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FAQs about Light and Lighting for Marine Systems 12

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

- What to Do with Excess Bulb Length - Your site is amazing!   Thank you for creating such a wonderful resource! I have a 30 gallon cube, and would like to create a thriving environment for a tank-raised anemone.  Upon the recommendation of a friend, I purchased a compact light fixture with 2-65 watts bulbs (1 actinic, 1 10,000K).   The issue:  the light fixture is 24 inches in length, and my tank is 20 inches wide.   I was told I could cover up the extra 4 inches with electrical tape without minimizing the light penetrating the tank.  It sounds hokey - but I don't know how else to increase my lighting in such a small space - a hanging fixture is aesthetically out of the question, and I'm not very good at do it yourself projects involving electricity. <Hmm... well, the electrical tape will become a sticky/gooey mess in time. I'd just leave the bulbs sticking out for now - 2" on either side.> Your input would be greatly appreciated!    Thanks! Sheila <Cheers, J -- >

Lighting Quandary... Hello, I love this site, especially since I can't seem to get help from my LFS.  A few years ago Steven Pro gave me some wonderful info on metal halide lighting and recommended some great links.  I really need to upgrade my lighting situation, and am torn between VHO and MH due to a major hair algae prob-all other variables are dealt with except lighting.   <Okay...> My aquarium is freestanding and is viewable from all sides.  The dimensions are 36"L X 18"W X18"H with a 2-3" sand bed.  The live rock is set up in two high islands on either side with a chasm-like feature running from front to back.  Coral hangs over and off the walls of the chasm.  I have Shrooms, gorgonians, some leathers and LPS's-would like to put in more LPS.   <Quite a mix!> My lighting dilemma is which source should I use?  A 1-175 MH seems the best choice for LPS, but heat is a big factor in my house.  The summers are hot here and I have no air conditioning.  If I go that route I was going to suspend the bulb 10-12" from the water surface with a fan in the suspended hood.  Will this keep my tank from overheating? <It can help. Fans can definitely do a good job helping to keep tanks cool...> My second dilemma is which light brand would be better:  opinions please=10K Aqualine-Buschke or 10K Ushio. <I like Aqualines, myself...The are visual bright, hold their useful spectrum a long time, and have a high PAR value. Not to mention the fact that they really bring out the color in your corals! Personally, I like HQI double ended bulbs in the 150 or 250 watt sizes. There are some great pendant systems available these days...> If I go halide I want best color/coral growth with no other lighting.  The third dilemma is which ballast, I read an article about the e-ballasts here way back when, but opinions clouded the facts.  Given that room temp is the limiting factor, I am confused about which to use:  less light output but less temp of e-ballast or a PFO or Custom Sealife ballast.   <I like the electronic ballasts...Look into PFO, Ice Cap, ARO, and Blue Wave (Sunlight Supply...). All are quite good> If I decide to go with VHO, I was thinking three 36" bulbs on the Ice Cap 430.  One 50/50, one actinic, one sun with the actinic placed in the middle.  But here is my dilemma of VHO, with the LR set up in the middle of the tank and the bulbs only 3-5'' from the water surface, won't the light path from the outside lamps be blocked from the opposite side of the LR? <Quite possible. VHO is a great light source, but I think that halides give you more "bang for the buck", in terms of penetration and spectral energy> It seems that one side would get sun and actinic while the other side would get 50/50 and actinic.  The last thought, is the heat output from Ice Cap VHO something to take into consideration as well?    <Sure- but nothing close to halide, IMO>   I greatly appreciate all the help you can give me, these dilemmas are really weighing heavy on me and preventing me from ordering the lights, meanwhile the hair algae keeps growing, and growing, and growing...    <If you have a means to deal with the heat, I personally feel that metal halide offers the greatest flexibility for the long run. Get a great fixture, quality ballast, and one of the two brands of bulbs that you are considering, and you'll be thrilled with the results. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

In The Dark (Fish Response To Sudden Darkness) Heya guys...Scott F. thank you for all your recent help regarding chiller and canary wrasse etc etc.... LIFE SAVER. <Glad to be of service!> You haven't heard from me in quite a while.. I hope things are doing well. <They sure are, and it's nice to hear from you again! Scott F. back with you!> My problem (if one at all) is that my newly introduced (after a stay in QT) yellow tang (2")is acting a fair bit skittish after main MH light goes out and leaves the two actinic fluor's on. To put it simply (sorry I'm very, very tired), he is acting normal when all the lights are on (MH + actinics), swimming normally so and so forth. But as soon as the MH goes off he is pacing up and down very fast. Zipping in and out of everything he can find (not scratching or anything the likes off *touch wood*... haha) like he has had a dozen cups of black coffee. <I've seen this behavior before in tangs and fairy wrasses. It's kind of unnerving to see!> Other tank occupants are 2 canary wrasses, 1 ocellaris, 1 fire goby, and the yellow tang. Water parameters are excellent amm nitrite nitrate 0 ph 8.4 temp 24.9-25.2 deg C no more no less salinity 1.022 KH 5meq/l calcium 420ppm Constant Poly Filter and carbon use (wow what great stuff) <Yep-I wouldn't run a tank without them!> actinics are on at 10 am MH on at 12 noon MH off at 8pm actinics off at 10pm Tank is 40G +15G sump but am upgrading very soon... Lovely HUGE skimmer producing around a cup of DARK smelly gunk a day... go Australian made!!:-) <Oy! Oy! If it cranks out dark gunk- it's a winner in my book!> I hope that I haven't missed anything. <I think that you hit all of the parameters. Everything seems to be in line. What you are likely seeing is simply a fright reaction on the part of the fish from being plunged into darkness after a day of full intensity light. This would never happen in nature. I guess if you put yourself in the fish's place, you can understand what this must be like for them...Of course, it's probably an individual thing...Some fishes simply can adapt to this dramatic change better than others...I guess a possible way to overcome this would be to be to employ some lower wattage fluorescents (like actinics or blue tinted NO bulbs) to provide a little "twilight" time for the fish before complete darkness. Not a perfect system, but something that is worth a shot. Perhaps, in time, the fish could be "weaned" from the "twilight", but only time will tell...Give it a shot! Regards, Scott F.> any ideas.. suggestions. person experiences... or anything at all thanks very much for a simply wonderful site.. I couldn't get by a day w/o it almost :-) keep up the good work all help greatly appreciated.. Garth.. from Australia down under! P.S recently bought a Tronic heater (Hagen).. and all I can say is wow.. I am so very impressed. I have used many heaters before. from Ebo's to Chinese rubbish.. and these are the most accurate I have ever used.. just passing it on.. great heater.

-MH vs. PC Lights for 30" Depth Tank?- Hi, guys...You have been very helpful in the past, and I thought I might trouble you with another question. <Cool, Kevin here> I presently have a 65 gallon reef tank, which is doing very, very well, thanks to your excellent stocking advice, good lighting (4 96-watt PCs, including 2 actinic and 1 50-50 mix), a chiller, good chemical balance, an excellent skimmer (Euro-Reef) and lots of patience. <Ahhh, an often left out yet incredibly important system component!> But the aquarium is now pretty much filled (mushrooms, leathers, torches, hammer, Xenia, polyps, cup, brain and a very few fish (grammas, Chromis, true percula and Kole tang).  And, not surprisingly, I now am anxious to go to a much larger tank. <I don't believe it.> It will be 30" high <ew> , 54" wide and 25" deep (about 175 gallons). <Dropping the tank height to 24" and increasing the length of the tank would be much more beneficial to the fish (swimming room), coral (light decreases drastically w/ depth), and gas exchange (more surface area = better gas exchange).> My question relates to lighting.  I have read the excellent articles posted on your website regarding lighting (by Anthony Calfo and Bob Fenner) and have read many of your questions and answers from other aquarists.  It would seem that there is no "easy answer" to the issue of PCs vs. MHs, and the issue would seem to be what kinds of inverts I want to place in the new tank (in addition to those I will transfer from my existing tank). <I find the answer pretty easy, if you wish to have any freedom of putting different types of coral in the lower sections of your tank, I would go for MH.> Sorry for the long-winded preamble, but here's my question:  If I want to go with a few clams, SPS corals, shallow-water Scleractinians and such, in addition to what I have now, would it be wise to get MH lighting, alone or in combination with PCs? <I would suggest the combination, just for the added color>  The substantial 30" depth of the new tank would seem to suggest MH lighting <Screams it to me!>, especially if I want to keep some creatures that are more light-dependent; would you agree? <Absolutely, I find power compacts to be a little less than adequate sometimes on 24" deep aquariums, let alone 6" deeper.> If so, how difficult is it to install a UV shield?  Is it necessary? <UV shields are only necessary with double ended HQI lamps, the outer 'sleeve' on mogul based MH lamps provide this UV protection.> A final unrelated question:  I will need 2 new pumps, among other things, for the new tank, and have heard both good and bad things about Little Giant pumps.  Is that a good choice, or is the Dolphin or Iwaki a better one? <Iwaki's are tried and very true, dolphin's are also excellent pumps and come in some pretty large sizes. If it were my tank, I'd pick an Iwaki for the return. I hope this helps! -Kevin> Thanks so much. Best, Ralph

