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FAQs about Light and Lighting for Marine Systems 13

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

Related FAQs: Marine System LightingFAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5, FAQs 6, FAQs 7, FAQs 8, FAQs 9, FAQs 10, FAQs 11, FAQs 12, FAQs 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

Halogen lights 7/9/05 I was wondering if a 300 watt halogen peak light would serve any use spectrum wise. I can get the entire fixture for 20 bucks so I was thinking of scrapping my old fixture 2 65 watt PCs and going for this...the halogen would be suspended about 12 inches above my 29 gallon. thanks for your time- Aaron <<Hey Aaron, Rich here. Halogen lights are no good for corals because they produce too much UV. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!>> Small Tank With Big Lights! I have a 26 gallon bowfront mini reef set up. The tank is 24 inches wide 15 inches front to back and 24 INCHES DEEP!! <Sounds pretty cool! Lots of aquascaping possibilities!> Currently I have one Custom Sea Life 24 inch 65 watt smart lamp/ half 10,000k daylight and half actinic bulb. Is this enough light to reach the bottom of the tank? <Probably pushing the capabilities to the limit for this light...> The light doesn't seem all too powerful. The LFS sold me this light and said it would be fine for a mini reef. <It is, but not ideal for a deeper tank> The space I have left if I were to keep the smart light is 10 inches by 5 inches and I was wondering if I could fit a metal halide there. <Possibly a retrofit halide, or maybe one of the smaller pendants, like a PFO Mini or a Sunlight Supply Reef Optix III. On the other hand, you need to be concerned about properly ventilating the lights. They can impart a lot of heat into the tank and into your hood. I'd check some of the online carriers for exact specifications> Or should I do away with the Smart Light and go with something else... Please, any help would be greatly appreciated. Also what size metal halide would I even use ? Thank You. Anthony Pastorelli <Well, Anthony, if you are inclined to use halide, you may want to limit your choice to a 150 watt bulb. It also depends upon the animals that you intend to keep. You could very easily "fry" many light sensitive animals with these lights, although they should work well in a 24 inch deep tank. Hope this helps. Regards, Scott F.> NYC Fireman

A Light Topic Okay, I have been in the middle of planning/purchasing supplies etc. for my 100 gallon reef tank for a long, long time. <Cool! Planning will pay off down the line, and it's kind of fun, too.> I've had a starter Oceanic 30 gallon hex for several years as a FOWLR. I would like to upgrade this tank's lighting to at least a medium light level reef for soft corals etc. to hold me over until my 100 gallon is complete. The problem is that it is narrow and deep (20x17x25.5). I have yet to find PCs that are small enough to fit yet high enough wattage to suffice. My question-would a 150W-175W 10000K MH/HQI pendant be a good choice for this aquarium? Wouldn't a 250W be too much? Will there be too much heat generated in the 30 gallon tank? Thanks <Well, it all depends upon our ultimate stocking goals. I'm a big fan of using halides in many reef applications. One of the main reasons that I favor halides is that they offer you a lot of flexibility to accommodate different types of corals and other animals as you progress in the hobby (or, as your moods change!). If you really think that you might be getting those "fuzzy sticks" (SPS corals) sometime down the line, it would make a lot of sense to look into the (150 watt) halides, specifically the HQI double-ended bulbs. You can always go with different spectra initially, such as 20000k, to accommodate many different animals that come from deeper water or other niches that you wish to replicate. I would recommend a couple of good quality pendants, such as those made by PFO, Aquamedic, and Sunlight Supply (my personal favorite is the "Reef Optix III" by Sunlight Supply, which seems to be the hot flavor of the month with Coral Geeks...). Yes, with metal halide, heat is a factor, and you need to provide adequate ventilation. I have kooky friends that may disagree with me on this, but I'd avoid the 250 watters in this tank. The potential for heat buildup is too great...and these guys throw a LOT of light, too! More than enough to fry your soft corals if they are not very carefully acclimated. Research the options available and make your decision based on the needs of you animals. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Quartz halogen lights and converting a FO to reef Hey Adam thanks for helping me with my reef questions. <Glad to, that's what we're here for!> Well I just asked my local fish store about having to put such yellow lights and they said the same thing that the corals really don't care about the color and they could stand pretty much any Kelvin rating.  So, I was really thinking of probably using these lights to start building up my reef tank until I get some funds to get a state of a art lighting system  in the future. <Do beware of the heat produced by these lights.  In the short term, you could supplement them with some actinic to improve the appearance.> Right know I have about 80 pounds of live rock a 11/2 to 2 inch thick crushed coral gravel< about 20 algae cleaning snails< Clarkii clown <yellow damsel<Rio BakPak CPR skimmer with a canister filter on my 135 gallon long tank.  How would you think I should go if I were just beginning a reef tank of mainly soft corals and those easy begging corals after all I am a beginner at this reef hobby but had marine fish tank for about 4 yrs. now. I am going for the Berlin method < I know I would need more live rock but overtime I will do that adding a rock at a time. <Your lighting will be adequate, but you will want to look ahead to upgrading it to something more efficient and more visually appealing (VHO or MH).  80lbs of live rock is plenty as long as you don't overstock and it provides enough place to put the corals you want to keep.  If you do add live rock in the future, be sure to cure it very well yourself (don't trust a shipper or LFS) before adding it.  A CPR backpack is quite small for that tank, so you may want to consider upgrading.  You will also want to be sure that you have enough water movement. (at least 5x if not 10x the tank volume).  Crushed coral substrate can be a problem in reef tanks because it traps detritus.  If it is very alive with pods, worms, etc, it may be fine, but do be suspicious of the CC bed if you have problems with nutrients.> I also want to know how do improve the coralline algae on my live rock. Because my seems to be very dead now with no life at all it kind of looks like rock when you buy it at the store quarantine tank. I really want it flourish with coralline and biodiversity is there a way to satisfy this with my setup . <Calcium and alkalinity are important here.  I would drain the tank and refill it with new salt water, up the water movement and test and maintain high calcium and alkalinity.  Adding a bit of coralline encrusted live rock will help "seed" the system and get it going.> And my water parameters are pretty much zero. and the calcium and other reef  additives are also probably zero since I never added these things. I've seen the SeaChem reef complete concentrated solution ,it seems to meet all the additives needed for a reef and only needs to be added only two times a week. Is this chemical a good choice. or are there any other chemicals that have everything into one and doesn't' require the frequent dosing like others. <Most of the commercially available products for maintaining calcium and alkalinity are adequate.  I would use their dosing guidelines as a starting point only and adjust based on your test results.  I am strongly in favor of adding smaller doses daily or several times a week instead of larger doses once or twice a week, regardless of the product instructions.> "thanks and Mahalo plenty Adam for your time"  as we say in Hawaii" aloha" <Your welcome, and best of luck!  Adam>

- Matching Tank Photoperiod to the Sun - Hi, I was searching this information on your website for more than one hours and I have not found it. Should I match my photoperiod with the sun if my tank is in a room with a moderate amount of natural light. <You could... I don't. My lights come on at ten and go off at ten... sun is up much earlier. Using the gradual increase in daylight to allow for morning bug hunting by the fish.> My metal halide turn on at noon right now and turn of at 10:00 pm. <That is a long photoperiod for a metal halide.> With the sun that rise approximately at 6:45 am does it give a too long photoperiod for my tank and could be responsible for algae problem? <It's certainly a catalyst for the algae problem, but I'm willing to bet that incidental light from elsewhere isn't really an issue. As long as there is a definitive night period of about eight hours, time for all to rest.> Quickly, how much crab and snail should I put in a 50 gallons? <Only a couple... wouldn't add more than a dozen - six of each.> Thank you very much for your help and advice !!! <Cheers, J -- >

- Lighting Times - Hey you all Rock !! just wanted to let you know.  Here is my tank: running for about almost 2 years now one day hopefully it will have more corals ! 100g tank 2 inches sand bed, 110 lbs of live rock, as for fish 1 yellow tang 1 blue tang, 2 clowns, 1 mandarin goby, one little red and yellow dude, 2 emerald crabs 2 brittle stars, 2 serpent stars, snails and blue leg hermits. As for corals I have 6 to 10 clumps of pulsing Xenia, 2 fist size colonies of red polyps, and some mushrooms, and one candy cane trumpet coral. also a 20gal sump/Refugium with overflow  500 gph return with some live rock, deep sand bed, and different types of Caulerpa. 2 Emperor 400s 1 Rio 400 gph pump for movement Here is my question: it has to do with lighting currently, I have 4 55watt Att and 4 55 watt 10k PC, I have all the Att on for a total 14 hours 8 am to 10 pm  and the 10Ks 10 am to 8 pm total 10 hours. is this too much or too little any recommendations. <Is probably fine... although I don't like to have more than a 12 hour photo period, this is my personal preference. Look to your livestock for clues.> Below is a idea on how they are set up. Each row is on a different timer. As always you are the best. ! Any other ideas or comments on my tank please feel free to provide any info that will help my tank. <Nope, sounds good.> --------------------------------- |     55 ATT         55 ATT      |      |     55 10K          55 10K      | |     55 ATT         55 ATT      | |     55 10K          55 10K      | --------------------------------- John <Cheers, J -- >

Halogen fixture from home depot 1/13/03 HI, I just bought three halogen or HQI spot lamps and installed them onto my canopy. I got them from my local home depot. I know that the bulb that came with it is of incorrect Kelvin so ,I do plan to buy some 10K's 250 watt bulbs. And, I wired the lights so that I could turn it on with a flick of a switch,  since I did not hook it up with a ballast just directly to my power supply or  grounded plug. So, meaning the lights go straight on with no sort of warm-up time.  Is this of any concern to the longevity of the bulbs and to the coral. Is  there a sort of dimmer that could dim the lights for a few minutes while the  corals get accustomed to the full blast of the HQI bulbs. I do plan on changing  the bulbs for a more suitable 10K bulbs (are the HQI bulbs for reef different  from the bulbs that you find in home depot/ in other words the way they screw in  are installed)   I wanted to know is mandatory to have a ballast connected with my HID spot lamp. Because in my setup I had directly wired my fixture to a converter that converts from wire to power cord and plug it onto a light switch mechanism ,so that I could open the light with a flick of  a switch. <Hi Rolan.  I am quite confused about some of your terminology. Metal halide is a type of HID technology (along with High Pressure Sodium and Mercury Vapor). HQI is a type of metal halide.  All HID lamps require a ballast or they will not light (these can sometimes be contained within the fixture).  Home depot sells some HID fixtures, but they also sell fixtures that use lamps known as "Halogen" or "Quartz Halogen" that are not HID (or Metal Halide or HQI).  It sounds to me like you got a Halogen type.  If the lamp is a thin (3/8" or so) tube about 5" long with ceramic ends and a coiled filament inside, this is Halogen, and you will not be able to find suitable aquarium type lamps.  Please do clarify and we can go from there. You can put my name in your subject line to be sure I get your follow up. Adam> 

