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FAQs about Light and Lighting for Marine Systems 18

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 17, 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

Lighting and Kelvin Temps       6/3/14
I just installed 4 Hydra 52s over a 225. They are about 14 inches above the water level and the tank is 30 <inches?> deep. I am running them with the Apex controller which enables me to select between a number of Kelvin temps utilizing the lighting wizard. In your opinion, would it be a good idea to cycle the lights through each of the Kelvin temps as the day progressed?
<Some variation would likely be... interesting; of use... How much does color temp. change in the wild per angle of incidence?>
Would this be similar to the way corals receive light temps throughout the day in the ocean. IE) 20k at 7 am, 18k at 8am, 16k at 9am,14k at 10am, 12k at 11am mad 10k at noon.
<Mmm; at 30 inches of depth... don't know... but I really doubt there's much more than 8,700 K. during most of daylight>
I would stay at 10k for two hours and cycle back to 20k in the same fashion so that I would be back at 20k at 6pm. Or is it better to leave the lights at one color temp throughout the photoperiod.
<Do a bit more scientific look/seeing and report back to us please. Bob Fenner; who is sending this along to JamesG>
Re: Lighting and Kelvin Temps 6/4/14

<Hello Steve>
I just installed 4 Hydra 52s over a 225. They are about 14 inches above the water level and the tank is 30 deep. I am running them with the Apex controller which enables me to select between a number of Kelvin temps
utilizing the lighting wizard. In your opinion, would it be a good idea to cycle the lights through each of the Kelvin temps as the day progressed?
Would this be similar to the way corals receive light temps throughout the day in the ocean. IE) 20k at 7 am, 18k at 8am, 16k at 9am,14k at 10am, 12k
at 11am mad 10k at noon.
<Well Steve, the sun does not change Kelvin temperature, it is the distance from the earth that changes intensity and color appearance to our eye. >
I would stay at 10k for two hours and cycle back to 20k in the same fashion so that I would be back at 20k at 6pm. Or is it better to leave the lights at one color temp throughout the photoperiod.
<I do not know the ability of the Hydras as far as ramping up and down but I'd start with 20K and ramp up to full spectrum at the end of an hour and doing a reversal near the end of the photoperiod.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Question regarding holding System light/ing   10/10/11
Hi Crew
Several years ago now, as I was setting up my fish holding tanks, and system for my LFS, I had a lot of advice from Bob, ( and great advice too ), for which I am so grateful.
<Still here>
My system has been running for 8 years now, with great results. It is in 3 tiers, and 3 walls of the large room. The entrance wall is completely open ( no windows), letting in plenty sunlight.
The background of the tanks is black, as are the acrylic dividers to separate the fish. In my opinion, plenty light for viewing, but I do not use any added lighting for these tanks. My thoughts were that an environment like this would be less stressful to the fish, and I was told by an exporter that this would also have positive benefits regarding potential parasitic cycles etc.
<Likely so; as you state, "less stress">
Recently, I have had people doubt this, claiming it is an attempt to disguise the fishes condition, but you can see each fish clearly. What is your take on this?.....Beneficial to the welfare of the fish?,
<I'd say beneficial>
or better if each tank is fully lit?
<For looks, sales' sake perhaps>
Best Regards
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Lighting Questions, measure/SW, reading   2/10/11
Hey crew, I had a questions about aquarium lighting. After searching your site I could not find exactly what I was looking for. I'm aware about how many watts per gallon of lighting is needed for reef tanks.
On the other hand I was curious if you can use a lumens per gallon formula instead?
<More valid than watts... but even this measure is of little/limited use...
Much depends on the life, your intentions, other aspects of set-up, maintenance... Light energy is rarely "the" rate limiting factor in captive marine systems>
The reason I ask this is because some manufactures only say how much lumens the lighting gives off.
I'm assuming lumens are more accurate than watts because watts is only the amount of power is need to run the lights. As always thank you for your time and advice.
<Do peruse the MANY articles and FAQs files on saltwater system lighting on WWM... The last trays here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm
Bob Fenner>

Grammar (possible) correction 09/15/09
Dear WWM Crew,
I was reading over at http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm
because I'm planning on adding some things to my tank that I suspect need more/different light than what I have. I'm just starting on this process, but I so very much appreciate your great articles and disambiguation on the subject. Still reading, reading, reading for now, and will move on to buying when I'm ready.
I read the following:
> *1) System Light Quality:*
> The quality of light is it's *composition*, mix of spectra (wavelengths),
> or color, if you will. Let's review the prominent measures/features of light
> quality, so you can make apples-to-apples comparisons for yourself regarding
> the various means of lighting your system(s).
> * * *Color Rendering Index* Color Rendering Index (CRI) is an indication of
> how a light source affects the appearance of a standardized color chart
> compared with natural sunlight (under controlled conditions). Obviously,
> sunlight scores a big 100 CRI, with numbers approaching one-hundred being
> close to sunlight. See the accompanying chart for what the sun's spectral
> power curve approximates. For the sake of photosynthesis in aquaria, CRI
> values of ninety (90) or greater are called for. For the sake of
> photosynthesis in aquaria, CRI values of ninety (90) or greater are called
> for. For the sake of photosynthesis in aquaria, CRI values of ninety (90) or
> greater are called for.
and one bona fide correction came up, with one possible correction. First, in "quality of light is it's *composition*" you got the wrong version of its/it's. I wouldn't have written over such a small thing, but the second thing prompted me to write. Did you intend to repeat the last sentence three times?
<No... is some "code" issue... in moving a bunch of "olde" articles, a bunch of these replications ensued>
I've seen that sort of thing done for emphasis, but usually there's some indication that that's what's happened, e.g.: the repetitions are capitalized or punctuated more forcefully. The repetition looked more like a copy and paste error than an intentional repetition for emphasis.
Thanks again for a fantastic website, and an amazing resource.
P.S. Kindly overlook any grammar mistakes I've made writing you today. :)
I hate to criticize when I'm not perfect myself.
<Heee! Will fix. Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Marine Tank Lighting Question - 06/05/09
<Hello again Nick>
Don't mean to bother you too much with a reply, but could you direct me to a more up to date and definitive article on lighting. Any help would be appreciated
Thanks again,
<Better to refer you to two big/best names in the fields of "marine aquarium lighting": Sanjay Joshi and Dana Riddle... Use your search tool with these and the subject. Bob Fenner>

Please Help! Lighting Confusion!! -- 06/03/09
Hello Crew!
<<Hey Dave!>>
I have been researching this for a little while now, and I have some answers, but not what I need to make an informed purchase.
I am currently in the process of purchasing the equipment required for a 75G reef tank. I currently have: 75G tank, reef ready w/glass top and overflow plumb kit.
25G sump.
<<Do research what we have to say about the glass tops'¦ I would remove them myself. Better light penetration and gas exchange, along with less heat buildup/better cooling through evaporation>>
I'm in the process of researching my lighting requirements, and have been getting conflicting information, and I¹m hoping someone with your expertise can help me.
<<Happy to proffer my opinions>>
I'm looking to set up a reef tank with fish, inverts, corals and an anemone.
<<Mmm'¦ I know folks do it'¦but I and others here don't recommend housing a motile anemone with sessile inverts'¦for many reasons (all posted)>>
My tank is 48'x18'x20' dimensionally. I am leaning towards a pendant MH system, 175W, 14000K (two of them, actually), but have some questions.
<<Okay'¦ I will say that MH is my fave lighting option, and the pendants are a good way to go>>
Firstly, will this be enough light for an anemone and some soft corals?
Second, do I NEED actinics, or will the result be purely aesthetic?
<<The latter'¦ The 14000K (also'¦ 10000K, and even 6500K) MH bulbs will carry more than enough of the blue spectrum for your livestock>>
Third, I'm thinking I might just go to 250W's to save myself the trouble of having to buy them later...will this be too much for the anemone (or everybody else in the tank, for that matter)?
<<No'¦ The pendants can be easily adjusted (up) to reduce intensity if necessary>>
Will it 'burn' the animal (as I've just been told by a LFS...who also told me that I 'wasn't doing my research', that 'anemones don't require a lot of light').
<<'Burning' as you say is a possibility if the anemone is not properly acclimated to the lighting, especially if it has been kept under low intensity lighting previously. And your LFS is correct to a degree that 'some' species of anemone can get by under 'moderate' lighting, if properly fed. But all will thrive, look, and just 'do better' under bright intense light in my opinion/experience>>
Can I get by with 48' T5's (2 x 10,000K, 54W and 2 x Actinic 420nm)? Somehow, I suspect it won't be enough.
<<Your suspicions are accurate, in my opinion'¦though four 10000K bulbs might get you by>>
I just want to make sure I am purchasing the right system for the animals, both to keep them happy, and to minimize the trips to the store!
<<I think the MH is the best option for most 'any' marine system'¦but certainly for what you have planned here. The 175w bulbs would/will suffice, but the 250w can also be made to work if you are expecting a future upgrade>>
Thanks very much for the help!
<<Happy to share>>
You folks are providing an invaluable service to us, especially novices like myself.
<<Your kind words are appreciated>>
<<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Re: Corals for warmer temps and low-light...(is it possible?)  4/5/09
Now: full-spectrum vs blue light for reef aquariums
Cheers for the quick response Bob. Hope today finds you on the better side of middling...
<Thank you Leon... Tis a better day... am up visiting a bit north, come to give a pitch (presentation) at an annual frag et al. conf. (MAX Event), chatting with friends, sushi-bar outing last night... Mas mejor>
Unfortunately your reply has sparked another question which has been tickling me for sometime about the debate of full-spectrum vs blue light for reef aquariums. It's a confusing topic, and my thoughts are equally confused, so I will try and be as succinct as I can:
I had previously read the lighting article you pointed out, however it has made me even more curious about the use of full-spectrum vs cooler (say 16k+) lighting for reef tanks. Something I've noticed while reading up is that there seem to be two competing approaches, namely "when in doubt, go with full-spectrum...it's best to emulate natural sunlight as close as possible" vs the school of "the primary light the zooxanthellae need to photosynthesise is in the actinic band, and the reds and yellows get filtered out so quickly, so rather focus your efforts on throwing more blue light at them". And I've come across very good examples of both approaches, used on similar species, where the results have been excellent.
<I concur. I have witnessed both as well>
I thought I'd settle the argument by looking at what coral breeders use, and I must admit that from what I've found out there seems to be a tendency to go more with full-spectrum lighting. I assume that this is a part of the industry you would certainly know more about than I do, so what is your experience in this area? I've also read a couple of articles (though none from what I'd consider to be totally reliable sources) which have suggested that high levels of red light have been linked to recession in some species.
<We are in agreement, observation-wise here as well>
My personal interpretation of the many conflicting reports tends to lead me down the path of 5.5k-10k for species found in shallower water and 16k - pure actinics for species found in deeper water; however I thought I'd put this up for an opinion.
<And, though it may well re-launch you into Mentat mode, seeking even more... issues of water clarity (dissolved and particulate) have MUCH to do with light quality and quantity here as well... Heeeee! Okay Beelzebub is putting me up to this, but very often folks have 20% or more "loss" of PAR (that they're paying for) from a lack of clarity... a bit of Ozone... improved RedOx... Oh the reading you'll do!>
Oh, and just to add one more thought to the mix there is my own confusion from diving on the barrier reef...I've seen very similar-looking species (though I guess you can't always tell the exact species by visual inspection only) of Sarcos and Acroporas growing equally prolifically from 5m of the surface, right down to 30m where there is little of anything else but blue.
<Me too>
So there it is...any assistance or clarification greatly appreciated.
<Well, a good deal of our observable data can be scratched up to photo-adaptation (range) and alternate nutrition (organismal feeding vs. photosynthesis) here... Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Save Money, Save Energy... with IceCap! <Poor PR>
By Anthony Calfo 3/16/2009

<Hey Anthony, nice to meet you finally....sort of.>
It doesn't take tough times to want to save money... to spend less and get more.
And we aquarium keepers are categorically empathetic people, naturally drawn to want to live more gently on the planet. Nonetheless, challenging financial times make us all more attuned, if not acute, in awareness of the cost - environmentally and economically - of doing the things we love to do. We want more "bang
for the buck" and appreciate when we can do it with good conservation habits in place.
With the inception of each product at IceCap Inc., superb energy efficiency is an integral part of the design. Our products are category leaders, often by huge margins, for energy efficiency and longevity. For example, the IceCap 660 and 430 electronic ballasts operate at up to 40% greater efficiency than competitive ballasts.
<Hmmm, Anthony, what ballasts do this apply to? I have found/tested none that show such numbers.>
Furthermore, when overdriving T5 lamps, you can get greater light output than competitive ballasts
driving the same lamps.
<Do you advocate overdriving these bulbs?? I don't personally. I know it is popular in the forums,
but I have yet to find a reason why it is wise.>
As such, with greater light produced per watt consumed, you will need fewer lamps to accomplish the same task. And with less lamps used, less money is spent on replacement lamps and ongoing operating expenses.
<Well, other ballasts can overdrive these bulbs too to the same effect.>
And the savings doesn't stop there! Our electronic metal halide ballasts run cooler
- more efficiently - and can pay for themselves with savings in as little as 36 months. The list goes on... and grows!
Rely on IceCap brand products to save energy and save money.
<Hmmm, I have really never seen any difference between these and other electronic ballasts, I do not dispute they are fine ballasts, but the big difference I see is what is marketed to aquarists vs. just general VHO/T5 ballasts. Do you have any quantified evidence to support these claims? Scott V.>

Metal halides and T5 brands   6/13/07 Hello Crew, <Michele> I tried to send this to the chat forum, but could not log on. I apologize if I missed the answer in the archives. I am trying to purchase new lights for my husband for Father's day....yep, last minute, probably going to have to wrap up a picture instead of the actual lights! <Heee! Good idea> Anyway, I want to avoid the cheaper non-brand name lights, but I am having trouble knowing what the best brand is! We are in process of upgrading from a 90 to a 220 gallon reef with primarily SPS and fish (2 tangs, 1 Rabbitfish, 2 clowns, 1 mandarin). My husband has requested 3-250 watt 10,000 K retro metal halides and 4-36 watt retro T5s. Any suggestions for a good brand name? Ice cap? Hamilton? Coralife? <These are actually all re-packaged, re-labeled products... Not made by these folks... But of these three, the first two are better investments... Such gear buys are better researched ala "Consumer Reports", i.e., by querying on a BB re many users experiences concerning function, longevity, cost per performance and issues such as customer service... Our archived input on these can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm at the bottom trays...> Thanks for any assistance. Michele <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Another Aquarium Lighting Question -- 6/8/07 Dear Sirs <and Madams>, I have recently purchased a 46 gallon acrylic bowfront tank. I have just begun in this hobby and have been poring over articles and FAQs, besides taking advice from our local shop. <It is a hobby of life-long learning indeed!> Unfortunately, every bit of information seems different, and occasionally even contrary. <A very frustrating phenomenon. The more you learn and experience, you will start to sort the junk from the gems more easily.> I have made effort to contact you because I find your website helpful and apparently knowledgeable. <We try. Thank you.> Here is where I am. I have a 46 gallon bowfront with an overflow box and sump (AMiracle Advanced SL Trickle Filter), a SeaClone 100 protein skimmer <Not very effective. Some find them acceptable with major DIY modifications. I gave up on mine. Does it produce skimmate for you?>, and a Coralife 36" 2x96 PC light (one actinic and one 10000k) - Deluxe Lunar Fixture. <A nice fixture, I have the 48' version.> My question is regarding lighting, corals, and additional equipment. Currently I am planning a mini-reef. Will this amount of lighting accomplish the job? <This will be fine for many soft corals and LPS.> And if I decide on SPS corals will I need more light? <It is borderline. Some would say to replace the actinic with another daylight bulb to give more useable light. I like the color with the actinic. Maybe try a small frag of your desired coral and see how it does. This is a reasonable amount of wattage, and I think metal halide fans underestimate the PC's sometimes. You may need to put some specimens higher up on the rocks.> Finally, what sorts of additional equipment should I plan on eventually installing/purchasing if I wanted to keep plenty of healthy SPS corals. <Number one is a real protein skimmer. Lots of live rock and a deep sand bed for denitrification. If a DSB is not for you, I also had great success with a small plenum and lots of live rock with a moderate depth sand bed. Refugiums are also great additions to reef tanks. Oh, and a supply of clean water - so if you don't have exceptional water quality, a RO/DI water purification system or some other means of having plenty of clean water.> And while I'm at it, the aquarist I frequent instructed me to put down about a half inch of substrate at the bottom of the tank, which I did, do I need more? <This is fine for appearance and buffering, but won't help with denitrification. If you aren't having a nitrate problem, then it is fine.> Sincerely, Carl VerPlanck <Cheers, Alex Miller>

Lighting Question, wherefore art thou measures?    5/24/07 Hi all... On many sites that sell corals and in books lighting is usually stated in terms of "low", "moderate", and "high".  But exactly how are those defined? <Various ways by different writers... the best measures are PAR related, measured at the point of intercept by the colonies... See the works (many on the Net) of Sanjay Joshi and Dana Riddle here> I have two saltwater tanks one 20 gallon and one 10 gallon but both are identical in height/water depth.  The 10 gallon has been upgraded from 40 watts PC 50/50 to 80 watts PC 50/50 and the 20 gallon has a 65 watt PC 50/50 (which I don't want to spend additional money changing lighting).  I consider both to be between moderate to low lighting for the depth of the tanks. <I agree with the low end> Both lights on those tanks are on legs which raises the lighting about 4 inches from the water.  Although I've read about "watts per gallon" I find this difficult to understand when tanks are identical in depth.  With that calculation it would appear my 10 gallon tank is getting 8 watts per gallon and the 20 gallon is getting only 3 watts per gallon. <Mmm, yes... but/and the actual useful photonic energy available at/near the organism in question is really the only valid measure... Many factors involved... other than rating, consumption values for fixtures/lamps... angles of dispersion, color in the water, reflector use... among others. See the Net re PAR meters, measures...> Just a note: the upgrade in the 10 gallon from 40w to 80w was because the two very small xenia that came on Nerite snail shells purchased the first week of March have now split into 8 not so small xenia and all are headed to the top of the tank. So I sort of hoped higher lighting might keep the ones lower in the tank happy where they are.... just a thought. <What do folks say re Billy.G/Microsoft?: "Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated". Applies to many Xeniid systems>   Anyway, a greater understanding of those lighting terms for corals will help me make the right decisions for the 20 gallon.  My sun corals have been moved to the 20 gallon since the xenia now leave me little room for handling them in the 10 gallon.  Again, thank you so much for this site and everyone's assistance.  Regards, Debbie <Mmm, much that can/could be discoursed here. Deb, do you participate in a local marine/reef club? I do think you'd be very happy to be face to face, mind to mind (in semi-real time) in such an association. BobF>

VHO - vs. MH; Lighting Choices, Types and Temperature 4/26/07 Hello crew, <Hi.> I hope all is well. <Thank you.> Thanks again for this great site and all the help. <Welcome.> I have a question about lighting. <Okay.> I have a 120gal acrylic (48"x24"x24") that has been setup and running for about a year now. (also a 55 upstairs that has been up and running for about 7 years) I have been running VHOs (2ea, 4' AquaSun, 4' Actinic/White (URI) and 3' Actinic). My green zoas have turned a reddish brown and my metallic pink zoas have also turned a bit dim. I was wondering if it is the light or if it's the micro-vert that I put in the tank? (assuming more the light than anything) <Could be a combination of both, what are your phosphate and nitrate levels? How old are the light bulbs?> I recently bought a 6' Odyssea (I know, not the best brand) MH/PC setup, tore it all apart, and shortened it to 4'. I now am running all 3 MH over my tank. <Yes, this could be a reaction by the animals to cope with the new abundance of intense light.> Each bulb is a 250w 20K bulb. The bulbs are 11-12" above the water. <How did you acclimate the animals to the new lighting?> I tossed the PC lights they were not working anyway and being in the same fixture, at 12" over the water, I figured they wouldn't do much good.  Will the 3 20K MH bulbs be Ok, or should I swap out one or more of the bulbs for 10K or 15K bulbs? (or drop to 2 MH and add a couple VHO back in?) <I would prefer to see the MH's remain in a 6500k to 10,000k range and if you want a "bluer" look then supplement with a fluorescent bulb of your choice...anything but PowerCompacts.> I do want the nice vibrant colors bit also want my corals healthy. I have some Hammer coral, a Frogspawn, some Kenya tree, Toadstool Leathers, Mushrooms, Zoas, Colt coral, green and pink star polyps and a bubble coral. <One more question from me; Why did you switch to the MH? Do you plan on keeping more light demanding creatures in the future?> Take care, Mike <You as well, Adam J.> Kelvin/Incandescence ratings...   4/21/07 Can you explain to me what the different colors and K's do? What would they be best used for? White 7100k is for? blue 12000k is for? pink 800k is for? thank you <The practical value of such ratings is covered on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm In essence, there are "temperatures" that are of utility for engendering photosynthesis... starting at about 5,500K... "Warmer" lights for looks, bluer for depth... Bob Fenner>