-MH vs. PC Lights for 30" Depth Tank? follow up- Kevin, thanks much for the very helpful (and quick!) response to my questions...can I ask you just two more? <NO! Hehe, fine...> You say, <Dropping the tank height to 24" and increasing the length of the tank would be much more beneficial to the fish (swimming room), coral (light decreases drastically w/ depth), and gas exchange (more surface area = better gas exchange).> Unfortunately, I cannot get any more length due to space constraints. <Ahhh, was wondering where the 54 came from.> But, keeping the length at 54", would you, if you were me, cut the height from 30" to something closer to 27" or 24"? <If you were totally opposed to MH probably, otherwise you should be fine.> Would that create a more viable tank, or is 30" an acceptable (though less than ideal) height? <It's only less than ideal if you will be using fluorescent lighting.> I am only looking at a 30" height in order to get more total tank capacity; but, maybe it's not worth the greater risks? <The most important thing to worry about is how you'll light the tank, and choosing your lighting should be dependant on the height of the tank and the animals that you want to keep.> Also, I will be transferring the contents of my present 65 gallon to the new tank I'll be setting up.  Do I need to worry about the health of my present coral creatures during the time that it takes to get the calcium level on the new tank to over 400? <I don't see why you couldn't just get the calcium level up immediately before adding the coral. Really low calcium and Alk levels can sometimes be fatal to a susceptible coral. I would suggest having perfect water quality before moving anything over. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks much! Best, Ralph

Lighting a 20 gallon - 10/17//003 I currently have a 20 gallon tank that is about to become a reef tank <Welcome to the wonderful world of reefing...heheh>....it has one of those ecosystems on the back with miracle mud and Caulerpa....<Cool> I bought the tank a few years ago, it was a typical 20 gallon tank from a pet shop with a top and a light....<Oh yeah. Here is what I have on my 20 gallon Plexi: 2x65 watt CustomSeaLife Power Compact hood. Here is where I got it from: http://www.marinedepot.com/a_lt_pc_csl.asp?CartId=#pcml I have only soft corals. No LPS and a Pocillopora and a Montipora Cap. No other SPS. I believe this lighting will grow most anything> I need to know what kind of lighting system you would recommend, and the best place to get it.<Well, this all depends on what types of corals you plan to keep> I am going to have a basic reef tank, nothing too high tech, it will be my first reef tank. <I believe tanks don't have to be high tech to be functional>  I have seen some setups at the LFS that run about 250 dollars....<Well, they can be costly, but again, the first step is to map out your inhabitants and their requirements> just wondered if you new any good sites where I could see the current products out there, and what to look for. <Uh....no offense, but.....uh.....there are lots of sites out there with lighting examples and information on VHO, Metal Halide, Power Compact.....are you not capable of typing in "reef lighting" into a Google search tool? Any online marine retailer will have a list of a great many manufacturers and lighting types. Try it. Give it a shot. Better yet, try the link for etailers on our site. Thanks for the question -Paul> Thanks, Keith Hundley

VHO actinic vs. 20K MH - 10/15/03 Hey everyone.. <howdy> Just a quick question or two regarding lighting.  Well I hope it's quick anyway.  Has there been any coral growth difference noted when using 20K MH bulbs as opposed to VHO actinics?  Good or otherwise?   <the question cannot be answered categorically without stating what kind of corals will be grown under them. Some corals will grow faster under one scheme, others with halides... all varying by bulb temp and diste of the water too. If instead you'd ask us what it the best overall lights for coral growth, I would have to say 6500 - 10K double ended HQIs> I know corals fluoresce well under the actinic spectrum when it is placed close enough to the water.  Could/Would we expect the same type of growth/fluoresce from 20K MH?   <yes... but actinic light does not assist growth. Rather, the blue MH like 20K and extra blue VHOs will be used at the expense (however slight) of potential growth from a more daylight colored spectrum> Also, if I used the 20k in between two 10K bulbs, all with spider light reflectors in a 48" tank.. would I expect to see a "blue spotlight" in the center or would the reflector disperse the blue light evenly over of the tank?   <20K MHs under any applications do not look like a blue spotlight... just a blue tinted white light. Very handsome for LPS corals and Corallimorphs... not so great for Alcyoniid softies and most SPS corals> I can't say enough what a God send this website is, not to mention the wonderful people who keep it running.  You are all an inspiration to aquarists everywhere. <thanks kindly> Thanks once again for everything and anxiously awaiting the next volume in "Natural Marine Aquarium" series. Jeremy - Pineville, LA <doing our best to complete in good time <G>. Anthony>

-Trouble getting hold of Helios- Hi, I have a quick question. I bought a Helios power compact with 4 55 watt lamps. the Ballast apparently took a dump. Its been about 10 months or maybe less. Do you have any idea if Helios has a website or do they even exist, because I have been trying to find  them on line with no luck <Ta da: http://www.commodityaxis.com/index2.htm -Kevin> Thanks, Jr.

15 Gallon Salt Tank Lighting >Hi guys, >>Hello, Marina here.  (Sorry for the delay, we've been swamped!) >You have the best, most comprehensive site on the web for marine aquarists.  I have a question regarding a 15 gallon FOWLR system.  I currently have only a single fluorescent bulb, a Rio powerhead, and an Aquaclear 150 running on my tank.  I'm thinking about moving up to power compact lighting of some sort and possibly a Prizm skimmer.   >>Not familiar with the performance of the Prizms, but also consider AquaC or CPR BakPak. >I have a pair of ocellaris clowns, Jawfish, a royal Gramma, a star fish, one cleaner shrimp and a few snails.  Do you have any suggestions as to what types of lighting would be good?  I am thinking about the new custom Sealife PC/Moonlite systems (are they worth the $$$?) or a Coralife PC (or anything you suggest, hehe).   >>The Coralife PC units are quite popular, though I'm curious as to why you wish to upgrade the lighting.  The "whys" of the upgrade should first be addressed, and then I would steer you towards an outfit with an excellent reputation, http://www.hellolights.com (I *think* that's the URL!).. not only for great prices, but for their customer service. >Also would it be OK to add some corals or should I get some kind of sump going before I do that?  THANKS!!!  Mike Chang >>If you wish to upgrade the lighting in order to get some corals, first decide what types you wish to keep.  This will help greatly in deciding lighting.  Right now I'll steer you away from anemones, difficult, move about, small tank, bad combo (unless it's dedicated to one anemone).  Then, consider a small refugium, search our site as we have MUCH information on 'fuge setups.  A ten gallon tank or H.O.T. 'fuge would be great for you.  The 'fuge can act as refugium filtration and as a sump, and with this in place you can keep your water quality very high.  Thus, your only limitation would be lighting (heh...).  With what you're thinking of, I think you could keep MANY different types of soft corals, polyps, Zoanthids, and LPS corals.  If you're interested in clams, I suggest Tridacna derasa.  Marina

Can I find a quick disconnect to change my Jalli 96w straight pin to a square pin set up? 10/13/03 I would appreciate any feedback I can get on this. According to the person I spoke to at Jalli they do not make any connectors that are of the square pin arrangement. This is a problem for me, because rather than make another investment in ballasts I would really like to be able to plug in a new 50/50 smart bulb.  I have a new 100 gal hex reef that needs a short, but powerful light to fit in the existing hood. If I cant find the quick disconnects, where can I find square pin end caps to re-wire them myself? Thank you again for your feedback <this is a rather technical question that demands the proper equipment and advice to not only work, but be safe as well. My strong advice is to consult a proper lighting specialist. Have you tried Champion Light and Supply company? A good starting place perhaps. Best of luck. Anthony>

Blinded By Lighting Decisions If you don't mind, I'd like get your opinion on lighting for a 46 gallon bowfront (36 inches wide, 21 deep I believe). <Sure...> Looking at the website, I fully realize that it is difficult to generalize about how much lighting is sufficient inasmuch as different organisms require differing amounts of light. <It is...good point> But let's generalize for the sake of argument - and let's generalize in terms of having the amount of light to keep the more light needy - e.g., stony corals, etc, even if that means estimating on the side of having unnecessary amounts of lighting.  At some point, I'd like to upgrade to some additional/new lighting that would allow me to accommodate most corals readily available.  Currently I have single 96 watt CSL SmartLamp.  I'd prefer, I guess, to stay with power compacts.  Do you think that a CSL with two 96 watt SmartLamp bulbs would be satisfactory with most corals (stony, leather or otherwise)? If that wattage doesn't sound sufficient, what would be? <Well, if the high-light-demanding corals are placed high enough up on your rockwork, PCs are adequate for some SPS corals. I am a huge fan of PC's, as they offer great "bang for the buck" in terms of available spectra, intensity, and aesthetics. For long term success with more demanding SPS corals, I still think that the most utilitarian light source is metal halide> Honestly, there must be some overall wattage (I know wattage isn't everything) at which point most corals would be able to do ok in a tank my size?  For example, pick a high number - say 500 watts? <Well, that is a lot of "watts per gallon", but, as you indicate, that is not the whole story. "P.A.R." value (photosynthetically active radiation-a measure of the useful light available to photosynthetic animals) is the bigger issue. Halides have a lot of P.A.R., compared to other forms of lighting...> Surely that is enough, but perhaps way too much for my size tank.  If too much, well, bring it down some.  Do you see where I'm going with this? <I do...and you're on the right track. If you are going with PC's, I'd try to go for at least 4 96 watt PC's...good "bang for the buck" for PC's...6 bulbs would be better, IMO> Some would say you can't have too much, but that can't be really true. <Well, yes- and no- you can't equal the intensity of natural sunlight...but you can approximate it...I've heard of studies that compared 400watt halide setups with natural sun (on a cloudy day!) over a "typical" tropical reef a few feet below the water surface...The light bulbs could not come close to natural sunlight. In fact, I have even some studies where natural noon time sun in the Northeast U.S. was compared to the halides, and again, they could not match the P.A.R. value of sunlight...However, it is possible to do "overkill" on the lighting for corals that favor lower light intensities...Even with more light-loving corals, you need to acclimate many species to higher intensities very carefully to avoid shocking them..> We could both come up with some exaggerated amount of wattage that would be either too much or at least unnecessary.  All I'm looking for is a decent estimate for my tank that would, in general, accommodate most commonly available corals (again erroring on the side of having enough for the most light "needy.")  Help me "generalize" so I can be more efficient in my next purchase. <Well, I suppose my recommendation for PC's as mentioned above is a workable one. My other recommendation would be two 150 watt HQI halide pendants (like my fave, the Sunlight Supply "Reef Optix III Plus")...More than adequate for your present and future needs, IMO...Hope my two cents worth gives you some "food for thought...Not the only way to approach this...but possibly of interest to you...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Lighting a 35 gallon reef tank - 10/14/03 Hi There, <Hey> I want to have a reef system. <OK> I did my study about the corals and lighting. <Very good> The problem is the only LFS in my area has nothing to do with selling reef lighting <Can they order from their supplier for you?> so I just wanna know is it possible to buy the lighting from a normal light store? <Possible. Look for DIY lighting in your favorite search engine. Why can't you order from a mail order company? Many will ship quite some distance. Too costly to do it this way?> They sell PC and MH <Well, if they sell the equipment for this type of lighting, I would still be sure to get an aquarium rated bulb for either PC or MH. Any other lighting will be just too red/orange for a reef aquarium.> I am not planning on having sps or anemones. <Soft corals then? PC is ideal in this situation for your tank size.> My tank is 35gal .So what do u think? <PC would do very well with a bulb in the 10,000K spec. Of course all this depends on what you plan to keep in your reef. Thanks for the question -Paul>