Quartz halogen lamps from Home Depot 1/14/03 Ya I think your right Adam they are quartz halogen lights. So there is no way  I could use a HQI bulb with the floodlight I have. Darn it I thought all I  had to do know was to buy the HQI bulb. <If it was that cheap and easy, everyone would be doing it!> If this isn't a possible way to reef  lighting is there any other way that I could use. <You could use these, but they are not as efficient as florescent of metal halide (more heat for the same amount of light), and they may not look very good, but your corals probably won't care.> You talked about those hid lamps  at Home Depot as well. Is there any to my needs that I could use. Is there any  floodlights that are made for metal halides and could use a aquarium metal halide  on them without no difficulties. Thanks Adam for clearing up my question. <You could use some of the products for home depot with aquarium lamps, but by the time you have modified the products, replaced the lamps, etc, it just isn't worth it.  Adam>

A Suggestion x 2 I've just finished reading your book about Reef Invertebrates and I look forward to reading the next two volumes.   <Thanks kindly... we're looking forward to delivering vol. 2 later this summer> Based on what I read in the book plus some articles on your website, I have a question on lighting and water movement. I'm running a 125 gal tank with four 96 watt Compact Smartlights (Custom Sea Life).  I was running the 50 percent antic and 50 percent white in each bulb.  Your book mentions normal life in the aquarium is captured near the surface and probably doesn't need the antic blue.   <correct... your lighting scheme is attractive, but likely bluer than you need. No worries either way if growth is not primary> So, I'm thinking of changing two of the bulbs to the 10,000K daylight bulbs and keeping two of the 50/50 bulbs.  It's a community tank with live rock and sand, some coral such as mushrooms, star polyps, a couple of leathers, and it has some inverts such a cleaner shrimp, sand sifter star, peppermint shrimp, hermit crab, serpent star, and a few fish such as yellow tang, mated pair clownfish (which lay eggs about once a month), cleaner wrasse, anyway, that's the jest.  I think I'd get better light with at least two 10,000K daylights. Any thoughts? <agreed> On water circulation, based on the advice in your book, I added another power head to break up the linear flow I had before.  I'm already seeing improvements!   <outstanding!> The question is, I heard that in their natural environment, most fish and such find quiet places to sleep at night, but in an aquarium, there normally aren't places like that and so it's best to turn off the power heads at night.   <not at all... and not exactly true either. The ocean does not have a bedtime per se, not can the fishes find quiet harbor at will... but even if that were true, that calmest seas are far more dynamic than our aquaria. Shutting off the power heads at night could be very harmful. At least reducing gas exchange and oxygen saturation> The only circulation and water movement at night is from the return line from the sump.  So, I've had my power heads on the same timer with the lights.  With your emphasis on water circulation, I just wanted to make sure this is sound, or should I keep the power heads on at night? <max water flow full time please... the fishes will be fine :)> Thanks for a great book and good website information! Bob <with kind regards, Anthony>

- Lighting - Hello crew!! Wish u guys all the best for this year.. May I direct this question to Jason C. <At your service...> I'm the one with the Blackback Butterfly who's not eating except for brine shrimp. I tried sneaking in some mysis, still wouldn't try. <Give it time.> From time to time nibbling on Angel Formula. He's in good health and fat so :) always greeting me when I come home. Happy to say I got the approval to upgrade the tank after we move. Yes, I am currently reading your FAQs on moving the systems. Just to let you know, I caught a WetWebMedia disease. Got to go visit the site everyday (gotta have it man!). I'm thinking of getting at least 250 - 300 gallons, haven't decided yet if I would go with glass or acrylic? <Benefits/drawbacks to each.> My current one is acrylic (Sea Clear) I think. I know with this size it would be cheaper to get a glass, <Much more so.> But I have this thing on my head that they're too sensitive. <? Not sure what you mean.> I just need to hear your opinion to clear this up or to say it's okay. <Either option is fine... glass or acrylic.> Last one, my lights blew out last night. Problem... I'm having a hard time here in Australia finding a place except for LFS not really I was advised to purchase a whole new unit.  Why? I'm from L.A. I brought all my equipment, and? it's 240w here. <I think you mean volts, yes?> My light unit has to run with a transformer. <Yes, you are likely better off replacing your current lighting system with something built to run on the local current.> I'm totally confused I have 2 fluorescent which house in a nice unit that came with the tank. I am reading the FAQs on lighting but its all alien to me. Never really pay much attention on lights due to faq that I'm a FOWLR guy. <Then there's no need to pay much attention - fish don't really care what type of lighting you use, as long as it's consistent.> There's is a power compact unit which is almost the same price as 4 fluorescent rubber fixtures. When I get the big tank I'm planning on having that as a FOWLR and have the old converted to a reef good plan but I'm not sure. I hope I doesn't sound annoying but with my undecided brain should I go for the compact or fluorescent? <It's your choice... either would be fine.> I'm thinking if I use 4 fluorescent it should be enough for LPS. <Mmm... probably not. If we're talking corals instead of fish, then yes you need to be more discriminating about the light - at the very least VHO or Power Compact fluorescents would be required for LPS corals.> I am now conducting intelligence gathering on Mission Corals. Well actually I think I really have to research more on lights. Hehehehe! Hope you have a prosperous New Year.... <You as well.> *Dan* <Cheers, J -- >

- FOWLR Lighting - I wrote earlier this week about a problem, but I'm not sure if the email went through or if you have been backed up and unable to respond. Anyhow, the question I had was about the lighting for my 72g Oceanic (23" height).  The lighting I currently have is the typical Twin tube strip light that accommodates 2 48" bulbs with a polished aluminum reflector (AGA light, Oceanic tank).  The bulbs I am using are a 50/50 Actinic/Daylight 6000k and a 10000k daylight. I will eventually have a FOWLR tank w/90 lbs of live rock, assorted hardy inverts, and 5-6 small, peaceful fish. From what I have been reading in 'CMA' and other sources, the lighting I currently have may not be strong enough to sustain some of the life that may grow on the live rock. Is this the case? <I don't think so... do believe this will be plenty of light for a FOWLR tank. The live rock will do fine.> If so, what type of lighting would I be able to use along with the canopy I purchased w/the tank (Space/heat concerns)? <You could upgrade to Power Compacts or VHO if you wanted more lighting intensity, but I don't think it's necessary.> If not possible to use w/the canopy, then possibly something that will rest safely upon the glass top? Any recommendations are more than welcome. Thank you very much. -Brian <Cheers, J -- >

Lighting question 1/8/03 Your website is fantastic. Over the years it has given me excellent, commercially unbiased, info that has contributed to the success of my reef <Very good to here!  Thanks for the kind words.> I have a 75 gal reef with LPS and soft corals. My 4x96watt PC hood just had a ballast go on the fritz. I am not sure what hood to replace it with. <Have you considered replacing just the ballast?  Your local electrical/lighting supply should be able to find you a suitable replacement, and if you aren't handy, will probably install it for you as well.> Should I get the same type or go with a 6x54watt T5 unit. I hear praises for the T5 technology. How long do their bulbs last? Would they put out enough light for SPS corals or clams? I am hesitant to buy a MH hood because of over-heating issues...I don't have the space or money for a chiller <I think the verdict is still out on T5.  The performance advantages they offer come mostly from the physical size of the lamp and the reflectors, not from improved efficiency.  If they don't catch on in the hobby, replacement lamps will remain expensive and hard to find.  It is a poor generalization to say that SPS require high light.  Most do fine under VHO or equivalent (PC, T5) as long as you have enough lamps (you do).  Clams can also be kept under that lighting, but they would have to be in the upper 10 or so inches of the tank.> Your help is greatly appreciated. <Glad to!  Adam>

Lighting Choices 1/5/2004 Hello, <Hi. Steve Allen tonight.> I have been reading your site tonight and it looks like you are doing a great job answering questions. <Thanks, a lot of people have put a lot more work into this wonderful tool than I have.> I know I appreciate the wealth of information. <I've learned much here myself.> I am very new to the reef aquarium hobby.  I am setting up a new aquarium (72 Gallon bow front).  I am trying to decide on lighting.  I am looking at either a 48" Custom Sealife power compact/moon-Lite or a 48" Coralife Aqualight dual linear strip.  Which is better and why. <OK. I'll assume you have studied up a little on the various choices: MH, PC, VHO, T5 and such. If not, do check the lighting articles on WWM. PCs, which both of your choices are, should be adequate for corals with low to moderate light requirements. If you want FOWLR, you can choose a less expensive set-up. If you want high-light corals, you need something better.> <Now to the question at hand. I am not aware of an objective comparison of the two. I can tell you that the Custom SeaLife bulbs enjoy a better reputation for consistency of light output and lifespan. I have the Moonlight product and  am very satisfied. I'd suggest you search the FAQs for these products and perhaps post a thread on WetWebFotos to seek the experiences of others. Hope this helps.>

Re: lighting 1/8/03 Thanks for the help,  I am running two 36" power compact fluorescent strip lights made by All-Glass on my marine system.  It is a FOWLR and the bulbs are 10,000 k premium-daylights.  Recently I was shopping a LFS and told that these units by All-Glass are very poor and in fact safety hazards.  I do have a pane of glass in between my lights and the water.  They do state on the box that they are not to be used over open water (I'm assuming that the glass offers a sufficient barrier even though the entire top of my system is not covered). <I would guess that the pane of glass is exactly what All-Glass had in mind between the water and the lights and that it does offer sufficient barrier.> My question is have you heard any such claims or is the LFS just trying to get me to buy another product? <I have not heard about any safety issues with these lights, but that doesn't mean that one doesn't exist.  Even if there is not a widespread problem, you LFS may have a legitimate reason for their statement.  I would contact All-Glass about any safety issues and for a recommendation to protect the lights from splashes, falling into the tank, etc.  I would think that All-Glass would be forthcoming concerning any safety issues for liability reasons.> Also they claim this is improper lighting for my system and that I should be running a 50/50 bulb which would include actinic, is this true I'm interested in maintaining some macroalgae growth? They suggest buying the smart lamp which is 50/50. <In terms of growing algae, any light will do.  The algae will only care about intensity.  As for actinic or 50/50, this is purely aesthetic and a matter of personal preference.  Many people find that a bluer appearance is pleasing and that actinics make the colors of their fish "pop" more.  HTH!  Adam> Thanks again.

