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FAQs about Small Marine System Lighting 2

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Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1:
Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2:

New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
Book 3:

New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

JBJ "Next Generation" 24 ga LED Nano Cube ok for SPS?      2/9/14
Hello crew. JBJ has come out with a new(ish) 25 gallon LED Nano Cube with Cree emitters. What I can't seem to learn is whether this tank would work with light demanding SPS corals and clams.
Would someone there know the answer to this question?
<Likely all of us do... Are you familiar w/ WWM? Using the indices, search tool (on every page)? Bob Fenner>
Thanks, Steve
re: JBJ "Next Generation" 24 ga LED Nano Cube ok for SPS?

I had already searched via the search tool before I sent in my question.
The problem is that I got many false hits, as this product is fairly new.
I did find information elsewhere (finally) about PAR. I do not think PAR is satisfactory for SPS. Maybe James G. could weigh in.
<Will Bcc him here... A more substantive (useful) reply would have been to search re PAR, PUR and secure a test device.
Many clubs and quite a few LFSs have such for loan. This is really the only reliable way to determine suitability; other than bioassays with actual livestock. BobF>
Re: JBJ "Next Generation" 24 ga LED Nano Cube ok for SPS?

Hi Bob,
I will be happy to take care of this tomorrow, late morning.  Thanks.
<Thanks James. B>
Re: Fw: JBJ "Next Generation" 24 ga LED Nano Cube ok for SPS?      2/10/14

Hello Steve,
Bob has asked me to chime in my two cents in regards to your query. PAR can be a deceiving measurement of light for our needs as far as growing corals. Corals only use light in the range of 400-550 and 620-700 nanometers. If we take a 400 watt metal halide and measure PAR, it may well exceed 400. But the metal halide lamp will produce light in the spectrum corals do not require so how much of that PAR is available in the above spectrum. Well designed lamps will try and get as much light as possible in the above spectrum. This is why many people believe that a PAR of 200-300 measured on LEDs is not good enough but if the spectrum is fine tuned to the ranges stated above, then that would be equivalent to say a PAR of 400-600 on a metal halide lamp because the PAR reading is generated by measuring the light only in the spectrum corals require.
Having said that, it is very important to look at a spectrograph of the light produced by a given lamp or LED fixture to ensure the light being emitted is very close to the above stated range.
James (Salty Dog)

LED Fixture for Eclipse Six/Reef Lighting 2/24/13
<Hello Greg>
I'm in the process of picking out a new light fixture for an Eclipse Six, six gallon tank.
In this tank, the only photosynthetic organisms I have are Xenia elongata & pink, purple and red coralline algae.
I've looked at several lights and found two that look very nice but don't know which is better in terms of spectrum, build quality, etc.
The two fixtures I'm talking about are the AI nano and the TMC AquaBeam mini 500.
So in your opinion, which is a better fixture for my tank? Or just a better fixture in general?
<Quality wise, the TMC is probably a tad better.  I have used their Aquabeam 1000's in a reef tank a while back and I was very pleased with them.  The Mini 500 is just a smaller version of the same technology.  The Mini 500 would be a little higher in Kelvin temperature as they use 10,000K white LEDs and 460nm blue LEDs.  The AI Nano uses only two white 6500K LEDs and four blue 470nm blue LEDs.  The TMC would produce a nicer color in my opinion and will likely have a better PUR spectrum.  My vote would be for the TMC Mini 500.  My thoughts on the Aquabeam 1000 can be found here. 
<You're welcome Greg.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re LED Fixture for Eclipse Six/Reef Lighting 2/25/13

Thanks for the link and info.
<You're welcome.>
I've decided to go with the Mini 500 & use it with a controller.
I have only found one online dealer (American Aquarium Products)  that sells it though and would like to shop around to compare prices. I've checked with all the Internet aquarium supply stores that I could think of but none of them carry TMC products. Is American Aquarium Products my only option for US mail order?
<No, Dr. Tim's Aquatics handles the TMC line also.  http://store.drtimsaquatics.com/ 
The President of DrTims Aquatics is Dr. Timothy A. Hovanec who, for 17 years, was the Chief Science Officer of Aquaria Inc., the parent company of Marineland Aquarium Products, Aquarium Systems (Instant Ocean) and Perfecto Manufacturing.>
And also, do you recommend that I use only the AquaRay controllers with the Mini 500 or can I use any controller regardless of brand just as long as it has the correct connectors?
<You can use other controllers such as the Neptune Apex, Digital Aquatics, etc, providing you buy their VDM (variable dimming module).  The connectors that are installed on the Mini 500 are designed to be used with TMC's controller.  You would have to cut the connectors off and install RJ45 connectors.  You will probably find that the TMC controller is going to be much less money than any of the above mentioned controllers, especially when you have to add the cost of the dimming module to the cost of the controller.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Nano System/Set Up/Lighting 8/26/12
  I was thinking about setting up a nano system for fragging purposes. I plan to frag some LPS corals, but I would also like to look into the possibility of learning to frag SPS. The tank is a 20 gallon, 16 inch deep.
The tier I would place the SPS frags on would be no deeper than 8 inches below the surface. I was thinking of lighting with a 65 watt Power Compact 10k. The tank also would receive four hours of direct sunlight on clear days (we have very few days of cloudiness in wy, but getting quality livestock is the most difficult task we face here). Would this be sufficient? Should I look into T-5 lighting instead?
<This is an ideal situation for one of the LED lamps that screw into a standard light socket.  Ecoxotic and Orphek both make this type of lamp and they are very efficient.  Here is a link to them.
I am hesitant to use metal halide lighting because of such a small water volume that could be  effected by change in temperature more easily.
<Definitely and more energy consumed.>
 Also, I would like to greatly thank you for the site, it saved my new hammer coral that began to become infected with Brown Jelly. I also would like to thank you for being able to answer questions as well as you tend to, in this day when most people seem burdened by work schedules and such this quality is usually lost.
<Thank you for you kind comment and you're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting Question/Coral Lighting 2/20/12
<Hello Paul>
I feel bad adding another lighting question to the pile, but it really seems to me (after reading through articles and FAQs) that lighting will be different for everyone.
<Yes, depending on what one wants to keep.>
 I have a 28 gallon Bowfront and the Coralife 24" HO fluorescent fixture with one 24 watt 10K (see what I did there? ;) bulb and one 24 watt actinic blue bulb.  It seems like the blue bulbs are almost useless from reading the FAQs, so can I put corals in my tank with this lighting?
<I have no idea of what type of corals you are referring to.   Most stony corals are going to require more lighting than what you have.>
If I wanted more light sensitive organisms would I just replace the blue bulb with a 10k bulb?
<Again, depends on corals you wish to keep, depth of tank.>
Perhaps the most important question of all is, how do I figure out for myself what my lighting will allow me to keep well?
<Do read here and related articles in the header.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting In A 40 Gallon Hex Reef Tank 02/08/12
Good morning from partly cloudy Florida!
<<Greetings, from partly cloudy South Carolina!>>
I have a 40 gallon hex that has been running for 3 years. The tank is 25" deep and is stocked with a pair of mated clowns, 1 powder brown tang, 1 yellow tang,
<<Not big enough for these fishes, size and shape wise.  The tangs need more free swimming space, especially the Acanthurid, for their long term good healthphysiologically AND sociologically.  Do research our site re>>
3 colonies of button polyps, 4 colonies of various color mushrooms, 1 pink Condy anemone,
<<Though this anemone may host the clowns, there is just as good a chance that it will eat them as they both come from differing environments/oceans and would not encounter each other in the wild>>
1 1/2 inches live sand and about 30 lbs live rock. Most of the corals are in the upper half to middle of tank with the exception of the Condy which has planted itself at the very bottom. My lighting is a metal halide 150 watt/20,000k in a pendulum suspended above tank. The light is on a timer from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The bulb needs to be replaced soon, soooo.. my question is..and I sure took a long time to get to it..does my lighting seem sufficient considering that the Condy is at the bottom of the tank?
<<I have seen these anemones kept under standard fluorescent lighting in shallower tanks (16 and less)I think your MH lighting is likely fine in this instance, though a lower Kelvin rated bulb (10K-14K) will give a bit more penetration at depth, depending If you want it>>
Do you think I need to upgrade the lighting?
<<I think purchasing a much more suitable tank (75g minimum) for the Tangs is of higher priority/urgency here>>
This is a recent purchase (2 weeks ago) and I would like to keep the Condy as happy as possible. So far, it is eating well and shows no sign of wanting to move (yet). Your insight will be a million percent appreciated.
<<You have my thoughts>>
Thank you for taking the time to wade through my dissertation (with many more to come).
<<No worries>>
Thanks again, Kellie St. Petersburg, Florida
<<Happy to share  EricR>>

28 Gallon Lighting/DIY Lighting 2/8/12
<Hi Paul>
I have a 28 gallon euro Bowfront tank, which is 19 inches tall with just under 3 inches of sand.  After reading an article here on light I was convened to use fluorescent lights.  I'm just unclear as to which bulb, and can I just buy a plain boring fixture from Home Depot for 20 bucks and stick whatever bulbs you recommend.  Also, while I have a while before
adding any light sensitive organisms, I would like to be able to have the option down the road... unless the cost difference is significant for the different lights.
<The first thing you have to know is what species of photosynthetic animals you wish to keep.  They vary as to the amount/intensity of light required.  The standard shop light from Home Depot just isn't going to do it for most if not all
photosynthetic species.  Do read here.
Mmm, I was going to link you but it appears the Google search isn't working on our site.  All I'm getting is blank pages.  Try Googling "coral lighting" on our site, you may have better luck.
Please note that shop lights, depending on how they are mounted, can be dangerous to your health as these lights have no protection against moisture.>
Thank you.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Quick Lighting Question/Coral Lighting    1/31/12
Hey everyone,
<Hey Chris>
I have recently stumbled upon your site, I must say you are all extremely helpful and have answered many questions I have had by
reading others posts. Now I do have another question I hope you can help with.  I have a 28 Gallon Euro Bowfront lit with a Nova 2X24w T5HO 10k and Actinic lights plus a 'true actinic' 18w fluorescent bulb in the housing that came with the tank. Haha the top is pretty packed with lighting now until I can afford something slimmer and more powerful.
Question being, is this sufficient to house soft corals?
<How deep/tall is the tank?>

I have a small colony of Zoas as well as some pulsing silver Xenias,
<Your lighting will be borderline for Xenias.>
 and 4 fuzzy mushrooms. would it be better to run x2 10k in the T5's and use the 18w actinic or is this setup insufficient all together ( 66watts total?)
<Exchanging the actinic for a 14K lamp would be much better assuming the actinic is a T5 or T8 lamp.  If it is a T12 lamp then I'd just leave the actinic in there.
May want to read here and related articles found in the header.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corllgtg.htm >
you in advance!
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
-Chris Marchese
Re Quick Lighting Question/Coral Lighting 2/1/12

Thank you,
<You're welcome.>
the separate actinic is a single T8 bulb, I will definitely swap the  second T5 actinic for 14k.
<Will definitely increase your PAR/PUR value.>
The tank dimensions are 24x15x18. Does this change anything?
<No, just wanted to know the depth.  Observe your corals for growth/reproduction over the next few weeks to determine whether you should exchange the T8 actinic for a 10-14K lamp.  Color pop can
be achieved by installing a stick on actinic LED strip on one of your fixtures.  Example can be found here, but there are other brands as well.  http://premiumaquatics.com/aquatic-supplies/EX-8100.html
James (Salty Dog)>

