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FAQs about Light and Lighting for Marine Systems 6

Related Articles: Marine Light, & Lighting, Marine Aquarium Light Fixtures and Canopies, Lighting Marine InvertebratesAnemone LightingCoral System LightingMoving Light Systems

Related FAQs: Marine System LightingFAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5, FAQs 7, FAQs 8, FAQs 9, FAQs 10, FAQs 11, FAQs 12, FAQs 13, FAQs 14, FAQs 15, FAQs 16, FAQs 17, FAQs 18, FAQs 19 & FAQs on Marine Lighting: Fixture Selection 1,  Fixture Selection 2, Fixture Selection 3,  (incandescent, fluorescent, MH/HQI, LED, natural...), Lamp/Bulb Selection 1, Lamp/Bulb Selection 2, (See Fluorescent, LED, MH... below), Installing, Waste Heat Production/Elimination, UV Shielding, Measure, Troubles/Repairs, By Manufacturer Make/Model: & Actinic Lighting, Metal Halide Lighting, Fluorescent Lighting, Compact Fluorescent Lighting Small System Lighting, Lighting Marine Invertebrates LR LightingTridacnid Lighting

A helpful hydraulic strut to hold up a heavy canopy.

General question on Lighting Hello and thank you in advance, Hopefully I am not wasting your time with this question but I cannot seem to find an answer. My scenario is the following: I am in the initial stages of setting up my 90G tank for reefkeeping. My inhabitants depend on the answer to my question. (I hope it isn't trivial!) I have a 260W PC unit(48x8.5Wide). What I would like to do is combine this with a Double Reefsun unit pushing 500W. The unit measures 33x10.25W. Will this unit work with the PC hood without melting it? <Should... there may be an issue with waste heat and your water/system though... If the hood doesn't come equipped with fans, I would install them, pushing and pulling> I'm new to the MH game but I can't find an answer to this question. I would buy the combo hood but for how my aquarium is inset into the wall, I don't think I would have an adequate exhaust for MH as to my understanding (or lack of). If my scenario is feasible: How high should I place the Reefsun? <If there is room, several inches so you can easily get into the tank...> Once again thank you for taking the time to read this Pete <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Re: 90 gal reef Thanks for the follow up Steven, is there a metal halide fixture out there for me other than the space light that is light and could be hung above the tank? <I am glad you wrote back. I just read an interesting article last night about double ended lamps vs. single ended lamps and I must admit now that I was wrong before. The entire article is based on dispelling myths about double ended lamps, primarily being that they are more powerful than their single ended counterparts. Basically, double ended lamps do not have a built in UV shield and are generally tested with a reflector while single ended lamps are tested without. This gives the data a skewed picture. The article is here http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/aug2002/review.htm> I just haven't found any fixtures that can be supported above the tank. I don't think it would be a good idea to place a metal halide unit right on top of the glass. <Correct> Any suggestions? Ideas? Thanks! <This unit will be fine. Keep your LPS near the bottom, though. -Steven Pro>

Re: Lighting reef setup Hi there again. Thanks for giving me a new perspective on reef keeping, "its not simple". <Actually, it can be if you find the proper help and counsel.> Well, I thought I could get away with the test kits since the person in the LFS told me that they are not needed if I will change my water regularly. And he told me that the corals that I bought to them will survive under my lighting and even just one 40w actinic if I just place them close to the lights. <Very poor advice and rather strange that any store would try to talk you out of buying useful equipment. We generally hear about the exact opposite thing happening.> Except for the clams which I bought at a different LFS and not ask anything. Their just so beautiful I could not resist. <If this hobby teaches you anything, it will eventually teach you to resist the impulse purchase. You end up wasting a lot of money in dead animals that way.> The Clarkii Anemone together with the Clarkii clown was bought by my mom because she said they are so cute. So I guess I should separate them with the other clowns. In fact all of the clowns and change my fish combination. <The anemone needs intense lighting, so removal of the other clownfish is best.> Well, now I?ll follow the things that you told me is needed and forget about what the person in the LFS keeps telling me. I don't want to wait a year or even shorter to see if my corals will die or not and my money to waste away or not. Maybe I am to blame, I read about reef keeping and still listen to the LFS workers. <I would still listen to your LFS, but also read books, magazines, internet information, etc. take it all in and make an informed decision for yourself.> Are my corals now struggling for the light? <Quite possibly. The behavior is called panning. Some people mistake LPS inflating their tissue as growth when in fact they are merely blowing up to maximize surface area in an attempt to capture as much light as possible.> Maybe they are just surviving and not thriving? <Could be that too.> And why the change in color of my anemone? <All photosynthetic animals will undergo color changes in adapting to new or different lighting.> From yellow tips to green? <Could be increased production of zooxanthellae (the algae corals live with that produces part of their food). Zooxanthellae are brownish and maybe imparting that tint to the yellow to form green.> But I did notice its underside is white but I don't know if it came in as that or if it was dark colored. And my open brain becoming more green and orange. I am going to upgrade my lighting for sure. Maybe 2 40W blue, 1 40W Actinic, <The blue lamps and the actinic should be the same thing. There are some lamps that are sold as saltwater blue lamps that are not true actinics, though.> and 4 55W PC that you told me to add, maybe 6500K daylights. Which was 2 40W 6500K and 1 40W blue before. <Do be sure to make this change slowly. Read the article I sent the link for last time regarding lighting acclimation for tips.> Thank you very much and again "MABUHAY" (its means long live and success) to all of you. Ken <And to you too! -Steven Pro>

