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FAQs about Light and Lighting for Marine Systems 17

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

Related FAQs: Marine System LightingFAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5, FAQs 6, FAQs 7, FAQs 8, FAQs 9, FAQs 10, FAQs 11, FAQs 12, FAQs 13, FAQs 14, FAQs 15, FAQs 16, 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 LightingSmall System Lighting, Lighting Marine Invertebrates LR LightingTridacnid Lighting

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HPS lighting for Saltwater ?  07/02/05 Hi WWM crew!  I'm a newbie on the scene and your website has been, as MasterCard puts it "priceless."  Already your site has helped me id and remove a harmful "gorilla crab" (why do they have to be so cool-looking?) that was feasting on my Parazoanthus.  He'll be some good nutrition for my brother's porcupine puffer Mr. Wesley Spikes. <Good name> My question today is regarding HPS lighting for marine systems.  I grow vegetables indoors and have an extra 400-watt Phillips Enhanced Performance HPS (Enhanced performance means extra light in the blue spectrum as compared to regular HPS).  I was wondering if this light could be used to light a reef tank and if so for what varieties of corals would this light suffice?  Here is the complete info on the bulb: # Brand: Philips # Bulb: ED-18 # Watts: 430 # Life Hours: 16,000+ # Base: Mogul # MOL: 9¾" # Initial Lumens: 53,000 # Color Temp. (CCT or K): 2,100 K <Bunk... want a minimum of 5,500K> # Color Rendering Index (CRI): 21 <Terrible... need 90+> # Ansi Spec: S51 # LCL: 5¾" I understand the K rating is low, but does the 21 CRI or Enhanced performance extra blue light somehow compensate? <Mmm, nope> I appreciate any advice, thanks. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Lighting (Type) Quandary - 06/29/05 I hope this finds you guys and gals in good health and spirits. <<Well I was in the "spirits" last night, so my health may be suspect <G>.>> I have gotten a little confused on the selection for which spectrum lights to use for my particular setup. <<Not an unusual dilemma...and usually made more difficult than it need be.>> I realize that there are many issues that dictate light selection so I am just asking for an opinion here. <<Giving my opinion is what I do best mate! <G> >> I have a 65 gallon tall tank currently running a Coralife 2X96 watt PC fixture and have only fish and a few soft corals (mushrooms, polyps, etc).  All appear to be doing fine. <<OK>> I spot feed the corals occasionally to make up for the inadequate lighting and plan to purchase a 4X96 watt light as soon as I can afford one (married with children and grandchild). <<I'm not convinced your lighting is inadequate or that you need to "double up" given this "general" list of corals...but feeding is always beneficial regardless of lighting used.  Very few corals are purely autotrophic (able to utilize carbon produced by light as a sole food source).  Please do some research on the corals you have/plan to have to determine lighting requirements.  Many corals can be kept under what some may consider "inadequate" lighting as long as you're willing to provide supplemental feeding.>> The fixture I am currently using came with 1 10K bulb and 1 Actinic that are almost 6 months old and close to replacement.  After reading most of the lighting FAQ and articles, I am still not sure which bulbs to get.  Some of you like Actinics, some don't.  Some say that they are for aesthetics only, some don't. <<As with most everything in this hobby, lighting too is a highly opinionated subject.>> Anyway, I am thinking of replacing the 10K with a dual daylight (10K and 6500) and replacing the Actinic with a dual actinic/7100 blue.  Will this be a better setup or just plain stupid. <<Here's where your research (or lack of) on the corals comes in to play.  If you are going to predominate with deep/deeper water corals like the mushrooms/some polyp species, a 50/50 split of 10K (or even 20K) and actinics is a good choice.  If going with shallow(er) water species or the popular "reef garden" variety, I feel a mix of 10K and 6.5K serves better...both contain more than enough "blue" for the corals sake.  In the end, most lighting schemes end up being what looks best to the aquarist, not necessarily what's best for the tank inhabitants...good thing many corals are wonderfully adaptive creatures, eh?>> I appreciate the time and dedication that the WWM crew dedicates to this site and the wealth of information I have gotten from it. <<Glad you have found the site useful.>> Because of you, I do weekly 10% water changes, I bought 40 more pounds of live rock to achieve the 1 to 1.5 lbs per gallon ratio, I bought 2 Rio 1200s and changed my Mag 5 for a Mag 9.5 through a SCWD for more random water flow, ditched my SeaClone skimmer for an ASM G-1X, got rid of my wet/dry in favor of a refugium with Chaetomorpha (had to look that one up for correct spelling), now have a QT tank with a sponge cooking in the main tank, and I own Salifert test kits for just about everything that you can test, a pH meter, and a refractometer.  Because of you, I have not lost a fish or coral in quite some time and my "hobby" is much more enjoyable. <<This is why I am/we are here my friend...thank you for sharing this.>> I am just broke now is the only downside. <<Ahh...but you're rich with new wonderment/appreciation of the aquatic world.>> Thanks in advance of your help and if this question has be answered and re-answered, just delete this email.  I do try to find the answer on my own first, but sometimes the more you read, the more you need to read. <<No worries mate, we're here to assist.>> Thanks, Mike Henry <<Regards, Eric R.>>

More SW light on the cheap I currently have a 29 gallon reef tank.  My question pertains to lighting.  Right now I have a 65 watt true actinic blue and a 65 watt 10000k day lamp.  What I want to know is... is there a supplemental light I can add. I don't have the disposable income now to purchase a $300-400 light, but is there a smaller bulb that can be added to the existing setup. My goal is to sneak in at least another 65 watts. <I'd just trade out the actinic for another "white" lamp. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/actinicfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

48" fixture won't fit, can I use a 36" fixture? Hi, my tank is 110 gal 48x15x31. I purchased the 48" Orbit Current Lighting  2x65 2x 65 260 watts for my tank. Well the light is a few inches to long for me to put my canopy over it so I was going to sell that one and get the 36" Orbit that is 2x96 2x96 360 watts. < Wait a minute.  Are you saying the 36" fixture has more total watts than the 48" fixture?  If so, definitely get the fixture with more watts.  Also, it is very unfortunate that the first lighting fixture didn't fit in your canopy, since they are specifically made for tanks that are 48" long. > My question is how much lighting do I actually need? < As much as you can get. Seriously, try to make the sun fit over your tank. > I want to get MH retrofit kit 2- 250 watt halides and 2-55 watt PC bulbs. < That is great for halide light, a little low on pc light.  If you do that you will need to go with 14K halides and not 10K. > I have live rock, a few fish and some polyps, and leather and plan on purchasing a few more corals SPS, anemones, etc. I know that my tank has depth and I want to make sure my corals have ample lighting but I don't want to go broke buying lighting as well. < Unfortunately you almost have to go broke on lighting because it is expensive and very important. > I like the 48" Orbit but my tank would look a lot nicer if I was able to fit my canopy over it. My canopy is about 8 inches high some retrofit kits I have been looking at say the canopy needs to be about 12-15 in high. < 8" high is fine. You may want to look at a way to put a nice piece of trim on the front of your canopy, so you can cut it and make it just another inch longer.  Otherwise I'd look at some DIY lighting kits which you could make any length you want. > Thanks for any help Joseph <  Blundell  >

What type of ballast do I have? How do I find out what kind of ballast I have? < Wow that is a tough question.  I'm guessing there isn't a label on it.  If there was I would read the label and send a picture in.  If not there are a couple general clues.  For instance if the ballast is a rather clean and bright looking aluminum cased ballast with cooling fins; then it is most likely an electronic ballast.  If the ballast is very hot, black, and cheap looking it is probably a tar (magnetic) ballast. > <  Blundell  >

- Watts/Gallon not Reliable, So What Is? - This is my first time writing in, but probably the thousandth time I've received answers form your site!!  Thanks!  Here's my question:  I would like to start making the change from a FOWLR aquarium to a reef aquarium.  The tank is a standard 55 gallon.  I have begun my upgrade with a new lighting system (4x65 PC).  I know that I should have selected corals first and then selected a lighting system, but I got a great deal on the fixture that my bank account couldn't pass up.  I am mainly interested in keeping mushrooms, soft corals and maybe LPS (maybe not?).  Without a general rule of watts/gallon to follow, as I have read via your site is complete nonsense, how do I know what types of corals will thrive in this system. <Well... quite simply, what you have purchased for lighting and what you have decided on for livestock are a good mix. If you had said you wanted SPS corals and/or clams, you would need to explore metal halide lighting.> I know there are probably too many types of corals to name but may be just give me a general idea if what I am wanting (Shrooms , softies, LPS) is possible at all. <I think you're all set.> Thanks for the help. <Cheers, J -- >

Marine lighting choices, choosing Hi just a quick question.  This is my first reef aquarium that I have been slowly building over the past year as money allows.  A friend of mine had suggested to use 2 150 HQI pendants over my 55g tank.  I just wanted a quick opinion if the Aqua medic Ocean Light 150w pendants were a good choice for this tank. Would using 2 250w pendants be overkill?   The 150s will be too much heat-wise, the 250's way too much> And HQI bulbs are double ended, verses the regular Metal Halide screw on type, but is there any difference in functionality between the two? <Mmm, not much>   Thanks again for all the great info, Ron. <Glad to share... I would read through our marine lighting areas before investing in this new lighting... Expensive to acquire, operate... downsides of excess heat, thermal fluctuation, intense light... Other (fluorescent) technology is better here IMO. Bob Fenner>

Lighting the way.... I'm exploring the idea of upgrading to a larger reef tank (90 gallons) - a standard 48 wide/18 deep/24 or so high.  In this regard, I was giving consideration to the following SunPaq fixture: 48in Outer Orbit 2x150W 10K HQI-MH 1/ 2x130W Dual Actinic & 6 Lunar Lights. I think I can safely presume this is adequate lighting generally for polyps and mushrooms.  I'd guess those would fair better toward the bottom under the above facts.  Correct me if wrong. <Should be fine> That said, first question please - would the above lighting be reasonable for most, if not all, soft corals? <Yes... though am sure other folks here would rather see higher wattage MH's> Second question - would the above lighting be satisfactory for any SPS, such as Acropora, provided they were placed high in the tank? <Yes> If not, by how much would you bump up the lighting above for SPS types?   <Again... there are some people that favor 250, even 400 watt metal halides (and higher Kelvin ratings) in two foot (nominal) deep tanks... and fight the consequences of heat, excess illumination... I would stick with the 150's myself> Thanks for your input in advance.   <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