Anemone Lighting 11/4/11
<Hello Ken>
I have a Biocube 29 with stock lighting and had a question about the light required for a Long Tentacle or Sebae Anemone.
<Your tank is a bit small for keeping this anemone alive long term.>
I don't want to take off the hood and have a metal halide lamp because of heat and evaporation issues. I was looking into LEDs and found the Panorama Pro LEDs. I was wondering if these would be sufficient for an anemone in my tank and if so, how many I would need.
<You would need at least six of these and the anemone would have to be placed in the upper third of the tank. See Ecoxotic's Coral Placement Guide here.
http://www.ecoxotic.com/community/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/CoralPlanningMap.pdf . This anemone would require the same light intensity as a Crocea or Maxima Clam.>
Each one has 12 bulbs for a total of 19w. This seems low but I have read that they have very high PAR values. If these would work would you suggest adding one (or more) to my existing 72w of pc light or replacing my stock lights completely with the LEDs.
<I would rather see you go with a Bubble Tip Anemone which can survive on less light and is much more hardy than the Long Tentacle Anemone. Adding two of the Panorama Pro LEDs to your existing lighting, preferably the 12K or the combo 12K/455nm.>
How many of these fixtures would I need and would I also need to add reflectors, stunner strips, etc.
<The reflectors/optics are built in to the LED fixture. Stunner strips won't do much for photosynthesis, generally just used for color pop.>
Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
<May want to read here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

LED lighting; new Kessil a150 32w lighting unit  10/10/11
Hello crew:
I've been reading many of you guys' articles for the past few months since I recently returned to reefkeeping after a 5-year graduate school hiatus from aquariums.
<Lots of changes, additions in the meanwhile eh?>
My question is essentially whether the new (and ultra-nifty-looking) Kessil LED A150 lamp is sufficient for SPS (including Acropora) growth.
<Mmm, yes>
I recently purchased a 29g Biocube which came with the standard bulbs (it was the standard model, not the HQI edition). After regaining my familiarity with reefkeeping and becoming comfortable with keeping my LPS corals in a thriving environment, I found that I needed to upgrade to either MH lighting or find an adequate LED alternative if I wanted to move on into the SPS species, including the more light-demanding varieties (e.g., Acropora).
<Mmm, well... the lighting will do; but the small volume, difficulty in sustaining good water quality... A larger system would be better>
I purchased a Kessil A150W 32w light fixture (which just landed in my LFS's a couple weeks ago), and I love the way it brings out colors in certain of my corals. However, while my initial research suggests that this new light provides more photosynthetically-available lighting for my coral, it doesn't quite seem as 'bright' as the BioCube lights.
<Apparent brightness is not the same as effective lumination>
I'm considering spending another 250$ to buy a second Kessil unit,
<Not for this size/foot-print, no>
but before I spend the cash I'd like to know whether the second unit would make a difference in terms of growing Acropora, clams, and other high-light species. Is the first one sufficient?
Would a second unit be redundant in terms of my corals' photosynthesis?
<Nearly so; yes>
I wouldn't mind having the extra 'brightness' of a second unit, but would really only want to spend the money if it made an impact on my livestock.
<Nominally. Again, I'd stick w/ the one fixture here>
My current setup is a 29g Biocube with the standard Biocube lighting (not entirely sure whether it's PC, t5, t8, etc;
lighting is unfortunately a vague concept for me although I've been reading up on it lately). I currently have corals including Favia, candy cane, Zoas, mushrooms, xenia and daisies. Additionally I have a couple Perculas, a blenny, a red-40 goby.
My water parameters are always 0 ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, 1.025 specific gravity.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Lighting 8/24/11
Hi Crew,
<Hi Sam>
I have a 24 gallon Aquapod with a glass top and T5 lighting of 96w (4 bulb fixture). I had 50/50 for a while and then changed to all daylight about a year ago. I can't tell if it helped the corals or not. I miss the actinic affect. I was thinking of getting an LED strip for the blue but I don't think a strip would show up against the 96w of daylight.
<It will be noticeable, more color pop. I'd stick with the daylight tubes and add the strip.>
So would it be ok to go back to 50/50.
Or maybe I could add 48w of T5 actinics with a new 2 bulb fixture.
My corals are LPS.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting for a 5 gal mini reef tank    6/1/11
Hi my name is mike and love this site.
<Hey Mike; me too>
I have in the past had a 30 gal reef tank with two 10k Coralife lights and one actinic in the middle, with that I had coralline growth all over. So here is my question, will a 50/50 florescent
65k white and 480 actinic be enough for growth of coralline, soft corals, and cactus algae?
<Likely so>
Also using Kent purple tech, red sea salt, 5 lbs of live sand, and water quality is good. I can't believe how much the hobby has changed in 10 years.
<And continues to evolve apace. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Lighting/Reef Lighting 2/7/11
Hi Crew,
<Hiya Sam>
I have an Aquapod 24 gallon with a glass top, LPS corals and T5 96w lighting. 2 bulbs are daylight and 2 actinic. They are on for 9 hours and then for 2 hours just the actinic at which time the corals begin to retract but the colors are really nice. I am going to go with all 4 bulbs daylight but I would like to have the ability to aso have that blue color in my tank at least when I have only 2 daylights on. I am not ready to (spend) go to LED lighting yet. But is there an LED strip that I could use just to provide the blue color?
<Certainly, go here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting Needs For Tank.../Reef Lighting 2/3/11
Hello Crew!
<Hell Geoffrey>
I have spent 5 hrs today reading your past articles and fans questions, asked the local shop and yes, watched even You Tube videos...
I cant seem to find a straight easy answer to mine. I have a fish only 26 gallon that is in pristine shape from soup to nuts and upgrading to a 56 gallon with the dimensions of 30Lx 18Wx 28H (everything bought but not up yet), filter canister is for a 100 gallon etc..... I would love to have some corals and an anemone or 2 in the future once the tank is up and running for a while but no idea what my light needs will be! I would like to buy something other than the metal halide due to cost, heat and accessories needed for them. What suggestions on type, bulbs, etc.... would I need for a happy home so that I buy things once!
<Based on your tank depth of 28 inches, metal halide or HQI would be necessary for
corals and/or anemones. I suggest two, 175 watt MH lamps in the 12K range.>
Got scared reading that everyone seems to have insufficient lighting or has piecemeal (ed) things together. HELP! T5? CPF?
Thanks sooo much for your time and effort,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting Needs For Tank.../Reef Lighting 2/3/11
Thanks for the quick response James.
<You're welcome, Geoffrey.>
Looks like I can't get away with the T5s. Reading up on the MH vs. the HQIs looks like the MHs are cheaper, hotter. The HQIs are more intense with PAR, cooler, need a shield and more expensive.... is this correct?
<All that's needed for a shield is a glass canopy. And yes, I believe you can get more lighting for your money with MH. You also have a wider choice of Kelvin temperature.>
If I am to choose one which one would you?
<I suggested that in the original thread.>
Is there a bulb combination that I need?
<Also suggested in the first thread.>
Is there a good manufacturer that you would trust because this is an area that the more I read the more I'm loosing clarity, PAR, wattage, spectral ranges between bulbs etc.!
<Higher Kelvin temperature lamps result in lower PUR (photosynthetic usable radiation) even though the PAR values seem fine. As far as brands of ballast, you can get a pretty good buy on Ice Cap electronic ballasts right now at www.premiumaquatics.com, but you will have no warranty as Ice Cap has closed it's doors. Jeremy at Premium Aquatics tells me they have about 14 Ice Cap ballasts left to sell at considerable savings to the customer. Ice Cap has always been the leader in electronic ballasts and no warranty would not stop me from buying one.
As far as lamps, consider Hamilton or Ushio, two of my faves but there are other good lamps as well.
Best to post this question on a bulletin board, see what others like/are using. Just be sure the lamp you select is compatible with your ballast. Most lamps are probe start while a few European lamps are pulse start. Most electronic ballasts will operate either style lamp and are more efficient than the standard tar ballast.>
Thanks again. So sorry for the hand holding!
LOL! Just want to do it like I said once and right!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lets talk lighting upgrade for a Biocube14  1/29/11
Hey there folks! I've decided to jump back into the saltwater game after about a 2 year fling with freshies exclusively. I got a deal on a BioCube14 and decided I want to see what I can do with it by creating a stunningly visual display. BUT!......... I am at a bit of a crossroads with the lighting........... so I turn to you! I have come to you in the past I am always more than pleased with your response!
(Funny back-story..... my recent show tank was a 150gallon S.A. Cichlid tank that I ran for about 3 years. I decided to part ways with it and sold it last week to a local science-dedicated elementary classroom. My wife was THRILLED to have all of our tanks out of the house (mind you, I had 2 tanks running as recently as a year and a half ago + 2 snakes...plus our cats....and our dogs...and kid......). I gave my wife 2 days of glass free serenity. ...............those days came to a abrupt close this week to her coming home to the BC14 set up on the kitchen counter with water and live sand running! She flipped, but all in good fun!)
<I hope so>
Anyway, I've got my set up really rolling now (in terms of initial setup / live rock / cycling). I am only running the stock lights currently (24 watt actinic and 24 watt whatever it is in a BC14 (6500k or 8000k, I am assuming 6500k). This MUST be upgraded.
<Depending on what you intend to keep; yes. I'd at least sub more white for the actinic>
I have researched Google, WWM and other Nano/reef based boards extensively and I have a couple options of what I want to do with the lighting. The result (goal) of my lighting upgrade is plain: I do not want to be limited.
If I see a "Nano" coral that is colorful, fairly friendly, reduced in price :) and compatible with whatever is existing in my tank at the time, I do not want to be like "crap..... my lights stink. Can't get it".
With that in mind...... please give me a suggestion on a retro fit or upgrade.
I was seriously looking at the Ecoxotic lighting even before exhausting the WWM knowledge archive base. I've now read a lot of great things on WWM and I am leaning even more towards setting up an Eco Lighting Upgrade.
<Nice units>
I have few options. I can add to the existing BC14 stock lighting with an extra 24 watt addition. I can remove the stocks completely and replace with the said LEDs (Eco Panoramics + Stunner). I can do a DIY LED system easily (my neighbor makes demonstrational / scale models professionally and has been dealing with LEDS for a decade). I can easily add a 3rd 24watt light fixture to the existing stock lights. I can add the 3rd light (as just mentioned at the start of this paragraph) + add some Eco Stunners. I can Keep the existing and add an Eco Panoramic. Yadda yadda yadda. The options are endless.
<Mmm, I'm learning toward option one...>
I like the Ecoxotics because of cost and THEIR resources. They seem to use quality parts to make their product and I have a lot of respect for that.
With that said and in hopes that you are familiar with their product line, well.... please see the above paragraph :) What would you add to the existing stock lighting? What would you remove?
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/LEDLtgArtJamesG.htm
and the linked files are LEDs above>
If I wanted to keep a Nano coral tank with POP in color and growth, which lighting package would you roll with?
<Quite a few... just adding the stunner strips...>
I want to avoid Metal Halide because I do not want to deal with CONSTANT water additions, I do not want an ATO on a 14 gallon tank, and I do not want to deal with a chiller or a fan set up (beyond what's stock).
Hmmmm..... I could have just said I wanted to keep the tank stock....... :)
<I agree>
I'm not concerned with housing types, etc, in terms of corals now, just lighting. I want medium to high light corals that are more colorful than a crayon box and I want to support them as required.
<This then is a straightforward proposition... >
So, in a nutshell, that's it! Do I need to roll with the LED additions?
<Mmm; not really... you could do the switch out w/ the present fixture as mentioned, be a bit more limited re SPS, Clams... but could have a very nice, albeit slower growing assortment of photosynthates>
Would I be good by simply adding the extra 24 watt PC? Should I completely scrap the PC's and go LED exclusive? Should I buy back my 150 and S.A. Cichlids? :)
<Heeeeee! I'd add the LEDs to your current array. Bob Fenner>
I appreciate the insight guys and gals! LEDS seem to have really hit a boom of advancement in the past couple years. I was interested before but I am now excited by them. The pudding proof seems to be gelling on LEDs and I want in.
So, hit me with your best shot. I'll be happy to take into consideration your suggestions and put together a happy blend of your ideas mixed with mine then report back the results.
Thanks guys! I anxiously look forward to your response!
Have a great weekend