Lighting Hi Bob, <Steven Pro, part of the WWM crew, here this morning.> I am fairly new at the saltwater hobby and would like info regarding lighting. I have read some material concerning lighting options but am a bit confused. I have a 58 gallon, 3 foot long, not quite 2 feet in depth tank. At present, I have a standard 30 watt fluorescent bulb. I have no fish at present just invertebrates, however I would like to purchase 2 clownfish, possibly an anemone, and a flame angel. Can you recommend to me the type of lighting I should have? <You will need high intensity lighting for your anemone, depending slightly on species. Please go to www.WetWebMedia.com, go to the bottom of the page, and use our Google search feature looking for articles on anemones and lighting.> Thank you kindly for your help <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Reef Lighting Hi I have a 75g glass tank. 48" long 25" deep 18" wide. My lighting is only 3 40 watts fluorescent lamps which gives me a very low 1.6 watts/gallon, 2 6500K daylight and 1 Blue, <Very moderate lighting, inadequate for most photosynthetic animals to generate enough energy for long-term captive care. I am not even militantly against normal output fluorescents. I actually like them a lot. I use them on my 55 and have seen several 75's setup with them, but my 55 uses four 40 watt lamps and the 75's I have seen use six 40 watt lamps. The corals are also carefully selected as coming from low light areas, with low light requirements.> just the F40B type and planning to achieve at least a 5 watts/gallon. Right now I have a full blown reef setup. My corals are almost all LPS. I have 2 hammer, 1 frogspawn, 1 torch corals , 2 green elegance coral, 2 Goniopora , pink long tentacle plate, moon coral, lobed open brain, red and pink lobed open brain, green open brain, bubble coral and a green star polyps. My mushrooms colonies are blue spotted, green fuzzy, pink and green Ricordea and super red mushroom. And 2 blue clams, don?t know what kind. <You have some low light animals, except for the notable exceptions of the clams and long tentacle plate coral, but even none of the low light ones will survive for two years under your present lighting. And the Goniopora are just plain awful.> I have 7 fishes, 1 A. ocellaris, tomato clown, 2 clarkii clown, <All of these different clownfish is a bad idea. You can sometimes get away with it with a really large tank (over 125 gallons and 6' long) and by using all captive raised individuals, but it is still a recipe to problems.> Scopas tang, yellowtail damsel and domino damsel, <The domino is another lurking disaster waiting.> all are getting along well but a bit of aggression between A. ocellaris and Clarkii but not hurting each other, <Yet> just a showing their sides a clicking dance like thing. And a Heteractis Crispa anemone <Oh boy! This anemone has no chance under you current lighting. It will be dead in six months to a year.> and Coral banded and Cleaner shrimp. All of them are doing well for 4 months but the clams are only a month in the tank. <This is way too short of a period to determine if anything is doing well. You have made some poor choices and/or been advised badly. Give it a year and you will have a different picture of how well things are going.> I?m planning on adding new lights to my setup because I know that they are insufficient. Will a Compact fluorescent lamp be able to maintain the colors of the clams and SPS type corals since I?m planning to put some Acropora. <Your clams and most SPS will need to be placed in the top 6-12" of water and you will need to add an additional 4-55 watt PC's, IMO.> Or should I go for VHO? <VHO and PC and about the same intensity. If anything, I would say PC are slightly more powerful.> And also will it change the colors of my corals. <Yes, corals adapt to their lighting (to a point).> Right now my green open brain is greener with orange stripes than before, my 2 elegance corals which I bought bleached is now dark brown with green and the other is a beautiful golden brown with green stripes, my anemone is browner and its tips are greener in fact it is bright green, when I bought it had yellow tips. My other corals are now looking well and no signs of bleaching and tissue recession. But I don't know if the clams will maintain its colors but is under 5" of water (very close to the lights). I don't have any tests kits because except for Strontium and Iodine I don't dose anything. <You should have pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, calcium, and alkalinity test kits.> I change 10% of water every 5 days with Tropic Marin to replenish the lost trace elements and reduce nitrates. <Excellent schedule> I don?t have a sump, refugium, or calcium reactor but I do have a quarantine tank. <The sump is not a necessity, just a nice place to hide stuff. The calcium reactor and refugium are very useful tools, but you can do other things to make them unnecessary.> My reef tank is just a simple tank with lights over it. I do have lots of current inside with powerheads and a skimmer of course with my live rocks and sand bed being the primary filtration. <My only complaints are with you current lighting, coral selection, and lack of test kits/information on how you tank is doing.> The only hard thing to do is putting ice over the tank every 2 to 3 days to prevent the temperature to rise above 28 C. I maintain the temp at about 25-27 C. <The use of fans, fewer powerheads (but you need a sump, overflow, and external return pump instead of PH's), and properly vented canopies and stands are easier and more reliable than ice.> Also my coralline algae growth is slow, but I have lots of reddish or I think its maroon coralline algae and some purple ones. And some Diatoms which the Astrea snails keep under control. Can I use purified drinking water for mixing my sea salt? <I strongly urge all reef tank keepers to use purified water; reverse osmosis or deionization.> So which will it be the PC?s or VHO? <Additional PC's> And also do I have to acclimate them to the new lighting since I noticed that they have adapted to my current lighting? <Yes, please search www.WetWebMedia.com using the Google feature for a very good piece written by Anthony Calfo on coral acclimation to lighting.> I always visit your website because it has a lot of information about reef keeping. Great site. Thanks and "MABUHAY" (its means long live and success) <And you do the same. -Steven Pro>

Better than metal halide? Someone selling hydroponic lights claims they are better than Metal halide  <that is a dubious and inappropriate/inaccurate claim. Lights are "better" or "worse" simply based upon your invertebrates needs, not the salesman's needs <wink>. Case in point... if your tank is 24" or deeper, MH lamps may be necessary just to keep moderate light animals and more so for sps corals and clams. In this regard MH are "better" as they penetrate whatever deeper with better PAR. In terms of useful PAR per wattage of power consumption ("efficiency" or "bang for the buck") ... MH also performs much better than PC or VHO. However, if you have a shallow tank (under 18") and want to keep soft corals and mushrooms... MH will be harmful and PC would be very fine! It all depends on matching your selected inverts needs at depths to the abilities of the lamps to penetrate with useful light> and these are the specs he gave me: Kelvin rating of 6500 over 8,000 Lumens 500 watts of the Bluefish/White Full Spectrum Light draws 65 watts PC fluorescent bulb Would these lights work on a reef tank?  <they would work but will have a decidedly daylight/yellow hue. Most aquarists don't find this attractive at all... many pretty colors lost in warm daylight> I have a 135 gallon I am setting up and was considering 2 or 3 of these instead of MH.  I would like to keep SPS but  <for sps, these lights will only allow you to keep such corals and clams in the top 10-12 inches of water approximately... very limiting. MH are MUCH better for hardcore lighting needs> I'm concerned about the short and long term expense for MH lights  <MH are far more economical than any other popular light... I could give you more published data on this than you have time or interest to read <G>. The bulbs last longer, the light penetrates deeper, the lamps stay truer and all put out more useful PAR than any other lamps. 10K Ushio or Aqualine for color and growth> and a chiller.  <the chiller with a halide is an unfounded legend... the heat they put out is no worse than VHO fluorescents (both are VERY hot) and all are such a small contribution if designed properly. Poorly designed stands and canopies and pumps (submersible powerheads and sump pumps instead of a proper external sump and a manifold) contribute much more heat> If I keep mostly soft corals and fish, how many watts per gallon should I have or is there a better way to determine how much light I should have? Thank you for advice. Gerardo <no watts per gallon rule is effective my friend. The needs of the huge family of soft corals are so varied anyway... you really need to sit down and make a fairly specific list of the animals you will keep before addressing their needs. A mixed species garden tank is a nightmare in the long run... beyond that, decide on Zoantharians... sps... leathers... gorgonians...etc. Anthony>

Re: Better than metal halide? O.k., I will do a little reading and determine what kinds of corals I will keep. As far as factors other than lights contributing to heat you mentioned manifolds. Any advice on what to avoid when designing one? I actually in the middle of plumbing my tank and had to take a break from those fumes!! <please use the Google search feature on WWM my friends to peruse the archives... use words you are interested in of course like "manifolds". It has been covered many times here and abroad on the 'Net. My apologies for not explaining it over again but we just have such a useful tool in the WWM archives (a ~300 meg site!!!) and so little time as volunteers with the extraordinary volume of mail received daily. Best regards>

Lighting Hello, great informative site. I do have a question regarding lighting. I am new to the saltwater scene. I just purchased a light fixture that has 2 - 175w MH and 2-110w VHO lights. I have a 55 gallon tank standard in all ways, 84 pounds of Fiji live rock and 40 pounds of aragonite live sand in there still cycling. Questions is, is this to much light? <Depends on what you want to keep. All corals have different niches they inhabit and different lighting requirements.> It is an home for corals/inverts/fish to thrive? not just survive! If so what corals/inverts and fish would do best in a home like this? <Many SPS or clams would be happy under your lighting. Most LPS would be shocked by the intensity.> Any help would be great! Chris <I would strongly urge you to invest in a good book. Eric Bornemann's "Aquarium Corals" is an excellent first reference with a lot of care information and nice pictures for ID. -Steven Pro>

Lighting and coral selection for newbies  Hi All, Your web page is part of my daily routine now. Thanks a lot. <You are quite welcome. We are glad that it helps others.> Here is some background. I have a 20 gallon FOWLR. I have an Eclipse 2 hood on it, just this weekend one side of the lights broke. The socket part of it. So I am upgrading the lighting system a little earlier, to 2 36 watt PC's, 1 6700k and 1 blue. The question I have is this, I have been looking all over this and other websites about the light requirement for specific corals. The problem is that I can only find that x coral is a low, medium, or high light coral. I realize that the light getting to the coral is dependent on what type of light, water depth, particles in the water column, wattage, and so forth. I have been trying to find a general statement to determine what lighting I have low, medium, or high. Something like x watts in a y size tank is about z intensity. <It is hard to make such generalization with all the different lighting systems, manufacturers of lamps, depth of tanks, etc.> I think something like this would help us newbies in giving us a general idea of what coral we can or plan to keep. I hope this e-mail makes sense to you guys. It does in my head. <It does make sense, but cannot be done. I can evaluate on a case by case basis. Your lighting plan seems like medium to high because of the choice of lighting (PC), wattage, and small, shallow tank.> Thanks, Jon <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