- Lighting the Way, Follow-up - One quick follow up - Do you think I should expect to fight a lot of heat being transferred to the tank with this wattage on a 90? <There will be some heat transfer... just not as bad as it would be with 250s or 400s.> I'm guessing that nothing a fan on a sump couldn't control, with a house at about 72-72 degrees. <If your house is air conditioned to this temperature, then likely you won't have too many problems controlling the temperature of your tank.> Maybe I'm wrong and underestimating the heat issue of halides.... <It is significant enough. Cheers, J -- >

- Lighting the Way, More Follow-up - Sorry to bother you one last time. <No worries.> Would your analysis below change any regarding this fixture, which is a PC? 48in 4x130 Watt Current USA Power Compact Extreme Orbit Fixture It's a little less power, and the PCs probably don't measure up to the halides, but then there is probably less of a heat issue on the flipside. <All lighting generates heat, metal halide just more so. Cheers, J -- >

- Lighting the Way, More Follow-up - Oh... what I was trying to ask (I wasn't being very clear) was whether the PC fixture below would be similar in functional nature to the 2 150 watt halide fixture with dual 130 watt actinics.  Basically, I was curious how this PC fixture would fare with soft corals, and perhaps some SPS. <Wouldn't fare well for the SPS. If you want SPS or clams, you're going to have to use metal halide.> Would the below be adequate for most all soft corals, and SPS if housed high in the tank? <You could try, but I don't think the SPS would last very long - would almost certainly lose color. The LPS and soft corals would be fine. Cheers, J -- >

Quantum light meter 6/22/05 I will like to know from Anthony or anyone else that might know. I am going to buy a quantum light meter but it comes with 2 calibrations, which calibration do you select when buying yours sunlight or fluorescent calibration? Thanks, Mohamed. <It depends on the lighting you are working with... some MH lamps (4000-7000K) are more akin to the sun. But most other aquarium lights (including bluer MH) are likely in need of the Fluorescent tuning. Do check out Apogee instruments for fab PAR instruments. Anthony> Lighting Thanks for the info Bob, I've read  probably every FAQ on your website on lighting including the Marine Lighting article and then I e-mailed a question about a specific lighting product to get some expert opinion before I went out and bought it.  Another member of your crew suggested to go for HQI rather than fluorescent.   <Yes... there are valid reasons for differences of opinion here... and on WWM!> That's the only reason I was looking at metal halide in the first place.  Since this style will be a hanging pendant wouldn't that dissipate the heat significantly rather than being in a closed canopy? <Better, but still definitely intense... check them out> Or do you think I should still consider looking at VHO instead?   Thanks again. <IMO boosted fluorescents... up to T 5's, are preferable functionally for most home hobby set-ups... Slower growths photosynthetically, not as spectacular looking perhaps... but safer, cheaper, better for most animals. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Supernova? Hi Guys, <Rich> I recently inherited the care of 35 gallon reef tank <Heee heee, but not the system itself?> from a friend and I have this gnawing feeling that something is wrong with the lights.  The tank is lit by 10 22watt and 2 36 watt compact fluorescents with a Kelvin rating of 6400 and with light outputs of 1,200 (for the 22's) and 1,980 (36's) lumens. I don't know the CRI, but they seem bright enough with no yellow tint. Do you think someone went overboard with this lighting system? <Mmm, yes... am wondering how they fit twelve lamps above this thing> As it is, it has roughly 8.3 watts per gallon. Shouldn't it be a bit lower (2-5 watts/gallon)? <Mmm, depends on what sort of life, what they're intending to do with it... but in general, I'm in agreement with you> The tank presently has a large number of LPS that as I recall had green and red pigmentation but are now just uniformly dark brown and orange.  They've been in this condition for almost a year and are growing, but I'm concerned that their color change is due to being exposed to too strong light intensities (Halimeda, halicoryne, and Neomeris are thriving, though) <I would try removing a lamp per week...> If I'm right in my assumption about the supernova conditions of the tank, which of the following would you recommend? 1) remove the 2 36w and use fewer of the 22 w 2) replace the 22w bulbs with fewer 36w <Okay> How much watts per gallon should I target? <Perhaps five here> I'm playing around with these two bulb types as there are no other types available in our area. Best regards, Richard <Please take a long read on WWM re reef, invertebrate lighting... Bob Fenner>

All the Colors of Moonlight! Hi Gang, <Brandon> I've got a question on artificial moonlight. I'm thinking of having 3 moonlight fixtures put in as part of my hood, each two feet apart. The question is, which color is best? I've never had the good fortune of diving in the moonlight, or diving at all for that matter. Now there are three colors to choose from: blue, true white, and red. Of these colors, which would most appropriately simulate moonlight on a shallow reef? <The white really... but the blue is "prettier" in my estimation> Tank is 18" deep, with a 4" DSB. Thanks! <The choice here is far more aesthetic than functional... Bob Fenner>

30 gallon tank... lighting options, choices I recently purchased a 30 gallon tall tank. 1'w X 2'L I have added aragonite sand, 24 lbs of live rock (adding another 10lbs very soon). I would love to add some coral in the next month or so. I have tested the water and everything is fine. My 1st question is what type of lights should I be using to effectively grow my live rock and coral??? <Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/fixtures.htm and the linked files above. Much to consider...> My 2nd question is how many hours a day should my live rock and coral get??? <Keep reading> Thank you for your great web site. It has gotten me this far and i don't want to stop yet. <... then...> You website help me set up my 55 gallon f/w tank with my Arowana, sting ray, ghost knife, rhino Pleco and some mono fish. never had a fish die on me yet and that was my first crack at a fish tank. <I see> I got some really nice pictures of my Arowana, ghost knife and sting ray eating from my hand if you are ever looking for more pictures to put up. Thank you. <Please do send along for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Lighting HI!  I love your site! I have spent countless hours reading it. The Conscientious Marine Aquarist is my bible!  Now for the question:  I have a 180 G aquarium 60L X 22W X 32"H.  It has been running since February 2005 and I started putting fish and soft corals in April. A LFS helped us to set up and he sold us 3-400watt MH XM and 2 actinic VHOs. sorry I don't know the K. We have tons of daylight! it is beautiful but the corals haven't changed much.  we do plan by the end of the year to start purchasing SPS. Experienced hobbyist that we meet tell us that we have too much light and that we should only use 2-400watt MH XM and the actinics. What do you  recommend? <Liz, 1200 watts of MH comes to 6.6 watts per gallon.  I wouldn't say that is too much, especially if you plan on keeping maxima clams and some of the light loving hard corals. Two 400's will only give you 4.4 watts per gallon.  Not enough for clams and hard corals. The heat may be a problem unless it is ventilated very well.  James (Salty Dog). thanks so much. Liz

Score One For The Fishes! - 06/15/05 Hi Eric - and thanks very much for the info & advice! <<Hello Jim...happy to assist!>> Ok, I'll get that protein skimmer, PC lighting and scratch out the tangs and Catalina goby. <<Outstanding, all for the best really...so many beautiful (and more appropriate) fishes to choose from.>> Regarding the timer for the lights, what would you recommend for a lighting schedule?  Certain times, or intervals? <<Picking a "time of day" is subjective and up to you and your "viewing" schedule.  More important is consistency...set the timer(s) to run the lights at/for the same time each day.  For a FOWLR setup anything from 8 to 12 hours a day would be fine...again, up to you.>> I'll get this all covered by the weekend.  Thanks again for your time and assistance to a rookie like myself!  :) <<Thank you for asking/listening.>> - Jim <<Eric R.>>

Lighting Decisions... I've read probably ever single page of every FAQ and article on lighting you have posted on your website and have also done some research at other sites as well. I am gradually converting my FOWLR to a reef and the next step is the lighting.  Currently I have NO fluorescents and as far as I see it, VHO seems to be the most logical for what I want accomplished.  I want to have keep at least one anemone and maybe a few hard corals, but for the most part I will start off with some soft beginner corals because I am completely new to reef keeping.  After reading a lot of information seems the recommended for what I am looking for is about 5-6 watts per gallon and since I have a 55 gallon tank, about 275-330 watts. <I have never been a big one for the "watts per gallon" argument, but it is a good starting point, I guess.> I understand watts is a measurement of energy and not light but that seems about the general rule of thumb.  Pretty much what I am asking is a recommendation for a setup because with the hundreds of choices out there available I can't come to make myself make a large investment without direct consultation of people in the business. The tank is a 48" long tank.  The 2 LFS around me keep trying to get me to buy MH setups but I am not quite ready to spend that much money.  I am a broke college kid, but I also want a nice setup that will be visually appealing as well as support the life I hope to keep in my tank some day.  Thanks in  advance. <Well, I think that VHO may be a good source of light to start your system with, but it may be a better long-term decision to go for a metal halide system. I think that two 150watt double-ended HQI pendants could do a good job at a cost similar to that of a VHO system. There are a number of good MH pendant systems on the market today. Do consider these pendants as a more flexible and capable long term alternative to VHO. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting Decisions (Pt. 2) Would I need to supplement an HQI system with actinics or would 2 150 watt HQI without actinics be sufficient? <You would only need to supplement the halides with actinic if the bulb's aesthetics do not please you. For example, a lot of people feel that the popular 10,000k halides are too "yellow" for their taste, so they supplement them with actinic. There is no tremendous advantage in doing so other than aesthetics, however, IMO. Many hobbyists like to use actinics to simulate a "dawn" or "dusk" phase before/after their halides go on or off. Again, purely a judgment call on your part.> Also on hellolights.com, it says that a UV glass shield is necessary to protect the life within the tank.  I have a glass canopy right now, is that enough?  Thanks again! -Ron <The fine folks at hellolights.com (a great company to do business with, BTW) are correct. Double-ended (HQI) bulbs do not have a "shield" like mogul-base halide bulbs do. Pretty much every double-ended pendant that is available in the hobby has the tempered glass shield built in, however, so if you intend to use these bulbs, you'll generally be using them in a hanging pendant that includes the glass, such as those made by Aquamedic, PFO, or Sunlight Supply. Do check them out! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Lighting - Dear Mr. Fenner: <Actually, JasonC this time - Bob is out of town.> Thank you for your excellent web-site.  I first started keeping freshwater fish in 1968 as a boy.  But, as a Diving instructor, I have always been interested in the marine fish.  I have read your excellent book, "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", and many others.  For 6 months now I have been slowly working on my first reef aquarium.  The tank is made from 1/2" Starphire float glass - 24" deep x 60" long with a curved front.  I already have the bent glass in my shop.  The base will be drilled out for two drains and returns (spaced equidistant along the back of the tank with overflows).  A refugium nearly identical to the one you have shown in your "Get thee to a Refugium" article, but made from 1/2" cast acrylic, will be below the tank.  The main pump will be the Iwaki MD100LT.  The protein skimmer I bought off of EBay is a new AquaC EV-120.  I installed a water softener, and a 75 gallon per day RO system with a 20 gallon tank. I plan on buying Florida cultured live rock, and live sand.  And, I would like to have a modest number of fish and invertebrates, lots of snails, a few stars, and various "beginners" corals and macro algae.   Question #1:  I wonder if this all seems in order to you? <Sounds fine.> And, I would really appreciate your feedback on my lighting quandary.  I would like the shimmer of Metal Halide.  My readings indicate that 250 watt lamps should be used because of the depth of the tank. <Depends really on what you plan to keep in the long run - super intense light would be needed for clams and stony corals. If you're not headed down that road but really want the shimmer of MH, then you might consider a couple 175's.> But, I don't like the idea of noisy fans and a lot of excess heat.  So, I am thinking of using two 175 watt Metal Halides in conjunction with four 80 watt T5 fluorescents (two daylight and two actinic). <I'm going to put my money on the possibility you will still need fans to remove the heat build-up of this lighting system.> This would allow me to slowly increase the light in the morning and to decrease it at night.  I would like to exhaust the heat through the roof of the house with an in-wall duct and an attic mounted fan.  Question #2: do you think this lighting will work alright with the tank described above (and/or can you suggest improvements to the plan)? <Sounds good, really. Again, I'll just repeat that it depends almost entirely on the photosynthetic animals you want to keep - so work your plans around that.> Thanks for the time you have given to us all, JB <Cheers, J -- >

