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FAQs about Photoperiodicity, Dimmers, Timers, Timing for Lighting for Marine Systems

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Ambient Light From Adjacent Tank A Concern? 5/13/2011
Greetings, WWM Crew.
<Hello Darrel>
I stumbled onto your site some time ago and have been reading a lot ever since. Great stuff!
<Thank you.>
I also bought the latest Conscientious Marine Aquarist and read that cover-to-cover.
I'm truly amazed that I have not killed more fish in my time as I've been keeping a marine aquarium for about 20 years now and apparently have done just about everything incorrectly from mixing water and adding it immediately to the tank to pulling out all my rocks and scrubbing them completely to get rid of algae. I mostly kept hardy fish like Damsels, which is probably a good thing. Anyway, I decided I wanted to be a better aquarist and kick it up a notch, and this is what led me to your site and your book. So, thank you for all you do because it's great information for someone like me. On to my question...
I'm guessing ambient light isn't much of a concern because I don't see much discussion about it, but I feel the need to ask. My situation is that I upgraded my old 37-gallon undergravel filter tank to a 75-gallon display tank with a 20-gallon sump. I was going to ditch the 37-gallon tank until I read about refugiums in the book. My goal now is to use this tank as a refugium and I've placed it directly next to my bigger tank, 9 inches away (they're not connected yet, but the hardware to do that will be ordered soon). Given that the light cycles will be opposite, will the ambient light from each tank be a problem with the adjacent tank creatures?
<Not so much for the refugium but your fish may not get much rest.>
Should I put a physical barrier between the tanks to prevent that light, or maybe some sort of screen to limit the light but still allow some through?
<A physical barrier would be best, a piece of black construction paper, etc.>
Even if I completely block what comes through the side, there will still be at least some light that will provide dim illumination in an otherwise very dark room at night.
<Shouldn't be a problem.>
Also, I currently have the light cycle set to 12-hours but was considering bumping it up to 13 hours because I read on your site that 13 hours is the average amount of daylight at the equator. However, while the lights will go out at about 8pm if I make this change (7pm if I don't), we don't always turn out the lights in the living room where the tank is until we go to bed at 10pm or sometimes later. Does that adversely affect the livestock or does it not matter because the light isn't particularly intense?
<The later. If you have no photosynthetic creatures then a thirteen hour photoperiod is a bit on the high side. Eight to ten hours would be plenty in that regard.>
Should I block the light with a towel or something so that the animals get enough dark, especially the nocturnal crustaceans, or just not worry about it?
<As mentioned above.>
My big tank right now is just three large Damsels (about 4" long), two adult Blue Devil Damsels, a mated pair of Percula Clowns, a common Cleaner Shrimp, a Turbo Snail, and 20 lbs. of live rock (planning to get more) with little crustaceans of some kind about 3/4" long that I've only observed at night by shining my flashlight into the tank (they hide right away, so I can't get a great look). I only recently added the live rock (1 month ago) and have been fascinated to see all the creatures that populate it. Good stuff!
I ultimately plan to get more interesting life forms after I fully educate myself on what their requirements are. For now, my charges all appear to be healthy and happy, and my water quality is better than it's ever been thanks to the things I've learned from the book and from the site. I think the refugium addition will only help that, and I'm excited to make that happen.
Thanks again for your site and all you do! :-) Donations will be forthcoming.
<You're welcome, and donations to our cause are very much appreciated.
James (Salty Dog)>
Darrel Owen
Re Ambient Light From Adjacent Tank A Concern? 5/13/2011

Thanks, James!
<You're welcome, Darrel>
Okay, so to make sure I fully understand, let me summarize:
1. I should put a light barrier between the 'fuge and the display tank so my fish have sufficient darkness to get some rest.
2. I shouldn't worry about the dim illumination splash back at night as it shouldn't be a problem.
3. For duration, don't increase it to 13 hours as I have no photosynthetic creatures yet. When I get some, I'll worry about it.
<Yes, and with no photosynthetic animals you can even cut the photoperiod down to the time when you are home for your viewing just as long as there are some windows in the room.>
4. 8-10 hours is plenty of light per day for my tank. Seems low to me, though. Is 12 too much?
<Fish do not require a certain number of hours of light to survive.>
I'm currently running one 96W 10000K bulb (one half is blue, the other white) but will be adding another.
Tank is 48" long x 20" tall x 18" wide acrylic with an acrylic top (3/8" thick). Lights are 4" from the top of the water. I get the feeling from reading your site that that's fine for non-photosynthetic creatures, but I'll need to increase lighting a fair amount if I want to do corals or anemones.
<More than a fair amount.>
I'm thinking LEDs when that time comes, and will research accordingly then (but that's a ways away).
Last question - for those nights when I'm up until 2 am or whatever and have the living room lights on, will that be too bright for my fish and shrimp that want some rest, and not dark enough for my live rock creatures to do what they do?
<All depends on how bright the room is lit. A table lamp with a 60w bulb isn't going to hurt anything. I'm in the room with the tank all night and generally have a table lamp on so I can find my beer. :-)>
In those instances, should I cover the tank for them to block out the light, or just not worry about it because it's not direct and overhead?
<Just not worry about it.>
Thanks again!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Darrel Owen

Lighting Question'¦Moon Lights OK? -- 03/15/10
I have a 150 gallon salt water tank. I just installed a Coralife lighting system that has dual timers to replicate daylight and nigh time. At night, there are "lunar blue moon glow LED lamps" that are on from 9pm to 9am. Is it OK to have these "lunar blue moon glow LED lamps" on during the night or should there be a period of complete darkness?
<<The 'moon lights' are fine to use, and better than simply plunging the tank from bright light to total darkness. Although there are certainly dark periods from time to time'¦as Bob has noted before, the reef at night is often quite 'bright'>>
Thank you in advance for your reply.
Stephen DeFilippis
Wayne, IL
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell'¦Columbia, SC>>

Light Timers, sel.    3/14/10
Hello Crew,
<Hello Chuck>
It's been quite a while since I sought your help.
What I was looking for was a recommendation on a light controllers (brand)
to run my 2 compact fluorescents and my LED moonlight.
<This might not be the answer you want if you are looking to buy something fancy, but in my opinion the best timers hands down are the humble segment timers you get from the hardware store for about £5.00 (or dollars!) each. These are totally reliable, and cheap.>
I've gone through 2 already in the past year they just don't seem to hold up.
<No they don't, they are a waste of hard-earned cash. I'm still using the same segment timers I have had for getting on 10 years.>
They are under my reef tank where is airy and dry. (no sump, just an canister under there)
<No prob.s>

Re: Moved tank around and now have sky high nitrates. 12/22/09
One quick question, what is RDP lighting?