25g Lighting   Bob, I've read through the articles on lighting on WWM but still am not clear on which way I want to go with lighting. I have a 25 gallon (20" deep) standard tank currently FOWLR. I may eventually add some corals, etc. My existing light strip only accommodates one 18" fluorescent bulb, pretty weak. I am adding more light but was hoping you could offer some advice. Should I go with a twin fluorescent strip light or opt for a 55 watt PC retrofit as offered by AH Supply? <Before I can possibly offer you an opinion on lighting, you must first determine what you want to keep. Corals are a large and incredibly diverse group of animals with various lighting requirements. Please try to pin down what particular species or even genus's interest you.> The 55 watt PC offers more light but the two fluorescents may provide greater flexibility in mixing light temps. Is this enough light for a future upgrade to corals, etc? Also what temp range would be best? <Same thing as applies to intensity applies to color temperature to a lesser extent; deep water vs. shallow water corals vs. somewhere in between.> Your help is greatly appreciated. Dan <When you have a better idea of what you want, we will be more than happy to help you. Just to reiterate, there is no one perfect/acceptable lighting for all corals. -Steven Pro>

Marine Lighting Hello Bob, <<Actually, you got JasonC today, greetings.>> We have recently set up a 54g reef tank and have some questions on how our lighting rates. <<OK.>> We had a 55W (10,000K) 24" compact from a different tank, have bought another 55W 24" SmartLite wht/blue 10,000K lamp. We also have 2 20W fluorescence, one white, the other blue. We were wondering if we should get another SmartLite, or are we alright as is? <<Well... this really all depends on what you want to keep, or rather what you already have. If you are content with the lower light corals, likely another couple of power-compact lamps will suffice. If your goal is SPS corals and Tridacnid clams, you'll need something more intense. Here is an article I think you will find useful: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm >> Thanks, David & Callie <<Cheers, J -- >>

Eclipse dilemma Dear Bob, I haven't asked a question for a while so I think I'm due. I have a 29 gallon long reef tank in my office. It is an Eclipse setup, a mistake I would not repeat. I am not in a position to buy a whole new set up and I really don't want to break down a two year old successful reef tank. My challenge is to improve the lighting. The Eclipse top does not lend itself to proper retro-fitting. <I know there are several people on the Forum that have made this retrofit. You should first inquire with them before you scrap the hood. The Forum is here http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/.> 1.) I am going to install a retro lighting kit...any suggestions. <A lot of people use www.AHSupply.com.> I would like two 55 watt power compacts. I don't want to fight the heat from VHO lighting. 2. Would you make a recommendation for a good hang on filter as the new lid will eliminate the Eclipse bio wheel and filter pad. <I would just use some powerheads.> P.S. Currently have tons of live rock, DSB with particle size you recommend....small weekly water changes. No current water quality issues because of water changes, low bio load, proper feeding. I just need better lighting. You all are the best...thanks in advance. William Snyder Stuart, FL <Good luck. -Steven Pro>

Lionfish growth, sudden-light reaction Hello, I was wondering how fast a Volitans Lionfish would grow?  <Under "good" circumstances, quite quickly... have seen let's say a two ounce one double its weight in several weeks...> Also do you know why my adult Naso and Sailfin tang flip out when the light is turned on? <Many fishes and non-fish animals really don't like to immediately go from dark to light or vice versa... it's a very good idea to have an "intermediary" light source near the tank (like a room light on a dimmer let's say) to more gradually have the day begin/end, then be too abrupt. Bob Fenner> Thank you!!!!

Re: Light questions/comments Robert Fenner wrote: snippage for brevity's sake > I recently swapped out my...better results with 10K being more like the light conditions found in a reef. > <Somewhat analogous from going from Grape Nuts to Count Chocula cereal... oh, and yes.> so should I be shopping around for a replacement 10K? <I would leave all as is for now... replacement when the old lamp is depreciated> > filter out UV from artificial light. > <This is beyond you! got me confused here, as in "to advanced for someone of my experience/knowledge level", "I'm figuring things out quickly" or "you need to see a psychologist..." <I may need one... It is an exclamation of surprise, enjoyment at your profound stmt.> > How to start here... nature. well aware that UV is dangerous, cause errors in cellular replication, including gametes (surprised that someone hasn't done a "rampaging" mutant movie based on ozone depletion, or at least one recently, the last one that I'm aware of was done in the 70's). <Yes to all... hence my penchant for paunchment... hee hee, no this is not Anthony> > <A principle advantage. There are others> > I've seen several... cause the corals to keep their colors and increase photosynthesis? just an idea. <A good one, and yes. Such stimulation has been shown to "work"... I hasten to add, in the grand scheme of enhanced skeletogenesis in Scleractinians, there are other factors of much greater import... e.g. steady alkaline > reserve, proportion of alkaline earth cation concentration... Bob Fenner, keeping up with the daily dose of the 2 part, and a little baking soda in the top off water (1/4 teaspoon/gallon), I've tested the PH at different times, stays around a nice 8.3-8.4 the growth is good, I was looking at the aesthetics of the animals from a humanocentric perspective. <Seems reasonable... you are a hominid, no PF?> as an fyi, I've also seen a number of tanks where the MH bulbs where not shielded for UV, but these are tanks larger than mine (significantly larger, 120g - 300g) systems. coloration and growth seem to be good <Yes... generally not much reason for concern... more so for the humans if they're hoods don't shield them from much/prolonged exposure... Maybe we should change your name to S PF 15 (Heee!)> > who will stop bugging you as soon as Barb is off WWM> well, we all know how Barb is... ;) <Fabulous!> > PF thanks again for your time and effort, hope all is well with you and yours <It is my friend. Life to you. Bob>

Re: Light questions/comment Robert Fenner wrote: > <I may need one... It is an exclamation of surprise, enjoyment at your profound stmt.> *big grin* re UV: what really got me to thinking was looking at Cquariums "order now or never" section. I followed the link to their info on their lighting, what popped into my head was "that fluorescence has to be coming from somewhere, I suspect UV", by gum, I was right). I'd like to replicate their results in my tank, but since I want to keep my kidneys instead of selling them off for aquarium stuff, I figured there had to be an easier/better/ and cheaper way. getting a water proof socket isn't too difficult, and the bulbs for the CF black lights run from $13 - $18. <<Worth experimenting>> > <Seems reasonable... you are a hominid, no PF?> according to my Physical Anthro prof, h. neanderthalus with some Cro-mangon thrown in for varieties sake. ;) <<Have thought that some folks brow crests seemed a bit too beamy to be H.s.s.>> > as an fyi, I've also seen a number of tanks where the MH bulbs where not shielded for UV, but these are tanks larger than mine (significantly larger, 120g - 300g) systems. coloration and growth seem to be good< <Yes... generally not much reason for concern... more so for the humans if they're hoods don't shield them from much/prolonged exposure... Maybe we should change your name to S PF 15 (Heee!)> *groan*. > > who will stop bugging you as soon as Barb is off WWM> well, we all know how Barb is... ;) <Fabulous!> indeed! <Bob F>

Re: Light questions/comment As Anthony is a major proponent of natural lighting, I thought he might find this interesting: http://www.solatube.com.au/ On a happy note, we're going to be checking out a house with a solarium on the southern facing... I already have tacit approval to turn it into a tank room. : ) <Thank you and congratulations, Mike! Anthony>