Upgrading Lighting and Coral Compatibility... part msg./reply   4/15/07 Sorry my name is Joe. <Mmm, why sorry Joe?> It looks like you got cut up when replying something, starting as "wife are not a problem...". I couldn't make out exactly what you   were saying, other than mentioning a lighting fixture. <Strange...> Also, the only problem with adding a fixture is that my tank is 30 inches  in length, and wasn't sure to get a 24" with strong light or a 36". <The two-footer> I wouldn't be sure if it wouldn't fit or would be too big. How many watts was that one fixture you suggested?   Thanks again, Joe <Need to see the previous correspondence... there are twenty or so of us here... Don't know if this is for fresh, marine... a reef, for aquaculture, what type of life, purpose/s... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm the bottom/last tray... on Marine Aquarium Lighting. Bob Fenner>

Crew, I have a general lighting question   - 4/7/07 I have a large clam, a hammer coral, a candy cane, numerous polyps and mushrooms, with over 100lbs. of live rock..  All have been in my 135 tank for over 3 years now.  All doing well.  I currently have VHO bulbs over my tanks, as follows: 10K 50/50 03 actinic Everything is thriving.  I have been told by my LFS, that by adding more actinic, that this will encourage coralline algae to grow.  Is this true? <Mmm, sort of... actually just cutting down on the "white" lighting will favor this group of Red algae over other photosynthetic/competing life> For the first 2 years, I only had the 10K and 03 actinic, and it was everywhere.  In my third year, I added the 50/50 bulb.  and have very little coralline in my tank now.  Should I remove the 50/50 and replace with another type of bulb? <Mmm, maybe... but could be other things at play here... > What would you recommend. <To read re Corallines: http://wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm and the related FAQs linked above... and mostly consider replacing, adding to your calcareous material (Rock and Substrate)... and measure for alkalinity, Magnesium balance> I also have a 55-gallon tank I'm thinking about setting up again, and was considering using power compacts. <Mmm, do look into VHO's, T-5's and...>   I've read a lot of the FAQ's on your site, but I can't get an honest answer. <Mmm, not to accuse you of being disingenuous... but all of our responses/inputs are honest> Which are better for the over all health of the tank?  VHO or power compacts? <The former IMO> One LFS says one thing, Another says the opposite.  Or is there any combination that you would recommend.   If I stay with the VHO, what would be the best combination of bulbs to use? Thanks, Chris <Let's skip ahead here... the best thing for you to do period would be to read what is posted on WWM, elsewhere, and make up your own mind re the facts presented. Bob Fenner>

Re: Crew, I have a general lighting question   4/9/07 Thank you Mr. Fenner.  Let me apologize.  What I meant by not being able to get an honest answer, I meant, as to which is better.  VHO or PC.  At your recommendation, I'll stick with the VHO set up's I have. <Ah, real good. Thank you for this clarification. BobF>

Need help with lighting choice for my first Salt Water Tank   3/21/07 Hello <Hi there.> I'm setting up my first salt water tank.   <Good for you.> Have everything except for the lights.   <As far as I am concerned this is one of the most critical choices that you have.> I have a 53gallon Elos tank (30.5" x 19.5" x19.5") and I will have soft corals and fish.  Haven't decided if I'd like a clam or two, but clams aren't a priority, and I could do without them if it makes a big difference on lighting choices.  NO SPS or Anemones.   <The clams will need Metal Halides.> I know I want a 24" T5 light.  But....do I need 4, 5 or 6 bulbs? <I would say 6 24" bulbs, two 10,000K, two 50/50, and two Actinic 03 blue.> Would 4  24w bulbs be enough for my set up?  Who makes a good light with individual reflectors?  I'd prefer a built in fan too. <I have never been a fan of T5, PC, or VHO.  I like MH, and that is what I will stay with.> I've been looking at the Aquactinics, Sunlight Tek-Light, and Helio Lights. <I will say that I have heard good things about Helio.> Any others that I should be looking at?  It's not always clear if they have individual reflectors or not.  And lastly...what would you recommend for bulbs?   I don't want the tank too blue.   <Please see above.> I want it to look pretty natural without the light looking too white or too blue.  Maybe white with a hint of blue. <This will be the most eye pleasing.  Please see here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/T5fluorFAQs.htm, as well as here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm.  I hope that this helps.>   Thanks so much! <You are welcome.  Brandon.> Pam Thanks Brandon!! <You are most welcome.  Please feel free to share the outcome with us.  Brandon.> Pam

Aquarium lighting question, SW, vague  - 3/12/07 I am in the process of setting up an aquarium, I want to make sure my lighting is sufficient to accommodate most corals and anemones.  I was going to use a 3 light system inside my canopy.  2 - White Actinic (50% 7100k & 50% 6000k) VHO 48" 110 Watt Bulbs & 1- 100% actinic 03 solid Blue, VHO 48" 110 Watt Bulb.   Would this be sufficient lighting for a 48"long X 24" deep, 70 gal tank? <This really depends on what types of corals you want to keep.  For most soft corals yes this would work.  I would not recommend anemones in this system.  You will most likely need more light than this for anemones.  Depending on the ballast, I would say three 48" 110 watt, Full spectrum 10k, and one 110 watt, actinic 03.  Or conversely, you could go with metal halide, and not have to worry about actinic, and be able to keep everything.  Please see here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm.  Brandon> Coralife HOB 150 watt HQI Fixture   3/2/07 Bob, <James> I received above fixture yesterday.  Decided to upgrade my lighting as my LFS always has beautiful Monti fragments available that I could not keep with my previous fixture (twin 65  PCs). I must say that this fixture has to be the bargain of the century.  It attaches to the back wall of the aquarium by plastic/nylon screws.  It has a cooling fan built into the fixture which is dead quiet, and also comes with a 14K lamp. I'm not a fan of canopies as they are a pain every time you want to get into the tank for maintenance or any other reason, along with heat issues, and this sure fills the bill.  Have a gander here if you wish.  http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=13922&prodid=27192&catid=115 Am going to set up a 29 in the basement with the PC lighting, and propagate yellow polyps which are getting way out of hand in my display tank.  My dealer agreed to take all I can supply him with.   James <I sense an article coming on... With pix! BobF>

About one of your articles on lighting and marine inverts   2/20/07 Mr. Fenner, I must say, in a hobby where its hard to get direct answers, its nice to know someone/people are willing to give out the answers, and I thank you.  Anyhow, recently I read an article on your website  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm Title: Marine Lighting: Quantity Quality and Duration.  In it you gave the recommendation for "reef-building organisms"  is 50-100 lumens per gallon.  The 18" vita-lite T8 Fluorescent light bulb is 610 lumens.  This bulb is only 15Ws.  However according to your article for a 10gallon tank this light fixture should be good enough for reef building organisms.  e.g. 10x50= 500 lumens. (the 10G tank is used as a sump, but I am interested in growing macroalgae so I'm looking into fixtures.)  I am sure I missed a fact somewhere, because from everyone I talk to, I need a stronger light fixture and more watts.  Any help in this matter would be appreciated. -Joe Coov <You are correct... this is an ancient piece... Dura/Vita-lite has been out of business for years... I would go with similar high CRI, color temp. lamps of a few (2,3 times) more intensity nowadays for this application. Bob Fenner>

Company information, Need to contact Odyssea. - 02/11/2007 Hey crew, <Hi Brandon, Mich here.> Since you know all... and I mean ALL! <Mmm, not all my friend.> I have been searching everywhere for company information of Odyssea lights. I have a problem with my ballast that is only 6 months old but can not find company information anywhere. Every search I try just takes me to e-bay! Do you have a website, address, phone number in your rolodex anywhere? <Mmm, you might try contacting someone who distributes this company's products.  You might try here:  http://www.aquatraders.com/index.asp?txtSearch=odyssea&PageAction=PRODSEARCH&btnSearch2.x=7&btnSearch2.y=10  > Any help would be awesome! <Hope this helps.  -Mich> Brandon

Re: Ich, Low pH, Low Calcium, Possibly Elevated Magnesium   1/23/07 Mich, <Hello again Jennifer!> After perusing the expansive website I think I have come across a setup problem that could be the root cause of all my problems...lighting. <Heee!  If it were only that easy!> The cover that came with the tank is a split lid and accommodates 18" bulbs.  So I have put 2 18" Coralife 50/50 true actinic, but from what I gather that is not nearly enough light. <Not enough for a reef set up.> So before I add live rock I need light.   <Mmm, would be better, but not required for filtration enhancement.> I've read so much about VHOs and metal halides and fluorescents...could you tell me what I need? <Well, it depends on what you want to do.  If you are not interested in keeping corals, you can keep what you have.  If you want to keep what you have but upgrade slightly, you could change your bulbs from 50/50 to purely 10K and you might try to get bulbs with an internal reflector, which will assist with light distribution.  I believe URI makes them among other manufacturers.  If you are interested in keeping corals in the future you might explore other options.  Possibilities are numerous, but it may be possible to supplement your current set up with fluorescent or T5 lights, or you may decide to replace the whole thing and go for VHO, MH or a combination hood which may combine several types of light.  If you are considering going this route there is much info available on this site.  Go to WWM homepage and click Marine articles, then Marine Set-up 2 and read the articles first, explore the FAQ's later.> I'm just going to have live rock, inverts, and fish. no corals. Tank is standard 55 gal; 18" deep. Thank you for all your help...and patience!!! <Welcome!  -Mich> Jennifer  

To light or not to light?  - 1/18/07 Hi how is everyone doing today. <Hello Clinton, JustinN with you on this chilly day.> I have 125 gallon full blown reef system with a refugium underneath.   The water parameters are near perfect, at least as close as I can get to the nature ocean environment. PH 8.1 Alk 8 Ca 426 Nit 0 Ni 0 Amm 0 Phos 0 sal .125 RedOx 350 temp 79.1 protein skimming with calcium reactor <Excellent> I have the lights setup so that the refugium light stays on all the time and of course the main lights are on a timer. However I am  having a problem with nuisance algae. Every time I stir the gravel or get it off, it comes back in  a few   hours. I was wondering if by leaving the refugium light system on or   24/7 was causing a problem in the growth of the algae. <Mmm, not likely, though, if you are not utilizing a Caulerpa sp. of algae in your refugium, the 24 hour lighting is not necessary. If you are utilizing the much more common (and suitable) Chaetomorpha, this should be lit on a 12 hour schedule, reverse of that on the display tank (also known as Reverse Daylight Photoperiod, or RDP).> This stuff is the most annoying stuff in the world and I only feed my fish every other day. thank you <Well, Clinton, from your description and pictures, I do believe you are battling with the infamous Cyanobacteria. Have a read here for more information on solutions: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the files linked in blue above. -JustinN>