Re pH In A Reef Tank, Now Lighting Suggestion 1/19/11- 1/20/11- 1/24/11
Hi James,
<Hello Shelley>
My tank is 30 gallons, 18" x 20" x 20"; with the top lip, a light has to span 20.5 inches to sit on top. From the gravel to the waterline is about 16 inches. My most important requirement for a light (other than appropriate light, of course) is that it's quiet - this fish tank sits right in my living room and if it has a loud fan it just won't work. Also I have a cat who loves to climb on the tank (Grr) and a toddler so it has to be something that will be safe (i.e. not easy to burn yourself or break it, like a Viper light). Thanks for any suggestions you have.
<Mmm, about the only fixture I can think of that would provide enough light would be the AquaticLife 72 w (4 lamp) T5 HO hood. It should lay on your tank nicely and it also comes with a 4-pack of frame mounts. No cooling fan is needed for this particular model so that should take care of your noise problem. And as a plus, it has a built in digital timer. Take a look at it here.
As for the dKH, it seems from the test kit instructions that the number of drops is multiplied by 10 to get the mg/L CaCO3 (15 drops = 150mg/L) and then multiply by 0.02 to get the mEq/L (so mine is 3 mEq/L). If that is correct, given your conversion equation below, my dKH is 8.4, correct?
So that is higher than we discussed in the original email, but I believe it is still low.
<Is not low. I keep my dKH between 7 and 8.>
Does this sound like I am now converting correctly?
<Yes dear.>
What is the dKH range I am shooting for?
<Where you're at is fine, but anywhere between 7-10 would be a good range.>
Re pH In A Reef Tank, Now Lighting Suggestion 1/19/11- 1/20/11- 1/24/11 - 1/25/11
Thank you for the lighting suggestion! I will check it out for sure.
<You're welcome, Shelley.>
Sorry for all the back and forth....but if my dKH isn't actually low, as we just discussed, then why do you think my pH keeps dropping back to 8.0? We are back to my very original reason for writing. :(
<I've addressed that in the first thread, and it's not uncommon to have small pH swings in smaller systems, not to worry. I suggest you read here.
James (Salty Dog)>

Metal Halide Placement/Reef Lighting 1/24/11
Hey Crew,
<Hello Nick>
Hope you guys had a great weekend.
<Good football games.>
I needed your opinion on some lighting issues. My first option is to stick to a T5 fixture over my 12 gallon Nano. The light itself is 4x8w t5s, 2 10k and 2 actinics, 32 watts total. My second option is the 70w 20k metal halide. Would the t5s be sufficient for sps and lps? Or if I use the metal halide, how far off the surface of the water should the light be?
<Your T5 lighting should be fine for your SPS/LPS corals. I would suggest going with three 10K lamps and one actinic to increase the PUR level.>
Thank you so much for your time.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting, T 5 lamp sel., LEDs...    1/19/11
Hi Crew,
<Hello Sam.>
I have an Aquapod 24 gallon with a glass top and 96W of T5's. The bulbs are 2 daylight and 2 actinic and I have LPS only, Acanthastrea, candycanes, hammers, torches and a very large Trachyphyllia. The next time I change bulbs should I leave it as is or go for all daylight.
<Most will not like the look of all daylight, not blue enough.>
My corals seem ok but for the most part they do not grow new heads. I feed them at least once a week-finely chopped silversides. I don't notice the blue that much except when I have the daylights turned off which is the last 2 hours of my lighting time.
<Turn off just the actinics to get an idea of what all daylight would look like.>
And it does look very different at that time, but everything starts getting smaller. Can I get the blue effect with LED's.
<Sure, that is another way to go. All daylight with the T5s and blue LED's. You could just order two new daylights and then play with them along with what you already have to see what look you like. One actinic and 3 daylights will increase your lighting a good bit while still giving you the actinic effect. Do realize the placement of the actinic can make a big difference too. You will usually notice the actinic much more when placed towards the front of the tank where you view it than you would towards the back.>
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Reef Lighting 10/10/10
Hello to all at WWM,
<Hello Benny>
I love your site.
<Thank you.>
I have 29 gal reef tank its 30 inch by 12 wide by 18 tall, I was running it with 130 watts pc and changed it yesterday to a 4x 24 watt T5 HO total 96 watts. The lfs store that I bought it from told me I can keep clams and SPS under that. Is this true? It has individual reflectors and is really brite <bright> compared to the PC.
<Yes, it holds true with your system. T5HO lamps are capable of putting out 90-93 Lumens per watt which is going to give you a total of around 8600+.
Individual reflectors will add even more to that number. As a tidbit, a single T5 lamp produces nearly twice the light output of one standard T12 lamp.>
Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

T-5 lighting on a 30 gallon long  9/21/10
<Hello Cody>
I have been planning to upgrade my current lighting fixture (regular NO fluorescent) to a T-5 fixture because I would like to start keeping some corals.
I've been thinking about getting a ZooMed dual T-5 fixture that holds two 39-watt T-5 bulbs.
<This will do for some low-light loving corals, softies would be best>
Will I need an actinic/10000k combination or can I just go with all 10000k?
<It would be better to go all 10000K, you will be pushing it a bit with 50/50 here. Why not try a fixture with four bulbs instead? Probably not much price difference>
What corals could I keep under the actinic/10000k? What about all 10000k?
<Mmmm, you need to do your own research here really.. maybe some of Corallimorphs, Zoanthids>
Thanks for all your help!
<No problem, Simon>

(More) Reef Lighting -- 08/28/10
Dear WWM Crew,
I am trying to find the best lighting for an SPS nano reef tank that is 18"L x 18"W x 18" T.
<<Many options here--but MH is still my fave solution>>
Would a 70 watt HQI metal halide work for this setup?
<<Probably'¦ As long as you don't go 'too high' on the Kelvin scale and stick with a 10,000K or even a 6,500K bulb. But'¦ If you go with a 150w MH you could likely do well with a 14,000K bulb if you want more 'blue' to your look--plus there would be a wider assortment of reflectors available (a well designed reflector can make a world of difference)>>
Would this fixture work if the tank has just LPS?
<<Indeed it would--though you will have to experiment some with placement (height over the water) and Kelvin temperature depending on what you keep>>
Thank You.
<<Quite welcome'¦ EricR>>

Filtration & Lighting Questions -- 07/08/10
I currently have a 38 gallon reef system and am seeking advice on filtration and lighting options.
<<Okay'¦happy to proffer my opinions>>
My tank has been running for approximately 2 years and I feel it is time to upgrade and add equipment.
<<I see>>
Note: I plan to purchase a larger tank within the next 6 months. Somewhere around a 90-120 gallon.
<<Mmm, do go with the latter if it is within your budget'¦is a 'lot more tank' for a not much bigger footprint'¦the extra 6' front-to-back makes a huge difference in the appearance/aquascaping/your viewing pleasure>>
I now have a sump with bioballs
<<These can be a source of increased Nitrate'¦on a reef system, it is better to remove plastic media such as this, or replace it with live rock (or even a bag of carbon) which will allow for the further processing of nitrogenous materials>>
and Chemi-Pure filtration, a MAG5 return pump, and a Maxi-Jet 900 power head. I have been struggling with Majano anemones, and I have read on your site that adding a protein skimmer may help remedy the situation.
<<It can, yes'¦through the reduction of dissolved organics. But don't expect it to be a panacea. Often the pest anemones must be dealt with directly'¦either by removal and cleaning of the affected rock, or by attempted 'poisoning' with such things as Kalkwasser, Lugol's, Aiptasia-X, etc.>>
Do you have any suggestions for a reasonably priced skimmer that I could use now and when I upgrade?
<<That depends on your definition of 'reasonably priced' but do have a look at the offerings from AquaC, and also the Reef Octopus line of skimmers. One or the other should be able to provide something that won't 'break the bank' while still offering a quality piece of gear>>
In addition, I am looking to replace my lights and would like to know my best, again reasonably priced, options for bulbs for my reef system. I currently have a 96W PCL and 65W Actinic.
<<My preference is metal halide, but if the cost of replacement bulbs is an issue then a T5 lighting system is likely more acceptable here. There won't be a 'big' difference in the cost of initial setup between the two, but the T5 bulbs, though needing replacement more often, will take a smaller bite out of your wallet for the individual bulbs>>
I would be happy to provide more information as needed. Thanks in advance.
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Lighting System Causing Temperature Problems (Red Sea Max 130d) -- 05/21/10
<<Greetings James>>
Thanks in advance for your guidance.
<<Welcome, in advance>>
I am currently cycling my first tank. It is a Red Sea Max 130d.
<<Neat looking little systems>>
It is a 34 gallon tank. I am having problems with temperature fluctuations caused by the lighting. This system uses 2 55watt T-5 compact bulbs. I started with a 10 hour on 14 hour off light cycle.
<<This is fine'¦what I would do>>
This caused a temperature rise from 77F to 80.5F.
<<Mmm'¦not 'all that bad' considering'¦in my opinion>>
I then attempted to use the supplied optional cooling fan but the water still rose to 80F.
<<But still, a 0.5 degree drop'¦this is of benefit>>
I tried breaking the light cycle into half, 5 hours on 5 hours off 5 hours on 5 hours off.
<<Depending on your livestock this 'may' be fine'¦but just too 'unnatural' for my liking>>
I am now seeing a temperature fluctuation of only 1-1 ½ degrees Fahrenheit. I am in no way able to afford a chiller right now so I don't know what else to do. I eventually plan on getting some soft corals so I was wondering if a split light cycle would be harmful to fish or inverts.
<<Considering the lighting system, I would suggest the longer (10 hr) 'on' cycle to allow the corals to 'maximize' the available light output. The temperature swing and max-temp you describe is workable in my experience. Do utilize the cooling fan'¦and try leaving the front opening 'up' to facilitate air movement and some evaporative cooling>>
James (North Carolina)
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR (South Carolina)>>