Lighting Question I recently swapped out my 10K 175w bulb over my 30g tank for the 6500k that came with it, and the leather corals I had in their went nuts. rampant polyp extension and I've seen a lot of growth over the last few weeks. So, I'm curious as I had been lead to believe that you'd get better results with 10K being more like the light conditions found in a reef. <Somewhat analogous from going from Grape Nuts to Count Chocula cereal... oh, and yes.> on a whole 'nother topic... one of the things I've observed about lighting is that there's a fair amount of effort to filter out UV from artificial light. <This is beyond you! How to start here... life filters out these wavelengths... plays "a/the dangerous game" of utilization and screening to prevent genetic and developmental changes... that by and large are not advantageous... and so manufacturers of lumination have done about the same> at the same time, corals assume their colors to protect themselves from said UV that occurs in nature. <A principle advantage. There are others> I've seen several LFS's that had black light fluorescent bulbs in stock, but I didn't have a chance to talk to them about it. I was wondering, would a small UV light (I've seen 13w CF socket bulbs for sale on the internet) running for a short duration (say, the equivalent of "reef noon" over the tank, i.e. the midpoint of the light cycle) for 2 hours (for example, on my tank, the VHO actinics come on at 10am, off at 10pm, MH on at 1pm, off at 9pm, put black light on from say 4:30 - 6:00pm) cause the corals to keep their colors and increase photosynthesis? just an idea. PF <A good one, and yes. Such stimulation has been shown to "work"... I hasten to add, in the grand scheme of enhanced skeletogenesis in Scleractinians, there are other factors of much greater import... e.g. steady alkaline reserve, proportion of alkaline earth cation concentration... Bob Fenner, who will stop bugging you as soon as Barb is off WWM> [Cute, Bob! and "Hi, Pinky!" Barb--] btw, you'da been proud of me. at The Reef Tank/Pacific Northwest Marine Aquarium Society yours truly kicked butt at Reef Jeopardy, in no small part to all the reading I've done of your respective works (BoCPV1 and CMA), and all I've read on the board. If I could'a just remembered to always answer in the form of a question...

Red night viewing lights Hello: <cheers!> I have been reading a lot from your site daily, and love all the available information and resources. I am putting together a 180 gallon reef tank. I would like to have two (? Enough) 4 foot red fluorescent lights for night viewing. My difficulty is trying to find them for sale on the internet. <actually...red plastic sleeves for these bulbs are made for this purpose. Else you could just use incandescent red party bulbs> Would you have any recommendations for where I may purchase these, or viable alternatives? I wasn't really excited about using just incandescent red bulbs due to the potential exposure to moisture, and difficulty getting enough across the tank for viewing. Thanks for the feedback. Dr. Mac <agreed, my friend... I cannot remember the name of the sleeve mfg I saw last but I understand they are common. Some photo hobby shops perhaps have insight on such plastics for fluorescents (dark room lighting). Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Lighting Hello guys, love your site. I need some serious help. I previously had my tank set up with just fish and about 15 lbs live rock. Everything went great and I had no problems. I eventually had to give up the fish as I was moving around a lot. A few months ago my wife found the tank and wanted me to set it up, so I have a 30 gallon rectangular shaped tank, dimensions 30" long x 12" wide x 18" high. It has a 30" light hood which holds a 50/50 full spectrum lamp. I use an undergravel filtration system with a self rotating power head good for tanks up to 30 gallons. I also have a Regent power filter which hangs on the back. Its says it is good for 20-40 gallons tanks and uses disposable activated carbon filled cartridges. I set the tank up in April with 30 lbs of live rock and 20 lbs of live sand with 10 lbs crushed coral. Towards the end of may my wife came home with a bubble anemone with a tomato clown. <And the new lighting system to maintain it?> We feed them pieces of frozen shrimp by hand a couple of times a week. <Good> I told my wife that I don't know a lot about reef type setups, but the local fish store is filled with kids who keep telling her its okay to do this it okay to do that. <Never trust anyone selling you something. That goes for fish, cars, refrigerators, etc.> A couple of days ago she came home with a few small hard corals and three or four mushrooms. I tested the water and my KH is 8.8, Alk is 3.1, calcium is about 425. My iodine seems to be around 0, even though I add it 6drops per day. <Iodine test kits are not too good/accurate.> From reading the few books I have on marine fish I figured that I don't have enough light. <You figured right.> What do I need to keep these creatures alive <Immaculate water quality and significantly more light. Either two PC 96 watt lamps or four NO 30 watt lamps.> and do I need a protein skimmer? <Yes, goes to the immaculate water quality point.> I know its a lot of info, but I want to make this work before my wife brings something else home and I was hoping your response would set her straight about what she can and cannot have in this tank. <If it has been sometime (over a month or two) since the addition of the anemone, it is probably going to die no matter what you do now. It has more than likely lost its symbiotic algae/zooxanthellae and is living off of its fat reserves, but all the while slowing starving to death. When you increase the lighting, you are going to shock it something terrible. That, in and of itself, could kill the animal. The same can be said of the corals and to a lesser extent the mushrooms. Please educate yourself, from noncommercial sources, prior to purchasing anymore animals.> Thank you for your time. Kerry Jones <Good luck to you and your animals. -Steven Pro>

Moonlight and Blenny Feeding While I was waiting for your response, I discovered a product by aqua medic called the aquamoonlight. Is this a $75 version of a low wattage red incandescent bulb? <I have never seen the product.> Also, how many total red bulbs at what wattage would provide good night viewing in a 150 gallon? <Three 15 watt units should be ok. It will not be bright, but you do not want that.> Last, I just added a 5" long Blenny to my reef (I say reef, but it's not quite there yet...150 gallons, 150 lbs of liverock, no corals yet) and I can't get him to eat. It's been about 4 days and he seems healthy, but does not take part in the feeding frenzy. Food even lands on his head and he shakes it off. Normally I feed mysis shrimp, and the occasional prime reef. I added Formula II in case he was a veg, but to no avail. Is he secretly feeding at night? <And all day, too.> Thanks. -Pat <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Reef Lighting Bob and Crew, <Anthony here> Your web site has been extremely helpful in my endeavors. I am presently converting a 180 fish only system that I purchased used. I have upgrade the filtration to support the necessary flow rates for a reef system but I am struggling with the lighting.  <and easy quandary> I would like to be able to grow SPS, Soft corals, and clams.  <SPS and clams require the highest light of all reef animals as a rule... the soft corals vary...running the gamut from very low to very high. All will depend on species> Can MH bulbs be placed under and canopy that is only 6 inches from the top of the tank? Or our PC my only option?  <if the tank is glass and we are talking 150 or 175 watt MH, then 6 inches and no closer is OK. If acrylic tank or higher MH watts... no go. PCs are fine quality lights but only for shallow to medium depth tanks. not all sps and clams will thrive without higher intensity bulbs. All depends here on placement of the tank. My specific recommendation if the tank is glass is to have 3 175-watt 10K Aqualine MH lamps. You need no fluorescents or other bulbs... they will last for perhaps as much as 3 years before needing to change bulbs, corals will look and grow well.> I am purchasing a chiller regardless of which lighting system I go with. <if necessary... but not because of the MH lights.> Thanks, Mark <best regards, Anthony>

