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FAQs about Light and Lighting for Marine Systems 10

Related Articles: Marine Light, & Lighting, Marine Aquarium Light Fixtures and Canopies, Lighting Marine InvertebratesAnemone LightingAcclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive LightingCoral System LightingMoving Light Systems

Related FAQs: Marine System LightingFAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5, FAQs 6, FAQs 7, FAQs 8, FAQs 9, 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

- Raised Scales, Problem? - Hello kind keeper of the knowledge, I'm having difficulties treating my Koran angelfish. I had a bout of the dreaded ICH recently and treated it with copper. Then I treated the secondary infection with Erythromycin. After the last treatment I noticed that my wet pet had spiky scales around his head. I added some MelaFix (pond grade) to my hospital tank to fix him up but now he has these spikes all over his body. Are these just raised scales that will be shrugged off during the healing process or is it something I should be worried about? <Well... it's not a good sign, but worrying about it likely won't do anything. I'd stop all treatments at this point and concentrate on improving water quality. If the fish is going to recover it will, there's not much you can do to 'treat' this.> Also I bought a 30" 65 watt power compact w/ moonlight for my 49 gal bow front reef tank. I mainly have soft corals, mushrooms, and polyps in the tank under standard florescent (three 25 watt bulbs: 50/50, day light and one blue antic). They seem to be doing fine all but the Elkhorn (green) frag. This is my first hard coral. How often do they open up? <Depends on the origin of the coral - if it's wild, likely over night, but many corals adapt in time to stay open during the day.> I see tiny yellow polyps come out once in a while. They are about the size of a pinhead. Once my new lighting system arrives what is the best way to acclimate my coral to this stronger light? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm > And should I have bought the 36" 95 watt version or would that be overkill? I still have time to upgrade if need be. <With small-polyp, stony corals more lighting intensity is always better.> Thanks and Merry Christmas, Chad <Cheers, J -- >

Science or Hobby? Marine Lighting - 8/14/03 Great website, lots of great information.  I've read the Marine Lighting primer, other articles and threads, but I can't seem to find any comments on a situation similar to mine).  I know others are looking for this info so I will gladly pass it along! <a great attitude my friend> I have a 18 gallon tall with an eclipse 1 hood.  I've retrofitted it with A SmartLite (32W) from Custom Sea Life. I have a deep sand bed (about 4 inches) and 30 lbs of live rock. Is there a way to quantitatively describe the lighting at various depths? e.g.) SmartLite 32W - X PAR, Lumens, or Watts at depth Y <as a useful measure to aquarists, yes... PAR.> Or better yet an expression for intensity as a function of depth (e.g. I(d) = Io * e^-kd  when d=depth ? <regular readers of the daily FAQs will know that I have little interest, if not outright disdain, for overtly anal exercises in mental masturbation that far surpass a sound academic or scientific curiosity. I will tell you, Jeff, with a mixture of humor and sincerity that any such discussion regarding the measure of usable light at depth for corals is staggeringly moot in an 18 gallon aquarium. Arguably, it is just as moot in our 24 and 36" deep aquariums when the subjects/objects of our study and admiration (symbiotic reef organisms at large) found over a much wider range in the sea (many species commonly occurring in niches separated by 40 or more feet.> Can we then relate this to species requirements (compensation and saturation points)? <it can be done, but cannot be fairly extrapolated by species for the above reason. We do not know where on a reef a given specimen was collected: Acropora formosa in 3 feet of water... or A. formosa from 60 feet of water? Doh! The best we can do with such data is on a specimen by specimen basis IMO... or, with further study to know the range of tolerance and adaptability for a given species. Now that would be useful!> Is there any published data? <field data yes... do pillage the academic archives. In aquaristic terms, however... little is available. I do recall Eric B chatting about it. Dana Riddle and Sanjay Yoshi are also very interested in such issues> In the final analysis, given those parameters, what corals can I realistically expect to grow?   <ahhh... in an 18 gallon aquarium? Well... there are many many adaptable cnidarians that will grow well in such shallow water. Finessing light is not your problem, Jeff... controlling growth will be your reality! Dude... do consider installing a beer meister next to your reef tank. Either that, or convert a Kalkwasser doser into a heroin drip. Just a suggestion. Best of luck! Anthony>

LED Moonlights Hello. What do you think about Marc's moonshine lamps? Thanks <LED and fiber optic technologies are useful at least for the aesthetic, my personal opinions aside about this brand. Anthony>

Lighting Question I have a 55 gallon reef tank. I have some Blue and Red legged hermits and a Emerald hermit crab. I have a Power Compact Smart Lite by Custom Sea Life. It's made well. My question is since I have NO fish except live rock and soft corals can I take the glass tops off and leave the light on the tank over water. Is this a safe thing to do? <sure is> Is there benefits to this? Is it better? <Better gas exchange and more evaporative cooling are the main benefits> I see this in the fish stores. I have to keep taking the salt off the glass so I assume I'm going to have to clean the bulbs more because they will get salt creep. How much light is lost with the glass on and how much heat is lost in degrees in a central air conditioned house with the glass off. <its different for each tank, but to both questions the answer is usually negligible. Humidity may increase.> I just wondered if I stood to gain anything by taking the glass tops off. I appreciate any insight you may have with all your years of experience. Also it's 2 65 50/50 bulbs 130 watts total. I have a Colt Coral, Grape Bubble Coral, Open Brain, Green Daisy Polyp and a Torch. They are all doing great. I know I could use more light but these are pretty good beginner's corals and I may consider more light in the future when I can afford it. The reason I mention what corals I have is will no glass cover provide more light to them considering the light I have?...Thanks for you help...............Chet <best, Chris>

- More on Marine Lighting - Thanks, JasonC. <My pleasure.> I can see the cost-effectiveness argument for SO fluorescents in a fish only context.  So here's our situation. My 12 year old son would really like to be able to keep clownfish and a Bubble Tip Anemone (this is the only type he thinks he can get tank-raised, and tank-raised is a BIG priority for him -- any leads you could give on aquacultured and tank-raised stuff would be appreciated). <Best place to find tank-raised anemones is in the hobby groups. Many people have had great success with the spitting of this anemone, but more often than not they are traded among hobbyists and don't make it to the store. Fish on the other hand are very often captive bred/raised and you can usually get a straight answer from your local fish store on the origin of their livestock.> Beyond that, it would be nice to have the option to do other high-light invertebrates, but we have no specifics plans for such.  My inclination is to start with one of the 260 watt Coralife Aqualight 48 inch strips (over a standard 75 gallon tank).  Then, if necessary or desirable, add a second such strip (I believe both would fit nicely on a 48x18 top, maybe (?) closely enough that a glass canopy could be omitted with little danger of fish jumping out). <With that anemone you'd probably want both lamps.> My son is inclined toward metal halides. <Would be the preferred way to go with the anemone.> He's thinking a couple of 250 watt Reefstars, or a couple of 400 watt Reef Optix/Blue Waves. <On a 75, you could easily get away with two 175 watt lamps, two 250's would be a lot of light and two 400's would be excessive.> With low-end ballasts, these would cost 50-70% more money than the Aqualights, but would put out 65-165% more lumens (based on what I've read about fluorescents and metal halides in general). <Indeed.> But we'd have to mount them, and I'm worried by the cautions I read about heat dissipation, safety, etc. <Well... safety is only a matter of a glass shield to prevent contact with the water and to filter out UV. Heat dissipation is a huge issue, but being aware of the problem is over half of the battle... is something you can plan around. But do keep in mind that power compacts do generate a good deal of heat of their own, but not as much as metal halides.> Your advice would be appreciated.  Tom <Cheers, J -- >

Reef Lighting 7/10/03 I Bought your book, I plan to buy a 90 gallon aquarium, I have a few doubts: <About the book or the aquarium? <G>> I'm not sure about which skimmer is good for this aquarium, I'm considering the AquaMedic Midiflotor. <A good mid-shelf skimmer... can be very effective, but is rather finicky. Some sites on the web describe modifications to improve on this unit. I'd suggest an Aqua C or a EuroReef instead any day> You recommend the Duro-Test lights, I can't find them where I live. <They are no longer in business, alas> You also recommend General electric, Phillips and Verilux, which models are good (actinic and full spectrum fluorescents) for a marine aquarium?  <It depends on the needs of the animals you are trying to keep. It would not be fair to make a blanket generalization for the wide range of species you might keep. Always pick your livestock first (theory) and then you can determine their lighting needs>  Do you recommend Osram/Sylvania?  <Excellent bulbs generally> Rene <Kind regards, Anthony... and do read more here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm >

Lighting Clams and Stonies Hi, Marion here. I have been a reef keeper for some years now, working with SO fluorescents. I am going to upgrade my lighting system this summer. I would like to start keeping hard corals and clams as well. My problem is this....I simply cannot afford Metal Halides at this time (and probably for some time to come). Is there ANYTHING I can use in it's place that will work as well for the animals I want to keep? <Some LPS and SPS corals can be kept under PC lights if kept high in the tank. I would not attempt clams. Don>

Reef Lighting  Aloha, <Greetings.> I have a 75 Gallon tank. I am not wanting to take a shortcut on lighting. I want to keep some SPS and clams. I keep my house cool (about 70 degrees) I will have 4 - 4" fans in my custom enclosed canopy over the tank (hanging pendant- style out of the question unfortunately). My canopy will be about 8 to 12 inches over the tank. I plan to purchase a sheet of polished aluminum and line the entire inside with it. <I'd get it at least coated with something... aluminum and saltwater don't mix well.> On to the lighting... I would like to retrofit 2 - 175watt 10,000K metal halides.  Complementing that, I can either buy an Icecap 430 and run 2 110watt actinics, OR I can purchase a 660 and run 2 110watt actinics PLUS 2 110watt 10,000K bulbs along with the halides. Is this overkill? <Hard to discern... you probably don't 'need' the extra 10K fluorescents.> Again, I would like a T. maxima or T. crocea in the near future. But I don't want to burn the SPS corals. <Make shady areas with the rock work OR drop one of the metal halides and light with the other on one side of the tank only, and then perhaps use the 10K VHOs on the side that doesn't have the MH lighting.> OK, if you're still with me, back to the MH. I have heard about UV rays, so I assume I will have to build some sort of UV lens for my MH. <That is correct.> Is this a special type of material or could I use a piece of acrylic? <I would use glass - acrylic will likely melt being that close to a lamp. Glass is available with a UV-filtering coating.> I could build a " box" over each bulb with it. Not sure if the bulb would melt it though. <It would.> I really don't want a piece of glass or acrylic over my entire water surface. I want evaporation for Kalk top-offs and cooling factor (with the fans blowing across the top of the water). <You might need to rethink this, with fans sucking hot air out of the canopy.> I am trying to come up with a plan to where I do not have to use a chiller, but get sufficient lighting. <I'd skip the canopy and instead light from above with adequate space for more fans. You will soon see that the canopy becomes a trap for heat, and you largest problem will be getting the heat out of the collector.> I have so many ideas in my head so if you could blindfold me, spin me around 15 times and point me in the right direction, that would be super cool groovyrific!! <Again... if SPS is part of your goals, then skip the second MH. Light that side with only fluorescents. You will still have issues with heat... you may need more fans or you may even need a chiller. Time will tell.>  Mahalo, Jason <Cheers, J -- >