Lighting questions, SM SW, reading 5/10/10
Hi crew!
Just a few questions regarding lighting in marine aquaria.
1) I have one 24 watt Coralife actinic and a 24 watt halide (In my 14 gal).
Is this enough to stimulate coral growth?
<Some species>
(I've read that 2-5 watts per gallon is the ballpark, but that seems broad)
2) I have an Ocellaris and a Hector's Goby as well as a peppermint shrimp, 2 blue-legged hermits, and two turbos. How should I go about using lights at night and day? That is all.
Thanks in advance, Sam Sutton
<A timer... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/smmarsyslgtfaqs.htm
and the linked embedded files where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

lighting for soft and LPS corals  5/8/10
Thank you for the advice on the BTA.
<Wet Web Media is always pleased to help.>
I have since found another home for him. I did update my lighting on my 29 gallon from 36w NO to 96w HO t5's 10k's, with two additional 14w t5's. So overall I have 124W. Could I keep soft corals
and maybe some LPS corals under this lighting in your experienced opinion?
<Most definitely.>
I have read over many of the articles on your web page and am glad you don't charge for the use of them, or I would be broke.
<We are happy to help.>
Do I need more light or should this be sufficient for mushroom polyps and LPS?
<That is plenty of lighting. Experiment with depth to determine the proper placement of the LPS. A PAR meter wouldn't be a bad tool to invest in.>
Thank you,
Zachary Keys
<Always a pleasure, Scott T> 

Another Lighting Question Lamp\Bulb selection. 4/9/2010
The rule of thumb is 1 watt per gallon of water. Does this apply to NO lighting, HO lighting VHO lighting or metal halide lighting?
<It is a very loose guideline for a fish only system; in other words, a starting point. For SPS corals and some other inverts, 5 - 6 watts\gal is necessary.>
<Of course, if it is the wrong spectrum of light, all the wattage in the world will not be any good.>
<Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm >
I'm at the tail end of cycling a new tank and would like to promote the growth of my coralline algae.
<OK Coralline algae needs the proper alkalinity and calcium to start thriving Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm >
I have a 29 gallon tank with two 24" actinic T5s and two 10000k T8s.
<Personally, I would dump one of the actinic and get another 10K bulb.>
Also, 24" my filtration is a Bio-Cube protein skimmer. Inefficient I know; when I set up a sump or refugium I will replace; just figured it was better than nothing.
<Sounds fine so far>
I have a penguin power head in conjunction with my eclipse system hood. All in all about 500gph. Only resident is a Clarkii clown and 16lbs of live rock.
Ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, Alk is 4.5 D.K.H, nitrate is 15ppm.
<You will want to get the alkalinity up.>
I'm hoping this will go down once I get enough LR to replace my Biowheel.
<Not a fan of BioWheels, they tend to become nitrate factories.>
My question is I eventually would like to keep some polyps and mushrooms and maybe a candy cane coral but I need to know what I need to do with my lighting.
<The lighting you have should be sufficient, though I would still replace one of the actinic bulbs with a 10k bulb.>
The substrate bottom to the lights is about 18" so it's not incredibly deep.
<That's fine.>
Your site has been very very helpful especially for keeping me from moving too quickly with my tank.
<Happy to hear you find it useful.>
Also if there is any way I can change out my substrate for live sand could I please get some advice on how to best approach this?
<If you have sand in there already and live rock, the sand will be 'live' soon enough.>
I was told a 4" deep live sand bed can help regulate nitrate if there is a better method or some way to do this would be much appreciated.
<In a 29 gallon, I would stick to weekly 10 - 15% water changes and not worry too much about deep sand beds.>
thank you
<My pleasure.>

Lighting help, sm. SW, Corals  2/23/2010
<Hello Michael>
I have a 29 gallon tank that is 30x12x18deep.
It is hard to find a 30" fixture. I have narrowed my choices down to the AquaticLife clamp on 150w MH fixture, or the AquaticLife 30" 4x24 T5HO with moonlights and timer. I would like softies and LPS, but I don't want to limit myself to just those.
<I really would pick one or the other as your main focus. You will have more success in the long run>
I may want sps too. Can I support sps with 96 watts if they are high in the tank?
<What type of SPS? This designation is not helpful. Yes, there are 'sps' corals that will be fine under this light, not all need to be zapped with millions of watts>
I have a 4" sand bed, so there is really only 14 inches of water.
What route should I go? Right now I'm leaning toward the MH.
<I think that either of these could work here. If you do wish to keep more light demanding Scleractinians then you will be better off with the MH fixture. I do also think, though, that you should 'limit' yourself to just 'something' and not try to pick a light that will let you keep 'everything'. Trying to keep everything usually ends up with animals
dying, especially in small water volumes. See here:

Lighting For 6 Gallon Nano/Coral Compatibility 2/9/10
Hi guys,
<Hello Howie>
Once again, great work with the site - very helpful and very informative.
<Thank you.>
Just have a quick question regarding the lighting for my 6 gallon Nano. The tank is 11 inches deep...and i <shift key disabled> have 1 x 24W daylight power compact and 1 x 24W marine blue power compact sitting about 10cm
above the water. The tank originally came with a single 18W 50/50 tube so I decided to upgrade it. my question is whether or not the lights I have now are too strong for corals such as Duncans, Fungia, Acans and mushrooms. The Duncans and mushrooms in particular have not really seemed to take too much of a liking to the new lights with the Duncan's polyps more retracted than extended and the mushrooms kind of wrinkled up (note: corals were
introduced after new lights were installed). There are two 130gallon/h pumps (return pump and internal powerhead) responsible for flow - return outlet is on top right corner of back wall and flow is directed at the bottom left front of tank; powerhead has spray bar with flow directed along horizontal plane of water surface.
Water parameters:
Amm: 0
No2: 0
No3: 0
Phos: 0
pH: 8.1
<Your lighting and flow rate are a little strong for both the Duncan Coral and Mushroom Anemone. Both prefer low water flow and low to moderate light intensity. Another problem you have is that Mushroom Anemones, Acanthastrea, and Fungia are noxious in terms of allelopathy and can/will create the problem you describe when crowding together in very small systems. The more peaceful corals such as your Duncan will be the first to react.
In larger volumes of water, one can get away with it using a protein skimmer and a good grade of chemical media to tone down/remove the noxious compounds.
Another area of concern is that it is very difficult to maintain steady water parameters in such a small volume of water. Sensitive corals will not tolerate this fluctuation in water chemistry.>
Many thanks in advance!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

SHO Fluorescent question for Dana Riddle 1/26/10
Aloha Dana,
<Will forward to him>
Hope you're enjoying the Kona life.
<Am sure he is... there off Ali'i Dr.>
I'm building a 16' or 18' cube Nano SPS tank. I want as much of the setup to be DIY as possible (because I like DIY and because I like to prove that you can have a nice reef aquarium without having to spend a ton of money). Due primarily to the low purchase and operating cost, and the potential suitability for SPS, I want to give some of the newer 6500K CFLs a try. Even if I have to replace them twice or three times as often as MH, they're cheaper to buy and operate, and won't parboil the fish like a MH would with a Nano. I've found two types, the Super High Output (SHO) CFLs with integrated ballasts that will fit into a standard socket, and the LoA Fluorex bulbs that require an external ballast. I can't find a whole lot of details on them, except that they state that their 100W bulbs put out 10,500 lumens, the equivalent of a 1,000W halogen. They also claim an 84 CRI. I can't find a spectral distribution chart to compare them to the MH bulbs.
<Close enough>
A few questions. Are they tri-phosphor?
<Lo dudo>
Have you performed a spectral analysis on any of these bulbs?
Do you think they'd be suitable for SPS (with or without actinic supplementation) with my Nano? Has anyone done a side-by-side analysis comparing the aesthetic and SPS growth characteristics of these high-output fluorescents and MH bulbs with similar characteristics? If you think it's feasible, I want to give it a try.
<Really? BobF... aka Dogfish if you recall>
Re: SHO Fluorescent question for Dana Riddle 1/27/10
Aloha Dan & Bob,
<Howdy Dana>
I have some spectral data on a few CFL lamps, including some of the specialty spiral lamps sold at Home Depot. I don't have that info with me (I'm in Jacksonville for a conference, Atlanta next week, and Honolulu shortly thereafter).
Please remind me in mid-February and I'll get that to you. For now, those fluorescent lamps should be suitable (though I would personally mix in one of the blue lamps sold at Home Depot). I'm using a 13w spiral daylight CFL on a refugium and it promotes calcareous algal growth as well as Chaetomorpha.
<And you, a hu'i hou, BobF>

Acropora yonggei & Lighting -- 01/12/2010
Hello WWM Crew, <Hello Adriel> It's been with your help that I've been able to sustain a Nano reef!! <Wahey!>
Apologies for being verbose, but was hoping you could help me with the following <I'll try>:
Tank: 24x24x18 (DSB = 3 inches, water column = 14 inches). I have a mixed Nano reef tank, containing Acropora , Pocillopora and other softies & LPS. The tank is lit with a single 150 MH, 14000k, and 2x 9 watt PC
actinics <ok>. Recently, I replaced the MH bulb (about 5 months old at the time, photoperiod about 10 hours.) Within a couple of days the Acropora started looking pale all over, with reduced polyp extension <bleached>.
Pocillopora etc were fine. I'm guessing that this problem is due to my failure in not adapting the specimen correctly <yes>. I have since lowered the Acropora from 2 inches below the water surface to 2 inches off the DSB.
Am I on the right path? <Yes> Would it help if I changed the bulb to 20000k to reduce the intensity on the coral? <No, not now. I would leave as it is>
In future, I would like for this to be an all SPS tank, with minimal live rock in the display, with frags placed on the substrate itself. My question therefore is, would a single 20000k MH, on a 10 hour photoperiod be adequate? <Not for the two corals you mention. The 20,000K bulb does not have as much light in the 'useful' spectrum as the 14000k, and you already have two pc actinics. I'd leave the lights and the coral where they are now and try to keep everything, all parameters etc, as 'spick and span' as you can in an attempt to coax this coral into regaining some of it's lost zooxanthellae. If you can increase feeding some useful foods to the coral without letting the nitrate and PO4 rise too much then I would do so. Try here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acrofdgfaqs.htm>
Thanks for your invaluable help!! <No problem> Adriel <Simon>
Re: Acropora Yonggei & Lighting -- 01/13/2010

Hi Simon, <Hello again Adriel>
It's me again. Thanks!!!!! It's amazing how much more relaxed I am now :-)
<that's good to hear!>
I also have Tubastrea in this tank, so am already feeding Cyclop-eeze <ok, but these corals do appreciate 'live' foods as well - do you have a refugium of any kind?>. The Acropora polyps are extended, less than before, but they're there :-)<Then it is quite possible that this coral can recover in time>. Is it a logical deduction that reducing the light supply via lowering the coral location/ reducing the photo-period etc, "encourage" the coral to regain its zooxanthellae to acquire energy?<hmmm, all lowering the coral does is 'encourage' it not to lose any more zooxanthellae, although the damage was probably already done. Assuming that it has some left (very likely) then these should multiply, albeit very slowly at first. I would monitor this coral and when/if it shows a colour improvement start to slowly move it up in height, a week at a time>. I do have another question, my lfs tells me that to keep bluer Acropora specimens, I would require to use higher Kelvin lights. Is this accurate? <Some stony corals can/ do show colour changes with different lights. I believe it is to do with the different 'Clades' (types) of zooxanthellae and how they react to different lights, but you are better off searching for the works of Sanjay Joshi and Dana Riddle for this, as I am not by any means an expert on this subject. In fact I prefer brown corals, believe it or not (I am my LFS's dream customer because I buy all his 'boring brown Porites' corals that no-one else wants!), I feel they look more 'natural', so it is not something that I have looked at in detail. Try here:
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2006/1/aafeature1 &
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2009/1/aafeature1. There are many similar articles by the same authors on there that might help you, otherwise Bob or one of the crew might know more>. Could I just continue with the 14k's <I
would, yes. Is a much better spectrum than 20K IMO, but I use 10000K's & 6500K's w/ actinics>. I'm aware that corals do change colors based on tank conditions <yes, and the same colors can get darker with more concentrated zooxanthellae>, but is the above a reasonable generalization? <It would depend on the coral, and the clades found within it>. Fast growth is not really a criterion for me <Fast growth can be a pain sometimes. Borneman also states that slow but steady growth can result in healthier (less brittle) specimens, so I think you are on the right track here>. Thanks again!!<We're here to help!> Adriel <Simon>
Re: Acropora Yonggei & Lighting   1/16/10

