of these lights are 10+ inches off the water - which may make some difference). <<Indeed my friend...you have to realize there are variables that determine your "power" requirements (water clarity, supplemental nutrition, species, placement, bulb type/color, etc.)...but some folks are convinced or just want to believe if they throw enough wattage at their tank then "all will be beautiful", while ignoring or overlooking other husbandry aspects>> If I do not need the extra wattage then here's to saving the dollars and spending them on something more useful for the tank such as more circulation (currently around 20x - advice hopefully well taken). <<Agreed>> 2. Zeolite - I have seen a number of tanks running Zeolite as a nutrient control method for SPS tanks.  I currently run a Berlin style system with a DSB and Jaubert plenum chamber and a 15g refugium.  I run an Aquamedic skimmer rated for 250g odd tank size and do semi-regular water changes (about 10% each 2 weeks - a little bit slack on this). <<Mmm...the water changes are about the single best improvement you can make...best not to be "slack" here>> I also run carbon which is changed every 4 - 6 weeks.  What is your opinion on the Zeolite system and do you recommend it as an extra means to control nutrient levels. <<I have not had much interest/kept current on this Zeolite  (Zeovit) fad.  Try visiting this site for some info:   http://www.zeovit.com/forums/showthread.php?p=35065#post35065>> I understand that circulation, lighting and nutrient levels are the three major keys to SPS coral keeping (correct me if I am wrong) and therefore these are areas I am keen to get spot on to ensure a colorful and healthy tank. <<Would like to add that among the "many" aspects of this hobby, these three are "key" to "any type" marine system>> Any help you can give is greatly appreciated and thanks again for the effort you put into the hobby. <<Quite welcome...I hope the information is of use to you>> Cheers, Marc <<Regards, EricR>>

Lighting/Invertebrates   7/29/06 I have a 180 gallon tank 72" X 24" X 24". I was wondering if 2 175 watt 10k metal halide lights would be ok for Anemone and Zoanthids and other corals like that. Also if I need more than 2 MH, how should I place them? My tank had a rather large center glass piece that holds the lids and I would assume this will affect a center MH over it. I am going to build the rock work up more so if something needed to be closer to the top of the water that will be a possibility. I have read almost every FAQ and mostly just need the question of 2 x 175watt 10-k bulbs being enough with no other lighting for 24" depth for low to medium light corals (and then the anemone)? Thanks in advance for you continued support on such hard topics. <Mike, you will need three 175 metal halides equally spaced.  The center glass piece should cause no problems if kept clean.  The three 175's would provide enough light for all soft corals and LPS corals.  This lighting, with a 24" deep tank will not support SPS corals for the long haul unless they are at least, in the upper third of the tank.  The 10K color temperature is a good choice.  James (Salty Dog)> Mike

Lighting/Invertebrates   7/22/06 Greeting from South Florida. First let me echo what is often said here'¦ best Saltwater Reef Forum on the net!  Thanks for everything.  I have fresh water experience and have been interested in a reef aquarium for many years, I've intensified my research lately and as luck would have it I was given a 55 gallon (48 x 12 x 18) FWLR set up. It came with a trickle filter, about 20 lbs of live rock, a ¾' layer of live sand, a Small Regal Tang, 2 medium Clowns, a Signal Goby, a Fire Goby, a Clown Goby, a Shrimp Goby, 2 Blue Green Chromis, a Scarlet Shrimp, a small Horseshoe Crab and about 25 Hermit Crabs. I've added 65 lbs of live rock and an AquaC Remora Pro protein skimmer. I'm gradually removing the bio balls from the trickle filter and plan to run a Berlin Reef System. System parameters are excellent (0 -- Ammonia, 0 - Nitrite, ph -- 8.4, Calcium in the 300 -- 350 range, temp 79) except for Nitrates (80 ppm.)  My hope is the addition of the skimmer and the live rock in conjunction with the removal of the bio balls and 15% water changes weekly will greatly reduce the nitrates. <Should definitely help, keep monitoring.> The system has an LFS NO fluorescent lighting system. I plan to add a few 'easy' to care for low light, low to moderate circulation Corals as I have neither the skill/experience nor the finances to go beyond that at this time. I promise I'll not add a single one until I have researched it thoroughly!  My question concerns the lighting. I just can not get excited about fluorescent lighting of any type. I've stared at dozens of tanks lighted by all manner of color temperature bulbs including combinations, actinics, blues, etc., and I simply don't like them. On the contrary, Metal Halide Lighting just 'does it' for me. I really like the 6700K color temperature and the shimmer lines add a realism that I think is unmatched by any other lighting system. <Agreed.> The look I like is that which I see scuba diving, on a sunny day, in very shallow water. Now, I realize there are not a lot of low light, moderate circulation corals in shallow sun drenched reefs but what do you think of two 70 watt Metal Halide HQI bulbs suspended over this tank. My attempt is to please me with Metal Halides and not 'melt' low light corals with too much intensity. My logic is: the total wattage (140) would give me about 2.5 watts/gallon which seems to be about right for the Corals I'd like to keep but that the more commonly available 150 watt Halides would be far too intense. If you think this is a good plan then, do you think I need 420 -- 460 nm spectrum support or will the 6700K Halides be sufficient? Given that I do not like a bluish look, do you think a 10,000K Halide (assuming you think I can use Halides) is a better choice then the 6700K?    <The two 70 watt HQI isn't going to be quite enough lighting.  If soft and LPS corals are desired, I would go with two 10,000K 150 watt HQI's.> P.S. I suspect I'll want to graduate to more demanding, higher light Corals as time goes by but I want to learn slowly and with the best possible set up -- I'll upgrade my lighting if/when that time comes and I'll give you the opportunity to tell me you told me so. <No waste of money here, just add another 150 watt HQI.  If you haven't already, read here and related links above.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Gary D