Single halide on a 4' tank... Thanks for the quick reply is there any way I can get around the dim spots if I am only using 1 MH? <Not really, the best you can do is use a good parabolic reflector, and run full length fluorescents. If you buy a 10k lamp, you may be able to run daylight fluorescents (and still have nice color) so that it isn't overly blue on the opposite sides of the tank.> How high will the 400w metal halide have to sit above the tank? <If you have coral in there already you'll need to acclimate them to the new much more powerful lighting. Start it 16 or so inches off of the water, running it only for a few hours. Gradually bring the photoperiod to 8-10 hours over the course of a few weeks, then slowly lowering it down to 8 or so inches (depending on how hot the tank gets). -Kevin> Thanks Amon

Bio-Ball & Lighting Question 3/3/03 Hi guys,<Hey there!  Phil here!> I forgot a couple of questions I had on my last email to you. Sorry! I removed all of my bio balls out of my wet/dry the other day. I am one month into my new 55 gallon tank. I am planning on adding 20 more lbs of live rock to my existing 36 lbs. I have no fish yet and am working on figuring out a Cyano problem.<the number one way to remove Cyano is to get a skimmer and remove nutrients from the water.> I am getting my tap and tank water professionally tested to get an accurate water quality reading. I removed my bio balls to prevent possible nitrate buildup (will have live rock do the job instead).<This is fine, please remember that the tank will have to cycle all over again because you are adding more live rock.> I was thinking of replacing the bio balls with some inexpensive small live rock pieces which I am told is ok but realized that they will be wet in the wet dry but will have no lighting on them...is this live rock replacing bio balls still a good idea or can you recommend a better alternative ??<This is fine.> I do not want a refugium right now. <I know what you mean, they can be difficult to understand.> Also, I was running my two URI VHO ( one white and one purple actinic) bulbs (I don't know the wattage but the bulbs are 32 inches long).<Probably less than 20 watts>  I was running them 12 hours a day this past month, the tank's first month in existence. My local fish store said that the VHO's are powerful and that I should only run them 6 hours a day and that the fact that I had them on for so long could be a contributing factor to my brown slime algae problem. Do you have any guidance on the duration of my particular lights in regards to discouraging slime algae?<I think this is total rubbish!  I talked to Ananda and she told it to me really simply.  "As the lights age, their color changes, going towards the spectrum that algae really like." Try getting a good protein skimmer, this will help stop the algae.  Hope this helps!  Phil>

Re: lighting Hey, <Yo!> I currently have a 46 gallon bow front tank.  The filter is a Tidepool 1 unit.  It contains about 60 pounds of live rock and about 25 pounds of sand. the lighting is currently 2 NO fluorescents.  The tank is 36 in long and 12 deep.  The tank has a height of 20 in.  Would a single 175 MH and two 65 PC's support a sps and clam tank? <Only directly under the lights (MH lights cover about 2 feet, so another 175 would be a good idea or all of your corals and clams would need to be near the MH. You will need to chuck the filter (maybe use it as a sump W/O the bio-wheel ) and invest in a good quality protein skimmer for clams and SPS corals, bio-wheels produce far too much nitrate to be useful for SPS/reef tanks. The crew uses and recommends Aqua-C or Euro-reef skimmers. The two 65 PC's should be fit with actinic bulbs.  There is much more on clam/sps/reef lighting at WetWebMedia.com, check out the articles and FAQ's.  Craig>

Lighting on a 55G tank <Hi Herbert, Don with  you tonight> This is a fabulous site and for someone like myself who has been out of the hobby since the late 1980's has brought me up to date on the latest technologies.   <Thank you, I will pass the kind words along to the rest of the crew. I am amazed on a regular basis myself with the info that is here> I am planning on resurrecting my old 55 gal glass tank(48"x12"x21") and setting up a reef system.  I plan on utilizing my old homemade wet/dry filter, but instead of using bioballs I will fill the tower with live rock.  I plan to replace my homemade cc air driven skimmer with a new Berlin Turbo in the sump.  2 - 3" of live sand  and 50 - 70 lbs. of live rock will be used in the tank. <Pardon for me butting in here, but less than 1" or more that 4" in the main tank/sump is the current wisdom> My main question concerns lighting.  At this time I am planning on keeping a few fish and mostly populating with inverts and soft corals. (maybe some LPSs).  I really do not want to restrict my selection of inhabitants due to insufficient lighting, however I do not want to over kill on the lighting.  My philosophy is whether you keep fish or corals, if they inhabit the same environment then I should provide the same lighting.  I want to provide the best lighting for the inhabitants successful well-being, and not to accelerate growth beyond natural limits.  I have found these options and would really appreciate your comments: 1)  Purchase new hood with (4) x 55 watt power compacts and use with my existing (2) x 40w NO flour. light hood. (The Jalli hood is narrow enough to allow use of both lights) 2)  Purchase new hood with (4) x 110 watt VHO flour. (Hamilton) 3)  Purchase new hood with (2) x 175watt MH with (2) x 40watt NO flour. (tank is 12"wide, light may over shoot tank a illuminate to much surrounding area?). 4)  Purchase new hood with (4) x 96watt power compacts. <Well, the biggest bang for the buck over time is Metal Halide (even though initial cost may be higher). But 2 175s over 15-16" of water is overkill. Maybe you could find some 70 or 100watt? You can compensate by raising the lights higher off the water if you decide to go this route.  If you do decide to use the fluorescent lighting I would use option 1 and be prepared to change the bulb ever 6-9 months. > Any skimmer suggestions would also be appreciated. <Search for 'skimmer' on the WetWebMedia.com home page and you will find the FAQs you are looking for. You will find that EuroReef and Aqua C on high on the list for sump application and Aqua C Remora (and Remora Pro) for hang on> Last one - would waiting and purchasing a 90 gal. tank be an easier system to maintain?  More concerned with stability rather than maintenance costs, or with prudent and consistent attention, not be a tremendous difference? <Oh yes, more volume=more stability. Better yet, get the 90, have it drilled, and use the 55 as a sump.> Thank you for your patience and time. <My pleasure, hope this helps. Don> Herbert

Some Light Conversation A few questions concerning the lighting on my tank <Sure! Scott F. with you today> Question 1 My lighting is by Coralife 4 65 watt power compacts(2 10 K and 2 actinic) Lights are only 3 months old).  For a FOWLR tank is that a desirable amount of light?  Would more be beneficial for the LR? Would more be beneficial for coralline algae? <The level of light that you mention seems fine to me. Of course, the more light you have, the greater diversity of the growth you will see from the live rock. You can grow a fine growth of coralline algae with this setup...light is not the only factor in it's growth...You have to take into account calcium, alkalinity, magnesium...and time!> Question 2 The light fixture is a strip light unit with two built in fans.  This unit sits about 2 inches above the water on top of a glass tank cover that covers approximately half of the tank.  Is this too much heat for the glass tank cover?  Coralife makes some stands for the fixture that raise it up about 4 inches above the tank rim.  Would this be a better approach?  If I did raise the fixture by 4 inches, should I then remove the glass tank cover? Wouldn't raising the fixture reduce the actual usable light output?  Perhaps raising the fixture and then removing the glass tank cover would balance each other out in terms of usable light output. <Pc's do put out a lot of heat, contrary to popular belief! In fact, I was just talking to a friend last night who told me that heat from her PC's actually cracked the top of her acrylic tank once! Those fans are really important. Yes, it is important to mount them reasonably close to the water surface, but you do need cooling, and should be concerned about the possibility of water splashing on to the bulbs. I like the idea of removing the cover on the tank, and raising the lights higher. What intensity you might lose from the added height will be made up by the increased penetration (without blocking by the cover glass), IMO> Question 3 I still have a Cyano bacterial algae problem in my tank.  The algae mostly grows on the substrate on the deepest part of the tank.  I have heard of people having this problem before and after installing MH lighting it disappeared.  Aside from nutrient issues, could my lighting and the depth of my tank be contributing to the algae?  Would 2 more 65 watt 10 K help in this regard?  Would 2 150 or 2 175 watt MH in addition to my lighting help? <Well, more lighting is always good. It can, indeed, make a difference in the eradication efforts, so it is worth a try. However, I would place insufficient lighting farther down on the list of major contributors to Cyanobacteria. Their growth is really more contingent upon having proper nutrient levels, IMO. Of course, all of these factors combine to contribute to the problem, so it's important to work different aspects of the problem at one time. My best advice: Keep working the nutrient export angle!> As always, thank you very much for your valued input. <Hang in there! You'll get through this...just be patient and attack the root problems that we have discussed previously. Regards, Scott F>

- Replacement Ballast - Where can I find a replacement ballast for the Helios remote ballast 4-55w lighting system? <That's a good question. If you don't want to approach Helios directly, then I would just check with a local electrical supply house and then match up the specifications - if the lamps are Power Compact, then make sure you specify that when dealing with the supplier as well as the number of bulbs you intend to drive. Cheers, J -- >

Re: CRI Hello Bob, <Hi there> I hope this is a help to you, not an insult. I was reading the data on your webpage about CRI (color rendering index), and it states that the reference source for this comparison is the sun. This is only true for sources that are above 5000K in color temp.  Below 5000K the reference source is an incandescent lamp.   <Ah, I believe you're right. Yikes, maybe a slip due to most lamps/bulbs used in the ornamental aquatics interest being more than 5k K... or more likely laxness on my part!> As a lighting designer I did find all of the information on the site very informative. Thanks for your time. <Thank you for this input. Will post. Bob Fenner> Hank W. Klevemann Farris Engineering 11239 Chicago Circle Omaha, Nebraska 68154

Automobile headlamps as grow lights? Hello, After spending about 3 hours pouring over all the FAQs, I haven't found a single word about it. I was wondering about the viability of using automobile headlamps as grow lights. <many people have been experimenting with this because of the perception that they are bright and low wattage. Beyond the obstacles of said manufacturers simply not making the lamps of a usable color/temperature... there is the inalienable issue that they do not penetrate water at depth. No scientific studies on the matter that I am aware of... just professionals and academics that were aquarists doing experiments> I can't find any specs on the light quality, <hmm.... these are actually quite easy to get from the lamp manufacturer as i recall> is it possible to use them? <exploratory work says no, alas> if so, i plan to make a solar charging DC light array. Any thoughts? thank you, Michael Pinsonneault <it may still be a viable application. Please share your findings with us to post for the benefit of all. Kind regards, Anthony>