<Oh! Reverse Daylight Photoperiod... the arrangement of having lighting on elsewhere/alternate sequence, with your main/display lighting. Aids greatly in discounting swings in DO (Dissolved Oxygen) pH et al... and in your
situation, the mineralizing of nitrates>
Ok two, what is punt?
<Sorry re... is a term referring to "kicking field goals"... as in giving up on other directions, allowing the "offense" as it were, their turn. In my poor vernacular, to "wait and see" rather than attempt more aggressive, overt means at this point... From the L., punctum... and in British parlance, to gamble I believe>
If you haven't have guessed I'm from UK
<No worries mate! BobF>
Re: Moved tank around and now have sky high nitrates.

Many thanks
<Do make it known how your progress goes here Paul... And a few words more re periodic exposure to "high nitrates": Turns out that of and by themselves, these compounds are not "that" deleterious... As a window into
water quality, it is actually "other things" that are associated with elevated [NO3] that are of concern... I fully suspect that with time going by, your usual and stepped up diligence at water changing, skimmer cleaning... that your nitrates will drop in weeks. BobF>

Plumbing and RDP [Bob F, Scott V] 4/13/09
Hey Bob, Scott V, crew! Happy Easter to all!
<Hello Jeremiah, happy day after to you! Scott V. today.>
I hope this finds everyone in "hoppy" spirits hehe!
<It does, thanks.>
I have two really quick questions... I am setting up a 75 gallon reef that I have received tons of great info on thanks to Scott...thank you Scott!
<Happy to help.>
I'm having 3 holes drilled in the back wall. Two to accommodate my GlassHoles overflow box and the other to accommodate a possible CL. The purported closed loop hole is not very deep in the tank, slightly under the other 2. So that the tank won't have to be drained to the hole level with future plumbing installation I have come up with an idea I'd like your input on. I will be using flex pvc for all plumbing but in this case I thought that out of the bulkhead I will plumb a hard pvc line long enough to put a valve on. The end of this line would have threads so that I could adhere some kind of threaded cap/plug on the end with a little silicone until the rest of the plumbing is intact.
<Sounds good.>
That way if the valve slowly seeped the cap would definitely stop all else. Also, whenever I decided to finish the plumbing, ideally I would keep the valve shut off, undo/unthread the cap, install the rest of the flex pvc to wherever it is going, allow enough cure time, then open the valve and let the flow proceed. If I works out, it'd allow me to finish the plumbing without draining the tank at all. Do you see any problems or hidden obstacles?
My hopes are that this arrangement would be leak/drip free. It could be a year or two before anymore action was taken on this hole. I wasn't sure because it seems too easy! Will there be a trade off or sacrifice installing this way?
<Just a bit extra work, but no issues.>
Ok, on to my next question. Other than my 75 gallon display, I will be running a 55 gallon "display" refugium slightly lower and to the side, and a 55 gallon sump underneath. The sump will house a skimmer, return pump, heater, and a few stray pieces of live rock. It will sectioned off in 2 sections, skimmer and return. Since the fuge will be its own display, I'd like to have its lights on the same time frame as the 75 reef. I was shooting for the benefits of RDP, and was wondering if I could light the sump and use it for the reverse photoperiod, still getting the same benefits as if I were to use the fuge?!?
<Not without a macroalgae growing in the sump.>
Would there be something "alive" I would need to put in there to reap the benefits?
I didn't know if the reduction of PH fluctuations was just from lit water...heeee!?
<It is not.>
Ok.. to change the subject for a sec, there was a disagreement, slight difference of opinions so to speak, between Bob and James "salty dog" back in January regarding ground fault devices.
<And again recently!>
I'd like to give my "2 cents" [I hear my wife saying uh-oh], I am an Electrician by trade and I must side with Bob...[no not kissing rear] they are called GFCI, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter! It was also said that any Elektrishun would use the term GFIC....uh naw, down here in KY we call em' GFI's!
<Well, I do agree. The President could pass an executive decree that they are to be called 'Elephant Outlets' from now on and it would still be GFCI to me. But it is all a label here, still the same essential safety item.>
If this is Scott, can you pass this along!
<For sure.>
Oh yea Scott, Mike was great, the tank company lost the first drill bit and template he sent them so he mailed them another one no sweat. He has indeed been as helpful as you!
<Hmmmm, lets not let him hear this! ;-P)
I am waiting on the tank to be finished now so I can get that overflow box shipped out! Oh yeah, by the way, GOATS ARE COOL.
Thanks for all you guys [gals] do and for the wonderful site!
<Welcome and thank you, have fun with this new system.>

Re: Plumbing and RDP [Bob F, Scott V] 4/14/09
Scott, thanks once again!
<Welcome Jeremiah.>
I was hoping my plan would be as cut and dry as it sounded, assuming the valve wont reduce flow noticeably!
<Not that much with it completely open.>
I also agree with the elephant outlet comment, they are a necessity.
<They are indeed.>
I'm figuring out all my wiring on them within the stand now while I am waiting on the tank! A couple follow up questions if I may... If I don't decide to grow any Chaeto, etc in the sump [which I guess wouldn't be that difficult] and stick with the fuge for macro, how long could I let the light cycle overlap [fuge lit longest] before things start to go haywire?
<Quite a while. Chaeto is supposed to get a resting period, but I have seen it illuminated 24/7 successfully too.>
For that matter I thought of 8am thru 10pm or 9am thru 11pm on the display. Didn't know if 14 hour cycles would hurt.
<I would go for 12 here. With 14 you may notice your corals looking tired and droopy towards the end of the day.>
Then for the fuge maybe 6pm to 9 or 10am. I have no clue to what is "the norm" or even "do"able?!
<There is quite some variance, leeway here. But for the display I personally would stick with 12.>
What are your thoughts on this? Worse case scenario I plan for a vegetable filter in the sump.
<Not a bad idea, maybe an algal turf scrubber. See: http://wetwebmedia.com/algaeFilt.htm>
Hey off subject, not sure if you recall our previous exchanges but I had talked about going with the Tunze nanos for powerheads and you "approved." My question is, do you feel there is a different brand/model that would be more efficient/applicable for price, heat, and performance? Any good swivel heads?
<Personally I like the AlgaeFree MaxiJet mod.s too, but the Tunzes are always top notch.>
I'll be sure to send some pics by of the 3 sided Starphire beast once things settle!
<Oh yes!>
I couldn't begin to explain how anxious I am!!!! It goes without saying but, thanks man, for real! Until next time!
<Welcome, talk soon, Scott V.>