Hi Simon,<Hi Adriel> This is just to thank you for your reply. Its excellent!!!! <I'm glad you think so! But don't take my word as gospel - read and you will inevitably learn!> Thanks!! Adriel <Simon>

Lighting for FOWLR tank 1/7/10
Hello, Your website is awesome! I just started a 28 gal FOWLR tank about 2 weeks ago and I'm still in the learning process. I have a 17W Perfecta strip 24" fluorescent light at the moment. Is this good enough to support
my 15 pounds of live rock?
<Mmm, barely>
Is this enough to allow the growth of coralline?
Also how long do you recommend for me to keep the light on a day?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/lgttimerstimingfaqs.htm>
I need to get my timer set up. Thanks so much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
re: lighting for FOWLR tank 1/7/10

thanks for your help. I guess I will buy a better light to make sure the tank will be ok then.
Also I have been reading different suggestions to weather or not to do a water change right away. It has been about 2 weeks and my nitrite is 0.
Some say change when tank is finished the start up cycle, others say wait about 2 months to allow build up. What do you think? Thanks again
<The latter John... wait the two months. BobF>

35 gallon Hexagon Lighting, stkg., reading  11/18/09
Hi again,
< Hello >
I have just finished reading about the lighting for my aquarium and I am still not sure of what to buy. I have a 35 gallon hexagon which I purchased years ago. I probably should have bought a new rectangular one after coming across the problems with the lighting I'm encountering.
Anyway, I have live rock, a tang,
< Your tank is much too small for a tang. >
goby yellow clown, Basslet, and Ocellaris clown fish, serpent starfish, peppermint shrimp, snails, one emerald and one porcelain crab, also one anemone.
< Overcrowded. Also, a 35 gallon is borderline for any type of anemone. >
I would like to have two L.P.S.'s eventually. The top of my tank is only about 20 inches across. I have a compact fluorescent on there now that is extremely old and the company went out of business so it has been very hard for me to find a lighting fixture that will work( one that is only 20 inches across). The back of the tank has a protein skimmer hanging on it so there is no room for a clip on light, unless the clip is only 2.5 inches long.. After that being said..my tank is 18 inches deep and the top of the live rock is 6 inches deep. So the corals would be anywhere from 6 - 18 inches deep. I don't want to burn them up with too strong of a light but do want to give them what they need. What can you suggest,,, please help. I have thought about changing the protein skimmer also to try to add room for the clip on light, but no luck as of yet..
What do you think I should do???? Thank you so much for your help and time..
< Normally I suggest T5 lighting for a tank of this size but because of the shape of the tank , I would look into one of the many 150 watt metal halide pendants on the market. Simply hang the light from the ceiling and raise or lower the light as needed. As an option you could look into a 24" 4 bulb T5 light. I know that the legs on Current lights and a few others have the ability to slide in , fitting smaller tanks. Not the most attractive way to go but very functional. Either option would serve you well. GA Jenkins >
Re: 35 gallon Hexagon Lighting 12/26/09

Hello again,
< Hello >
Thank you for the answer related to the lighting.
< You are very welcome. >
I have narrowed it to the Current Sunpod 150 watt or the Current Sunpod 250 watt for only 25$ more.
Would it be advantageous to get the 250 watt or harmful?? Thank you so much for your help... Cindy
< For an 18" deep tank I would suggest going with the 150 watt fixture. 250 watts would be overkill for a tank of your size and could cause heat issues along with coral bleaching. GA Jenkins >

Aquapod Lighting 11/06/09
Hi Crew,
< Stan >
I have a 24 gallon Aquapod with a 65w PC. Tank has LPS, candycanes, hammers and frogspawn.
< I would look into upgrading. >
I was thinking of adding another 65w.
< Good idea! >
As I have been searching around I started to consider T5's.
< Better idea!! >
I found a nice 96w T5.
< Should do nicely. >
What I can't seem to find is life expectancy of a T5.
< Manufacturers suggest from 10000 to 15000 hours but I would start replacing them at about 15 months. With the actinics being the last replaced. >
Is it similar to PC's?
Or how about MH at 150w (here we go, this hobby always seems to cost more).
< I would stay away from MH. They can lead to heat issues in smaller, nano sized tanks. >
Then I might have a heat problem.
< Very possible. >
Do MH bulbs just burn out?
< No, as they age they shift spectrum. Can cause nuisance algae blooms. >
They are reported to last much longer than fluorescent. Is that too much light for LPS?
< Would depend on the LPS in question but most would do fine with proper placement. >
Or can I have them on for less time during the day?
< If you are set on MH I would look into one of the MH combo units.
Limiting the MH to about 4 hours and using the supplemental lighting to finish up the lighting period would help keep the heat manageable. >
< For a tank your size, T5s are the way to go. More efficient , more bulb options, cooler running... GA Jenkins >

Nano Lighting And Filtration (or lack of..)/Reef Lighting 10/23/09
<Hello Shawn>
I'm starting to get back into the marine hobby again, I learned a lot of lessons from my first reef tank and this one I want to start off the right way.
I've done a lot of research but maybe you can help me here. My fist concern is with filtration, It's a 15 gal. tank and I'm going to use 16-20 lbs. of live rock and about 1 inch of live sand, say around 15 lbs. and weekly water changes of 2-3 gal. around 20%. That should cover biological and chemical but I am having trouble finding any sort of mechanical filter that will work within my constraints, being that I have very little room outside of the tank area to put anything such as a canister filter etc. My original idea was to use a single large power sweep pushing 270 gph and its sponge pre-filter. However its quite an ugly thing in such a small tank. My other idea is to get rid of mechanical filtration entirely and use 2 small Penguin power heads in each of the back corners, or use sponge pre filters at most. How necessary is mechanical filtration, would only live rock, sand, water changes, and vigorous circulation be enough?
<Yes, you can get by with this method along with vacuuming of the sand bed during the water changes and employing a small clean-up crew.>
I would like to stay away from protein skimmers as well mainly because of the noise as this tank is in my bedroom. Another concern is with my lighting rig. I plan to use T-5 fluorescent and I have a choice of a 4 bulb lamp or a 6 bulb. I'm leaning toward the 6 bulb lamp, 3 10K daylights and 3 actinic, 144 watts total. I plan to keep easy to keep corals like polyps and mushrooms with some other various softies.
That should be plenty of light but not too much correct?
The big concern is that with the rooms slanted ceiling, I can only raise the light about 2 inches above the tank and would preferably like to just set it on top of the tank. Is there any danger, besides heat, of having the corals so close to the light?
<No, you should be fine here. Most hoods have built-in cooling/exhaust fans. If you are just going to keep softies and no LPS or SPS corals, the four light fixture with 3 10K, and one actinic should provide plenty of
light for their needs.>
Roughly 4 or 5 inches from the bulb? the bulbs can be turned on and off independently so I can adjust the lighting if necessary. Any ideas would be great, nothing is set in stone yet, doing research before I commit.
<You may want to check out some of the smaller HOB filters from Hagen and Tetra.
You may also want to read here and linked FAQ's and articles in the header body.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Should I Change My Setup/Reef Lighting/Growing Corals 10/20/09
Hi Crew,
<Hello Sam>
I have a 24 gallon Aquapod and have been using it for 10 months and have been satisfied with it. It came (bought it used) with a hood with PC lighting (64w) and an alternate glass cover to be used for other lighting.
It also has a hang on skimmer. I had a 24 inch PC that has 65w so I decided to use it with the glass cover since I could not use the skimmer with the regular hood.
The skimmer hangs on a back compartment so that you can not use the hood. It may not be the worlds greatest skimmer but whatever it does collect I am glad is not in my system.
<Any skimmer is better than none.>
The main difference in the lighting is that the one in the hood is 12 inches and mine goes all the way across.
<Staggered lamp placement?>
The tank has one Candy Cane colony of about 30 heads, a hammer of about 10 heads, another hammer (not branching) about 5 inches long, a Favites about 4 inches across and a couple single heads of frogspawn. And in the fish category I have a Spotted Cardinal, a Neon Goby, a Clown Goby (just got him, yellow, about half an inch and really cute and doing well) and a Chalk Bass.
<Tank a little smallish for the cardinal and bass.>
And some snails, Astrea, Cerith and Nassarius. Algae is there but manageable. Glass needs to be cleaned once in 2 weeks and even then it is not really bad. Some hair algae spots and the back has some type growing on it looking like fuzz.
Last night I broke my glass cover as I was trying to clean it. So my question is do I simply get a new glass cover or should I remove the skimmer and use the regular Aquapod hood. It looks much neater with the hood but will I be giving up too much?
<Don't think so, both lighting units are 64 watts and should fill the tank with light.>
Also, would my setup benefit from more light. My corals are ok but they do not grow new heads.
<Definitely, the Candy Cane, Torch, and Frogspawn Corals all require moderate lighting.
I wouldn't consider 64 watts moderate, only averages out to a little over 2 1/2 watts per gallon which
is fine for softies, but for LPS corals in a 20" deep tank....Mmmm. May want to search BB's for a
clamp on 150 watt HQI or if room permits, another 64 watt PC strip light.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting On A Hexagon Tank/Reef Lighting 10/17/09
Hi guys,
<Hello Cindy>
I have a 35 gallon hexagon tank. I have live rock, a few fish and would like to add soft corals.. I have figured that to be 140-175 watts. My current lighting fixture is from CustomSeaLife and is old with only 2 28 watts and 7100 blue lighting?? The top of my tank or lid will only hold a fixture that is 20" long. Do you have any suggestions on where and what I should get?
Should I get a compact fluorescent??? It can only be 20" long..I have found a Coralife 20" compact that has 96watts. Is this enough light?
<This light should be sufficient for Mushroom Anemones and some polyps such as Yellow Polyps and others requiring moderate lighting. For any LPS corals it would be borderline.
If aesthetics aren't a problem, consider Coralife's clip on 150 watt HQI fixture which would
allow you to keep most LPS corals. Do read here.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Is this custom light fixture good enough? 10/10/09
Hi Folks,
I have setup up a 29 gal nano tank. 28"x14"x18" (LxWxH).
it is running on temporary lighting of 1x55watt PC 6500K and 1x36watt PC actinic.
no skimmer yet
around 30Kgs premium live rock
Circulation using 1 Vortech and a 1800LPH chiller return.
substrate is around 1" aragonite.
<I'd increase this to at least 2">
I was going to get a custom light fixture fabricated as I am not getting good lights in 220volts from most of the good websites. please do point if you know of any that will ship to India without costing me an arm and leg and then some more.
<Unfortunately, the ones I'm aware of are U.S. based/directed... 110 V, 60 Hz...>
The custom light fixture I designed is costing me around 300USD to get built and has the following
2x55watt PC - 6500K - individual reflectors - between the actinics mentioned below.
2x36watt PC - actinic - individual reflectors - one at back and one in front.
5x1watt LED - white - individual lenses. For shimmering effect
1x5watt LED - white. Can swivel this around for focus wherever needed.
For shimmering effect
1xscrew on LED based night light-moon lighting.
2x3" fans thermostat controlled - 1 positioned at left side back pulling in air and in the right side front pushing air out.
<Does sound very nice>
Lights will be without any cover and 10" above water line. Which makes them around 24" above substrate.
What I want to keep
Zoanthid and palythoa
LPS (hammer, open brain, frogspawn, Favia plate coral, moon coral)
sea fan
clam (any type will do)
I had a few questions. Please could you give your opinion.
1.Is this light combination suitable to get good growth and colours in the invertebrates mentioned above?
<Should be>
2. Should I get white LEDs or Blue?
<White if it were me/mine>
I have heard that white is just mixing RGB so will reduce intensity.
something like that.
<Not so>
3. The actinic PC I mentioned is maybe the UV lamp. The tubes look white before ignition but become pale blue after starting. When they are on, they make colors fluorescent and glow.
<... not UV... as in ultraviolet... just somewhere near 700 nm wavelength>
4. are the 5x1watt LED any good?
should I just have 3x5watt LED with individual lenses in a straight line (left, center, right) ?
<I wouldn't... light dispersion is better with more LED units>
5. I heard that higher watt LED have very short lifespans as they tend to burn out faster than lower wattage ones. Is that true?
should I just go with a 3watt one?
<Up to you>
6. Will the 5x1watt LEDs give me the shimmer effect with the mentioned height or should I replace them with 5x3watt in a straight line?
<The higher wattage will shimmer more>
Thanks in advance
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Is this custom light fixture good enough? 10/10/09