Short And Sweet - 06/07/05 I have questions that go in totally different directions...so here we go some questions that I have never ever found the true answer to.... 1) Can photosynthetic Caribbean gorgonians from the Florida Keys be exposed to air while transferring from the ocean to holding tank? <<In my experience, yes.  You might find some interesting info here and at the related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seafanfa.htm>> 1) Can 250w mercury vapor bulbs be used on a SPS tank and provide good growth? <<If you're not bothered with appearance, (light spectrum) and can supplement some actinic to make up for the incomplete wavelength of these bulbs; then yes, they probably can.>> Thanks(!), Adam <<Regards, Eric R.>>

- Planning Stages and Questions, Questions, Questions - Good morning everyone!  Thank you for such a great resource.  Too great!  My head is about to explode from information overload. Anyway, I'm planning a reef tank / Palau biotope for my office.  I inherited a 95 gallon corner hex tank.  I've attached a diagram of the tank from above.  I read Mr. Calfo's article on a closed loop manifold and have decided that is the way I want to go.  (my design for that is the grey part in the attached image).  After reading a lot, I changed my pump choice for the closed loop system from a Iwaki WMD20RLXT (540 gph) to a WMD40RLXT (1200 gph).  Seems like a lot, but hey, more is better, right? <In the case of circulation, yes.> So, my questions...  Due to the non-standard shape of the tank, I've designed 8 outlets.  I initially decided on 3/4" PVC, but think I should go with 1". Too many outlets? <I don't think so.> Correct diameter pipe? <3/4" might be better around the rim of the tank as should keep pressure consistent across the nozzles. Would still plumb up to the manifold with 1". Would encourage you to experiment with freshwater before filling with salt. This would allow you to swap out sizes if 3/4" doesn't work.> Also, lighting.  I'm planning on a few fish (big list, trying to whittle it down), soft corals and mushrooms.  Since the aquarium is 24" deep, I am thinking I need MHs (although I really don't want to). <For soft corals and mushrooms, you don't need metal halides.> The problem is how to arrange the lights in the built in hood for the best coverage.  Is one 24" fixture perpendicular to the display area enough? <Yes, should be fine.> (assuming several lamps, adequate intensity, etc.)  What about the back half of the tank? <Are you going to be viewing this area?> I could probably put in a small fixture that runs perpendicular to the main fixture in the back half of the tank. <You could, would not harm anything if you did.> Any ideas? <Sounds fine to me.> Also, June IMAC in Chicago.  I live there.  This is an invitation to dinner for any of the WWM crew that's going to be there. <I will not be attending IMAC but this will be posted on the dailies so if crew members  see it, they may take you up on it.> I'm sure you will be very busy here but if you happen to have some spare time and desire a good meal...  You guys do a great job and deserve to be rewarded as often as possible by the people who use your site every day!  Especially after reading a recent e-mail from a not very pleasant person who didn't like the help he received.  What a jerk! <Happens - cannot please 100% of people 100% of the time.> Complaining about a free service that does everything above and beyond.  I dare that reader to find a pay service / store / person that can do any better. Thanks for everything. Rich <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Lighting? Sorry about the name Bob. On the way to bed and couldn't really see straight. <Happens> It was a very long day. If it would be alright, I have a few questions for you. My friend happens to be my LFS and says that she can give me the metal halide upgrade for 90 bucks. I am guessing that I should just replace the old system with the metal halide. The system is complete with the ballast, reflector, and bulb.  Will this give me full spectrum light (actinic) or do I need to buy more light fixtures. The system is 240 watt. Is it worth it? Also, is it possible to keep Euphyllids? (130 watts) Thank you so much. Brian <All this is posted... on WWM... there are full spectrum and not MH's... Is worth it IMO... good for Euphylliids... Bob Fenner>> Hi Bob, I was looking over your awesome site and was thinking that I should just add the MH lamp to my existing system, replace the white fluorescent daylight with another actinic bulb to balance things out. I was thinking of using one 175 watt MH system with fan, ballast, and lamp. That's a total of 305 watts that should probably be enough. I you see anything wrong or if you have any concerns with that, please say. Thanks, Brian. <Don't know that I'd add actinic... Bob Fenner>    

Lighting a 85 gal, Go Halide? Adam, < Hi Frank > I just purchased a used 85 gallon Tenecor Flat Back Hex w/simplicity plus filtration, (the filtration--bioballs/sump, built into the back 4" of the tank), it also has 2 pumps to recycle the water, (nothing in the stand). My question to you is would you remove the bioballs and drill the tank to add a sump in the stand or leave the filtration as is?  < I would drill the tank and have a sump. I've never seen anyone regret doing this. All I see are people wishing they had ;) >  I could use a hang on skimmer or skimmer in the new sump. Also this tank came with a 4 inch canopy, which I'd like to use. What would you suggest as far as lighting in this cramped area?  < Tough call. I think the HQI halides are still a great option. Although I don't have much experience with the T-5's I think that is a great option as well, and is a growing trend. >  I'd eventually like to add hard and soft corals. I can't use MH because it's too close to the tank and I'm afraid of melting the canopy or acrylic. The tank came with 2 X 95 watts VHOs.  < I would definitely replace those lights. If you really don't want halide then go with T-5. > Your opinion is valued,  < Thanks Frank, hope it works out well. > Frank < Blundell >  

Lighting for an 85 gal, no halides Adam, thanks for your response.  So when it comes to VHO vs. PC's vs. T-5's, you would pick T-5's? (Assuming metal halides were out) < Well yes.  The VHO are cheaper to start with, but in the end the T-5's are cheaper.  It is a lot of personal preference there but I think you would enjoy T-5s. >. I read the wattage on T-5's were equal to 3 to 4 times that of normal ratings, is this correct? < Yes, they do put out more light per watt used.  I still think you need two T-5's to equal one VHO, but the T-5's last a lot longer so you don't have to replace bulbs as often. > What wattage would you then recommend for the 85 gal, which really will only have approx 72 gallons of useful area (after the 4"X48" filtration area is converted to a giant overflow)? < I'm thinking if you don't want halides then I would use 6 VHO bulbs on that tank, or 8 T-5's. > What kind of return pump would you recommend (flow rate & model)? < That I don't know.  I would say as big as you can afford to buy, and you may have to modify your overflow to make sure it can keep up with it. > The system came with 2 AquaClear 802's for returns. I don't know if I can use these as water circulation in the main tank since they are so bulky and I can't hang them from the top of the acrylic tank, (the cutouts are offset from each end of the tank, therefore I would have to use suction cups, which may not hold). < I like those pumps.  I'd find a way to use them in the tank.  You may have to just sit them on the bottom or on top of a rock, but they are good pumps. >  What would you recommend as an option for water movement?  < Good question.  I'm starting to like the closed loop systems on tanks that size.  Also I am big fan of the new Seio powerheads made by TAAM.  They create a lot of movement and you may want to check them out. > Thanks for all your help. As an additional note, I took your recommendation and joined the Long Island Reef Association, they have been very helpful. < Good to hear.  I'm sure they will be of help in the future to you. > Frank <  Blundell  >

Timing Is Everything - Timing Lighting Schedule Hi there! <Hello to you> First off, let me say how great your site is! It is great that you are here for all of us aquarists. I read through your FAQs all the time, not only to find answers for specific questions I have, but just to gain more and more knowledge about this hobby that I am completely engrossed in. <I as well> Okay, now on to my question. I have a 55-gallon reef tank. I'm using a lighting system with a 96 watt 10,000K and 96 watt True Actinic 03 Blue on a timer. I'm wondering about the lighting cycle. Currently, I have the lighting setup to come on at 8:00 a.m. and then go off at 8:00 p.m. I have both light bulbs setup on the same timer. I know that there should be a dusk and dawn period, so what I'm doing is keeping the lights around the tank on before and after the aquarium lights turn off. <Good> Should I be using two timers, and have the actinic lights come on for awhile before the 10,000K lights come on, and the same at night with the 10,000k going off and keeping the actinic on for a little while? <Yes... about an hour before and after the "white" lamps. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Night Lighting Question and Stinky (not cat) Tank Thanks Mr. Fenner! I also remembered that in the Baensch Atlas it is said one can leave the actinics on 24h a day! Okay this was in the early 90s. Still, if leaving the actinics on at night was good for Dr. Baensch back then, it should be fine to leave the two 1 watt LEDs now I guess. <Likely so. It is rarely absolutely dark in the shallow wild underwater> Is it normal for a marine tank to be stinky? Maybe just at the beginning? <Mmm, yes. Often> I bought cured LR a week ago. There has been no ammonia rise. There is a slight unwelcoming smell when we enter the living room. Dominique <Open the windows when you can, add some activated carbon to your filter flow path... Bob Fenner> 