More on Lighting Choices (1/6/2004) Thanks.  I would like to have enough lighting to be able to do whatever I decide to add.  What would you recommend? <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm  Base your choice on what you want to keep as per the linked article. Read the FAQs as well. I really like my PCs, but I have no clams or SPS corals. If you go with MH, cost is likely higher, but you can put any of the high-intensity requiring corals under them. In fact, they may be too bright for low-light species. How high/low you place the corals in the tank matters too. I can assure you that PCs & VHOs put out plenty of heat. The CSL Moonlight is a very nice product. I run mine over a plastic grate rather than a glass top for better light transmittance. There is a broad range of corals you could keep under these in a 72.> Keeping in mind that I would like to keep the expense down as much as possible but still have enough lighting.  I considered MH but I am not sure that I want to take the canopy off the top of the aquarium.  <There are ways to do MH with a canopy, but you'll need fans, perhaps even a chiller if you live in a hot place and have no A/C. Read more about MH on WWM. I always recommend seeking multiple inputs/opinions before making a decision.> I have a cat in the house and I am worried about the cat trying to get into the top of the aquarium if it is uncovered.  Your advice is welcome and appreciated. <You might want to seek the experiences/ideas of others on wetwebfotos.com as well.>  Thanks again! <You're welcome, Steve Allen.>

Another lighting question 1/2/04 WWM Crew, Happy New Year hope all is well. I am trying to decide which type of lighting fixture to go with on my 90 gal. reef tank. 4 x 96W CF's or 4 x 110W VHO's. I don't plan on keeping any clams or the more difficult type SPS's, just mainly soft leather, mushroom, polyps for the most part. Would you be kind enough to explain what the advantages/disadvantages of each would be.  Thank you kindly - Kevin <there is little difference between the potential quality of light between proven lamps of appropriate color (6500-10K likely) among the choices here. I personally favor the VHOs over PCs for value and aesthetics. Perhaps a better contrast for you to examine is an affordable T5 fluorescent set up or simply a smaller wattage halide... the double ended HQI lamps  (100 watters for example) are easily some of the all around best reef lighting that money can buy. We have many articles on reef lighting here on WetWebMedia.com if you care to read/browse them. Best of luck, Anthony>

Different Country- Same Confusion! (Lighting Confusion) Dear aquarists, <Hi there. Scott F. here today!> I live here in Beijing China and have been keeping or well trying to keep a marine aquarium for the last year.  I've read both "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and "Natural Reef Aquariums" from cover to cover and keep them as my Bible here. <Two of my favorite books, along with Anthony's Book of Coral Propagation"!> My tank is about 110 cm long, 50 cm wide and 70 cm tall with about 8 cm of nice Philippine substrate (not sure of the actual composition) and a plenum under that.  The tank is shaped square at one end and rounded at the other end for viewing all the way around (this makes trouble for clearing because it's not wide enough to center the rocks and then still have room to the glass to get your hand in and clean, however it does make the water do a nice circle around the tank).  Last summer, a lot of my stock died off due to the heat and no chiller. <Sorry to hear that...> Now I just moved house and its winter so I'm trying to get things back in order but as this house is warmer my water temp is around 28 degrees Celsius or so and I think my macro algae is not too happy about this.  So I'm seriously thinking of getting a chiller (an Aquamedic made in China with 0.5 to 1 hp motor is only around $300 USD here) so it might be a nice idea. <At that price- sounds like a GREAT idea!> My big headache these days is the lighting.  I can get nice pendants made in China, 150 W metal halide with 12,000 K made in China bulb, for about $200 USD (two halides and two actinic fluorescents). <A good price> This would be so easy, but I've been really thinking of mixed lighting with 6500 K and 20,000 K.  However as the pendants but the bulbs in tandem and not paired side by side this wouldn't really work. <Yep- you'll get one area bright blue and the other area yellow...They don't blend well in pendants, IMO. Mogul setups without pendants work if you want to try this kind of combo> Also I've bought an imported 250 HQI bulb holer (cost me about 100 USD) and I've never used it, so I'm sort of considering a homemade setup with one 250 W and one 150 W.  However how would you arrange it?  150W 20,000k with 250W 6500K, or 250W 20,000K (as the output is lower) with 150W 6500k? <Well, I'd stick to one bulb color with HQI pendants. However, if you're inclined to try, I'd use the 250w as the "center" bulb, and use the 20000k. Again, however, you may not like the aesthetics (or lack thereof) when you mix different bulb combos in pendants> Or what about 250W 13,000K with 150W 20,000K or 250W 13,000K with 150W 6500K?  Or would you just say skip it and go with the Chinese pendant and two 150 W bulbs and then replace the Chinese bulbs with 13,000 W Aquamedic or Arcadia bulbs (I think I could get them here)? <Really, I'd recommend all one spectrum. Assuming you are keeping fairly demanding corals and inverts, you'd be best overall with the Aqualine (Aquamedic) "10,000k" bulb in all three units (a 250w in the center flanked by 2 150watters). You could always add some supplemental PC or fluorescent if you desire a "bluish" tint to the light> I'm a little concerned about the tank being quite deep.  I've not really got access to SPS here but I've had clams and elegance coral, hammerhead coral, and still have a magnificent anemone (it was really pretty and was very healthy until last summer and now has lost its deep pink color with and is a faded pink also the tentacles are faded, by the way is there any hope to get the color back). <Excellent water quality and good lighting...I like the 10000ks for this> So I'd like to keep these sorts of inverts, as they are easy to acquire here.  Do you have any good suggestions for me? <I do recommend the 10000k as the best "all-around" choice for many of the animals that you describe, particularly in a deep tank. I don't think it would be out of place to recommend that you go with all 250w units if you are really concerned, but for a tank less than 30 inches, a 150 HQI can still work well for many animals> If you write back I hope that you will keep my mail for reference so that I may ask further questions in the future as I'm sure that I'll have many more to come. <We're always here for you!> If you have any questions about the hobby here in China (by the way I'm from Canada, near Toronto) please ask away.  Hopefully we could write to each other more often in the future.  Take care and best regards. Sincerely, Greg Wollner <Greg- it's a pleasure to hear about the hobby in China. It really is a worldwide obsession for many people!> ps. Oh- another question, I'm always dealing with a lot of micro algae in the brown variety, could this have anything to do with the cheap metal halide I'm running (its about 1 year old and only about 4000~4500K) or is it more because of the water being too warm or a combination of both (but which would be more likely to influence).  Sorry I'm not sure exactly about my water parameters but I don't have easy access to good test kits. <Well, usually nuisance algae are caused by a combination of light and excessive nutrients (either from organics or source water). Light alone is not the cause. You can usually reduce or eliminate nuisance algae with good water management, aggressive nutrient export mechanisms (like skimming and use of activated carbon or Poly Filter), and stable environmental conditions. Water testing really is the best way to get a feel for what's going on. Do try to obtain some basic test kits if you can. You can read a lot about algae control on the WWM site. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F> Greg Wollner

12000k wonders 12/30/03 I started with two 175 w 12000k bulbs on a 125 gallon reef, which are supplemented by 4 96 watt PC. I stage on the actinics (2) first then day Glo (2) with my halides being staged on for 4 hours a piece with 1 1/2 hours of overlap. <Sounds like a nice lighting scheme, duplicating the rise and fall of lighting over the natural reef through the day.> I have had some issues with lighting and a noticeable drop off in performance in the 12000k. I have read a number of articles regarding the drop off in performance as well as the inconsistent quality overall with the bulbs. Have you experienced the same? <Depends on the brand.  Many new lamps have come to market in the last few years, and a lot of them are cheaply made and are plagued by inconsistent or poor performance.  As a general rule, the bluer the lamp, the less intensity it produces.> Do you suggest any particular type of night lighting on an aquarium. Form what I have read is that most corals benefit from this light but no one discusses color spectrum. Any suggestions or am I making it over complicated? <I would recommend very low wattage, and wouldn't worry too much about spectrum (something bluer may be aesthetically pleasing).  Do find a way to provide occasional complete darkness since some critters spawning/egg hatching depends on it.> I have read your suggestions regarding K ratings for MH's to be 10000k supplemented with actinic. How much actinic would you suggest for  two 10000k 175 w MH's. I currently have 2 96 w PC actinic and I am wondering if this is enough? Which manufacture would you suggest? <Your current scheme sounds appropriate, but feel free to adjust for your aesthetic preference.  The corals don't care much about color, mostly intensity.> What about 4 50/50 PC to help break up the placement of bulbs on the reflector. The reason for my use of so many PC's are for staging, energy, and heat. <This is really an aesthetic decision.  You have plenty of light for almost any corals, so let what you find to be attractive guide your color choices.> Just for the record, since I have been reading your articles, which rating in your opinion is the best 6500k or 10000k. <6500k lamps produce the most intensity per watt than any other currently available lamp, but some people find the color to be un attractive.  10,000k strike a nice compromise with slightly less intensity but a much more appealing appearance.  If growth is paramount to you, choose the 6500K.  If you don't mind a very slight decrease in growth in exchange for a better look choose the 10's.> Thanks for your time. <No problem!!  Adam> Patrick Hayes

Lighting Retro-fits (12/28/2003) Bob Fenner, <Steve Allen covering tonight> Hi I was just looking to get an opinion on lighting for my 55 gallon reef, I've been trying to get as much info as possible to avoid any mistakes or regrets. <best to plan first, buy later.> Metal Halides won't be an option for me because of my canopy design and I would like to avoid any heating issues I'm in Miami). So I've narrowed down my choices to a 4 x 110 VHO retrofit or 4 x 54 T5 fixture with SLS reflectors. I've seen pictures of European tanks with the T5s and they look great but have never seen a T5 setup personally and the startup is quite a bit more than the VHOs. Which of these setups would you advise for softies and a few SPS? Any help is greatly appreciated. <Well, VHO, T5 (and PC) are excellent technologies. These actually produce a lot of heat too, <<Mmm, actually VHO and T5's are quite cool in operation. RMF>> so you need to have a properly ventilated hood. The best lighting solution really depends on what yo0u plan to keep. Many SPS corals require a lot of light. I'd suggest you read charge: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm  Then go on www.wetwebfotos.com and start a thread to get input from people with a lot of experience with T5's. Hope this helps.> Andy Happy Holidays and all the best in the New Year.