Lighting interference with pocket pH tester   1/12/06 Belated Happy New Year! <Thanks> I thought I would pass on an experience I have had recently that cost me dearly. I bought a Milwaukee pH tester, waterproof, very nice. Next I bought a new Jebo pc fixture with 2 65W half 10000K and half actinic lamps. This fixture has an external ballast which is very nice, lighter in weight and easier to hang above the tank. Now for the bad part. When I used my new tester on my tanks, I have 2, it read perfectly, 8.2 to 8.3 on each tank. Before I checked my pH levels again I bought the new light and was using it. On my smaller tank the pH was still 8.2 to 8.3 but my big tank was 6.9!! I panicked and got some buffer and started trying to get the pH up. Nothing was working. I don't know how much I finally ended up adding but I couldn't get the pH above 7.3. Hindsight being 20/20, I realize how big a mistake I made and won't repeat it. But I didn't find out what was the problem until I tried  to show a friend the way the pH tester worked and had it in a cup of water and turned on. It was reading 7.2 in the cup but when I brought the cup up to the top of the tank to test the water there the reading dropped to 5.4! I moved the cup with the tester in it back and forth a few times and watched the reading go up and down. Finally I turned the Jebo light off and the reading stayed put. And it tested the same as the test kit showed. I never thought about a light fixture interfering with a tester. <Mmm... RF... electronics...> Unfortunately I didn't learn until after I burned up most everything in my tank with high pH, 8.8 was the highest it tested. And of course then I started doing water changes and everything I could think of to bring it back down. It seemed to take forever to stabilize. I lost all of my 'pods, some snails, my serpent star, and cleaner shrimp which had gotten so big. I was heart broken for I don't know how long. The good news is that after what has seemed like forever my tank is back healthy. Even my 'pods are back and I have baby Nassarius snails too. They look really cute in there. I am still dealing with algae problems like a newly cycled tank but it's getting better. I am telling all of this to hopefully keep someone else from having a similar disaster. Agnes <Mmm, Please do consider writing Jebo re this interference issue... Could be very important to their business... especially when the folks at UL catch up with this part of the trade again. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Question    11/4/06 Good morning Crew! <Dustin> I hope this finds you all doing well.  I have been an aquarium enthusiast for a number of years and learned most of my info by getting a job with a great saltwater store several years back. <Ah, good> I had a large beautiful reef about 4 years ago but due to multiple moves had to sell it all to my former employer.  I have dipped back in and have setup another tank.  Actual gallons is around 35 but the tank is deep.  It's only 30 inches wide but 24 inches deep.  I have live sand, a protein skimmer, decent amount of live rock, and a canister filter (I know).  I have been having a high nitrate problem but I think I am on the right track to curing it.  My protein skimmer would get very dirty and I would just empty it and keep going.  I have been cleaning it regularly and it is running more efficiently now. <Is of great benefit/improvement> Also, there was a bio-pad in the canister which I removed, so now it just has two clean floss pads for mechanical filtration.  Only a clown and anemone are present.  Does it sound like I am on the right track there? <Mmm, thus far> My real question.  Since my last move, unfortunately, I have one LFS that isn't worth mentioning.  Prices are through the roof and staff is not too knowledgeable.   <How would you help them?> It is time for me to invest in lighting and I have some confusion.  Before I ask, I know there is tons of info about lighting on your site and I have read through lots already.  I have narrowed it down to two units.  The biggest problem is having a 30 inch width (knocks out 36 inch units).  So it will either be a 30 inch power compact unit (2x65 bulbs), or a 24 inch T5HO unit (4x24 bulbs).  I am not going with any demanding corals but do want my anemone happy. <Mmm, a small MH pendant would be best here...> The PC unit would cover my entire width and has more wattage, but I am thinking the T5 unit, although only 24 inches, may be more effective. <Could be... along with meaty feedings> Any advice on choosing a unit would be appreciated.  By the way, they are the same price. Thanks! <A small... metal halide is my best advice/choice. Bob Fenner>   T5 vs. PC vs. HQI for mixed reef    11/4/06 Hello, Love the web site! haven't had a question I couldn't find an answer to until now. My wife and I are trying to decide what type of light to use with our tank with. First a little about our setup: We have a 75 gal (48"LX18"DX20"H) main tank with a 40 gal tank used for a refugium down below. We have not yet decided the specifics for what types of coral etc we want but do know that we love soft corals and fish. Problem is we also know we want to put in a few clams and maybe some SPS (we are working on our list). <And maybe on another system...> Our problem is we would like to buy a light that gives us the ability to add some SPS later if want and allows us to keep the clams and we are not sure what to get. right now we are leaning toward T5HO. We are considering the following options: PC -  Presently we do not think these are appropriate for clams and SPS (we have been told and read PC with clams and SPS is pushing it). That being said we had initially dismissed PC fixtures and decided on HQI HQI - We were considering the AquaLight advanced 48" fixture with two 150w bulbs. We know this will work for the clams and SPS. Having decided on HQI we then learned about T5HO T5HO - It is my understanding that T5HO provides more lumens (5000 initial for a 54W bulb) per watt than PC (4800 for a 55w bulb) and the individual reflectors allow better use of the light. After hearing that and looking up the lumens for the bulbs for the manufacturers I began reading about t5 in earnest and notice that they are in many of the conversations with HQI about being able to support clams and SPS. <Yes> Assuming my knowledge above is correct my questions are as follows: 1 - Would a TekLight 4-54W or 6-54W 48" fixture be appropriate on my tank? <Could work> 2 - Would going with HQI be the better option given that it is about $100 more than the 6 bulb t5 and $200 more than the 4 bulb? <Would be better> 3 - what are your impressions of the T5HO? <Is/are good units> 4 - I read that T5HO bulbs have longer life than PC bulbs but my local store strongly disagreed and said that t5 bulbs would need to be replaced every 6 months. <Some makes/models have longer useful lives...> The store also said I would need a fan on the T5HO bulbs to maintain light quality. <?> They favored the HQI saying the light is better and in the long run cheaper given that I will spend more on bulbs for my T5. can you confirm their assertion (it conflicts with what I read else where)? <Hard to make sweeping generalized statements... but w/in the circumstances, choices you list, the MH/HQI would produce more useful photonic energy per watt consumed, dollar cost in the long/er haul... all costs considered... But I hasten to add, do you know for sure or semi-certain, that you want/need such intensity? If indeed you want to, are willing to match the "other aspects" of husbandry (water quality checks, adjustments... mainly) to the boosted light output... I'd go with the HQI mix> 5 - another thoughts? Thanks for all your help! V/R Mike <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Your opinion on Catalina Aquarium lighting  - 11/02/06 Hello,    <Howdy>   First off, thank you guys so much for the great web site!  You provide a world of information!    <Welcome>   Now.  I need your opinion.  I have searched the web high and low for information regarding Catalina Aquarium light fixtures. <Mmm, totally unfamiliar with the/this brand... see only a couple references to being sold on auction sites...> I can not find any reviews or comments (that are of any worth) anywhere!  The unit that I am looking at is a 48" 6*65 power compact fixture, 6 lunar lights, 3 cords, cooling fan, dimmer on the lunars, and choice of bulbs (10k, actinic, etc. I was thinking about 4 10k and 2 actinic....do you agree?) <Mmm, nope... am not a fan of actinics... as you'll find if you read what is archived on WWM> , 5 year warranty on the electric ballasts, and so on and so on.....here's a link:    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=015&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&viewitem=&item=250019435309&rd=1&rd=1    <See/saw this>   I currently have a 55 gallon (same old standard size....48 inches long, 18 inches deep...I think 15 front to back), 45 pounds of live rock with some more coming after the next paycheck, a percula clown and a nuisance blue damsel, 2 Mexican turbo snails, 2 Astrea, one emerald crab that snuck in with the rock (he's big and a great addition, by the way).  I also have some stow away corals on the rocks.  About a half dozen blue/purple mushroom polyps, and small "branch" of xenia that has actually doubled his number of arms in about 2 weeks under my crappy lights (he's placed right up near the top), and some other soft corals that I am yet to ID (these have also been multiplying).  What I plan on setting up are your basic soft and LPS corals, and maybe some kind of Anemone that would go with the Perc. <Ah, no... to the anemone... mixing with Scleractinians, alcyonaceans...> (Are there any that might match up and not hurt any of the corals?). <Not carte blanche, no> I have read that there are some SPS corals that can adjust to lower levels of light as well, so I may look into those.  (This will all be done with more research!  I don't just plan on throwing my corals to the pit to battle it out in trench warfare, via my tank)    <Good>   With the basic info that I have given you and with my basic desires listed out, are the 6*65 watt lights that are made by Catalina Aquarium worth, say, the time that it took me to even write this email?  I like the 5 year warranty, and I believe it is valid even though it is through eBay. <Am dubious here re both/either>   I've checked out CatalinaAquarium.com and the lights seem decent, but I'm not gonna take their word for it (it's like smokers looking to BIG TOBACCO for cancer info!)  Have you heard any pro's or con's regarding Catalina Aquarium?  The deal that I have found seems great.  To have the order custom made through CatalinaAquarium.com would be a ballpark $600 investment.  The eBay deal is significantly lower.    <As with all gear choices, I encourage you/others to do a bit of census, generate your own "Consumers Digest" sort of reviews from surveying other hobbyists/consumers actual use... through a look/see, querying on the various BB's... Aquarium Frontiers, Reefs.org... Bob Fenner>   (By the way, if you post this email on your website, PLEASE wait for a day or two....I plan on buying these lights if they are worth it in about 2 days!  I want them to still be there!  THANKS!!!!!) <No worries... "they'll make more">   Anyways, thanks for your time!  You guys rock!  And please help this inquisitive consumer make the right choice.      Have a great day!      Jon Re: Your opinion on Catalina Aquarium lighting   11/5/06 Awesome, Thanks for the info!  Yeah, I jumped the gun on a couple of the questions I had.  I was just exhausted when typing the earlier email and simply could not look any further....I felt like I was in college again! <A good feeling!> Anyways, I did some more research yesterday on the Anemone, and I'm "just saying so".  This has come about now that I have seen that some Clowns will take to some certain types of corals (thank you WWM).  That's all that I am looking for, the host relationship that is.  It's just cool, you know.  So that leads me to my next question.....can you give an example and/or steer me in the right direction towards any types of specific corals that my False Perc might have that special something with? <A good choice would be the genus Euphyllia> I have found some info here and there, but they are all relating to Tomato or Clarkii Clowns.....I have been unable to find any info on Brand Perc.        As far as the Catalina Aquarium Lights are concerned, I talked with a handful of people at various shops that are good at their Hobby even more so than they are at their Business, if you know what I mean, and I decided to pull the trigger and went ahead with the purchase.  Once I get them and run 'em for a bit, I will pass on any info that might be useful to the next consumer (or sap.....we'll see!).  I trust my one friend who has been in the hobby and business for a number of years when he says "I'd give it a shot....you should get 'em" rather than "well, here....let me show you These"...      Anyways, thanks for all of the info!  I'm off and returning to the bowels of the interweb to do further research!  I'm sure I'll be back!      Until then      Mahalo <Welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Marine lighting, quarantine, formalin use 10/29/06 Good morning, <Gutmorgen!> Thank you for your wonderful website.  It is an extremely valuable tool for us newcomers to the hobby!   I'll try to keep this concise, while giving you the detail I think you need.   <Okay> 1.)     Set up is a 55 gallon saltwater tank (48 x 13 x 20).  There is 50 lbs of Fiji liverock, and another 15 - 20 lbs of "dead" rock, which we hope will be seeded by the liverock in time.  We have been using the light that came with the tank, which is a useless single 40W fluorescent bulb.  In researching the monstrous amount of information on Wet Web Media to assist us in upgrading the lighting, we have ruled out metal halide, and decided to go with Sunlight Supply's Tek T5 HO lighting.  We feel this will give us some better stocking choices over time, as compared to compact fluorescent lighting.  Would you agree? <Yes, I do> My question is whether to go with a 2 lamp fixture (2 at 54W) or a 4 lamp fixture (4 at 54W).  My concern is whether the 4 lamp will be too strong for this size tank, as 216W is about double that when using T5 HO, correct?   <Not too much, and correct> If too much, is it possible to run just three lamps of the four on the larger fixture? <Mmm... likely these lamps/fixtures are "ganged" and must be run in pairs> The two lamp fixture does not seem to be enough lighting. Our hope is to keep soft corals, and if the lighting permits, some corals that would require a bit more lighting.  (Will NOT make the jump to metal halides.) 2.)     Our intention from the beginning was to get enough liverock over time to enable us to remove the media out of the Eheim Pro II 2026 canister filter and let the liverock do its thing. I am installing an Aqua C Remora protein skimmer tonight. My thought is that once the skimmer is running properly, I would move the media that is in the canister filter.  My question is this:  How do I know when the "right" time to do this is? <Always a bit of a guess... but after a few months... when all seems/appears stable, the canister can be removed> If the tank isn't stable enough (it has been running for three months........liverock about a month), will I run into problems? <A possibility. More remote with time going by>   I'm thinking I'd see the ammonia and nitrate levels rise if the timing is wrong.  Can you give some pointers here?   <Wait another month if in doubt at this point in time> Consistently, ammonia has been zero, PH 8.3, nitrites zero, SG 1.024 and have been battling nitrates, but keeping below 10.   I have been doing 12% weekly water changes.   3.)     Because of lack of experience, we lost all four of our fish in the tank to Ich last month.  Since then, we have committed to quarantining.  We have been allowing our tank to run fallow for three weeks now (and continuing normal maintenance).  There are 8 crabs, 6 snails, one cleaner shrimp and two feather dusters in the main tank that all appear to be doing well. Molting of the shrimp and a couple of crabs has occurred.   Two weeks ago, we put two Ocellaris Clownfish and a Springeri Pseudochromis in quarantine.  (Ten gallon with a simple hang on the back filter and dose of Bio Spira.  Water changes every couple of days. Water is testing fine)   Fish have been doing really well.  Some rubbing behavior appeared last week, but no visible signs of Ich. <Some rubbing is natural> We were advised by our local fish store to never treat for Ich unless you see the white spots on the fish.   <I concur. Much more trouble, losses from "poor" treatments here> Recently, we noticed more than normal "bullying"- type behavior between the clowns.  Yesterday, it seemed to move beyond that.  When the submissive one was bullied, he would go into what looked like a one second electric, convulsive shock.  He would then swim off like it never happened. <Is a sort/type of submissive behavior> Upon extra careful scrutiny as a result of this episode, we spotted what appears to be Ich on the Clowns. <I would not be so fast/sure here. Could be discrete mucus "stress" spotting alone> At that point (last night), we treated the quarantine tank with what the local fish store suggested.  We used Formalin-3 and Malachite Green (had this on hand to be prepared for an Ich incident because of our first experience). <Mmm... careful here. These compounds are quite toxic> Each fish appeared to have no reaction to the medication. When the dog woke us up at 4am to go out (we have WAY too many pets in this house!), we checked on the fish.  The Springeri Pseudochromis appeared to be having trouble.  He was near the surface of the water, and looking lethargic.  We were thinking this medicine is something he cannot handle. <... please see WWM re... Formalin is a biocide... kills all proteinaceous life>   We felt like we had two choices at 4am.......either leave him and take the chance he dies, or put him in the main tank which has been fallow for three weeks.  We decided to move him there and see how it goes.  If he shows signs of Ich, we will set up a separate tank to treat him alone.  A couple of hours in the main tank and the Springeri Pseudochromis is looking back to his old self!  He is lively, and actively tried to get some Mysis shrimp put in the tank this morning.  I guess my question is whether the treatment we are using for the Clowns is sufficient or not.  I'm a bit fearful of using copper, but if it has to be done, I will.  Since the Ich is visible on the Clowns, I'm more concerned for them at the moment. <Allow me to interdict here... if the system was Crypt-infested, the Dottyback has moved it to the main tank... I would move the Clowns there also at this point... sans further chemical treatment>   I don't want to wait too long, or do the wrong thing, in fear of killing yet another fish under my watch!  Also, I'm concerned with the fact that we are dealing with Ich again.  (I tell you, I'm about ready to throw in the towel!)  Could this bout be the result of too many fish in a 10 gallon QT? <More crowding can indeed be a factor... for stress induction, ease of re-infestation of hosts>   The QT tends to have a two degree temp change happening throughout the day. Could this be the cause? <This diurnal temp. range should be fine> I find it very difficult to keep the temp in the 10 gallon at a constant temp.  We have considered adding a UV sterilizer to the main tank, but after researching, it seems like it is more trouble than the possible benefits it provides.  Are we making a mistake here? <Not IMO> As an aside, we are using tap water treated with a dechlorinator.  I don't know if this info is of any use or not, but thought I'd let you know. <No worries> Any advice you have is greatly appreciated.   Thank you so much for your time.   Regards, Kim in Boston <I might consider a pH adjusted FW dip enroute here for your fishes. Bob Fenner, in Chiang Mai> Some Light Conversation!    10/3/06 Hi Bob, <Scott F. in for Bob today!> Your site is great. I am getting back into the reef hobby after being out for a long time. I am stetting up a 90 gallon (24" deep x 48" x 18") reef tank. I am OK with most of my equipment going with a Blue Line 40 pump for circulation, a Marine Technical Concepts HSA-1000 protein skimmer along with a Blue Line 40 to run it, and a Marine Technical Concepts Pro Cal calcium doser. A chiller will have to be a game time decision. If I am lucky I can get away without one until next summer. <Hopefully! A chiller can be an expensive proposition.> My question relates to lighting. I have narrowed it down to a couple of options but not sure which way to go. After doing a lot of reading, it seems that the watts per gallon can not used without other information supplied. <True- really not a good way to determine lighting needs of a system.> In addition, to that it seems like going with HQI and T5 combo's have more punch then traditional Metal Halides and VHO's. <Well, a lot of the "punch" is due to high quality reflectors. In many instances, a better quality reflector with a lower wattage halide could out-perform a higher wattage halide with an inferior reflector.> I am not 100% sure at this point what specimens I plan on keeping. The definite ones are an anemone, soft corals, and LPS's, and clams (maybe). I am not sure at this point if I will go with any of the SPS's. I also am not sure if it is a good idea to house these together with other corals due to compatibility. <It is not, IMO. The potentially dangerous chemical interactions are too great to ignore.> The anemone is a must so please take this into consideration. <Okay...I'd dedicate the system to the anemone.> A fixture I was looking at had two 150 watt HQI - 10k bulbs, and four T5 54 watt actinic bulbs for a total of 516 watts (300+216) which is 5.73 watts per gallon. Do you feel that this would work WELL with all of the specimens that I have listed above? <Again, ditch the "watts-per-gallon" measure, but the lighting sounds pretty good. At 24" of aquarium depth, you're at the point where you could go for 250 watts of halide. In fact, if it were me, and anemones were in my plan, I'd be inclined to go with this setup with a 250 watt halide.> If not what specimens wouldn't do well and what would you suggest in terms of lighting? <I think that most (a blanket statement, of course!) of the inhabitants that you mention would do well under the above-referenced lighting scheme. Some of the LPS corals may need to be located where they can receive slightly diffused lighting. Also, be sure to acclimate all of the photosynthetic animals to your lighting regime before placing them in their final positions within the aquarium.> Another fixture that I saw had two 250 watt HQI bulbs- 10K, and two T5 54 watt actinic bulbs for a total of 608 watts (500 +108) which is 6.75 watts per gallon. Would the first fixture cover it all, or should I choose the second fixture? Or, would there be not much extra benefit with the second fixture and it would just be a waste without getting any major lighting benefits to the specimens that I can keep? <If it's a good quality system with a nice reflector, the 250 watt unit would be a significant upgrade.> The bottom line is that I want to try to get it right the first time. <Agreed. I'd go for the 250 for both it's extra power and the flexibility to grow with you as your interests change (for example, if "SPS" corals are in your future, you'd want the more powerful system.> Oh yea, lastly, would either of these fixtures be too much light for some of the species that I want to keep, or would acclimation take care of the that concern, and if I through SPS into the mix, would this influence your decision? Again, not sure if I would get into SPS but was just curious. <As mentioned above- acclimation, careful placement and observation of your specimens is key.> Thank you very much in advance for your comments. Regards, Ken <My pleasure! Good luck with your system! Regards, Scott F.>

Some Light Conversation- Part II   10/4/06 Hi Scott, <Hello again!> Thanks for your quick reply. I'm glad I asked you the question as I figured I was on the borderline of 150 and 250 watt MH's. <Yep- 24" is at the "decision depth", as I like to call it, where you may be better off going with 250 watt bulbs if you're keeping light-demanding invertebrates.> It seems that the two lamp 250 watt HQI systems only come with two 54 watt T5 bulbs incorporated with them. This would make then make it (500 MH total watts plus 108 T5 total watts). So you are saying that this will cover my needs for the anemone, soft and LPS corals. Would this be enough light for clams as well? <In this dept of setup, I believe it will.> You had mentioned the importance of a good quality reflector, is there a way for me to find out if the unit has good quality reflectors if I am purchasing over the internet? I have heard of the name Reef Optix for reflectors. Have you heard anything about these. <Absolutely. I have used a number of them over the years, and they are one of the best reflectors out there, IMO. Sunlight Supply (the manufacturer) makes a few different reflectors; I favor double ended halides, so the "Reef Optix III" or the "Lumenmax" reflectors do a great job, IMO.> I had seen it with a unit with the name Maristar and the manufacturer of the lighting system is Sunlight Supply. Do you have any thoughts on this? <Excellent units/company. Also check out Aquamedic and Giesemann for quality lighting systems.> Lastly, is hanging a unit or putting it on legs better one way or the other? <Personal preference and aesthetics come into play here...Also, you want to consider ease of access into your system. I like the idea of hanging it over the tank- 6-10 inches or so off the water.> If it is hung, how high off the tank would be recommended for my 24" depth tank. I was also wondering if hanging could be beneficial when adding new corals as I could raise the height of the fixture to lessen the intensity, and then lower it after the acclimation period. <Yep!> Lastly, I don't know your policy on recommending equipment, so you can delete this portion if you need to if you post this on your website. <We are not on anyone's payroll, so to speak, so we can make recommendations based upon our personal experiences and opinions.> Have you heard good things about the Aqua Medic HQI/T5 systems in terms of workmanship and their reflectors? I was going to go with this or the Maristar that I mentioned above. <Funny- as above, an excellent product, too.> Thanks again so much. Regards, Ken <My pleasure, Ken. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the products discussed above! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Which Lighting Solution? - 09/14/06 If I were to make another investment in this tank should I invest in power compacts, T5's or another type of halide. <<I prefer metal halide lighting for most any/all marine systems.  Is a great look, and can usually be positioned/Kelvin temperature adjusted to suit most any biotope>> There are two anemones, the original one split, all others are soft corals like mushroom' and leathers. <<Firstly, this is an unnatural mix, thus making it difficult to provide suitable lighting.  But with the presence of the anemones...metal halide lighting most definitely, in my opinion>> The fish include two Perculas and a golden angel.  Cost to run and purchase is a concern, Thanks Ron. <<Doesn't cost any more to run 300 watts of metal halide lighting than it does to run 300 watts of fluorescent lighting...and the metal halide bulbs have a longer useful lifespan.  Regards, EricR>> Coralife lighting rating  9/9/06 Could I ask someone over at WetWeb to rate the Coralife 150 watt tank mount metal halide. I did purchase one about six months ago and was later told that these lights were not very good. I just upgraded my tank to a 58 gallon oceanic and have only this metal halide on it, but it does not cover the entire length of the tank, so I may need to invest some more money on this project, Thanks Ron <Most Coralife products are not highly regarded... including their re-labeled lighting. Bob Fenner> PC or MH? - 09/05/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I am confused about what type of lighting system I should go with. <<Whichever best suits the species of animals you plan to keep>> I have looked around your site and I'm still a little confused... <<Did you look here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm    and here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm >>   I plan on having soft coral in my 75, tree corals, and some zoos and possibly a brain coral....  I'm not entirely sure if I should go with power compact or metal halide with VHO... Thanks. Adam <<Either choice will suffice.  The power compacts would likely be cheaper to purchase, but the metal halides give more bang for the buck in my opinion.  A pair of 150w or 175w MH fixtures with bulbs in the 10000K-14000k range should do nicely.  EricR>>

Re: PC or MH? - 09/07/06 Thank you for your advice... <<My pleasure to share>> I have one last question...  If I went with 2 150w HQI bulbs at the 14k range, would I be able to leave those on for 8 hrs? <<Mmm, I recommend you leave them on for 12-13 hours per day as this more closely replicates the daytime photo-period in the tropics where your tank inhabitants are/will be collected>> Thanks again, Adam Dusza <<Always happy to assist.  Eric Russell>>

115 Gallon Lighting Selection - 09/04/06 Hi Crew, <<Hello Ambrose>> I've recently purchased a 115 gallon tank (60 long x 18 deep x 24 tall), and am now exploring my lighting options. <<This should be based on your stocking plan>> Ideally, I'd like to build an environment where I can keep any specimen happy and long-lived. <<This is not reality my friend.  All corals, invertebrates, even fish, will not prosper under the same lighting scheme.  You need to settle on a particular species, or on a particular niche on the reef (fore-slope, back-reef, rubble-zone, etc., etc.), and then gear your lighting to suit>> I love the "shimmer" effect halides have on tanks, and have decided to include this as part of my setup. <<Indeed...halides provide the most "bang for the buck" in my opinion>> Now the question remains, how many bulbs, how many watts, and color temperature should I go with? <<A quite suitable setup would be three 150w or 175w 10000K bulbs.  You could use higher wattages, but they aren't really necessary>> Hence, the details of my questions: 1.  If a 60-inch fixture were used but with only 2 MH bulbs - would this be strong enough for light to reach the entire tank? <<It is very likely you won't get an even "spread" of light throughout the length of the tank...best to figure 1 bulb for every 2' of tank length>> Or am I better off with a 3-bulb system? <<Yes>> 2.  What is the optimal wattage for a 24 inch deep tank? <<Again, this will depend mainly on the livestock you wish to keep.  If you plan an SPS dominated "high energy" environment then you may want to consider 250w halides...else...an LPS or deepwater environment will do fine under 150w or 175w bulbs...these lower wattages will even suffice for a typical "garden variety" reef where the higher light demanding organisms are placed higher up in the water column>> 3.  If I go with the 3 bulb setup, I'd like to have 2 x 10,000K bulbs on the far ends, and a 14K bulb in the middle.  Anything wrong with this? <<You can do this, though the difference in Kelvin will be noticeably visible...you may want to supplement the end bulbs with actinics to better "blend" the lighting else you may find you don't care for the look>> 4.  I have space for 4 more lights which I want to make actinic.  Is there any difference in using VHO or PC for these 4 spots (they will all be actinic blue). <<Not really, no.  The actinics serve mainly to please you (the aquarist) as the metal halide bulbs contain more than enough light in the blue spectrum for the coral's needs>> 5.  Are there any differences between double-ended and regular halide bulbs? <<The double-ended bulbs tend to provide a bit more intensity than the single-ended bulbs of like wattages...though this may be largely a function of the type/style reflectors associated re.  But even so, many authors agree/feel the double-ended or "HQI" bulbs are the better choice for high energy lighting systems Why are double ended ones more expensive? <<because people are willing to pay for what they perceive to be better.  But, careful searching of the NET will often yield sales/bargains>> Thanks in advance for the wealth of knowledge. <<Is my pleasure to share>> Look forward to your response. Best Regards, Ambrose <<Thank you for writing so well.  EricR>>