T-5 Lighting I have been reluctant to upgrade the lighting on my 60 gallon salt water aquarium because of concerns about heat build up.  I live in the central valley of Calif. and although the house is relatively new and of course air conditioned, the summers are hot.  Can you tell me if the T-5 technology addresses that issue any better than power compacts of the same intensity? <Yes. The lamps are virtually the same temperature as the air around them> Would the power compacts be any better in a hood with the built in fans than the T-5's? <Mmm, no. T-5's are superior in lumens per watt of electricity, PAR per dollar spent on installation and operation... to all other types of current lighting technology... and the "coolest" running in temperature>   I saw T-5's at a dealer in the Bay area and was very impressed with the quality of light.  With just a little encouragement I am ready to upgrade now.  Thanks for your time. <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Lighting upgrade  (10-8-03) Hello to all!<Howdy, Cody here today.> I have a quick question about lighting my 65gal reef (36"x18"x24").  I am currently running 4x96watt power compacts in a custom made hood, bulbs 4" off the surface.  My thoughts are to upgrade and take out 2 of the PCs and replace them w/ 1 250w metal halide, using the other 2 PCs as actinics.  Would this actually be an upgrade by any standards and what kind of impact (if any) on my electric bill?  Right now housing leathers and polyps, but would like to eventually keep sps and clams.<The metal halide would be much brighter and will penetrate down a lot better.  I am not sure how much of a burden it would put on your electric bill as I am running t-5 but I will soon find out!  (I will be setting up a new tank around Christmas!)  You can try posting on a message board to find out how much of an increase others have experienced, we have one at WWM or you can try www.reefcentral.com   Cody> Thanks, Jason -Surfs Up!

Lighting for a 15 gallon salty - 10/10/03 Hi guys, <Hiya> You have the best, most comprehensive site on the web for marine aquarists. <Well......I agree>  I have a question regarding a 15 gallon FOWLR system. <OK. Shoot> I currently have only a single florescent bulb, a Rio powerhead, and an AquaClear 150 running on my tank. <On a 15 gallon? Is this enough? Heheheh>  I'm thinking about moving up to a power compact lighting of some sort and possibly a Prizm skimmer. <The Prizm skimmer is fairly loud and not exactly getting rave review from aquarists. Please, check through the many reef forums out there for some opinion. (make the best decision possible the more you know) I like the CPR Bak Pak or the Aqua C line of skimmers. It doesn't hurt to have skimmer rated a bit higher than your system. Lighting is always a nice upgrade if it can be afforded and in most reef cases, even very necessary>  I have a pair of ocellaris clowns, <In such a small space....hmmm......> jaw fish, <Deep sand bed?> a royal Gramma, a star fish, one cleaner shrimp and a few snails.  Do you have any suggestions as to what types of lighting would be good? <Well a power compact will likely be fine here. Again, only to bring out colors of the fish as you didn't mention any corals. Lighting in a Fish Only With Love Rock tank is less necessary than if you were to say....plan coral additions or macro algae, in my opinion> I am thinking about the new custom Sealife PC/moonlight systems (are they worth the $$$?) <Well, I use them. Have for years. Good quality for the money, in my opinion> or a Coralife PC (or anything you suggest, hehe). <All good choices here>  Also would it be OK to add some corals or should I get some kind of sump going before I do that? <Get the sump going for the fishes sake not the coral. It is up to you, but be sure to find the corals you are interested in and then research their needs for lighting, compatibility with your current inhabitants, water quality needs, feeding, flow, etc. and then purchase your items around that information. This is an often overlooked and very important step in my experience>  THANKS!!!  Mike Chang <Thank for asking. -Paul>

Blinded By Light Choices.... I have read hundreds of articles regarding lighting and I am still confused, and I would appreciate your opinion regarding my lighting problem. <Sure! Scott F. here with you today! I appreciate the word "opinion"!> I have a tank which is 84x25x25 this is a fish and reef tank I have: a few clams (very important to my kids) a plate coral a cup coral lots of mushrooms and a variety of polyps I also have a 2-3 inc DSB, my corals are dying because my lighting is not sufficient, I am torn between 6x96 PC or 3 250w MH if I go with MH. <The conventional wisdom on metal halide lighting is that you'd want to go for 250 watt units when you're working with a tank over 24 inches in depth. On the other hand, if you are specializing in LPS and soft corals, you'd probably be better served with 175 watters. In the end, though, I'd shoot for 250 watt bulbs, probably 20000k. My thinking for the higher wattage halides? Well, knowing human nature, and the restlessness of typical reef hobbyists, the time may come in the future when you want to go with just SPS and clams in the tank. By starting out with the higher wattage bulbs, you'll spare yourself from having to make another big-ticket purchase down the line, when the "itch" for SPS strikes you!> How do you think 10k on the sides and 20k in the center. <Depending on the type of reflector, bulb height off the water, and wattage, it can work. However, I have seen numerous examples where this simply looks like 2 whitish bulbs surrounding a bluish bulb in the middle- they don't always "blend" the way we want them to (an aesthetic bummer!). I recommend going with all of one spectrum, and/or supplementing with VHO or PCs for additional color...> If power compacts, what about blue, white, blue or should I use more white? <I like the idea of 2 to 1 blue to white, myself- but its all about the needs of your animals (not to mention, your personal aesthetic preferences!). Remember the clams that you have...They need a lot of light, too...Perhaps you should "specialize" in just one type of animal: SS, LPS, etc. It might make your lighting decisions easier..> I really like the MH. <Me, too! Remember the future flexibility issue here> Ideal... however I think 250w might hurt some corals, and I don't believe 175w will be enough for the 25" depth. <Agreed...And that, once again, is why it may be better to avoid the typical "Hodge Podge" of different coral types in one system..> your input would be very helpful. Thank You Robert Lee   <Well Robert- remember that, whatever system you use- you'll need to acclimate all the animals to the regimen that you choose...Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F>

-Lighting a 'FOWLR'- Hi Guys, Am setting up a 125 gal. reef set-up with anemones, fish live rock, live sand, shrimp, crabs, etc. (no coral). <Keep in mind that you should only have one anemone per tank (unless it's a cloning BTA), and that, generally speaking, it's best to get your feet wet in keeping coral (you'll find that many species are much easier to keep than anemones)> The tank is 72 Lx18Wx22H. I would like to hang 2or3   Aqualine 175 ,10,000k pendants 12" over  top. How does this sound? <Sounds great!> Also, should I cover the tank with a glass hinged cover, eggcrate type ceiling light cover, or just leave open. <If fish jumping is not an issue, I'd leave it open. The egg crate is pretty blinding when you walk up to the tank, and glass can trap beaucoup heat, along with adding a potentially significant light reduction.> How long should I leave on every day and should I put on a timer to go on and off during the day e.g. on at  7am for 4hrs, off at 11 for 4 hrs., on at 3 for 5 hrs.??? <I'd put them all on timers for 8-10 hours straight per day.> I figure I could probably get away with Fluorescents but I like the look of metal halide light and the open top style of tank. <I hear ya, I'm a halide user for life. -Kevin> Thanks in advance. Louie

Long Tentacle Anemone - Lighting Follow-up >I spoke to someone at HelloLights, and they recommended that I scrap my hoods and purchase a Coralife Aqualight 4x65 watt hood.   >>I agree.  This outfit has an EXCELLENT reputation with those who make their purchases online, too. >It comes with (2) Coralife Actinic lights and (2) Coralife 10000 lights...  What do you think of this configuration?  Is this enough light to keep a long tentacled anemone? >>I think it's a good start, however, do watch it closely, and remember to feed the animal directly. >Also, if you could recommend some other anemones/corals that I might be able to keep with this configuration.. >>My goodness, you can certainly keep a huge variety of soft corals, Sarcophytons, Corallimorphs (mushrooms), and the like.  I think you may also be able to keep large polyp stony corals (LPS), but you'll need to also address calcium/available biomineral issues if you go that route.  I wouldn't add another anemone for quite a while--see how things go with this one, as the issues aren't only about lighting but also about water quality. >BTW - what are you doing in Reno?  Just curious?  I grew up out there.. >>Went to visit the boyfriend who lives in the Lake Tahoe (South Lake, to be specific) area.  Reno, as you know, is the nearest major (if you can call it that) city. >live in AZ now though... >>Ah.. a "zonie", now, eh?  ;) >Thanks!  Todd >>Very welcome, Todd.  Let's hope all goes well with your gift anemone.  Marina