Lighting change Hi, I've had a reef tank set up with a few LPS, many soft corals and assorted colored mushrooms for about a 12 years now - and have had a lot of success propagating these corals. <Mushrooms... are not corals> So much so that when I came back from a year tour in Afghanistan 3 weeks ago, <Afghanistan is a(n) (invaded) country... Capitalized> a few of them had pretty much taken over the whole tank (I removed almost 100 individual colonies of tree corals that had spread throughout my tank for example). I decided I wanted to change things up a bit so I cleared everything out of one half of the tank (standard 125 gal) and revamped my lighting scheme. After doing what I thought was quite a bit of thought and reading, I bought a electronic ballast and a retro kit for a 14,000 K, 175 W bulb, trying to keep the aesthetics of the previous lighting system.  My idea was to go from a tank that was evenly lit with 400 watts of fluorescent tubes (heavy on the actinic side) to a tank that was zoned for keeping many different types of corals. One end of the tank was to be lit with the 175 W MH and the other 2/3 with 110 W of 10,000K PC's. I would keep the 6 foot VHO actinics (320 W) running the entire length of the tank and use them as a dusk/dawn cycle ( 605 watts in total). This set-up, along with a nice live rock landscape, would give me a lot of different light levels in the same tank. As you probably realize (I wish I had earlier) the combination of the 14,000 K and the VHO actinic is way too blue <Yes... these are virtually worthless... unless you own stock in the electric company> and I don't think I'm getting the intensity I had hoped for either, so I had to replace one of the VHO actinic with an actinic white for now, until I can get a new bulb. So in lies the question, I need to buy a new bulb and am wondering whether I should get a 10,000 K or 6,500 K bulb. <The higher Kelvin rating> I want the intensity it would take to keep a few SPSs and clams on the "bright" end directly under the MH bulb (8 - 12 inches deep) and yet be able to run the two actinic VHOs, and I don't want to make the same mistake twice. Also the local pet store has some SPS frags that are already placed under MH at a depth of about 6 inches, should I still acclimate them slowly to my light or would that be more shock to them then trying to just replicate their conditions. <Would not worry re the transition here> By the way, although I've had a reef tank for a long time, MH and SPSs are new to me and I've found your forum here very good reading. It's great that people can research before trying, when I first started in the early 90's, quality information like this was not as readily available to aquarist. Thanks!! <Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Night lighting question Hi! I bought these LEDs as nightlights on my reef tank: Triple LED Dome & Utility Lights http://autolumination.com/fixtures.htm.  I use two of these blue lights on a 48" tank for 12 hours at night. I bought a dimmer to control the intensity. I find it prettier when the LED lights are full strength, but I am afraid that it disturbs the animals. If it is fine I would like to keep it that way (full strength) for night viewing. Don't know if the nocturnal animals like it either. I am not sure it is so natural to have that much light at night on a reef even in shallow water, is it? <Mmm, in looking at their LED Bulb Specs, it looks like the Axial Luminosity may be more mcd's than the shallow wild...> It is dim, but... Anyway I don't know what to think about it and I don't have the experience or any basis to compare with. The white sand is quite reflective as you know so you can clearly see anything crawling there, which is fun, but there again... Thanks! Dominique <I suspect you are fine here... it is bright underwater during fuller moon phases. I would look for input from observing your livestock, and turn the lighting down at times every month. Bob Fenner>  

Night Viewing Reef Creatures 5/13/05 24 Gal Nanocube (JBJ Lighting Systems) 15 Pounds of Liverock.     The Nano cube has feature installed called NiteVu LED Moonlights.  Will my Starfish (Shaggy) come out when these lights are on or do they prefer pitch black to hunt for food. Thanks for keeping my aquarium healthy, and safe. Eric Ross    <Its hard to say... various nocturnal creatures respond differently.  In this case, it likely will come out under such "moonlight." If that doesn't work, a red plastic lens over a daylight source will allow you to see many night creatures without disturbing them. For even nicer night-viewing (fluorescence) equipment, do check out www.nightsea.com best of luck, life, Anthony>

Lighting and PC Hello there gents. I hope this e-mail find you well. <Yes, thank you> I have read over the extensive lighting articles and FAQS. I think I have an understanding of my situation. If possible I would like to run my setup and my understanding by you for your review. <Okay> I have the following: 32 gal Tall 24"Lx12"Wx24"H acrylic 1- 24" Coralife PC hood 4 inches above the surface with a 21" 10000K daylight and a 21" blue actinic A Wave 2K wave maker. This thing really moves the water. If you have not seen this thing to go www.wave2k.com. 44 lbs of live rock-most of the rock is in bottom but I have ledges as high as 3 inches below the surface. No animals yet-just 4 turbo snails and 2 hermit crabs My understanding of this light setup: Good for medium to low light inverts and corals. Because the tank is 24" tall I should not put any medium light inverts or corals near the bottom (the last 6 inches). <Yes... the upper foot or so> If I were to go with MH. What would you recommend for hard corals with the tank setup mentioned above? <I would not use a MH in this size, shape system... too much likelihood of trouble> Again thank you for your objective knowledge and continued help. Finding his way-Guy Cutting <I would switch out the actinic for another "white" lamp... try this for a few to several months, decide if you're going to want to expand your interest, get a larger system... Bob Fenner>

Re: Lighting and PC Bob, <Guy> Thanks for your quick reply. <Welcome> I assume, by your suggestion of switching out the actinic light, that I have a deficit of strong lighting that out weights the advantages of the actinic light. <Yes.> Please confirm. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/actinicfaqs.htm> Also I also read into your response that this tank might not be optimal at all for corals. <Correct> I wanted to cut my teeth on a smaller tank. Should I keep this tank to low light inverts and fish? <Mmm, not necessarily... how to put this another way... all species of corals can/could be displayed here... they might not grow as quickly, be as colorful or easy to maintain...> I want to learn about this hobby a little more before making important decisions about a larger tank. <Good idea> thanks Bob. <Again, very welcome. Bob Fenner>

Lighting question part 2 5/6/05 Thanks for the quick response to my lighting question. A few follow-up questions:  <AdamC jumping in here> 1. For my 120 gallon system with Lionfish (and possible anemone), you mention 2-3 watts/gallon would be good. Would a hood with two 130 watts (260w total) CF lights or four 96w (384w total) or CF lights work?  <Both options sound fine. Do shop around for prices on replacement lamps for each fixture before making a decision. Replacing two lamps instead of four will save a lot of money in the long run! Also, although intense lighting can damage fishes eyesight, blindness in predatory fish is far more often a result of poor nutrition. Diets that are low in variety, and especially those that are high in krill have been linked to blindness.> Also, for the Orbit light fixtures, the four 96w CF light fixture is $200 more expensive than the two 130 watt CF light fixture. Is this because of the higher total wattage and the increased number of options available with 4 lights? Have you found this increased versatility to be worth the increased cost over 2-light systems? Do you have any preferences for CF hood manufacturers? (I know URI bulbs have a good reputation)  <The increased cost is probably brand differences, but also because of the greater number of lamps. There are enough lamp options out there to give you plenty of flexibility even with a two lamp system. There are a lot of decent fixtures out there, but a lot of junk PC and CF lamps. URI is the premier manufacturer of VHO lamps, but I don't think they make CF's. This amount of light is marginal at best for anemones, and is on the high end for fish-only. Spotlighting the anemone as Bob said, is an option, but there are other challenges in keeping sensitive animals like anemones with large messy fishes.> 2. Stocking question: Would a Humu Trigger (I like the intelligence level and personality) work in my 120 gallon tank with a snowflake eel, lionfish, and 2 clownfish? I read that the Humu grows very slowly, isn't as aggressive as other triggers, and is a good tank mate for the snowflake. Thanks for your great web site and giving us salt water beginners such knowledge. KC  <This is the reason that I jumped in! The trigger, lion and eel are all good choices and would all make great tankmates, but clownfish are natural and irresistible prey to lionfish, and if the lion didn't get them the trigger or eel might. Ultimately, you must make a fundamental choice between fish that are predators and those that are prey as well as keeping photosynthetic animals or not. These choices are somewhat limiting, but you will be much happier in the long run if your fish aren't eating each other and your animals are in comfortable surroundings! Best Regards. AdamC.>

Lighting Spectrum Selection - 04/27/05 Hey, I'm about to buy bulbs for two separate set ups and I was had a few questions about which spectrum bulbs I should choose. The first is a saltwater tank that has a harlequin tusk as my center piece. I have live rock but no other inverts. My current pc bulbs are 10k and actinic but I have the ability to add a 6700k bulb along with the 10k and actinic when I replace them all. I was wondering would this accentuate the orange of my harlequin because it is stronger in that part of the spectrum? My main concern is the aesthetics of my fish in other words.  <The spectrum you mention will highlight the fish's color more dramatically.> My other question is about a freshwater tank I have set up for an adult largemouth bass. It's a 220g with four 36w standard florescent bulbs. I do a lot of fisheries work and understand that adult bass prefer deeper waters (10-20ft) away from higher intensity sunlight. so I was thinking that a higher Kelvin bulb would more closely resemble its natural habitat. Do you think that 18000-20000K bulbs would be more natural or better simulate the spectrum that these fish prefer?  <It's hard to say. On the reefs the water is much clearer than in a lake so the lighting in 15 feet of reef water is going to be brighter than in 15 feet of lake water. I'd probably keep what you have. James (Salty Dog)>

Spectrum Selection (Not a big deal...this time!) - 04/27/05 Hey, < Hey Brandon...and for future reference...please use proper punctuation when writing in. > I'm about to buy bulbs for two separate set ups and I was had a few questions about which spectrum bulbs I should choose. The first is a saltwater tank that has a harlequin tusk as my centerpiece. < Lovely fish. > I have live rock but no other inverts. My current pc bulbs are 10k and actinic but I have the ability to add a 6700k bulb along with the 10k and actinic when I replace them all. I was wondering would this accentuate the orange of my harlequin because it is stronger in that part of the spectrum? My main concern is the aesthetics of my fish in other words. < Warmer colors will likely provide the look you're after. While pleasing and even necessary for some applications, the higher Kelvin bulbs tend to skew (or wash out) colors in my opinion. I would '86' the actinic bulbs altogether and go with more bulbs in the 6700K range for this setup. > My other question is about a freshwater tank I have set up for an adult largemouth bass. < Another "neato" and interesting fish. > It's a 220g with four 36w standard florescent bulbs. I do a lot of fisheries work and understand that adult bass prefer deeper waters (10-20ft) away from higher intensity sunlight. So I was thinking that a higher Kelvin bulb would more closely resemble its natural habitat. Do you think that 18000-20000K bulbs would be more natural or better simulate the spectrum that these fish prefer? < Hmm, with proper aquascaping/structure, the fish will find a spot with a light intensity that's suitable. My first inclination would be to keep the standard wattage bulbs but reduce the number to three to dim the lighting as seen in many public displays of this type...but your idea has merit. If you're willing to go to the trouble/expense, four 55w/65w PC bulbs in the 14K - 20K range could well be a more natural look/condition for the fish. > Thanks again, Brandon. < Welcome, Eric R. > 