Re: 115 Gallon Lighting Selection - 09/04/06 Thank you, Eric, for your prompt response, not to mention on labor day! <<Hee-hee!...I reckon if Bob can do it, so can the rest of us!>> <"Pleeeeeeze don't make a me leave the plantation!" RMF> I have a few further questions if you don't mind: <<Shoot>> When asked what type of reef environment I'd like to keep, it might be easier to describe what specimens I have interest in. <<Ok>> I plan to keep at most 3 Acropora, at least 1 colony of Sun Coral, your standard polyps and mushrooms, soft coral like Fingers, and other corals mostly in the LPS and soft group. <<Ah yes, the "garden variety" style of reef keeping.  Very popular, often the most attractive, but also often the most difficult for long-term success due to the wide variation of requirements/habitats/aggression/toxicity/tolerances among the differing species.  Researching each individual specimen "before" acquisition is vital>> I have also seen a species of coral in the trade while traveling in Asia, but have not been able to find/identify it other than on Melev's Reef ( http://www.melevsreef.com/pics/05/10/pico_1004.jpg). According to the site, it is a Dendrophyllia, <<Agreed>> but I have heard from Asian aquarists that it originates from Japan.  Is there a chance that you might point me in the right direction, as far as lighting is concerned, and also what this species is? <<Hmm...looks very much like a Balanophyllia sp. (Orange-Cup Coral).  Lighting is of little concern as the coral contains no symbiotic algae.  Care/feeding will be very similar to that for Tubastrea sp. (Sun Coral)>> Then there is fish, but I assume that lighting for fauna is less of a concern? <<Mmm, the corals are reef "fauna" as well, but yes, lighting is "usually" less problematic with fish...though keeping fish from low-light environments (e.g. - Lionfish) under reef-type lighting can often lead to blindness>> a) What would be a good balance of wattage for the metal halides? (24 inch deep) <<For your tank/your stocking plan...the 150w or 175w halides will do fine>> b) What is the importance of a calcium reactor for this environment? <<Depends on the concentration of calcium assimilating organisms in your system...you may find frequent partial water changes to be quite sufficient for keeping up with use/renewal of earth elements>> c) What is the ideal water flow considering the size of the tank as well as the specimens kept? <<Something in the 10x-20x tank volume range...without blasting flesh from the corals and assuring elimination of dead-spots>> Again, really appreciate the knowledge passed. <<A pleasure to assist>> Ambrose <<Regards, EricR>> Color Temperature/Photo-Period - 09/03/06 Dear Crew, <<Hello...EricR here>> The fluorescent ballast on my ARAD 48" fixture stopped working yesterday so my reef tank is now running solely with the HQI lights. <<Shouldn't be a problem>> Until now, my 75-gallon tank had the daily benefit of 6 hours of 2 x 150-watt 10K HQI lighting and 12 hours of 36-watt NO actinic fluorescent lighting. (I never installed the other 36-watt tube.) <<Mmm, you should increase the photo-period for the MH lighting  to about 12 hours.  Daylight in the tropics will average around 13 hours, with a very small seasonal variation.  Though some species are highly adaptable, running such an unnatural light schedule will likely result in long-term deleterious effects.  Please read here and among the indices in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm>> Without supplemental actinics, what should I increase the photoperiod of the HQI lighting to? <<12 hours...whether supplementing with actinics or not>> Without supplemental actinics, which color temperature should I select for HQI bulbs? <<The 10000K are fine (plenty of "blue" for the corals needs), but if "you" want a bit more blue then go with a 12000K-14000K bulb>> I am considering replacing my current fixture with a SunPod 14K HQI fixture with LED's for twilight viewing.  Again, there is no actinic supplemental lighting. <<And it is not necessary...in most all cases, the supplementation of actinic lighting is for the aquarist's/onlooker's benefit...even 6500K metal halide lamps contain enough light in the "blue" spectrum for most any coral's needs>> My reasoning is that in nature, there is very little actinic solar radiation at twilight hours when the atmosphere is permitting primarily red light.  Am I correct? <<Maybe so...but "twilight" only lasts for moments...not the 6-hours per day you were running previously>> Thanks very much! <<Happy to assist>> Best regards, Paul <<Cheers, EricR>>

No spaces, lighting  - 08/26/06 Hi...I've got a 125 gallon FOWLR (for now). Question is. I have a 48" six bank of HO fluorescents. What would be the best combination of bulbs? I have actinic,10k and 65k bulbs. I could mix and match any way. What would be the best for FOWLR and a complete reef setup with rock and inverts? Right now I've got a few fish...purple tang, needle nose butterfly, canary blenny, scissortail Dartfish, Koran angel, royal gamma. couple urchins. emerald crabs and snails along with appr. 125 lbs live rock. I'm new to the hobby so it will basically be a FOWLR setup until I gain more experience. Thanks for your time...Pete <Pete, where are the spaces twixt your sentences? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Question, not reading   8/21/06 Hello, just a couple of questions. Have a 75g tank w/pc Aqualite w/4-65w, 2-10,000k and 2 actinic blue.  I want to get into a little corals and want to keep some polyps and mushrooms.  Is this set up enough light? If it is would it be better to change 2 of the bulbs with 50/50 or does it even matter. <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Nanometer Question/Light Appearance   8/4/06 G'day Crew Can you tell me which is a bluer brighter light, a 420Nm or a 450Nm, or is there not much difference at all. I currently have 420 type but wanted the bluer appearance, thanks. Regards Dave <The shorter wavelength appears whiter to me here. See the Net, physical science reference re visible spectra... There is much variance in actual wavelength, quality of lamps. Bob Fenner>

Lighting   7/25/06 Good morning.  I've been 'getting by' with a single 40watt fluorescent on my 90 gallon salt tank.  I do have a few starfish, shrimp, and crabs... but would like to venture into some sea fans, corals, maybe even a clam. <Okay> I realize that my lighting would need a serious upgrade.  I'm looking at the following Corallife product for $780.  It appears to be a collection of metal-halide and power compacts.  My tank is 25" tall with about a 3-4" live sand bottom.  With the lighting system below, in your opinion would this be sufficient for pretty much all corals & clams?? <Should do> Or would I still be restricted from some types of corals/clams.  The system appears to be about 5.5watts/gallon. Dave The revolutionary Aqualight Pro light fixtures combine 10,000K HQI Double-Ended Metal Halide Lamps with True Actinic 03 Blue Compact Fluorescent Lamps and Lunar Blue-Moon-Glow LED lights in an ultra-sleek, fan-cooled unit that is only 2.75" high. Specifications: - Two 150 watt 10,000K HQI, double-ended, metal halide lamp. -Two 96 watt True Actinic 03 Blue square-pin compact fluorescent lamps. -Three 1 watt Lunar Blue-Moon-Glow 470nm LED lamps. Two external HQI metal halide ballast with on/off switch, 12-foot lamp cord and 6-foot power cord -Two on/off switches and two 12-foot power cords (one for two True Actinic 03 Blue compact fluorescent lamps and one for two Lunar Blue-Moon-Glow 470nm LED lamps). -Sleek, anodized black-aluminum housing. -Highly-polished reflectors. -Built-in cooling fan -Acrylic compact fluorescent and glass lens covers. -Mounting Legs included. -Dimensions: 48"Lx15"Wx2.75"H <Mmm, a cheaper investment... reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm and the many linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Lighting O.K.?  7/19/06 Hey guys,     Quick question- I have a 40 gal. saltwater tank, 12" deep, and i wanted to get some anemones or coral. <...?> I was thinking about getting a 36" dual satellite w/2 96 watt bulbs, one dual actinic and one dual daylight, will this be enough light? <Depends...> Do you have any better suggestions? My budget is low, cuz am only 14, but i mow all the lawns that i can, <Good>     Nathan <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Opinion/Lack of Information - 07/17/06 Hello, <<Howdy>> Great site!!! <<Thanks!>> I have a quick question.  I am running (4) 65 watt 50/50 PC bulbs with one true actinic blue bulb that goes across the tank.  I want to add some halogen lights to this combo. <<Halogen?  Why halogen?  Do you mean Metal Halide?>> Do you think this would be a good idea, or just switch to (2) 10,000K PC bulbs and 2 actinic PC bulbs next light change.  I would love your opinion. <<And I would love to give it to you but you haven't given me enough information to render my opinion.  What size tank/type organisms are these lights over?>>    Thanks, Jeromy <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Lighting Opinion - 07/18/06 Eric, <<Jeromy>> Sorry......I have a 100g tank with many mushrooms, two huge leather corals, frogspawn and a torch coral. Also, purple and yellow tang and one SFP that is growing well.  So.....it's a reef tank and I would like to add some stony corals.  Will the 250watt metal halide "halogens" work? <<Yes...even 175w or 150w will serve here>> I saw some at the Home Depot.  I tried to get the spectrum for these bulbs but it was not on the box and no one knew what I was talking about. Please help. <<Some folks have been able to utilize the magnetic ballasts (some work better with certain bulb manufacturers) sold by stores such as Home Depot, but the bulbs available at these stores are not of a suitable spectrum/color temperature.  Most of the bulbs carried by HD, Lowe's, etc. will be in the 3700K to 4300K, much lower than you want.  Best to purchase your bulbs from an aquatics supply merchant...my vote goes to something in 10,000K>> Thanks, Jeromy <<Hope this helps, EricR>> Marine lighting, lvstk. sel.    7/13/06 Hello WWM Crew, I hope the day finds you happy and healthy. <Thank you my/our friend. And to you, indeed this planet as well> I had a quick question (or maybe a couple of questions, really) regarding lighting. I'm in the process of setting up my first marine aquarium after many years of freshwater and pond experience. We have selected a 120 gal Perfecto tank (48"x24"x24" to the best of my recollection, I'm currently at work). The lighting I've selected consists of 2 175W HQI lights, 2 96W PC bulbs, and several moonlight LEDs. The tank is set up, full of water and running, I'm just waiting on the lights and a couple of other items to arrive. I thought now would be a good time to start putting in some serious research on what I'm going to stock my tank with. In looking around at retailers (online, catalogs and LFSs) I find that most corals light requirements are simply listed as low, moderate or high. While I understand it would be impossible for them to be more specific, as each tank is different, what I need to know is, what is my tank considered? <Mmm, depending on what depth, where oriented in terms of below or to the side of the MHs... all three actually> Also, the lights are coming with actinic tubes in the PC spaces, do you think it would be wise to swap them out for full spectrum tubes, and maybe buy a separate NO or HO fixture to add some actinic light back in? <Yes to the former, likely no to the latter> Thanks for the wealth of information you guys make available to hobbyists, both neophyte and experienced alike, it's a wonderful resource. Take care, and have a wonderful day Pearson Hurst <Again, thank you... Do take a "read about" concerning light, lighting... and the photo-strength/intensity, adaptation/range of most photosynthetic life offered/available. Best to do as you are... investigating these needs... and just importantly, compatibility of such life. All cnidarians are to degrees intolerant of others... best to start with small/er species, colonies of the less toxic/allelopathogenic species... with lower light requirements. Bob Fenner> Lighting, SW  6/13/06 Dear Bob & Crew, <Jimmy> I need your advice once again. I have a 90 gallon mixed reef tank that is being lit with (4) 96 watt PC. (3) 10K (1) 50/50 bulbs as per Bob's advise. I'm   not very happy with the way the tank looks. The bottom and the sides do not seem  to get enough light with the PC's. <Is a "deep profile" tank shape...> I was thinking about once again upgrading my  lights. My first thought was to up grade to (2) 250 watt metal halides, But am  somewhat concerned about the heat. Do you think VHO or T5 would be an upgrade  from the PC or should I just bite the bullet and go for the MH? <Mmm...> Thanks again for  all your help. I start every day reading the Q & A portion of your site and  have learned so much. <Go take a look or three at these possibilities on actual set-ups... at stores, other aquarists homes... If you're pretty sure you can/will want to "use" the light energy from the metal halides, I'd make the switch (heat not actually likely to be an issue if the hood/s are vented...). You will likely be most pleased with the MHs. Bob Fenner> Lighting/Selection...Glass Top Interference  6/5/06 Hi WWM crew, <Hello> Thank you for the enormous help your collection of articles & FAQ's have given me and others!  This has saved us a lot of needless trial & error I sure :). <You're welcome.> I have a 46 gallon bow-front tank with the following fixture: a 36" Current-USA Dual Satellite w/ LED Lunar light, a 96W 6700K/1000K dual daylight and 96W dual actinic 460/420.  The tank is 20 inches deep with a 3 inch sandbed.  My plan for the indefinite future is to stick with soft corals, leathers, mushrooms & a few LPS.  Currently, my tank is lightly stocked with only one mushroom/umbrella leather, one pulsing xenia and 7 red-leg hermit crabs.  My first question concerns the choice of PC bulbs.   The fixture set came with the aforementioned bulbs, but I was wondering if I could improve coral growth and health if I replaced the dual actinic with a 10,000K or a 6700K? <Have tried this on a 30 mini reef and did not see any improvement in coral growth.>   Current-USA makes my choice a bit more complicated since they provide a PC bulb with either actinic 420, actinic 460, daylight 6700K and daylight 10000K and any dual combination of the four.  What combination of these light bulbs would be best for my current and intended livestock? Or is my current set of PC bulbs sufficient? <Either combo works well, twin 10K's will give you more light intensity.> My second question concerns the glass cover of the tank.  Along the line where the glass canopy folds for opening is a black rubber lining that holds the two pieces of glass together.  It is about 1.75 inches wide and runs all the way across the glass canopy.  My concern is that one of the PC bulbs is above this black rubber lining--not directly but such that only 4/7 of the width of the bulb is directly exposed to the water below it.  Now because of the other bulb and the light reflector, no shadow is cast and the entire tank is still lit. But does this limit/reduce the light entering the tank in some detrimental way? Especially for corals placed directly beneath this rubber lining? <Will reduce light slightly.  I removed the hinge on mine, still plenty of access at rear of tank for feeding and such.> Best Regards, <And to you.  James (Salty Dog)> T.J. Rexton Mixing light fixtures    5/24/06 First, thank you for all your support and encouragement. I have a 72 bowfront with PC 4-65w bulbs. I  am becoming more interested in corals but the ones I have (Ricordea, misc polyps, etc.) seem to all fade in my tank compared to the LFS. My research has led me to believe I do not have enough light or not the correct spectrum/temp. I have heard that 20,000k fluorescents will bring the pigments to the surface of the corals, if this is true would adding two of these bulbs to my setup help? <Mmm, might> Would the PC's wash these out? <No> I love this hobby but am becoming very discouraged with the lack of color in my display. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Unfortunately metal halides are not an option. Lastly I think it is time to replace my PC bulbs. What would you recommend, I love the coloration of the actinics but realize I need to do what is best for the tank not for me. Thanks again. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/cfmarfaqs.htm and the linked files above where you lead yourself. Much more to know, discuss than you have touched on here. Bob Fenner> Re: mixing light fixtures   5/25/06 Mr. Fenner Thank you so much for your quick response to my questions! I will ask you this question then run to get your book (although the thickness is somewhat intimidating, hoping for a lot of pictures), seriously I  am excited to read it and learn. If I add the two 20,000 k bulbs to my system does their wattage count into my watt per gallon ratio? <Yes> And also for the other 4-65w what would best balance the system? <I would likely use 3 "white" lamps of about 10k rating and one actinic...> I would guess two daylight/actinic and two actinic. As always your advice is greatly appreciated and respected. <Keep reading my friend. You will soon know what you want here. Bob Fenner> SW lighting... in gen.   4/21/06 Hi Bob,    Rick here again, how are ya ?? I am on chapter 15 (on your book) as I am writing to you today. so far so good.... but, have a question about what is good enough lighting for me tank.   I did read about the best lighting will be metal halide for reef-system, I am planning to get that type (from my friend who owns a fish store). He is offering me a orbit 48" metal halide VHO 2x 150 ,and 20,000k bulb.  would this be good enough for my tank -a  90 gallons , 48x25x25 , I will be also using a chiller 1/5 hp by Artica . or should I go with 2x 250 20000k metal halide ?? i am worry he just trying to sell me his on hand inventory and not offer me the right equipment...   thanks   Rick <... Please see WWM re marine lighting and chillers... All depends on what you intend to keep, what you intend to "do" with it, the cost of operation, looks/appreciation... Bob Fenner>

Lighting/Rope Lights/Fried Aquarist ... Donde Disco?    4/20/06 I have a 75 gallon tank 48" by 18" and due to cost and size of metal halides I will continue using pc lights.  However, I want the beautiful look of shimmering light and shadow an MH provides.  Could I use a rope light, basically a string of LCDs in a clear rubber tube?  They sell them at the hardware store and I thought one might give the desired effect.  In addition I would have two 96 watt 50/50 pc bulbs.  I have green Ricordea, umbrella Ricordea, mushrooms, i.e. nothing requiring super bright light. Do you endorse my idea or have any other suggestions for lights that produce wave shadows without the expense of MH's? <First of all, the rope lights will not produce the shimmering effect you want.  The effect requires use of incandescent lamps such as halides which are a relative of incandescent.  Secondly, rope lights are not UL approved for submerged use, and I certainly would not recommend it.  You may be the one shimmering. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting in multiple tanks.... FW vs. SW - 04/14/2006 I had a question concerning temporary lighting options for a small 29g Reef Tank.  I'll give you a run down of the situation.  My girlfriend wants to keep a planted discus tank (Which means that I'll be keeping a planted discus tank).  I know we needed to upgrade the lighting for the large amount of plants we are going to want. So anyways, I purchased a Power Compact set up, consisting of 4 x 65 watt bulbs. My thinking was, alternating the light fixture from the 55 gallon discus tank to my 29 gallon reef tank that I'm working on. <Using the same bulbs?  Not a good idea.  The bulbs used for planted tanks would cause unwanted algae blooms in your SW tank, and changing them out 2x daily would not be ideal.> Current occupants include a mandarin, sand sifting star, serpent star, 2 species of Zoanthus sp., Branching Frogspawn, Branching Hammer, Discosoma sp. (12 hours on one set up, 12 on the next) This is strictly temporary until I can purchase the appropriate lighting to accommodate a small variety of LPS and Mushrooms/Polyps.  (all will be added to a 55 gallon Reef set up with metal halides,  and converting the 29 into a quarantine tank)  So I guess my question would be, does 4 pc lights rated at 65 watts per equal 260 watts <Indeed it does> or would this still be considered only 65 watts of lighting with multiple bulbs? Thank you to everyone at wetwebmedia.com for all the help.  <Cheerio, Jodie>

Lighting Questions... science, Sel. of fixtures/lamps    4/6/06 Robert, Anthony, crew, <Tirion> Hope you are well, it has been weeks since I last wrote ( grin ).  Thank you and your site for helping me: - not euthanize my maroon clown (fins are almost 100% and h/she is as temperamental as she is supposed to be and eating like a pig) - make it past multiple Cyano and diatom blooms with good lights and no phosphate/nitrate when I wanted to chuck the tank - catch 4 Carib fire worms - Frag my Euphyllia - save my pom pom xenia - generally pat me (and others) on the head when we need it and be blunt when we need it <Heee!> I have a question that I have done much research on. I want a larger tank, 90g, 24"depth.  More corals.  You know the drill. <Oh yes. The madness> Was planning on about 9w per gallon (incremental effect with timers dawn to dusk, full lighting for only about 5 hours This time, I know my mistakes (or many of them) <Remember, thou art mortal> so before I make an impulse purchase, I am researching lighting, as that will be the 2nd or 3rd biggest investment after the tank setup and rock/substrate. <Is the largest by far... ultimately with the cost of electricity...>   I am looking at Flourex (LOA) type fixtures (no grimaces yet please) Question (I can hear you saying, finally) Assumptions; - Sunlight has a CRI of about 100 - Sunlight has a Kelvin temp of about 5600 Tests; - a 65w Flourex power compact produced nearly as much illumination at the local store as a 150w MH floodlight (tested in the warehouse - states =500w but more like 200)  It will definitely light up a 20x30' backyard with one bulb. - a Flourex PC floodlight has a CRI of about 84 and temp is 6500 I am not buying anything yet as it would be impossible to test the effects without the new system and the mod to the Flourex flood light would render it un returnable (DC to AC, etc..). So, could someone enlighten me as to why it would be bad or ineffective to use 3 or 4 of these lights at around $50 a piece instead of $600 on a MH system? <Mmm... mainly the CRI value you state... You want/need a Color Rendering Index of 90 plus...> They produce a lot less heat and have enclosures that are easy to mount/hang and the replacement bulbs are really inexpensive - additionally, from the specs, they don't lose spectrum effectiveness until late in the life cycle, which is about 5000 hours longer than MH or HQI. I cannot find one piece of real data that explains to me why any spectrum bulb over 6500 is better (aside from the nice bluish tint of a 20k).  I know that I can look at reef tanks that have MH and they are lovely and healthy but know no one who has really tried these types of fixtures to even have a reference.  I am not interested in being a guinea pig but if I have to, I will set up another frag tank and just buy one with a mix of softies, LPS and SPS.  But I was hoping that someone had really looked at something like this in depth :).  I don't like to rely on the sellers for objectivity. Thanks for all of your knowledge and again, hope you are all well. Take care, Bill <Do look about for the works of Sanjay Yoshi <Joshi> and Dana Riddle (on the Net)... re PAR values, measuring... and test these lamps...> Also would like to suggest that you ask your patrons to do something like this at the end of their emails for better searching. (Marine Lighting Flourex Metal Halides comparison CRI floodlight MH PC Power Compact watts per gallon) <Wow, indexing!> Just a bunch of keywords but you get the gist, just a suggestion as it is getting harder to find stuff with so much more data to sort through. <Agreed... I really only ask for some mention of such pertinences by queriors and our Crew in the Subject titles... to aid in placement. Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Lighting Questions... science, Sel. of fixtures/lamps   4/7/06 Bob, <Bill> Thanks very much, will review the authors you mentioned. <Sorry for the one... Tis Sanjay Joshi... not Yoshi... sheesh. Will see him at the WMC in less than a couple weeks> Not being a 'sunlight scientist' it is still hard for me to imagine that a drop of 6 in CRI from sunlight would be that dramatic so I will probably set the test system up. <Oh yes... as I say, look into a PAR meter and see for yourself... and try (if it's a dunk-able type) the actual penetration effect underwater... telling... Even "dissolved color" has profound influence on useful light penetration/propagation>   Yes, even I can be cheap and stubborn - but I am NOT going to put an $80 hot pink Ricordea in there (muttering to myself...just in case it sucks or the Ric bleaches, LOL). Bill <Heee! You are wise here. Bob Fenner>