Nighttime lighting on reef 2/26/03 Dear WWM consortium: <is that what they call beer-drinking buddies nowadays... a con-sor-tee-um. Fancy that :) > Quick question. I want to install a couple of small bulbs inside my canopy to light my reef tank at night with a purply/blue/reddish hue......nothing bright. These lights will come on 1/2 hr before my actinics turn off, and I'd like to know what types of "moonlight" lights (manufacturer/brand) you suggest to do the job. <for purely aesthetics with economy/efficiency in mind... the new fiber-optic LED lights get my vote> I hear incandescent "party lights" run very hot, <that's just silly <G>. Ya.. they do indeed run "hot" and produce heat as it were... but your tank would experience a drop in temp at night from your day lights being off if it were not for your heater kicking on every night (more than by day if at all). There is no way that a single incandescent bulb can offset or exceed what your day lamps throw. Who was the turnip that told you that one <G>? Incandescent moonlight is cheap and easy. Just not too efficient in the long run.> and i am uncertain how small they make power compact fluorescents with a deep blue/purple/reddish bulb in them.   <hmmm... actually, I have seen some dark blue 9 watt PC's> I only have like 6" to work with here <don't we all... if we're lucky> on each end of the canopy. <oh... right. Sorry. The light fixture. Ahem... LEDs would be cool... but a 9 watt pc like those old mini-might lights (junk) would be very fine if well made> Thanks a bunch. Steve <best regards, Anthony>

Re: my 7th tank (lighting) Hi to all of you. I haven't been talking to you guys in a while, Bob used to help me with my fish only tanks. Meanwhile I have 6 of them from 20 to 200gal. One of them is a 45gal reef which I built myself, at least the stand, hood and sump.  But it's driving me crazy since it is a 22X22X22 cube design I can't get into the stand to clean the pumps and filters as much as I want to, and now that I got a divorce (hehe, she couldn't stand the fish) I will get a standard rectangular 90gal tank. Again I will build the stand myself, but I just ordered a LifeReef LF1 system including skimmer and sump and pumps because I already own a AquaC  EV-200, EuroReef 8-2 and ETSS Reef Devil and I just love the way how clean  those LifeReef systems look. Now here is the question, I am finally getting more space to put a few more corals in my tank, LPS and SPS. Clams and other nice corals. I was thinking of going with 3 175W metal halides + 2 110W VHO's. Do you think that sounds good. I am using 175W since I already have one in my 45gal. Or do you think I should just go with 2 250w + 2 110W VHO and skip the 175W I already have. Or even cleaner 2 400W 20.000K  halides and no actinics?? <I would stick with the 3 175's> Would this look good or too yellow. If so, I could just put my 2 28W actinics for dusk and dawn in my hood. I enjoy the clean white light, but the less timers I have to use the better. I'd love to get your input about that, thanks for all your help and I'll talk to you soon. PS. Whoever is answering the mail, please forward this to Bob. He will probably remember me, I am the hairstylist from Los Angeles, I still owe him a haircut. Hi bob, remember I said I will see you at the INTERZOO in Nurnberg/Germany since this is where I was born and raised. Sorry I couldn't make it, I decided that instead of going back home I'd rather be happy again, so I divorced my wife. <A sad, but necessary choice... You must be yourself, happy> It was a tough year since then, but the right thing to do. I kept all my tanks, and the house. Now my life is great again, not only because of my fish, but I bet they helped me keeping my mind off things. I was just sad I could go to the INTERZOO, I was really looking forward to meet you in person, but again, I'll always offer you a free haircut. One of these days ......................... All the best, keep diving SASCHA <Will do my friend. Hope to see you at the next Interzoo. Bob Fenner>

Re: one more lighting question about my 7th tank this is Sascha again. I forgot to ask, how many watt per gallon do you recommend for my 90gal mixed corals  hard and soft and clams. with my 3x 175W halides and 220 VHO it would be about 7W/gallon. is this ok?? <Yes. A good mix, strength of lighting> what lighting options would YOU recommend for a clean looking light. I love halides, but is there anything that's better for the corals mentioned?? thanks again SASCHA <Not really. This mix will get you about all that is currently possible in the way of flexibility and functionality. Bob Fenner>

Tank Lighting Hello, I just ordered a custom acrylic tank it is a half circle/oval.  The dimensions are 36" along the back, 21" from the center of the back to the center of the front, and 17" high.  The canopy will be about 16".  I have been struggling to determine how much lighting I need.  I want to be able to put a broad spectrum of corals (hard and soft), anemones, but no clams.  I don't know how many gallons it is, I was told it was about 50-60, but to be honest it seems more like 40.  So I was thinking about one of the metal halide/pc combos by either PFO lighting or CSL prism pendants - 250 watts MH with about 50-60 watts PC, but  don't know if that is enough or too less.  I don't know whether the 175/150 watt would be better, or whether I should get HQI or not.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.   <Hey Mickey, the volume of water is not as important as the depth of the water, and of course which corals you will be keeping. Check out the Anthony's article at the link below and try to put together a stocking plan of what you would like to keep.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm > Thanks, Mickey

Lighting The Way? Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Hope you are doing well!!! <Yes I am- and hope that things are going well for you, too!> I was searching through the site and could not find the answer to the questions that I was hoping you could answer for me: <Go for it> I have a 90 gallon reef with live rock, mainly SPS coral and a few small fish.  Currently, I have  440W PC lighting.  I am planning on upgrading my lighting to metal halide (2 x 175W 10,000K and 80W actinic Hamilton Lighting).  The two question I have are: 1. The tank is a 90gal All-Glass 48 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 25 3/8".  If a metal halide bulb covers roughly a 2' x 2' area, should I purchase a 36" fixture or stick with a 48"? <I'd stick with the 48" fixture> 2. I am not stuck on the Hamilton brand, would you recommend something different? <Well, at least take a look at the new HQI pendants that are available. Both PFO and Sunlight Supply make terrific horizontal pendants that can accommodate double-ended halides in various wattages and color temps. Combined with efficient electronic ballasts, these HQI pendants provide lots of "bang for the buck"!> Thanks and if these questions were answered before please point me to where they are, as I could not find them. <Well- the debate on how much and what kind of light to use will go on forever, and there is no "perfect, all-around" answer for every tank...Just consider your needs, get some other opinions, see what's out their, and go with what you think is best for your animals and (most important) budget.> Thanks in advance for your response. Cheri <And thank YOU for stopping by, Cheri! Regards, Scott F>

Bright Ideas? Hi, <Hi! Scott F. on the keyboard with you!> I have a 55 gal soon to be reef tank (live rock, sand et). I'm trying to decide if I should go with a retro kit or one enclosed in a hood with fans for my lighting. I think I'm going with JBJ, but my canopy is 7" to 8" tall and I've read that power compacts need to be 2" to 3" above the water to be most effective. So do I go with the retro 7" to 8" above the water (I've heard good thing's about the retro) or do I go with the hood inside my canopy? Thanks for your help. (I heard they had problems in the past with there hoods). <I've done it both ways- and I will heartily endorse using a retrofit inside your canopy...It will run cooler than a full hood, and it will provide much greater flexibility than one, as well, IMO, in terms of room for future expansion and modification, as well as access to the tank. Hope this helps! Have fun! Scott F>             

Diatom Algae, Light, Buffers I should then be doing bi-weekly changes of at least 10% each time? Should I be gradually increasing my lights up to 12 hrs per day or wait till my situation is under control and I get inverts/coral? <I would crank it now and burn the algae bloom out by it outgrowing the nutrient supply. It may actually increase as this algae usually shows up in light and goes in dark.> I was thinking of going with actinics only for first 2 hours, then actinics and 1 MH for the next 2 hrs, then the actinics and both MH for the next 4 hrs, then actinics and 1 MH for 2 hrs and finally actinics for the last 2 hrs. Does this make any sense? <Not really, the actinic only is for viewing more than the benefit of any inhabitants.> Also the baking soda is recommended on your site over buffers by Bob Fenner. Should I drop the soda and buffer my RO replenishment water with a quality buffer? Thanks <Uh, for buffering FW for dips maybe, but not for buffering marine systems *alone*.  For instance, the buffer I use contains far more than Sodium bicarbonate; Sodium, magnesium, calcium, strontium and potassium salts of carbonate, bicarbonate, chloride, sulfate, and borate for instance. This causes ionic unbalance over time. Also, good buffers include dosing directions for a known result.  I recommend and use Seachem buffer for RO make-up and supplementing new water and regular carbonate/alkalinity use.  Hope this helps! Craig>

Quick (light fixture) question. I have a SmartLite 65 watt pc retro kit that is designed for square pin applications.  Can I use an end cap designed for a 65 watt straight pin pc and just modify the wiring accordingly?   <Likely, I would contact SmartLight and make sure the wattage/amperage/etc is the same for both.  They may have wiring diagrams for you. Craig>

Normal Output fluorescent bulb recommendations (02/21/03) Hi, <Hi! Ananda here today...> I have a 46 gallon bowfront, saltH20 aquarium. I have approx. 25 - 30 pounds of live rock in the tank. The tank has been up for about 2 years now and now i need to buy replacement bulbs. I have 2 dual florescent light fixtures, and i want to know what would be the best set up of bulbs for my tank. I was thinking of putting 2 Coralife trichromatic and 2 Coralife actinic bulbs in. Is there a better set up you can think of? or better bulbs? Thank you, Mark <I would go with the "Magtinics" if you chose to stick with the Coralife brand. The Magtinics have an in-bulb reflector, which I like. I do like the Trichromatics' color, but wish it had an internal reflector. Otherwise, I like the URI bulbs a lot; they all have the internal reflectors. I think your split of two "white" bulbs and two actinics is fine. --Ananda>

Corals for 30 gal. 110watts PC lighting - 2/21/03 Hi again, The 2x55 watt would be a lot easier for me to get (in terms of money) so I think I'm gonna get it. <OK> Currently I have a 36watt power compact light on the tank. So I could have that and the 2x55 watt. I'm not sure what corals I'll get. Out of the corals I mentioned, what would you get under these lights? <Everything you chose should be fine with the addition of the 36watt pc> I like the toadstool and Finger leather the best <I knew you were gonna say that. Well, of your choices you gave in the last email, these are the corals that could use more light> but maybe i should just get the 'Shrooms...and the LPS corals? <I would stick with either the soft corals or the LPS. You CAN mix them if you like, but I think you might be a lot happier with one species or another for now> it sounded like the finger leather and toadstool need more light than the LPS so maybe they would be a better choice? <Yes> or maybe the 'Shrooms and finger leather and toadstool leather would be a better choice? <Yes> well let me know what ya think. <Oh no......I hope I have passed on to you the information needed to make an educated decision. What do you like? You provide the ideal environment for the animals you want and get them. Honestly, if you went with farmed corals, you could get away with any of these corals due to their ability to acclimate rapidly to variations in aquariums vs. ocean caught specimens. LPS are not as easy to find farmed though. I believe the Candy Cane coral is a little more readily available of the farmed LPS. I think that you will probably have some success with all soft if that is your favorite. Shrooms, finger and toadstool, will likely be fine albeit less than ideal lighting. I am also relatively sure any of your choices in the LPS family would also suffice. Go for it. Check out farmed coral offerings, I think you will be happy you did!>   :) thanks, <Thank you. Paul>