45 breeder lighting WWM Crew Thanks for your valuable time. I helped a friend with some plumbing work on his house and he gave me his 45 breeder 36"X18"X16". I would like to make this a mixed reef tank if possible but with the same flow requirements so as not have to worry about having not enough for some and too much for others( I know there will e middle section and others on the ends. I was thinking of putting in a 2" sugar fine sand bed as well so surface to bed will only be 14". Is the 250w too much? <It will work> I can add actinic lighting if I feel that I want to or need to at a later time. This will be in a canopy with two 4" cooling fans and the entire back of the canopy will be open to help keep things cool.  <Okay>dead spots). As far as lighting I was thinking of using one 250w SE MH with 14k k Bulb. This would allow me to keep the high light corals in the Doug Denny <Sounds like a workable plan and good introduction to this part of our interest. Bob Fenner>ð

Lighting question I have a 140 gal tank 48lx24wx29d I am considering 2 250 watt metal halide 10000k and 2 96 watt blue actinic power compacts. or 3 150 watt HQI metal halides and 2 96 blue actinic power compacts. What would be your advice? <Mmm, what sorts of livestock do you intend to keep, what do you want it "to do?"> The first route saves me about $200 hundred dollars so I am leaning that way, but I don't want to skim on price if I can accomplish more via the second route. Thank you for your time and help. <I would likely go with the two 250's, not knowing any further. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Hey James, You've been the man for me lately and I so appreciate it. Just trying to narrow down the options and was wondering if you could take a quick quiz. I have a 90 Gallon 48x18x24 tank which is working its way to becoming a beginner reef. Easier corals, Anemone, etc. <Just a word to the wise, soft corals are much easier to keep than anemones. It's not advisable to have anemones with corals.>  If it were you, could you choose from these three options. A) Metal Halide Retro 2x250  <My choice> B) Metal Halide Retro 2x175 C) Compact Fluorescent Retro 5x96 These are all very close in price. I know there is such a thing as too much lighting thus the reason for A & B. I know some believe the more light the better, but I don't want to create a sauna. Could you take a crack at this? I sure appreciate it. Have a great weekend and keep up the great work. You guys are saving us rookies a lot of heart ache and a lot of money.  Thanks Ryan in NOCAL.  <Ryan, the two 250's would not be too much lighting for your tank. You would be at 5.5 watts per gallon. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: VHO/Power Compacts VS Metal Halide Thank you for your quick and helpful reply to my email. I took your advice and did not waste my money on a new lighting setup instead I just updated what I already had. In my original email I said that I had 3 VHO's 2 Power Compact bulbs 50/50 and one single Actinic (40w). I removed the Power Compacts and the Actinic and purchased another 660 ballast and added 3 more bulbs. I now have 6 VHO bulbs over the White Egg Crate, which seems to have increased my light output. I am using the Egg Crate because I only have about 4 inches between the water and the bulbs themselves and I don't want to risk frying my fish. I do have one final question about the bulb order if you have the time. Is there a particular order and bulb intensity that you think is best? I need to purchase new bulbs shortly and I want to make sure I get what is right. I am using the Actinic White & Actinic <These issues are covered on WWM... please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm.  Bob Fenner>

Temperature Problem and the Fan Does Suck.. Thank you for your quick reply. My canopy is wood. The tank is a 100 g acrylic corner tank. I was sucking the air out with the fan and tried your advice to blow the air across the surface. The temperature dropped, Thanks, this site and you guys provide a great service.  <You're welcome, Gary> I have a few more questions. I'm using power compacts in a FOWLR tank. The blue lights comes on 30 minutes before the full spectrum and stay on 30 minutes longer. The full spectrum is on 4.5 hours. I would like to increase the light duration but I'm concerned about heat and algae.  What light duration do you recommend to maximize my viewing time, minimize algae, and most important for the fish? Also do you recommend 2 fans- 1 blowing and 1 sucking?  <Gary, growing coralline does require at least an eight hour duration of full spectrum lighting. I would be more concerned with nutrients causing excess algae growth than the lighting. The fish really don't care what kind of lighting you have. Two fans blowing across the surface is more effective for cooling but does cause more than usual evaporation. One fan sucking will help some. In a ready made sealed fixture such as the Current brand name, the fan does suck and it is effective in this regard, but in a wood canopy as yours the fan sucking really doesn't get all the heat out, some air is going to be drawn from the open rear of the canopy. James (Salty Dog)> 

Electronic vs. Tar ballast I'm a fish maintenance guy and I am about to update some of my customer's lighting. My question is about 400W MH (I use 5500K Ventures with PC actinics)... I thought electronic ballasts would be the way to go, but I've found some replies from "the crew" that state otherwise. Unfortunately I don't know the date of those replies and I want to re-ask the "electronic versus Tar" question in case there have advances with the electronic variety since your last post.  < Personally I can't see any reason to advise someone to go with a TAR ballast. Electronic is the only way to go. Yes, more money. But I think they are so much nicer that it is money well spent. >  If you do like Electronic, is there a brand that is superior.  < Not that I know of. Sanjay has lots of publications on this but I don't know of any real advantage on brands. I run Helios if that means anything to you. > Thanks, Justin Just In Fish < Blundell >

Fish Only Lighting I have looked on your site, which I must say has been very informative for my own tanks, more than my LFS which seems to want to only sell me stuff I don't really need.....imagine that. My parents have fallen in love with my tanks so I'm wanting to set up a 20 gallon FO for my mom. I plan on setting it up and showing her the proper maintenance on saltwater.  My question is how much light is needed on a tank with live sand as the substrate, power filter rated for a 40 gallon and a powerhead if more circulation is needed. My mom did ask if she could put live rock in the tank but I don't believe she can without buying a bigger light set up. Can I use the existing light fixture and just get a 20 watt Coralife 10,000 or 20,000 bulb for this setup? Also do you feel that she will need a protein skimmer with just fish only, I wouldn't think so with proper filtration and water changes. Thanks for your time and help. I'm glad there is a place that other fish geeks can go and spend hours reading, I know I do.  <Lora, it all depends what kind of critters are on the live rock. If there are corals and/or other light loving inverts you will need a 100watt lighting system. You will also need this light to propagate any coralline. Weaker lighting also encourages nuisance algae growth.  James (Salty Dog)> 

Fish Only Lighting Follow-up I'm sorry maybe I didn't explain this well enough. I don't plan on putting any live rock in the tank. Just a fish only. If I can get a 40 watt light for it will that be enough to keep the unwanted algae out of the tank.  Thanks.  <Lora, I thought your mother wanted to know if she could put live rock in? Anyway a 40 will be fine. I would try to get 10K tubes though. James (Salty Dog)> 

Lighting Follow-up Thank you for answering so quickly Salty Dog...I forgot the power heads. I have 2 Rio 800 head in my system. The flow rate is 211 gph each (so I have 422 gph going thru the tank now). My water seems to be flowing extremely well, I can't imagine almost doubling that. I would think I would have a tidal wave on my hands...please confirm you think I need 780 gph. <Loni, this is total flow from all sources, yes you need 10x>  Also, if I went with MH lighting, can you suggest a set up for me? I have a friend who can build me this lighting (he is an electrician and has built them before, so far, no fires...lol). I have been reading up on MH lighting a bit, do you think two 175W 10K will do? <Yes>  I plan on keeping the Dual Actinic - 7100K Blue / Actinic 03 Power Compact Bulbs also. Also, one more thing, if I do change my filtration system, is there a way to fit a sump/refugium/protein skimmer system under my 72 gallon bow? I'd really like to get the filters/protein skimmer and heaters out of the back of my tank.  Thanks again, Loni  <I can't really suggest something since your friend is going to build this from components. You could go to www.premiumaquatics.com. They are one of the stores that sell components for the DIY, and/or do a Google search. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting Question, Pt 2 (3.28.05) G'day Thanks ever so much for your assistance glad to finally find someone that's not after money like our LFS here. <We've all got our industry, and our hobby. This is my hobby, and as such, you're only getting friendly advice! Just kidding, Ryan>

Lighting Retrofit Hey guys what a great thing you've got going with this site.  Real quick question here.  I have a 48 Inch long canopy and am obviously deciding to go with PC retrofits to save money. I have found a place to buy a 48" 8x55 retro for $370 or 36" 5x96 for $280. The wattage is slightly more for the 36" and it's cheaper. Is the downside to this whole thing light distribution? This goes on an 80 gallon 24" tall tank. Both give me about 5+ watts per gallon. Would this be Anemone and Coral friendly lighting.  <I believe your tank is too deep for this lighting to be acceptable to hard corals. A bubble tip anemone would fair OK.>  Any "light" (haha) you could shed on this would be great. Especially my first question.  <I believe your tank is too deep to get away with a 36" fixture. I'd go with the 8x55watt fixture. If you really desire hard corals, consider a combo with two HQIs. James (Salty Dog)> 

Halides soon to be inferior? Just saw an interesting article about channeling sunlight into homes, who knows maybe we can light our tanks with this technology someday! Sunlight in the Home <Thanks for sharing. That certainly is interesting. Mike G> 

Mushroom et al. lighting, using WWM I finally got my lights up. I'm running a setup with 1 55 watt actinic and 1 65 watt 10000k daylight. My tank is 18 inches deep plus all things elevated up 9 inches with LR. My question is what species of mushroom coral can I grow, or do I have enough light to grow more than mushrooms? Thanks for your time guys, -Aaron <Please go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/, see the Google Search tool? Put in the terms: "Mushroom lighting", Mushroom selection, Anemone, Coral.... etc. lighting. Bob Fenner> 