Custom Sea Life Parts    4/4/06 I need to replace the end caps on my SmartLite (look burnt, stop working), but custom sea life. COM is out of business, is there a store/website that you would recommend to find this replacement part(s)?  I really don't want to throw this light away, it's 4' and very nice, my 110 salt tank would really like to have it back.  <Many companies use the same type of end caps.  Contact johnny@premiumaquatics.com  I'm sure he can help you out. Thank you in advance  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting/What For Watt  - 03/25/2006 Good Morning Gang!!! <Good day, Jeff> Just to start I want to say this is the most comprehensive aquarium site ever!!  You would all be rich if you could sell your advice.  We are all blessed that you offer it for free to those who to ask!! <Thank you!> Okay....here is my quandary...I have just purchased 48lbs of live rock for my two year old FOWLR 55 gal tank.  I only have about 40 watts of lighting now and I know I need more to promote the growth held in and on the live rock.  I have been searching the web and EBay to see what is out there.  I am looking at getting a 48" 260w Power Compact.  From what I am reading, this will cover my needs.  My problem is cash. <Been my problem also.>  I have seen several different brands on EBay and at the LFS.  Most start at $200 and go up.  There is one brand...JEBO/Odyssea... that has what I need and fits my budget.  What are you thoughts on this brand/manufacturer, and this product.  Per the listings, it has the fans needed for cooling, multiple power cords for timed controls of all three lights (daylight, actinic, and lunar), shields, etc...you get the picture.  I wanted to get your input before I made my purchase.  <At one time there were problems with JEBO, believe ballast related.  I suggest you log in to our Chat Forum and post this question under "Equipment And Dry Goods".  I'm sure you will get more than one response.   http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/> Thanks in advance for your advice!!  <James (Salty Dog)> Jeff

Lighting upgrade question   3/16/06 Hello, <Hello Domenic.> I currently have a 46 gal. bow with JBJ 2x96 watt dual actinics on top.  I maintain a reef with soft corals (star polyps, xenia, Anthelia) and would like to upgrade to a complete metal halide/actinic/moon light fixture system so that I can sustain clams and stony corals.  What type and quantity of light do I need to accomplish this?  My tank has a center brace  - how much of an issue is this in terms of light blockage and shadow creation?  I have found many makes and models from my research.  I've been leaning toward the Current Outer Orbit system with the 1x150watt 10,000K HQI and 2x96watt dual actinics with an internal ballast - do you know of any horror stories regarding internal ballasts?  My other considerations are the Jalli system with 2x 150Watt 10,000k HQI's and 2x39watt 03 T5's and the Corallife system with 1x150watt 10,000K HQI's and 2x65watt dual actinics both with remote ballasts.  What are your thoughts on these fixtures?  Current Orbit also makes a fixture with 2x 150watt 14,000k HQI's and moon lights but no actinics.  Do the higher temperature halides delete the need for actinics?  I would like to achieve a natural balanced light in this reef.  <Domenic, the Current twin 150 HQI system is the one I'd go with.  The twin 14K lamps eliminates the need for actinics and will allow you to keep what you are desiring.  Your center brace will not be a problem in this regard.> Thank you,  <You're welcome and thank you for writing so well, makes my job much easier if I do not have to edit/correct.  James (Salty Dog)> Domenic from Boston

General Lighting questions/Marine  - 03/13/2005 Hi crew, <Hello Pearson.> After many years of FW fish keeping, my wife and I have decided to take the plunge into marine systems. <Great!> We're currently planning a 90G AGA Megaflow tank. <A nice size tank.> We're going with a FOWLR tank for now until we get a little more experience in running a marine tank, and then we'd like to switch over to a reef tank. I'm trying to do as much research as possible before actually buying anything. While we will be starting with a FOWLR tank, I'd like to go ahead and buy all the appropriate equipment for a reef setup now, so I don't have to worry about spending extra money on upgrades when we decide to make the jump. I think I've got a pretty good handle on most of the equipment I'm going to need, but I wanted your input on my lighting plans. I'm currently looking at a 8x54W T5 HO setup, for a total of about 430 Watts. The seller will let me specify how many 10K and/or actinic bulbs I want to come with the fixture. What would be my ideal choice here? Or should I get all 8 bulbs at 10K, and get maybe a less expensive fixture and a plain old NO actinic bulb to go in it? <If it were me I'd go with six 10K and two true actinic.> Thank y'all for all that you do, there's an (almost) overwhelming amount of very good and easy to understand advice on WWM, it's a true resource for all of us trying to find our way. <Thank you, and now back to your question.  I would strongly consider HQI lighting for your tank.  If you get bit good, you will want to keep SPS, LPS, clams, etc.  A 90 is a fairly deep tank and HQI would be more suited to your future needs.  As you say, you do not want to upgrade later.  The extra money spent on lighting will be well worth it.  Even if you do not get into these types of corals, the HQI lighting creates a very pleasing rippling effect.  <James (Salty Dog)> Pearson Hurst Lighting raising tank temperatures   3/4/06 Is blowing a fan on your sump a reasonable idea or will it add to much extra evaporation? <Sure it will increase evaporation.  You may want to consider buying a wood canopy for your tank and mounting the lights and cooling fans in there.  Another option is getting one of the newer strip lights with built in fans.  I'm using a Current model and it works great.> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Kent

Lighting raising tank temperatures   3/4/06 Also, my Compact lighting 4X 96watt set right on the glass. Would it help to get some legs to raise it about three inches above the glass? <Yes> Will small fans help with the lights either right on the glass or raised above it about three inches? <Best to blow under the lights.> Bob, <James today> I have my heater set to 78F on my reef tank but my tank stays very consistently between 79.5F and 81.5F. Is this (81.5F) a problem? <The temperature swings are more of a problem, but in your case a 2 degree swing isn't too bad.  I'd try to cool those lights down or adjust your heater to 80 degrees to minimize the temperature swing.> Room temp stays between 67F and 72F. 135ga. tank Compact lighting 4X 96watt and 2X 30Watt 18Watt UV Wet/ Dry pump (2) power heads Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Kent New acrylic tank lighting question  - 3/1/2006 Thanks again for all the help you folks provide. This is always the first site I check for any aquarium questions. I have a 140 Gal tank with the following dimensions 60Lx18Wx30H. I am looking to keep some "hearty" corals and invertebrates in the tank. <Corals... are invertebrates> I am trying to decide on lights for my tank. I have a Tenecor acrylic tank with a canopy that has an opening that flips back. The opening because of the rim only has an opening 13.5" wide. What light fixture or retrofit would you recommend? I know I can't use MH lights because of heat issues being inside a canopy as well as heat problems with acrylic tanks. <Mmm... I would look to the newer T5 technology here. Please see WWM re your many options. Bob Fenner>

Lighting/Color Temperature  - 02/20/06 Hi, <Hello.> I'm building a new hood for my 90G reef tank I currently have a CSL hood with 2 250W 10,000k XM MH bulbs and 2 96w PC Actinics 03 I would like to  keep the 2 250W MH.  Should I replace the PC actinics to 10,000k  or the new  T5 bulbs?  What is my best option to compliment the MH and get the best color  out of the corals? <The 10K MH's and 96 watt actinics should provide pretty good color as is.  I wouldn't go with T5's as long as you've got the PC's.  When you replace the MH bulbs, go with 14K's.  Should give you a little more color.> Thanks for your advice. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

HPO4? Sky high? and light placement  2/14/06 Hi I enjoy your site its top notch. I do have some questions to ask that I did not clearly find from other peoples questions in the forums. I have both 2 lighting systems. one with power compacts with 6- 96 watt actinic bulbs in the back that are   3 inches above the water and another unit has that has 3- 250 watt 20k metal halides and 2- 160 watt VHOs that are 11 inches from the water and are in the front. is this placement ok. <Okay? Sounds fine...> I keep a clam and anemone that stay in the front and plan on adding coral to the back top where the actinics would shine, will the actinics be enough light for hammer coral, xenia, Wellsophyllia, toadstool, and Zoanthids or do the need to be in front under the halides. <The actinics actually "do" very little for photosynthetic life... they're more for your visual/aesthetic appreciation. I'd move the MH's toward the middle if it were my system> Also I have checked my water and i have 0 nitrates, 0 ammonia, 8.2 for ph, alkalinity is good, so is salinity, but i have high phosphates. <Numbers please> I use a RODI unit and check the water before putting it in for water changes and notice even with the RODI unit i still have .5-1.0 phosphate level. <These should not be present... but should go... with the addition of other photosynthetic life> The tank now is 10.0 high in phosphates although i do not see a lot of algae. <... something is awry here... Most likely your test kits, or your results reading> What should i do to remove the phosphates. <Read on WWM: http://wetwebmedia.com/po4faqs.htm> Should i feed the fish less? i have 4 tangs, 1 Watanabei angel and 13 small fish. I feed spiraling in the morning which i found out today contains phosphates from the pet store, pellet food in the afternoon, and 3 cubes of shrimp. I was told by the pet store to cut the shrimp to 1/2 cube, but i have a lot of fish. what should i do. Harry <Read my friend, read. Bob Fenner>

Re: help with lights  - 2/15/2006 Thanks for replying so soon but i <I> am still uncertain what to do with my lighting, maybe i didn't explain it clear enough. i guess i was too excited when i asked so many questions. I hope you forgive me with such a long explanation now. i just want to do it right before i start adding coral. When i started the hobby 3 years ago i had a 125 gallon tank and kept only fish with a Coralife power compact light that was 72" long with 6 bulbs. 2 96watt actinics, 2 96 watt 50/50 bulbs and 2 96 watt 10k bulbs. I have been very good with checking my water, the lighting was sufficient and have had good luck keeping all my fish only losing one. I have had success in keeping a healthy hippo tang, powder blue tang, Vlamingi tang, and purple tang together in those 3 years since starting and 2 years with the Watanabei angel. 2 Years later, I put away the Coralife light and  bought a 180 gallon tank new light. This light  has 3 250 watt  metal halide bulbs at 20k light and 2 VHO bulbs at 160 watts each and is 72" long and 13" wide. I have Jawfish, very cool fish (5 pearlys that live together in this rock, some in holes in the rock the others underneath the rock in the sand) and 1 tiger Jawfish who lives alone and decided i needed a wooden canopy <Thermally protected I hope/trust> in case they jump. Haven't had the problem since i bought them all a month ago but have read many places that before you purchase one to make sure you have a canopy. So i had the  local fish store build it, just wooden canopy no glass coverings because the fish need oxygen and i bought a new light that went in the center and 14 inches above the water. They said it should be this high because the canopy collects a lot of heat given off from the metal halides and if they were to lower it, <Yes... still needs to be vented, possibly fan-cooled> it would cook the water. When i put the light in the canopy,  the VHO lights were not as bright it had lost its full effect and have read that VHOs or actinics should be 3 inches from the water and halides 8 inches and above. So i moved the light forward and 3 inches lower after reading other peoples stories in their tanks with canopies that they had the metal halides 10-11 inches from the water. I then brought the old Coralife light back and put them 3 inches above the water and behind the halide lighting system. My question is should i keep it like that with the halides up front and use a 10k light in the center fixture of the Coralife system with 2 actinic bulbs sandwiching it, for corals in the back since you said earlier actinics are only for esthetics and not coral growth or take the Coralife light out and put back the metal halides and VHO light in the center of the tank and drop it from 14 inches to 11 inches. I ask because before i had the canopy i had the metal halides and VHOs at 5 to 6 inches above the water. with bright light and no Coralife unit on the tank. i am confused and do not want to throw away lights to buy new ones. <No need> Also is 14k better than 20k metal halides? <For? Please... read on WWM re> Please help, I want to add corals but i want to do it right so i don't kill any living things that would discourage me from this awesome hobby. like i said i have had excellent luck with fish. let me know and please don't take the easy road and say keep a fish only tank, Ha ha. Thanks in ahead Harry <See WWM re light, lighting for corals... http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm toward the bottom. Bob Fenner>

Saltwater Start-Up - 2/7/2006 Lambda Hi Lisa, <<Hi Elise.>> I have a lighting question.  I have a light fixture that will hold two 32 watt T8's over my 75 gallon, 18 inch deep FO.  The bulbs I am using are 5000K, color rendering 86, mounted three inches above the water. My question is, should I use both bulbs, or just one? One looks bright enough to me, two looks very bright (but not too bright). <<Well, I suppose it's a matter of personal preference here, if no corals are involved.  I personally would use both, but I like a lot of light. Keep an eye on algae growth though.>> How many hours a day should I have it on? (I'll be using a timer). <<In a FO system, I'd do on for no more than 8 hours, but this will become personal preference as well.>> Thanks in advance! <<You're very welcome.  Lisa.>> Elise

Lighting/Color Temperature   2/7/06 Good Morning, <Good morning to you, James.  What a nice name.  You must be handsome also.> I have finally decided to jump and recently upgraded from power compacts (130w 10,000K and 130w actinics) to metal halides. The current bulbs on the two metal halides are 10,000K 150w double ended with supplemental lighting of two 96w PC actinics. Would it be possible to use 20,000K 150w metal halides and not bother using the power compacts? <Sure> Shouldn't the 20,000K provide enough of the blue end spectrum? <Yes> From what I understand, 10,000K would provide better growth for the corals (my main concerns are the maxima clam, yellow leather and pipe organ). <I recall reading somewhere that clams prefer the lower color temperatures (6500-10000, but also read that Barry Neigut of Clams Direct uses both 10 and 20K lamps.  Corals do seem to do better in the 10K range, personal experience.> I'm not too concerned with growth as my tank is only a 55g tank, I just want to be sure this would keep the corals healthy at only two 20,000K 150w metal halides or does growth and health go hand in hand?<Definitely> I also would rather use the 20,000K for aesthetics, hoping for a two in one shot with the 20,000K! I may just use the PC's for a dawn to dusk effect. <Bottom line James, if I had your set up I'd go with 14K lamps and you will get the best of both worlds.> Thank you for any assistance you can provide! <James (Salty Dog)> James Lighting quantity  - 2/4/2006 Crew <Tom> I just read Marine Lighting: Quality, Quantity & Duration by Bob Fenner.  The reason for reading the article was to better understand lighting quantity.  Are you aware of a lumens/watt comparison (official or unofficial) between MH, Power Compact, VHO, and HO ?  Luminous efficacy, the light output divided by the power rating of the lamp, expressed in lumens , is an important measure. <Tom, we do not have charts/graphs of such parameters.  I'd do a Google search on subject(s).  I know there have been articles that were written on this subject, some in the monthly magazines.  Might also want to contact bulb manufacturers for info. James (Salty Dog)> Thank you <Your welcome> Tom Hobson  

Re: Acrylic tank and lights   1/31/06 Thanks for your help James, <You're welcome.> Update with a question if it's ok. <Sure>  I just set up the tank and the guy gave me a light fixture with two 48" actinic lights and two 20k lights, not sure what wattage I guess 96.  Two of the lights don't work, actually it's the wiring to them or something, so right now I have one of the actinic and one of the 20k's on. Is 20k the wrong spectrum? <Not really, most prefer 14K, less blue.> And should I not use it and try to get a 10k instead? Right now only fish and live rock, but would like the coralline to spread. <Do read articles/FAQ's regarding coralline on the Wet Web.  In future replies, reply with original query that includes my response.> Thanks.<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Kathy

Lighting/Maintenance   1/27/06 Hi Crew, <Hello Mohamed> If one has a light meter and the PPF reading is e.g. 750, after some time the tube losses value and it reads e.g. 550 when must the bulb be changed? Is there a rule? E.g. if the light losses 20% of the PPF value than it must be replaced. etc <Rule of thumb is to change lamps on a yearly basis.  If this light meter is submersible than water clarity can have an effect on the reading.  If it were me, I'd take a reading with the sensor directly under the lights (out of the water), record your reading and if the value dropped more than 10% down the road, I'd change the lamp(s). Obviously you would want to take this initial reading when the lamps are new. Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Mohamed.

Submersible Lux Meter    1/25/06 Hey All, <Yo, Scott> Do you have any suggestions for a submersible Luxmeter.  I have searched & searched, but can't seem to find a waterproof unit (sensor).  Any ideas? <Premium Aquatics carries one for $70.  Look here... http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=MIL-SM700&Category_Code=Milwaukee  Might want to ask them to insure the probe is submersible.> You all do a great service to the hobby, many thanks! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Scott in St. Louis Are 150w HQI metal halides enough for my tank   1/20/06 Hello, <Hey Eric> This is my first time sending in questions, so here goes: I have a 60 gallon cube, dimensions are 24"x24"x24" and am currently running a Current USA Outer Orbit fixture on it. It has 150w HQI MH and dual 65w PC actinics. Is the 150w HQI MH enough lighting for the tank if I plan on keeping Acroporas, Montiporas, and various SPS? Will they have to be higher up, or will it be enough lighting to allow me to place them lower? <For aquariums up to 30" deep with mixed corals, SPS and clams I'd go with the 250.  You may get by with the 150 provided the light loving corals are placed high in the aquarium (Upper half).>I'm considering refitting the fixture with a 250w HQI, which includes changing the ballast to replace the internal one if it fits, or placed externally if need be. I also plan on adding an extra fan to the fixture to keep it cool. Would there be any advantage to doing this? <If you are a DIY you would save some money by not buying another fixture.  I'd contact CurrentUSA and get some input from them before doing.> Finally, what spectrum is recommended for the best interest of coral? I've read that 10,000k is the best for coral in general, but many prefer 20,000k for visual reasons. Does it really matter, or is it preference? <Anything over 6500 works well with the 14/20K giving a more pleasing look.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks,<You're welcome> Eric

Lighting ... better titles please... see sub-FAQ choices... Cnid.s.  1/18/06 Hi all, <Hello Gary> Stats:  30gal; 18in deep, lots of LR, 2" crushed coral base, Coralife pc 130w running about 12hrs/day on timer, water parameters always good, 2 devils finger coral (not sure if that's correct naming) growing like crazy, 1 Amplexidiscus, growing, small colony of Parazoanthus gracilis, look great (I'm getting these names from your site...identification); and small colony of candy cane coral, not so great. The candy cane coral looked great when purchased, and for a while there after.  I've had for about 8 mos.  Over time, the best way I can describe is, they have closed up.  There are no centers showing.  They look like large red bumps on my rock.  Any ideas?  <Might want to read here along with other related articles as to care/requirements.   http://wetwebmedia.com/mussidfaqs2.htm> Second, I'm about to replace my pc bulbs.  Right now I have two 50/50 (white/actinic).  Would I benefit from having just one 50/50 and the other switched to all white 10k? <I would go one true actinic and one 10K.  This lighting isn't sufficient enough for keeping LPS in your tank.> BTW, my wife is not happy I found your site...apparently I'm spending too much time! Just kidding, I really am learning so much. <Keep on reading my friend, much is to be learned in this hobby.  James (Salty Dog)> Thx Gary

Confused re lighting 01-18-06 Hi Crew, <Hello> I enjoy your articles. <Happy to hear that.> I'm somewhat confused on a lighting issue.  I have a 58 gal. (36"lg) and I'm in the process of changing out my lights, I have read so many articles on MH only, MH w/VHO, etc;  Do I need 1 or 2 MH HQI 150 Watt. <This depends mainly on two things... If your aquarium has a center brace, you need 2 bulbs. If you don't want dark spots on the ends of your tank, you need two bulbs.> Do I need extra lighting as in VHO, etc;. <Not necessary, but they do add to the visible coloration of the aquarium and can increase coloration of some corals.> I would very much like to keep SPS and clams in the near future.  I'm looking at the new SunPod HQI Metal Halide  with lunar lights as well as the Ocean Light 150W HQI.  Help...and thanks so much. <Either of these lights seem to be a good choice. You might also want to look at 175watt systems, if you have room in your canopy, as the bulbs are cheaper and come in a wider variety. Travis> Saltwater start up tank  - 01/09/2006 Hello. I have a question for you. I am setting up either a FOWLR, or reef tank, in 75 gal.'s I wanted to know what kind of light I would need for EACH of these set-ups, and the number of watts needed. <Here is a link that will lead to answers for your question.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm> If you could help me find a place where I can find a reasonable light, for a really good price. ( I'm on a budget ) <Well, half the battle is won already.  You have a computer so it's time to go shopping for lights.  A search on aquarium lighting should yield plenty of results/online stores.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks!!! <You're welcome>