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the comments. Always appreciated.
Can you elaborate a bit please?
<Will do so>
1. why do you say you would prefer white? is it because of personal color preference?
<Both aesthetics and function>
2. Given the choice, what LED configuration would you go for (max of 6 LEDs)?
<Four white, two blue>
3. what would be the on off cycles you would prefer and why?
<I'd have the blue on all night, overlapping with two hour with the time all other lights were on at the beginning and end of the "light day"><To provide some light during the night mostly>
Do let me know.

Nano Tank Lighting - 10/07/2009
Dear Crew,
<Hey Adam! JustinN here!>
I've been keeping freshwater fish for a couple years now, never considering the possibility of moving into saltwater. Through months of reading over the daily FAQ's and tapping your keg of knowledge, I worked up the nerve to get my feet wet'¦.and salty.
<They say the brine is good for the skin! ;)>
I decided to despite the challenge, start with a nano reef. I've kept my nano coral and invert only tank flourishing for the past six months <A definite accomplishment -- stability in such a small volume of water is difficult to say the least.>
5.5 G
Coralife Mini AquaLight 18W, 9W 10,000K 9W Actinic
2X custom micro impeller driven powerheads 50gph each
6.5 lbs Live Rock
Assorted Colony Zoos, 4mo old
Assorted Mushrooms, 4mo old
2X Bullseye Frags, new
2X Duncan Frags, new
3X Small Turbo Snails
1X Sexy Shrimp
<Sounds like a reasonably stocked, albeit small, tank.>
My question is regarding light. I have found much in the archives about lighting, but little to no information concerning lighting in such a small tank.
<Long term success in such small volumes is not common -- most people tend to move to something bigger once the reality of upgrades start to set in -- at least this is my experience.>
I've recently become interested in keeping LPS coral in addition to the mushrooms and zoo's that I've had. I am considering adding a second Mini AquaLight for better light coverage and LPS compatibility. It
would sit side by side to the first and perfectly cover the length of the tank. I can't seem to get an educated opinion about this being too much light or not.
<Should be fine, assuming you can maintain against accelerated daily evaporation and continue to keep your water in balance.>
The depth of this tank is only 12in and the top of my rock stack sits only 3 inches from the light that rests on the glass top. Do you think it would be safe/beneficial/needed to add a second fixture to my setup. I do not have any interest in getting anything that would require more light than the LPS coral I have recently acquired.
Thanks in advance for the time,
<The extra lighting would certainly be appreciated by the Cnidarian life in the tank, and should not cause any major harm -- again, the big thing to watch for here is stability of the water volume. Doubling your light will in turn double the heat generated from said lights, and thus accelerate the evaporation of fresh water from your tank. In such a small volume of water, this could turn the water chemistry to uninhabitable relatively quickly. Good luck! -JustinN>

4x24 watt T5HO versus 4x65 watt PC on 20 Gallon long tank
T5 for a 20 Long? 7/2/09

Hi crew.
< Hello!>
I have currently a 20 gallon long reef tank with 4x65 watt PC (1 10K, 1 actinic, 1 50/50, 1 actinic/460nm) lighting placed 8 inch above water. The tank is 11-12 inch deep. I have a mix of SPS (Monti) LPS (hammer, frogspawn) Zoa corals. In a close future, I would like to add a Crocea to the tank.
After reading on WWM and elsewhere I still don't know for sure if my tank will benefit from a move to the T5HO side. Do you think that I can make my coral colors and growth to increase using 4x24 watt T5HO (1 AquaSun , 1 Aquablue, 1 pure actinic, 1 super actinic) against my current lights?
< I do think your tank would benefit from a move to T5 lighting. Cooler running, longer bulb life and better bulb selection are all just bonuses on top of the better growth. >
In case I make the move, would it be overkill to go for an icecap retrofit kit, meaning overdriving the bulbs a little by using their 660 ballast?
< I do think overdriving them would be a bit much. Be sure to look into a system with individual reflectors.>
Thanks for your help.
< You are quite welcome GA Jenkins >

What is Considered Proper Lighting? SM reef...   6/14/09
Hello all,
I was wondering if I would be able to get some advice on my reef tank. I have been reading through many of your emails and also researching lighting for several weeks and still haven't been able to come up with an answer. First, let me tell you about my tank. I have had the tank for about four months now. It is 18" tall (20 gallon), about 16 inches from the top of the water to the substrate, and I'm sure you would say is severely overstocked. Ph is at 8.1, Gravity is 1.024, Nitrates are at zero, Calcium is at 400 ppm, Alkalinity is 150 ppm. I have 2 Birdsnest frags, one 3-head branching frogspawn, one Favia, a candy sponge aka orange spider sponge, a tiny toadstool leather,
<Will be the fastest grower here... trouble in time>
3 Ricordeas (which by the way are reproducing rather rapidly), two Duncans, and a very small Zoanthid colony. When we first obtained the Ricordea, it was only one mushroom. Now this is not to mention the 2 True Percs, Yellow Clown Goby, and Wheelers Watchman Goby that my girlfriend just had to have. Now, back to the lighting. I am currently using a Coralife 24" dual PC (1x65W Actinic 420 & 1x65W 10K w/ 2x3/4W 470nm moonlights). I have researched Birdsnest and found that they need higher lighting needs, along with the leather toadstool. Also, when I bring my coral home from the LFS they don't seem to be near as colorful as they are in LFS tanks. I have also noticed that their coral are under metal halides. I am just worried that a metal halide would give off too much heat for my aquarium.
<Will, would...>
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for all the advice in the previous posts as well
<Mmm... the shorter term possibility might be to (simply) switch out one of the current fluorescent lamps for something "whiter" for you color-wise... Functionally, I would not add intensity/photostrength to this system, the livestock you list... as this will entail other induced problems... In the longer term, you really should be planning (as in saving money, looking for a setting/place), actively, for a much larger volume/system, not fritzing your attention/buying on other lighting. Bob Fenner>

What Kind Of Lighting/Reef Lighting 5/27/09
Dear folks:
Thank you for this wonderful website.
<You're welcome.>
As an 8 month newcomer to saltwater tanks, I have become very fond and quite fascinated and addicted to learning more. We have a 29 gallon tank with live rock, sand, green striped mushroom corals, dancing xenia, some polyps and purple tipped anemone, 2 Percula Clowns (that live in the anemone), and 2 Fire Gobies and a Diamond Goby, and a cleaner shrimp. All are thriving, and our parameters remain stable. I want to confirm what kind of lighting to use. I have a Corallife 50/50 bulb 65 watt, one blue, and one white all in one case strip that sits on top of our tank. (I have the top of the tank covered with fiberglass screen and a ceiling plastic like egg crate. (So no one jumps out). With the addition of this screen, the light seems darkened. What kind of light will help this aquarium thrive? How do I keep from turning on the light on and off full blast and shocking the fish into daytime or nighttime? I would appreciate your professional advice.
<If your purple tipped anemone is a Condylactis Anemone, (look here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/condyanemones.htm), your present lighting isn't quite enough for it to thrive for any length of time. Anemones should not be kept in a small tank with other "non-immune" fish. Trouble is likely ahead. You  would be much better off to remove the screen and the egg crate and replace with a glass top. This will increase the light intensity in your tank and prevent fish from jumping out. Consider timers for the lighting, and turn the actinic lamp on first, then some time later the white lamp and reverse for night time.>
Many thanks,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting for a 24 Gallon 5/22/09
Hey Matt here, how are you today?
< Great! Thanks for asking. >
I'm setting up a 24 gallon reef tank and trying to decide on a light.  I would rather go with a t5 than a metal halide because they run much cooler and I know u can't really go by the watts on a t5 because they put out more lumens per watt than other bulbs out there.(from what I have read).
< Watts are a measure of electricity not intensity. >
I've been looking for a 24 inch t5 light that could hold 39 watt or 54 watt bulbs but I don't think they make them like that?
< 24 watts is the standard for 24" lights. >
So really my question is how many 24 watt t5 bulbs would I need on my 24 gallon tank with dimensions of 24.5"Lx17"Wx17"H I don't know if I should go with the 4 bulb (total 96 watts, two 10,000k and two actinic blue) setup or the 6 bulb ( total 144 watts, 3 10,000k and 3 actinic blue) or (total 144watts, 4 10,000k and 2 actinic blue) setup?
< Well, that really depends on the reflectors. If it has true individual reflectors the 4 bulb system should work fine. Instead of 2 X 10K and 2 X
actinic I would go with something like this :
Front of Tank
Blue Plus
Super Actinic
UVL Aquasun
ATI AquaBlue
I want to be able to keep any coral and maybe clams that I would like without a problem. So any help you could give me would be very much appreciated!!!! Thank you for your time!
Have a great day!
Matt Shows
< A 4 bulb setup with true individual reflectors should cover it. With the width of your tank the placement of the light compared to you rock formation and coral placement will also play a factor. GA Jenkins >