Simple lighting question, using WWM Hello I'll make this short.  I have a 36inch Coralife lighting, I heard to replace every 6 months because of color spectrum or something similar. If not, how often? <Please go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/, see the Google Search tool? Put in the terms: "Changing lamps, fluorescent lighting". Bob Fenner>

Lighting & LR I'm purchasing a 54 gallon corner tank - will be SW FOWLR. The lighting options for that tank is either a 30" twin strip T-8 fluorescent or a 30" with one 55 Watt compact fluorescent. Would either one be fine with the LR, and which one would be better?  Thanks.  Mitch <Both good units, choices... Considering lamp choices, availability... I would go with the T-8's. Bob Fenner>

Refugium Lighting and Cabo Dive Operators Hello Crew, <Alan> I have an AMiracle sump with 6 gallons of water that I have turned into a pseudo refugium. It contains 8 lbs of live rock rubble and I added a nice clump of Chaetomorpha yesterday and some of those mesh like plastic kitchen scrubbies (found at Wal-Mart today, finally). No sand bed or mud. The intent of the refugium is to keep a gaggle of pods that I have purchased from Adelaide and the Reed Mariculture folks (very nice people to do business with). My question is how much light is needed to keep the Chaeto alive and well.  <Sounds great> I tried to find the "Lights of America" 13 watt CF's often discussed on WWM at Home Depot and Lowe's and they have both stopped carrying the fixture (but they still sell the bulbs). <Rats! Maybe they can be ordered over the net? As I recall L.O.A. has a site... maybe they could tell you where to get them?> At least that's the case here in Denver. What I did find was a clip light and a Sylvania soft white mini 60 watt compact fluorescent that has a color temperature of 3000K. Would this work or should I find a higher watt CF or higher Kelvin? <Higher...> Can you recommend a good dive operator you might have experience with in Cabo San Lucas to dive with. I'll be there in June. <Ah, I've used the four listed here: http://www.loscabosguide.com/diving/diving.htm  As is typical in the trade, many of the actual dive-masters, crew move "freely" amongst these outfits... they are all worthwhile> Thanks for all of your Brilliance. Alan <! Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Choosing The Right Light! (Decisions, Decisions!) Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I am in the process of setting up my fish tank for Reef. I have a standard 75 gallon 48x18x20. I was looking for advice on types of lighting I should acquire. I plan on populating my fish tank with some soft coral and some SPSs. I have a 38 gallon sump divided into 3 chambers. Skimmer chamber, refugium chamber and return chamber. I have been doing some shopping and was hoping you can offer some advice on some of the products I have found. <Will try...> I found a Coralife 48" Aqualight Pro. It has a combined HQI Double-Ended Metal Halide lighting with two 150W 10000k bulbs 96W Compact Fluorescent Lamps and Lunar Blue-Moon-Glow LED lights. Is this enough lighting for leaving me the most options for livestock? <This is a nice system that will provide you with good flexibility in a 20" deep tank, particularly with soft corals and less demanding SPS corals. Yes, some hardcore SPS geeks (like many of my buddies) will tell you that you have to have at least 250 watt bulbs, or even 400 watters, to do the job. I don't entirely agree. 150 watt HQI bulbs will be fine, IMO. If you get the itch and want to keep seriously light-demanding SPS corals (like Porites, etc.), then you may ant to look into 250 watt systems.> Does the Lunar Light provide any beneficial use? <It is thought to provide a natural simulation of nighttime on a reef, fostering more natural behaviours and possible reproduction among corals and inverts. Personally, I think they are just cool to trip out on and create a neat environment in your living room for nocturnal observation. These have not been used all that long in the hobby, so it remains to be seen if we will reap the benefits of their continued use. I like 'em, though!> Should I just focus on units with higher wattage bulbs? <Really depends on the demands of your prospective inhabitants, as discussed above. If in doubt (and if you are thinking of going full-bore into demanding SPS corals) , go for the higher wattage. You won't have any regrets down the line as your interests change...> Also wondering what type of lighting I would need for the Refugium? <I'd get an inexpensive PC or even standard fluorescent fixture, run on a "reverse daylight" (opposite of your display tank's lighting) schedule.> Thank you in advance.  Jay <Glad to help, Jay! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Tank move, lighting choices and closed loops 2/3/05 First off, I'm amazed at the info I've learned from streaming through all these pages. Thank you ahead of time again. <Glad you have benefited!> I am moving to Florida and must break my 180g down. Possibly several months before I will be able to restart. Unfortunately will not be able to save LR but can reseed it.  <If you can't save the live rock, please sell it or give it away. Once it dries, I would not suggest trying to re-use it. It will be full of organic matter from all of the bacteria and tiny critters that died upon drying.> Current FOWLR, next set-up to be reef (some SPS, Mostly LPS, 1 xenia, 1 clam). Tank is 72x24x24. After the sandbed, the water column will be 20". Currently, I am looking at the Coralife Aqualight Pro HQI 3x150W DE HQI, 4x96 Actinic. Obviously, I will replace MH lamps w/Aqualine bulbs. Will this offer enough light if specimens placed at appropriate heights? Any good or bad remarks\reviews for this product? Or should I purchase another manufacturer? <My experience with Coralife lighting products is mixed. If you are going to replace the lamps with Aqualine lamps anyway, why not look at AquaMedic fixtures? They have a better reputation for quality and the lamps you want will be included in the (admittedly much higher) price. Aquamedic produces fixtures with PC's or T-5's.> I plan on adding large refugium and closed-loop water flow to hit around 20x turnover, but having some problems with schematics currently, any thoughts? I want to plan ahead.  <Sounds good, but I am not sure what to suggest without a little more to go on. From the cuff... Be sure that the inlets to your closed loop diffuse the suction effectively (no sucking up fishies!) and use as few T's and elbows as possible.> Any thoughts on placing my skimmer AquaC EV240 outside my sump (changing water levels in sump tend to really play havoc-awesome skimmer though)?  <You could place it outside of the sump, or simply elevate it so that the outlet will always be higher than the water level in the sump.> You have always been so helpful. I print out a ream of FAQ and just read and read, then reverse paper and print on other side-another 2 inch stack of FAQ. Wife thinks I'm crazy. Thanks <Glad to help! All of our spouses think we're crazy! Best Regards. AdamC.>

Subject: Re: CA Payment <Dana! Please send along a good mail address and I'll send out your check taksan hyaku! Hope to see you (in HI) soon. BobF> >I hope the new year finds you well, and the weather is reasonably warm on the mainland (I won't tell you what it's like here)... <Dana,  All is good, I hope it is with you as well. Actually, it has been ridiculously cold here in the northeast!> >Congrats on the new CA edition. Graphics look good, and I liked the articles (especially the puffer dentistry). <Thanks for looking and for the kind words!> >A quick update: NASA has licensed patented technology, and a 'chlorophyll meter' is available. After several phone calls to the manufacturer and inventor, no one was able to tell me if this meter would work on corals. Imagine, an early warning system for bleaching (this meter can detect problems in terrestrial plants up to 16 days before the signs of chlorosis are visible to the human eye). Will the same work for corals? No one knows, but I'm working on it. <Wowza! What potential! I will be very excited to hear about it!> >There are only a thousand or so of these meters in the world - most are used for food crop management, with a few employed for monitoring of golf course sod. <It is always funny to me to see examples like this... "food crop management" has such profound social implications, and then you have golf courses... goes to show where the money is!<g>> It should go without saying that this meter was extremely expensive (it was either the chlorophyll meter or a 60" plasma TV...). Which leads me to a question - when could I expect payment for the Nov/Dec article. Every little bit helps. <Bob sends the checks, and he told me several weeks ago that he had tried to contact you when he was in HI. I am cc'ing him here so that the two of you can communicate on the best way to get the check to you.> >I'm excited about the possibilities of this meter, and furthering our understanding of the dynamics of coral/zooxanthellae under stress. Perhaps CA would be interested in a general article about this? <As much an I am personally looking forward to seeing/hearing/reading all about this, I suspect that it will probably be way beyond most of our readers, and that you will reach a more appropriate audience through AA or RK. Our readers are really on the level of "what is bleaching?" and how to recognize, prevent and deal with it in their tanks. Will be chatting..  Adam>

CRI vs. color temperature Hello light-guru on staff:   Thanks for the previous discussions on the frequencies of photosynthesizing algae present in ocean critters. Along the same lines, I was curious about something Bob Fenner says in his great article located here : http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm That "You want a CRI of 90+ coupled with a Color Temperature of 5,000+ Kelvin." It seems to me that, from what little I know about this topic, CRI's must decrease relative to the color of the light; as the light temperature goes below, say ~5500K <for 'pure' sunlight>, then the predominance of reds and yellows compared to the blues would make accurate color rendering impossible - if you point a visibly red light at a color chart used for CRI rendering, then most if not all colors will appear reddish, severely skewing the CRI and driving it well below 90%.  Ditto for colors above 5500K, as they are more blued, and drive the CRI down in the same way by having too much blue rather than too little, relative to the other color frequencies. So, taking any of the many available lights that range from 7500K up to 20000K, regardless of whether these lights will successfully support photosynthetic life of whatever kind (freshwater, reef, whatever), you are not going to have a high CRI; the blue-ish-ness of the colors represented in a standard CRI color chart will drive the CRI way down. My question is this : if you use any light source not close to ~5500K - especially the blue-ish bulbs - then shouldn't CRI have little or no relevance as to the light source's suitability for producing enough PAR in the other color frequencies? <CRI (Color Rendering Index) is a term to compare the light being used to the actual color of daylight at high noon. The higher the CRI, the closer it is to daylight.  A blue bulb can mask this color, but it is still there.  That is why we use different Kelvin temperatures to get the spectrum we want for photosynthesizing. Bob pretty much says it all in your quote.  James (Salty Dog)>   Thanks, SLC

Re: Lighting As a follow up, if I use the satellite with two 65 watt bulbs, will that be enough for any soft corals, or maybe an anemone? Thanks <Uhh, a follow-up? Please include previous correspondence... this lighting might well work on a small, shallow system. Bob Fenner>