Lighting a 29g reef tank - 2/21/03 Hello, <Good morning, Paul here, and ready for service> I'm trying to decide what lights to buy for my 29gal.(soon to be reef). Halides might be a little too expensive so i was thinking about buying a 3x55watt fixture. <A good choice, I think, in this case, based on what you want to keep.> I want to keep finger leather coral <Keep in the top 3/4 of your tank (based on the type of lighting you stated you plan to deploy)> .....toadstool leather<I would place this pretty close to the top if not the top, closest to the light> coral.....candy cane coral <half way should suffice. A little higher maybe>.....bubble coral <Midway as well. Keep a lot of space between this coral and others as it has "sweeper tentacles" used as a means of capturing food items and waging warfare against other corals>......green brain coral <In the substrate, period. Make sure to give enough room around live rock structures et al to ensure the coral has no chance of abrasion>......and allot of mushrooms.<Nice. Scatter them in the lower half of the tank Up the rock work or where ever except too close to the lights, in my experience. Now, Anthony Calfo would kill me if I did not say to you that you are intermixing coral species (LPS with Soft) and it is not recommended to do so. Corals from different species seem to more easily succumb to various chemical attacks from the other corals called allelopathy. Millions of tanks out there seem to mix a great many species together on a regular basis. So with that, do some extra research, purchase farmed corals (like the ones available from GARF), and keep strict water standards. Do a search on WetWebMedia and use the keyword allelopathy. Things might be OK, but can turn bad very quickly, so keep on top of it. > So my question is will this be enough light? <More than enough for the animals you are planning to keep.> if so would 2x55watt be enough? <For the size tank and the corals you are placing I would stick with the 3x55. You might be able to get away with less. The Toadstool (Sarcophyton) and Finger Leather (Sinularia) might need to be very close to the light. You could try it and add another additional light later I guess. Probably would be fine to have just the 2x55 if you were on a really tight budget. Knowledge is half the battle, my friend! Check the lighting links and see what others have done and our responses to them.> Thanks allot,    :) <No problem. Paul>

A Supernova, Or A Super Lighting Scheme? After reading a few more posts, I see some are advising that 250 watt MHs are too much for 21" deep.  I have a 24" tank and the bulbs are 14" above the tank.... tank's 72" long and I have 3x250 MH with 2 VHO actinics.....am I going to have a problem trying to keep some corals in this tank even if placed lower in the water?  Is this considered too bright? Tanks again <Well, I don't think it's too bright for the more demanding SPS corals, but you could get away with less wattage in a shallow tank, IMO. My hardcore SPS buddies may take exception to this advice, but I think that you could. I worry more about the heat buildup here. An efficient fan system and ventilation, not to mention a good chiller- are a practical requirement for this kind of intense lighting over a shallow tank. As far as the intensity- it must be really nice! In my 72Lx24Wx20H tank, I am using 3 150watt HQI pendants, and it's, well- really bright!  it's all about the efficiency of the reflector, according to a lot of the recent studies on halide lighting (Sanjay Joshi's studies come to mind), as well as the type of bulb that you're using (i.e; spectrum/brand), and how well it runs on your ballast. The suitability of this system depends on the needs of the animals you're keeping. Tridacna clam keepers may think that your setup is just about right...other people will say that you're going to make clam chowder...In the end, if the animals are acclimated to the lighting scheme, and they are placed according to their requirements, you should be okay. Anthony has written extensively about this topic, and it warrants a good look. Check the articles on the WWM site for much more on this topic. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Need wiring diagrams for IceCap 660 - 2/19/03 hello:  friends ,<Hello> I Need the wiring diagrams for my old ballast 660. <Well, we do not carry such things here, but if needed I believe they can be found here http://www.icecapinc.com/660.htm if you continue to have problems, check with www.championlighting.com. Good guys that may be able to help. Good luck> I know that i can power up to 2, 3, or 4 lamps but I don't have no idea how to make it work. <Check the links above. They have all specs about your product>  thanks V.K. <Thank you, Paul - out>

Lighting quality follow up  2/17/03 Hey man, marketing is marketing... frankly I don't trust any of it.   <Heehee... don't get me started. Part of me agrees and is a closet conspiracy theorist :) > If all fluorescent bulbs say they're good for 20000 hours and none of them are!!   <its rather an advertising loophole and not so much a mistruth. "lifespan" is relative to the application... useful life for growing coral... versus growing nuisance algae... versus simply igniting and lasting till it blinks out <G>. Three very different lamp lives there> I don't think all of these companies use the same PR guys.>Your point is taken about qualifying your statements... you have done more that you are obligated to, and I appreciate that.   <and I thank you for putting up with my inalienable warped sense of humor  Asking for justifications for the answers I get is how I separate good "qualified opinion" like yours from bad "qualified opinion" like that at most LFS around here. <fair enough and agreed> And, no, I haven't been banned from any websites... yet!  ;)  You just don't see much of my kind of badgering on you FAQ... geez, what a jerk I am huh?  ;) <rhetorical? <G>> I will go with the 175W MH and place them at an appropriate height after deciding on coral stocking.   <indeed... I really am sure that this will be at least as good (efficacy and expense in long run) or likely better than fluorescent options. Ironically... on aesthetics alone, I like VHO lamp colors better... too bad they don't produce glitter lines like MH!> Another side benefit to that: if I go with lower light corals, I can let the bulbs get older, thereby reducing their output into more appropriate range.   <totally agreed... and Sanjay in fact describes in his lectures how to milk lamps for this purpose by using a luxmeter and lowering the fixture over time> I would obviously have to be a little more careful to acclimate the corals under the new bulbs when the change is performed.   <correct> I believe the article also suggested that most of the losses in PAR and colour spectrum seem to occur within the first year with less degradation in the second year. < I do believe it to be true> Again, thanks a million for all your help and patience, Jeremy <thank you my friend... kind regards, Anthony>

Mixing bulbs I would like to now if you can mix light bulbs in a saltwater tank it is 55 gallons I would like to have the bluish purplish color in my tank and they say that metal halide gives off a yellow color so can you please help me? <The easy answer is yes, you can mix bulbs. But without knowing what your end goal is, there is no way we can answer a question like this. What kind of tank do you want to have? What inhabitants do you want to keep (specifically)? Don>

Please help with lighting quick 2/17/03 hey guys love the site...I've been reading it so much i think i may have damaged my BRAIN! too much to consume. ..I am starting my first saltwater tank. and this whole lighting situation is driving me mad...for starters i just want blennies, clownfish {percula?} with anemone too boot.. {have read about difficulty of them already....i would also like to be able to support some other inverts and some corals. its a standard 55.   <you haven't read much/enough then bud... under no circumstance IMO can you responsibly mix a motile anemone with sessile corals. Please research more or simply pick one or the other> I have been looking at the JBJ formosa 4X65 and the Helios 4x55 these both put me in the 3 to 5 wpg range.. I've heard Helios is garbage, and some people have had problems with the JBJs  but that their customer support is awesome. <all is moot. Take the time to pick your corals or anemone species first... then consider what depth of water you'd like to keep them at. Only then can you select a lighting scheme that will satisfy the needs of the animals you seek. Else you are putting the "cart before the horse"> also I've read that the pc's actinic are not true blue actinics like the VHO's. but the PC.s come ready to run {in this case} and don't seem like a bad deal....please help me   <let me make your life easy <G>. Against my own grain, I'll suggest from Go that you buy a 2- bulb, 150 watt each, double-ended HQI 10K set-up. With this, you can keep almost anything in tanks up to even 120 gall (48" long) and as much as 24" deep. Beyond that or for perspective, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm best regards, Anthony>

Not interested in reading or listening 2/18/03 original message:  "Please help with lighting quick!" Hi thanks for the quick reply.....maybe I should have been more specific. <and reading the links we cut and paste for you in previous replies would help too. My next step is voice recordings for you to listen to in the car <G>. Please help yourself and at least read the links we hand you (trying to save you time navigating the vast FAQs)>> I do not have to be able to grow the sps and high light corals... would just like basically light for a FOWLR.. <that's not what you said in the last e-mail or below for that matter> that will support a host anemone and live rock and its inhabitants. If I had an anemone on the lower level {would it climb up} could I than add maybe a few lower light corals up top for a little variety and color... <as stated above. And please recall my reply to this exact same question in your last e-mail: "under no circumstance IMO can you responsibly mix a motile anemone with sessile corals. Please research more or simply pick one or the other" I cannot be any clearer than saying "under no circumstance" if you are asking for my advice/opinion> I really want a pre-assembled fixture I don't want to have to worry about hanging my light, would prefer tank top all the MH HQIs I just saw were very expensive... vs. the JBJ formosa 4x65 I can get now for $245!!! <you ask again for a recommendation... but refuse to read the data and links provided (the last article link sent to you spelled out exactly why the HQIs were a better value regarding the cost of fluorescent lamp replacements and PAR per watts produced).> I know I'm probably getting in over my head, but I cant help myself. I guess the bottom line is could I accomplish this... with this fixture or would I be wasting my money. Oh yeah about the pc actinics... are they not true actinics <since you are asking for advice (again) on the best average light for the widest possible variety of animals (sps, LPS, anemones, etc)... then I will repeat my advice (again): "let me make your life easy <G>. Against my own grain [sparing you from researching and helping yourself here], I'll suggest from Go that you buy a 2- bulb, 150 watt each, double-ended HQI 10K set-up. With this, you can keep almost anything in tanks up to even 120 gall (48" long) and as much as 24" deep." Peter... we are here to help you... not enable you. 'Give a man a fish he eats for a day.. teach him to fish... he eats for his whole life.' If you won't help yourself... at least respect our time and only ask the same question once, please. Good luck>