Making The Switch To HQI Halides! I have 4 92 Gal All Glass Corner tanks I am managing for a nursing home. They are setup to form a near circle with about 3.5 inches between the tank walls. Each tank has a 34" radius and are equipped with corner overflows. Someday I would like to make this all one tank and take out the tank sides to improve overall circulation. <Quite a project...But very interesting!> If you have any ideas about this let me know. Now onto the meat. <Okay...> The tanks are there as a distraction for the residents and I've had a lot of positive comments on them.  I am currently using 2 96 Watt PC bulbs on Three of these and on one I am using 4 55 Watt PC. The Bulb Split is 50/50 10K/03 Actinic.  The 96 W 03's have been a problem.  They have been lasting for about 3-6 Months and then just peter out. So I've had a problem maintaining a broad spectrum here.  I would like to go to HQI MH Lighting due to how efficient they are and their spectrum is broad and balanced . A side benefit the sparkle from MH lighting. Ocean encounter seems to have quite a deal going for HQI setups. High quality 10K bulb, Sunlight Reflector, Ice Cap ballast for $309 for the 250Watt Variety.    <Yep- I use the Reef Optix III's with the Ice Cap ballasts, myself, and I'm totally thrilled with them. Ocean Encounter is a fine place to do business with, too..> I have star polyps (Brown Green and White), Sarco's, Leathers, Colt, Tooth Corals, Closed Brain, and a Torch & a few fish. The torch is about the only one not doing well and it was healthy when I initially got it. I would like to get more LPS, and add SPS and Clams and Carpet Anemones. <I'd avoid mixing anemones and corals, myself...Keep them separate for best results... But it seems like you already know that!> I was looking at a single pendant for each tank. Since they light about a 2 x2' Square I would have some areas in each tank where the light would be less intense but still bright.  I have noticed some light is passing to the adjacent tanks with my current setup. I only expect this to be true with the new setup as well.  Heat maybe an issue.  The ambient room temp is about 76-77 Deg. This temperature is maintained for the residents. With the current setup the tanks run at 79-81 deg.  I would use a 96 Watt 10K bulb and a 55 Watt 03 Bulb with the pendant. Am I on the right track here??? <Well, depending on the amount of "blue" that you want, you could go with a 10000k Aqualine HQI bulb, and two actinic 03's> Underneath I have 2 100 GAL Poly tanks ( used to water cattle in the farming industry) connected together with 3" PVC.  The tanks drain into one sump which also receives the effluent from the Kalk Reactor. This spins around awhile and runs through the 3" PVC to the other tank where 2 Mag Drive Pumps pull the water out and back up to the tanks. One pump for two tanks. There are 55 Watt Compacts that run on this 24-7 2 per Tank.  I was told for Caulerpa and other macro algae to really do well here they need the lights to stay on. <Either in "reverse" from the main system, or on a 24/7 basis...Your call...> I would like to have the sump lights run opposite the tank lights so oxygen is always being produced.  If you think I could cycle the sump lights opposite the tank lights this may help out with the heat issue. <Sure, that's a fairly common routine....> The sump is growing Anthelia Polyps and serves as storage for live rock. <Sounds like a nice setup!> The tanks do have a plenum which has turned rather solid on me when I was getting the chemistry set on this system so I am thinking about ripping those out. That becomes another issue. <Yep...!> Hope to hear from you soon. <Well, it sounds like you have a good handle on this system! I'd definitely look into the HQI pendants, they will do a terrific job for many systems...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Dealing with Lamp Heat - Dear crew, Love the site, read it everyday and have learned a lot. <Glad you find it useful.> Quick question about cooling fan placement-- Will I get the same effect if the cooling fan is placed so it sucks heat from the bulbs/canopy (reversed) or should it be positioned to blow across the bulbs/water surface? <Personally think the pulling of air from the canopy is a better idea. Removing heat from this area is what you need - sometimes due to mechanics, fan placement, etc. one just ends up moving around hot air.> I know blowing across is recommended but I was just wondering if there is any difference. <Even better would be a fan at both ends - one pulling the other pushing.> Thanks. Regards, Steve <Cheers, J -- >

New Reef Setup, II Marina, Thanks so much for the info. >>You're very welcome, Victor. >I have one final (but important question).  I got my light over the weekend, the one I mentioned in the first email (24" Coralife Aqualight, 2 bulbs, 1 Actinic Blue and one 10K, 130 watts total).   >>Great fun! >Can I or should I put this light directly on the glass top?  The waterline is about 1 inch under the glass.  I do plan on having a few corals, as mentioned, and was wondering whether or not I should use the legs I ordered with the light.   >>Oh my, yes, I know what you're talking about.  I am leery of recommending you not use the legs, mostly for safety reasons.  However, you'll lose rather significant light intensity by raising the canopy up 4".  I know of no way to "trim" that height, would it be possible to install small hooks so that you can hang the canopy to the desired height above the tank?  I think that would give you the right combination of safety (little/no risk of lights breaking glass or otherwise accidentally falling in tank) and proper distance from water's surface. >They will raise it up about 4 inches off the glass.  I prefer the look WITHOUT the legs, but wanted to know which way would be better? >>Consider the "retrofitting" option, and possibly contact the manufacturer, they just might have some sort of aftermarket product (shorter legs).  They'll probably advise no retrofitting, but we do this sort of thing all the time.  I have seen these lights, but never used them myself, so my input is quite limited.  I'll suggest (think I did before) posing the query to our forums http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk >Thanks again for all the help. :) >>Most welcome Victor, you're gonna have you some FUN, now!  Marina

Aquarium cross braces I appreciate all your support in the past and am presently trying to solve a problem with my 330g tank. It is 84"x30"x30" and it is 3/4" glass. When the built the tank in my home they put two 1/2" glass 14" cross braces in 14" from each corner. This lead to a 14" opening 28" opening and then a 14" opening. The problem I am having now is the left and right halide is directly over the cross brace. This is dimming the light and I am sure must be changing the spectrum of the bulb. <Agreed> Not to mention also warming the brace itself. My question to you is do you know, or know someone that would be able to help me fix this with problem with smaller braces having to be thicker or some other solution? <Not smaller... but you could cut the current braces and move them to the middle of the tank> I know from what I have read that they should have spaced them out more evenly. This would have helped to some degree but the braces need to be about 8" wide to really help with the lighting. Thanks a lot for your help and have a great day, Ian. <Is it worth considering moving the lights out over the side cut-outs and adding a third (perhaps higher wattage and temperature) MH to the middle area? Bob Fenner>

Brightening Up A Reef I just set up a 90 gallon tank have 150 lbs Tonga live rock and 75 lbs sand. It is lit with a Aqualine Starlight fixture with 2 150 w double ended 10000k metal halide bulbs. <A terrific system, IMO!> Additionally I have placed (4), 65watt PC 03 actinic around the interior of my canopy. The PC's are 4 inches off the water and the metal halides are about 8 inches due to the top of the canopy. After firing up the lights, everything is blue. It was not the look I imagined. My question to you is this; should I remove 2 of the 03 actinics and replace them with 10000k white lights to brighten up the tank or should I go with the 50/50. or what would you suggest? Your help in this matter would be deeply appreciated. Thanks, Bill Stewart <Well, Bill- if it were me, I'd start with a couple of 50/50's, and if not satisfied, I'd switch up to straight 10000k's. I like a blue look, but too much blue can be somewhat annoying, so do what you must to appeal to your own aesthetic sensibilities... Have fun! Regards, Scott F.>

Sunlight on a reef 9/1/03 mornin' Crew: <cheers> I was told that natural sunlight ain't all that great for a reef tank, excessive algae, etc..... But it's the SUN! Good clean and natural? What gives? Stacey; Los Angeles <you are correct... sunlight is ideal/optimal. And it does not cause algae... nutrients in overstocked or poorly maintained (weak skimming, weak water changes, etc) systems is what grows algae regardless of the light source. I wrote a book on the subject in fact ;) "Book of Coral Propagation" based on almost a decade of farming corals under skylight and in a greenhouse. Your local marine aquarium society MASLAC sells my book in fact. Best regards, Anthony>

Lighting I'm setting up my first saltwater tank, a 80 gal. reef. I'm confused on the lighting. In the hope to avoid the costly MH I'm going with soft coral only. The confusion is in what is the better and brighter lighting system Compact Fluorescent or VHO? Will the better and brighter of these work OK for a soft coral reef tank? It's 24" high. <Sorry, but when you evaluate the cost over a number of years, you will find that MH is the most cost affective. If you are asking me between VHO and PC then I would tend toward VHO but this is a personal choice IMO. Even within 'soft corals' there is a wide variance of lighting needs to estimate how much lighting is necessary. I would make a list of corals you want and then decide on number of watts. Don> Thanks! Stephen

Light Cycle (8-24-03) Hey Guys,<Howdy, Cody here today.> Great site, I'm learning quite a bit.  I have a question regarding lighting I have a 45 gal fish and invert tank running for around 3 months now.  I just installed a power compact retro fit with a Daylight and Actinic bulb (24" fixture, 65W each).  I was wondering about light cycling I hear that 12 hours a day is a good starting point.  My question is should I turn both bulbs on and off at once or should I stagger them if so what would be the better sequence.   <I like to run my actinics about a half hour before and after the daylight to help simulate dawn/dusk effect.  10-12 hours is acceptable light cycle.  Cody> Chuck