Photosynthesis vs. fluorescence Hello WWM light-guru : I'm trying to understand at what light frequencies do reef invertebrate species with symbiotic zooxanthellae get their primary photosynthesis benefit, and at what frequencies do they (or their resident algae and/or bacteria) primarily fluoresce, and perhaps most importantly, if there is any overlap between the two?  <Photosynthesis takes place in the 420 nanometer area, hence the actinic tube. I really don't know if there is any overlap, maybe Mr. Fenner can comment here.>  This is so I can better evaluate what types of lighting colors I can mix and match to provide the best of both worlds, and to focus more on the photosynthesizing aspect. This is a pure theory question, no questions about wattage or the best ballasts or any of that - which I've pretty much got down by now. <For what its worth, I personally like the actinic/10K combo. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks - SLC <<There are actually a myriad of photosynthetic pigments... that can make use of photonic energy over ranges of wavelengths... and a host of factors that influence their function AND the expression of light energy proximally... water depth, dissolved color... Much more than "what meets the eye" here. RMF>>

Aqualight Pro 48" enough? I have a question regarding a purchase I made recently. After months of researching casually on the internet regarding the needs of corals I could not resist the temptation to buy a new Coralife Aqualight Pro. It is the 48" version with 2 - 150 watt HQIs and 2 - 96 watt PC's. I currently have it on a 90 gallon planted tank that measures 48x18x 22"deep. My question concerns primarily that difference between HQI technology and the Mogul screw in type of bulb. I have had a difficult time finding info on whether HQI technology is "brighter" than older style bulbs. I would assume that Coralife believes most of its Aqualight Pro systems will be going over reef tanks. <Believe so> To that end, why have only 150 watt MH bulbs? <Mmm, likely cheaper to them... less hazardous to put in fixtures...> The absolute minimum I have read about is 175 watts per bulb for SPS and that is with them near the top. <Mmm, the wattage not so important... the depth of water, distance from the lamp... more important> Is there something about this "new" fixture that allows for 150 watt HQIs to be used with confidence over a reef tank? <Doubtful... the lamp type, energy output are all that is important in terms of function... ballasting, other aspects important to you in operational costs> I do plan to change to a reef tank someday (with SPS corals). Has anyone out there had success with this new fixture? Any help will be greatly appreciated.  Sincerely, Chris M <As we often remark re gear assessments, it's far better to ask on the various BB's (ReefCentral, Reefs.org...) re... many more people, experiences to draw from. Bob Fenner> 

Lighting Just wondering if you can help on a lighting issue. I was given my 55 gallon tank by a friend, who used it as a freshwater setup, with a basic Perfecto hood/light, with a 48 " single bulb. When I decided to use the tank as a salt water set up, I changed a 50/50 marine bulb, can't remember the name/brand. I've had some Fiji live rock for about 6 months now, maybe 10 - 12 pounds. It has maintained it's color, and doesn't give off any foul odor, as I've heard it can do if it dies off. Yet, some of the visible organisms that were often seen on the live rock initially (not even sure what they are, but some almost looked like miniature feather dusters), are now rarely seen. <Yes... the single 40 watt lamp is dismally little compared with the overall intensity of light in the wild> My water quality appears pretty good. No ammonia, no nitrites, pH of 8.2, SG at about 1.018, nitrates at about 30 - 40 ppm, temperature a steady 79 degrees. I add Aragamilk about twice per week. Sound to you like the rock is slowly dying off? <Yes... which it does in all cases... but yours is going faster> If so, might it be the lighting?  <Certainly IS a factor here... as is your low spg... I would raise this to near seawater strength (1.025 or so)> The tank gets a fair amount of daylight, but no direct sun. Windows in the room face north/northwest. As always, thanks for helping "dummies" like me. <No such thing as a "dummy" in my estimation... only folks looking to increase their knowledge, skills and appreciation. Bob Fenner> 

Re: 75 gallon: New Reef Tank Hello, Gwen I have a question sorry for so much bother but I was looking at my Conscientious Marine Aquarist book, on page 37. That's what I really want to do in my system for now: a Fish and Invertebrate system, I really don't want to jump into having a complex reef system. All I want are some Featherdusters, 2 or 3 local anemones and some sponges to give color to my tank and get my LR healthy. Do you think in this way I can keep my Humu Humu trigger? Right now I have my hood that came with the tank: one strip with a 40 watt 50/50 bulb. What should I upgrade it to so that I can have these inverts? Should I get 4 VHO (that are tuff to get here) but I could order a fixture. Two actinic and two white 96watts. 0r 110, or should I get the MH I-2 175 and 2 40 watts of actinic and make the canopy 12 inches. I have a question: the retrofits are for custom canopies but why are the hoods that are sold already just to place over your tank with MH not higher than 6 or 7 inches, when they should be 12 inches? Please, I am going crazy with this light issue I want to sit and look at my tank but my one bulb throws a yellowish light and you can't really appreciate anything. Thanks, Alejandro <<Hey there. A Fish and Invert system is a fine way to begin, it is wise not to jump into a complex coral reef system. Some good "beginner" creatures that you CAN keep DO include the Featherdusters (you will need to avoid certain species of crab with them, though: some will eat your Featherdusters, like decorator crabs and arrow crabs) and some easy corals. Again, your trigger will eat your inverts, so you need to decide to either keep a trigger and some easy corals, or inverts and some easy corals...one or the other. A triggerfish in an invert tank is just a meal waiting to happen. Don't be too quick to give up keeping corals, since, with your trigger, you are quite restricted as to any other inverts you can keep...he will eat crabs, snails, Seastars, shrimp, lobsters, urchins...the list is endless. You will have plenty of light, so you can try to keep some easy corals, like Discosoma species (the mushrooms, such as Ricordea, metallic, hairy mushrooms, etc) there are many mushroom species and a variety of colors to choose from. As for your sponges, they are filter feeders, most species require very good circulation, but not so much light, it depends on which species. Make sure they are placed in high-flow areas, and do not expose them to air while you are acclimating them to your tank. You may want to avoid keeping an anemone for the first little while, at least until your tank has matured enough to be stable. (Or, as stable as any tank can be...) A good six months or more. Do not add any live-food requiring fish during this time, either. For example, mandarin gobies, scooter blennies, etc. These fish do much better in a large, well-established system, one that is thriving with live foods. For your lighting, buy the best you can afford. It's that simple. Right now your "yellow" light problem can be fixed by adding some actinic light, perhaps for the time being you can install a Coralife 50/50 bulb, it is a single bulb that gives out both actinic and full spectrum light. Just until you get your new lighting decided upon, and purchased. As for the retrofit kits, if you buy a decent product, and install them as per directions given by the manufacturer, you should not have any problems. I am not sure about the height they are advising, I do not know about which company or lighting you are referring to. I would say to use common sense, however, and always be sure to allow for good ventilation: Add a fan to your canopy, or even two. You can leave an open space behind the tank, where air can flow. Just remember you will need to top up your evaporated water quite frequently, perhaps even daily. -Gwen>> Reef Lighting 8/17/04 thank you for replying my last message so quickly I am really confused and don't know what to do you have helped me a lot with your advice and the FAQS but I want to have good light in my 75 gallon tank its 18 or 21 inches deep I want to have Featherdusters, anemones, <please reconsider the anemones... keep none if you want corals in this tank and if not, still keep only one species  of anemone. They really do need species tanks> and some other clams or I don't really know yet will 4 fluorescent of 40 watts (2actinic and 2 daylight) and a 175 watt MH  do the job? <the fluorescents give little help here on a tank so deep... and the one MH is modest for a 4 foot long tank. This lighting scheme is "low" by most any standard> with a custom made canopy plus 2 fans or another choice is a 2 40 watt actinic and 2 175 watt MH which is the best choice for my LR and future inverts and me. <yes... much better!> Please help me I want to do a good spend on my lights not just buy to have lights. <pick 10K Ushios lamps (or Aqualines) and you will be quite happy. XMs are good too> In your last mail you told me to get rid of my Humu Humu trigger if I wanted the anemones and shrimp he is about 3 inches will he get used to them? <he is not reef safe at all and must be removed to be sure> I really like this fish and wouldn't want to get rid of him. <most triggers will kill desirable reef inverts like shrimp, clams, etc> Also what is a good blue fish for my tank? <I have no idea what to recommend without knowing the other fishes in your tank. There are no doubt some handsome damsels (Chromis if you need peaceful) to be found in blue colors> Well thank you very much hope to hear from you soon <best of luck, Anthony>

Lighting change 13 Aug 2004 I have a standard (48"x13"x20") 55 gallon tank that has been up for over three years. Current occupants are three fish (1 medium yellow tang, 1 small blue hippo tang, and 1 ocellaris clown) as well as three urchins (2 Diadema sp. and 1 Lytechinus variegatus). <Sounds lovely!> There is also 50 pounds of live Fiji rock and an Aqua C Remora skimmer (no other filtration though I sometimes I run a power filter for a few days to remove particulates and enable the use of carbon). <Smart letting the live rock do its job.> The tank is very stable and using Seachem test kits the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate have all been undetectable for a long time (somewhat surprising considering the messy tangs). I need to add more of a clean up crew, I know. There was a mantis in there for awhile that made all my snails and shrimps into his own personal buffet but the mantis is gone now (I caught him). <Definitely something you might want to add> I am planning on upgrading the lighting on this tank to a 260 W power compact Coralife Aqualight and getting into the exciting world of corals. My stocking plan is to add the following: torch, hammer, bubble, and a lobed brain coral a Tridacnid clam. <Very exciting!> My questions are: 1) What do you think of the Aqualight fixtures and my 260 W lighting plan? From reading the archives it seems that 260 W will be good for these corals and the clam (as long as I keep the clam up high in the tank). <The way I figure it, its about four watts per gallon which should keep most of these corals pretty happy. I've never used an Aqualight personally so can't comment on them but my thinking is that as long as the lighting goes from complete side to side its great. Meaning that the bulbs go all the way to the edge.> 2)Would one species of clam be better than another for this set up? The Deresas are cited as needing the least light but get rather large. <Derasa's are wonderful clams. Very nice very colorful and I think you would enjoy one. I'd get one that's got at least some size on it.> 3) I have a nice clump of Anemonia majano growing in this tank. They are mostly concentrated on one big rock (the rock closest to the light, naturally) but a few are scattered throughout the tank. Since I never kept corals the past three years I never worried about them and kind of like them and just let them go. They are tough suckers, managing to have slowly multiplied over the past three years under only 26 watts of NO light! The corals I am looking to put in this tank are all pretty aggressive with long sweeper tentacles. Can these corals hold their own against the Anemonia? <Possibly, I think you are going to have to look into getting rid of the anemone's though. You might try peppermint shrimp.> I hate to just wipe the Anemonia out en masse - they don't bother me - but obviously I don't want them damaging my expensive corals. Should I get rid of the Anemonia? <If you can find a way to keep them apart you should be okay. Good luck and please keep us up to date MacL> Thanks in advance for your advice!