A Light Conversation... I have gotten great advice from you guys before and now I need some advice on arguably the costliest and most controversial aspect of my new tank.  If possible I would really appreciate Anthony's opinion on this subject, but would also like some differing views.   <Scott F. here tonight!> Here is my tank, about 2 months into the design process, I figure it will be done in about a year.  About 300 Gallon  84L x 24W x 37D.  A 7 inch DSB and about two inches of extra space at the top of the tank leave appx 28 inches of water.  I don't intend to have the tank filled within a year, like most I see.  Rather I will be taking my time and allowing corals to grow, while still leaving plenty of swimming space for my beloved fish. <Great idea!> Only 200 lbs of LR will be used, this should leave me with plenty of room for many years to watch the inhabitants grow.  Other than fish this will be a clam and SPS tank.  I am not looking for extraordinary growth, but would like to have healthy colored corals and clams that will be beautiful for many years.  The clams will not be on the substrate but will be a few inches higher.  The remainder of the SPS corals will be at all different heights in the tank.  What do you suggest for lighting?  My local fish store insists that 2 175 watt 10k Ushios on an electronically moving track will work just fine.  As long as I use electronic ballasts (icecap 20% overdriving the bulbs) and good reflectors (sunlight supply reef-optics).  I agree that two bulbs will work perfect if on a moving track (thanks for that article Anthony), but I have yet to see an SPS system of this size with this little lighting. <The track concept is an exciting and under-utilized idea, IMO. However, if it were me, I'd go for higher-wattage bulbs, like 250 watts. I use and highly recommend the Reef Optix III pendants with Ice Cap ballasts and double-ended HQI bulbs. They are highly efficient, and really easy to use. I've had great results with Aqualine 10000ks in this configuration, and have been experimenting with some new 20000k bulbs as well. Aesthetically, I prefer the look of 20000ks, but I think that the 10000k's offer the better PAR values> I do agree with him on the use of 3 or 4 T5s with electronic ballasts as supplemental lighting, 420nm, 450nm and possibly their 60/40 for better non-halide viewing.  If this set up will work how long should the halides be on for,  just 6 or 8 hours, or can I have them on for 10 to accommodate better viewing? <I would go with the full 10 hour photoperiod for all of your lights. In my opinion, there is no real advantage (other than energy consumption/heat issues of burning the halides for a shorter duration.> If you think that this is too little light how about 2 250 HQI 10k in a Reef Optix III, electronic ballast, on the same moving track? <That's my recommendation> I think it would be great if 175s would work, save me money up front and ongoing. <Again, in my opinion, the cost differential between 250watt HQI's and 175watt mogul bulbs is not that great, particularly if you're using an efficient electronic ballast, like the Ice Cap. And, I think that you will see the difference in your coral growth over time.> But I also really want all of the SPS corals with the bright pigmentation, and want Maxima clams. <Yep-go for the 250 watt bulbs.> Thanks again for all your hard work and experience. <My pleasure! Hope this helps. Please let us know how things progress. Regards, Scott F>

Lighting Hi Anthony <Adam here today!> I am planning to redo my reef lighting but I need your advise  I have a custom made canopy. it is 48''long 15''wide and 10''tall I would like to  have a little bit of everything mushrooms, leathers, <I am assuming that this is for a 55 or 75 gallon tank.  Do you plan on keeping any stonies, particularly any "SPS"?> I have a 1, 100 watt MH or upgrade to a 1 175 watt MH  ballast <you will have a much easier time finding lamps for aquarium use in 175w, but 100w would be OK for such a shallow tank, especially for Shrooms and soft corals.> and I have a 660 icecap ballast do you have a diagram or a pic to see how to do it? <No diagram necessary!  Most folks put the halide in the center with fluorescents front and back.  In your case, though, unless you plan on keeping very high light corals, 4 x 48" VHO should be plenty of light for almost anything you want to keep and will save heat and electricity.> and what wattage on the blues. <I would use all VHO with the Icecap ballast, and the amount of blue is very much personal preference.  Corals don't care what color the light is, only how much they get.  Most folks like the appearance of half actinic lamps and half daylight.  If you like more or less blue, adjust accordingly.> I thank you again.  Genaro Happy holidays to all of you. <Always a pleasure, and Happy Holidays to you!  Adam>

Lighting a Small Reef (12/23/2003) <Steve Allen filling in tonight.> Great!  Thanks for the quick response...honestly, I was leaning towards the Remora and your comments convince me it is the way to go.  Seems like great customer service from a US company.  Thanks for the advice on the live rock. As for lighting - yes, I know the options are limited in 24".  What would be the ideal wattage for the 40 gal to give me max future flexibility for corals?  I think that I can get a fixture with the 2 X 65W and 1metal halide....or just the two 2 X 65W. <Well, it really depends on what you want to keep. Softies or LPS ought to be fine under the PCs. Clams & SPS would probably need the MH. If you go with the PC/MH combo in such a small tank, you must be prepared to dissipate the heat. Do read the excellent WWM articles on lighting. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm > Hope this helps Rick.

Cheap-o Lights -- Does He Need Better? <12/18/2003) Hi, <Greetings, Steve Allen here tonight.> I just bought a 125 gallon tank with a stand, hood, lights, etc. My question concerns the lights. The lighting system is pretty cheap and I was wondering if 10,000?K lights and Ultra-Actinic lights would work in the fixture. Cheers, Kevin. <Kevin:  Your cheap lights are probably standard-output (SO) fluorescent strip lights. If this is the case, you cannot put any other kind of light in the fixture. The only way to upgrade to some other type of light is with a retro-fit kit that includes reflectors, sockets, ballasts and such that would fit into the existing hood. The lighting you need depends on what you aim to keep. For a FOWLR, the SO strip lights are fine. You only need what looks good to you. For corals, you need better lights. Start here for info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm>

- Lighting - Hello Bob or Jason <Jason today...> Really getting confusing - the more I learn, the less I understand!! To the point - I hope. An obvious newbie to SW. 125 SW, fish only (a few inverts i.e. crabs shrimp snails) No Corals. I believe (?) this is where fish only ends and reef begins - am I correct.? <In practical terms, yes.> Plan on building my own acrylic sump/refugium (36'x18x15.5) Also an AquaC protein skimmer. My goal is to provide the best water quality possible  for  primarily a fish only tank.  Really love the fish and a lot less interested in the corals, Polychaetes etc. <I can relate to this.> With no corals in mind, plus the understanding of 3-5 watts/gal (500 watts for the main tank), I really want to avoid the $600 lighting situation. In reality, this could make or break the project.  If I go with live rock in the main tank, I'll need a 72' fixture, 4 bulbs , VHO output @ 6500 or 10000 K.  AM I on the right Track????? Any recommendations for a good fixture/bulbs ??   Please get me on the right track! My primary concern is proper lighting for the live rock If I go with live rock in the sump ( is this now a refugium?), I'll be able to reduce to fixture to about 24"  Does this make sense? <No worries. Fish don't really care about light or lighting quality, just consistency. Live rock will do fine under just about any type of lighting. You could probably go with standard output fluorescents and do just fine.> I'll be building my own stand and canopy. Keep seeing the term "retrofit" especially with "existing canopy's. What am I missing here? <Nothing... many canopies come with existing lighting that one might want to retrofit. Again, don't sweat the light too much for the fish-only system.> Really do appreciate your web site and also your advice.    Thanks a lot      Rjshudes      Redding ca. <Cheers, J -- >

Lots of Light- Lots of Confusion! Hi to the Crew and Happy Holidays. <Same to you! Scott F. with you today!> I am considering the purchase of a 48" light fixture with 2 x 175w 10k MH and 2 x 96w CF  or (110 VHO) actinics. The unit has UV shield and 2 fans. My question is where to place it? Per other articles on WWM, MH's should be 10 inches above the surface and CF's should be only a few inches. I would think the MH's would "fry" a 75 gal tank if only a few inches off the surface. If I  suspend it 10" off the surface will the CF bulbs provide any benefit? Thanks for your help. <Good question! It certainly seems to be a confusing issue, doesn't it? If it were me, I'd consider a few things. First- if you are planning on keeping high-light-loving corals, anemones, or clams, then I would suspend the fixture just a few inches (like 6 to 8 inches) off the surface of the water. I personally use metal halide pendants, and I suspend them about 8 inches above the water, and run cooling fans in the canopy in which they are installed. I've experienced great SPS results and no excessive heat problems. I'm more concerned for the potential of "melting" the acrylic top (assuming the tank is acrylic) or excessive heat buildup than I am about damaging corals (assuming that you're not talking about lower-light loving animals). The PC's (you correctly call them "CFs" in your query-I still call 'em PC's!) will provide a minor benefit, anyways, in my opinion, when used with halides. That benefit is mainly aesthetic, as far as I'm concerned; adding some actinic if you're running 1000k daylight-colored halides. Seems like the first step is to consider the needs of the animals that you'll be keeping, and configuring your lighting to suit them. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott F.>