Saltwater lighting/Reef Lighting 4/1/09
Hello WWM crew.
<Hi Aaron>
I was wondering if you can help me out.
I have a saltwater aquarium and I always wanted to have coral. I have been doing research but
the only thing that gets me down is the lighting.. I what <want> a Capnella sp (Neon Pineapple Tree Coral) and I was wounder <wondering> if 4 54 watt t-5 10,000k bulbs will work. I have read it needs about med to high light (wish if they world be more exacted <exact>). So I was wondering if what I explained before would work. <It's> its a 30 gallon tank. If I need more light, can you tell me about wat <what> I would need or some example's of wat <what> kind of beginner coral I can use with that lighting.
<In a 30 gallon tank, you would need four, 400 watt metal halide lights (April Fool). Your T5 system should be fine for keeping the Pineapple Tree Coral.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Reef Lighting Question, 29 gal.  2/9/09 Hello! <Hi Renna> First off, thank you in advance for your expertise. <You're welcome.> I bought a Coralife Aqualight Pro, and this has 2 10k blue CF lights (one on each side) and a 150 watt HQI 14k light in the middle. It also has moonlights. The first question is: Is this too much light for a 29 gallon aquarium, which has Ricordea, Acropora, Bubble Tip and a lot of leather corals? <Not at all, but it is not a good idea keeping anemones with corals as they can/will move, and in the moving process will sting corals along the way. Your tank is a little small for keeping a BTA to begin with.> My second question is: Do you think that 14k bulbs are good or should I change to another type? I like growth, but I do not like the yellowish tint from the 10k I had prior. <The 14K lamps are fine.> Third, and last: I changed bulbs a week ago to the 14k and my BTA began hiding. Is this too strong or is she just adjusting? She went into her cubby a bit for 3 days now. <Should not be too strong, you likely have other problems with the BTA.> Water parameters are 0-0-0 <? Doesn't tell me anything, I try not to make a habit of guessing.> I dose with calcium weekly, <Need more info here. Do you do water changes, supplement magnesium and test weekly for calcium/magnesium?> and Coral Vite and I feed phyto every 2 days and feed the BTA 2x weekly. <I would only feed the BTA once a week. Do not feed the anemone until improvement shows, better yet, find a home for the anemone.> I only feed fish 3x weekly, and I do not overfeed. The tank has a Prizm skimmer, 30/60 biofilter, heater, a Maxijet 800 and last, but not least, I will be hooking up an overflow and the refugium within the next week. <Good move in adding the refugium.> The system is established around 4 months. <Do read here and related articles/FAQ's http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/bubbletipanemones.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm> Thank you, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Renna

24g nano lighting, stkg.   2/5/09 Greetings from Tampa Bay!? <Hello Danny. Minh at your service.> I was in the reef addicts club for a few years and took an unwanted vacation, but I want to join again!? <Welcome back to the addiction.> I plan on acquiring a JBJ 24 gallon nano cube.? Lighting comprises of 2 x 36 Watt 50/50 CF Lamp w/ Remote Ballast + (2) Nite Vu LED Moonlights.? Dimensions are 18"x19.6"x19.7".? <Excellent all-in-one nano tank. I am an owner myself.> I have read through the FAQ's that 3 watts per gallon isn't considered moderate lighting; however, I read a few FAQ's stating that 3 watts per gallon can be irrelevant depending on how shallow your tank is.? I did read that light penetration weakens at 20 inches or more of depth.? <Wattage per gallon is not a good rule of thumb when it comes to modern reef aquarium lighting. Intensity should be the primary focus when evaluating a lighting set up.> With that being stated, is the factory lighting scheme of 3 watts per gallon sufficient for soft corals or polyps in that size tank?? <The factory lighting should be sufficient for soft corals and polyps such as Palythoas or Zoanthids and even some LPS such as Caulastrea or Acanthastrea.> Or should I consider retrofitting another 36 watt PC into the hood?? I had difficulties in the past with a tall tank and my soft corals trumpeting to absorb more light.? I do not want to replicate that problem, although I don't want to overheat the tank!? <Although the factory lighting is sufficient, you should know that there are other contemporary lighting methods that are both more efficient (higher intensity while using the same if not less energy), longer lasting and run much cooler such as T5 High Output lighting and LED lighting. Unfortunately, the cost of LED lighting is still out of reach of most reef hobbyists at this time, T5 High Output lighting is fast becoming a favorite. More information about T5 HO lighting can be found here: http://tfivetesting.googlepages.com/ . Furthermore, there is a lot of good information available from other Nano Cube users here: http://www.nano-reef.com/ .> Thank you in advance for you advice! Danny N. <You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>
Re: 24g nano lighting  02/06/09
Thanks for the quick reply Minh!? <You're welcome, Danny.> You said some LPS would fare fine in my tank...would that include Euphyllia?? I loved the branching frogspawn (Euphyllia paradivisa) when I had my 45, but I am very concerned I might not have the intensity of lighting (2x32 CF's) needed with this tank or do I?? <Euphyllia would fare well under 2x32W PC lamps in a 24G Nano Cube. There are certain things you can do to maximize the amount of light reaching corals. For example, use creative placement of more light intensive corals higher on your aquascape scheme. Also, CF/PC bulbs lose quite a bit of intensity rather quickly and depending on the brand, may expire by the 6 months mark so make sure to keep up with bulb replacement to maintain intensity.> I do not want to sentence beautiful corals to their doom needlessly.? <Lighting is only one part of successful coral husbandry. I suspect if you maintain proper water quality along with proper animal selection, you should be successful with the factory lighting on the 24G Nano Cube.> Thank you again! Danny <Good luck. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

Re: Anthony, Coral Help Please, Now Lighting, Sm. SW  2/3/09 Hallo again! <Hi Eric> So I've made some progress I think, have done a TON of reading re: lighting and lighting requirements. I think I've found a solution. Let me know what you think... <OK, will try.> I've just replaced the bulbs on my compact fluorescent rig, another 65 Watt 10,000K Compact Fluorescent, and changed from a regular actinic light (65 Watt) to a Royal Blue actinic of the same wattage (Corals look amazing). <Thinking the royal blue actinic is a 420nm lamp rather than a 460?> I will also be adding in a VHO T-5 fluorescent rig, <The T5's are classed as HO's.> with a 10,000K 18W T-5 light, and a T-5 actinic true blue, also 18 watts (though I may change this for another T-5 10,000K daylight bulb). <For my likings, two actinics would be too much blue. I'd just stick with the one 420nm lamp.> After reading a lot of articles/FAQs/etc, I feel that the halide lighting would just be too much for my Shrooms and polyps, especially as my tank isn't very deep (just a regular 29 gallon). <Would be for just keeping Shrooms and polyps.> Also, it's hard to find pre-built rigs with a metal halide bulb that will fit a 30" tank. I hope that adding the T-5's will be enough. <Should be more than enough for the type of corals you mention.> In other news, checked the magnesium, it checks out perfectly at 1250-1300ppm. I'll do the alkalinity titration too, it's a lot more specific (total, carbonate and borate alkalinity). The other test kit I had for alkalinity is a simple colour gradient with 'high' 'normal' and 'low' and the corresponding values of 2.9-3.6, 1.7-2.8 and 0-1.6 Milliequiivalents per litre. My water has always hovered on the middle of the scale, so I'd say about 2.2-2.3 Meq.... but this new kit should give me a better qualitative measurement. <Sounds good.> Also, the colt coral will be going back to the other store I frequent.... discovered it last month, and they seem very competent/conscientious. Custom made tanks/setups and advice on DIY stuff, and they quarantine all their livestock for 3 weeks before sale. Also grow a lot of their own coral frags for the harder to find species, and won't sell to you without thorough discussion of your tank. Very nifty. <My kind of LFS.> Also, I'll be reducing feedings of the open brain, bubble and candy cane corals <Keep an eye of these corals with your present lighting conditions. Once you upgrade/add the T5's, you should be pretty close to where you need to be for the type of corals you list.> (oh and I do grind their food up into very fine bits). We'll see what happens! <Do take the time to read this article by Anthony Calfo and related articles/FAQ's. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/growingcorals.htm > Thanks again. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Eric

Lighting, small SW, and wet-dry filter media  1/2/09 Hi Crew, <Hello Sam, Minh at your service.> I have a 10 gallon with 65w (10k daylight) pc lighting that is over 5 years old. I am moving up to a 24 gallon Aquapod and would like to use the same lighting fixture. <Congratulations on the upgrade.> The standard Aquapod cover with PC lighting is 64w (32 10k and 32 actinic). My corals are just candycanes (probably close to 100 heads in total). My watts per gallon will be going down but does it really matter as long as I concentrate to corals along the light path and move them to the upper half of the tank. Will my current lighting be better for the corals than the Aquapod or does it not make much of a difference. <The "wattage per gallon" rule of thumb has really hindered the way aquarists look at lighting properly. Instead, we should look at the units of lighting produced by a particular lighting set up in terms of PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) or PUR (Photosynthetic Usable Radiation) - detailed explanation of these terms can be found on Sanjay's Lighting Website (http://www.manhattanreefs.com/lighting). In your particular case, you are spot on in pointing out that although the watts-per-gallon ratio goes down as your water volume goes up, the PAR/PUR units will remain the same as the lighting fixture is the same. Furthermore, you've pointed out a great strategy in coral placement and aquascaping to maximize light penetration in a taller tank.> A second question relates to biological filtration. If I have 25 pounds of live rock, sand and a sponge filter media is that sufficient. I have read about the problems of ceramic or other balls used to increase the biological population and would rather not use them if the problems outweigh the benefits. <In terms of nutrient export, the problems can outweigh the benefits. Here is an excerpt from an article explaining the process in detail, "Nitrate in the Reef Aquarium" (http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/august2003/chem.htm): "Such filters do a fine job of processing ammonia to nitrite to nitrate, but do nothing with the nitrate. It is often non-intuitive to many aquarists, but removing such a filter altogether may actually help reduce nitrate. So slowly removing them and allowing more of the nitrogen processing to take place on and in the live rock and sand can be beneficial. It is not that any less nitrate is produced when such a filter is removed, it is a question of what happens to the nitrate after it is produced. When it is produced on the surface of media such as bioballs, it mixes into the entire water column, and then has to find its way, by diffusion, to the places where it may be reduced (inside of live rock and sand, for instance). If it is produced on the surface of live rock or sand, then the local concentration of nitrate is higher there than in the first case above, and it is more likely to diffuse into the rock and sand to be reduced to N2." I My current 10 gallon has a Penguin mini power filter with a bio wheel and I never found a spike in ammonia even when large snails died (which I did not remove because all critters deserve a treat once in a while). <It sounds like your 5 year old system has reached a natural equilibrium. I suspect your new set up should fare well based on the experience you've gained with your current set up.> Thanks, Sam <You're welcome. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>
Re: Lighting, sm. SW   1/4/09
Hi Minh, Just wanted to know if there is any real real difference between my lighting and the one in the Aquapod as noted below. <Sam, the performance should be similar between the stock Aquapods 2x32W SunPaq and your 1x65W Daylight. Obviously your 1x65W Daylight would be much brighter directly under the bulb as the Aquapods 2x32W splits between Actinic and Daylight SunPaq bulbs. However, the light spread on the 2x32W SunPaq has more coverage suitable for a cube tank's dimensions. Like you mentioned before, creative aquascaping along the path of the 1x65W lamp is an option. Another option is to add another 1x65W lamp using a retrofit kit for additional coverage as your corals grow.> Thanks. <Hope that helps. Cheers, Minh Huynh>