Mini space for mini reef lighting Hi Bob! I'm learning that you're not a fan of the mini reef.  I'm trying it only because of slight lack of time and money. (Maybe it's more a priority issue.) Any way, is 96w. of CF too strong for a 16 gal. reef? <Possibly... depends on the types of life kept... can likely be controlled electronically to be less bright> Would I need a cover (Glass or acrylic) between the CF fixture suspended three inches over the top of the tank? <I would leave off with a cover if your livestock won't jump out (many fishes do, and even some invertebrates can crawl out...), doing what you can also to diminish splash and spray (to keep saltwater off your fixtures and lamps)> Thank for what you do for us. <A pleasure. Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Lighting and protein skimming questions Hi, my name is Frank. <Hi Frank, MacL here with you on this outstanding night.> Your website is awesome and as we speak I am using your info on fighting the war on algae. <Thank you for your kind words.>  My question is about my lighting (intensity and depth) for the greater goal of growing more coralline algae. Specs are: 25gal (20 gal actual water) tank.  specs are within range, I just have to test for phosphates. <Might I suggest you take a look at your alkalinity as well?> Calcium is 430-450. got one of each cleaner peppermint, and fire shrimp.  4 red hermits, 2 tiny blue hermits, clownfish, bicolor blenny, and 6-line wrasse.  tank is 8 months old and everyone is fine. <Wonderful!>  Now my lighting.  I have a 55 watt 50/50 (10000k?) power compact fluorescent and my tank dimensions are 30inch across, 12 inches deep, and 14 inches high.  But I do have a reef sand substrate about 3 inches thick.  My question is are my lights good enough considering that the tank substrate floor is only 12-13 inches away from my lights because the do sit right on top of my glass cover; <Good enough for what is the question. You need to gear your lighting to what you wish to do with the tank. For instance, if you wish corals then you are going to need to add some lights more than likely, especially if you want to have hard corals. However if you wanted to keep mushrooms it might be okay.>  this also make the peaks of my rock structures within 8-9 inches from the lights.  is this ok and does half the depth mean double the intensity because there must be a relationship between distance and wattage and intensity and stuff like that? <Think of it this way, at the top the intensity is exactly what the light is billed to be as it goes deeper it looses intensity unless you add additional lights.>  Oh ya, one more thing.  I have been reading about SeaClone protein skimmers and all the reviews.  Do you feel that my SeaClone 100 rated for 280-290 gph is sufficient for my 20g actual volume tank? <Once again depends on what you are trying to do, if you want an absolutely clean tank maybe not.>  I read protein skimmer turnover rate should be 4-7x and is a balance of bubble chamber reaction and water flow.  I believe that mine falls within an excellent performance range for the size of my tank, do you agree or do you find it sufficient at the least? <Honestly I believe for that size of tank its fine.>  With my lights and protein skimming capacity what corals do you recommend, I think those hard stony ones are out of the question. <Mushrooms is about it honestly. Maybe a soft coral such as a colt if you place it at the top of the tank.>  Could you tell me which ones I could get and which ones I could put higher up closer to the lights if it requires more.  Thanks for putting up with my questions and your help is cherished greatly. <hope this helps you, MacL> Lighting and stocking a tank? Hello WWMCrew, << Blundell this fine morning. >> Thank you for the info on the name FOWLR, how so simple, I hope this one is the same. I now have six 4ft fluoros for my 500lt tank -4x10000k super day lights, and 2x actinic, I can run the actinics on a separate timer. What I need to know is what time period I should run the two set ups at. I do like to have the actinics on at night till I go to bed, because it looks nice. Do the actinics need to be on all day or should they come on before the super day lights, then come on again after the super day lights have finished. << I would run the actinics all day long.  Run them for about 14 hours, and your daylights for more like 12 hours or so. >> Is this enough light now for my tank or should I place another two more super day lights. << Well if it is a FOWLR, then this sounds fine.  I love light, and I don't think you can ever have enough. >> I have still got the algae blues but I will send a separate e-mail about this. TANK SET-UP   a.. 500lt Tank - 4 holes drilled into back at water level line - runs down to W/D shower head   b.. 1x 2 Sponge power head filter in tank for pushing water   c.. 1x Foam fractionation skimmer   d.. 1x Canister filter - Via Aqua 750 Professional - 3 baskets: Matrix           Running off W/D sump                                                                  a.. 1x Wet & Dry filter 75cm x 45cm x 45cm Green filter material - ¾ full of Bio-balls                 14cm water level in sump   a.. 1x Jun pump 12,000 L/ph   b.. 2x Heaters.. Tank substrate - crushed white coral 2mm   d.. 6x 4ft Fluoros - 4x Super Day -2x Actinic Blue LIVE STOCK   a.. 1x Mandarin Dragonet  << Careful here, they do much better in well established reef tanks. >>   b.. 2x Tomato Clown Fish (1 male, 1 female)   c.. 1x Banded Boxing Shrimp (female)   d.. 1x Abalone   e.. 1x Medusa worm   f.. 1x Host Anemone   g.. 20x Actinodiscus/Discosoma   h.. 3x Ricordeidae   I.. 5x Warty Corallimorphs   j.. 3x Folded Elephant Ears   k.. 12x Colonial Anemone   l.. 30x Yellow/Green Encrusting Sea Anemones   m.. 1x Violet Sea Urchin   n.. 3x Sea Squirts   o.. 4x Xenia - Encrusting Corals   p.. 1x Goniopora - Planulata << This may be a poor specimen to choose. >>   q.. 1x Large Plate Coral   r.. 1x Small Plate Coral   s.. 20x Finger - Torch Corals   t.. 3x Star - Pineapple Corals   u.. 2x Common Sponges   v.. 8x Tree Soft Corals   w.. 3x Branching Hydroids   x.. 2x Grape Caulerpa   y.. 1x Free Living Bristleworm   z.. Colony of Sea Mats   aa.. A meadow of Xenia type blue single flowers   ab.. 10kg Premium Live rock covered in Coralline Algae << Well you listed a lot of cnidaria in there.  I would say that in this case, I would consider upgrading your lights.  Try looking through the readings on this site about lights for a tank that size.  I say "when in doubt, add more light".  It may really help out. >> Thank You Chris <<  Blundell  >>

Lighting for a 500 ltr tank? Hello WWMCrew, << Blundell this morning. >> I was running my 500lt mini reef tank << I guess that is a mini tank, seems like a good sized tank in my mind. >> with just two 4ft fluoros, not enough I know but I did have a little help from the rays coming through the window.<< Sunlight from a window can provide far more light than most people imagine. >> The two fluoros are one day Glo and one actinic, I have just added four more 4ft fluoros to the set up but have not yet got the tubes, can you please give me some info on what mix of tubes I should buy to make this a good addition to the tank. << Well this will really be dependent on the sunlight.  The more natural sunlight you have, the less need for white lights.  In that case I would add more actinic blue bulbs.  Otherwise I would split the bulbs half white and half blue. >> I will also be adding four more when the funds are a lot better. With the total number being six 4ft fluoros is this still on the light side for lighting in my 500lt tank. << Well I'm not sure if you mean 4ft VHO fluorescents, or standard 40 watt normal output lights.  If they are normal output lights, yes, I would say you are underlighting your tank.  If they are VHO, well, I still think you are underlighting your tank, but it isn't as bad.  When the funds to become available, I would up the lighting as much as you can. >>  Most of the coals are soft corals .   <<  Blundell  >> How much light do I need for a 45 gal tank? Hello. << Hi >> I was running a FOWLR 135G tank for several years and looked to your sight for assistance from time to time. You were always helpful to guide me in overcoming any issues that I may have had and it has always been  appreciated. I am setting up a reef tank and have a very generalized question about my lighting and what I may be able to keep in this setup with the lighting that I have readily available. I am currently reading several books on the subject of corals and reef setups and, as always, am looking to Bob's book for some of the usual helpful info.<< Best thing I could have advised. >> Sorry for rambling and here is my question: The tank I will be setting up is a DAS 45G show tank (prefer non show tank but might work better with my lighting anyway- besides, it's free) with dimensions of approx. 33Lx16Dx26H. I have a PFO hood setup with 1x175 10000K m/h and 2X URI super actinic VHO which I intend on using with this setup. << Great lighting. >> Temps in tank will be resolved with a chiller so I don't need to worry about potential overheating. Again, I understand that this is a very broad question that will result in a vague answer but I would appreciate any info you can give me about what could be successfully put in a tank such as this. << Just about everything.  I would put stonies and clams towards the top, and everything else just spread around.  You could have two halides, or go with a 250 watt, and that would be better, but I don't think you'll have any problems. >> Thank you very much for your time and all the help that you have given to me in the past. << Good luck. >> Chris <<  Blundell  >> What kind of lights do I need for a 72 gal bow? hi www crew I love this site I come here for all my answers!! I am ordering a AGA predrilled 72 gallon bowfront aquarium very soon. the only bad thing is it is 22 inches deep but I can make up for this with a deep sand bed of at least 4 inches. I have been reading pages and pages of information on which lights are best. I don't want MH because this tank is in my room and it will be very hot. I was very interested in a PC of 4x65 watt lights with 4 moon lights, however I don't think this is enough lighting for my tank which I want to keep corals such as bubble, brain, leather, and maybe button polyp or some mushrooms. << Actually, I think that lighting system may be enough.  But I would still recommend more like four 96 watt bulbs, or going VHO, because you may end up wanting other corals, and I'd hate for you to be disappointed when you can't get them. >> is this good enough?? would a anemone but ok in this condition. << Keep him up high, then let him move to wherever he is comfortable. >> I was looking at doing 4 110 watt VHO with a icecap 660 but the whole wiring thing has me nervous of fires for some reason and the price is more. << I like that set up better, and I would buy that. >> The whole idea of install this to a canopy is going to be hard since it is a bowfront. Which lighting system would be better for my money and which consumes less power.<< I don't know about the power issue, but I would find a way to rig up the VHO assembly, even with it being a bow front. >> I really like the PC but I want some thing that would be good for these corals. I hope this will work out fine. << The choice you make here will be what determines what corals you will be able to keep, so really it is up to you, and you wallet.>> thank you, << Check out this way cool 72 gal bowfront with only two VHO tubes... http://www.utahreefs.com/tankofthemonth/stevelopez/tank_of_the_month.htm >> Joe <<  Blundell  >>  

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