Lighting/Invertebrates  7/18/06 Hello WWM Crew, <Hello Scott>    Thanks again to all you folks for your outstanding site. With your help I am about done putting together an new 135 gallon setup - listed below is a summary of the components purchased so far. Tenecor acrylic tank (72''L x 24H x 18D) with two 15" overflows (and 1-1/2 " drains). Ecosystem 3616 mud sump (with suitable macroalgae, possibly Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha, still to be determined). Euroreef CS 135 skimmer. Two separate Iwaki 70 RLT pumps. One to run the Ecosystem (~1250 GPH) and the second as a "closed loop" system for additional (~1300 GPH) recirculation. Four double "centipede" returns are spread out along the top of the tank. The tank will have about 150 lbs Fiji LR and a 1" live sand bed (may be upgraded to 4-5" deep sand bed later). The intent of the system is to build something I can "grow" into. After cycling the system for about 4-6 months, I will gradually introduce the inhabitants of an existing 40 gallon FOWLR - diadema urchin, 2 cleaner shrimp, peppermint shrimp, star polyps, zoanthids, Flametail blenny, purple firefish, neon goby and fourline wrasse. From there I would slowly add some "easier" invertebrates such as Ricordea, xenia, some more zoanthids, and possibly an anemone (species to be determined later). <Not a good idea to mix anemones with corals.> Down the road on the fish side I am considering adding a pair of Percula Clownfish, Tinker's Butterflyfish and one dwarf and possibly one Chaetodontoplus Angelfish (species to be determined later). <Chaetodontoplus are prone to nip at live corals.  The Tinker's feeds on mushroom corals and stony corals in the wild and will do the same in your tank.>    I am hoping to get some advice from you about my lighting plan. I am looking at purchasing a stand/canopy from a manufacturer that makes a canopy with 12" interior clearance "standard". This would allow the option of metal halide lighting (say 2 or 3 175 watt 10K fixtures) and perhaps a couple of VHO or power compacts. Is this "overkill" for my system? <No, but I would have a look at HQI lighting also, much more compact, run slightly cooler.>   Alternatively, I can pay a small charge to have the canopy shortened.  If it were your tank, would you just go with all power compacts or VHO and use a lower canopy to keep the lights closer to the surface of the water? <I'd opt for the deeper canopy, more room for fans and ability to use larger fans if needed.> In your experience, which configuration would generate less heat? <If wattage is equal, there won't be too much of a difference in heat.  Cooling fans will be required for both systems.  If you are planning on keeping soft corals only, PC lighting is all that is required.  If it were me, I'd go with HQI, gives you the option of having SPS at a later date. The investment in either system is costly, and if you decide on SPS corals at a later date, another lighting system is going to be required based on the 18" depth of your tank. Do read here and related links for more info.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm> Thanks in advance for your reply. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>    Scott

Lighting and feeding questions 7/12/06 Hello, I have a couple questions and was wondering if I could get your advice. First off, I have a 55 gal. reef tank that has been set up for about 9 months and it's getting time to replace the bulbs.  I currently have a pc fixture with 4, 65 watt bulbs, 2 are blue actinics and 2 are 12,000k daylights. I was wondering if you would suggest keeping the set up I have or using 4 50/50 bulbs. To me it would seem that either way would give me the same result, but I was wondering if you would see any advantages or disadvantages to these or a different set up all together.  I currently have some fish, some softies- (colt, shrooms, polyps), pipe organ, and a crocea clam. <If you use all the same brand lamps, the effect should be roughly the same.  However, there is a great deal of difference between brands of lamps in spectrum, intensity and quality.  The animals only care about intensity (for the most part), so choose good quality lamps that provide you with a pleasing appearance.> Secondly, I am going on vacation and need to feed my Banggai Cardinal who will only eat frozen Mysis. I want to try to get him to eat freeze dried shrimp so that I can put it in my automatic feeder while I'm gone. If I soak this food in vita-chem or Selcon and then let it dry, will it still retain the vitamin supplement, or does this product need to be fed when wet? Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for you help and time! <The question of whether these supplements would still be effective is moot in my opinion.  Soaking the food in the supplement and letting it sit is likely to lead to spoilage and/or the food becoming rancid. Even if you think you have thoroughly dried it, the humidity nearby to the aquarium will be enough to cause problems.  I strongly advise finding a reliable fish sitter while you are gone and leaving contact information with them. Best Regards.  AdamC.> Lighting Choices...Reef 07/04/06 Happy 4th- <To you too.> I have read and looked and thought and had opinions that have gone back and forth. I also know that dependent upon who receives this, answers may vary. I have a 37 gallon tank that has matured for almost 3 years. I am setting up a larger tank for the fishies, and want to try my hand at corals- the less demanding ones. I must purchase lighting. It will probably have to be HOT because I do have a canopy. Would the Coralife Aqualight Advanced Series Hang on tank fixture be a good choice ( http://www.hellolights.com/aqadhatamo.html), or should I go with some compact fluorescents? <I don't like PC's at all, they run hot, have poor and bulb life and are aesthetically displeasing...in this situation (since you have a canopy) I would go with a bank of 4 T-5 HO bulbs, specifically I am fond of the ones from sunlight supply. The T-5's have an outstanding bulb life and very generous output as far as lumens go.> Any differing opinions among the crew? <Always....> I do appreciate all the help I have obtained from your site. <Anytime.> Thanks, <Welcome.> Ellen <Adam J.>

Lighting a Reef Tank'¦.Again   7/4/06 Hello all at WWM, <Hi Nik.> I would first like to say that your site has helped a lot over the last year.  although I have been in the hobby for a short time, I will be here for life. <Awesome!> I have a question for you concerning metal halides. <Okay.>   over the past few months I have been toying with the idea of upgrading to MH lights. <Okay.> I have an all glass 75 gallon tank 48x18x20, in the future I am planning on moving up to a 120 gallon 48x24x24. I now have PCs in a canopy that I built. <Well based on the fact that you have PC's alone'¦and sing the excuse that you plan to upgrade anyway'¦I would ditch the PC's. The irregular design (bent back on itself) does not allow for optimal reflection, not to mention it makes them run-hotter and severely decreases the bulb life, with a severe lumen drop-off after 6 months of continual use. Not to mention the color of PC doesn't come close to comparing to the color of NO, HO, VHO, T-5 or T-5HO.> The canopy holds two 65watt actinics, two 65watt daylights and one 96watt 50/50 lamp approximately 9in from the surface.  In the tank I have a variety of corals including mushrooms, zoanthids, a toadstool leather, a finger leather, a large colt, some xenia, a large frogspawn, a flower pot, a open brain  and a few SPS frags.   <Careful with the hodge-podge or the mixed-reef-garden if you will, mixing all of these stinging celled cnidarians from different bio-topes (deep-water lagoon vs. shallow water-hermatypic) is not the best idea long term, a year-two years at the most without strict discipline and pruning.>     The question is what lamps and wattage should I go with. I was thinking of doing two 175watt mogul base MHs <For the small profile alone, which, generally speaking, allows a more efficient reflector I prefer DBL ended MH lamps most commonly referred to as HQI.> and keeping the four 65watt PCs as actinic, <I would upgrade to T-5 HO or VHO.> is this too much or to little for my tank and its livestock. <Depends on your long-term plans for the tank and the targeted livestock.>   Will this lighting hold up when I go to the 120 gallon. <Depends on exact equipment used (reflectors/ballast's/bulbs/Kelvin ratings)'¦and of course targeted livestock'¦but yes, would be a quality arrangement.> The other setup I was thinking of was two 250watt HQIs and the four 65watt actinics. <I like that better'¦but you know how I feel about the PC's.>   in the future I would like to keep a clam or two and get more SPS, but I also would like to keep my softies and LPSs.  I would also like to know what you suggest for color temp I want to keep it on the blue side, would 10k and the actinics do or should I go to a 14k or 20k. <Use 10K bulbs and supplement with actinics is you want more blue'¦natural sunlight is in the 6500k-10,000k range, and that is what I recommend.>     I hope that I have given enough information, and your advice would help me to decide on what to buy. thank you for your time and help. <Anytime.> Nik <Adam J.>