Electricity Consumption Hello All! My wife has noticed that my electric bill has doubled since starting this hobby.  I am ok with it but am a little concerned because I have not yet put into service my 2 X 150 MH lights.  Here is where my question originates...Can I run my MH for 3 or 4 hours and let two 40 watt actinic lights provide the morning and late afternoon light?  Is the photo period sufficient for soft corals (I don't have any yet)?  I currently have a button polyp, mushroom anemone, a candy cane coral, and a Trachyphyllia. Can I run one for a shorter period while one runs longer?  Or, should I simply use the lights and buck -up about it? <You'll have to buck up and light those metal halides up. Remember, these produce heat, so your heater won't run at all during the day (unless it's REALLY cold where your tank is. I'll bet your heater is 200-300 watts, as are the metal halides. A wash during the day. Your corals need twelve hours of light a day. Lower or higher light levels cannot be equated with shorter or longer photoperiod. Also, should I re-evaluate the pump I am currently using (Aqua-Medic 2500)?  Any insight would be appreciated by my wife and by default myself... Scott from Colorado <I don't know Scott, you don't provide tank volume, size, etc. Reefs require anywhere from 10 to 20 times total volume turnover, if your pump is too much for this, then it is possible to downsize. I would compare power usage for any pumps you consider, and figure how long it would take to pay back the replacement cost using any possible power savings.  Craig>

Replacing VHO lamps Hi to you all, <Hi Helene, Don here tonight> As always things happen on Sundays... We just tried to replace our bulbs on the 75 gallon.  They sort of came in in drips and drabs to the LFS and we replaced one actinic white VHO and one actinic VHO about 1 month ago.....the final white arrived this week and of course when we opened it...ta da...it was actinic and not white. Can I run the two actinics with one white? The old white is at least 1 year and 2 months old....it took a while.... I am afraid it is good for nothing..... When I order the correct one.... should I change to a actinic, a white actinic and a half and half.... I also worry a bit that when we built our light hood that they are a bit too far away from the water's surface. <You don't say, but if a reef then 2/1 in favor of the white, if FO FOWLR then whatever it takes to see you fish> Thank you for any help....dig ya later.....Helene

Lighting question: the best bulbs are...??  (02/16/03) Sorry to keep hounding you guys, but I'm going to anyway.  :) <That's what we're here for, just gluttons for punishment... oops, I mean, fun! Seriously, if we didn't like doing this, we wouldn't.> Reading a couple of articles on the WetWebMedia I have drawn the conclusion that you seem to prefer NO fluorescent over any other light source. <For the typical fish-only or fish-only with live rock tank, and most freshwater tanks, yes... but definitely not in all cases.> I need to ask a few qualifying questions.  I have heard that metal halide lights are better at penetrating the water than fluorescent... is this true?   <Yep.> I have a 24" deep tank with 2-3" of substrate... will fluorescent be good enough?   <As always, it depends on what you want to have in the tank.> I'm sure more information is required to answer that question, so here goes: I would like to house mostly SPS and clams and because of my tank's dimensions I would have to use VHO rather than NO fluorescent... 440 watts for a 90 gallon tank.  By the (albeit, rudimentary) rules of thumb, almost 5 watts/gallon should be sufficient for these creatures.   <Hunh. Some SPS's need more light than others. The same is true of clams. The most brightly-colored clams might want more light than that.> This number isn't far off the 500 watts of metal halide my LFS wants to get me into for about $1000 US.  Are watts watts, and lumens lumens, or is there a difference in the quality of the light from each source.   <I'm learning to really dislike wattage as a measurement of lighting. It's how much energy the bulb uses, not how bright the bulb is. That's why you see those fancy fluorescent bulbs labeled with things like "11 watts -- as bright as a 60 watt bulb!" (or whatever the exact numbers are). There is a noticeable difference in the way VHOs look vs. the way metal halides look, not to mention the differences in the way various colors of bulb look.> I really like the affordability of the Ice Cap electronic VHO ballast system (both up front, and in terms of energy costs). <You also need to consider bulb replacement costs. You're looking at several VHO bulbs, replaced at six-to-nine month intervals vs. two metal halide bulbs, replaced at twelve-to-fifteen month intervals.> Related to that:  the articles go on to say that the effective life (not actual life) of all the bulbs tends to be the same, and all should be replaced approximately every year.   <Hmmm. Probably more true when it was written than now, as bulb manufacturers are making improvements and changes... > My LFS sells Coralife VHO tubes at very reasonable prices, and assuming the bulbs all last about the same amount of time, the VHO seems to be the best cost / watt X hour factor of any lighting system (including MH and power compact).  Your thoughts please. <Do some more comparison shopping, particularly at the on-line sources for lighting.> Finally: two articles actually list the effective life of fluorescents at different values;  one says 1 year, one says 2.  What's the final word on this (my instinct says 1 year)?   <I hesitate to give a "final" wording on this... But my gut tells me that effective life over the display tank might be one year, with possibly another year over the refugium....> How close to the surface of the tank could I situate the 4VHO tube configuration I'm thinking about to maximize the light that penetrates the water. <I would recommend metal halides instead, perhaps with VHO or compact fluorescent actinics. The actinics could be situated a couple of inches above the water, as long as you have them behind something to keep the salt spray away from them and adequate cooling in the canopy.> Again, thanks for your input, and know that I made every effort to actually try to figure something out for myself before I came crying to you guys.  :) Jeremy <You're welcome, and thanks for doing the research first. --Ananda>

Tank Setup, Lighting and Long Nose Butterfly Hi, Your web site is extremely helpful.  I have a couple of questions regarding my new tank setup. I just setup a custom 275 gal (68"L x 31"W x 30"H) FOWLR tank about 3 month ago.  I have a sump with dual bio balls and an EuroReef CS12-1 skimmer. First of all, is this ok?  Do you think the skimmer is too big for the setup?  Do I need to remove the bio balls? <The skimmer is fine, this is one of those things where bigger is better. The bioballs will produce nitrates over time and are best removed over time as long as you have enough live rock and sand to handle biocapacity.> Also, I am not sure what to do about the lighting.  I might keep some corals in the future.  Do I need MH with PC?  My canopy is about 7" tall, can I get MH?  Should I get a retro fit system? <This purely depends on what type of corals you wish to keep and how much PC lighting you have. 30" is rather deep for VHO/PC, you may need MH and you may need to alter/aggressively ventilate your hood with MH.> I currently have the following fishes that I brought from Hawaii when I was there: 1. yellow tang 2. Naso tang 3. long nose butterfly 4. red flame angel 5. speckled butterfly 6. threadfin butterfly I also have 2 cleaner shrimps from before.  Everything is going well, all the fishes are very active and eating a lot.  A couple of weeks ago, I started feeding the fishes some frozen mysis shrimps, clams, brine shrimps, etc.  Then one day I see the long nose and others ate my two cleaner shrimps.  Is this normal? <Apparently!> Is it because I started feeding them the mysis shrimps that they develop the appetite to eat my cleaner shrimps?  What can I do now because I would like to have shrimps in my tank. <No, it's not from feeding Mysis. It was because the fish were hungry and could eat a shrimp. If your fish eat them, you can't keep them.> Again, thank you for you help. John Tong <Hope this helps!  Craig>

Xenia Scrubber lighting? - 2/15/03 I wanted to start by saying how much I enjoy all of your commentary and how much I have benefited from your advise to myself and others.   <thanks kindly> I have a fairly easy question, I believe.  What is the light requirement over a 20 gal long tank with a 4" DSB used as Xenia scrubber, keeping in mind that the sand will make the water fairly shallow? Thank you all again!! Ed, New Jersey <something around 100 watts of fluorescent would be very nice with a good reflector. Many soft corals could take even less, but xenia are nearly-fully autotrophic. For DIY: four 20 watt daylight tubes from the hardware store would still work well. Best regards, Anthony>

75g Reef Tank Lighting/Coral Level Question  - 2/15/03 Hello,<Hey there! Phil here!> I am a saltwater aquarium Fan of 1 1/2 years with the tank I have now. I have had a saltwater tank before (back about 14 yrs.)  I had crushed coral on the tank's floor, No Living Coral, Dead Coral rocks stacked for hiding spots for the fish. I had clown fish, anemone (i tried to keep them), & I had for just over a year one pair of Seahorses. (When I bought them POPPA was not far from Delivery Day.) I asked the shop owner that I bought the horses from If I would need a nursery tank for the young horses & I was told NO THE young HORSES would find hiding spots & nothing I had already would eat the young. Yes, I bit on that info & about 10 days later POPPA HORSE started delivery for about 1 1/2 days. I lost all the young in 2 days. I now have a 75 Gal tank with an EMPEROR Dual Bio-wheel Filter System, A 48" 100Watt high output compact Florescent strip light, The light system is on a timer that is on roughly 11 1/2 hrs. I have Fish wise 1 Yellow Tang, 3 Common Clowns, 4 Blue devil damsels, 1 Goby (not sure on species), 2 flame scallop. I also have 1 pink tipped anemone I have in the area of LIVING Coral; 1 candy coral, 1 Open Brain Coral, 1 Bubble Coral, 1 Colt Coral, & 1 Frogspawn coral. Now I have a Orange Tree Gorgonian also. I'm not too sure what class to put that. Now I am not sure if one type of coral goes HIGH LEVEL, or mid range, or LOW range (meaning setting in the sand or on the sand or a couple inches off the sand). My highest point of coral is about 7" under the waterline. I have the Open brain, Bubble coral, Colt coral, Frogspawn coral sitting on the top level of the coral. My Candy coral is about 4 1/2" from the bottom of the tank. My Orange Tree Gorgonian is braced in the sand.  I've read that the Frogspawn can shock other Living coral. Is this true? I am planning on moving the Colt Coral to the sand, putting some of its base into the sand, is this GOOD, BAD, or does it matter? Can I put the Open Brain coral on the floor too? My Orange Tree Gorgonian is about a month old for my tank, I have not seen any feathery arms from it at a Day or Night time period. It is also getting a green Algae cover to it. What can I do to help it? <Well Randy.  I've talked to Ananda and this is what we have come up with.  The corals you have you are going to need a LOT more light!  At least 200 watts, better is 250-300 watts.  The Orange Tree Gorgonian needs a powerhead to create some water movement.  The 4 damsels will be problems in the not so distant future.  Place the corals in this "order":  brain on the sand... colt on the sand... others up on the rock.  To clean off the Gorgonian take a very soft brush and gently brush off and algae.  Keep the coral IN THE WATER!!  You don't say if you have a skimmer, you really should have one!!  They will help keep the green algae levels down.  Also what are you feeding your anemone?  Please see... www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm Give all this a try and let me know how it works!!  Best wishes...  Phil>

Clam Bake? I am setting up a new 120G tank(48"L 24"W 24"D).I am interested in keeping clams and LPS corals. Do you think that using 2 250W MH and 2 24W PC actinic is better or using 8 55W PC? <I like the halides and the 2 24-watt PC's, myself...Make sure that the LPS are not in the brightest sections of the tank, as many come from rather turbid water and may prefer slightly indirect lighting...Good luck with this setup! Regards, Scott F>