Carbon dosing or Too Much Light? (I definitely don't think the latter here) -- 04/08/09
<<Greetings stranger>>
Have a good question about my 75 gallon sps reef.
About 7 weeks ago, I upgraded my lighting to a 7/54 watt T5 Aquactinics Constellation. I successfully have acclimated my corals (this fixture can cook sps on the sand bed of a 75, just didn't want to be forced to place corals high). Anyways, I've also been carbon dosing (vodka) about 1 ml of 80-proof per day in order keep phosphates and nitrates extremely low.
<<I do this myself from time to time'¦but is not without risk (I managed to wipe out $700 worth of fish when a GFCI tripped overnight after dosing'¦ and lost another $3,000 or so in corals in the ensuing months as the system tried to regain its "balance"). I hope you have some redundancy built in to your system to keep water flowing through the sump should a circuit/pump go off/out>>
Before I continue here are my parameters:
Temp: 80-81.5
Salinity: 1.25-1.26 (refractometer)
Calcium: 440-470 (API)
ALK: 8-9 (API)
Nitrates: 0 (API)
Phosphates: 0 (Salifert)
I do a 10 gallon water change every 7-8 days. I have a Remora-Pro with a Mag-5 that gets the job done (not amazing, but seems sufficient for my small bioload). I have a ton of flow (turnover is 45 times per hour).
The problem I'm having is with color. My corals look pretty good (a lot of color) but...they are starting to get very light in color. Not bleached, but if they were to get much lighter, they would start looking bleached.
I have two theories.
<<Let's hear them'¦>>
It's either too long of a photoperiod with this fixture (4 bulbs for 8 hours, all 7 for 4.5 hours),
<<Nah'¦ If anything this is too little. I prefer a good 12-hr photoperiod'¦more closely mimics that of the tropics where these animals are collected>>
or my tank is nutrient starved and is dying for a little phosphate and nitrate.
<<I think this to be much more likely, especially considering the carbon dosing>>
I'm thinking this is the key.
<<Is a good place to start>>
When I go to my LFS, I always get frustrated because his colors are better than mine with sub-par lighting. But his tanks have nuisance algae. Not tons of it or even enough to be an eye sore, but its there. He obviously has nutrients in his tank.
Mine is barren of nuisance algae, completely.
<<This seems to be the common goal of many/most hobbyists'¦even though a bit of algae is normal on the reef'¦and even of benefit re food/habitat for many of the smaller beneficial organisms in our tanks>>
I've heard people on Reef Central (that have great sps tanks) say that when nutrients are too low colors will fade, too rich and they get too dark or brown out corals. What do you think?
<<I am in agreement'¦and this is often a balancing act depending on the efficiency of your filtration and your husbandry practices. I've known of reef hobbyists who actually 'dose' Nitrate (generally in the form of Ammonium Nitrate) to keep their corals 'colored-up.' I would try dosing the carbon on a limited schedule and see what effect this has on your corals. It may take some time and experimentation to find the right combination of frequency and dosage. Or boost your feeding schedule/volume and see how this affects things'¦am sure your livestock will appreciate this last for sure>>
Thank you for your help!
<<Do let me know what you discover'¦ Regards, EricR>>

Re: Carbon Dosing or Too Much Light? (I definitely don't think the latter here) -- 04/09/09
Will do. I'm going to dump a can of flake in the tank right now....see if I can get some phosphates and nitrates going...haha.
<<There ya go!>>
Will let you know. Thanks for your help.
<<Cheers, EricR>>

New Light, MH, periodicity, reef   02/09/09 <Hello Pat, Minh at your service.> I've got a 55 gal. reef tank and I've just purchased a new light fixture that has twin 150 metal halides. <I assume you are upgrading to this new fixture from a less intense lighting method. If this is the case, I would suggest acclimating your corals and photosynthetic invertebrates to the increase in intensity by gradually increasing the photoperiod.> My question is what do you recommend for Dailey exposure? <The common rule of thumb of 12-14 hours of intense lighting to mimic the conditions of the tropics. However, this period could be less depending on the type of coral you are keeping and food availability. More discussion on photoperiodicity can be reviewed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lgttimerstimingfaqs.htm.> Thanks Pat <You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

Length of time lighting should be on  12/30/08 Good evening to everyone at WWM, and thank you for being here to answer our questions. <Hello Jeffrey, Minh at your service.> My questions deal with lighting: First, how much light, as in length of time? I realize that this will vary depending on type of corals of , and type of lighting. However, is there a rule of thumb as to how much light of the daylight type / actinic type should be used on a daily basis? <You are correct in pointing out the possible variance in this very loaded topic. As you mentioned, the type of invertebrates and lighting one keeps affect the length of the photoperiod greatly. Another part of this equation that is not often brought up is food availability. For example, one must consider that while the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae can provide a large part of a coral's energy budget under ideal conditions, it does have its limitations and that energy produced by photosynthesis can be supplemented by food capture. In other words, lighting is not the only way an invertebrate can fill its energy budget. With that in mind, the common rule of thumb of 12-14 hours of intense lighting to mimic the conditions of the tropics may be unnecessary in some tanks. There are some advanced aquarists that have experimented with very short lighting cycles in the 3-6 hour range with positive results. So, that is the background on the answer I will give you, which is that the photoperiod will vary for different tanks with different invertebrates, lighting intensities and food availability. Another way to look at it is that a photoperiod is adequate when the coral has reach its photosynthesis saturation point. Anymore than that, and you will reach a point of over-saturation and photoinhibition as further described in this article: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2007/3/aafeature1.> Secondly, my fixtures have either MH and T5 blue actinic, or MH and PC 50/50. My Outer Orbit PC has a combination of two types of daylight (10,000/6700) and two types of actinic (420/460). With the various types of daylight lighting, be it MH, or PC, how should the lighting be used? Should the daylight lighting, and the actinic lighting be on at the same time, or should it alternate (one on, one off), and how much of each? <The common practice amongst reef aquarists is to simulate the natural dawn and dusk effect using actinic lighting to gradually increase intensity for the tank inhabitants. For example, let's say your photoperiod is a total of 10 hours and it starts at noon. At 12:00, your actinics will turn on to simulate dawn. At 1:00pm one or more of your daylight lighting will start to turn on, preferably PC first and the more intense MH after. During the next few hours, all of your lamps will turn on and stay on. At 9:00pm, your most intense lights will gradually turn off and leave just the actinics to complete the dusk effect. At 10:00pm, night time should occur with total darkness or just a faint hint of lunar lights.> I think it's important to know the equipment we are using, and how to use it properly. <This certainly holds true for all tools in the hobby.> Thanks for your great advice. Regards, Jeffrey Castaldo <You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh>