Re: Lighting   1/11/06 Hey Salty Dog, <Jenna> Using ESV Strontium, Calcium Bionic, and Lugol's on a pretty strict regime.  Have tested all of these and they are cool...<Great> How bout leaving the 400watt pendant and getting some VHO lights maybe? <A couple of 65 watt PC true actinic would do the trick, will help with coralline growth.> Best, <And to you.  James (Salty Dog)> Starting/Selecting sizes for marine fish livestock, and lighting   1/7/06 Mr. Fenner,         I have a 75 gal starting to be a reef tank,  I have had problems with the acclimation of larger fish.  5"+, I follow quarantine procedures, and I drip acclimate.  I have lost about 200 dollars in fish, even though all parameters are of good quality.  PH 8.3,  Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, dKH 12, Temp 78.  I have about 87 gal total volume, with 1300 gph turnover.  Smaller fish under 4" acclimate readily, and even turn out to be excellent fish.  Current stock is as follows;   1 Long nose Hawkfish 3"   1 Sixline Wrasse 2.5"   1 Flame angel   3 Blue-green Chromis 1.75" each   1 Lysmata amboinensis 3" body, largest I have ever seen he will chase the long nose   2 Peppermint shrimp 1.5 and 2"   1 Sarcophyton about 6" tall (toadstool)   1 colony green star polyps   various Corallimorpharians, blue striped, green striped, purple, blue, and a couple unidentified on live rock   20 blue legged hermit   1 scarlet hermit   1 emerald Mithrax 1.5"   1 cream colored crab, looks like emerald, except in color, and body seems hairy, about .5" came in on some new live rock, small enough not worried yet, still trying to Identify.   various snails about 15 total, turbo Nassarius, Mexican black hats, and a sand conch   I have about 120 lbs of live rock, (have an addiction)   I have found no parasitic infections, on current stock, have tried 2 different tangs, Kole, and yellow, both died, and a one spot fox face, all were larger then 5", each had a one month quarantine, did great.  Added to display, none at the same time, worried about bioload as well.  They would be fine for a few days eating well, then they would stop eating, and invariably die. Yes I add marine foods, and a very wide variety.  Each fish has a good diet.  Most food is also frozen, some Hikari pellets for the Chromis, trying to keep Hawkfish a little more hungry, but do not fear he does eat 2x a day, the others 3x, the  Sixline I want to only eat once or twice, for his personality is great that way, and he doesn't hide then.  Flame Angel used to hide a lot, but Chromis were great dithers.  So aside from possible size problems I cannot see why these fish died.  If you have any other ideas, on this it could help.  Yes I have a Protein skimmer, and at the time I was running 440 watts of VHO 1 03 act. 2 6500, and 1 10000, But I have recently bought 2 150 HQI pendants.  The bulbs that came with are 20000, and they are Corallife AquaLight clip on pendants.  So The main question is was the 440 brighter then the 300 or the other way around. <The 20ks may look/appear brighter... are not as "bright" to your photosynthetic livestock> And would a Squamosa be a good candidate for current lighting scheme.  And yes I plan on changing the bulbs to 10k, what brand do you feel is best. <Like some of the Japanese lamps, the Buschke product. Some of Phillips lines> (everyone's opinions matter, it just depends on how one receives said opinion)  Other then the fish loss, to date 2 percula, 1 killed by blue devil, 1 suicide bungee jumper, no bungee cord, silly fish, 1 Blue Chin Trigger (FAMA Idea on reef safe triggers, was working but he to was over 5") 1 Blue devil, killed by Blue devil (newbie mistake) 2 velvet damsels killed by blue devil ( newbie mistake, thanks to LFS "oh yeah they are shoaling fish that get along with everything") 1 Blue Devil fed to Volitans for being a mean little fish attacking my Sixline wrasse.  Also everything is grounded and drip looped.          Also, sorry I know I am a pain, I keep trying to find good examples of lower light SPS, I don't want Acropora, and I am using the softies for husbandry skills, bigger they get the more they are worth. I do plan on going to SPS and clams, preferably lower light species, will buy a chiller and more powerful lighting if necessary, but prefer to start with lower light and hardier species of SPS and clams.  Also I found two Clarion Angels online, but I am not spending over a $1000 on something that could possibly die, so should be left on the reef, probably also illegally obtained.  But they are a dream fish for a species tank.  Also our community recently lost a fellow reefer in the avalanche in Colorado.  Gabe Medina had 2 150 gal reefs, a 75 gal species, and a 24 gal nano reef.  He lost his life at the age of 32.    <A shame...>   Thank you for your time and patience,   Thomas <The larger fish may just have been poor specimens, but larger fishes of any given species are not nearly as adaptable to captive conditions, nor do they ship as well as "medium" sized specimens per species. I would start with the tangs and Siganids at 3-4 inches in length. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lighting   1/7/06 Thank you for the reply.  I guess I was too long winded before, if I had 10k bulbs, would that light be brighter then the 440 VHO I had previously.   Thanks for being there for everyone in need.                                                                                Thomas <Welcome. The 10k's should be fine here. Bob Fenner> Re: Fighting over lighting 01-03-06 Hello again---and thanks for your thoughts.   <Glad to help.> If I buy a retrofit kit, would I need to build a fan into whatever I was building?  I don't have a canopy on my tank so I would need to build a box, correct?   <Yes, or hang a pendant.> I am sorry to sound stupid, but I am not really handy with tools!!!  What are the best materials to construct a housing for a retrofit kit?   <If you are not handy it may be best to use a pre-built lighting setup. They come in nice cases with fans. If you really want to build a canopy, make it out of hardwood, like oak (less likely to warp, and use marine spar varnish (find it at Home Depot) to finish/seal the wood. Travis> Thanks again!! Mark Heat from lighting - 1/3/2005 Dear Crew, How can I tell if my light fixture is getting too hot inside the canopy? This is my setup: 58 gallon glass aquarium with glass cover & wood canopy. I have a Coralife power compact AquaLight with 2- 96 watt bulbs sitting directly on the glass top - it has one fan I am concerned that the light may become too hot when the wood canopy lid is closed. it is an oceanic canopy that has the rear panel cut out, there is about 4.5 inches of room (depth) inside for the light. Is this a typical set up or do I need to add an additional fan inside the canopy? <If the bulbs are in their original fixtures, and the water temperate is not significantly affected, I would not be overly concerned here. If temperature escalates in the summer, consider running the tank open-topped without the glass cover. Best regards, John> thanks Kim 44 Gallon Lighting Issues  12/30/2005 How are ya'll doing. <Okay, thanks> I would like to personally congratulate myself on owning the most obscure tank in the universe. I managed to pick out the worst possible shape for a tank its a 44 gallon perfecto corner tank. Never mind that it had the oddest dimensions, but worse yet, its incredibly deep, two feet. I'm only 5 feet tall, so I practically go swimming when I have to get to the back corner of the tank. <Good point> I've searched high and low for these answers and I can't find them. The highest wattage I can place on my tank is 80w [two 40 watt compact bulbs]. However... I'm somehow going to fandangle my way into a glass top, I do not know if these are manufactured or not, I've yet to find one. <You can/could make one...> If I can do that, I can get two 24" compact fluorescent bulbs on top of it, which still only brings me up to a whopping 130w. My question is this. If I only intend to place my specimens [either coral or anemone] within the top 12" of the tank. Is there adequate lighting. Or should I just give up on the idea of a reef tank and do fish only? <Good question... if it were mine, I'd look into a pendant type metal halide for this tank... concentrate the higher need photosynthetic invertebrates there. Bob Fenner> Lighting and Coral mixing questions Gentleman, <And a few gentle ladies> Love the Wet Web Media website but was having problems logging on to ask questions so I figured I would take this approach. I have a 90 Gallon reef setup with a 25 gallon refugium (I realize that it is a little small but am planning an upgrade).  Essentially I have two questions for you.  First, I have mostly soft corals with very few hard but would like to go with some SPS.  Currently the tank has the following animals: 1 very large Hammer (12" high, 14" long, 6/8" deep) 1 medium Frogspawn 3 colonies of Star Polyps 1 large Toadstool (8" in diameter) 1 small colony of Zoanthids 1 large Finger Leather 1 medium Green Tree Leather 1 small colony of Red Sea Xenia 1 small colony of unknown Xenia 1 small Clam 1 small Galaxy <Keep space around this... a good six inches> 1 small Blastomussa 1 small Kenyan Tree 1 Large colony of roughly 50 Mushrooms 1 6" diameter Merulina 1 medium Maze 1 small unidentified brain 1 small encrusting Montipora a dozen mixed fish <Wowzah!> My question is, is what would I need to remove/trade to change over to a SPS tank in your opinion? <I would not add these here period> Secondly, I have a PFO VHO setup that has 440 watts of lighting.  I am wanting to upgrade to a PFO MH setup with 2 175 watts fixtures.  I also have a 130 watt power compact setup I was thinking of adding in addition to the MH.  Are the MH's going to be too much with my current setup and or enough lighting if I went with a SPS reef? <Should be fine. I would wait on this switch out... till you have your other tank> Do I need to add the PC's to either reef setup or is this overkill? <Could add... I would if I had otherwise not in use> Last, what Kelvin rating would you recommend for the MH's for each setup? <Tenk Kelvins> I know there is a lot of questions but I certainly appreciate you time, energy, website, and attention to these questions. Have a great Holiday! Sincerely, Greg Watts <Success to you in your new and existing systems/adventures. Bob Fenner> Lighting question Happy holidays Wet Web Media crew!!! <And to you Jeff> I am thinking of upgrading the lighting in my reef tank.  I have a 110 gallon custom made tank that is 30" high, 48" wide, and 20" width.  I currently have only a 36" PC hood with 2 96 watt PC's.  I have a 36" on a 48" because the tank came with a matching canopy, which I never use, and a 48" hood wouldn't fit if I ever decided to put the canopy on.  My system is over a year old, and I predominantly have leather corals (toadstool mushrooms, various colts, 2 Goniopora, button polyps, etc.) I also have a clam at the bottom.  Everything is doing great, and the leathers are all growing nicely. <I am surprised that everything is doing OK (especially the Goni) with just 200 watts of lighting on a 30" deep tank. Must be receiving a good amount of indirect lighting.> I am thinking of upgrading my lighting to metal halides or a MH/PC combo hood.  My question is this:  how many watts for my hood should be good for my tank. <With that deep a tank I'd have to say three 150 watt HQI's but my question is how long have you had the corals?>  I've looked at one hood that has one 250 watt MH and 2 96 watt PC's, or a hood that has one 150 watt HQI MH and 2 96 watt PC's.  Or there is a hood that just has 2 150 watt MH HQI's 20,000K but no PC's. <Yes, the SunPod HQI 36" hood has two 150 watt HQI's <14000K> and six blue/six white LEDs.> Are the HQI metal halides that much better than the older models of metal halides??? <Yes, I like them better.  I believe they are more efficient.  HQI (High Quartz Iodide is a little different than the MH High Intensity Discharge lamps.  They are both system specific, that is a HQI ballast is not going to fire up a MH bulb and vice versa.> I am thinking of adding some Acros to my tank as well. <You will definitely need HQI/MH for these corals.> Thanks for your advice.  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, Jeff.

Re: Lighting question  12/30/2005 OK, one more quick question.  The SunPod comes with 14,000K bulbs.  What kind of lighting appearance will this give throughout the tank compared with the 2 PC's I have now (1 is actinic, 1 full spectrum). <It's going to have a slightly more bluer appearance and the HQI's will produce a shimmering effect, very pleasing.>  And, if I got 2 different spectrum HQI on a 36" SunPod, would you see much of a difference on each side of tank, like one area being more actinic than the other, or would the 2 sort of blend throughout the tank. <You would notice a difference but you don't want to do that, keep them both the same. Here is something you can read concerning lighting. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm   James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again. <You're welcome>  Jeff.

Question on lighting   12/28/05 Hello, <Hello Clifford> I have a question on lighting.  I have a tall 39gal tank that is about 24" tall.  I have had it setup for over seven months after a rocky beginning, and one bad heater later every thing is running smoothly.  I have my tank setup to a T except for the lighting.  I do not understand the lighting, each time I ask some one at the local stores they just try to sale something to me, and when I start to understand I end up get lost in a sea of lights.   I recently took out the 24" sun florescent light and put in a Power-Glo. So now my tank has a 24" Power-Glo and a 24" Marine-Glo.  I have noticed a big improvement in algae growth on the live rock at the bottom. and the dead coral.  It is a real thick flat carpet like lime green, blood red, and even a purple looking algae along with some other color I can't even begin to describe .  I am guessing this is a good thing, because every thing is munching down on all of it.  What I want to know does this mean that I enough light for my first anemone and what would be a good first. The guy that runs the local fish store said that it would be o.k. to get one, but at the same time tried to get me to buy a large purple tip Sebae, that was on sale.  Also can I start to put in other invertebrates that need good strong lighting. <Clifford, you do not have "good strong lighting" for any light loving invertebrates. With your tank depth you will need a 150 watt HQI light preferably a 14000K.  Consider the Aqualight fixture which clips right on the frame of your tank.  These run $250.00 and would be the least expensive way to give you the light you require for keeping light loving inverts.  This fixture is sold by Drs. Foster Smith.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank You <You're welcome> Clifford Kelvin Ratings in the Reef Tank  12/26/05 Mr. Fenner, <Hi Jon, this is Adam, I'll be your substitution for Mr. Fenner tonight.> Thank you and your crew for operating one of the most valuable websites out there for aquariums. <And thank you for the kind words.> It is always the first place I go for answers.  Anyway,  it's the holiday season again, and once again I enter the world of "close but not exactly" in terms of gifts for the aquarium. <Lets see if I can help you out.> I have a 29G reef setup with 2X65watt power compacts.  One of the replacement bulbs I got for Christmas is a 12000K vs. a 10000K I have been using.  My understanding is that the 12000K represents "deeper" light than the 10000K, but I don't know by how much, or, more importantly, what the effect would be on my corals. <Generally speaking photosynthetic animals prefer Kelvin ratings in the 6500K to 10000K range, 12,000K probably has a slight blue tint to it comparison to 10,000K but it should be acceptable.> Is it ok to use, or should I go back for the 10000K.   <Shouldn't be to much of a noticeable difference.> For corals and inverts, I have a Bubbletip anemone (I know, I know...no place if a reef tank, but it's really well behaved:)) <Okay you can slide this time.> , frogspawn, Zoanthids, assorted mushrooms, Ricordea, star polyps, and pom-pom xenia. Again, appreciate the wonderful service you provide with the website! <You are quite welcome, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.> Jon Gage <Adam J.>

I have a lighting question.  12/24/05 <Okay, no problem.> After you roll your eyes up into the back of your head and say how many times can we answer this question,  take a deep breath and try one more time - please. <No disclaimer as necessary I will answer your question to the best of my ability. In other words, don't sweat it.> I am new to the hobby and I am about to purchase my setup. <Ooh the fun/expensive part.> Yes, I have read the Conscientious Marine Aquarist among other books prior to jumping in. <Glad to hear it, research is important.> My long-term goal is a reef aquarium. <A worthy, rewarding and fun goal.> I will start with fishes and live rock and then slowly add corals/clams etc as my skill level improves over time ­ no rush. <Good, patience is the biggest problem with first timers'¦.I can't remember if another aquarist told me that or my girlfriend'¦.never mind.> I do not want to buy things twice so while I could easily get by with a lesser light today I will have to buy new lights in six to twelve months. In order to avoid that I want to employ a buy once buy right strategy. <Logical thinking.> I will likely start with a 90 gal rectangular aquarium with dimensions of 48.5x18.5x25. What type of lighting would you use? <In all honesty it depends on what you are keeping, but since you don't want to close any doors as far as what you can keep it will best to 'err on the high side. As in I would purchase an intense lighting system so as not to limit yourself..> I would like to be as efficient (power consumption) as possible. With so many lights and combination of those lights (e.g. Metal Halides + Actinics or HOs and VHOs etc.) and wattage to choose from my head is spinning. <For efficiency I would utilize a pair of 150 or 150 watt HQI (double ended) Metal Halides with a pair VHO's or T-5's for actinic supplementation. Such as these products here: http://www.marinedepot.com/md_viewItem.asp?idproduct=PF5563K or the product at the very bottom of this page: http://mail.wetwebmedia.com/menu.cgi .> Please try to avoid acronyms and shorthand as I don¹t always know the meaning of it. <I only used the ones you used, I assume you know these, hehe.> Thanks for this invaluable service. <Quite welcome.> Tom <Adam Jackson.>

Jebo fuses  12/15/05 Guys I need your help. I have a Jebo Odessa metal halide/compact light system and the fuse in the ballast burnt out. I thought this would be the easiest thing I had to do yesterday. I went to every electronic place in town and on the web to no avail. I tried to contact Jebo through their website but it will not let me use their "contact me" option and they are overseas. This fuse is a small glass fuse about 3/4" with metal end caps. The end caps are indented,  not flat like all the other "buss" fuses.  The only markings are F7A so I'm thinking it is a 7 amp fuse the closest I could find is a 6.3 amp and those burn up right away. The compact will light up but not the Halide. Does Jebo have a distribution center in the U.S.A. Where can I get replacement fuses? Help!!! Thanks Gregg <Mmm, don't see distributors listed in Industry Buyer's Guides... the home website I'd try again: http://www.jebo.com.cn/html/under-s.html And ask them if/how you can order this part. Bob Fenner>

Bringing On The Lights (Light Selection)  12/1/05 Hi Bob et al, <Scott F. at your service today!> Just a quick question if I may - <Certainly!> I will soon be receiving my new 24" cube tank & was toying with going Metal Halide. Inhabitants will initially be soft corals, possibly with some LPS or SPS added at a later date. I have seen a 150watt MH unit that would fit quite nicely & is cheap. Would you consider 150w of MH to be about right/too much/too little for a tank this size/depth? <I think a 150 watt double-ended (HQI) halide would be perfect. In fact, lots of my hardcore SPS-geek friends would tell you to go with a 250 watt fixture. Nonetheless, the 150 should work fine for the corals you are considering.> Probably supplemented by the 2 x 55w power compact tubes I currently have & 1 x 18" Moon glow tube (dawn/dusk timed). <Well, if you're supplementing with the PC's, I might actually seriously consider a 250 watt halide. Makes life easier!> Okay then...... just a couple of quick questions ;o)  Regarding the fitting of a MH unit inside a hood, the ballast will be hidden away & clearly I don't want to end up with the hood being excessively tall, what height range would you recommend above the water line to mount the MH bulb & would static mounting (i.e. not movable upwards/downwards) be an issue worth spending some of my worry time on? <I'd use a double-ended fixture, like the Sunlight Supply "Reef Optix III" or the Aqualine Buschke "Ocean Light" pendants. Compact and neatly designed. Check 'em out. I'd mount about 6-7 inches above the water surface.> P.S. Some thanks are in order as always for the WWM support and your other efforts - I have the CMA book which is fantastic - thank you very much Bob & I have recently got the Book of Coral Propagation (only half way through this yet, but you have blown my socks off with this one Anthony - well done!!) Cheers Chris <Thanks for the kind words on WWM! I'll be spending some time with Anthony next week, and I'll be sure to pass the kudos on to Anthony! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting for a saltwater tank, using WWM  11/24/05 I have a 55 gal saltwater with fish and live rock, with some mushrooms; polyps. How much light do I need, Was thinking to buy a Satellite  Compact 130 Watts with the lunar lights. Would this be alright or do I need more  light..          Thank you   JOE <... depends on what you want to do Joe... Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. For here, marine lighting, fixtures... Bob Fenner>