Lighting for New 135 Reef Tank  6/25/06 - Hello WWM Folks, <Hello Scott>    With the help of some great advice from your site I am proceeding with a new 135 gallon system to replace my existing 40 gallon hex. <Great, the hex is not a good reef tank.>    New tank setup is as follows. 135 gallon display (72"L * 24H * 18W) with two 15" trapezoidal overflows Ecosystem 3616 mud sump with roughly 1350 GPH flow Separate "closed loop" recirculation will supply an additional 1350 GPH flow. EuroReef CS 135 Protein Skimmer <Sounds good.>    Fiji live rock (say about 150 lbs) and a 1" live sand bed will be used. My intent is to make this primarily a "less aggressive" fish display, with some invertebrates to keep the overall display interesting and natural looking. Currently I have the following fish and invertebrates in 3 separate tanks (awaiting their new "home") - four line wrasse, Flametail blenny, neon goby, purple firefish, diadema urchin, 2 cleaner shrimp, peppermint shrimp and some soft coral and star polyp live rock stowaways. <If this is an acrylic tank, the urchin will scratch it.>    I am a huge fan of angelfish and would like to add one centropyge angelfish and one Chaetodontoplus (or Pomacanthus) type later, once the new system is sufficiently "aged". These fish are really to be the "centerpiece" of the display. I would also like to consider adding one butterflyfish down the road.   <The Pomacanthus are not reef safe.>    On the invertebrate side, future additions would be some mushroom corals and zooanthids. Which now (finally!) brings me to my question. For this set up I am currently planning to use 576 watts of power compact lights. This will be spread out over six 96 watt fixtures (roughly 36" * 5" each) with two ballasts per timer (three timers total). Overall photoperiod will be roughly 12 hours. Do you think this will be enough light to keep the soft corals happy and healthy? <Yes, but I would go with a VHO system rather than have all those fixtures.>    Also, I have to consider a trade-off of the lighting for the fish display versus the corals (actinic versus daylight). The lights I am considering (Current USA) offer a nice selection of actinic (420 and 460 nm) and daylight (6,700 and 10,000 K). I would prefer to maximize daylight for the fish but want to be sure I have enough actinic for the corals. Can you suggest a good "mix" that would work, based on your experience with these animals? <If using 10K or higher, the actinics aren't really necessary.  If you go VHO, URI has 10K tubes sold as "AquaSun".>    As always, thanks in advance for your reply. You help is sincerely appreciated. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>     Scott

Nano Lighting For Acropora  6/15/06 I have a 14gal nano with 2x 55w power compact 50/50 10,000k/actinic plus a NO 18w fluoro. I would like to get a small Acropora frag to put high in the rockwork in around 4" of water. I have been getting mixed info from different sites as to whether this lighting will do, (mostly from guys who will only use MH) but have seen examples of it working. Stable water parameters and supplements aside, 1) will it work? <Should> 2) will I be able to run the 18w as actinic for aesthetics or should I run a 6.5k for better health and growth? <The actinic will be fine.> 3) when I replace the globes would I be better off with a dual daylight 6.5k/10k and a actinic as well as the 18w? (I stuffed up the globe order the first time) <If using the 18 watt actinic, I'd go with two 10K's.>    I have had a bit of trouble finding a definitive answer. Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Scotty

Marine, Mixed Reef: Lighting Options  6/15/06 Dear Bob & Crew, <Hello.> I have a 90 gallon mixed reef with (4) 96watt PC. As per Bob's suggestion I switched out the bulbs to (3) 10K (1) 50/50 bulbs. I'm still not happy with the growth and feel it is a little on the dark side towards the bottom and both ends of the tank. I was thinking about switching over to Metal halides but I'm somewhat concerned about the extra amount of heat. Do you think I would be able to increase the light using a bank of VHO or T8 bulbs (also might do a better job lighting up the ends of the tank?) Or would you suggest I just bite the bullet and go with the HQI? <Depends on the exact dimensions of the tank and exactly what you plan to keep...aside from that a great alternative would be a bank of 4 or 6 T-5 HO, I am fond of the sunlight supply line.> Thanks again for your invaluable service!! <Anytime, Adam J.>

T5s, Depth, and Corals - 06/14/2006 <Please let me preface this reply by stating that I am NOT a lighting/coral genius, but it seems that your message has arrived to us in a format that very few of us are able to view.  I am one of those lucky few (two?) of the Crew that can view your question, and it's come to me.  So....  I'm hoping that if my statements here are wrong that Bob might correct them before he places this reply on the dailies tomorrow.  Please do be watching the dailies to see what, if anything, is amended.> <<Hotay. RMF> I have a 50 gallon breeder tank 18" high with 5-6" of sand (aprox 120 lbs) and 127lbs of LR. <Excellent.> I am in the midst of a purchase on a 8X39 watt Teklight. <Aside from T5s being my "favorite" aesthetically, I think this is a good choice for your system.> The bulb combination is going to be 50/50 between 10,000k and 03's. <I'd go a little heavier on the 10Ks rather than a half'n'half mix here.  The 10Ks will be of more use to your photosynthetic life.  Actinics are more or less for our viewing pleasure, though they do also have some good benefit.> <<Agreed>> My questions and/or worries is what kind of corals I can keep at what depth, and also what distance I should keep the light from the water surface. <I'd keep the lights as close to the water surface as practical for you; the farther they are, the more light lost.> The average depth of the water is 11-12 inches from water line to sand bed surface, with rock pile up to 2" from surface. The opening on the tank is 36"X16" and the light will fill 36"x15-3/8" of that opening. My friend selling it to me said I could keep just about anything. Would that be your assessment? <Providing you're cautious to go with a mix of compatible species, yeah, I think you've got a lot of options, here.> Filtration: Live rock Sand Skimmer aqua-c I am hoping I can keep some Acro's and the like. <I think you can, yes.  I'd try to keep them close/r to the surface; say, halfway up or higher, but some of the more tolerant animals may even do well/okay closer to the sand.  If you do consider any low-ish light animals, like shrooms and such, you may even consider tucking them in a somewhat shaded spot.> No anemones. <Good.  These are ultimately quite incompatible with corals.> Thanks for your time. <Glad to be of service.> Thanks, Tim Wagner <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina Fullhart> <<Sounds good. RMF>>

Reef Lighting    6/14/06 Hi Bob, <James with you today.> I have a question on lighting for a small reef setup. When I look on line it seems I get 100 different answers. I was wondering if my lighting is adequate for what I have. my lighting is 6.5 watts per gallon. 65x2=130 divided by 20 gallons. 1  24 inch 2 X 65 watt power compact aquarium hood, with 1 65 watt 10k white and 1 65 watt  actinic blue PC bulb 20 gallon glass aquarium 25lb live sand about 8+ 1bs of live rock 1 button polyp coral medium in size 1 yellow polyp coral small in size 1 rock coral green, small in size 3 clown fish 1 pygmy angel 1 blue/green fish that is related to the Damsel, but with a lighter temperament. <Your lighting will be fine, may be borderline for SPS corals though if your tank is a 20 tall.  James (Salty Dog)>