Night lights? Hello all, Just a quick question, does there exist a product/bulb that would simulate night so the nocturnes can be viewed but not disturbed? If so, what is the recommended product and where can I get it? <The simplest thing to use is a low wattage red incandescent bulb.> Thanks, Pat <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Lighting & filtration upgrades Big fish, big tank... and dying Bats Thank you Anthony! Your thoughts made me reconsider stocking levels and I will definitely limit the # of fish to four max, maybe three depending on the adult size of the particular species.  <excellent my friend> Could you please expound on why I should keep bio-balls after adding more live rock to a FOWLR with predators? <sure... the sheer volume of particulate waste may overwhelm live rock better suited to handling dissolved organics. For most tanks, live rock is more than enough. But with your fish larger than small dogs dropping turds as big... perhaps live rock cannot handle it. As such, good water flow, mechanical prefilters and bio-balls may be necessary at the expense of nitrates. The only option is to have a daily service mechanical prefilter and dual skimmers with live rock only> Is it because of extra oxygen needed or because even a large amount of live rock may not handle the nitrogen process?  <the latter> I've noticed that your opinion seems to differ from your colleagues.  <often happens but not sure it is so in this case. If we are talking about puffers, triggers groupers, and lion-like fishes and the load they create as adults.> Obviously you all run very successful tanks, so there must be merit to both sides of this question.  <agreed> I'm learning so much from you guys. P.S. Don't sweat being a short Italian. You and Steven Pro should move here to Providence --- plenty of girls named Gina who, rumor has it, are all hot for doctors, lawyers and coral farmers. <Wahoo! I'm loading up my black window tinted Lincoln as we speak!> Thanks again, Steve (whose nights in the Gina dating pool have him suffering from a slight eye twitch and treasuring a good calzone as the better Italian experience). <heehee... and I have just finished a delightful plate of pasta with garlic, garnished by green olives stuffed with garlic... and tempered by a good helping of garlic bread. Suffice it to say, bats are dropping from the sky as I walk by... and no cute Italian girls have approached me yet tonight. I don't think anyone can even get through my garlic force field without a gas mask. Kindly, Anthony> Lighting & filtration upgrades Any reply guys? Let me know if this is too lengthy and I will cut it back. > Thank you. Best regards. <<My apologies, we've had massive problems with Hotmail lately and it's delayed some of our responses.>> > Hello! Which Indoor Jacques Cousteau do I have the pleasure of writing to today? > <the short one of Mediterranean extraction... oh, wait... Mr. Pro is also vertically challenged and of Italian heritage as well. Hmmm... Anthony Calfo in your service> > Please let me fire off a bunch of (intelligent, I hope) questions and provide me with some of your usual great feedback. I am upgrading my FO 180 gallon to a FOWLR. I am on the way to having five big eaters long-term (some combo of moray/grouper/trigger/puffer - I have 3 of the 5 now). > <which is probably one too many already for the 180 gallon. Do consider that 5 fish with adult sizes of 12-24" or more is inappropriate for this tank... > [you asked for it :)]> > I have a corner overflow feeding an AMiracle 300 wet-dry with a Red Sea Berlin Classic skimmer. > <Ugghh.... three strikes> > On a separate line is a Renaissance canister with floss and activated carbon. I have worked hard to get my nitrates down to 20, but my phosphates > are still 4. > <holy cow!> > I have approx 75-100 lbs "dead" rock (coppered in a previous tank) with a 1" live sand substrate. > <don't be shy to siphon a little of that sand out... especially if it allows > detritus to linger/accumulate> > I am definitely buying approx. 100lbs of live rock to supplement what I > have. > <excellent!> > I am pondering a second skimmer, either a Turboflotor, Euro-Reef or Aqua-C. > <all fine... with the latter two being easier to operate IMO> > I could also squeeze in a 22"Lx22"Wx 12"H refugium/ 2nd sump within my stand. > <DSB for some nitrate control> > I made a test run on how proficient the current rocks/ sand are as a biological filter by removing 1/3 of my bioballs --perfect, no ammonia or nitrite all week! My lighting consists of 2x30 watt Coralife 6500k and 2x30 > watt Coralife 20,000k tubes. So does the following order of improvement make sense to you? > 1.. Double my wattage and make it 6x30 10,000k and 2x30 actinic to give my live rock enough light to support coralline and other positive growth. > <stop there, my friend... until those phosphates and nitrates come down... this is a recipe for a serious algae problem. High nutrients and high light are algae fodder> > I definitely am keeping triggers/puffers long-term so I will not need super-wattage for corals, plus morays and groupers aren't fond of bright lights. I think this makes a good compromise. I don't like the yellow tinge the 6500k lights give my tank either. My proposed combo would give a more white/blue look, right? > <agreed> > 2.. Add the cured live rock. I need big pieces that morays can't move easily. What type (Fiji, Tonga, etc)/ company do you suggest for size and life? > <agreed... and shape is personal preference for the rockscape scene you would like to simulate. Do get some large shelf rock in part at least, to make cool caves> > 3.. Remove the bio-balls completely. > <not in this case... if your are truly dead set on 5 big fish... you will need rock and bio-balls. No ammonia/nitrates now... but what happens when the monsters grow... the bio-load grows!> > 4.. Is my sand bed too much/little? > <too much for high nutrient sloppy feeders> > Remember, I have an eel that pushes it all over the place. Also, side note, should I vacuum this during water changes or leave it be? > <the less the better here> > 5.. Can I remove the canister? It works well and is quiet, but they are > a pain to clean weekly. Is my pre-filter pad in the sump enough if I clean it daily, or do I still need the canister as a mechanical to keep the water clear? > <I'd keep it... convenient mechanical and carbon filtration> > 6.. Should I even have a pre-filter pad before the skimmer? > <never!!! always want raw water into skimmer... and skimmer before the W/D too> > Instead let the overflow feed right to the skimmer in the sump? > <raw water is best, yes> > 7.. Add Polyfilter to reduce phosphate. > <helpful... but you need to control nutrients (feeding) and increase water changes> > 8.. I may stop here for now, but if I continue, should I first build a  refugium or get a top-grade 2nd skimmer as described? > <top shelf skimmer is critical here> > 9.. If I go with a refugium, I'm thinking of a separate line apart from > sump & skimmer #1. With live rock plus Caulerpa in it do I need a sand bed also and how deep? Lit in reverse hours from the main tank? > <cool... but little impact on this high bio-load> > One last question. I am trying to locate a Hawaiian Dragon moray. I see quotes from online shops but it is tough to get an e-mail response, let alone find this moray in stock at a price that I won't have to mortgage my house for. Any suggestions on who to contact? > <The Marine Center... they quarantine and are very professional> > Thank you for responding to this loooooong note and helping me make my tank > better. You guys are the best! Have a super weekend. Steve > <best regards, Anthony>

Re: lighting & filtration upgrades Thank you Jason! <<You are quite welcome.>> Your knowledge and feedback is much appreciated.<<Cheers and good day to you. J -- >>

Underwater Lighting Hi Bob/Anthony/Steve, <And now Jason, too.> I am a regular reader of your excellent site and it has been invaluable to me during the set up of my first marine aquarium. I have read many of the FAQ's but have a question the I have never seen mentioned. I have an underwater lighting system from an old FW tank that I am thinking of adding to my 30 gallon saltwater FOWLR tank. <My first concern is that this product may not be safe in saltwater. Saltwater is much more corrosive than freshwater. I would hate to see you shock your tank. I would try to track down the company that manufactured this product first.> The lighting consists of two blue and one green LED. They aren't very bright but are enough to dimly light the tank at night when all of the other lights are turned off. Do you think that leaving these lights on at night would be a bad idea and disrupt the usual light/dark cycle or would it actually benefit the fish due to the fact that it never goes completely dark in there natural habitat? <I would not use them every night, just occasionally for some nighttime viewing.> I would like to use the lights if possible because they allow me to enjoy the tank even when the main lights are off. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. <First, find out if they are safe in saltwater.> Thanks, Matt, England <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Lighting Combination Dear Bob, If you had a well established 29 gallon reef tank and were keeping simple soft corals, leathers and a frogspawn and you currently had a 55 watt PC with a 10,000K white bulb and a 32 watt PC currently with a smart bulb would you: a...change the 32 watt pc to a 55 watt pc which could be done easily? b...leave the 32 watt but change smart bulb to an actinic? c...leave the 32 watt and change to white only? d...leave it like it is? <Mmm, depends on the looks you/I like and what you're/I'm trying to keep and what you/I want the light to do metabolically to/for the not-mentioned livestock. Need some more input... like, what are you keeping/want to keep, what do you want "it" to do? (just live, grow, propagate it?) and what sorts of "looks" are you trying to achieve? As an example, if my centerpiece here were a large soft coral, I might switch the 32 watt to an actinic (b), but if that star specimen is/were a high-mounted Tridacnid clam I'd go with choice "a"... Bob Fenner> Last note....if you recommend changing to the 55 watt please recommend bulb. A million thanks William Snyder Stuart, FL

Lighting for Fishes 1. Is it ok if I dechlorinated my salt water after I added premixed salt? I just started tank yesterday, no fish 46 gal bow front. <not a big deal... but not a good habit either> 2. Also what kind of lighting do I need if I just want to put fish? <most aquarists favor a warm colored light for viewing or photographing fishes. A Chroma 50 or Chroma 75 is nice. Really, and warm (red/pink) colored daylight will be fine. Perfectolux, Gro-Lux, etc are some popular choices. They make fish look great but don't impede algae growth unfortunately> Thanks, Nattalie <best regards, Anthony>