Too Much Light? - 8/22/03 I recently upgraded my light system to a 260 Watt power compact made my Corallife. <sorry to hear it ;) [just my expected shot at a less than favorite brand]> I literally doubled my wattage because I was told by other aquarists that my star polyps and yellow polyps slowly passed away due to insufficient lighting. <almost certainly not the case... both grow easily in very low light. Star polyp usually fares poorly from inadequate water flow. Yellow polyps for the same reason and/or lack of feeding (do you target feed them weekly?)> I also had problems with coralline algae getting started. <also having little or nothing to do with light... the coralline covered rocks we get from Fiji are the undersides (!) or collected pieces. Coralline also need good water flow and very consistent Ca/ALK levels. Do add Seachem's Reef Calcium to your Kalkwasser dosing> I never pass up good advice from others I consider pros in the field. (considering their tanks are in perfect condition and health!!) .  But it seems like for every problem I correct, two more problems arise!! <be wary of taking advice from experts with limited experience. One or two... or even 5 nice tanks does not make an expert, however well-intended/lucky they might be> Now my tank temp. went from a pleasant 78* to a broiling 82*.  I raised my lights up 1 1/2" and removed the top glass plates to allow for more evaporation just as the WWM crew recommended. <good but be careful... this is not a light problem, but a ventilation problem (shall I start complaining now about Corallife <G>). The fluorescent lamps should not be any more than 3" off the surface of the water... else it is truly a waste. You need a small muffin fan to pull air across the tank water surface> I keep my home temp. at a steady 76*, but the tank temp. still wants to hang around 80*.   <plug the fan into the light timer to even the temp swings> I'm worried that my tank life is suffering from heat. I read that corals, polyps, mushrooms, etc. do much better in lower water temps. Is there anything I could do to lower the temp. other than spending hundreds of $$'s on chillers or other expensive equipment??????????????????   <a $10 computer muffin fan uses less than $1 per month in electricity> If not, could you let me know of species that do well under these temps?  I'm sure there are shallow water reefs in parts of the ocean that reach temps. above 82*.  Please help me!!! Jason <best of luck, Anthony>

Reef Lighting without Direction - 8/21/03 Hello! <howdy> Wish to get a little advice.  I'm installing a 96x30x30 reef system (5" - 6" DSB, 75 gal. sump, 30 gal. refugium, and AquaC EV-400 skimmer) and have some questions about the lighting.  I'm using some equipment I have on hand from an old (and smaller) system that includes two 175W MH with Ice-Cap ballasts and 440W of fluorescents on an Ice-Cap 660 ballast.  I'm building a fixture to hold the two halides with the bulbs positioned next to each other but facing opposite directions.   <most halides give a better spread if mounted horizontal (as it sounds like you intend) but perpendicular to the long sides of the tank (contrary to your intent). These MH lamps should also be set at 6-9" off surface of the water while the fluorescents are to be mounted no higher than 3" off the surface of the water for effectiveness> My intent with a tank this large is to position the halides over the center of the tank to display SPS and clams and put fluorescents at each end (VHO, PC, or combination there of) for a varied; and hopefully more visually interesting, light scheme.  My question is, if not keeping SPS or clams at the ends of the tank how much (fluorescent) light should I use?  Would 220W at each end (keeping in mind I'll have 2x175W halide in the center) be sufficient for a low reef structure with various LPS and soft corals? Many Thanks!  Eric <the question is so open ended without knowing what species are being kept (other than "non-sps" or clams) that it is impossible to answer other than the fact that there are surely some low light corals that will survive there. The lighting overall is on the low-medium end of the spectrum. Do make your list of desired corals and discover their lighting needs first... please don't pick the lights before the animals, mate. Literally make a species list and hopefully you won't be tempted to make a typical garden reef tank with unnatural combinations (SPS, clams, LPS and soft coral all together). Poor long-term prospects for success... read more about the reasons why in the WWM archives by doing a Google site search for "garden reef aquarium" and "allelopathy" for starters. Best regards, Anthony>

Problem Solving! Dear Scott, <Hello again!> Thanks for responding. I promise this will be shorter than last message! <Hey- that's why I signed on for this gig! LOL> On the BTA-He has stayed in the same locale and will hopefully move on "foot" from now on. Since he has had that encounter with the strainer, I am concerned about how pale he is (the green is still good and there is a hint of brown). <As long as it appears to be recovering, that's a good thing!> Please talk to me about feeding. I have heard 1/week, 2/week/, 5/week, etc. and about completely different foods. I am confused. <Well, there are tons of different thoughts on this subject. My research seems to indicate that these animals feed daily in the wild, so I can't imagine it being detrimental (except if inadequate nutrient export mechanisms exist in your tank) to feed it daily, or every other day...I'd try a variety of frozen fish foods, and carefully observe which ones the animal "recognizes" as food sources. An anemone will usually "reject" what it does not recognize as a food, so go with what works!> Also, should the feeding be different after the strainer incident? <I would continue a routine feeding regimen. Just observe the animal a bit more closely> A small amount of Brine Shrimp Plus has drifted to him two days in a row and he has pulled it in. I know it doesn't mean he is eating it, but he acts hungry...please advise. <If it appears to be consuming this food, keep using it!> What is the best we can do for him with VHO lighting? We have painted the interior of the cover a glossy white to help reflect the light. <That's fine. If the animal appears to be reacting negatively to the lighting, you may have to augment as required...Again, observation is the key..> The six-foot (white) tubes only say - AquaSun/7 VHO-1. I have no clue what wattage... <Hmm...something the "expert" might be able to tell you. You need to know, especially when it's time to replace them...By the way- how old are the bulbs? Are they ready to be replaced?> I have removed nine molly millers, but not the tomato clown with ich. She was afraid of the net, so I am feeding her from it (that's how I got so many MM - smiling). I may be able to get her out tonight without much fuss (she has been half-way in the net). <Keep trying. It's important to get everyone out for the treatment> My question is, how do I set up a QT? I have a 10 gal tank, no cover, no lights, no heater and no pump, no nothing. I do have a bubbler and a long narrow heating pad. <Well, you almost have everything that you need. Here is an article by yours truly about setting up a QT...Hopefully, it will answer some of your questions, and the same idea works for a "hospital" tank: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm   > Am I nuts to think it wouldn't be wise just to dip and then put her back in with the others? My husband's aquarium pal gave four options: flush her (he had to be kidding), do a dip and put her back, put her in a dif. aquarium, or let the ich run its course.  Let the ich run its course, I'm not nuts. He's nuts! <Well, I'm inclined to agree! "Running its course" means that the life cycle of the causative parasites will go on and on- constantly re-attaching to fishes after dropping off...Until the fish dies. You need to address the life cycle of the parasite - knock it off on the fish with medication, and let the display tank run fallow, without fishes, for a bout a month - this will deprive them of hosts...Lots more bout this on the WWM site..> What about the other fish? My husband is on duty again (Hospital chaplain) and I just feel the other shoe is about to drop. I have ordered a total of four books, but need to correct these current problems before I get them. Help, I am drowning in a sea of misinformation! Crystal <Well, hang in there, Crystal! I'd start with a search under "parasitic diseases" on the WWM site, and you'll find plenty of GOOD information!> P.S. We have an RO/ DI water purifying system (not just RO) whatever that means. <"DI" means "deionization"- another phase of the water purification process...A good thing! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Height of Bulbs off Water - 8/18/03 Hey gang, <cheers> Yes its me again.  The more I read the more I understand, but inevitably this leads to more questions.  I'm planning on a DIY hood for my 90G eventual reef tank. Made of oak and stained or Pine and painted.  Going to be approx 15" tall.  Have decided to leave off the tank cover.  The 2 175W 10K MH lights will be mounted approx 12" from the water surface.   <yikes... too high likely. Really needs to be closer to 9" for optimal intensity vs. spread (see Sanjay Yoshi's research on this subject)> I also plan on having 2 VHO actinic blue 110W each.  Would their effect at 12" off the water surface be ineffective? <completely... they would most only be aesthetic at that point> Should I move them closer?   <anything beyond 3" off the surface with fluorescents is a waste of electricity IMO. Seek the PAR meter when in doubt <G>> Thoughts suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks again for everything.  Don't know how I'd start this hobby without ya. Jeremy - Pineville, LA <best regards, Anthony>

Lighting for 90 gal. (8-15-03) Good day to whomever is lucky enough to be behind the keyboard.  Quick question because of a change in plans.  Decided to go with a 90G instead of a 75 because of the height lost w/ my 4-5" sand bed.  Was planning on 2 175W MH and 2 VHO actinics.. should I move to 3 or 4 actinics or will 2 still be sufficient in this deeper tank?  Once again let me say what a Godsend your website is, but not forgetting how much time and effort have gone into it.  You all are doing a wonderful job.  Can't say enough about ya :) <It all depends on what you like.  The 2 VHO would be enough actinic for most coral.  You also have to factor in the color of you MH bulbs such as a 6500k bulb would be a lot whiter than a 10,000k bulb.  Cody> Thanks once again for everything,  Jeremy