Lots of Light- Lots of Confusion (Pt. 2) Scott, <Hey there> Thank you for the fast reply! <You're quite welcome!> May I add a little more confusion to the question? How about the new T5's? I was also looking at the 6 x 54w for a 75 gal tank. I have never seen one in operation but hear that they are close to MH  (little heat) and better than CF. I have searched the Web and it seems that those who have them, like them. Do you think they would be sufficient for SPS and clams placed near the top of the tank? Thanks again. <I have seen the T5's, and have used one of the retrofit lights. They are definitely a solid lighting methodology. I saw a vendor's setup at MACNA in Louisville with 8 (I think) T5's over a frag tank, and the intensity (at least visually) was every bit as impressive as metal halide! I have not seen any PAR tests or other technical reviews of these units as of yet, but the initial hobbyist reports are encouraging. I'd contact one of the major "players" in the US T5 market, such as Sunlight Supply, as they may be able to give you some technical data and feedback on the bulbs. Also, do check with some of your fellow hobbyists on the WWM Chat Forum to get some feedback! T5 is an exciting, economical light system that definitely has its place in the hobby. As more and more versions of the bulbs and ballasts become available, I think that we'll see and hear more about them! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

About my lighting - 12/15/03 Gentlemen and ladies thank you for the most excellent work I've learned much and read you nightly at work. <Thank you very much for the kind words> My question is in regard to lighting I have a 55 gal. Reef tank with 5 inch DSB My water clarity and elements are on the mark. I also run CPR veggie fuge I also do 24.7 reef carbon in my return on my skimmer box from my Remora for water clarity and to protect against chemical fights. <Good idea> As far as my light set up I run a Jalli Hood Power Compact 4x55 watt setup 2 10,000k and 2 03's actinics. <Allllll righty then> I want to get more growth If I were to go 2 50/50  10,000k / 03 added with my 2 straight 10,000k bulbs would the extra white light from the 50/50 give me an extra punch to increase growth of my corals. <Sorry, I may have missed this but what kind of corals are we talking about??>  Or am I just dreaming here and should just stick with straight 03's plus my 2 10,000k's. <I don't use any actinics on my SPS tank. Not really sure I am seeing any more growth than when I had actinics but this is also how we display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium as well. You could just add more lighting (another 55 watts to the scenario) as well, but more spectrum might make a difference for growth. In other words, maybe one 10000 one 20000 one 5500 and one 6500 but again not sure if this will actually make a difference. Experiment. Let us know. Look through some our articles and see what is discussed there> Oh and I do feed my stock every other day. <Very good. ~Paul> Thanks in Advance, Lawrence C Salazar.

Re: Lighting for a 75 gallon reef 12/10/03 Hi again, <Hi Aaron.  Adam here to try and help out> Here is my problem.  I am trying to decide the light fixture that I should go with.  Cooltouchlighting.com (may be aquariumlights.com now) seems to have very reasonable prices for metal halide and VHO hoods.  Do you have any experience with this company/heard anything about them. <I have not dealt with this company, but like any mail order purchase, I would suggest trying to track someone down who has and learn about their experience.> I am going to have LR/LS and want to keep a variety of soft corals, sps, and maybe a clam.  I also was thinking about an anemone, but some of the posts cautioned against corals and anemones together.  The tank is 18 1/2 inches high and will have a 4 inch sandbed.   <Anemones are poor choices as a rule.  Survival is abysmal even for advanced aquarists.  If you must have one, consider a dedicated display.  Strictly in terms of lighting though, only H. Magnifica (the magnificent or Ritteri anemone) requires truly outrageous amounts of light.  Generally, the rest of the animals listed above can be kept under any of the choices of lighting you are considering in a tank of that depth.  I will add the disclaimer that no one lighting regime will provide proper lighting for every animal.  Some require very high light, and some will not tolerate very bright light.> Would dual 175 watt metal halides be optimal?  Would 250 watt be to much?  If metal halide would be overkill, would a 4x110 watt VHO work better. <175W halides are not overkill if you plan on leaning heavily toward SPS and clams, but in such a shallow tank, 250's probably would be a bit of overkill (IMO).  The VHO's would be adequate for 90% of the animals you would ever want to keep (this is coincidentally what I personally use on my 24" deep tank with a wide variety of softies and stonies).  Keep in mind that as you increase light to be able to keep higher light animals, you may make it difficult to keep lower light animals like Blastomussa, Trachyphyllia, some Euphyllias.> I also looked at 4x65 watt PC (obviously the least expensive initially). <I personally do not like PC's for their variable quality, multiple standards and high replacement costs, but this is a subjective choice.  If initial cost is a very important consideration then PC's may be for you.> Aesthetically is it better to have a couple of VHO's with the metal halide as a combo hood.  They have a dual 175 watt halide/2x110 VHO combo (the hood I am leaning towards), but I don't want overkill or to waste money/electricity.  I have read the posts and some of this seems to be a personal choice, if that is the case I will choose, however I want to be sure that all of the light fixtures will be intense enough to support the type of reef I am trying to build. <As I said above, any of these choices will provide adequate light.  Aesthetics are totally subjective, so try and see some tanks and what they are running and replicate what you like.  Don't forget to consider heat management, particularly with halides.> Thank you so much for any input.  Aaron <Glad to be of assistance.  Adam>

Bringing Up The Lights! Good morning, and again thank you for all of your help , I just moved into a  180 reef ready from a 75 gal and every one seems to be doing well . <Glad to hear that!> I guess I need to be told  what I should do. Or what would be the best thing to do? My lighting for the 180 is 4 x96 watts 2 white 2 blue inside the hood, and I just put in 2 4-inch fans to keep it cool. The problem is, I have 3 LTA which still have their color ,a good red base and brown top  with a green tint. <Sounds pretty> I feed them 3 times a week; its important too me to keep doing things right. Since almost every move I've done in the beginning was wrong, I started my tank from day one with the LTA and its been almost 6 months now. ( Paul,  there still doing well. I'm glad for your advice). OK- yes I've read all the links, I would like to know will it be ok to add 4 more pc lights which I already have: 2 white and 2 blue (96 watts),  making it a total  of 768 watts. Is this too much light? <Not in my opinion. Anemones need very intense lighting for optimum coloration and health. Just make sure that you acclimate the anemones to any light intensity increases> What would you do ?  If you say to put in MH, can I put them in the hood ? Or will it burn up? <Well, I would have started with metal halides, myself-but a lot of PC lights will get you close. As far as the mounting of MH in your hood- it all depends on the dimensions, venting, etc...You'd be best to consult someone at a LFS who can look at your setup and advise you better...Safety first, here> Yes, there's just enough room in the hood to fit 4 more PC's. <Well, try the PC's, but take into account the heat that they exude, too...> Again, thank you very much. Stephen <You're quite welcome, Stephen. Regards, Scott F>

Reef Light Upgrade 12/4/03 Thanks Anthony.  Currently I have a leather, a wide spread of pulsing xenia, button polyps and a brain coral.  I would eventually like to have 1 or 2 clams.   <this can be summarized as a medium light tank re: needs... just keep the clams in the top 12" if T. crocea or maxima> If I did go with 1 175w fixture, how can I avoid the middle brace at the top of the tank?  Placing the bulb in the middle would make the brace right in the way.  Any suggestions? Surfs Up! Jason <the answer is easier than you think, my friend... don't put the lamp over the center of the tank. Seriously. There is no reefer rule book that says all lights must be placed evenly spaced and on center, and all corals must be evenly disbursed underneath in balanced symmetry. Just put the light off center... and use it to make a nifty dramatic effect... high light corals on one side... low(er) light corals on the other. Or perhaps a high rockscape on the halide side... trailing to an open sand area on the other for free-living corals like Fungiids, Elegants, etc. Use your imagination my friend. Else, get 2 100-watt double ended HQI lamps for either side of the tank. Best regards, Anthony>