Questions about Lighting Cycles 12/1/08 Love the site, it motivated me to setup a reef tank. <Great!> I am setting up a 29 gallon reef tank. It will have a ten gallon sump and ten gallon refugium. I attached a pic and will center it all up later. It is still cloudy from the aragonite sand and has been a few days. I just bought these lights for it and they came today. I am very excited, been a few years since I've had a reef tank, done FOWLR for last few years. http://www.marineandreef.com/Outer_Orbit_24_inch_Current_USA_p/rcu01040.htm Current USA Outer Orbit Fixture, 1x150W HQI Metal Halide 2X65W Compact Fluorescents, 24 inch Lunar Light LEDs <A very nice fixture.> I accidentally got the 24x15 inch lights and the tank is 29x12, but I am going to keep it anyway. The site didn't sell anything for a 29 inch tank that also had VHOs, they only had a 150 metal halide. <This light will be fine for your 29.> It has 4 inch brackets but they will not fit on the tank since it is the wrong size. Would it be ok just to sit these lights on the top of the tank. <No, too close for the halide. If you intend to set it on glass, it will crack the glass.> If it doesn't hurt anything, I would want to do this. I have it sitting there now and it looks great despite being the exact size. I have a cat and this blocks the top of the tank. I really don't want to have to hang it from the ceiling. It is at an angle to the TV anyway and if it was off the tank, the light kind of blinds you a little bit. <It will need to be off the tank at least a few inches. You will either need to construct your own legs, make something for the stock legs to sit on, construct a canopy to hang the fixture in (solves your glare problem too), or swap it for a 30� light (there are a few out there).> I am going to put about 40-50 pounds of live rock in the tank. I gave this live rock to a friend who has too much as it is now in one tank and now can take it back from him. Should I scrub the rock before I put it in my tank or cleanse it somehow for unwanted organisms? <Should not have to if the rock has been cured in his tank for a while, unless his tank is infested with something!> How exactly can I minimize any negative impact from an overstocked tanked? <Don't overstock.> I want to get an anemone and a small clown and tons of other hard and soft corals. <Most anemones we keep get quite large, this will be cramped in this tank and will not work with the mix listed. See: http://wetwebmedia.com/anemcompfaqs.htm. Do carefully research each addition to your tank re compatibility with both your system and other livestock.> Never done hard corals before but with this lighting I am sure I can support it. <It can in this depth tank.> What is a good lighting cycle to go by? I want to have a dawn till dusk effect. Is it beneficial to have the blue lights come on, then white and metal halide, the blue light, than lunar LEDs? <It doesn't hurt, looks good to us humans.> Should I go: 1 hour blue 8 hours all 1 hour blue Lunar at night? <Would work, maybe go 9-10 hrs on the halides if you intend to have SPS, clams.> Also, there is plug for the small lunar lights. Should I run it all the time or have it only on when the other lights are not on? <Technically you should put it on a timer, but I just leave mine on all the time.> Thanks again! <Welcome, Scott V.>

"... they're heeere"

Light Left On 24 Hrs. 9/25/08 Hello, <Greg> Quick question for you. I inadvertently left the light on my reef aquarium overnight. Light was on a total of about 24 hours. Once I realized this, I turned the light off and then resumed the normal light schedule the next day. However, several of the corals appear shrunken now. How serious is this and could the corals have been toasted or over stimulated? <Most will likely be fine, this can be serious but not usually so. Any damage is already done.> Temps. remained normal during this period. Any chance they will recover? <Oh yes, this does happen. The corals may look tired/shrunk for a day or two, but will bounce back unless overly stressed. Nothing to do but resume the normal lighting schedule, wait, and see. Do invest in a timer, consistent timing does help the overall health and success.> Thanks, Greg <Welcome, Scott V.>

Re: Light Left On 24 Hrs. 9/29/08 Hello Again, <Greg.> Well some of my corals are still staying shrunken after leaving the light on all day a few days ago. I've returned to the original lighting schedule (8 hours on, 16 hours off), but still no luck. I did lift the lighting a little higher from the water surface this morning and did see an improvement, the problem corals began opening up more, but after 5 hours of light on, they closed back up again. <Give them time.> If they see full density lighting, they barely open up at all. There is definitely a strong sensitivity to lighting after I accidentally left the lights on all day a few days ago. I think they were over stimulated to a point where their metabolism is completely out of whack. After keeping water conditions perfect, I can't believe they are this fragile, but the facts say differently. Could you explain biologically what is going on here. What happens to corals when they see light continuously? <They continue to metabolize, get exhausted with no resting period.> I am at a loss at what to do. Should I just get rid of the problem corals and start over? <No way, just give this time, at this point it has only been a few days. Patience and stability are key here. Your photoperiod sound fine at 8 hours, I would not go any shorter than this. > Thanks, Greg <Welcome my friend, Scott V.>

Ice Cast Dimmer, source  8/26/08 Hi guys, Thanks for all the great help. I was recently given a nice setup with an Ice-cast dimmer (yes, that is the correct spelling, I saw in a previous post where someone else asked about ice cast and you said it was ice cap) It is model DOC 9801 from Digital Oceans. I too, need the manual. Can you tell me where I could find it? Thanks a lot. Greg <A strike out here too Greg. I do see that Premiumaquatics.com does carry these. You may want to contact them, they should be able to put you in touch with the manufacturer or at least a distributer. Welcome, Scott V.>

Lighting question, timing, marine  08/21/2008 I have a 54gal bowfront aquarium and a CoraLife fixture that has a 10,000k bulb, an actinic bulb, and lunar LED's on a fish only aquarium with a couple of anonomes. <<If you have "anemones", its not fish only>> How should I set my timers.. Should one come on before the other, or should they be run together. Is it necessary to use the LED's on a timer or can I use them just as necessary to view the aquarium in the dark. Do I need to set a routine with the lunar LED's. This is always a little ambient light within the room. Never 100% dark. <<Have actinics come on around 11am...marine whites about 1pm, off at 9pm, actinics off at 10pm...Lunar lights, just switch on you for your own viewing pleasure. I do so hope that this lighting unit provides a very good source of lighting for the "anemones". Else, set to perish they are. Please do read more here and linked articles and FAQ's http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm>> Also, what is a good average of how many daylight hours I need? I figured 10 hours??? <<See above.>> Many thanks. <<Hope this helps, A Nixon>>

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

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

Lighting Help...Photoperiod 7/28/08 I have a 180G tank. I bought a over head light system with 3 250w 12K Double ended HQI and 4 96w actinic compact fluorescents. My question is what would you recommend for the amount of time on for each of these? <You could run the actinics for 12 hours, with the MH on one hour after the actinics come on and off one hour prior. This will give you a dusk/dawn effect if you want. Really, running the whole lot anywhere from 10-12 hours or so a day will be fine.> I want to grow SPS. Thanks <Best of luck, Scott V.>