Lighting  Hi Bob, I just had a question on lighting my 125. I currently have 2 CSL 96 watt 50/50 SmartLamps and 2 CSL 96 watt 10,000k over my tank and was wondering if this would be sufficient enough lighting to keep anemones, <No> easy corals and mushrooms <Yes, depending on your definition of easy.> and maybe a clam, <No> for a mixed invert tank. I've already invested in a chiller due to the temperature fluctuating and currently use a wet dry system <As you progress to a reef, you want to convert the W/D to a refugium/sump.> with a Berlin protein skimmer, powered by a mag 12, and a little giant 3 mdcqx pump for the main system, with a Aquanetics 30 watt sterilizer, and a Fluval 404 for chemical filtration, and I keep the water in motion with 4 maxi-jet 1200 powerheads and a red sea wave maker. Does this sound like a suitable system? <Some notes above, but your first addition/purchase should be a good book on corals and their care. -Steven Pro>

Reef Lighting I currently have a 60" tank that has two MH 175's. It was pretty much only a fish only tank, but I'm thinking of putting a few SPS corals in there. The tank is 40" deep though more than likely I'll put the few SPS a bit higher.  <under 175's they would need to be kept within the top 18" most likely> Anyhow, was considering moving to MH 250's (has dual 32W Actinic as well).  <probably the best overall wattage for this tank unless you go hardcore sps. The actinics are unnecessary BTW... modern MH lamps have more than enough blue in them for coral> Not going to overload the corals, but do you think I need to go to 400's, or should 250's be ok ? Thanks Jim <no 400's unless going hardcore sps and clams with many near the bottom. Save electricity... go 250 watts for this deep tank. Anthony>

Reef lights I'm setting up a 90 gallon reef tank, and I'm having a hard time finding out what lights I should use... Seems like there are so many choices.  <you need to make a list of you invertebrates before making a lighting choice, my friend (buy for their needs). So much has been written on this topic in the Wet Web Media archives if you care to go check it out> I have a hood for it, and the lights would be 8" off the surface.  <8" is way too high for fluorescents and almost too close for halides> I want to get some good lights, but I don't want to spend a fortune. Can you give me some suggestions? Thanks Jason Hadley <2 175-watt Ushio or Aqualine 10K halides are good all around bulbs. Best regards, Anthony>

Black Lights, UV Lights, and Grooving to Phish Well.. Bob ... I know you are not awake right now... but I want to know... if I am using a "black light" as my source of light.. will it affect a SW tank in anyway... <Yes, in someway. What way, I have no idea. It may contribute to algae problems, but frankly I have never heard of people using this, cannot predict what may happen, and would not recommend it.> Is it necessary to purchase a UV Sterilizer... <No, not necessary. Some people find them to be helpful, but I prefer to focus on good husbandry to avoid problems; quarantine, good water quality, varied diet, etc.> BTW: you have been great help to me so far... thank you. <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Lights again! Hi again Anthony As I would like a couple of clams and some sps eventually I have been reading the articles on the WWM site about lighting and found two that raised my fears/doubts about having Metal Halide lighting. <most concerns are mitigated or created by people that promote the sale of fluorescents <G>. Marketing in America...heehee> That is why I have been trying to find an alternative type of lighting. I thought as Bob Fenner's name was at the top of both pages that he was the author of them. This is why I took notice of them. Sorry If this is not the case. They came under 'marine/setup/lighting/' and are called fixtures.html and index.html. If you think clams etc would not survive without MH then I will indeed re-think on them. (nervously!) <MH are not necessary at all, and many clams and sps can survive under fluorescents. You simply have more freedom and likely better growth with demanding species under metal halide. Without it you may have to keep all such animals within the top 12" of water surface, keep hardier (but sometimes less attractive) clams like Hippopus or derasa (not so much blue maxima or crocea) and spend more money on bulbs for having to change fluorescents every 6-10 months instead of 2-4 years with halides> Also I can't find much about the care of clams or where they should be sited  <depends on the species of clam... they run the gamut. Blue crocea and maxima on rock up high, derasa and gigas often on the sand (with a rock buried under them)> i.e. on the rocks or on the substrate at the bottom of the tank . Any info gratefully received. I want to give them the best chance when I get them. Also are my sally lightfoot crabs a threat to my plans. I was assured by the FS that they came from that they were 100% 'Reef friendly' ,the red legs also! <no such thing with reef animals that come from a reef... they must eat something else on a reef <VBG>. Sallies are fairly safe but have been known to occasionally pick at some corals and even decimate polyps. Only a slight risk. Rather like dwarf angels and tangs in reefs (that also occasionally nibble)> but am wondering now after reading a few cases of crabs eating other tank residents. What do you think? <I rarely recommend ANY crabs for reefs... they are opportunistic and ultimately nibble something> Thanks again for your help - Jenny <I didn't get your questions about the halides, Jenny? Have I answered them or was there something more specific. Else, MH are categorically a very good and comprehensive light, produce no more heat than VHO fluorescents, last longer, burn truer in color and give you more bang for you buck (less expensive to run as the light produced per watt is more intense than fluorescents). Overall a great light for light-demanding reef animals. Best regards, Anthony>

Lights again! Hi Anthony Hope you are well,  <very well, my friend... thank you with hopes that you are in like spirits> I read the comments made by that chap Mike and thought he doesn't deserve your help! <you are a sweetie> I do though!! <and entrepreneurial too I see...heehee> I have another question that is related to the last one (2-Jul-02). If you would like to copy the html address below you can see the page I have been looking at regarding these lights . It isn't easy to read because the translation isn't perfect but you can get the 'gist' of the tests being conducted. By the way , I forgot to say they are called Starcoat T5 . My question is this: They seem to be saying that this is a new technology, does this mean that the 'wattage' is not so important now?  <wattage was never that important. 100 watts of standard fluorescent light is pathetic compared to 100 watts of metal halide light (much better penetration into water among other things> I ask because the largest size offered by my LFS is length 57inches(1449mm) and this is only 80w, the next one down is only 55w and yet they say these lights are far superior to other Fluorescent Tubes. This means that 4 tubes would only give 320w is this enough for sps etc ? <indeed... the choice of lighting is dependant on the animals kept. Too many people buy the lights before the animals. For SPS and Clams... there have been no affordable fluorescent lamps that can compare in intensity to metal halides. None have the same longevity either. Make your life easy my friend and simply buy an Iwasaki 250 watt 6500 k lamp(s) or Aqualine or Ushio 10K lamp(s). Tried, tested and true without a lot of marketing crap> Thanks again for all the help you give us - Jenny <with kind regards, Anthony>

Led light bulbs Anthony I am going to try a red Led light in my 180 gal reef tank when the main lights go off at night, it will be larger than the blue LEDs that I used now as they are 9 watts each the red led will be 15 watts and is water proof ,I am not sure if it should be on all night.  <although I expect that little or no harm would come of running red all night, I'd be more inclined to use it just for viewing> A white 15 watt Led will be made soon cost 60.00$.  <now that is good/interesting news!> Thank you for the red light at night idea. The good thing about LEDs no heat no electronic ballast. and will last five years. Have a good day. RGibson <thank you my friend. I'll look forward to hearing about your experiences with LED lights after a thorough examination! I know that if anybody.... you can put it to the test! Be chatting soon I hope. Kindly, Anthony>