Daylight Bulbs? - 08/14/03 <Well, I'd say hi by name, but since you didn't supply one... I'll say hello, PF with you tonight> I have a 135 gallon saltwater fish only tank in which I will put some live rock in. But, my concern is about lighting. Right now I put three two lamp shop lights (40 watt) in the canopy of the my tank and I planning to use a 4 daylight to 2 Actinics to support the growth of the live rock. But, I am confused in what daylights to use for this system. what I mean is I have been looking at using your normal household lights by GE lighting. The following types of daylights that I've been looking at using are: 1.Daylight ultra; 3050 lumens ,6500k, and a color rendering index of 75. 2  daylight deluxe; 2325 lumens, 6500k, and a color rendering index of 84. 3 wide spectrum plant and aquarium; contains light phosphors rich in red and blues <Ok, rich in red means lots of algae growth, and Cyanobacteria too.> Which one of the three do you think is my best bet. Although the third type says plant and aquarium I don't think It would be enough to illuminate my tank is this true?  I also wondered if the color rendering index is more important then the amount of lumens if so, should I go with the no. 2 or do you recommend another light usually found in stores like home depot or Wal-Mart. Besides the concern over daylights I wanted to know what is your opinion on what brand of actinic lamp should I use that is very effective at illuminating the tank. currently I am using marine glo's in combination with the 2 eclipse daylights supplied for my 80 gallon.   <Well, go here and read up on lights: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/lightingags.htm  I'll wait... Ok, now we've seen that lumens aren't important. The #2 bulb (with the better CRI) is the way to go. Have you thought about going to an LFS or a chain store and getting 10,000K bulbs? These are whiter (6500K are somewhat yellow) and produce a "bluer" looking tank. Most LFS's also sell actinic NO, VHO, and PC bulbs too. To boost your efficiency, look at getting a good quality reflector, that'll vastly increase the amount of light going into your tank. Well, hopefully this'll help, have a good night, PF>

Doing It The Right Way! (Planning A New System w/DSB) G'day Bob, Scott and the rest of the wondrous wet web wizards of the watery depths! This is Rob here from Down Under. <Hey there, Rob! Glad to hear from you again! Scott F. with you again tonight!> I e-mailed you guys a few weeks back looking for advice on my plans for my FIRST marine tank setup. Scott was kind enough to reply and let me know that I was basically on the right track. He then suggested I go back and do MORE RESEARCH!!!!!!! And perhaps revise my plans. I have. I also have many new questions, queries and doubts! <Oh, man- I sent another fellow hobbyist back to the books! Part of the fun, though! > So, here goes..... I am planning on adopting the following species: 1 DWARF lionfish (max5"), 2 LARGE tomato clowns and 1 bubble tip anemone as a start, I'll take my time with these introducing the lion first, then the clowns and eventually if all goes well the bubble tip. <Glad you're "easing" into the anemone...No need to rush> All are available (reasonably) locally and all are caught with nets by people I know well. <Outstanding!> Current plans are for a 150 gal (570litre) tank 48"L X 36"W X 20"H nice and wide, good surface area (see I do read your articles!) I will also be using an under tank sump of 56gal (215litres) I am really hooked on the idea of natural filtration so this tank will get about 200lb's (90kgs) of live rock. <Terrific! It will be a very stable system!> Skimming will be by a locally made (Aussie, Aussie, Ausiie OY, OY, OY) venturi unit running from the sump and powered by a 650 g/h (2500lph) pump. These units are made by a bloke in Western Australia who started building his own DIY setups years ago. They have a brilliant reputation and are much, much cheaper than the units imported from your neck of the woods. < Awesome- DO support your "local talent" whenever possible! A good skimmer is such an important investment- well worth it!> Heating will be from 2 - 300W quality units. Lighting will be by fluor's,  160W of HO and 80W of Actinic (still some doubts as to whether this is sufficient, especially with the anemone in mind.....Your views?). <May not be enough...Even though your tank is relatively shallow, you might want to add a couple more tubes...You simply cannot have "too much" light for anemones, in most cases...> All fluoros are very well reflected and powered by remote, electronic ballasts and will be housed in a custom made (by me!) hood. <The best kind, IMO!> Circulation will provided mainly from a closed loop running on the inside top of the tank with various injectors placed at strategic locations and depths. This will be powered by the 1050g/h(4000l/h) return pump from the sump. I will have to run some test's to see if this is sufficient, if not extra powerheads will be employed. <Sounds nice. If you intend to keep SPS or other high-current loving corals at some later time, you may want to consider a pump or pumps that can push 10-20 tank volumes an hour through the system...Like lighting- you can rarely have too much circulation> O.K. I hear you thinking, this guy's got it together! <Yep! Very much so!> Well that's what I thought too! Until I walked into my LFS (600kms away!). <I've heard of "walkabouts" before- but 600kms...? You're seriously dedicated! I'll never complain about the 20 minute drives to good LFS in my area!> You see, I had initially intended to use a wet/dry filter in my sump to back up the live rock and skimmer. However on looking closely at the shops fish and invert display tank (120gal) all they had was lots of rock and a protein skimmer! Nothing else! This was a good looking tank with all inhabitants looking bright, cheerful and full of life. I was stunned and intrigued. On talking to the shop crew (Seth and Kath, they make a good team!) they told me that the secret was all in the substrate. Sure enough there it was, 5-6" of good looking fine coral sand with plenty of activity going on. <A deep sand bed certainly serves as an excellent nitrate reducing "filter"...a nice thing to have> Anyway I checked it out on the web and found out all about plenum bed construction, Jaubert's method, anoxic bacteria and 0 nitrate levels. After much research I am planning on this stage of using a deep substrate level (5") in my main tank and constructing a plenum system in the sump. The main reason for not using a plenum in both is that I want to aquascape the main tank to resemble a section of reef I know well from diving and having to minimize the rock's 'footprint' would be difficult. I really need your advise on this! Is the full biological filtration method just a pipe dream and is it beyond a beginner like myself? <No- it isn't! Embracing natural methods is probably the most simple and effective thing you can do as a beginner, or as an advanced hobbyist! Your idea of using a plenum in the sump is certainly workable. I personally prefer "static" ("plenum-less") deep sand beds, as they seem to work as well as plenum-equipped systems (although there is plenty of debate on this topic among hobbyists). If you are going to go the plenum route, it's absolutely vital that you follow the "standardized" recommendations concerning sand bed composition, depth, plenum height, etc. These configurations were arrived at after enormous amounts of testing by researchers like Jaubert, Goemans, Gamble, etc., and are not just random numbers. Most of the people who claim that plenums don't work are the ones who "modify" the parameters of their plenum. You may want to check out Plenum guru Bob Goeman's http://www. saltcorner.com site for a lot of good information on plenums...> I am aiming eventually to 'get into' corals so the idea of continuing the biological filtration cycle with the break down of NO3 to NO2 to NO and eventually to pure N is highly desirable. I await your advice with baited breath oh wise and all knowing denizens of the deep! Sorry this is so long winded, got carried away, as usual, if I mention the word "fish tank" one more time I might find myself without a house keeper, bed warmer and long suffering friend! Thanks for your help guys and gals!  Rob <Ahh Rob- I think that you're doing great! It's so cool that you're doing the "modifications" and "tweaking" to your system before the system is actually set up! The time that you take now to research the various concepts will repay you many times over with a successful tank! I think a well constructed sand bed (with or without plenum), protein skimmer, and sump, fortified with aggressive maintenance procedures (water changes, etc.) will greatly enhance your chances of success. Keep in touch, and best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>  

Too much light for my tank?? I recently got a 60 gallon hexagon tank.  It is 24" inches deep and rather wide (close to 8ft in diameter).  I was told to buy a Sunlight Supply Reef Optix III Plus 250 watt DE HQI Pendants using a AB 250 watt DE HQI 10,000K bulb.  The person that recommended this to me is very experienced w/ saltwater aquariums.  After reading many of the FAQs on your site I now have concern that this may be too much.  Is this the case and if so, what do you recommend?  I will be setting up a Reef tank w/ very few fish....mainly invertebrates. <You need to decide what it is you are going to keep in the tank. 250w of metal halide would be OK for high light need corals while if you are low to medium light corals, a 175w would be OK over 24" of water. Don> Thanks, Trey

Halogen Lamps instead of MH/VHO/PCF 8/7/03 Hi Guys, <cheers> I  just want to ask if I can use common Halogen Lamps (Flood Lights) instead of MH/VHO/PCF because I can't find any of these here in the Philippines.  Need your advice ASAP. Thanks and Regards, Leo S. Medina <check the temperature rating of the lamps available to you (often measured in decrees Kelvin). Seek anything in the range of 6500K to 10,000K. Unfortunately... most common halogen lamps are very warm colored at 4000-6000K and will contribute to the growth of nuisance algae>

Reef Lighting Hey, I got another question for you.  I have 60 gallon hex tank(28"deep), and right now I have a Coralife quad pc light.  The light has 96 watts 2 10k and 2 03 actinic.  I also have a double tube fixture with one 20k and 1 03 actinic light for a grand total of 126 watts.  Would it be better to take the double tube fixture and lights back (they haven't been used and my buddy owns the LFS) and get another quad bulb.  Financially it would cost another $65 if I took back the other lights and fixture  and got the quad light.  I think I mine as well for $65 so I won't limited to only low light corals.  What do you think, can I get away with 126 watts or should I just spend the $65 and jump up to 192 watts???? <The lighting you need is dependent on the life forms you want to keep in the tank. With 192W over 28" of water, low light need animals for the bottom middle of the tank and maybe some medium need animals at the top. Hope this helps, Don> Thanks