Ballast on timer? -- 6/4/08 Hello, <Hello!> I purchased a Coralife lighting system , 2 MH and 2 CF actinics combo, should I also put the ballast on timers or this should be on all the time? <The MH lights do not have a toggle switch on the hood; the switches on the ballasts are for the lamps. Leave these switches in the 'on' position, and plug the ballasts into a timer.> Also, aside from fans .... drilling holes (for heat vents) at the top of canopy (12" high) a good idea ? <Some sort of ventilation will be necessary. Usually this is accomplished by slotted vents on the ends of a canopy which fans pull air through. I imagine the same effect can be reasonably imitated from above, although active evaporative cooling may be less.> Please advise. Thanks/Jun <You're very welcome. Benjamin>

Re: Ballast on timer? - 6/4/08 Thanks for your quick response, <No problem!> ok...now...there are two plugs that are attached to the hood, according to the instruction one of those are for the MH the other one for the CF ... which one controls the MH , the switch from the ballast or the other plug? <The ballast> should I also plug that on timer as well? is the MH getting it's power on the ballast or from the cord that is attached on the hood? or both? <If this is the Aqualight Pro (I assume it is, based on the description...I could be wrong.) then the two plugs from the hood itself are for the CF and moonlights. The ballasts are attached to the four prong cables, and power the MH lamps> (I know) this is really confusing me as the instruction that comes w/ it doesn't really explain very well the functionality of each. <Understood> Thanks again/ Jun <Benjamin>

Reef Lighting'¦Sequencing On/Off Events -- 05/30/08 I read in your articles that some labs use an arc that the light travels in order to simulate the sun moving. <<Mmm, yes'¦something difficult to replicate in the average home setting>> We have a 125 gallon tank; it's lit with 4 x96w of actinics and three 250w metal halides. Would it be beneficial to have the metal halides come on and off in a sequence with some overlap to simulate the sun moving across the sky? <<Arguably, yes'¦ It is possible that the photosynthetic organisms benefit from the differing light/intensity levels. And I must admit to having my own MH lights (six in all on an 8ft tank) come on/go off in sequence 30-minutes apart>> For example have the MH on the left come on at 7:00 am and off at 12:15, the center come on at 11:00 am and off at 4:30 and the right come on at 2:45pm and off at 6:45? <<I would limit the 'gap' between on/off events to no more than an hour'¦with a 'total' MH photoperiod for the tank of 12-14 hours'¦much like in the tropics>> Thanks, Scott <<Happy to assist. Eric Russell>> Sunrise/Sunset Cycle 2/17/08 Hi folks, thanks for the previous advice. It was most helpful. <Welcome.> Today a wire broke on our aquarium lights. (We had an Aqualite lights console with a 120-watt 10,000K full-spectrum bulb and a 120-watt actinic blue bulb. Our tank is 55 gallons and has only one coral in it, an SPS coral.) Our LFS kindly exchanged the broken light console for a new one, <A store that is a keeper for sure.> however when we got home, we found the newer version has only one plug (the old one had two.) This is an issue because we used to have the lights on two different timers, so that the blue lights turned on an hour before the white lights and stayed on an hour longer. This is no longer possible for us to do with our current light console. Is this a problem, or are we worrying unnecessarily? <It is nice to have a sunrise/sunset cycle, but this is mainly for us (humans). The corals do just fine with the lights as they are.> We had read that turning the lights on gradually was better for the fish, but our LFS doesn't seem too concerned, and it's true that the strength of our lights is not very high. Our fish are all small ones: we have three scissortail dartfish, three Banggai Cardinalfish, a little fairy wrasse, and a sand goby, plus the SPS coral (which came along with our live rock) and a pair of peppermint shrimp. Thanks for any ideas! Laura <Everything is fine, enjoy. And hold onto that store, sometimes that kind of service can be hard to find! Regards, Scott V.>

Simulating Daily Light Cycles/Intensities -- 01/29/08 Hello, <<Greetings>> I have read a few articles/posts regarding tracking light fixtures in a horizontal plane but have not found any information on vertical movements. <<Mmm, yes'¦perhaps this will be the first>> I thought that instead of ramping up light intensities throughout the day by using fluorescents lights and metal halides in combination, that using only MH and varying the distance from light fixture to water surface could be a reasonable way to proceed. <<Sounds plausible'¦ Varying the distance of the light source from the water's surface does greatly affect intensity/PAR value of the light received by the organisms within the tank>> I want to run a ceiling suspended 250W MH pendant on my reef tank and figured that moving the light from approximately 12" from water surface to 8" midday then back to 12" by the end of the daily light-cycle could be beneficial. <<Does seem more 'natural' than merely switching lights on/off in sequence>> It would need to be an automated system and I cannot think up a solution nor find any helpful information. Any ideas? <<Hmm, you would need a servo-controlled reversible motor with a pulley mechanism connected to the light housing by small-diameter stainless-steel cable to raise/lower the fixture. Obtaining the mechanism shouldn't be much of a challenge, but 'controlling' the mechanism will likely require a computer interface or a computerized timing/actuation device. Or'¦you may be able to rig 'micro-switches' at the upper and lower limits of travel that would reverse direction of the motor as well as stop it to await actuation in the other direction. If so, then all you would need is a simple light-timer to run the servo (depending on power source). It may be as simple as one-stop shopping at Radio Shack'¦or some purposeful keyword searches via the NET. Either way, this is a very interesting thought/project. Please do keep me posted on your progress if you decide to pursue>> Thanks, Peter <<Hope this helps. EricR>>

Re: Simulating Daily Light Cycles/Intensities -- 01/30/08 EricR, <<Peter>> Thanks for the information, <<Welcome...Hope it was of some value> I shall keep you posted if I have any success with the project. Peter <<Please do! EricR>>

Lighting Duration 12/20/07 Hi! <Hello there> I read in the "MarLight" article that "12-16 light-hour days are optimum" for most photosynthetic marine aquaria. I've been told by my LFS that I should light my tank 8-10 hours. <Mmm, either can work... the extended time frame is often useful for low intensity lighted systems, ones where humans/owners want to see/enjoy their systems longer per day> I use a 4x54 watt T5 ballast above a standard 75 gallon tank housing a variety of corals not including SPS. How long should I run the two actinics before and after I run all four lights together? How long should I run all four lights together? <... an hour or so before, after for the actinics... which can run simultaneously otherwise> Your advice will clear up a lot of my confusion on this subject. Thank you for your trouble, Tony <No worries. Actual measures of diurnal rhythms... simple pH, DO... can/will aid in discerning what your system is capable of driven photosynthesis wise... There is/are much more to this proposal/equation. Bob Fenner>