Lighting Questions 12/4/03 About 6 Months ago I upgraded my reef tank from a 55 gal tank to an AGA 90 gal 48Lx18Dx24H. I am using a 3-4" deep sand bed. Tank inhabitants include xenia, Zoanthids, leathers, Sinularia, mushrooms Ricordea, LPSs brain coral, and two small sps frags from GARF, one Acropora one Montipora, 2 clown fish and 3 green reef Chromis. I currently have 40w fluorescent bulbs 1 Actinic 1 Triton 2 daylight deluxe (F40DX 6500K). <yikes... this is very low light for many of the corals named above. Please do research the needs of your corals before you buy them> I was told that the Acropora frags were grown at GARF under normal output lighting. <indeed... this may well be true, but can only be done in very shallow water (less than 10-12"). Your corals below 10" in this tank are likely suffering for light> The SPS corals are positioned at the top of the tank as are the xenia. Most everything in my tank seems to be doing well. Some of the pulsing pink xenia are dividing and I am seeing growth on the Acropora around the base. <hmmm... good to hear, but have seen many corals seem to do "well" and slowly starve anyway> I want to upgrade my lighting so that I can get some more sps coral frags. Species that I am thinking about include: Acropora (Purple Bonsai), Millepora, Seriatopora (Pink Birds Nest), Bali Staghorn (Green Slimmer). I would also like to get additional xenia and Zoanthid species and possibly a LPSs frogspawn. <please do resist the unnatural mix of LPS with SPS here. Different light, water flow and nutrient needs> I have been reading a lot on the web and on WWM and everyone seems to have different opinions. GARF seem to recommend VHO lighting, there is an article on the Champion Lighting site about VHO lighting and how IceCap won a Stony Coral Challenge a contest that measured the growth and coloration of SPS stony corals), most people on various web forums seem to be using some kind of metal halide, and it appears from reading your faq's that a lot of people want to blast 250-400W lighting on there tanks unnecessarily. <true... too often these high wattage halides are abused> I plan to use 2 NO Actinics from my existing system for dawn to dusk effect. <OK> I am considering three systems: A) 2 - 150W HQI 10K XDE bulbs with an ARO 150/175 e-ballast <the best choice here> B) 2 - 175W 10K Aqualine bulbs mogul base with IceCap e-ballast <still very good> C) 4 - 110W VHO, 2 URI Aqua Sun, 1 URI Actinic, 1 URI White Actinic with an IceCap 660 e -ballast <fine lighting for a shorter aquarium... but not the 90 gall+> All have their advantages / disadvantages. Disadvantages: A) Would require pendants hanging 8-10" above the uncovered tank. Supplemental actinics may be washed out. Most expensive of the three choices. <good things are seldom cheap, and cheap things are seldom good> B) Could be placed in a hood but will generate a significant amount of heat. Supplemental actinics may be washed out. <all lights including VHO produce heat that needs to be vented. Fluorescents must be kept very very close to the water> C) Will not allow show glitter or dappling lines in the tank. Advantages: A) Newest technology lamps should have a good PAR value. Limited lamp selection at this time. <a moot point... the current lamps are of optimal value for most popular reef invertebrates> B) Visible glitter lines, covered tank. Good lamp selection if decide to change. C) Will not significantly increase tank temperature even though it will still require fans. <actually very similar to MH here... for they are higher off the water. You can burn yourself on a VHO I assure you> Good lamp selection. Least expensive of the three choices <not the least expensive... you will pay more in the short run from needing frequent bulb replacements every 6-10 months> I am looking to achieve moderate growth rates but more importantly I wish to maintain a healthy attractive system. Q. Do I have my facts straight? Have I missed anything? <as per above> Q. Can I expect to keep the corals I am interested in with one of these systems? With my existing system? <it is unrealistic and unnatural... do focus on a group, niche or biotope instead for long term success> Q. I have read Bob Fenner's article Marine Lighting: Quality, Quantity & Duration and he states, "Full-Spectrum Fluorescent lighting. In standard" … "is the best available, most appropriate lighting technique for 99.99% of aquarists". Am I to imply from this that I should just continue to use my existing setup and just add a few additional lamps? <not necessarily... the majority of marine aquarists are not reef keepers. The hobby is overwhelmingly dominated by beginners and fish keepers> Q. Is it true that I can expect the metal halide bulbs to last approx 12-18 months and the VHO bulbs to last approx 12 months? <longer on the former and less on the latter> Q. Do you have another lighting recommendation for my tank and inhabitants? <much has been written in the WetWebMedia.com FAQs archived... I also have some very recent articles on lighting posted on the site> Thanks for your help. The WWM web site is great wealth of information keep up the good work. Tim <wishing you the best of luck, Anthony>

Lighting for a 75g - 12/2/03 Hey Guys, <Hiya> I have been reading quite a bit on your site, great info. <I agree>  I am a bit confused from some of the posts. <Uh oh>  I am planning on putting on either the Sealife PC w/Moonlight (4x65) or the Aqualife (4x65).  I don't have a canopy and would attach these directly above the glass canopy. <Are you talking about buying retro fit kits or are you buying hoods??>   From what I've read this will not be sufficient lighting for any anemones. Correct? <Well, I believe this lighting would definitely be way under ideal> I do want to keep a variety of corals (not sure of the types yet) but do not want to be limited to 3 or 4 because my choice of lighting. <Then go with a higher powered lighting system>  I chose the power compacts because of the aesthetics and the intensity, however if it limits me to carefully choosing only a few inhabitants for a 75G reef tank (Berlin system) then I would switch to something else. <I just upgraded to a 250w MH from PFO for my 20 gallon and I think it looks great. No actinics or anything>  As far as the MH, would a couple of 175 watt pendants or a 400 watt 24" light do the trick. <I would personally go with either 2x250 or 3x175 or some mixture. Maybe even 2x400. Max it out!!>  I just don't want to exclude a large number of species solely because I have insufficient lighting. <Totally agree! That is why I upgraded as well>  Oh yeah, do I lose any intensity from the light by keeping the glass lid on my tank? <Keep it clean. I don't believe you lose much at all>   I really don't think that I want to have an open system. <I understand. I have an open system myself but in most cases I wouldn't for safety reasons such as splashing of the bulbs or electrical issues from close proximity to moisture>  Thank you for any advice. <It's what we do. Happy holidays ~Paul>

Changing Lighting Hello Crew: <hi> It has been a while.  I have a 58 gallon reef tank and currently have a total of 95 watts of lighting on top.  I am thinking of upgrading with a CustomSeaLife PowerCompact/Moon-Lite Fixture to either add or replace the existing 65 watt SmartLight and 30 watt oceanic stock light with the 192 watt fixture.  My concern is that I have some polyp corals and a colt coral that have been in the tank for a considerable time.  Will they experience an irreversible shock if I upgrade the lighting? <no, but take some precautions just to be safe. there are a couple of things you can do, take 2 layers of screen like what is in your window) place them on top of the tank and remove 1 layer each week. Also you can cut down the amount of light each day (say if your light are on for 8 hours a day, cut them down to 6hours run for a week then increase by one hour until you get back to where you were.> Should I supplement or should I replace the existing lighting? <go with the new fixture Mike H> Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks again for the wonderful assistance you provide.

96W PC Hood w/ a 175W MH Pendant Hi Crew, <hello> I've been using a 96W 50/50 Hood to light my 45 Gal FOWLR set up for almost a year now.  I'm really wanting to add more color to the setup and was considering some (just a couple) corals. My LFS had recommended soft corals because of my lighting.  Most of these corals lack the colors I'd like to bring into the tank.  I was considering adding a 175W MH pendant to the setup to increase the available lighting and get more choices in corals.  Is this a good move? <yes>   I was planning to hang it over the center of the tank, toward the rear glass.  The PC hood takes up the entire front half of the tank.  Is this location ok for the MH pendant? <yes you will have to place the corals toward the back.> Oh, by the way, there is the front/rear glass support strap (plastic) running across this location as well.  Will the MH heat damage this support? <yes it can. Move pendant off to one side to avoid this. They also make halides in small boxes like what you have now but maybe 12"long by 6" deep) that you can lay on top of the tank. MikeH> Appreciate your help with this!  You guys/gals are terrific! Rick

Lighting (11-28-03) hello crew! <Howdy, Sorry for the delay.> I am a great fan of yours you have helped me a lot. I have a 60w x 18deep x 24 tall tank. I will only have live rock perhaps some low to medium light soft corals if any. my question is can I get by with 48" wide 4x65 watt lights by custom sea life. or perhaps 48" 4x96 watts. the reason I ask is because with my custom canopy and installed cooling fans I have an inside width dimension of 58 3/4" and most 60" retros are 59" what do you think? if I had to I guess I could recess the fans a bit to give me more clearance. thanks for any input.<You should be ok with the 48" although I would go with the 96 watters.  You could also hang the light to make sure it hits everything.  Cody> - Lighting Question - Hello !  I just discovered your site not long ago and what an information gold mine. I recently bought a 70 gallon tub 36x18 x24.It has 4in. live sand and probably 80+ lbs. live rock. Equipment wise I have 2 T4 velocity pumps for circulation on alternating timers just for flow purposes piped in closed loops. <Hmm... am concerned you will foreshorten the life of these pumps using them in this way - they're not really made for short duty cycles but instead for continuous use. Would suggest you use SQWD's or something similar.> I have a Kent turbo skimmer behind an overflow dam to keep a constant sump level there. I also run a smaller off brand skimmer (since I had left over from a previous tank). The sump is rigged as a settling filter. Sump levels are determined by how much I open up the mag7 return pump, and it has auto makeup water. Next step is the lighting and I'm pretty confused by all the claims, types etc. Was considering this, 2 metal halides on a motor driven track mounted perpendicular to tank length, in the 250 watt range. One in the 12k gender and one in the 14k. Plus some 3ft.VHO actinics. Does this sound acceptable? <Should work.> Will the tank be too blue? <Everyone's eyes are different... to my eye everything over 10K is yellow.> I plan on keeping sps, LPSs, zoos, and mushrooms but no fish. <You may have problems with this mix as chemical warfare among the occupants will certainly ensue - consider either SPS or LPS. Likewise, strong lighting will likely be more than many LPS can handle.> LFS has a 48x24x24 tank with mixed livestock, and pretty much the same setup except he has 400w bulbs. Once in awhile he bleaches a specimen and an occasional outbreak of hair algae. <This can happen for many reasons that have nothing to do with lighting.> Please advise. Thanks guys, Cecil <Cheers, J -- >

- Lighting Question - Hi Guys, I have a 55gal reef setup, 18 inch depth but with 5 inches of sand for a DSB.  Currently I have a Coralife PC light fixture with 2 10K bulbs and 2 actinic.  I would like to get a little more light to some of my corals.  They are all softies now and I will probably stick with the softies.  I was wondering if it would be advisable to switch the two actinics to two 50/50 bulbs.  What do you think? <Won't make much difference except to your eye - you're not actually changing the amount of light but the spectrum which in this case won't change much. Still... this is your call.> Jerry <Cheers, J -- >

- Lighting - Hello crew! Thank you for all your past help. Got one for you. I have a 60 x 18 deep x 24 tall tank. I plan on making it a FOWLR with the exception of a few low to medium light soft corals, some sand sifting stars and snails.  The way my canopy is set up with the cooling fans it only allows me space for 58" wide or 48" wide power compact retros which I plan on installing. Would the 4x65 watts or 4x96 watts made by Custom Sea Life be ok? <Sure.> 2-10k white and 2- true actinic 03 be ok? <Sure.> What do you suggest? <What you have in mind sounds fine.> Will 48" wide retros be enough? <For "a few medium light corals" this should be fine, provided you stick to your plan.> Any input would surely help... Thanks again guys <Cheers, J -- >