55 Gallon Lighting Question - 2/15/03 Hi,<Hey there! Phil here!> I have a 55 gallon marine fish only tank. I have a single fluorescent bulb and there is a lot of brown and red algae. I have very little green algae. I can get a power compact system that is 4x55 but would that be too much light. I want the brown and red to go away and the green algae to grow. I have my skimmer working great, a nitrate sponge, and a phosphate sponge but the brown and red algae is still there. The lighting is the only thing I can think of that is causing this. I have the light on for about 10 hours a day. What would be the best lighting system for this tank? Would 4x55 be to much? How long should I have the light on? Thank you very much for your time and help. Thanks again, Andy<Well Andy, I'm glad the skimmer is working good.  It is one of the best ways to reduce nutrients in your tank.  You don't say anything about having a filter.  The sponges are nice but if this tank has little live rock there may not be adequate filtration.  Those little Aqua Clear power filter are great, not too costly.  What are your water parameters?  How often for you do water changes?  Remember that a skimmer should be producing a good dark cup of skimmate every other day.  When I first setup my 55 it came w/ strip lighting.  It was an "Aquarium Growth" bulb.  It caused a little more algae than normal to grow but not much more.  Look at your water first, as I believe that's where the problem is.  For a fish only tank I don't think you need high wattage lights, what you have should be fine.  Hope this helps!  Phil> 

Reef Lighting placement and duration - 2/15/03 Hi Guys. I have a question about lighting quantities for a 180 gal reef tank. I have some pics on your WWF site under "Tigers". I have been running setup since 12-01-00 ,2 -96 watts pc daylight ,2-96 watt pc actinic , 2 175watt my ,and 2 -34 watt pc (dawn dusk) .The pc bleached out the ripple affect you get from the halides (blue line 10k). <on a note of personal preference... I really do not like what blue line lamps do (don't do) for coral growth/color> My pc are fried now and need to be replaced but I want to go with 2 175 watt 10k Ushios bulbs for a total of 4 175 watt (.2 ,10k Blueline and 2,10k Ushios) <the Ushios are a much better choice IMO> My tank is a 180 gal oceanic with the glass center brace. Would you put 1 bl. and 1 Ushios on each side? <nope... I would pair the Ushios on the interior and flank them with the bluelines> The wattage is a little less than before.(4- 96 w=384,2-175=350) Any help with placement and lighting duration would be a great help . Thanks Robert McNinch <at 175 watts... I would keep them 6-9" off water surface and run them for about 8-10 hours. Kind regards, Anthony>

Lighting research recommendations  - 2/15/03 Charmer... me...? At least I'm trying to find some answers myself before bothering you guys ;) <true indeed <G>> But seriously, I do try to find out all I can first, and you guys fill in the missing pieces... it's much appreciated! What book(s) would you recommend to find out which corals I can manage with only moderate lighting? Jeremy <for how fast the industry evolves... I would look first to the magazine articles of folks like Sanjay Joshi and Dana Riddle of Riddle laboratories. For specific recommendations by coral species... Sprung lists broad and general ranges in his Oceanographic series of books... I list specific bulb colors per genera in my Book of Coral Propagation. You can get the condensed version of that for free on my lighting article posted here on wetwebmedia.com in the archives. FWIW... my current "all-purpose" favorite for shallow aquarium (under 30") is double ended HQI 10K lamps. Best regards, Anthony>

Help making final lighting decision - 2/14/03 Hey guys! I know what you are thinking, this guy is killing us. <nope... just think you need to take the time to pick your corals first <G>. And be specific. Otherwise, it's like trying to buy gasoline for the car you don't own yet otherwise> But I want to just get some things straight to make sure I don't waste money nor do I get the wrong thing. I have a 125 G FOWLR with thick center brace and am having troubles deciding on the type of lighting upgrade I want so I can move into the reef realm. What would be your suggestion on lighting for this tank? <two halides mounted horizontally with parabolic reflectors (spyders) of 10K color (Ushio or Aqualine brands)... to be placed centered over each side of the tank (No... you do not need three halides here <G>). Buy 175 watt lamps if you will keep soft coral or LPS... get 250 watt lamps if you prefer clams, anemones or sps> I have no specific type of specimens in mind, but truly love anemones and mushroom coral. <those two creatures are on completely opposite ends of the lighting spectrum and the anemones categorically die in time when mixed with corals. If you want an anemone... one per tank... and species tanks are best. If you are new to marines (less than 2 years)...do not pick an anemone, please> I was told having the center brace may block out some light from the middle bulb if I go with 3 x 175 W Iwasaki 6500 K bulbs. <agreed> So here is a quick run down of my questions: >- Should I go with 3 x 175 Watt? <no> >- What would be the best bulb for good color rendition on a beginner reef tank (not to yellow)? <10K... not 14 or 20K (too blue and not needed for most coral... nice color though)> >- What type of tank would this be? (low light, Medium, high) <as per above wattages> >- and any beginner specimens you might suggest I try <start with colorful soft corals and avoid all stonies at first (LPS and SPS)> It was suggested I go with dual 400 Watt, but then I was told that it would scorch most of the beginner corals and fish. <I would never recommend a 400watt for this tank under most any circumstance. Irresponsible> You can see my post in the DIYers forum for more info. At this point I am confused...... :-( <you are only confused because you are trying to put the cart before the horse, bud. Do you really want to pick a lighting scheme and then have to cater your animal selections around what you bought? Is this an aquarium or a coaster for the sexy light canopy to show off <G>? Decide your corals and then the answer to lighting will be clear and immediate (as outlined in my lighting article on WWM as per water depth and species selection)> Tim Reading, PA <cheers, bub. Anthony>

Lighting question - 2/14/03 You guys might not be the best to ask, <are you trying to sweet-talk us already? You little charmer.> but all the so-called "lighting experts" I've called don't even know what a 10,000K bulb is (they thought I wanted 1000 watt bulbs, and I had to tell them what the difference was)!!! Will any metal halide ballast run any metal halide bulb (as long as the socket connection is correct; i.e. mogul)?   <nope> Someone told me you need a special ballast to run the 10,000K bulbs, <that is correct for some (limited) MH lamps. Some industrial cheap-o DIY ballasts lack a capacitor... er... something. I was warned against this myself, didn't believe it at first. The outcome... one bulb would not light... the other exploded (I was warned his could happen too)> but given the ignorance of all the lighting shops near me, I thought I'd ask you.   <because we are similarly ignorant <G>. You are still trying to charm the answers out of us, you cheeky monkey!> It seems to me that the spectrum of the bulb should have very little to do with the ballast controlling it.   <its not about spectrum as I understand it> I'm trying to build my own MH system and want to save some money. In the mean time before I upgrade to the MH system, would 2 40-watt bulbs (one 50/50, one actinic) be sufficient for fish only?   <very fine> Would you recommend adding another two bulbs (I already have the ballasts for this) to get better algae growth, <agreed> and if so what spectrum do you recommend (the LFS has daylight, 50/50, actinic, 10,000K and 20,000K).   <daylight for most algae growth... 50/50 for a better aesthetic color> Are there any corals that could be stocked in my 90 gal. (24" deep) with just 160 watts of fluorescent? < a limited number, yes. Some LPS and more than a few Corallimorphs. Some Zoanthids too. And many soft corals if kept within 10-12 inches of the surface> Thanks very much, Jeremy <best regards, Anthony>

Reef Lighting hi there this is Genaro   what will it be  a good setup  for lighting a 48in long 18in tall 15in wide reef tank this is what I have 2 My 100 55k  I have a electronic ballast 660  a 10 in tall canopy thank you again. <Hello Genaro, Don here. Your light selection will be based solely on what type of livestock you are planning for your tank. See here for general specifications, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm and follow the links at the top of the page for more.>

The Blue Light Special? Hi guys, over my 130g FOWLR tank I have two 6 foot tank lights (the common heavy black metal ones sold in LFS's) that hold 4- 36 inch tube bulbs each. I am getting new bulbs tomorrow, they have all Phillips bulbs,5000k,10000k and actinic- all 30 watts. What would you suggest I go with for all 8? <It really depends on the types of animals you're gonna be keeping...some prefer more "daylight" color temps, while other animals prefer more blue spectrum. When in doubt, I'd go for a 2 to 1 mix of daylight to actinic. If you're weird, like me, and enjoy more "blue", I'd go with 1:1 daylight to actinic> I once read that the 5000k ones can contribute to hair algae (Albert Thiel article) <You may want to re-read that again...Light itself is not a cause of nuisance algae...Really a function of nutrients AND light together...Excessive nutrient levels and high light together will result in serious algae blooms, however!> I was thinking 2 10000k in the back and front and 4 blue actinics in the middle, sound good? or will that be to blue? <Yep- dude! I like it! Blue is cool! You an always rotate out some actinics if it's an affront to your aesthetic sensibilities (or, more important-intolerable for your animals)...> And, for a dumb question- is this considered NO lighting? Or VHO? <Not a dumb question! 30watt bulbs are normal output...VHO's are usually higher wattages (75 to 160 watts)...Always good to know. ....Thanks guys.... <Any time! Regards, Scott F>

More Amped? Scott, <Here I am!> Hey there! Regarding calculating watts & amps...I wrote: "Am I to assume that the ballast draws 2.3 amps at 250 watts, and therefore the MH bulb also draws the same amt of current?   So the ballast and bulb = 4.6 amps of juice?  Or is the 2.3 amps written on the ballast, the TOTAL draw on both the ballast and bulb? <Yep!> Gracias, Steve <Any time! Regards, Scott F>" You said "Yep!", but to which? LOL <Duuuude- that'll teach me to stop answering FAQs at 2:00AM.. Sorry!> Does the metal halide ballast draw 2.3 amps at 250 watts, AS WELL As the 250 watt metal halide bulb drawing 2.3 amps at 250 watts? <Nope- the ballast draws 2.3 amps...total of 2.3 amps with bulb> Thing is, what if I plugged my MH ballast in, and turned it on, sans bulb (without the bulb plugged in). <The ballast would draw 2.3 amps...the bulb needs the "juice" put out by the ballast to run...it's the "consumer" of the power produced by the amp...I can hear every electrician out there sighing when they read that analogy! But- I think you get the picture, right?> You're telling me that I'd be pulling 2.3 amps when there isn't even any bulb in the ballast, but when there is one in there, I'd be pulling 4.6 amps total between the two items? <Nope- 2.3 amps only!> That seems like a LOT of amps to be drawing. especially if one has his entire aquarium on a 15 - 20 amp breaker, no? <You'd be "financially challenged" to keep a system running if that were the case!> Regards, Steve <Sorry for the confusion, Steve! Hope this clears up some confusion! Scott F>