What Type Of Lighting? - 11/22/05 Hello WWM crew: <<Howdy>> I'm in the process of planning the setup of my 75g All-Glass tank (48Lx18Wx20H). Which I had to take down last year, and because of a few hurricanes here in Florida during the past 2 years I'm making a lot of changes & modifications for a better setup and less maintenance including a battery backup system (A must have), <<And maybe a generator too!>> calcium reactor which I converted from a former Turboflotor Skimmer and lighting. But really my question is about the last one. <<Okey Dokey>> At the moment I have 2x96w power quad PC from Coralife and just bought 2x54w T5 that will be running with an Icecap 660 ballast. <<ok>> I don't have the bulb configuration yet, but maybe I'll do 6.5K and 10K. <<Excellent>> I do not know from the top of my head the configuration for the power quads, but I think is 10K and 50/50 actinic. <<Tis fine>> Total watts is 300, ok, and before you ask me what will I be trying to keep, I will want to have some: SPS, LPS and definitely some T. maxima clams. <<Is doable with proper research/placement.>> I plan to have a DSB of about 4" and would love to have a natural look reef. <<Wouldn't we all...>> But I'm concerned a little about the heat in MH because it can get warm here during the summer days and at least for now I want to avoid buying an expensive chiller. <<Understood, but heat build-up can be dealt with successfully in ways other than employing a chiller. Don't discount the effectiveness of evaporative cooling from a small desktop fan.>> The inside top of the canopy is at 8" above the water and I can have 4 x 4" fans blowing on it. <<Very good>> I need some advice on if I need the MH or if adding two more T5s can do it? <<I prefer metal halide lighting, more "bang" for the buck with better utility for high light requiring organisms...in my opinion. You don't "need" the MH lighting, but I do recommend it.>> If I definitely need MH, which type is more appropriate or a better setup, a 150w HQI type or regular 175w, 250w mogul base, and how many lamps will I be needing? <<A pair of 10K 150w HQI pendants would be ideal.>> I forgot to say that I have a set of 2 blue moonlights that I would like to come on after the lights go off. <<Easily done with an inexpensive timer.>> Bulb configuration is not at my concern right now and also I have plenty of time to think it over with you guys since I still have to plan some more mods for the setup that I want. Your advice and expertise will be appreciated... Pedro Velasquez <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: 75 gal light system  11/22/05 Thanks, To the crew for an awesome turn around time on my question. If you might be interested in seeing what the lights will look like my email is manodano26@yahoo.com I am in the process of selling custom aquarium lights. <Thank you and congratulations on your new business. Bob Fenner> 

How much lighting?? Too little knowledge, but available on WWM  11/16/05 Hi guys, I have a quick question, I'm still in the set up phase with my new aquarium. I've decided to use power compacts for lighting but don't know how much is too much. My tank is 36x18x25 (70 gal), here is my question, would 2-24" retrofit kits (65 watt x 4 bulbs = 260 watts) be enough or am I better off getting 2-36" retrofit kits (96 watts x 4 bulbs = 384 watts). I will not have any of the "hard stony type corals" in my tank but I do like the "soft anemone type" corals. I apologize I don't know the exact names of them. The Flower pot <Mmm, Goniopora? Is a Poritid, Scleractinian, Stony Coral...> and pulsing types, I will also have one or two anemones in there as well. <... not a good idea> If you need any more info, let me know, thanks for the help guys! Clay in Arkansas.  <Clay, am glad you're writing at this junction. Your answers re lighting and mixing cnidarians, are posted on WWM... Go there, use the indices, search tool, or just browse... Save your money, livestock by learning from our collective experience instead of trial and error. Bob Fenner> 

Questions Already Answered, Lazy Days and Offhand Remarks  11/15/05 Hey, <For horses> I have a 40 gallon breeder tank, (currently curing live rock) and I had a question. I want to try caring for some of the easier hard corals (along with my old mushrooms and zoos) and maybe a giant clam. What would be the lighting requirements for this? <... the higher/est for the Clam: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tridaclgtgfaqs.htm > I was told by the assistant manager of the pet store that since it was not as deep as say, a 55 gallon tank, I wouldn't need quite as intense lighting. <Correct> What would you recommend/how many watts per gallon, and how much would you estimate them to cost? Thanks, Brian <Read on (WWM) my friend. Bob Fenner> 

20 gallon tank and 220 gallon light requirements  11/11/05 I have a 20 gallon tank that has been set up for a year I have 2 percula clownfish and a few pieces of live rock in it. It has 110 watts from a power compact. I was wondering if this is enough light for a bubble tip anemone or not. <Mmm, possibly...> I have a protein skimmer and two power filters on it and a power head. <Take care to screen the intakes of these so the anemone doesn't get sucked up against...> I'm also looking to in the future to get a 220 gallon tank to house more aggressive fish with.  How much light would I need for this tank to keep algae in check and to keep the live rock alive? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrlightingfaqs.htm> Or instead of getting live rock could I use lace rock for hiding places with just the lights that come with the tank. I think it has 80 or 160 watts from florescent. Thanks for your time and help on these matter. <I would not use the Lace in place of Carbonaceous/Live rock... A few related issues to consider... Please read over WWM re anemone lighting, the species you're intending to keep. Bob Fenner>

Smelly Ballasts - 11/10/05 Hello all, <<Howdy>> I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for such a great and informative site.  All of your help is really appreciated. <<Gratifying to hear... Thank you.>> Well after doing much research on this site I have upgraded my lighting system from PC's (200 watts) to Catalina 2X250 watt HQI 15,000K (I love the color). <<Wow, big jump!>> Anyway , I  have been slowly introducing <<very good>> the light to my 90 gallon and its inhabitants, and I am noticing a strong smell emitting from my ballast.  The ballast is a big heavy heat sink looking device, which gets very hot, but the smell is slightly concerning me. <<Hmm, sounds like you have what is sometimes referred to as "Tar" ballasts.>> Is this normal? <<Not in my experience.>> The smell is like kind of harsh. <<I would contact the manufacturer of the ballasts and see what they have to say.>> Thanks Paul <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: new lighting... Dangers of Ballasts, Too Hot Wattage Transformers  11/12/2005 Should I return the ballast or do you think the ballast will burn off the tar smell? Thanks Paul <I would leave/use as is if it is working, HOWEVER, a few cautionary remarks re: DO make sure this ballast is placed on a non-flammable surface/material, with good air circulation around it, and do check if it is "too hot", as in too hot to keep ones hand on it w/o burning... If it is too hot, DO NOT use it. Do take care to not set this ballast on, near acrylic (as in on the top of the tank if this is what it is made of), as the flash point of this material is quite low... Bob Fenner> 

Baffled by lights  11/11/05 Hi <Hello Matthew> I want to buy a new light for my marine tank of dimension 48"x24"x24", however I am unsure of which of these 2 would be a better option.  Arcadia T5 marine reflector (4x54 watt tubes (2 marine blue, 2 marine white)); or , AquaLine 48 inch compact double fluorescent with 2 Catalina 55 watt compact actinics and 2 55 watt compact bulbs. The AquaLine one is Australian made so it is much cheaper. Thanks for your help. <Well Matthew, the AquaLine will be cheaper as it only has two lights.  The question now lies on what are your needs.  Do you have corals etc?  If no light loving creatures are present I would go with the cheaper one.  If you have corals, then go with the 4x54, keeping in mind this is borderline light for hard corals, fine for most softies.  James (Salty Dog)>

Re: baffled by lights  11/13/05 Thanks for the detailed reply James; however it seems one thing I didn't make clear was that the AquaLine actually requires 4x55 watt compacts. I don't know why they have called it a double fluorescent. (?) The tubes aren't included and they cost $40 each. The advertisement claims that these tubes give you almost 6 times the light of conventional fluorescents of the same length. Sound good? How would that one go for corals and inverts? Soft corals would be all I would keep.  <Matthew, your tank of 120 gallons is too large for this lighting system. Seeing that your tank is two feet wide, and two feet high, most, if not all the corals would have to be centralized. I'm thinking the light dispersion wouldn't be enough on the outer perimeters of your tank even if the required wattage per gallon was there. With the depth of your tank I'd be more inclined to go with an HQI/Compact Fluorescent combo. As it stands your lighting is equal to one watt per gallon, give it two if indeed the T5's put out twice as much light. This still leaves you about two watts shy per gallon. I realize in the previous email I mentioned that the light would be OK for softies, but now realizing the depth and width of your tank, This isn't going to work. Sorry, but this was an oversight on my part. James (Salty Dog)> 

Re: baffled by lights  11/15/05 Hi James Thanks again. I don't know what HQI means;  <High Quartz Iodide>  I assume it is metal halides? When you say compact fluorescents are you referring to the AquaLine setup?  <Yes, by your description in mentioning compacts>  I'm sorry but I'm not 100% clear on this. If you are referring to the 4 foot power compact tubes, well they aren't available here. I get different opinions about this whom ever I ask. The guy who I buy all my equipment from seems to think the t5 light is enough.  <They are excellent lights providing enough wattage is there. Keep in mind the "twice as bright" goes hand and hand with the wattage. A 48" T5 draws 54 watts versus 40 watts in a standard 48" tube.>  Combined with one of my old tank lights which is a 40 watt MarineGlo. But I'm getting the impression from reading through the FAQs that these watts won't count since the MarineGlo is just a standard fluorescent.  <The wattage does count>  My current tank is 48"x18"x18"  <Your original query stated 48x24x24 and that was what I based my answer on.> or about 60 gallons and I only have 2 40 watt tubes (one MarineGlo and one PowerGlo) and everything in there is doing fine; including the soft coral which I've had for about 4 years. The other thing about my current tank is that I don't even have a skimmer! Never have! The only problem I have is with hair algae.  <This is the main reason you do have hair algae, no skimmer.>  I don't want to cut corners (I'm willing to pay high prices) but I don't want anything to do with metal halides. There's just too many downsides to them.  <With all things being equal, hair algae is less of a problem with halides. Hair algae does much better in low lighting such as your present lighting.>  I always sit my coral on the top of the rocks so the depth of the tank is not really an issue in that regard.  <<Even if it's a species that prefers placement on the benthos? MH>> <The choice is yours Matthew. All the lighting systems do well with the proper wattage selected, and all have upsides and downsides to them. My lighting of choice is a combination of either HQI's/halides and compact fluorescents. T5's can be substituted with no downsides. Have you read any of the lighting articles on the Wet Web? If not, I suggest you do. James (Salty Dog)> 

Halogen vs. metal halide 11/6/05 Hi guys  <Hello Archie> I would like to know if plain halogen lamps will be as effective for corals and anemones as metal halides would be?  <I don't know of any halogen lamps that would be an effective replacement for halides. James (Salty Dog)> 

Old lights, i's 11/3/05 Hello I am setting up a new marine tank (48"x24"x24") and i will be taking one light off my old tank (a 40 watt marine-Glo) to use on the new tank whilst the live rock cures. Once that has occurred i will add the other light from my old tank (a 40 watt power-Glo) as well as the livestock (2 percula clowns, 1 Hawkfish, 1 banded shrimp, 1 coral (id unknown)) These animals are all traveling well. Will the 40 watt lighting be sufficient to promote macro algae growth on the live rock? <Mmm, no> If not, will both lights be enough? <Two normal output fluorescents of 40 watts? No> Do i need an upgraded lighting system? <Likely so> By the way, I'm bemused at why tangs are so popular to cut down the algae. I HATE tangs! but i LOVE the macro algae. I learnt from a past experience never to get another tang after my previous one nonchalantly munched away all of my prize macro algae and wouldn't touch the hair algae. Thanks for your help! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Lighting Upgrade - 11/02/05 Good day all at WWM, <<Howdy>> Thanks for the great advice and website as always. <<We're happy to be here.>> It's a great place to look for unbiased and genuine information, when all the LFS seem to make things more confusing. <<Not "all" I hope...>> Well, I wish to upgrade my lighting system. Currently on my 48X18X18in tank (243L / 64G), I have 3X30W (SO) fluorescents. The only corals in my tank now, are a torch, brain, and two leathers/softies. As I live in Australia, T5 fittings and bulbs aren't really common and seem overpriced when compared to prices advertised in America. However, my LFS is looking at getting some cheap brand (Mozoo) of T5 lights in. I was thinking of getting a 4X55W light fitting. The other option, is to maybe get 2X150 MH. Is that too much lighting for my tank, being only 18in tall? <<Not too much for the tank... My personal preference is for MH lighting, but this is more than you need for your current inhabitants. I think the T5s could serve you well here.>> Also, with MH lighting, what color temperatures give the best compromise between appearance (I like a bright natural color, to enhance fish/corals), and functionality for the livestock requirements (corals/live rock/algae etc)? <<I feel 10,000K bulbs are the best "all around" Kelvin temperature...for both appearance and functionality.>> Is it necessary to combine MH and actinic fluorescents? <<Nope>> One last question, does 150W of MH consume the same amount of electricity as 150W of florescent? <<Yep...a watt is a watt. There may be a slight difference in the ballasts, but likely negligible.>> Thanks again, for the great help you guys have been, Alex <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Lighting Question 10/25/05 Hello There, <Howdy> Awesome site! Didn't find what I was looking for, so thought I would ask. I was thinking about changing my current light strip from a 36" single tube fluorescent to a twin strip fluorescent. My budget will allow me to do so. I currently have a 46 gallon bow-front only 10 lbs of LR, some dead corals, and some fake decor too. I currently have an Aqua-Glo 30W bulb (18,000K). I was thinking about adding a Marine-Glo, a very blue spectrum bulb. However, I'm not sure I need it. I wouldn't mind adding a leather coral, or something to that affect, along with a couple of feather dusters. Do I need to go the route of a twin bulb, or will the one I have do? <You will want more light... of useful wavelength, strength, quality...> Also, after seeing the cost of lighting, I was thinking of modifying my hood to accept a 36" shop light setup from some hardware store. The cost of doing this would be 1/3 the cost of buying a pre-fabbed light, and I'm handy enough to handle it. Is there any reason that I could not do this with aquarium fluorescent bulbs? <Mmm, principally issues with the fixture rusting, dropping ferrous material into your water...> Thanks for the info. Jim <A few places you should read... Alcyoniid Systems: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyonsysfaqs.htm  Marine Light/Lighting: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

125 Lighting advice - please  9/22/05 Hello, <Hello David> First of all (I don't want to take anything for granted - although I am sure that you hear this all day and night), many thanks for the endless work that you all do on behalf of the aquatic community.  I know that I am not alone when I say that the pursuit of this hobby, and all of the rewards that it brings me, my family, and anyone else who enjoys my fish friends, would not be possible without WWM.  I just wouldn't have the time or the motivation to make sure my info is good.  WWM is a great encyclopedia, and I am forever grateful. <Thank you for your kind words, but not necessary to devote a whole paragraph to it.  Length of queries directly relates to the amount we can answer in one day.  With respect, please condense your queries with facts that relate to the subject matter at hand.> OK....had enough?  Me too.<Yes, Yes> I just couldn't pass up an incredible deal at the LFS, so I find myself in possession of a 125g tank - stand.  Lucky me.  My current set-up is a 75 Reef with the following inhabitants: 1 BTA hosting a Tomato Clown (has been in the same place for a month...seems happy) 1 Maroon Yellow stripe clown being hosted by my Goniopora (is this unusual?) <No> 1 Coral Beauty 1 Flame Angel 1 Royal Gramma 1 Orchid Dottyback 1 3 Stripe Damsel 1 Yellowtail Damsel 1 Lawnmower Blenny 1 Mandarin Dragonfish (had him about a year....seems happy and definitely not thin, although I sometimes have to go to the LFS and get a handful of sand....) 1 Disc Coral 1 Meat Coral 1 Frogspawn 1 Polyp of unknown origin (photo attached)  <Too blurry to even begin to ID it.> 1 colony of Orange polyps 1 Mushroom of unknown origin (photo attached) 2 separate branches of trumpet coral 1 Pineapple coral. 1 Fire Shrimp 1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp Many assorted hermit crabs and snails 1 Sand sifter Star 1 Orange Star 1 Brittle Star I have about a 3" sand bed (very uneven - some spots >1", OTHERS 3"+) 50 Lbs. of live rock I currently use a Fluval 404 with carbon changed monthly I have a SeaClone 100 Skimmer that produces about 1/2 cup of really nasty black skimmate every few days.... At opposite ends of the tank, I utilize a Penguin 1040 power head and an Aqua Clear 70 powerhead. My readings as of this AM are: Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = 0 Nitrate = >20 PH = 8.2?   Calcium = 410 I also add Strontium every few days..... For lighting, I have a Coralife Aqualight Pro 48" unit.  It is composed of 2 MH 150 and 2 PC 96.  Also, 4 moonlights. <Enough for the 75> OK - here is the question (thanks for listening patiently): Can I use this light on my 125?  Even though it is a 48" fixture, can I suspend it above my 72" tank and center it - knowing that I must place my corals and BTS under it and have much less light at the ends? Does that sound crazy?  I am just looking to avoid a $800 purchase.... I anxiously await your reply. <As a rule of thumb, and with some of the inverts you are keeping, especially the Goni, 6 to 8 watts per gallon is suggested.  If the 125 is a shallower tank than the 75, which I'm guessing it is, you can get away with your present fixture provided the hard corals are at the mid tank level and of course under the lighting.  I wouldn't be crazy about laying out $800 for a new fixture either.  I would remove/sell/trade the light loving inverts if their health is on the decline before I'd replace the lighting.  James (Salty Dog)> Many thanks, David Smaller Light- Larger Tank (Lighting System Question)  9/21/05 Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> First of all (I don't want to take anything for granted - although I am sure that you hear this all day and night), many thanks for the endless work that you all do on behalf of the aquatic community.  I know that I am not alone when I say that the pursuit of this hobby, and all of the rewards that it brings me, my family, and anyone else who enjoys my fish friends, would not be possible without WWM.  I just wouldn't have the time or the motivation to make sure my info is good.  WWM is a great encyclopedia, and I am forever grateful. <Thanks much for the kind words! I'm fortunate to get to work with a bunch of very talented and enthusiastic fellow hobbyists who love what they're doing here at WWM!> OK....had enough?  Me too. I just couldn't pass up an incredible deal at the LFS, so I find myself in possession of a 125g tank - stand.  Lucky me.  My current set-up is a 75 Reef with the following inhabitants: 1 BTA hosting a Tomato Clown (has been in the same place for a month...seems happy) 1 Maroon Yellow stripe clown being hosted by my Goniopora (is this unusual?) <Not common, but I've seen this before a number of times, believe it or not!> 1 Coral Beauty 1 Flame Angel <Wow! In the same 75 without incident? That is truly amazing!> 1 Royal Gramma 1 Orchid Dottyback 1 3 Stripe Damsel 1 Yellowtail Damsel 1 Lawnmower Blenny 1 Mandarin Dragonfish (had him about a year....seems happy and definitely not thin, although I sometimes have to go to the LFS and get a handful of sand....) 1 Disc Coral 1 Meat Coral 1 Frogspawn 1 Polyp of unknown origin (photo attached) 1 colony of Orange polyps 1 Mushroom of unknown origin (photo attached) 2 separate branches of trumpet coral 1 Pineapple coral. 1 Fire Shrimp 1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp Many assorted hermit crabs and snails 1 Sand sifter Star 1 Orange Star 1 Brittle Star I have about a 3" sand bed (very uneven - some spots >1", OTHERS 3"+) 50 Lbs. of live rock <Sounds like this tank is stocked to the max, so I'd certainly avoid adding any more fishes or animals to the mix. Of course, if you are going to add this group to the 125, that's another story altogether.> I currently use a Fluval 404 with carbon changed monthly I have a SeaClone 100 Skimmer that produces about 1/2 cup of really nasty black skimmate every few days.... <Glad to hear that...Keep skimming hard.> At opposite ends of the tank, I utilize a Penguin 1040 power head and an Aqua Clear 70 powerhead. <Good for extra water motion> My readings as of this AM are: Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = 0 Nitrate = >20 PH = 8.2?   Calcium = 410 <Do keep working on the nitrate. I think that the mechanical filtration media present in the filters can contribute to this. Also, do keep at the skimmer, and make sure that you're using quality source water.> I also add Strontium every few days..... <Why? Not to be a smart guy- but my thinking is that, if you're changing small amounts of water frequently, you should have no real reason to add the extra Strontium. A good quality salt mix will contain sufficient quantities of this element. Only us this or other elements if testing dictates it's necessity. Just be mindful, okay?> For lighting, I have a Coralife Aqualight Pro 48" unit.  It is composed of 2 MH 150 and 2 PC 96.  Also, 4 moonlights. OK - here is the question (thanks for listening patiently): Can I use this light on my 125?  Even though it is a 48" fixture, can I suspend it above my 72" tank and center it - knowing that I must place my corals and BTS under it and have much less light at the ends? <Sure. I've seen these types of 48" fixtures used on 6 foot tanks before. As long as you are mindful of the placement of your animals relative to the lighting, this should be fine.> Does that sound crazy?  I am just looking to avoid a $800 purchase.... <Not crazy at all. With the above-referenced caveat, it should work okay!> I anxiously await your reply. Many thanks, David <My pleasure, David! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Tank Volume Capacity + Water change routines, lighting measures  9/21/05    Hi WWM crew, <Vince> I am a long time reader but first time writer. Firstly, thanks to you guys, I have a thriving mini reef aquarium which has enabled me to fulfill this long time desired ambition. <Congrats!> I would greatly appreciate if you could answer my questions which I could not find definitive answers for in your archives. Question 1. When calculating tank volume for lighting, should only the actual water volume in the display be used. i.e. total space water volume capacity - 20% for contents displacement, or should the total space volume of the display area be used to determine the theoretical watts required per gallon rule ? <The watts per gallon "rule" is a real "groaner" for me (and others)... much more would need to be formulated to give such a guestimate utility... like the depth to photosynthetic livestock, dissolved color... much more to it/this> Question 2. I currently have a calculated 250 litre water volume tank with Aqua C EV 180 skimmer & 20 x tank volume water circulation. I won't go into my tank inhabitants as I would embarrass myself knowing you guys would definitely reprimand me for overstocking. Current water parameter readings are Nitrite 0 , Nitrate approx. 5 -10ppm , PH 8.4 ,  Salinity 1.024 , I don't have an accurate phosphate reading but judging by the minimal nuisance algae growth present I will assume it is within acceptable levels. I do a 50 litre fortnightly saltwater change plus input approx. 3.5 litres a day of RO/DI top off water equating to a total of 200 litres or 80% of water volume changes a month. Given the thriving state of my tank inhabitants I am reluctant to change this routine but I would like to know, if, in your opinion, I could cut down to a monthly 50 litre salt water change instead of each fortnight. <I would not> This would bring the total monthly water change down from 80% to 75%. <Mmm, the "top-off" water does not count as water change...> Given the fact that I am a little overstocked with inhabitants but the filtration seems capable of dealing with the volume presented , do you think I would have to add additional trace elements if I go down to a monthly 50 litre saltwater change routine ? <I would not start "fooling" with such... unless you could/would/will measure for each element, compound... To put this to you concisely: I would not change your current routine>   I guess I am trying to get experienced opinions of cost versus effort. I.e. if I have to add additional trace elements but it only adds up to the cost of salt then I would benefit from only having to perform 1 water change a month instead of two. Looking forward to reading your answers / opinions.     Regards Vince <More being gained by the two week change-outs my friend. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