Light, cnidarians, action!   5/27/06 Greetings and thank you in advance for your help... < Greetings and salutations, Matt! > I have a 40 gallon tall (24" deep) and am currently running 2X65 10k power compacts and 1x65 actinic) I am wondering if I can grow softies and a bubble anemone < That should be enough light for those, but be sure to change out those tubes every six months or so! > or should I get one more 65 10k or just scrap everything and go 2x250 MH... < Two 250w metal halides may be overkill on that tank, especially when you consider the heat they give off. As long as you are not attempting to keep small polyp stony corals, the power compacts should be adequate. > thank you so much. < You are very welcome! > Matt < RichardB >

Light, LR, soft coral, hoping for action   5/27/06 Hi guys, < Hi, Steve! > I've read quite a bit, still would like a final consensus: I would like to do a live rock/soft coral setup, 29gal, 18" deep, 65W X2 PC; is this sufficient, < That should be plenty of light for what you are wanting to keep. If you do decide to add more light, consider the T-5's. > or do I really need to add a 250W HQI? < A 250w HQI is way too powerful for a tank that size! If it were 36" deep, maybe then. The halides also produce too much heat when dealing with tanks of that size. > Thanks, Steve. < You are very welcome. > < RichardB >

"Temporary" Reef Lighting - 05/20/06 Hello WetWebians; <<Hello JT>> Firstly, thanks to Eric R. regarding an earlier question on pump selection and pump noise. <<Welcome...tis I again>> Anyway, here is the situation I find myself in now.  After keeping a 90 gal reef for a number of years, I am upgrading to a 180 with twin overflows, toothed at the top and each with a 1.5" drain and a 1" return. <<Mmm, larger than the usual so called "reef ready" throughputs...excellent>> I have a Mag 18 and a Pan World 250, associated with a pair of sumps, in the basement, to return the water.  It's taken longer than planned but, I'm working out the kinks of managing the water flow in a way that keeps things in the display area quiet, and I am close to getting it to work the way I wanted. <<Your patience/research will pay dividends in the end my friend>> Lighting will be with a 3x250 Coralife Aqualight, which I already have.  In the interim, I am keeping the livestock in a 75 gal. tank with 440 watts of fluorescent lighting, a trio of Aquasun and one Actinic white URI tubes for the lumens. <<Okay>> This has worked out well except now my light fixture has failed (IceCaps are nice ballasts but the wiring harness connector is not very robust, and I am finding it difficult to find replacement pins for the connector on the harness). <<Have you contacted IceCap?  Great customer service in my experiences with them>> So, now that my VHO fixture is not working, I am lighting the 75 with a pair of N.O. fluorescent strip lights (4x40 watts).  The most light demanding creatures I have are a small but growing acropora (a few months) and a Sebae anemone (about five years). <<Mmm...>> How long can I keep these guys under this reduced lighting?  In other words, how long can I afford to play around with my plumbing on the 180? <<If you use 10K aquarium bulbs, move the Acro/anemone very high in the water column, and move the lights to within a couple inches of the water's surface...it is possible all could be fine for few weeks...maybe more>> Now, about the plumbing.  It is pretty quiet in the upstairs display area, but I am likely moving in the neighborhood of 2000GPH which causes the water level in the 180 to be disturbingly high. <<Maxed-out overflows...no room for error/something going amiss (snail in the intake, etc.)...I would reduce this flow rate>> So, I think my options are to cut into the overflows to lower the weirs.  Or, plumbing the P-W pump as a closed loop, requiring cutting a port in the overflow box associated with that drain or removing the overflow box entirely. <<The closed-loop is the better option here...in my opinion>> The other overflow would function normally with the Mag 18 in a sump/refugium.  Does this make sense? <<It does...though I would plumb a gate-valve on the output side of the MagDrive pump to temper flow as/if needed>> Would I regret removing the one overflow box? <<I don't think so.  It will reduce noise a bit more...and will make reaching/servicing the intake screen for the closed-loop much easier>> Thanks; JT <<Regards, EricR>>

Coral and employee eyes burn from HQI sans lenses  - 05/09/06 One of my employees forgot to put the UV lenses back on some 400 watt HQI fixtures, I think it burnt my corals. Is this possible, and is there anything I can do about it? <Oh my!  Very powerful lighting with the UV lenses removed can burn your corals.  They are extremely photosensitive.  I'm not sure there is really anything you can do to fix the damage.  However I would make sure the correct levels are on them for now on, make sure your water quality is optimal and then just wait and see.  Only time will tell.  If it isn't too bad, hopefully they will repair themselves.  Good luck, Jen S.> Robert McCain Marine Fish   Marietta Georgia

Lighting/Reef/Lamp Selection ............... Re:   5/9/06 Hello all it's Gary again.  I guess I am a little hard headed, or maybe listening to many people.  I emailed you recently about MH lights to get for my 125 gal tank.  Bob said to go with the lower watts(150/175) for an all around setup that would not limit me to much for corals and such.  Probably a garden type setup. <??> Since they don't make 175 HQI MH lights should I bite the bullet and go for the 3x250 watt HQI or just stick with the 3x150 watt HQI.  The LFS and ThatPetPlace say to go with the 3x250s.  They figure if I wanted some coral that required less light to put them under an overhang from the live rock or in a shaded area.  I am looking at getting the AquaMedic Ocean Light 3x250 with 4 39watt t5s.  Do you have any experience with these units.  <I personally do not.> They are suppose to come with AB bulbs and remote electronic ballasts.  I am sorry for my stubbornness on this.  Just trying to get off to the right start. <Geez Gary, I thought we went through all this.  If light loving clams and Acro's/monti's aren't desired, then go with the three 150's.  James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting for mixed garden tank - 05/07/2006 Hey everyone, <Hello> Thanks as always for your continued support of this hobby. I am trying to get some guidance on the lighting required for Acropora? and Montipora? corals. I currently have two 150w 14000k MH on my 4 x 2 x 2 reef tank with various soft and LPS corals. <Decent lighting for SPS corals, however the Acro and Montipora with not do well in a mixed tank with soft corals unless great care is taken to trim and control coral growth and major chemical filtration to remove or lessen the allelopathy that will occur.> I would like to add about 6 SPS corals at the higher levels of the tank (top half) and want to know if I have enough light to support these corals and better still get some growth? I have considered adding an extra 250w 6500k light over the area that I want the SPS corals to go but would prefer not to add this extra hardware unless it is beneficial over my current lighting. <This should be fine for some growth, while maintaining the other corals, however I strongly urge you to decide what type of corals you wish to keep and stay with those.  a mixed garden type tank (Soft LPS and SPS) is only doomed to failure over time, and I am sure you don't want that.  if you decide to go with SPS corals, making the move to 250watt halides isn't a bad choice if you want greater growth, but the 150s are sufficient for them to survive if near the top.> <Justin (Jager)>   Thanks everyone and keep up the excellent work Marc