Blinded By Lighting Choices? Folks, <Scott F. at your service tonight!> I've read your lighting FAQs over and over, and very good they are. But my simple!! question is still confusing me. <I am the master of simple confusion!> 5' x 2' x 2' reef. No lighting yet (no water actually), so all options open. I can have a pendant unit with 2 halides (250W as standard, but could be 175 or 150) and 2 4' T5s (or T8s) which can be actinic or 'white'. Alternatively I can have a hood fitted with 4 double 5' T5s and a double 3' T5. <Hmm...lots of possibilities!> My current collection is mainly soft corals and mushrooms, but I would like to try clams and maybe some LPs / SPS (at the top, softs at the bottom?). <Uhh-Ohh> However I suspect the correct answer is don't try and do both in one tank! <You're psychic!> Any views ..the more I read the more confused I get. There is a vogue in the U.K. currently for very powerful halides e.g. 2 x 400 W on tanks 18" deep. <And in the States! Many SPS/Clam enthusiasts swear that more is better these days...They may be right, but it seems a bit excessive in such a shallow tank, IMO. However, some of the newer pendants (particularly the HQI pendants) are very efficient, even at lower wattages in more shallow tanks (under 24 inches high). In my 72x24x20 tank, in which I keep mainly soft corals, I employ 3 150 watt Reef Optix III HQI pendants, and I have been absolutely thrilled with the results. I have experimented with this setup for SPS as well, and the results have been great! On the other hand, if I were dedicating my tank to SPS or clams, I'd probably go with 250 halides. The T5's are amazingly bright, and come in some nice spectral selections. If you were going to go SPS, I'd consider 2 250watt HQIs (Aqualine 10000k's) , supplemented with 4 T5 actinics. That should do the trick! Surely this isn't necessary for anything? <Really depends on the animals you intend to keep. I've used 20000ks for my softies, and have been quite pleased with the results...You need to research the specific requirements (ie; wattage, spectrum requirements, etc.> Thanks yet again Brian <A pleasure! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Lighting for FOWLR Will any of the suggestions you made require the use of a chiller given the following (My biggest concern are the metal halides): <That will depend on a number of variables. If heat becomes a problem, many have been successful using evaporative cooling by putting small fans directed across an open sump.> - The tank is in a basement that stays between 72&75 degrees F - I will use an inline pump so that should not add to much heat - In addition to the custom hood the tank will be covered by a full glass canopy <I would not use a glass canopy but eggcrate instead> - I will have 2 4" fans (105CFM each) one to force air into the hood and one to pull air out of the hood (I plan on placing them on the sides in the center of the hood unless you suggest something different) <Lots of work and experimentation documented here on the issue of fans and hoods. Use the search engine at the bottom of the WetWebMedia home page to search the archives. Or use a search engine (like Google) to find DIY plans on the web.> Is there a big difference in the heat generated by 3 175w as opposed to 3 250w halides? <Yes as 3 250s are the same as 4.28 175s. The type of ballast and the location of the ballast will make a difference too.> Thanks again, D'Wayne

-250w floodlights suitable?- Hi there fellas, I am planning to upgrade to MH on one of my tanks.  In my research, I have run across some 250w MH 'floodlights' that look very similar to the rectangular pendants sold for reef use.  My question is, can I put a 'reef bulb' in this light fixture and save some money? <If it's the correct ballast with a mogul socket you're good for go! Although it seems kind of straight forward, you may want to try firing someone's old 250w MH lamp first, just in case. -Kevin> Thanks a bunch, Aquaholic

Eclipse Lighting I have a 80 gallon eclipse 3 with around 70-100 pounds of live rock with 2 inches of crushed coral. The fishes are a Clarkii Clown, three stripe damsel, yellow damsel, and a small Gregory damsel also one chocolate star. What I use for filtration is a 100 gallon rated sea clone skimmer the eclipse hood filters, and magnum 350 canister filter. And, the lights are two marine glo's and two standard daylights that come with the eclipse hoods. I also keep the tank near a kitchen sliding door ,so that some natural light illuminates the tank. It seems to help my rock since I moved the tank to accommodate my newly set up 135 gallon set up tank. Well anyways I wanted to know if I could keep some corals of very little light needs in my tank set up. <Corallimorph mushrooms, Zoanthid polyps> if not should I upgrade my lamps to the more stronger type of lamps from Coralife or should I retrofit the hood to accommodate PC's or VHO's. <This would be the best option for most corals> <Best, Chris>

Lighting A Tank Without Lighting The Room! WWM Crew, <Scott F. here tonight> I have a question regarding lighting and the escape of high intensity lighting into the room. I am having a really hard time deciding what to do about my lighting and fixture. I am setting a new tank up it is 20" deep. I plan on keeping at least one of each (T. maxima, T. squamosa, Acropora, and some LPSs). I have done this previously in the same size tank using a mix of metal halide and NO. actinics, suspended above the tank in a hanging 48" light fixture. What I dislike about this setup is the light that escapes into the room while the light fixture is suspended above the tank. So my questions are do reflectors exist that are more directional and do not allow light to escape into the room even when not in an enclosed canopy. Or would it be possible to support these animals with another form of light that would not make guest want to wear sunglasses in my living room? <I'd stick to halides> A closed canopy is the last resort b/c I have a very minimalist furniture setup and the big clunky wood fixtures just don't fit in the room, plus I am a big fan of the open top. Thanks so much for all the insight, I really love this website. Your countless contributions to the hobbyist are impressive indeed. Cheers, Ryan   <Well, Ryan, I am a big fan of pendants. Yes, I use mine in a closed canopy (I really like the Sunlight Supply "Reef Optics III" horizontal pendants, myself). However, pendants tend to focus light into a more restricted area, so they are your best bet, IMO. As much as I dislike them, vertical pendants are even better for focusing light into a more narrow area, especially if you don't have a canopy. You will still lose some light in almost any open system, but one of these two options will probably be your best bet. The good news is that you could probably get by with 150watt or 250watt (max) halides (I love HQI DE's) in a shallow tank like yours. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F>

Lighting I was wondering if it were possible to use Very High Output lights that were sold from local hardware stores in combination with a Actinic aquarium VHO to light a aquarium with live rocks. <Sure> If not, is there any other sorts of lights that I may use that may be in a hardware store ,that I could use to keep my live rock alive and thriving with coralline algae. I would need a four 72 inch long bulbs for my canopy for my 135 gallon. And I was wondering if it were possible to use metal halide lamps from a hardware store and not change the bulb or would I still have to change the bulb meet reef type requirement. Thanks, very much for your time. <I have some standard out put 5500k bulbs from the hardware store over my refugium and the coralline is growing over the live rock very well.  The lighting is really yellow, but it does not bother me too much.  It depends on what you are keeping in your tank.  I have heard that he Halides from the hardware stores give off a really yellow light as well.  See if you can get the temperature rating for the bulbs, measured in degrees k (Kelvin).  The link below has some more information on light fixtures and canopies. -Gage  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marcanopies.htm  >

Lighting fish without live rock - 7/23/03 Could you please tell me how long I should let the lights stay on in a 75 gallon fish only, no live rock tank?  Is 6 hours enough? <I should think so, but depending on where the fish are from, 8-10 hours is probably a more natural lighting scheme for most tropical environments. In reality, this caters more to the needs of the user's preferences (heat exchange, fish viewing, electricity bills) and less to do with fish needs ((form over function, IMO)) Is there a reason you ask? -Paul> Thanks, James

Another lighting question - 7/17/03 hello all, <Hi> I read your forums on lighting and there is so much out there that it just boggles my mind when it comes to choices. <Absolutely> hopefully, you can help pin point what I need. <Will try> first of all I have a 60L/24T/18D 120 gal tank. it will be fish only with 100-120lbs of live rock only if any I might have a few soft corals (maybe). my oak canopy has two 30" hoods that lift up. <Cool> can you recommend an affordable light combo. <All relative my friend. I like the look and price of Power Compacts. I have had great luck with Custom SeaLife.> such as the total wattage I need/types of bulbs to use. <Well, the only "real" need will depend on the corals you choose. I would shoot for the much over hyped wattage theory of a minimum of 2 to 4 watts per gallon. (120x2=240 watts of light or 120x4=440 watts of light) It really is more about PAR quality of the lighting output than watts per se. There are a great many articles on the web to assist with more information on PAR and lighting (bulb) quality. Even though you have a "fish only" tank for now, I really like the look of the metal halide on the surface and substrate of a tank. Price and heat are the major drawback though, but the look is just......mwahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! Freakin beautiful!> I have 2-pairs of 24" lights with each set containing a 20watt blue and a 20 watt full spectrum. can I keep these and add more? or what do you recommend to get by? <Should be fine to use for now, but probably won't look as good as high output lighting. Again, I prefer PC lighting or maybe VHO, but all of this is really only necessary depending on your plan for corals. Plan for the expansion if you can. Peace mate- Paul>

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

Marine lighting hey guys ! good work! I e-mailed last week guess you did not get it . any how, I have a 60"w/18"d/24"tall tank. FOWLR. I was sold two sets of 24" T-4 fluorescents. each set containing a 20watt full spectrum and a 20watt blue actinic. with a total of 80 watts will this be enough? or do I need more wattage? <This is not much light for the size, depth system listed... Please read through the marine light, lighting articles and FAQs archived on WetWebMedia.com for much more re your possibilities here. Bob Fenner>

Lighting Choice  7/10/03 Hey guys, quick question.<Phil's your guy tonight.  Getting ready to shine some light on the problem. :) > You have an Icecap 660 ballast with 4X110watt VHO's 2 white and 2 actinic 03.<I do...?  Where?  I can't find one?  Are you sure?  Oh you have one... third person... oops, my bad. :) > You have 2 tanks sitting in front of you at the LFS. Tank 1= 48L X 20H X 18D Tank 2= 48L X 18H X 20D I want to keep some of the lower light SPS and some softies. I was thinking the tank that is only 18" high would be best. Especially if I have a 3.4 - 4 inch sand bed. Or would that be too shallow. 2nd plus I would think is I would have 2 more inches (front to back) for aquascaping. But as always, I would love your input. <IMO, tank #1 is the better choice.  Yes it is nice to have a little more room for aquascaping, but if the tank is only 18 inches and you add 4 inches of sand.  You get 14 inches between sand and lights.  If the corals are place higher on the LR they may get a little over done, depending on the type.  But that is just my 2 cents.  Hope it helps.>     Mike <Phil>