220 gallon tank with fish and live rock only. How much light is needed?  9/17/05 OK here is the question. I plan on getting a 220 gallon tank for Christmas, I have been in the saltwater world for about 2 years now and it rocks. So does your web site, I have received some very valuable information from you all.<Thank you> I have a 20 gallon and a 55 gallon and would like to get bigger fish like a trigger, or dogface puffer, and other compatible fish for this bigger tank that will come with the standard 2 double,  72 inch light strips with 80 watts or 160 watts of fluorescent light. How much light will I need to keep from having unwanted algae, and enough to keep the live rock "alive". <It all depends on what is growing on the rock.  Nitrate and phosphate are what you want to control to prevent nuisance algae.  Stay away from Gro-Lux tubes or others in the red spectrum.  Also search our WWM, keyword, "algae control" for more info.> I have also some advise for people with lawn mower blennies if they start to look thin and won't eat anything you feed the fish it may like some Nori seaweed that you can buy at a local Chinese grocery store. <Thanks for the input.  Many aquarists do use the Nori along with freeze dried algae.  James (Salty Dog)> Mine loves it.  Thanks for your help

Lighting questions  9/17/05 Hello all,             I have an AllGlass 46 gallon bowfront, set up as a softy tank. I currently have it lit with 3 39 watt t5-ho (1 D-D aqua-blue, 1 D-D pure actinic, and 1 CoralVue 1000k) . I am thinking of going to halide lighting to achieve shimmer lines. My question is this : Would 2x70 watt HQI bulbs give me the right intensity for assorted mushrooms and leathers? <Recommended wattage for reef aquariums is between 4 to 8 watts per gallon.  You may get by with the HQI's if you have some indirect window light. I'm running 4 1/2 watts per gallon on mine and wish I had more.> Also, will these bulbs produce enough intensity at the top of the tank to support a small colony of SPS? <Don't think so> Using a 150 watt bulb is out of the question as this tank has one center brace, and I don't like shadows much. Doing the SPS thing is just a notion, the important question is, will the 70 watt bulbs shine to the bottom of my tank well (22 inches) ,<should> and will it be overkill for my corals (6 different mushrooms, toadstool leather, finger leather, broccoli, xenia)?  <Definitely will not be overkill.  James (Salty Dog)> Any help will be appreciated. Thanks, Jamie. Lighting  9/12/05 Is a 175 watt metal halide bulb better than a 260 watt compact light bulb. I would originally assume that 260 is better but I heard that metal halides are better lighting. I am looking to add a LTA or bubble tip Anemone to a 55 gallon tank.   <If either the halide or the power compact is going to be your only lighting, go with the 260 watt power compact.  See more on lighting on the WWM.  James (Salty Dog)> More questions about lighting!!  8/30/05 Hi guys, hope your all well!! <Yes, thank you> I have a query for you about lighting.  I'm setting up a reef tank 44L x 25W x 30D inches, I plan on keeping SPS, Octocorals, and Zoanthids as well as a few fish, shrimps, fanworms etc. <Mmm, be careful re mixing all these cnidarians...> I plan on purchasing HQI's, 2 x 250w 12000K, however would it be more beneficial for the corals if I were to team these up with a couple of actinics. <Mmm, not really> What about moon lighting? Is it beneficial or just pretty? <Can be a bit of both, but not necessary> Some of the all inclusive lighting units e.g. Aqua Medic, Giesemann, that are all singing and dancing (you can set the longitude latitude etc they have moonlight and T5s) are very expensive, (are they worth the money?) <Functionally? no... aesthetically? Up to you> Or would you be better of buying a separate moonlight module to save cash?  Basically what is the best combo for my money! Thank you (keep up the good work) Andrea <Will try. Bob Fenner>

Lighting combination question 8/22/05 Hi Crew, Just a quick question for you, could you please tell me the best lighting configuration out of the following: 2x Actinic Fluors, 36W 4 white Power Compacts, 55W 10,000k (Catalina Compacts Ultra sunlight) -or- 2x Actinic Fluors, 36W 2x White Power Compacts, 55W 10,000k (as above) 2x Actinic 420nm power compacts (Catalina Compacts) All these lights are 4 foot lights as I have a 5 ft tank, approx 60" deep. I am simply looking for the best lighting configuration with the *best* output for a fish and reef aquarium.  Kind Regards, WK  <Since both of your options have the same total watts, there will be little difference to the corals.  The choice comes down to which one you will find to be more aesthetically pleasing.  If the tank is really 60" high (you said "deep"), you won't be able to keep many (if any) corals in the bottom half.  I wouldn't normally suggest PC's for tanks deeper than 24".  Best Regards.  AdamC>   Large System - 08/16/05 I recently acquired a 600 gallon tank that I am planning some upgrades  for.   <<cool>> The tank came with 2 - 6' VHO's.  It's a 4' tall tank, and I just want it to look REALLY nice, not necessarily try to grow anything in it (aside from healthy fish). <<ok>> I haven't gotten it filled yet, or the lights hooked up so I'm not sure how bright it's going to be, but I'm curious if VHOs can hack it or would it be recommended to bump it up to halides even though its a FOWLR. <<The VHOs will work fine for the fish (may want to add a couple more tubes), but I wouldn't expect any life to "flourish" on the live rock in the bottom third of the tank.  I prefer the look of a single-point light source myself...and considering the depth of this tank, would likely opt for the halides.>>   I want to mount my 125 above the 600 if that is possible and use it as a refugium/invert display to complement my FOWLR, so it  would be nice if I could avoid the heating issues that would inevitably arise with halides. <<A valid concern...but don't be fooled in to believing VHOs won't be hot.  The use of cooling/exhaust fans will likely be required for either application.>> That leads to my next question and that is...are there any nifty tricks aside from drilling (glass tank), and overflow boxes (the  devil) to getting a top mounted tank to overflow to a tank below? <<Not that I'm aware/would trust.  Drilling really is you're best option.>>   Third question - The tank came with two OceanClear canisters (which I am scraping for this project), and two 1200 gph external pumps.  There are four drilled holes and bulkheads in the bottom of the tank from this, and two pumps I have no great use for.  Would it be hazardous at all to just run two small closed-loops right out the bottom - provided that I elevated the drains above the substrate? <<Employ "true" closed-loops and you have no worries.>> And would that be worthwhile? <<Absolutely!>> I'm going to plumb a Dolphin AquaSea in for a closed loop on the back so if I had to plumb them any other way it probably wouldn't be worth the hassle. <<More flow the better...whether a reef or a FOWLR.>>   Lastly - just before my dreams get out of control - assuming I have top notch water quality, and 600+ lbs of live rock how many "stocking rules" can I break in a tank this size? <<Every tank has it's own set of rules...>> Can I keep a school of Yellow or Blue  Tangs...or multiple Pomacanthus angels...or keep a Sohal with other types of tangs...or....you get the picture :) <<Unfortunately yes, I do <G>... You don't give the tank dimensions, but at 4 feet in height I'm guessing it's no longer than 8 feet (96"x48"x30" ?).  The Sohal gets too big even for this tank to be happy/well adjusted for its lifetime...the blue tangs (Hippo?), though not quite as large as the Sohal at maturity, are so robust, active, and high strung/twitchy as to (in my opinion) require more swimming room, more flow, and more "hidey holes", than most casual hobbyist can provide...especially if more than one.  As for the yellow tangs, I might be tempted to try a trio (all same size introduced together) in this tank.  Careful selection of a Pomacanthus might prove interesting as well (two might be trouble)...though be warned, these can/will become bruisers at maturity...choose tank mates well.  At least research your selections (fishbase.org provides good info on adult size, gut content (food), etc.) and seriously consider their requirements/needs before purchase.>>   Muchas Gracias, I always appreciate your input. Scott <<Happy to be here to assist/give opinion.  Regards, EricR>> Lighting upgrade questions, assertions  8/16/05 Hello Crew! <Tiffany> Thanks for all of the helpful information; I have a 55 (48"x13"x20")gallon tank with a RBTA and 4x65w PC.  I was going to upgrade the lights to either 4x130 watt PC or two Aqualights 150 20,000k HQI  Hang On Tank Mount fixture. Is there such a thing as "too much light"; <Mmm, decidedly yes... In particular, it is important to keep in mind a/the "balance" of lighting with other aspects, co-factors/determinants... like water chemistry in so many ways, foods/feeding... maintenance issues, induced troubles...> the tech at Drs. Foster & Smith said that 9.45 watts a gallon was too much for the anemone. <Is superfluous> They also said that PC and HQI lighting was the same, <... no... PC's are a type of fluorescent... HQI, metal halide...> but after reading your site, I read that the light on PC's doesn't penetrate past 12 or 13 inches. <... also incorrect> Lastly, if I went with the two Aqualights, do I also have to purchase Actinic lights?   <Really, mainly, only for looks> The tech said that you can't just have halide lights without PC; they said that it would be giving a human only food without giving them water. Thanks, Tiffany <This last is also fallacious... Bob Fenner> Light meter  8/16/05 Hi, I have received my Quantum meter from Apogee but it has Photosynthetic Photon Flux written on the meter not PAR. <Sounds like a fancy way of saying about the same thing> I need to check with the crew, what must be written on the Quantum meter and what is the model of the Quantum meter used by the crew? Thanks,     Mohamed <I don't have one, but you can peruse articles on what folks like Dana Riddle, Sanjay Joshi use with your search tool, the Net. Bob Fenner>

125 Gallon aquarium lighting 8/15/05 I'm thinking about purchasing a 125 gallon FOWLR saltwater aquarium 72" long. I'm going to use compact lighting but I'm concerned about the length of the fixture I will need. A 72 inch long fixture is a bit on the pricey side so I'm wondering if a 48 inch fixture with around 260 watts of light will be enough to light up the length of the aquarium well enough to still look good. <I do think this will be fine... I prefer to have the sides a bit darkened, and provide some less-bright areas for livestock. Bob Fenner> Lighting, SW, Jebo/Odyssea... 8/13/05 Hi there, I had recently been looking into upgrading my lights on my tank and had been looking into different PC fixtures.  I was wondering if you had any experience or knowledge with the company known as ODYSSEA (formerly Jebo).  I was wondering because @ www.aquatraders.com they have some great deals on lighting, like: 48" 260 watt PC Fixture for $79 and they even have a 48" 542 watt MH System for $330. Just wondering what your opinion was of this brand, Thanks for all of your help. <This companies products (on first introduction, a few years back) were absolute junk... To their credit they replaced all bad fixtures... Bob Fenner> Lighting For A Deep Tank - 08/12/05 Hello, <<Evening>> I have a large reef tank that is 3.5 feet deep with the lowest part of the tank being 3 feet from the (soon to be) halides. <<neat>> I was wondering if 250w HQI bulbs would be sufficient to keep various Montipora species alive at the lowest levels. <<Well...I'm one of those folks that believe lighting is a bit "overrated and overstated" when it comes to reef tanks.  Not saying it isn't necessary mind you, but rather than just throwing mega-watts of light at the corals I feel proper flow and adequate feeding can do much, with "light" serving as an adjunct to these rather then the other way around.  I would try this, especially if you keep the species with higher light needs in the upper two-thirds of the tank.  Do pay special attention to water clarity (ozone is wonderful for this!).>> Also how far apart should I space the lighting fixtures from one another. <<Maximum of two feet apart, but I like to go with 18" (or less) myself for a bit more "overlap."  EricR>> Lighting Question 7/31/05 Hi- Thanks for the web page. It has been an invaluable resource and I have greatly enjoyed daily readings over the last two months that we have been cycling our new tank. <Ah, good> We have a 120 gallon tank which is 52"(length) x 18"(wide) x 24"(height). We have 150 pounds of live rock and about 40 pounds of live sand mixed with crushed coral.  There is an overflow box which goes to a sump. <Would be better, safer if there were two...>   There is currently a filtering system with bioballs in it which we are planning on taking out.  We have a TurboFlotor 1000 multi protein skimmer on order right now.  Our water quality has stabilized fairly well (ammonia 0, PH 8.3, nitrite 0, nitrates 5, Calcium 400). We just put our first three fish in this past week (2 tank bred black percula clown fish and one bi color blenny) We also have two cleaner shrimp, one red brittle star (who hitched a ride into our tank on some live rock), 10 turbo snails, 3 bumble bee snails, 13 hermit crabs and Mithrax green crab which have been in the tank for about three weeks.  We would like to get some coral (mushroom, xenia, etc.). Now getting to our question; for lighting we have an Odyssea 48" 265 watt total fluorescent light system currently (half actinic/half 10,000K).  I know we need more light to support coral. <Mmm, some... of what folks call "corals" can go here with this light, placed high/er up on rock...> We have been looking at different lighting systems and read lots - which has left me wondering if I can get a way with another 265 watt light system or should I go with metal halide lights. <An argument can be made for either one... depending principally on the types of livestock you wish to keep... Many SPS (Acroporids e.g., Tridacnid Clams... go MH...> The cost difference is huge as you know which is why I am asking. I know you have answered many similar type questions, but would appreciate your opinion.  Thanks Michael <Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank Lighting  08/08/2005 That sounds good, but I have come across a light that small.  Who makes something that size.  I have looked pretty hard, but again I haven't come across anything yet. Thanks, Trey <Keep reading... on WWM, elsewhere... Bob Fenner>

Re: Green Hair Algae, Rebecca's input re cooling fan and moon light sources 7/28/05 Thanks a million, Bob.  I wish I could give you a big hug! <Consider yourself hugged in return> FYI, here are my fans: http://stores.ebay.com/Windydayzz and my moon lights: http://stores.ebay.com/Fishbowl-Innovations I'm extremely pleased with the quality and design of both, as well as great service, and would recommend them. Rebecca L. Dishman <Outstanding. Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner> LED Lighting, Sandbeds, Worms?, and Starfish legs 7/7/05 Hi!     Four quick questions:  1) What's the latest on LED Lighting for reef tanks?  Any major developments?  I bought an LED flashlight a year or so ago and was amazed at how much light they can put out with relatively low power consumption and seemingly little heat.  Seems ideal for our hobby. < There is no update here yet.  But Tullio is going to be talking about this at MACNA this year.  So far they are the ideal light source that isn't available. > 2) What's the latest philosophy on sand bed depth?  Last I heard, everyone was talking four to six inches.  The other day a guy at my LFS said deep beds are out ("they're fine for three or four years, then they crash.") and one inch is now the preferred depth.  < I've always been a fan of 3 inches, and still think that is the most recommended option out there. > 3) My small salt water tank has been running for about three years (oops! and it's got a three inch sand bed....see question #2!!!) and is doing great.  < Then don't worry about anything. > When I put in any kind of meaty foods such as freeze dried brine shrimp, dozens of almost clear hair-like filaments one to two inches in length come out of the live rock and sand, groping for the food.  What the heck are they?  Nobody at the LFS seems to know exactly what they are, but everyone thinks they're a good thing and indicate a healthy tank. < I agree.  Don't worry just enjoy. > 4) A second sand-sifter starfish in my tank is losing it's legs.  The first one unfortunately didn't make it.  Is something eating them? < More likely a starvation problem.  I don't recommend them in a reef tank and I think they are hurting your tank.  I wouldn't be surprised if this second specimen is suffering from the lack of food due to the first specimen. I'd either directly feed it, or remove it. > What's going on?  I have some red-leg crabs, one emerald crab, Turbos and some Nassarius.  Fish are Chromis, clown and a lawnmower blenny. Nothing aggressive. Water quality, temp, etc. is all within acceptable limits.     It's amazing how many "experts" there are at the LFSs.... but everyone has a different answer!  This website is a fantastic service.  Thank you guys so much for donating your time and your expertise to his hobby. < You are certainly welcome. > <  Blundell  > Exchanging VHO for Blue Halide - 6/29/05 I have a 100 gallon aquarium with 2 250w 14k metal halides and 4 110w VHO actinic. The VHOs are powered by two icecap 430 ballasts. One of my icecap ballasts just stopped working. To replace the ballast and buy 4 new bulbs (it's time to replace them all) it would be around $250-300. To replace the VHO system with a 400w 20k metal halide, it would be about $220. I think the 20k bulb would replicate the actinic color pretty well. <Not really, but actinic has little to no benefit to the animals you keep including corals. It is purely aesthetics for the human eye> I would be losing 40w of light in the trade off but I should let you know that my VHO bulbs are mounted about 8' above the water, and I heard that this is too high to get the full effect. <Full effect of what? Please unless you have read something scientific I have not (and that is possible these days) there is nothing to affect but the aesthetic for the human eye.>  What is you advice on the matter? <Whatever is cheapest although the metal halide will likely give some benefit to the animals as there is more to the bulb than just blue wavelengths.> Should I go to using exclusively metal halide or should I stay with the VHO system? Heat is also a factor. <Yes it is. Especially with metal halide> How much added heat would be produced vs. the VHO system? <Not a real number here but something will need to be done about the heat and the likely increase in electricity. Maybe a fan to blow across the top or a controller that monitors the temp in the tank and will enable a fan if the water reaches a certain temperature.> I can always counter the heat with additional fans but this raises the evaporation rate which is already exceeding 5% in 30 hours. <Tell me about it. I have the same problem and with summer here it is becoming a pain. Hope I helped a bit. Thank for being part of it all ~Paul>    

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