What Else: Lighting a Reef Tank  - 05/05/2006 Greetings, <Pablo.> Firstly, I'd like to say how much I have learned about this hobby from your website. It's best than any single book I've seen. <Thanks for the compliments.> I'm looking into lighting options for my 125gal quite deep tank (30") <Yes.> and I was thinking of 2 150w MH + 2 96w PC Actinic <I'd say 250's at the least for a 30' tank, 400's if you want SPS and clams.> . Is this going to be enough for me to keep a wide range of soft corals and maybe some LPS? <Should be though lighting at the bottom (w/ 150's) would be marginal at best.> I'm not interested in SPS or clams, but I do want an anemone and I'm thinking of a BTA. <Then go for the 250's.> > looking at other posts, I imagine you are going to say these lights are weak for an anemone, but would that be the case if it can be placed on top of the rock work, which is less than 10" from the top of the tank? <But how will you keep it there? Anemones are quite motile.> Also, apart from the anemone, will this lighting be ok for putting corals such as brain, tongue, frogspawn on the bottom of the tank? <Maybe'¦I still say 250's.> Thanks in advance, <Mmm-hmm.> Pablo <Adam J.>

Lighting/Reef  - 04/27/06 Thanks for the quick response. What would you consider good lighting for the candy cane. Most of what I have read seems to indicate they do not like too much light. <I've got a candy cane doing nicely/growing and am using about 4 1/2 watts per gallon.  A 65 watt fixture should be fine for the ten gallon.> So there should be a happy medium. Someone had a lighting question today and was directed to a website. I went there and find a very nice 65w CF fixture (but it is 24" so I am not sure if I can use it). They have a 12k bulb or 50/50. Which would be better for me? <I'd go with the 12K.> or is my Coralife quad 50/50 96w better. I felt it was too strong. <Mmm, a little hot for a ten gallon with the inverts you presently have but should be OK.  You may want to start with a short photo period and gradually increase the time every couple of days.  Candy cane corals do benefit from supplemental feedings of micro plankton such as DT's.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Reef Lighting   4/30/06 Salty Dog,  <Yo> Do the HQI fixtures come in 175W?  I have only begun searching for them and I am seeing only 150W & 250W.  I also forgot to mention that I am going to have some clams as well.  Would 175s still be the way to go or would you recommend 250s? <Scott, yes, 175's are available and three would do fine for your clams.  James (Salty Dog)> Scott

Lighting a Reef  4/6/06 I have searched your web site and can't seem to find the answer to my question. <Okay.> I acquired a 44 gal pentagon shaped tank, stand and hood. The top has a place for 2 light strips that are 20" long by 4" wide. I have 2 15 watt bulbs in them. My question is I want to keep fish and maybe a couple of shrimp, but I would like 2 clowns with a sea anemone. Is there any light that I can use with these fixtures that has enough wattage so I can keep an anemone. <No you would need to scrap the current fixture completely in exchange for one with a higher par rating, likely a MH pendant on a tank of this shape.> Being a pentagon shape I cannot just go buy another hood. <Hanging a pendant is an option if you have the room, ability, Adam J.>

135 gallon tank lighting    4/6/06 Hey guys, <Let's not forget the ladies here>             My question is this; I just purchased some lighting on-line for my 135 gal tank and now am concerned that it might be too much? I have ordered a dual 400watt HQI metal halide setup with 4 T5 actinic blue supplemental lights. The bulbs that I have ordered are the Hamilton 400watt 14k bulbs. I plan on keeping clams, SPS and a lot of my softies for another 55 gal I have. Do you see any problems or have any recommendations for this setup? <Mmm, no... these will work, look very nice (though bright!)... and will/can result in quick growth, gorgeous color... though this intensity also spells the twin-edged sword of increased maintenance, matching effort for checking, modifying water chemistry, waste heat production...> By the way, the tank is 72x24x18. Thank you for this site and the information you guys put forth, you all have my thanks! Aaron Boyd <Welcome. Bob Fenner, who would have gone with two 250 Watt MH's or even three 175's and at most half the actinic...>

Invertebrates/Lighting  - 03/28/06 Hi Crew,  <Hi Sam> I have a 10 gallon with mushrooms, a Ricordea, 2 candy cane and some fish. I moved to a new apartment and when I set up the tank I decided to go back to the standard 18 w cover instead of the 50/50 96w that I had been using for a few months. It has been 10 days and the mushrooms definitely like the reduced light and the candy cane seem to be ok. But the Ricordea looks flat like a pancake. Will I have a disaster if it disintegrates or can I leave it with the hope it will recover?  <The Ricordea is going to require more light than the 18 watt can provide.  Suggest you use the 96 watt system.> I did lose a fish. It looks like my  cardinal got caught between a candy cane and the glass. When I found him he was stuck there, dead, with his mouth wide open. I had him for almost two years. This same guy once got into my Chaeto. He was stuck about midway into the ball and I only noticed him by seeing his bright orange eye shining out. I had to cut him out of that. I have the boss cardinal left. Does she need company? <No> I also have a clown goby (2 years) and a Gramma (9 months). I will probably get rid of the Gramma (Lisa's suggestion) and get a firefish. <Sam, three fish is pushing it a bit for a 10 gallon tank.  Wouldn't recommend.  James (Salty Dog)> Re:

Lighting/Reef  - 03/22/06 James, Thanks for the quick and courteous reply!  <You're welcome.> I have a follow up question on the same 30 gallon reef set up regarding lighting.  I plan on using Coralife Compact Fluorescent Lamps and will most likely implement only LPS corals with my live rock.  I could get either 2 X 65W or 2 X 96W bulbs.  So a total of 130W or 192W.  Would the 192W be too much and cause algae problems?  <I'd go with the 192 watt system.  Nutrients cause algae problems, not light.  Strong lighting does help deter the nuisance varieties of algae.> I am planning on going with 2 6700K bulbs <I would go with 10K's.> on either power to get the most out of the fixture, bypassing the use of the Actinic, as I have read on WWM that those  are 'mostly' for aesthetics.  Thanks again for your help with my new set-up!  <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Cheers! EB Thanks much James!  Your personal experience and the WWM resource is of great benefit to the amateur hobbyist. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting Set Up Question   3/20/06 Hi, <Hello Wyatt - Tim answering your question today!> I have a 40 gallon aquarium (20" deep)  that I am currently shaping into a reef set up.  Recently after moving I set the aquarium back up (1 1/2 months ago).  Before moving it was a FOWLR set up with only a hang on the back filter that had a basic protein skimmer and 55w's of power compact lighting.   Now with a reef set up in mind I am using a wet-dry (I intend on slowly removing bio-balls) and protein skimmer.  I recently added 130W's of 50/50 white/actinic power compact lighting.  I have 30lbs of live rock and a 1" sand bed.  Also a power.  Water turnover and movement is excellent with the wet/dry pump.  The only thing I add now is calcium. Temperature:77.2 - 77.8 SG:1.024 Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate- 0ppm Zero Fish (waiting until I get all my live rock in to ensure excellent filtration) Quite a lot of Macro-Algae 3 Hermit Crabs, 1 snail, 1 Emerald Crab 1 Small bubble tip anemone that was stuck on some nice live rock) <This may have difficulties under your current lighting setup.> Also using a quarantine tank now! <Excellent!> My main question is something that I could not read directly off your website.  Your site has educated me well in this hobby, I would like to ask you a question that is a little more custom to my setup.  Will it hurt me or help me to add additional power compact white only lighting. <It will definitely help - the more light, the better is the general rule of thumb (though obviously within reason). There is much debate on this site as to the usefulness or otherwise of actinic lights (aside from their aesthetic value) especially in terms of the spectrum produced by PC lights. With an anemone in your aquarium, I would definitely recommend that you use the extra 55W PC.>  I have my other 55w pc just laying around and I have found it will fit on my tank in addition to my new 130w.  However I was not sure if it would be more beneficial to leave the 50/50 mixture of white/actinic instead of adding more white light only. <White light is the most useful for your corals, plants etc.> I know this sounds like I'm splitting hairs it just bothers me to cut corners on even small things. <A very good attitude to have when keeping a reef system!> My idea was to only run the additional 55w for 6 hours a day and the 130w for 12.  The six being the median of the 12 hour period to simulate noon. <I would keep it on as long as your other PCs.> I intend on adding maybe 3 more corals and 2-3 smaller type fishes.   Let me know what would make the most sense based on my tank type.  Sorry if my question seems small <Not at all!> , I appreciate all the information you guys publish and would also love any other advice you have towards my tank. Wyatt Rankin

Lighting reef... - 3/16/2006 Gentleman, <Greg> A few questions for you.  I have an 80 gallon mixed reef tank with the following inhabitants 1 very large Hammer (12" high, 14" long, 6/8" deep) 1 medium Frogspawn Star Polyps 1 large Toadstool (8" in diameter) 1 small colony of Zoanthids 1 large Finger Leather 1 medium Green Tree Leather 1 small colony of unknown Xenia 1 small Clam 1 small Galaxy 1 small Blastomussa 1 small Kenyan Tree 1 Large colony of roughly 25 Mushrooms 1 6" diameter Merulina 1 medium Maze 1 small unidentified brain 1 small encrusting Monitpora a dozen mixed fish Currently I have a 440 watt VHO lightning setup and just purchased Metal Halides to upgrade the lighting.  I was convinced by the LFS to go with a 2x250 setup.  I just built a canopy that extends 20 inches off the water column and want to know if I am going to have any bleaching or any other possible issues with the tank inhabitants.  In addition, I have looked at the screening FAQ sheet on acclimation and am concerned with the types of corals and what the best way to acclimate to the 2x250 Halides.  Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks Greg <Well several things here, one most of your corals are lower light needing soft corals, and while the clam would love the higher light, 250 watts is pretty high for them.  you really only need 150s over that tank, but if you want to try the 250s here's some steps.  What you can do is use eggcrate material in sheets, and layer it over the tank to lessen the light intensity.  While you do that, raise the lights up higher (over 20" maybe as high as 25") and slowly lower them down as you slowly use the halides more of the photoperiod.  this will give everyone the best chance of acclimating.  as you do this slowly pull sheets of eggcrate off once the lights are at the right height, and watch the corals.  You may have to shade some of them, or put them out of the direct path of the halides to ensure they don't bleach out.> <Justin (Jager)>

Lighting for Polyps, Mushrooms, Similar Coral, and Anemones   03/07/06 Love Your Site!  I have a question on lighting for keeping polyps, mushrooms, similar coral, and anemones.  I maintained a fish only tank for 3 years until Hurricane Katrina.  Lost everything after that.  Now I want to try my hand at a reef tank.  I have a 65 gallon tank (48" x 13" x 24") with around 80 lbs of live rock.  Tank has been set up for 3 months now.   Currently I have 2 - 110w VHO Actinic White (50/50) and 2 - 55w PC 50/50.   Is this enough light to keep the corals mentioned above. <Mmm, not really "corals"... and minimally for most species of anemones, scleractinians used in the trade/hobby.. Okay for the others listed> Also, is the balance between actinic and daylight good? <See WWM re... actinics more for "show than go"> I currently have some button polyps and green mushrooms around 15" below the lights.  Should they be kept higher up? <Mmm, nope>   Also, I would like to keep either some bulb anemones or sebae anemones. <Please read re... I would not mix these here> How high would these need to be, though I know they move on their own.  Any info would be appreciated. <Is posted on WWM> Thanks, Jack (living in a post-Katrina New Orleans) <Bob Fenner, living in pre-diluvian, make that intra-diluvian S. Cal.>

Lighting/Inverts  - 03/05/06 Hello and thank you for taking time to answer my quick question. <You're welcome.>I have a 46 Gallon bowfront saltwater tank that has been up and running for about 3 1/2 years now. I'm looking to upgrade my lighting because I want to start doing corals...again. Right now my lighting setup is admittedly laughable. I have 1 PC 96W and one fluorescent 30W (126W = 2.74 watts per gallon). My intention is to buy a Jebo 36" 192W PC with Lunar Lights (those are new to me), <aesthetic purposes only.>and keep the 30W fluorescent. That will bring me to a grand total of 222W, or 4.83 watts per gallon. Will that be sufficient for most corals? Or is there still more I should do? <Should have enough for most soft corals.  Falls a little short for any SPS/LPS corals.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you. <You're welcome.>