Actinic Light During Night Cycle? 11/29/07 Hi Crew, <<Howdy John>> I think this might be a new one for you. <<Oh?>> I've been pouring the FAQs for a couple days and cannot find this specific topic. <<Okay>> I have a 37gal FOWLR with about 50lbs of LR and a few low light coral Frags. (2 mushroom colonies and a Frogspawn). For fish, I have a False Percula, Royal Gramma, Blue Reef Chromis and a Banggai Cardinal. <<Neat>> I currently run 2 30" Coralife T5 AquaLights. These are the ones with T5 NO lights. They came with an 18w 10000k and an 18w actinic in each. In one fixture, I swapped the actinic for another 10000k. This gives me a nice clean white light with a small tint of blue that I like. <<Yes indeed... And although 'moderate' in its lighting requirements, the Frogspawn likely appreciates this added bit of 'white' light>> Anyway, I would like to add some nighttime lighting, mainly for aesthetics in the room. <<I see>> I have tried a couple of the different LED devices that are available, but none of them put out enough light to make anything visible in that tank at night. <<Really? I would think these to be quite adequate for a tank such as yours>> I think these things are just someone's idea of how to sell another device to us hobbyists, as I can find no practical use for them. <<Perhaps... Many hobbyists could get by with a simple low-wattage incandescent bulb for this purpose...but hey, when it comes to the chance for buying another gizmo.........>> I was thinking of trying something else. I have an old double fluorescent strip light from my early days that takes 2 24" NO bulbs. I have experimented with running one 20w NO actinic at night. The fixture is set on top of the T5 fixtures in a way that only allows about 30% of the actual light to reach the tank. <<Ah...good>> This gives me a pleasant amount of blue light, while still maintaining an after-dark look to the tank. <<Sounds nice>> My concern is, if I have this light running opposite my main lights, I will essentially be lighting the tank around the clock. <<Not really...at least, not in the same manner/with the same result>> Do you think this could have any negative effect on my rock, corals or fish? <<If too bright, yes...but if the light intensity/brightness is such that the organisms in the tank recognize the change from day to night and are able to rest it should be fine. Simply observe to see if the tank still settles down and that the fishes seek out their nighttime hiding/resting places with the Actinic 'nightlight' on. And since this 'fishy nightlight' is primarily for your pleasure, consider putting it on a timer to shut it off once you leave the room/retire for the evening>> Thanks for all the great info over the past few years, <<A collective effort...we're happy to assist>> John Arenz Big Lake, MN <<Eric Russell...Columbia, SC>>

T-5 Lighting and Button Polyps, sys.  -- 10/20/07 Hello, and thank you for taking my question. <Hello Anthony -- Brian here> I have a 72g AGA aquarium. I have a Coralife 48"T-5 lamp, double strip 28watt 10,000K, 28watt Actinic 03 bulb. My question is, will this fixture be good enough for the housing of Button Polyp (green), Blue Mushroom, and Striped Mushroom? <No way, you need more light than that with a 72g aquarium, unless you place them in the top half of your aquarium.> If not should I add an additional strip of the same fixture or what would your suggestion be? <Research the lighting requirements of the corals you want to have in your tank over time and purchase the correct lighting in the beginning rather than worrying about lighting requirements each time you purchase a new coral. This website is a good start, learn to use the search feature, you'll find most corals and their lighting requirements. For mushrooms, please visit: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallim.htm. It's better for your corals and your pocketbook. > Currently I have FOWLR system (currently on a 6hr/day light cycle) and I'm looking to add some coral/mushroom species to my system. Also what should I increase my light cycle to, I have read that these species have low lighting needs. <I like a 10-hour light cycle and have them timed so they are on when I am around to enjoy the tank. They go off about the time I go to bed and come on 10 hours prior.> Thank you. Anthony <Take care and good luck! -- Brian Griffin>

Marine Tank Lighting and Algae ) 3/14/07 Hi - <Hi!> I'm sure you've received this type of question many times, but I'm still looking for a "definitive" answer. I have a fish-only 46 gallon bow front tank. It's well established and uses a built in wet-dry filter along with a 350 magnum canister and Prizm protein skimmer. It has a bare bottom and rainbow rock for decoration. <Rainbow rock as in the resin replicas or actual sandstone (silica based) rocks?> I do cleaning, vacuuming, filter changes and water changes every week.   <If you are too aggressive with your cleaning every week, it disrupts the beneficial bacteria and balance of the tank.  Avoid sterilizing too thoroughly and don't change all the filter media every week. It is not "well established" if it has to start over every week.> The problem is I'm a fanatic about not having algae, but I can't seem to prevent it. The type I get looks brownish, collects on the rocks and tank, is very powdery and readily brushes off. <These are diatoms.  A silica based unicellular algae.  They are actually quite beautiful under a microscope, but not so lovely all over the aquarium! Read here re diatom control: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diatomfaqs.htm > Unfortunately it starts showing in just 3 days after a full cleaning and rock bleaching. <Over-cleaning is probably upsetting the balance of your tank.> I use DI/RO water, no additives other than pH buffer, I've tried various phosphate removers to no avail, all the chemistry is good and the phosphates are low. <How good?  It is hard to advise without knowing pH, SG, alkalinity, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc.  Phosphate is not the problem with diatoms.  Silicate is more relevant.> I'm curious what I should do about lighting. I have four T-5, 36" 39w bulbs with two daylight and two actinic. I'm only using two of the bulbs currently, one of each type. They are on probably 14 hours a day. I've been told two things; shut the lights completely off other than when I am home, the other was to step down to a standard fluorescent light of less intensity than the T-5's. I sort of feel like having the lights off most of the time is not a normal environment for the fish, and giving up on an expensive fixture and paying additional money for a even cheaper one doesn't feel right either. <Agreed.  Your lighting is fine. The fish do need a natural light cycle to be comfortable and healthy. You could back off to 12 hours, but 14 is ok. > I'm willing to do whatever - your advice? <Consider allowing a more natural evolution in your tank.  Introduce some algae that you do like to compete for nutrients.  Add a more aggressive protein skimmer.  Cut back on feeding if you can.  Do not over-sterilize your tank. Adding some live rock or aragonite substrate could help create a more natural balance.  If you do not want any type of algae or natural live rock in the main tank, a hidden refugium may be the answer for you. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm Keep reading'¦ Alex> Rob Buchanan