Lighting (mainly)! Hello Again! (I got Anthony last time) <Cheers, love to the little bird in the UK <smile>. Hmmm...? How did I do with the colloquial address?<G> Anthony, again.> Firstly, thanks so much for your previous help, my tank has now settled down nicely after my scare with the Goniopora infection and I managed to save the leather coral by scratching the infection off with my nail. <good to hear! Fair enough> I couldn't bring myself to cut bits out with a razor blade as suggested but thought that if it could survive cutting then surely it could survive me scraping it with my nail and sure enough it did and is now back to it's former glory.  <kudos to you... very intuitive> I wouldn't have dared try this if you hadn't told me the infection must be removed , so the coral say's thanks a million too! <please do me a favor and shake every one of its little polyp "hands" in return for me...heehee> Now to my lighting question! The "new thing" over here seems to be T5 fluorescent lamps The sales blurb: " These VHO Fluorescent Tubes operate at 6,500kelvin or in the case of the "Actinics" approx 20000kelvin the beauty of these tubes is their size(16mm) lumen efficiency as well as long life (20,000 hours)". They also say that these lamps are sufficiently good for all animals, do you know if this is true? <all relative. They are aesthetically attractive colors and good for low to medium light animals in my opinion, in general. Also better for more shallow displays. It would be unfair to compare them to metal halide lamps though (MH is more intense by far). So... it is not a matter of good versus bad... just a matter of what your animals need. These lights sound fine if you favor keeping mostly soft corals and Zoantharians. If you prefer sps and clams instead, perhaps consider MH supplementation as well> Also is it true that you can double the output from a fluorescent by fixing metal reflectors on them?  <depends on specific bulbs and specific reflectors. But to some extent, reflectors can dramatically improve the amount of useable light reaching the surface of the water> Would this make a 36w HO like a 72w HO OR a 36w HO like a 36w VHO? <very unlikely if possible at all to this extent> Would you mind very much if I sneak in one more question? (I hope not!) <I'm at your mercy :p> I want to start dosing my tank with Kalkwasser because my LFS says this will get rid of my excessive growth of hair algae that has taken over my tank and also everything will flourish better if I do!  <some/much truth to this> However, I am a bit worried because my PH is always around 8.5 and never seems to drop (during the day, I don't get up in the night to check it!). <Kalkwasser is only to be dosed at night. It can be helpful or harmful depending on how casual you use it. You really do need to test your pH at night. Kalk can precipitate phosphates at 8.6, it improves protein skimmer performance, indirectly supports ALK, provides free calcium and maintains high pH... all of which can also serve to control nuisance algae, yes. I highly recommend Kalkwasser> The parameters I now check are Ammonia 0,Nitrite 0,Nitrate 5-10,alkalinity 375 mEq/l, PH 8.5 and phosphate (I am afraid I can't remember, but it was the second from highest colour on the chart and only very slightly lower when taken from the kitchen tap! <yikes> Should I go ahead or will I send my PH through the roof? <do test your nighttime drop my friend and see what small amounts of Kalk at night do to the pH> Many thanks in anticipation of your valued opinion and as you Americans would say Have a good day!! Jenny <thank you dear, with kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

Lighting for 40 breeder FOWLR Hello, I found your site about a week ago, and now I am addicted....is there a help-line? <Just the email, which you found already, and our online message board, http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/> But seriously, I need your advice. I searched the past week and could not find any posting that "matched" my needs. If I missed it, I am sorry for the redundancy of the question. Here goes: I am setting up a 40 gallon breeder. I only plan to keep one dog face or porcupine puffer, live rock, and possibly one medium-sized compatible fish. What will I NEED for lighting? <Rather minimal for fish-only setup. Whatever makes it bright enough to view the fish. I would use a couple of normal output fluorescent lamps. Two 30 watt lamps, one daylight, one actinic, would be my preference.> I don't truly understand the difference between the different fluorescents out there. I have three 18" fixtures that came along with the All-glass hoods when I used to keep freshwater setups long ago. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance, Eric B <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Re: Lighting Questions Hello, I understand my lighting is lacking for my 10 gallon tank, so I searched the internet. I found a retro kit for 2 36w power compacts. Would that be a lot better. <It would certainly be a lot brighter. The problem will be in shocking your corals, which have been struggling to adapt to the low light levels. They will now get burned by the abrupt change. Do look through our archive of a piece Anthony wrote about slowly acclimating your corals to increased light levels.> That would be 72w of light. It has a MIRO 4 reflector. From the site it talked about the reflector increasing the amount of light going into the tank. Since it only has two bulbs, what two should I use? 2 50/50 bulbs, 1 50/50 and 1 true daylight, or 1 50/50 and 1 actinic? <IMO, 1 daylight and one true actinic.> I want to have the proper light for my Anemone and other tank dwellers. I am also researching mandarin and sun coral. I am going to get some amphipods for my 55 gallon tank from Indo Pacific Sea Farms. Thanks, Daniel <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Lighting Questions III Hello, I forgot something. On my 10 gallon I am going to build a canopy to house the lighting and have a space of 4-7 inches between the top of the water and the lights to try to minimize condensation or splash. At least that is my intent, because with the research I have been doing it was recommended that a glass top lid not be put on the tank because it will reduce the effectiveness of the light. Is that true? <Yes, will cut down on some light.> However, I also heard that not having a cover of some sort can cause problems with the lighting; water build up and possible electrical short. <Also, true.> What do you recommend? <In your case, use the glass cover. You have more than enough lighting with the planned upgrade and cut back on some with the glass is ok.> Should I use glass anyway or use Plexiglas, etc.? Thanks, Daniel <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Chiller, lighting, and sea urchin question! <<Greetings, Kevin, JasonC here... >> My tank is about 80-82 degrees and I was thinking I need to get a chiller or maybe some cooler lights cooler lighting unit). <<80-82 isn't really out of hand compared to conditions in the wild.>> I have a 150g tank with 2 fluorescent hoods and they don't have any ventilation. Can I get a good light that has ventilation? <<Why not do a retro-fit and add some ventilation, fans, etc?>> I was looking at the power compact lights, any ideas on those kind or any other kinds of lights, I need something soon! <<All lamps produce heat, it cannot be avoided.>> Is a chiller necessary to reduce my tank temperature just a couple degrees, they're very expensive, but in case I do get one, do you recommend one? <<I don't generally recommend chillers unless you live in a desert or are attempting to do a low-temp system; something less than 75F. Usually a one or two degree pull-down can be easily accomplished with one or more fans blowing over the surface of the tank to produce evaporative cooling, or placed in the light hood to evacuate the warm air.>> I liked the idea of the coil that sat in the sump! <<Honestly, those are a very poor design and not worth the money.>> And lastly, I have a sea urchin that I've had for a couple years and he's losing his spines. I've heard that when this happens it means they are going to die and they should be removed from the tank. <<certainly a sign of declining health.>> He only has the bottom half of him that have the spines! What should I do? <<Perhaps crush it and feed it to the fish if you have triggers or wrasses, or just toss it out.>> Thanks for all your helpful advice you always give me, you're the best! -Kevin <<Cheers, J -- >>