Lighting change question I have reef-ish setup with 70+ pounds of Fiji live rock and 50+ pounds of aragonite sand.  The tank is a 90 (48/18/24) a wet dry with an ev-90 skimmer in the sump.  I turn over 800+ gallons an hour in the filter system.  An additional two powerheads in the tank moving things around.  My question is about lighting.  10 weeks ago I switched from standard 40 watt fluorescent lighting, I had 6 or 240 watts total, to a VHO system with 440 watts now.  I have noticed a significant change in the algae growth both on the glass, powerheads, substrate and rocks.  I had coralline on the back and 80% of the rock covered.  Now I see a shift to less coralline and more diatom growth.  I thought by switching to a better source of lighting I would have less algae and have found that untrue.<yes>  It looks as though the tank is partially recycling.  I had a terrible algae growth when I first setup the system along with Cyanobacteria heavily growing on everything that did not move.  The water is good, no ammonia or nitrite.  Less than 10 on nitrate and I stopped testing phosphates, I could not find an accurate test for them.  I am hoping to try a few hearty corals soon, I have a small colt frag not doing so well.  It was in poor shape when I received it and it is not seating no matter what I do.  I have always received fantastic advice before and I thought I would ask you guys again. <Nutrient export, water movement, and nutrient competition should help control algae. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm> Thank you for your time. <No Problem, Don>

Throwing A Little Light On Things Hi <Hi there! Scott F with you today!> I am starting a 75 gal. reef tank I have about 70lbs of live rock and was planning on getting a some soft corals and a few fish. Do you know anything about Coralife Aqualight Deluxe Series 48" 4x65 Watt lamps strip? Is it any good, and is it enough light? Thanks <These are compact fluorescent units, and will definitely provide sufficient light for many soft corals, depending upon where you place them in the tank. You can mix actinic and daylight spectrum as needed to accommodate the animals you want to keep. Coralife makes many fine products, and they are justifiably popular. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F>

Reef Lighting 2/6/03 I an in the process of setting up a 55 gal. reef and have an icecap 430 ballast with three 36" URI 95W bulbs (one of each type Actinic, 50/50 and AquaSun) <nice lighting... rather appropriate for a 55 gall. Kudos> I don't think I will have any SPS coral or clams but I would like to have other types in the medium light individuals i.e. button polyp, Hairy Mushrooms, Brain etc. Do you think I am weak on lighting? <not at all... quite fine. Keep most of your specimens in the top 12" of water and all will go swimmingly> Where do you think I stand in the scheme of things? <very realistic (the no sps and no clams thing). I appreciate your resistance to the silly marketing and mantras of hardcore sps keepers to put banks of metal halides on small and medium shallow tanks. I even specifically favor the brand of bulbs you have chosen. Do enjoy!> Thanks Dennis Vigliotte <best regards, Anthony>

Stressed out on lighting  2/6/03 Hi crew, sigh...even though I've read tons on lighting (esp. Anthony's article - very good read), I'm stressed :) <no worries... and easy matter to solve relative to what you want to keep and how deep your water is> I'm just not sure of which direction to take on this matter. Presently I have a 96w Pc strip (smart lamp) on my 55gal SW tank. <weak to moderate light even for soft corals> I just have a DSB, LR, and a few fish so far. I'd like to house some corals, not too much. Mainly polyps, mushrooms, a bubble, frogspawn, and xenia at the very most. <good... hardy and not too demanding... although I'd suggest you emphasize one or the other... softies or LPS> So what's the best upgrade available? <in a perfect work... two 150 watt double ended HQIs at 10K. Or... a 4-pack of 48" VHOs (URI split color between daylight and 50/50 or blue)> I'm thinking I can either add another 96w PC strip to a hood I will be making (with fans). That enough light? <a little modest but could work> Or would a 175w MH retrofit lamp be a better value to go with the PC I have? <hmmm... the addition of a MH is definitely the best long-term solution (Value... lamp changes, electricity, etc)> I know MH lamps last much longer too. <yes... huge diff... 6-10 month (Fluor) versus 2-5 years for MH> Hmm. I know with the MH option, it's more watts, <for xenia and the Zoanthids yes perhaps... for the bubble coral and most mushrooms (except high light Ricordeas) not> but is it needed for theses corals? If so, what lamp would be best? 10,000? <a fine average color indeed> Any help would be much appreciated :)Thanks. Toast <adding a 10K Ushio to your PCs sounds like a good compromise to me. Anthony>

Stressed out on lighting Hmm, hey Anthony thanks for the reply. I was just thinking (amazing huh?), since you have high regard for URI VHO lighting, if retrofitting 2-48" 110w of those lights into my hood to go with my 96w PC strip would be a good/better option for me? <i like the color of VHOs very much... but favor halides overall. The choice you make really depends on the corals kept and the depth of water at which you like to keep them. VHOs/PC.s are still only good over shallow water (say 20" and under). Even then most corals will need to be near the surface (top 12" ideally). The bulbs also need to be mounted VERY close to the water to be useful (3" or less)> The 2 bulbs wouldn't take much more room than 1-96w PC fixture would they? <not sure> If I do this, should I eventually change my 50/50 lamp on my PC to a 100% actinic bulb and the 2 VHO bulbs, should they both be 10,000's? <or even warmer (towards 650-0K with a 100% blue pc)> Or still think I should just go for the MH bulb? <MH is the best value IMO... bulb life, light per watt produced, trueness of color over time, etc> (BTW-should MH's be 10" above acrylic tanks?) <correct.. not too much closer> PS. What is it that you like so much about the URI's? Spectrum, reliability, value? <quality control and useful PAR (color for growing coral fast)> Thanks once again (it's late, my brain works best at this time). I really appreciate this. Toast. <best regards, Anthony>

Couple questions As usual, quick response! <hey... that's what my ex-girlfriend used to say?!?> Thanks a bunch. <she never said that> Any suggestions on my lighting. <yep... cut a hole in your roof and put in a skylight> I am hitting That FP this weekend. I have 12 spots for 36" bulbs. What would be a good mix for a FOWLR with possible Shrooms and other low light stuff in the future? <not sure... I think the number "12" is a typo above and you meant "2" and if so, it is rather modest lighting> Is there any bulb you would suggest or ones to stay away from? <definitely... I have used literally cases of URI bulbs in my commercial endeavors... long since the favorite AFTER a few cases Coralife bulbs... which I would not take for free at this point> I was looking at the Hagen power glow and the marine glow as the mix. <Hmmm...I suppose with only 2 spots, a full daylight  plus one 50/50 would be your best bet as long as you would not miss the blue color too much (else 2- 50/50, or 1 blue and 1 day)> Cash flow is tight so I need something middle of the road that won't break the bank. Oh, and I got a shipment from IndoPacific today of Red Tang Heaven per your suggestion to combat other undesirable algae. <excellent> It was damaged from the cold or possible heat pack damage (turned orange and now is light green). <actually... its largely the lack of light. Gracilaria needs bright light. Keep it shallow and it will not be expensive to illuminate and grow> I have to tell you, these guys rule! He had another shipment out the door before I even read the reply! <agreed... I have great admiration for Mr. Heslinga and IndoPacificSeaFarms.com > All future buys go to them and I would suggest you all do the same. Do you know the proper way to hold red tang heaven in your refugium? Free float or mount on rocks at the bottom? <I strongly prefer free-floating with a tumbling motion... this improves growth and reduces the amount of light needed> My power heads want to suck it in and dice it up. DOH! <I don't use power heads, bud. I think they suck... try to keep it to a minimum. in the meantime... Hagen makes a filter cage for their power heads ("Quick Filter")... you can pull the floss media out and just use the cage as a gross pre-filter> Again, all hail WWM! Later! <Hmm... do we have to wear togas now?> Tim Reading, PA <ciao, bub. Anthony>

Re: Reef Lighting 2/6/03 Actually I do have 12 slots for (12) individual 36" bulbs with remote mounted ballasts. <wow... fascinating... and a complete waste of time/electricity <G>. Even if you could get the bulbs for $10 each (good luck), they would need changed every 6-10 months. $200 yearly (if lamps are $10 ea) for 360 watts of poor quality light. Doesn't sound like a plan to me :) Too much of low grade light> I was actually looking into the triton and blue moon combo as the bulbs I will switch to. <I'm OK with Triton (kinda like 'em)... still... I strongly favor URI for quality and trueness of color> Since you responded I was digging around my junk parts at the warehouse I run. I found 2 RUUD HID lamps with ballasts. Ugghh... yes, the industrial lamp fixtures and their affordability have fueled the misuse of high watt MH in the hobby> They have huge shields on them and will take up to a 400 Watt bulb ( http://www.ruudlighting.com/literature/spec_sheets/A1.pdf) that is an example of what they look like but not the exact model. I was wondering if I could use these instead? <perhaps not... all reef lamps will work in industrial fixtures (some don't light... some explode. I had the latter happen twice)> They are the kind you see hanging in warehouses using mercury vapor bulbs but will accept MH bulbs as well. They were going to throw them out. I might snag them.... <if you could get it to run a 175 watt 10 K Ushios, we'd be in business :) Anthony>

2/6/03 - Lighting Hi crew, what's shaking? <Not much. How you doin?> Hope I can get your opinion on a lighting problem. <Sure> I have a 55g (48x13x20) tank that has just a 36'' 96w PC strip on it.<Oh?> I'm looking to upgrade the lighting so my LFS has agreed to take my present lighting as a trade towards a brand new light fixture they just received. <very cool> It's a Coralife 4x65w 260w metal canopy housed system (pic below) that has an acrylic lens cover. It has small fans (4) on it that blow and pull air to the built in ballasts and not over the bulbs as far as I can see. I've included a picture of the top of my acrylic tank. Will this new system be too hot for my acrylic? <Never hurts to have the hood set off the top of the tank an inch or two, but I believe the fans and the lens will help dissipate the heat. Also, most of the hoods these days have little "feet" to raise the light fixture off the tank a few centimeters. Now, if this was a metal halide, that would be a different story ;) I wouldn't worry much about it. Keep an eye on it.> The middle has bowed a bit from my present light although with the new 4x65w setup there would be less intensity on that center piece. The new system would reach right to the ends. <Always a good thing to have good coverage. Much more aesthetic> What do you think? <Well I think that the lighting system is fine, but it is a relative to what animals you are planning to keep. I like PCs but I have always followed the general rule for lighting vs. tank depth and light output/PAR etc. More info can be found in various books, magazines and for sure here at WetWebMedia. Check this stuff out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm. Also check the reef bulletin boards on various sites to see if your brand/model you are looking into is reliable. See if anyone else has noticed a high heat exchange/output. Other than that I would go for it and not worry much about the heat. Keep an eye out for bowing and lift the fixture off the acrylic if it becomes a problem. Feel the acrylic after the lights have been on for hour or two.> Thanks so much :) <Hope I was of some help. Thanks for the pics. Paul - out!>

Re: Reef Optix III know you have a post on this but I can't find it.  You like these double ended Reef Optix III pendants, right? <Go to the WetWebMedia.com homepage, put the term "reef optix" in the search tool at the bottom... voila! Bob Fenner>