Lighting/Inverts   3/3/06 Osram has a T5 HO Lumilux De Luxe 965 daylight which is 6500K, CRI 93, luminous flux 3450 for the 54W. Based on the article Marine Lighting: Quality, Quantity & Duration by Bob Fenner I understand this could be a good light for corals. "CRI values of ninety (90) or greater are called for." "Our stars sunlight ranges somewhere between 5,000 and 6,200 degrees Kelvin. We want a light source of 5,000 degrees Kelvin (some writers say 6,000) or greater along with a CRI of 90 or greater. Make sense so far? Let me re-emphasize; the pretty color rendered by "aquatic fluorescents" has nothing to do with functionality. You want a CRI of 90+ coupled with a Color Temperature of 5,000+ Kelvin." Will this light be okay for corals or not? <The 6500K would be fine but I'd consider adding a true actinic lamp in tandem with it.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks <You're welcome.>      Mohamed. Lighting/Inverts  - 3/1/2006 Hi Guys! <Hello Richard> First of all thanks for the site.  You've saved me tons of worry, time and money more than I can remember.  Anyway, to keep it short, I've browsed through the archives and can't find definite answers to my current problem and I hope to hear your points-of-view about it. I live in a developing country where HO and VHO are unavailable in stores, MH prices are rare and expensive (not adapted to aquarium use), <Sheeks!> and almost no one knows about K values.  (waaaa!).  I'm therefore limited to aquarium grade NO tubes (arcadia and Coralife) and its with this that I'm having problems. I'm planning to set up a shallow reef tank (50" x 20"W x 16"H).  Knowing the weak 'push' of NO's, I'm wondering If I can be successful using maybe 10 tubes of 36W (48") 10,000K over this system. (Minus  2" for a sand bed, total water column height is 14").  Will I be limited to soft corals or can I push my luck that this set up can handle some stony corals?  Any help/insights you can provide will be highly appreciated. <It would be a tight fit as the tubes side by side would equal 15 inches in width, and allowing for end caps, probably add another 1/2 inch per tube.  If this is going to be in a hood you will definitely need cooling fans.  With 360 watts you should be able to keep most any softie.  As far as hard corals you will have to research and see which ones can get by with moderate lighting and like you say, the push isn't there.  Too bad URI lamps aren't available there as these have built in 180 degree reflectors which would help immensely in the intensity level, more so than just a metal reflector inside the hood.  Getting back to the hard corals, you can probably get away with keeping some of the moderate lighting types provided they are placed in the upper third of the tank. Try one for a couple of months and see if new growth develops. <James (Salty Dog)> Best Regards, Rix Manila, Philippines Lighting... "corals"   2/22/06 Dear Crew, I have asked on several message boards, but i haven't gotten responses. Could you help me out? <We'll see> I want to change my 55gal FOWLR to a small reef tank.  I hope to have polyps, anemones, and some others.  I like the kind that wave around in the current!  Anyway, I have very limited funding, and I found a light fixture that is relatively inexpensive (as far as lights go). http://www.thatpetplace.com/Products/KW/F38A%40/Class/Fish+Supplies+Lighting+Power+Compact/T1/F38AA+0434+0005/EDP/42626/Itemdy00.aspx Could you look at this light fixture? <Have done so... SunPaq... dual white and actinics...> My main question is will this light be enough to keep corals? <Some species> If it will be enough for some corals and not others, could you please let me know which corals I will be able to keep with it and which corals I won't? Thank you so much! mike <... please, review WWM before writing... Your answers are posted (over and over) there. Bob Fenner>

Lighting for reef  - 03/05/06 Hello the WWM crew. <Hello Nick - Tim answering your question today!> I have been reading your site now for some time and have gained knowledge tenfold! however, I couldn't find the answer to this question, some close but not quite. I'm in the process of up grading to a new 70 (UK) G reef tank and am having problems on working out the best way to light it. Dimensions=50inch long 16inch wide 20inch deep. with sump 20 G (space issues with sump size). 100lbs live rock fish=too many to chose from! (no overcrowding) tis fun though :) <It sure is!> corals= Mushrooms, finger leather (Sinularia sp), Leather (Sarcophyton sp), tree coral (Capnella sp), green star polyps (Pachyclavularia viridis), daisy polyps (Clavularia sp), pulsing xenia (xenia sp). Also a or some feather dusters of the Sabellidae family. I haven't yet made my mind up yet but possibly a green bubble tipped anemone, however not sure of the family still need to research this. So I guess my questions are T5s, if so what wattage would be best and how many tubes, and which K to use, 10000 or 20000? How many actinics? Or simply go M/H? <There is in fact a wealth of information on this topic on the website. But I will gladly repeat for your information - 10000K is the better colour temperature in terms of producing the most useful light per watt for your corals. At your aquarium depth of 20in and especially with your intention of having an anemone, MHs are definitely the best option to ensure the long-term health of your corals and anemone. There is some debate about actinics in terms of their usefulness - my suggestion is that if you are using metal halides then the actinics will really only be for aesthetic reasons (I would suggest two T5 actinics to provide fluorescence and added brightest of colour)!> With the anemone I would prefer to have enough light for it to start with instead of having to upgrade again later <Then metal halides are your only option really!>. I have read into this but it seems to be such a unique element to each tank set up that I write to you for advice instead of possibly making a bad decision by myself. Thank you for your time Nick Brown

Lighting/Inverts  - 02/27/06 Hi there crew!  <Hi Danny> Another year has gone by and I have the itch to upgrade my lighting once again--I have a 45 gallon (12"Dx 24"Hx 36"W).  I started with the standard NO to a one PC 96w setup a few months later, then a year later to my current lighting scheme, a dual PC 96w setup at about 4.2 watts a gallon.  My tank is now stocked with two bubble tips (one rose colored), clove polyps, xenia, a small Blastomussa (had a run in with an allegedly reef-safe starfish that was quickly returned to the LFS), and a variety of intensely colored zoanthids.  My primary concern is for my zoanthids which haven't really had much growth.  Parameters are as follows ammonia 0, nitrates <10 ppm, nitrites 0, pH 8.2, and specific gravity 1.026.  I dose with trace elements such as calcium, iodine, and strontium once a week with a 20% water change.  Additional carbon is in the power filter and skimmer's return.  I've recently started target feeding the zoanthids with some fine meaty foods like brine shrimp, unless it's my wishful thinking they look fuller.  I've considered adding more brightly colored zoanthids like dark blues, bright oranges, and deep purples, so I want to increase lighting to maintain their color and hopefully increase growth.  I know they say zoanthids don't require much lighting, but mine just seem to be surviving rather than thriving, moreover 24" deep is pretty tall.  So here I plead for your expertise please!  Should I upgrade to three PC 96w at 6.4 watts a gallon or would the intensity of a 175 MH with two PC 65w at 6.7 watts a gallon be optimal?  <I'd go with the 175MH.> Either would have to be on mounting legs, to be safely away from hardware hanging from the back of the tank.  I am concerned the MH would be overkill on my system and inefficient, considering the middle brace would block much of the MH's light. <Don't understand the middle brace on a 36" inch tank.  Thinking it is for light fixture/glass top support only.  May want to check with the tank manufacturer as to removal of this.> I am quite satisfied with the light output from my current two 96w PC's, but evidently my corals aren't. <With a 24" deep tank you would be better off with a MH or HQI system.  Might want to check out the Aqualight Advanced Series clip on HQI available from Drs. Foster & Smith.> So, if you think it would be more than sufficient, I'd rather go purely with the three PC's .  MH's seem a bit dangerous for an accident prone fellow like me!  Well, hope this email wasn't overly boring for you, haha.  Information on 45's is not as widely spread as the large systems.  Thank you for your time and for sharing your knowledge. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Danny