Lights WWM Crew/Guru's Read your site about 1 h our/per day on average (over the past 6 months) learning what I can before setting up my first salt tank.; (10 yrs experience with cichlids in a 29gal) Read Bob's book every night at bedtime, have read cover to cover many times.. I have the following questions: Want to start with FOWLR and some Discosoma for a year or so, (to get my marine bearings). I would then begin to add soft corals, and if all goes well start clams and SPS in a couple of years. Only want to buy major components once if possible. Is there an advantage to a 90 gal vs. 75 gal? <bigger water volume and more places to put coral> Both have the same surface area. Looking down the road with 384 watts of Hamilton pc, I think this would accommodate SPS/clams in a 75 but not too sure about sps/clams in a 90 with 384 watts? <not enough for the 90.you will be able to keep some SPS and clams but it will be limited. If you would like to have a mostly SPS coral and clams I would go with metal halides> If I use a 4" DSB in the 90 however, the SPS/clams should be no more than 20 inches from the light. Will this work? Don't need to "push" the coral, just want to make them healthy and happy. I could also get a Hamilton with 8x55 pc. Would that turn the tide in my favor? <this is more watts, so if the choice is between the 2 get the one with more watts> As far as stocking I would add (I believe in this order (all quarantined for 3 weeks or so)) 1 Scott's fairy wrasse, 1 pair of Perculas, 1 flame and 1 coral beauty (added at the same time) and finally a purple tang. (Would leave out the 2nd dwarf angel if I did the 75 gal). Is this a workable and sensible stocking plan to create a long lived, stable and happy community/tank? <depends on what type of corals you want to keep. Flame angel and coral beauty angels are not 100% reef safe. They will nip at corals and clams. Go with any Genicanthus angel they are 100% reef safe and very cool you will love them MikeH> Thanks for your advice and expertise. I love your web site! Mike

Lighting Today I agreed to buy a 2 year old Oceanic Reef-Ready Tank with Oceanic Black Oak stand and nothing else from someone in the forum. I am purchasing it for $500; is this worth it? <you did not say what size it is> I hope so. My question is what type of lighting I should purchase for this reef tank? What is electronic ballast, how much wattage do I need so to not see my electricity bill double, and one that doesn't require it to be hung? < there are many options in lighting depending on what size tank you are using. search under lighting on this site ,it will give you different options. you will want 4-8 watts per gallon depending on what type of corals you want to keep. Good luck MikeH> Thank you in advance, Peter Lo

- Reef Lighting - Hi WWM Crew, I am in the process of setting up a 112g reef.  The tank measures 72" x 20 " (High) x 18".  I will add ~ 2-3 inches of oolitic live sand as well as ~ 125lbs of live rock.  Within, I would like to keep some LPS, lots of SPS and several clams including Cruces.  I will be using a Euro-Reef ES-8 2, and a 50-60g sump/refugium with lots of current from a sufficiently powerful return pump (aiming for ~ 1200-1500 gph), supplemented (as necessary) with powerheads..   My aim with the lighting for this tank is not to be limited by light, balanced somewhat by price. I am thinking that three 250W halides plus 4 VHOs should be sufficient. If you were setting up a similar system yourself, what would you choose? <Probably something like this. Sound like it will work fine.> Thank you for your generosity and dedication to this hobby.  I have learned invaluable lesson from reading WetWebMedia.com over the last three months. Best Regards, Kevin. <Cheers, J -- >

Marine Lighting issues 11/16/03 Sorry to bother you, but I'm thoroughly confused! I've been reading so much contradictory information about the lightning for marine setups that don't know what to believe anymore.   <it doesn't have to be difficult my friend... you must first identify what you will keep first... THEN you can pick your lighting. If you do so, it will be easy. And bear in mind too that lighting technologies evolve faster than most any other aspect of our hobby. As such... our advice changes over time. Have you read one of our more recent articles on the subject here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marcanopies.htm I don't think I could summarize it any simpler than there at this time> And I'm not talking about the average Joe Aquarist that happens to put information on the Internet: I'm talking about the best of the best in marine aquarium hobby. <OK> I recently bought a second hand 90 gallon tank (standard dimensions) that came with ballasts and connectors for four regular fluorescents, that is 4 x 40 = 160 W of lightning, corresponding to 1.77 W/gallon. If I keep this setup I'll have to make a reflector, but that's not a problem. <this would be regarded as very low lighting by wattage and ability (weak) of SO fluorescents to penetrate water at depth.> I intend to keep fishes with lots of live rock, soft corals, crabs, shrimps and other less demanding invertebrates (no stony corals and no clams that clearly require lots of light). <all correct... and all fine from the above list except that you will be limited by what types of soft corals you can keep... and all such should be placed in the top 12-16" of the tank or so> I would like to get the lightning right first at the first time rather than going with what I have now and upgrade later (that would imply throwing away the current setup and risk to light shock my system and fishes). <at this point, then... you need to make a very specific list of the soft corals you would like to keep... then whittle them down by compatibility... then identify their lighting needs. My advice is to focus on groups instead of an impossible hodgepodge/mix (like Corallimorphs... or leathers... or Zoanthids)> I'd also like to keep my operational costs low if there is no need to go on the expensive side. <this is subjective... halides are the more economical long term option if you factor in lamp life and intensity per watt consumed... but the fluorescents have their appeal. And you need to make a choice between picking your animals and meeting their needs first... or picking your lighting based on economy and adjusting your buying preferences in livestock to meet that hardware.> I will mention below at least two reputable sources that ask for lots of light and two sources that ask for little light: Low light: (1) Bob Fenner in his online article asks for 1-2 W/gallon for my type of system (i.e., no stonies) http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm (2) Michael Paletta in his "The new marine aquarium" recommends 2 fluorescent lamps rather than 1. <and these recommendations will serve new aquarists with low light species very well... the audiences to which both authors spoke/speak> High light (3) Bob Fenner (yes, the same Bob as in (1)) in his book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" recommends 3-5W/gallon for my setup (no stonies). <my friend... you do realize that these various articles and books were written over a period of years and as such are fixed in time?> (4) Anthony Calfo in his online article entitled "Lighting Your Marine Invertebrates: Reef Lighting Without Controversy!" http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm recommends MH and VHO reserving the normal fluorescents for "least demanding animals in shallow aquaria 40 cm or less in depth". Mine is clearly taller than 40 cm and I don't believe that soft corals are "the least demanding". <correct... if you mean colored leather corals when you say "soft corals". Indeed... "soft corals" includes thousands of organisms> Obviously my four regular fluorescent satisfy the advice (1) and (2) but not (3) and (4). I'd rather learn from other people's mistakes than do my own :-) <yes... agreed> Finally, if I have to get a new fixture for MH and/or VHO, can I build it myself? <quite possible.. yes> My main worry is about the UV filters: I don't want to go wrong on these. <easy, mate... most any glass filters out UV adequately. But do simply buy a retrofit kit from a reputable lighting supplier to remedy this concern> Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer, I realize you must be *very* busy, so I'll understand if you can't answer. Mihai <our pleasure> PS. For Bob, on his article entitled "Marine Lighting: Quality, Quantity & Duration" published online at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm an angstrom is 10^(-10) rather than 10^(-8). Normally I don't bother people about this but Bob is always so precise in his writings that this has to be corrected (for consistency :-)) <much appreciated> One more question for Bob: why do you say: "Please forget about the terms foot candle, and Lux (ten foot candles). These are archaic measures of received light and not of much real use to the Conscientious Marine Aquarist."? <I cannot speak for Bob... but agree and suspect this may be a reference to PAR. High Lux does not mean high quality of "usable" light for photosynthetic organisms. You can have a better reef lamp that is high in PAR but lower in Lux than another bulb and still be better.> First of all the candle and the Lux are the official SI measures for quantity and intensity of light. As such they are just as archaic as the meter and the watt. <the discussion is relative to photosynthetic animals... and is not satisfied by the standardized measurements of light at large> Second, in my opinion the *received* light is what actually matters for an animal in the water. <or rather... the quality of received light... hence CRI indexes and PAR measurements that matter above simple foot-candles> He/she/it should not care if the sun that has billions and billions of lumens of a regular fluorescent with 2000 lumens are actually producing the light: they should only care about how much it actually reaches them (and of course the quality and duration). However, I am ready to admit that the received light it is much more difficult to measure than the produced lumens (clearly written on the bulb!). <not difficult at all mate... there are good hobby quantum units that measure light for growers of photosynthetic animals... and they are even water proof to take measurements at depth by your coral. Apogee makes some nice models. Best regards, Anthony>

Ballasts Hi Guys, <hello>   Just finished my  6' hood  with 3- 175w, 10000k Coralife's and  2-6' VHO's, can you recommend ballasts for these. I was told Blue Line electronic for MH and Ice Cap for VHO by the dealer, but of course they are the most expensive, is it worth it or can I use the cheaper PFO standard units. < well there are some advantages and disadvantages, First electronic ballasts are more expensive but the are more energy efficient and do not get hot like tar ballasts. I personally use all of these types of ballasts and would go with the Icecap and the Bluelines. In the long run it is worth it Good luck mike H>                                                     Thanks Again, Louie