How long should Metal Halide Lighting be on for a LTA?  - 3/12/07 Hello, <Hello, Brenda here> Can you please tell me how many hours in a day do I have to leave my light on for my long tentacle anemone? I have metal halide lighting. <It would depend on the size of the tank, number of bulbs, and bulb wattage.  I suggest 8 - 10 hours and adjust from there.  Your anemone may move higher or lower, or even hide in the rocks to adjust.> Thanks, Ivan <You're welcome.  Brenda>

Question - Is it OK to split the light-on time into 2 parts per day?  -- 03/09/07 Hi, <Hello Sammy.  Brandon with you tonight.> I have solar panels installed in my house and consequently, I am on a Time Of Use power meter where the power is most expensive between 12pm and 6pm during weekdays.  <Ok.> So, to minimize power cost, I try to leave the lights off during peak hours.  <Understandable.> Currently, I have my timers set to turn my aquarium lights on at 6pm and off at 3am during the week and 11am to 11pm on weekends.<Hmmmm.> My question is whether I can split the light-on period into 2 periods per day, say 9am to 12pm and then 6pm to midnight. <I am guessing that you want to do it this way, in order to see your fish?  Let me pose a question to you.  Would you find it disturbing if you went to work at 9am, and when you went outside at 12pm for lunch, it was pitch black outside.  I know that it would freak me out.  Well, this is how your fish feel.  I would bite the bullet, and pay the extra money.  Or, you could always just enjoy your fish at night.  If you are going to run the lights at night however, you need to slowly acclimate the fish to this.  Anytime you start playing with anything major like light regimens, you run a really good risk of over-stressing your fish.  Mess with these things at your own peril.> Regards, <I hope this has been of some help to you.  Brandon.> Sammy

Color Temperature/Photo-Period - 09/03/06 Dear Crew, <<Hello...EricR here>> The fluorescent ballast on my ARAD 48" fixture stopped working yesterday so my reef tank is now running solely with the HQI lights. <<Shouldn't be a problem>> Until now, my 75-gallon tank had the daily benefit of 6 hours of 2 x 150-watt 10K HQI lighting and 12 hours of 36-watt NO actinic fluorescent lighting. (I never installed the other 36-watt tube.) <<Mmm, you should increase the photo-period for the MH lighting  to about 12 hours.  Daylight in the tropics will average around 13 hours, with a very small seasonal variation.  Though some species are highly adaptable, running such an unnatural light schedule will likely result in long-term deleterious effects.  Please read here and among the indices in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm>> Without supplemental actinics, what should I increase the photoperiod of the HQI lighting to? <<12 hours...whether supplementing with actinics or not>> Without supplemental actinics, which color temperature should I select for HQI bulbs? <<The 10000K are fine (plenty of "blue" for the corals needs), but if "you" want a bit more blue then go with a 12000K-14000K bulb>> I am considering replacing my current fixture with a SunPod 14K HQI fixture with LED's for twilight viewing.  Again, there is no actinic supplemental lighting. <<And it is not necessary...in most all cases, the supplementation of actinic lighting is for the aquarist's/onlooker's benefit...even 6500K metal halide lamps contain enough light in the "blue" spectrum for most any coral's needs>> My reasoning is that in nature, there is very little actinic solar radiation at twilight hours when the atmosphere is permitting primarily red light.  Am I correct? <<Maybe so...but "twilight" only lasts for moments...not the 6-hours per day you were running previously>> Thanks very much! <<Happy to assist>> Best regards, Paul <<Cheers, EricR>>

Lighting/Photoperiod  7/15/06 Hello All, <Hello Karen> Now that I have bought a good light for my reef/fish 55g I can't seem to find the proper lighting schedule. I got a Coralife lunar AquaLight and it has the 10,000K daylight w/ cooling fans and blue Actinic 03 plus the lunar blue moon glow. My question is how many hours do I set these lights for. The paper that came with the lights doesn't say, I'm ready to set them to a timer but don't know how many hours to set the lights to. Please tell me, the LFS cant seem to answer my questions. <Very unusual a LFS cannot provide you with this.  Your photoperiod will depend and what animals you have that require a given photoperiod of light.  Without knowing what you have, I would start out with a 10 hour photoperiod. Do read here and related links above for more information.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm> Karen, in future queries, please capitalize/punctuate where necessary so we do not have to do it.  Thanks.> Thanks Karen <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

How Long a Photoperiod?  - 7/2/6 Hi Crew!!! <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 90 gallon salt water tank with live rock, Pink Tip Anemone, Red  Long Tentacle Anemone, clean up crew, Yellow Tang, Clownfish, Mushrooms. I was just wanting to know how long should I leave my lighting system on. (I have T-5 light).   Thanks Janice <Well, Janice, I'm a big fan of keeping regular lighting hours, regardless of the photoperiod that you choose. I favor a 10-12 hour photoperiod, myself. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Night Time lights ?    6/26/06 greetings, hope that all is good. the website is amazing to say the least, I spend a lot of my "spare" time at work just reading an learning, thank you for the wonderful resource! So on to the fun....... its summer here in sunny San Diego, <Oh! I live here as well> and my SW reef is starting to get to that dangerous temp level......got up to 82.9 today before I realized and tuned on the air conditioner....here's my question, I have read a few times on the website that running the lights at night when its cooler can keep the temp in check <Can definitely help, yes> (I am running fans), but I have a fairly bright room during the day. The tank doesn't get direct sunlight per se, but normal daylight. Will my fish take on their normal "night time" activities, sleep etc. with a day light room, and hood lights off? <Mmm, not so much no... better to use timers, dimmers even if moving the light cycle further into the night> .....or do I need to cover the tank during the day to keep it dark in the tank ? <I would not do this last> second....if I do switch the system to lights on at night, do I need to slowly phase the lights a few hours each day/week..... or just suddenly make the switch? <Best to move gradually> Thank you in advance for your advice, and once again thank you for the service to the hobby. <Welcome. Bob Fenner, in Mira Mesa... aka "East" La Jolla...>