- Which Ballast? - Again, thanks JasonC. <Again, my pleasure.> One (last) question:  If we go with metal halide lights, we can choose a magnetic ballast ($110), a magnetic "pulse start" ballast ($205), or an electronic ballast ($350). <Good grief, you don't have to pay that much for an electronic ballast - check here: http://www.marinedepot.com/a_lt_mh_icecap.asp?CartId= > I know Bob Fenner says electronic ballasts are great and all of us should use them. <And I agree... more efficient.> Can I safely assume that someone has figured out that the extra money for electronic ballasts is well spent in terms of extra life for the bulbs, or less electricity use, or longer ballast life, or something? <All of the above, plus less heat from the ballast and no 60-cycle hum.>  Tom <Cheers, J -- >

- Clarification on Lighting - Dear Mr. Fenner: <Actually, Bob is away on a diving trip, JasonC here in his stead.> My son and I have been "living with" your book and two other books for a couple weeks now as we work on setting up a first (75 gallon) marine aquarium. You won't be surprised to learn that we are confused about lighting. <Oh?> I came across your article "Marine Lighting: Quality, Quantity & Duration" on www.wetwebmedia.com.  This article comes down pretty strongly in favor of standard output fluorescents - a position that did not come through so clearly (to me, anyway) in your book. Questions:  Are SO fluorescents still your current best recommendation?  Your article does not specifically mention compact fluorescents - is this new technology better than SO? <But consumes more electricity... the bottom line is this: what do you want to keep in the tank? This will directly affect your lighting choices. If you are leaning towards a fish-only system, then standard fluorescents are 'best' because fish don't care about the type of light you use, and these lamps will consume the least amount of electricity. Power compacts are a 'more-bang-for-your-buck' type of fluorescent but typically produces more heat and uses more wattage. If you want to keep corals or other photosynthetic organisms or money [for your electric bill] is not an obstacle, then you'll need to explore something besides standard fluorescents.> Thanks. Tom <Cheers, J -- >

Let The Sun Shine...For 12 Hours Only! My new, large and beautiful elegance coral got placed in the tank last Wednesday. I left for a trip on Thursday, leaving my reef in the care of a friend. When I left it had opened up beautifully, gained wonderful green iridescence, etc. But some spilled water in a last-minute water change evidently destroyed the timer for the lights on my power compacts. . .subjecting the tank to 100 straight hours of light. <Holy sunburn, Batman!> I saw the elegance looked bad on my return, but didn't realize the cause till this morning at 3AM. . . when I walked past and saw the light was on. The elegance looks very distressed, tendrils tiny and the main body of the polyps withdrawn. If it wasn't such a short period of time, I'd wonder if they were in there at all. What (if anything) can I do to save this favorite of mine? I'm figuring on keeping the lights off for a solid 12-14 hours for a starter. Anything else. . . or should I keep the lights off entirely for 24 hours? Everything else seems to have survived the misadventure with a bit of stress but otherwise ok. Thanks in advance for any help on his little disaster. Chuck <Well, I've experienced something similar with a leather coral before. Quite frankly, the coral recovered in a week or so with little additional action on my part, save good husbandry and a return to a normal lighting regimen. I think that getting the tank back on a normal lighting schedule is probably as good a thing as you can do at this point...Just give it time. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Lighting choices - 07/09/03 Hello there, <Hi Sam, PF with you here tonight> I'm not sure who this will be routed to, but here goes: I have a 75g reef w/ dual 175w 5,500k MHs.  Now, I'd like to replace the generic 5,500k bulbs that came w/ the canopy, and I'm wondering what to use.  I'm thinking 10,000k Aqualine or 20,000 XM.  I know color is sort of a personal preference, but coral-health-wise, what would you recommend for my setup?  I have star polyps, leathers, Montipora, frogspawn, elegance, mushrooms, and fox coral.  Note: (someone on the Reef Central forum mentioned that his greenish coral die off when he uses 10,000k MHs....unique experience I hope).  <Never heard of a die off before. I'd say go with the 10K's.> But, my question doesn't end there.  Since I have no room for another canopy, I'm going to install another set of lights in my MH hood.  I'm leaning towards dual 55w PC actinics to compliment the MHs, but what would you do?  I'm really interested in your opinion.  I know there are few right-or-wrong issues in this hobby, so I'm looking for the advice of someone with experience.  All I'm looking for is healthy coral and decent-looking light for my own visual benefit.  Should I be using 10,000k MH w/ dual 55w PC actinic, or 12,000k MH w/ regular 55w PCs, or 20,000 XM w/ regular 55w actinics? The combinations are overwhelming.  I will be eagerly awaiting your reply.  Thanks!  Sam Sundberg  <Well, actually I'd advise using VHO's, generally they're regarded as the best choice if you're adding actinics.  This is just my $0.02, there's as many opinions on lighting as there are reef keepers, but the consensus is the 10K's and the VHO's. Hope that helps, PF>

- Lighting Question Follow-up - Thanks for the reply and the web link. Useful info but  I'm a bit confused by one point. In your reply about distance from the water for halides you said "water is something like 800 times more dense than air, which means that light moves through air much more efficiently. The bottom line is that it makes very little difference in the amount of light-energy dispersed by the lamp at various distances from the tank" But in the web link you gave me your colleague says: "metal halide lamps, for example, at 18" can deliver four times as much light intensity by cutting the distance of the bulb to the surface of the water in half (9")." These seem to contradict each other. Where have I misunderstood? <No misunderstanding... it just so happens that Anthony and I have different opinions about this subject. Check out the physics of light... you will see what I mean.> Thanks Brian <Cheers, J -- >

Reef Lighting  7/6/03 Good Morning,<Good morning to you!  Phil here to help ya today.> I hope everyone had a great 4th of July!<I know I did! ;)>  Quick question on lighting my new reef.  After much research (mostly right here) I have decided my lighting scheme on my 75 gallon reef will be as follows: The new Custom Sea Life 4x65 watt PC with moonlights fixture (2 10k and 2 actinic), and 150 watt Iwasaki MH 6500k.  My main question is this after a 2 day search for the Iwasaki I can't find anything that is ready-made, everything I can find is basically DIY with that bulb.<I did a Google search and couldn't find anything either.  Think on the bright-side of things... DIY can be fun LOL.>  I have no problem doing a retrofit kit into a home-made pendant style fixture.<Good :)>  My concern lies in a UV filter for the Iwasaki, is it necessary or will I/my tank inhabitants be OK with out one?<I run a 175w MH above my 29g tank and instead of using a "UV filter" I use a cheap little glass lid on my tank.  It has a few jobs 1) Keeps fish in tank 2)Stops water from splashing out 3) Homemade UV filter :)>   I intend to keep various leather corals, and possibly an anemone in this tank, how do you think this lighting scheme is overall?<It looks good, coming to 2.73 watts per gallon.  Make sure you check to see that this is enough for all of your corals.  But overall it appears to be fine.>  As always your input is very appreciated and valuable to us all!<Good luck on the new reef tank.  Send some pix when it's done.> Thanks, Scot<Phil>

- Lighting Type and Placement - Hi folks, <How are you? JasonC here...> How are things in Sunny San Diego? ....or at least I hope it's sunny. <It is most certainly that... rather hot and dry right now.> I flew all the way there from the U.K. two years ago, and it rained for three days... in summer!! Still Death Valley was hot so that made up for it. And it gave me a good excuse to spend too much time in the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, which was stunning. <Is a very nice facility.> Thanks very much for the info you've sent me so far. I'm now very close to getting my 5 x 2 x 2 tank, with sump. A few final queries, if that's o.k. <No worries.> 1. I intend (following your advice) to have a DSB with LR in the sump (not in the main tank as I don't like the look of a DSB, so it's 1/8 inch in there). My LFS has bags of very fine, very white, sand which is for 'freshwater and marine aquaria', but no indication of what it is. Is there any way of finding out if it's the right stuff. <Take it to a local university with a soils program.> It's very cheap so buying a bag to open and examine won't break the bank. <Wise to have it analyzed.> 2. The new tank will have 2 x 250W halides, with 2 x 4ft. actinics. The LFS suggests 10000K halides, but 13000K are an option. Any views? <All up to your eyeballs, and what you like to see...> The LFS has the halide units custom made. Is there anything you think I should ask about bulb quality and type etc? <Oh sure... 'who' makes the bulb is a rather pointed topic of discussion... I would ask around on the discussion forums about people's experiences/preferences.> 3. The first coral inhabitants of the tank will be the few 'softies' from my present small tank (Thanks for the info on moving them.) The pride and joy is a leather coral, which continues to grow rapidly and is the main reason for the new tank. Currently it is placed half way  down a 15" deep tank, and when fully expanded (which is most of the time) touches the water surface. Most of its surface (it's about 20" across which is about double its size when purchased about eight months ago) is within one inch of the water surface. <Wow!> It is under 4 x 4' T5 (mixture of 3 x Aquablue and 1 x actinic) with reflectors. What would you suggest for placement etc. under the halides in order to avoid photoshock? <Down deeper, or perhaps an additional lens along with short initial photoperiods to acclimate it to the light - it will make adjustments, and probably grow more ;-) Check this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm > 4. How far above the water surface (with cover glasses in place) should 250W halides be, assuming I stick to 'softies' and resist the temptation to buy any Acroporas etc. I might be unable, however, to resist clams!! I would have no problem with placing all the softies low in the tank, with more light loving stuff up high. <Well... keep in mind that water is something like 800 times more dense than air, which means that light moves through air much more efficiently. The bottom line is that it makes very little difference in the amount of light-energy dispersed by the lamp at various distances from the tank. What does change is the heat generated by the lamp and UV radiation if the bulb is un-shielded. I would go with at least 10 inches to a foot away, unless that puts too much light outside of the tank... it's one of those things you will have to toy with.> Once again thanks for the excellent website... and I hope the San Diego rain holds off. <Looks like it might for a while.> As usual it's nice and sunny here in Derbyshire.

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