- More Questions - thanks for your help...when you say to turn the lights on 1 at a time and gradually lengthen the photoperiod over weeks or months. is that turn on the VHOs for 6 hrs ,i MH for 6 hrs and 1 MH for 3 hrs gradually increasing to 10 -12 hrs for all or only turn on the VHO for 6 hrs then few wks later 1 MH etc? <The latter.> in regards to the carbon should i get poly bags in sump and only leave them in for short time...or a magnum filter only using it to polish the water...i should not run carbon continuous correct? <You can do either or...> and finally what about uv? <I wouldn't bother with it.> thanks <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Natural sunlight Hi Crew, <Hello> I have a 90 gallon reef tank that I am going to move next weekend so it will get some natural sunlight. I have timed it and in total the whole tank will be exposed for 3 hours. Sweet! <Nice> So now here is my question. The tank will be hit with this light from noon to three, should I keep my MH on for the normal 10 hours a day, or because of this supplement should I cut it back some. By that I mean should I have the MH come on after three and then for only 7 hours. Or just let the MH be on the time I have scheduled now (10am-8pm) and just have the sunlight as a bonus? <depends on how strong the natural sunlight is, 7-8 hours of MH should work well.  Best Regards, Gage> Thank you millions, Karl

Lighting As a rookie I am overwhelmed by all the information on lighting.  <<You are lucky, I am confused as soon as I get out of bed<G>>> I currently have  normal output 2x15 lamps, one 10K and one 50/50.  I have learned quickly I want more, especially since I want to establish a reef tank with some fish.  But I don't know what type animals I want yet.  Am I going backwards?  My tank is a 45 hex approximately 24" deep.  I want the tank to be very aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.  I am considering imitating the dawn/dusk cycle which got me looking at PC actinics.  Does it matter one way or the other to imitate a dawn/dusk cycle? <<Can be positive>> Is it more or less healthy on the occupants?  Or is that more a preference of the owner?  <<more the former>> The deep tank has got me looking at MH.  I was offered by a store a combo that includes a 2x36 actinic PC fixture with electric ballast and a 175w 10K MH with a magnetic ballast.  What is the difference in ballast?  Is this enough light?  Too much?  Right Equipment?  What type "look" will the two lights together create?  Just the MH?  Would this amount of light generally suffice for low light through high light requirements in my tank?  I realize it would make your life easier if I could class the type species of animals I want but I don't know and don't know enough about what they look like to decide right now.  I'm trying to merge a good mix of light to be sufficient to house just about whatever I see at the pet store at the same time making it very nice looking.  <<Yikes, be careful using this 'criteria' when selecting livestock. Please research first and buy after you decide you can provide proper husbandry/environment>> Is that the million dollar question? I have become so confused so if you can keep it simple for this guy I would appreciate it.  You experience and suggestions will be invaluable to an overwhelmed but fascinated new hobbyist. <<Russ, maybe time to look at some of the info here. Start at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corllgtg.htm and beyond. In a nutshell, electronic ballast, cooler/more costly/ magnetic, more heat/less costly (generally) Most (all?) fluorescent use electronic Metal Halide you have a choice. Metal Halide is generally more costly up front, but bulbs have a much longer lifetime that offsets over time. Many like the halide for the 'shimmer' effect it gives. If you decide MH I would think the 175 you described earlier would be a good choice. See if there is a marine society or other stores in your area so YOU can SEE what each looks like. Very subjective to the individual. As I said before, PLEASE go slow and research before you buy. and keep asking questions. Happy reefing, Don>> Russ Carothers

Fish sleeping? Hi WWM crew, I have one innocent question about fish. Do fish sleep?  Because I have like 3 tangs, blue, Achilles, and Naso swimming around 24/7. They don't seem to be sleeping or hiding at night. Is it harmful to give them too much light?  As in leave the light on for about 20 hours?  Thanks <They should be sleeping, although sometimes you would never know it. Go with a normal 12 hour photoperiod, 20 hours is too long, esp. if you are concerned about sleep.  Yawn.....Craig>

In Need of Enlightenment... Hi, <Hey there! Scott F with you today!> I'm trying to figure out the best way to go with lighting my 90g FOWLR.  I currently just use a standard output fluorescent, dual 48" strip (plastic type).  I was considering converting this to a VHO setup using an IceCap ballast, but thought maybe the heat from the lamps may be too much for just a regular strip.  What do you think?  Is there a considerable amount of more heat that is produced with VHO lamps (110w)?   <While there might be some additional heat produced by VHO, I'd still recommend VHO over SO fluorescents for two reasons- first, the power (in terms of spectral energy) is greater than that put out by SO fluorescents. Second- if you ever plan on moving into the reef game, at the very least, VHO is a nice supplemental lighting system to more sophisticated setups, such as halides, etc. BTW, I think Ice Cap ballasts are great!> My other option is to just purchase a new PC strip.  I do have live rock that I am trying to get the coralline algae to grow on and am also considering adding anemones.  No plans for any corals.  Also, should I be concerned with some livestock such as lionfish that don't really enjoy the bright light? <Concerned, yes- but not freaked out or anything. As long as you provide places that are "shaded" for the lionfish to retreat to when it wants, there should be no problem> The two PC strips I am looking at are a Coralife 4x65w (2 actinic and 2 10,000K) with dual switches.  This would provide 260 total watts of course, but I'm not sure if I really need that much.  The other (and cheaper) is a SmartLite 2x65w, providing 130 total watts.  Would that be enough wattage for my setup? <Well- once again- it all depends on what you're using the light for. If it's just to provide an enjoyable viewing experience, any of the setups/systems that you mentioned would work, including NO fluorescent. If it were me, (especially knowing how us "fish only" nerds turn into "reef nerds"- even when we don't plan to...) I'd go with a methodology that lets you accommodate future plans as your hobby interests expand.> Thanks so much for your help! Tim <My pleasure, Tim! Hope I was able to shed a little light on things for you! (Dude- you KNEW that I was gonna say that somewhere, huh? regards, Scott F>

- Light Upgrades - Dear crew, <Hello, JasonC here...>   I have a 55 gallon salt tank and I am slowly moving to the reef system.  I have looked into lighting and I like the JBJ Formosa deluxe but I have read that is it better to go with the retro kits if all things are equal and have a canopy. <Unless you want to ditch the canopy, a full-fledged fixture [not raw bulbs and ballast] will complicate your life/tank.> I read somewhere on your sight some people have had trouble with the deluxe, fans, lights ballasts? <This has been a problem in the past, but that may have been dealt with in recent models.> Have you heard about this? <On and off... I would pose this question on our forum where you can likely find some people who own the JBJ product - http://wetwebfotos.com/talk > Thanks again <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Upgrading lighting I didn't see any answer to my inquiry or in "Today's FAQ's" over the weekend and through today. Perhaps my e-mail got lost on its way to you. Do you have any comments? Also, any comments on JBJ vs. Coralife light fixtures/bulbs? <Sometimes emails do get "lost." As far as the lighting fixtures that you mention, I'm not aware of any specific difficulties with either of these products> I've done a some further research and I think I can use some window screen material for blocking the light at first and then remove the material slowly so my tank inhabitants get used to the additional light. How long do you think I should keep each increasing light level - days, weeks? <I would say over a few weeks. To give you an idea, I changed the bulbs in a rotation (12 months old...I know...to old!) over a 4 week period and I still had two corals that bleached. Take your time on this one> I'm also making progress with the nitrate levels and the Cyanobacteria, but that is a different story. I recall reading somewhere that lighting has an effect on Cyanobacteria, but I can't find the reference. <Sounds like you're on the right track. At the least, keep the Cyano disturbed (siphon out) regularly. The lighting upgrade with new bulbs will likely help the problem> I currently have a single 48" light fixture over my 75 gal tank. It uses two 50/50 55W power compact bulbs. It is an Oceanic fixture that came with the tank. The bulbs are now about 9 months old and I can see they are significantly dimmer. <They are significantly dimmer. Your corals will notice when you change the bulbs> I am thinking of upgrading the lighting to a Coralife 230W 48" fixture as found here: http://www.esuweb.com/new_site/ccc_53106 <Okay> It has two 65W 10K bulbs and two 65W Actinic bulbs. Each set of bulbs is independently controllable. <Good> The reason I like this particular fixture is that it is low profile (I have very little space under my Oceanic canopy), it has the exhaust fans on top, rather than on the ends, and it provides significantly more light than what I currently have. Now that I need to replace my bulbs, part of the cost of the fixture ($209.95 from HelloLights) is offset. I do not want to attach anything to the canopy itself since I often keep it open and don't want to see bulbs hanging from the wood. It is also a nice piece of furniture and I don't want to drill into it. <I'm following> I have a couple of questions about the changing light levels: 1.) Is going from the current aged 110W setup to a new 230W setup going to shock the corals in my tank (I have some cabbage leathers, a frogspawn, a hammerhead, a bubble corals, a cup coral and several kinds of polyps -green-star/white-star, and Zoanthids)? <Considering that most of your corals are lower light corals I would say "yes", they will definitely notice a two-fold increase in light> 2.) What effect does increased lighting have on Cyanobacteria? I've been battling some red Cyano in a small area of my tank for a while. Will this light cause it to grow more or will it actually help? <The root cause of Cyano is unwanted nutrients but lighting of the wrong spectrum and intensity (old bulbs) contribute to making the Cyano grow. That is to say...the wrong spectrum and intensity encourage the Cyano growth. I hope that was understandable....> I do not have any algae problems other than the Cyanobacteria. My hippo and purple tangs seem to eat any vegetation in the tank. 3.) Do you have an opinion on Coralife lighting products? <To my knowledge, they are a very reputable company with well respected products. I personally use Icecap lights/ballast which have been fabulous...although the ballasts themselves are very sensitive to the smallest amounts of water. one must be careful> My tank gets hot (82F+) in the summer with the current fixture, but there are no fans in the canopy area. I am able to keep an acceptable temperature with a fan in the sump. I hope the fans in this fixture will help to at least not make the situation worse. <82F isn't really that hot if that's as hot as it ever gets. However, I prefer and suggest temperatures in the high 70's. Then there's Dr. Ron Shimek's theories on temp, but I won't go there. keep your temp swings within one degree in a 24 hour period for the health of your critters> However, I am willing to put some additional fans in the back of the canopy. <This addition will help. That's exactly what I did for my canopy and with only one fan, the temp decreased by more than 4 degrees. A simple, inexpensive solution to an age-old problem> I have also asked about this topic in the talk forums but I would appreciate an answer from the experts. <You're welcome! And remember: we all have opinions and some may be differing... David Dowless>

Re: Lighting Question Hi WWM crew, sorry to bother you again but I once again need your assistance.  I only have one question today.  Will metal halide bulbs from home depot suffice in my 180 gallon tank?  Is there any danger to purchasing these lights instead of purchasing them from my LFS?  Thank you.

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