Reversing Daylight?   6/22/06 Hey Guys! <Scott F. your guy today!> I have been reading a lot and have come across many <<sic>> of sites rather majority of them who suppose <<support?>> reverse lighting in the refugium i.e. in the day the lights in the tank and on and at night the when they go off the refugium lights come on. I tried thinking  a lot but could not find a scientific reason for the same, except saving the electricity. Could your guys help me as to how the same help as I was planning to keep my sump lights on 24 x 7. Thanks Regards You guys rock! Big time! <Thanks for the kind words! The rationale for reverse lighting is that it helps stabilize the day/night pH swings that naturally occur, especially when plants are used. When they are lighted, the plants are giving off oxygen; the opposite happens at night... Lighting the refugium 24/7 is not essentially harmful, but it is not really necessary, IMO. I'd just go with reverse daylight lighting. And I suppose, you will save some electricity by lighting 12/12 instead of 24hrs in the refugium. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting question & Pink Tip Anemone question   1/22/06 Evening crew Thank you for the awesome website! <Welcome> I have a 55 gallon tank set up the set up is this: 35 40 pounds of LR Two emperor 280 filters I have 36 inch Coralife lights the double florescent 96 watt 10000k and double actinic 96 watt 10000k lights 2 inch bed of live sand brittle star 6 turbo snails Chromis three damsels tomato lawnmower blenny black dartfin goby several blue legged hermit crabs pink tipped anemone couple brittle worms (caught them with the flashlight late at night) My first question is about the lighting I have searched all over your site but have yet to see a definitive answer on lighting. Should I run the lighting in a certain way? Right now I turn the actinic on for about 1 hour in the morning when the sun is coming up then turn on both sets of lights that run for about 9 10 hours I then turn just the actinic on for another 3 hours at night followed up with total darkness till the next morning. Is this ok or should I try something else? <Is about right... could extend the "white light" period a couple hours, shorten the actinic the same...> Also when finding out watts per gallon do I take 96 plus 96 divided by 55? or do i figure each light on its own? <The former.> Next question is my Haitian Pink tipped anemone seems to be doing fine in my tank however I am not a pink tip doctor so I would at least like to make sure that my lighting and water flow is proper for him. It sits in front of the current near the light on a LR. It has a tomato clown that has hosted and I feed it frozen Mysis shrimp with vitamins in it (and a horseshoe crab he nabbed one night leading me to assume his stinging sells  are working ok). He is starting to turn a little bit of a brown shade. I had found a post one time before I bought it that I thought mentioned pink tips turning colors but could not find it again. So is this ok? Otherwise seems to be doing great in my tank. Thank you very much for your help it is greatly appreciated Homer <Is okay... if adapted thus far... getting a good part of its nutrition from feeding, not photosynthesis. Could use more light... Bob Fenner> Lighting interval - 10/11/05 Hey guys <<Hello>> I searched and searched and couldn't find an answer. I have a 55 gal setup with 2 Emperor 280 and Remora Pro 1200 and 52 lbs of live rock. My tank has been up for about 3 years and always done OK, I am no expert and often consult your site for questions and learn before I take the next step. I received a Coralife Lunar Aqualight 48" as a gift and its great. My question is I bought a timer center and a second powerhead so what interval should I set the lights and powerheads? Here is what I was thinking is this correct? 10000K lighting: 0800-1800 <<I would shoot for 10-12 hours.>> Actinic Blue:0600-2200 <<12-14 hours would be appropriate.>> Lunar: 2000-0800 <<Have these turn on just before the actinics turn off for the night.>> powerheads: alternate every 6 hours <<To best recreate the ocean current you will want the powerheads alternating as often as possible. A wave maker is always a good investment.>> Any help would be great thanks, also what is a colorful, hardy coral you recommend? <<Zoo's are always a good hardy and colorful addition. They are also great for trading to other reefers.>> <<TravisM>> 

I have been working on a light timing scheme and am looking to improve it  9/5/05 Hello Crew! <James> I have been having a lot of fun with my new 55 gallon setup and for several reasons (summer and heat not the least) have alternated my lighting schedule. The 10,000Ks on the Coralife hood kick out the most heat so put less heat into the tank and to lower the electricity bills from the air conditioner I have them running about 5 hours (3:30-8:30). The 50/50s run about 9 hours from 1:30 to about 10:30. I say about in each instance as I don't trust the exact accuracy of the timers but they are 'close enough' and very easy to set. I also have the moon LEDs on from 9 to 6:30 am (when I leave for work); since the timers are so darn oversized I can not seem to fit anymore than I have already. <Power strip... hung vertically.> So far, it has been good from the response of life in the tank. I have noticed less hair algae, more coralline algae with the polyps, hammer and mushrooms flourishing. The Foxface and shrimp seem to enjoy the light time changes and lately I have discovered some small crustaceans moving about as well. I had figured a varied light schedule would suit the denizens of the tank well since the light level changes with the orientation of the sun. However, never having been from the tropics, I wonder if I am not mistaken about light levels there. Certainly, there is a difference there between high noon, 8:00 am and 4:00 pm light levels. <Yes... tremendously... but aquatic life has great "photo adaptively" as well> However, I understand one should not use dimmers on power compacts. Is there anyway to modify the intensity of light further? <Mmm, there are some novel "fixture moving" technologies> Is there anything I should do to modify this arrangement (longer or shorter duration of one set of bulbs over another)? <Nothing I would do> As the seasons are changing so to is the need for reduced heat from lamps. This has worked well for me over the summer. The Air Conditioners are timed (run when needed) and the tanks have been more stable for it. Thank you. James Zimmer <I would leave this regimen as is... you can extend the "white" lighting for daytime/s as the Winter draws on... Bob Fenner>

Aquarium overheated - what next  8/30/05 Hi all, <Mmm, your and my mother in-law's maiden names are the same...> Today was a bit of a downer, I got into my office and noted it was really really warm (probably high 80's/low 90's).  Upon inspection of my tank (36 gallon), I saw that I had lost both cleaner shrimp and both of my fire gobies were missing.  Best I can put together is that my door got closed on Friday, the gobies died (either due to the heat or loss of oxygen), the shrimp ate most of them, and succumbed as well.  Only my false clownfish survived. <Bunk> I removed the dead and half eaten fish, did a 5 gallon water change and measured the water parameters for Ammonia and Nitrite (Ammonia = 0 ppm, Nitrite < 0.3, the kit doesn't measure lower than that).  I've taken the glass cover off the tank to expose the entire tank to air in order to get it to cool down and increase the oxygen/water surface area <Good> I'm concerned a bit about the nutrients that may have gotten into the water due to the deaths.  I'm planning on bringing in my canister filter and running a mix of Phosban and activated Charcoal to remove phosphates and other things.  What would you recommend for extra water changes for the week (frequency and magnitude). <Twenty percent twice, with three days in-between should do about all the good...> Lastly, what should I do about lighting? Leave them off, or put them back on their normal schedule (power compacts). <If you lack photosynthetic life, leave them off> I'm sad at the loss of my fish (80% tank), but there is a silver lining (of sorts).  The fire gobies tended to hide by early afternoon and it would be nice to get a fish that would be more "on display" than they were.  (I'm thinking of a six-line wrasse) I'm torn about replacing the cleaner shrimp or getting a long nosed hawkfish (I was concerned the latter would dine on the former). Thanks for your time/advice. David <Perhaps a seven day timer... that would leave the heat-generating lights off during weekends? Bob Fenner>  

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