Lighting question ... If James had to "put things away" or look for... would he make better, more accurate/complete titles? I think so : SW invert. lighting, MH  2/13/06 When I setup my 150 acrylic (65x22x22) I had a FOWLR in mind.  My lighting consists of 4x65 pc (2@10k and 2 actinics) which suited me fine and my fish fine.  However, I have discovered the way cool world of inverts.  I now have a couple colonies of mushrooms and a colony of yellow polyps.  I would like to add more polyps, softies, and LPS, but I'm not sure I have enough light to meet the "moderate light" requirements of those animals.  I have a closed loop return on the top of the tank which prohibits me from adding any more fluorescents, so I was wondering if I should go with 2x150 or 2x175 MH?  I'm not really sure what "moderate light" means, but I do know that the same wattage of pc vs. MH is night and day.  My tank has three cut outs of equal size across the top, so I was thinking one pendant over each outside opening (which is where the bulk of my LR is) and leave the middle third to receive indirect light.  Ideally, I don't want to change anything, but I also want to ensure that my animals (present and future) have what they need to thrive.  Your advice is greatly anticipated almost as much as it's valued. <Mike, your lighting level isn't really enough for the size tank you have unless you keep the colonies at the upper 1/3 level of the tank.  With the depth of your tank and the ability to place corals wherever in the tank, you should go with HQI's or halides.  Two 175 halides will let you keep soft corals and some LPS.  Do read here on lighting requirements for corals. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corllgtg.htm  James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting/Invert/MH   2/14/06 Ames, Thanks for the quick response. <You're welcome.> I figured what I currently have was a little on the wimpy side.  Will two 175 MH handle my situation, or would three be better without being overkill? Or, would two or three 250 HQI lamps be an upgrade from the 175's or just a waste? Once the initial MH investment is made the prices from two to three or 175 to 250 is not that big of a difference. I don't plan on supplementing with actinics, so would you suggest something over 10K?  What would be the "best" configuration while still being reasonably responsible with my pennies? Again, you guys do a great job!!! <If you go with the three 175's you should be able to keep most light loving inverts.  It would not be overkill by no means. If you would like to concentrate on SPS and clams then I would go with two 250's.  Personally, HQI is the way I'd go.  They offer a cleaner color spectrum, last longer and require less space. As for the K, I'd go with 12-14K lamps. James (Salty Dog)>

Inexpensive Reef Lighting Possibility 01-18-06 I currently have a 46 gallon bow front FOWLR tank.  The main thing holding me back from starting a reef with corals is the cost of metal halides or compact fluorescents.  I have been doing a lot of research into reef lighting and was wondering about a possible lower cost DIY alternative to the more expensive lighting systems.  I was wondering about using a number of daylight 6500K 30W compact fluorescents (not the aquarium power compact type, the screw in incandescent replacement type available for home use) for most of the lighting. Then using a some over driven normal output T-8 actinics to make up for the lesser blue content of the 6500K lights. Using this lighting setup it is possible to easily get 200-250 or more watts of lighting over the aquarium.  Does this sound feasible or do you see any problems with this setup?     <This idea may work, but I cannot suggest it for long term.  Light intensity and spectrum are paramount for the long term success of your aquarium and the health of your animals. In my opinion, the one piece of equipment you must spend money on is your lighting. The lighting systems and bulbs that are produced today are 99.99999% of the reason we can keep reef aquariums in our homes. To save some money, retrofit kits are available on most online aquarium sites. You can also find directions to build your own lighting systems on the internet, which include the proper ballast numbers for any bulbs you choose to use. Do yourself a favor, save your money until you can afford a quality lighting system. You will be much happier and enjoy the hobby more if you do. Travis> -Zach

Lighting for 65g reef tank 24" deep I'm starting a 65g reef tank and I plan to have soft coral but want to have the option to put mostly anything in so I was wondering what would be the best   and economic light fixture that I should buy. <Anthony, first off, before sending please be sure to capitalize all "i's" and proper nouns.  It does save us much time in editing these before posting.  Now to your question.  With a 24" deep tank and the ability to keep "anything", you will need to go with HQI or metal halide lighting.  I'm guessing your tank is 48" long so two 175 watt halides or two 150 watt HQI's would be fine.  If your tank has a custom wood stand with matching canopy then you can go with retrofits saving you a little money.  Other than that you will have to purchase the complete lighting hood.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks <You're welcome> Anthony

Lighting question for 150 gal reef Hi, and thanks for being so informative. <We try and thank you> I have learned many things by searching your questions and answers, and now I have one that I need to ask. I have a 150 gal reef, established for over a year. I have a 2" live sand substrate, about 300 pounds of live rock, a 90 gal sump (3 section with a refugium - 40 pounds live sand, about 40 pounds live rock; protein skimmer; heater; recirc pump (prevents stratification of the water within the sump); air pump with stone; and return pump that turns over the entire system about 9 times per hour) I have the rock work arranged to have various levels to place the many species within my tank. I have various zoos, Ricordea mushrooms, candy cane coral, Porites, birds nest coral, frogspawn, bubble coral, feather dusters, open brain coral, maze coral, closed brain coral, Acan lord, sun coral (placed under an outcropping), blue Tonga mushrooms, Porites boulder coral with lots of Christmas tree worms, devil's finger coral, a huge elephant ear mushroom (about 14" in diameter), various other unidentified mushrooms, lots of hermit crabs, emerald mithrax crabs, a psychedelic mandarin fish and a green mandarin fish (I have lots of copepods and amphipods all over the tank (especially the refugium), they have plenty to eat and are growing), a couple of blue-green chromis, various snails, brittle stars, an orange Linckia starfish, and a recently acquired 4.5" crocea clam. Tank parameters are within spec, temperature is maintained at 80 degrees F. Evaporation top off is done using RO water and regular water changes are done. Currently, I have 2 twin PC fixtures @ 65 watts each with twin tubes (260 watts total). The tubes are 50/50 daylight (6500K & 10,000 K) and true actinic (420nm & 460mn). The bulbs are about 10 months old and are due for changing. I want to add 2 more twin PC fixtures to double my light output. My question is should I do this or add a single 200 metal halide 10000K light in the center of the tank and move the existing PC fixtures out toward the edge of the hood. I have read also adding PC fixtures with 6500K daylight bulbs in a 3:1 ratio of daylight to actinic bulbs is also a good choice. As you can see, my livestock loading requires different lighting and right now, I am accomplishing this by varying the levels within the tank, the higher light requirement species near the top. The clam is at the bottom right now because I just got it and am acclimating it to the tank. <Clams really like to be on a sand substrate.> I will have the money to upgrade the lighting by the middle of January. Please advise as to the route I should take. I am open to anything, not attached to the suggestions in the above paragraph. If you suggest something different entirely, I'll definitely consider it and do that if it is within my budget. <With the clam and corals the metal halide is definitely the way to go.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks in advance for your time and insight! <You're very welcome.> Andy Kline

SPS lighting for 30 cube  12/21/05 Hey crew just wanted to get your opinion on my 30 cube project in the process. Right now I have a 30 oceanic cube with a 150 watt MH HQI running on it; I have a pink cats paw, tear drop maxima, and a orange cap Montipora doing awesome. I'm thinking I want to go all SPS with this tank and eventually get into Acro's, so I was wondering if you think the 150 watt will be enough light to keep them healthy or will I have to upgrade to a 250? <Nathan, your HQI will be fine.  James (Salty Dog)>      Nathan

Small Marine Aquariums
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