Mandarins, Lighting, and Figuring Volume Hello there, I really enjoy your site...very informative. I've told the only other friend that I have that's into fish about you guys (and gals?). Hopefully he'll find it as rewarding as I have so far. You've answered questions regarding my 55 gallon tank, thank you. I have a ten gallon tank with about 7 lbs of live rock, 4 flower anemones, 3 purple mushrooms, 1 white mushroom, a peppermint shrimp, and some snails and blue legged hermits. I have a mandarin (I know the tank is too small, not enough rock) that's been eating live brine for a few months and I will move him to the 55g when I have enough rock in there...hopefully 50-70lbs. Is that enough rock? <Please search WWM regarding brine shrimp and Mandarins to find the answers to your questions. I will give you a hint, you won't like the answers.> My main question is in regards to the lighting of the 10g. I've read that 3-5 watts per gallon is advisable. <All depends on what you are lighting. If I wished to keep red mushrooms in a ten gallon tank versus yellow Porites.> But one of the staff recently suggested about 60 watts for someone with a 10g tank. I've got 41 watts...2- 13watt 50/50 PCs and a 15 watt Coralife 50/50. Is this enough for photosynthesis in the anemones? <Seems ok, but you would know better than I. Are they growing? Do they appear healthy? You will be the best judge.> Also, does the wattage in a PC bulb equal the wattage and intensity of a NO florescent bulb or an incandescent bulb? (e.g., 55wPC=55wNO) <No not really. PC lamps are more efficient than NO and produce more lumens per wattage.> I know that it's in your archive somewhere, but this just popped into my head...so here's the other half of the "plus two" question: If I decide to build my own tank, how do I figure out the number of gallons the tank will hold? I know that length x width x height = volume, right? But the volume would be in square inches, or something like that. I have a Master's degree, but it's been years since I've used that stuff. <L x W x H (all in inches) = V (in cubic inches) V in cubic inches / 231 = V in gallons> Thanks, Randy M. Yniguez, MA <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Lighting Questions Hello, I have been reading to understand lighting for my two aquariums. <Good for you.> The LFS is not very helpful. All they want to do is sell me expensive lighting. <Lighting is expensive, usually.> I have a 55 gallon and a 10 gallon. In the 10 gallon I have a false percula, 7 lbs live rock, 12 lbs live sand, penguin bio wheel filter, heater, 10 Nassarius snail, 2 turbo snails, 1 coral banded shrimp, a peppermint shrimp, and a Sebae Anemone. <Everything was fine until you listed the Sebae. Not a good choice for such a small tank.> The lighting originally was a 15w 50/50 fluorescent. <Not enough for anything photosynthetic.> That is all the LFS said that I needed. <Get a new LFS.> But from reading about Anemone, it seems like they like a lot of light. So I bought a 10,000k. Is that too much? <If it is the same wattage (and it sounds like it is), you have done very little for your anemone. You have changes the color and spectrum, but not the intensity and that is the critical part.> Should I have a actinic light to turn on first (8am, then maybe a 1/2 hour to an hour later turn on the 50/50, and then finally turn on the 10,000 K about 11am? <Ok, so you add another fixture with a 10,000K lamp. Better, but still not enough. The additional actinic is needed and perhaps even more than that. Four 15 watt normal output lamps would be best, if you stay with this type of fluorescent.> Then reverse the cycle, turn off the 10,000K at 5pm, the 50/50 at 7 to 7:30pm, and the actinic at 8pm? <Use this principal, but for longer. Actinics on for 13 hours and the others on for 12.> The 55 gallon has a 50/50 SmartLite (2 four pin compact fluorescent) and a 48" 50/50. Do I need more lighting? <Depends on what you want to keep alive. Corals and anemones vary widely in their lighting requirements.> I have 75 lbs live rock, very little substrate (LFS only recommended a bag of crushed coral or a bag of shells), penguin 400, powerheads, maroon clown, Copperbanded butterfly, mandarin, <Please look up and read our information on Mandarins.> flame angel, damsel, small colony of sun coral, <And look up Sun Coral, Tubastrea, while you are at it.> 2 small colonies of mushrooms, small colony of green star polyps, 3 peppermint shrimp, 2 cleaner shrimp, 1 coral banded shrimp, 2 emerald crabs, 1 red leg hermit, 3 blue leg hermits. I would like to add more corals but want to make sure my lighting is good first and add a sump and skimmer too. What would you suggest? <Much more additional reading to narrow down what you wish to keep.> Hope I am not asking too much at one time! Thanks, Daniel <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Lighting Dear Bob, I have a 30 gallon reef/fish tank and want to upgrade lighting. As of now, I am raising fish and 2 inverts. My Fiji rock setup is raised to about 3/4 of the tank's height. I plan on keeping corals as well. With that kind of height for some corals, what type of lighting would I need. I'm thinking of purchasing a 96 watt Power Compact with the SmartLite bulb. (Half Actinic/Half Daylight) <This is a good choice (the one I'd make at least) for a good general mix of corals... even some of the more "high intensity" light users like Acroporids. Please do read through the many light articles and FAQs files archived on WetWebMedia.com and Anthony.C's article on light acclimation of stony corals to be found there for much more. Bob Fenner>

Lights Hi, Bob. How are You? I'm the guy from Honduras.  <cheers, my friend... WWM crew member Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a tank with fish, anemones and other invertebrates, live rock and Macroalgae. I'm reading in Your book that You recommend for a tank like that a full spectrum daylight with a K-rating from 5500 K - 6500 K. I bought 2 compact fluorescent lights, one has a 65 W, 50/50 bulb and the other a 9325 K, 55 W bulb. The only other replacement bulbs for those light are 10000 K and 8800 K. No bulb in the K -range that You recommend. which of the above bulbs would You recommend?  <I agree that light around 6500K is ideal aesthetically and functionally for most symbiotic reef invertebrates. Modern preferences however (largely aesthetic) have leaned towards the blue end of the spectrum with bulbs 10K and higher. In my opinion, the extra blue light does not help or hurt much... it is largely a matter of aesthetic preference. Lighting anywhere between 5500K and 10,000K will be fine for your application. Try to view such lights over aquaria before you purchase them to se what you like best> My tank is 22" deep and I don't plan on making it a complete reef tank. Thank you, Bernd <with kind regards, Anthony>

Re: lights Hi, Anthony. Thanks for the quick reply and a good job as always.  <glad to be of service> That helps me. I think the 50/50 bulb that I have is too much in the blue range. I just see in a catalog that they have a 6700 K lamp.  <ahhh, yes... a fine color for invertebrate health and good strong daylight color!> that should do. Regards to all of You, Bernd <thanks kindly, my friend... best to you as well. Anthony>

Light & Skimmer Questions Hi, I currently have a 44 gal corner tank that is 24"W x 18" deep. I plan on setting up a reef tank with both hard and soft corals and possibly including a tridacnid clam. For lighting I will have a Hamilton Reefsun pendant 19.5"L x 10"W x 6"H with a 150W 10000K double ended Ushio bulb (currently in the process of buying one on eBay) and a 24"L actinic strip light (15W). My question is if this setup would be enough lighting for the mentioned above. <Yes> I was told that this MH bulb is equivalent to a 250W as far as output is concerned, but I'd like another experts opinion on this (still knowing about the 4W per gallon at least rule of thumb). <The watts per gallon rule are difficult to apply due to differences in types of lighting (NO vs. VHO vs. PC vs. MH) and lamps.> My last question is regarding filtration. I have a "Bak Pak" filter/protein skimmer rated for a 60 gal tank. Will this be good enough with the live rock incorporated into the tank? <Should be. Try to make the skimmer produce daily.> A store tried to sell me a wet/dry filter with the bio balls and protein skimmer included. Another store told me it wasn't necessary. <I agree with the other store.> It's enough to make a guy go crazy! Thanks for all the wealth of knowledge! Mike C. Cleveland, OH <Another tip. Look up the Cleveland Marine Aquarium Society, http://www.clevelandaquariumsociety.org/index1.htm -Steven Pro>

Aquarium problems (more light = more life) I have a 55 gallon tank with 2 fluorescent 30watt bulbs. I just purchased an icecap 660 ballast and now am running 2 fluorescent 30watt bulbs and 2 95watt VHO bulbs. Every since I started running all 4 lights I have noticed air bubbles on the tank walls and rocks. They start to show after the lights have been on for about 5 hours and the longer they are on the worse the bubbles get. What is causing this and what can I do. Thanks <"It" is life... photosynthetic organisms (a mix of algae and more) are being "boosted" by the increased light/ing... You can reduce their exuberant oxygen production by limiting nutrient availability (filtration, growing other purposeful photosynthetic organisms, DSB, denitration in other ways... per recommendations on WetWebMedia.com Do take a read through the many filtration articles and more here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm and/or use the search feature at the bottom of the homepage with the above terms. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Question for FO I am working on getting a 4ft tall tank. It'll be 4ft by 6ft, kind of a 'show' tank with a rock wall scape in the back. Anyhow, we're looking at getting some pendant lighting for it - probably 2 rectangular pendants hung about 6-8" above the water, since there is a small brace in the middle. Anyhow, concerned about the depth of the tank - there will only be fish, no real heavy duty corals. Anyhow, question is what kind of lighting would be necessary to adequately light the tank since its 4 ft deep. We were looking at 250W MH lamps. We can also go 175 if that is too much or 400 if that is too little. I don't think I need special lighting, but we will have some life on the liverock, but it isn't all that important to keep it 'alive', but would be nice. Any thoughts? <Two 250's sound like plenty of light. You maybe able to get away with the two 175's. Be sure to get nice lamps to go with whatever wattage you choose, Aqualine-Buschke or Ushio are both nice.> <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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