Light Search Hi <Hello there! Scott F. here> I bought this compact Aqualux lighting for my tank. Its 16.5 length 36w 10kk 50/50 light. I have been looking all over for another. Would you happen to know where I can find them online? Thanks <Well, I did a brief search on line using the keyword "Aqualux", and it yielded a few results. Depending upon whether or not this is a square pin or straight pin configuration, you may be able to  use a different brand if you can't locate this one. You'll just have to do a little digging, but hopefully, you can locate this configuration on the net. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Flourex Grow lights? (11/07/03) <Hi! Ananda here tonight....> I was just wondering if you have any opinions on the Flourex Grow lights. I saw some on eBay that supposedly produced 500 watts with only 65 watts power consumption and no heat.   <I think I found the same listing. These are probably the same lights that are called "Lights of America" light/lamps/bulbs/etc, if you've heard of those. Do check the WetWebMedia chat forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk for peoples' opinions of them. Regarding their light output, they do supposedly produce as much light as 500 watts worth of incandescent bulbs. They do, however, produce some heat.> It sounds too good to be true for less than $50.  They claim you can grow corals with the light.   <Well, you could try, but it also depends on which corals you're talking about, the size and depth of your tank, and other factors. The other thing is that the bulb design is not horribly efficient: a lot of the light will go upwards, hitting other tubes on the bulb. The reflector may not be that great, either. I have seen lights like this used very successfully on refugia, but not often on reef tanks.> Thanks for all your help.   <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Light Conversation... Hey Everyone.. <Scott F. with you today!> How's things in the US? Hope all is well.. Summer is just around the corner for the Aussies.. <Gotta love that! Of course, it's time to check on the chiller!> I wanted to ask a 2 quick questions about ballasts & metal halides.. I'm in the process of purchasing a 6x2x2 tank that will be a reef/fish tank.. I decided on something a little bigger then most people get over here, as from what I've read, the bigger the tank the smaller the daily fluctuations in the overall tank.. making it easier to maintain.. <In general, yes!> For a tank this long should I be looking at 2 or 3 individual lamps? I'm thinking about mainly soft corals at the moment but I might move into harder corals later on (I can always place them up higher in the tank for better light..) and I wanted to know if 150w or 175w would be suitable?. <I think that 3 lamps would be perfect, especially if they are in well-designed pendants (my current favorite is the "Reef Optix 3 Plus" (D/E HQI) by Sunlight Supply). I really like the idea of 150 or 250 watt units for a 2 foot deep tank. I suppose that if you're eventually looking at moving to SPS corals, the 250 watters would be the better long-term choice.> I've read a lot of emails on the FAQ's and there seems to be people that go way overboard on the lights.. I don't want to create LAVA as I've read many times.. <Yep! I hear all the time about people running 400 watt halides on 60 gallon tanks that are 16 inches high, etc. A little common sense is required here. If are certain that you won't be switching to more demanding (in terms of light) corals any time soon, then the 150 watt pendants would work nicely, IMO> Secondly, I want to run double-ended bulbs and wondered if the ballasts that run the traditional style bulb (screw in) will power up and run a double ended bulb (as long as say I bought a ballast for a 150w light and ran 150w bulbs)? Or do I need a special ballast for that? <Well, there are some ballasts out there that claim to run all bulbs of a given wattage, but you really want to lean towards an electronic ballast if you intend on running the double-ended bulbs. Lots of good brands to choose from, such as Ice Cap, PFO, Blueline, ARO, Sunlight Supply, etc. Do a little research on some e-tailer's web sites, and choose the combination that is best suited to your goals! Have fun, but don't get overly-stressed about making your decision. Lighting is a very controversial and potentially confusing part of the hobby- but it is interesting! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Thanks for your help, Blake

Plain Light - Naw, Normal Output Fluorescents >Hi crew, >>Hi Ahmed. >Quick question can I keep soft corals under plain fluorescent (for human use)?  It has white/blue color and gives about 200w. Thanks guys >>Short answer: yes.  Long answer, you need to be more certain about the spectrum, color temperature, and intensity of the light itself.  I used a mix of daylight/cool and cool white shop lights for my first tank, grew LPS, soft corals, and a Tridacna derasa clam with no problems under that lighting.  Did have an actinic (all 4' 40W bulbs, btw, x4) for added blue light and fluorescence effects.  Worked great.  Marina

Plain Light II >Hi Again, >>Hello again. >Thanks Marina, glad to know it's possible.  I went to the hardware store and bought 2 cool/daylight 200W.   >>I'm a bit confused, are these high output or very high output fluorescents?  Or are they much longer than 4'? >Can I keep a BTA under this lighting? >>Without being more clear on what, exactly, you have, I'd have to say no you can't.  What I suggested actually took me a few weeks to come up with, because at the time there was little information regarding bulb spectra, intensity, and so on.  It's necessary to mix the daylight and cool white bulbs for proper intensity and peaks, and this is entirely in regards to normal output fluorescents. >Some thing else I also have 40gal FO with 40W NO  fluorescents, 1 actinic blue (Hagen), 1 Lux Glo. >>Glo-Lux maybe?  Those are essentially useless bulbs. >Is it possible to grow coralline algae  & macro algae? >>Coralline is more dependent upon calcium availability and alkalinity balances.  Do search our site for information on this, as well as one Randy Holmes-Farley, he's written much about this (calcium and alkalinity).  You can certainly grow macroalgae such as most Caulerpa under these lights (withOUT the Gro-Lux, as I said, it's pretty much useless for this).  Honestly, if you want something like a BTA, you'll need to address not only lighting (for which these fluoros are NOT sufficient, you would need at minimum good power compact fluorescents), but also water quality/filtration.  The lighting I mentioned worked well with the LPS, softies, and T. derasa I had.  Without the actinic bulb I had 120W of lighting in the form of normal output fluoros. >Once again thank you. >>You're welcome.  Marina

Lighting a 55 gallon saltwater FOWLR - 10/27/03 I have a 55gal. freshwater I want to switch over to salt water. <OK. Be sure to read our FAQs regarding the switch over. Develop a plan and settle the financing for such up front.> I have a 4ft. fluorescent light and I have been reading on a number of web sites that you can put different bulbs in them and they will work. <Well, different bulbs that are rated for your particular fluorescent lighting fixture. Usually a T5, T8, or T12 number.> my question is can I do this with the existing ballast or do I need to change to a higher output ballast. <Change the ballast if you are going to a higher output lighting type. Look at retro kits etc.> any info you can supply me with would be helpful. <Well first decide what kind of animals you plan to keep in the long haul, then decide what is the best lighting type for inhabitants (price could be an issue here), then figure a plan for integration> I am going to have some live rock, and some small fish only in the tank. <If this is all your going to have then there is no need to up the lighting as it doesn't really have any negative effect on the live rock. If there is any incidental coral/sponge growth on the live rock, then sometimes a lighting upgrade is warranted. Normal output fluorescent lighting likely won't affect the fish at all either. Good luck -Paul>

Letting It Shine (Tank Lighting Design) Hello WWM Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> Anthony's lighting advice on inverts turned me onto HQI's for my shallow tank and deeper water corals.  I have been pouring through your blessed FAQ's looking for as much info on them as I can find, but each new thing I learn about them leads to more questions.   <funny how that happens, huh?> I have also been visiting Champion Lighting Supply, Sunlight Supply, and other online lighting sites for prices but have been unable to find any socket retros for HQI.  I am making a hood to be suspended on a free standing tank yet not hang from the ceiling so the pendants are a last resort if I can do without them.  Is there a place that sells HQI retros? <Hmm...you might want to check out a site like hellolights.com, as they may have some DIY parts available, or be able to source them for you...Or, you may want to check out one of the more "general" lighting suppliers (do a keyword search on line under "HQI Retrofit Components" and see what turns up...). The problem with finding HQI retrofit components is that you need to shield the bulbs, and this usually requires a pendant or other enclosure...It may be more practical, functional, and cost effective to just go with a pre-made HQI pendant> Also, I have been studying as much as I can between the different HQI ballasts but have been unable to discern the difference between an E-Ballast and PFO (or other brand) HQI ballast.  Are E-Ballasts less PAR efficient running an HQI bulb than other HQI ballasts? <There are a lot of factors that come into play in the bulb/ballast relationship and its effect on performance. I'd defer you to the extensive works of Sanjay Joshi, who has done lots of research work on this topic. Do some searching on the larger search engines under his name, and you'll find lots of information...> Third, If there is no HQI socket retros available, is a Reef Optix III pendent by Sunlight Supply compatible with E-Ballast or PFO HQI ballasts?   <I believe that it is...Do email Perry (the rep at Sunlight Supply to see what is and is not compatible with the Reef Optix pendants. They are terrific products, IMO, and Perry and his colleagues really know their stuff...> Last, it seems the consensus on 20K bulbs is too blue so how does a 10K Ushio HQI light look? Is it more white and yellow like their 10K MH bulbs, or does it have human visible blues? <Very subjective, but in my opinion, the Ushio 10000k HQI is more blue-white than, say, the Aqualine 10000ks, which I think have a more "yellow" look to them. Aqualines do have a high PAR value, however... like the look of 20000k's, but they are not practical for every application..> I'm looking for crisp and good coral color rendition. <Try the Ushio 10000k's and see what you think! Lighting is very subjective, so you'll have to ask a lot of people, then make your own decision...Part of the fun, I guess!> You folks all do such a wonderful job of making valuable information available to any level of aquarists and you make yourselves personally available to everyone, as well.  Kudos to you! <Thank you so much for the kind words! We all really love helping our fellow enthusiasts every day...> Too bad so many LFS don't do the same.   <Well, many do, but since we are not selling products, we have a more objective point of view on many things. Of course, we all have our personal biases, but we do our best here!> Thanks so much, Chris Reyes <My pleasure! Regards, Scott F>

Is it a little dim in here? Hello WWM Crew, <Hello! Ryan with you> First off thanks for the great web site. <Always appreciated, never expected! Thanks> I have a question about lighting for my 125gal FOWLR tank.  The tank is about 72" lg.  Right know I have 150lbs of live rock and the following: 1 Yellow Tang 1 Red sea Sailfin Tang 1 Coral Beauty Angel 2 Clowns 1 Hammer Coral 2 Pumping Xenia 1 Flower Pot Coral 1 Mushroom Coral My lighting consist of a 4@ 30W regular fluorescent bulbs and 2@96w 50/50 Power Compacts.  I would like to get rid of the fluorescents and add 2 more 96w PC's.  Would this be enough light for a Reef Tank with Hard/Soft/SPS/etc? <Well, this is on the lower end of what I'd try with Cnidarians, especially those heavily dependant on light.  4x96 PC's would give you about 3 watts per gallon...enough for some softies, mushrooms in the upper regions of the tank.> What combo of lights would you use   (i.e.-10,000k & 2-Actinic)? <I would use dual MH 175 (-10,000k), dual 96pcs (7100k Blue) for some serious growth, options> These PC's would sit on a glass cover. Should I remove the glass cover? <I wouldn't> Should I keep the reg. fluorescents also? <Do you like the visual effect it gives your tank?  It only serves an aesthetic purpose.> Regards and Thanks <Surely!  Check out Reefcentral.com,  craigslist.org,  for some sweet deals on hoods, retrofits, etc.  Easy to save yourself some serious $ this way.  Good luck! Ryan>

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