Nano Lighting 10/20/08 Good morning/day/afternoon WWM Crew, <Hello Adriel.> I'm planning to set up a 20 gallon nano, and would like your opinion on whether the following would be an effective lighting set up. Would like to keep primarily soft corals and perhaps a couple of stony. 2 x 20w fluorescent daylight 6500k 12 hours 2 x 20w actinic 7100k 12 hours 1 x 150w metal halide 20,000k 6 hours Tank dimensions are 36"x12"x12". <This lighting will work fine, but you will likely need at least a fan blowing across the top of the tank to keep the temp. down. Time will tell.> Thanks for any help that you could provide. Adriel
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Small tank lighting  08/14/2008 Hi :-) <<Good afternoon, Andrew today>> I had written earlier regarding a small tank setup but forgot to ask about lighting. Tank dimensions are 30L x 20W x 16H (all in inches). <<41 gallon>> Inhabitants I intend to keep are; Fish - 5-7 reef chromis, 1 firefish, 1 psychedelic mandarin. <<Afraid not, tank far too small to house all these fish. No problem with the firefish. Chromis are better in large schools like 7 or more, a tank this size, you would have 3 max...Mandarin, would not add until tank is very mature with a LARGE refugium for copepod production. If it was me, I would not house a mandarin in a tank that size, so, I will not recommend it here>> Inverts- 2 cleaner shrimp, snails, Zoanthids & Palythoa (theme), shrooms, 1 moon coral. <<No prob.s with the coral selection / inverts>> I was wondering about these 2 light schemes <<Ok>> A) 2 x 150 watt MH. B) 6 x 36watt PL/CFL and 2x20watt T5 actinic. Which one would you suggest and why? <<I would always suggest metal halides if budget allows. They provide a nice powerful light and with halides, you remove quite a lot boundaries which are there with PC lighting>> Cheers Ranjith <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Small tank lighting follow-up 08/14/2008 I was going through the website faqs for this before I wrote in. Some of the crew suggests 2x 150W halides and some say 2 x 36watt PC. This is for the same size (or very very close) tank and Inverts that are not much different in their light demand to justify this wide range of difference. What gives??? <<All depends on what is going to housed in the tank. Most, me included, will suggest metal halides for a reef as your getting a nice bright / powerful light which has less boundaries that PC lighting. The two lighting systems you mentioned above, do not even compare in my opinion, metal halide is the far better system...Regards. A Nixon>>

Reef Lighting - Would like to purchase new bulbs 8/1/08 - need help. Reef Lighting 8/1/08 Guys: <And gals!> I am rounding the corner to understanding the last frontier of reef tanks for me - since I've made most mistakes that could be made (except overstocking, compatibility and not waiting for cycling), <The most common mistakes.> in the last 18 months (despite months of beforehand reading), and I am now making a genuine effort to understand reef lighting, now that I think I've got my flow problems solved (the second to the last frontier for me). I know, I know, lighting (and flow) should have been first in my understanding, but it just seemed too complex and controversial for me to tackle then. I have the time and money wasted to prove it. <Trust me, we all have the time and money to show! Lighting and flow can be changed after the fact, tank, stand and drains should be the first consideration. These require tearing down the whole system to change. What you are going through is the natural evolution of reefkeeping.> Now that my bulbs needs changing (overdue actually) - I've stepped up my efforts to get lighting right this time (and not just listen to the fish store people). <!> I think I understand all the facts of light (though not the nuances) and am ready to purchase new bulbs. <OK> However, since lighting is most expensive, I just flat out want your opinion on what to do for my specific wants and needs, tank size and inhabitants. What lighting is best for a 26 gallon bow front reef tank? <Depends.> My current light is a 24" Nova Extreme T-5 HO 10,000K daylight with actinics and moonlights - but for a total of only 96 watts, daylights and actinics included! <This ratio can be changed by swapping bulbs, if you are ok with the look.> Now that I better understand lighting (I think), it seems to me that there is little wonder I have had very little success with most corals (when all other factors are controlled for). This seems like very minimal light - all things considered. Am I correct? <Really depends on what you want to keep. Lack of success in such a small system starting out could very well be due to instability rather than just lighting.> At 8 wpg - it seems that I should have at least an approximate total of 200w. Or would 6 wpg be better (150W)? I've even heard up to 10 wpg (250W)! All I know now, is I have about 3 wpg and they are old (as bulbs go). <WPG is a poor measure of lighting. In a small tank like this you can in many cases get away with less due to the fact that your corals will inherently be close to the light.> Welcome nuisance algae (even when all other factors are controlled for). <Another common hazard in small systems, but large systems as well.> I do not have room for a chiller (unless I get one of the nano hang-on-tank ones (that got surprisingly good user reviews), so it looks like metal halide is out of the question for now, at least. <Without a chiller, likely is out of the question.> So, I guess I'll stick with fluorescents that go in my current fixture, but I REALLY want to achieve the crisp shimmery look, with a bright white light with slight purplish color (rather than the bluer look) that I see in some tanks on the web and in stores. <I love this effect, but have also grown tired of it in time. The overall power savings of T5s now have me enamored. LEDs provide both, with a huge upfront cost!> I absolutely do not prefer yellows, which accentuate any flaw in the tank, such as the seemingly obligatory occasional spot of Cyano or green algae. Seems to me not only is the crisp white-purple appealing to the eye, but it also hides the drabber colors in an aquarium - something I wish to do, at least until I get a tank full of colorful corals. I've had it with the grey-greens! I need enough watts to grow a mixed reef - but not "fry" my 2 false perculas and green chromis damsel with the intensity or heat (or my detritivores, for that matter). This is just about all that is in the tank, save a few zoo frags and a finger leather frag. <You will not want to mix too much diversity in such confines.> Can you tell me what 4 bulb combination to use (that can be accommodated by my current fixture), so far as the Kelvin rating, the wattage, variety, intensity and spectrum of each bulb to achieve the visual effect I want as described above? (I hear there are different ranges of blues and purples in actinic bulbs, to further confuse me.) <If you are looking for a very blue hue you will want two true actinic 03 bulbs, peaking between 420 to 430 nanometers. The balance will be 10000K daylight bulbs. But, for more useable light for corals, I would recommend going with a single actinic, placed in the front of the fixture, with three daylight bulbs. You will actually be able to keep quite a variety of corals with this.> Obviously, I want the best prospect of succeeding with a varied range of corals, and heat reduction without having to use a chiller, but still be able to achieve that bright white-purply shimmery effect. <At most I would consider adding a bulb or two to your current setup.> Is this possible with the type of bulbs my fixture takes and under which different varieties of corals can survive/thrive (softies, stonies, etc.). Your recommending a photo cycle will be helpful also. <It is possible to achieve a happy balance, but I would not keep both soft corals and SPS/LPS in such a system. Photo period will need to be 12 hours a day.> P.S. Just got Bob's book and love it - read it all in one night! <A fellow addict!> Should have had it from the beginning, instead of having stacks and stacks of internet articles. <Some of the internet resources, particularly those from WWM are great.> Bob covers it all in one place. Too bad he did not directly address a 26g bow front reef with a white-purplish shimmery effect. LOL <I had the same problem years ago ? The book really is an invaluable resource.> Thanks! Again! <Very welcome.> Aleasha Baltimore, MD <Scott V., Fresno, CA.>

20 gallon nano lighting question 7/23/08 Hello Crew, <Eric> I have a really quick question: I am in the planning stages of setting up a 20 gallon (30 inch long style) tank that I intend to make into a reef setup. Most of my questions and planning are answered/complete/figured out, however I'm stuck on the lighting issue. I'm debating between 2 light fixtures. They're both made by the same manufacturer and are essentially the same, however the wattage is different. The first has 65 watts of PC lighting, and the second has 130 watts. I would rather go with the lower light because it'll be less difficult to manage algae/less concern for waste heat... cheaper fixture, but none of the above are 'deal breakers'. What is a deal breaker is the following: As for inhabitants: One small fish, some inverts, 15 lbs live rock, and Corals/Polyps: I really like LPS coral ( I know I need to keep them spread out.. I'll probably have 3-4 total.. one in the very western side, 2 in the middle, and one on the east side, all evenly spaced out.) I'm thinking of Bubble/Frogspawn/Torch/Hammer/those types of LPS, or maybe something like Pulsing Xenia switched in. For this, what lighting do you suggest? <I would opt for the 130 watt light. These corals are not as light hungry as say SPS, but will appreciate the extra intensity over the 65 watt fixture. A 65 watt PC will typically be a 50/50 daylight/actinic bulb, leaving you with only 30 watts or so of daylight (the light that counts!). Also, you can switch one bulb off if you need to or want to run just one bulb.> Thanks a TON, as always. Eric <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Re: 20 gallon nano lighting question 7/24/08 Scott, <Hello again Eric.> Thank you for the excellent answer. That's a great idea about increasing flexibility with the light fixture. I never thought to just remove one of the bulbs if necessary. Now lets say, for example, that I want to change out my LPS corals and change them out for SPS, would this lighting be sufficient? <Yes, in a 20 gallon you can quite successfully keep SPS with this lighting. You will want to run one daylight bulb and likely make the other bulb a 50/50 actinic/daylight to get the most usable light for the SPS.> Also, should the light fixture be raised above the tank at all? <An inch or two for air circulation. If you have heat issues down the road I recommend picking up a little fan to blow between the fixture and the tank rather than raising the fixture any higher.> Again, thank you so very much. Eric <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Re: 20 gallon nano lighting question 7/28/08 Thanks again for the excellent answers. <Welcome, thank you.> I have another.. of course. Do you think a 96 watt, 24 inch T-5 fixture would be better for this tank? <I almost always pick T5 over PC, but in this case I would stick with the PC if it were me. The reason being that T5's have a real advantage in that they can run the entire length of a tank without needing to stagger the bulbs to get even coverage. With PC bulbs you usually need to add extra bulbs and stagger them to get the same coverage, ending up with much more wattage. The 65 watt PC bulbs fit your tank nicely. Granted you will have a bit of a power savings with the T5, but also consider bulb replacement. Say $16 X 4 for the T5 or $20 X 2 for the PC. Reality is either will work fine, this is just my long winded two cents! The deal you can find on either fixture may help you decide too.> Thank you again, Eric <Welcome, regards, Scott V.>

Lighting Fixture Height 7/17/08 Hello there, <Stephen.> I know you are super busy so I will keep this brief. I have a 12 gallon AP and I have a 24' Coralife pro 150w MH with radium HQI DE, along with dual 65w 03 actinics and 2, 1 watt moonlights. I currently keep two SPS, but mostly acans, Favias, micros and a few hammers scattered around the tank. <Quite a bit in a 12!> The light is 23 inches from the bulb to the bottom of the tank. Should I drop the light? If so what would you suggest? The corals are big, puffy and open all the time, but the colors are a bit dull during the day, under the actinic and the moonlights they really pop. I was thinking maybe the light was too bright for the corals and they are dulling? Oh yeah its 20K MH. <Lowering the light will also increase the amount of heat the fixture imparts into the tank. This can be very problematic on a tank this size. You can definitely try lowering, I would go a few inches at most, and keep an eye on your temperature.> I saw another tank that had a 150 on it (SunPod ) and those are default 3 inches from the top of the tank. Is that where it should be? <Too close to the tank for my taste. Too much heat and too likely for the fixture's glass/bulb to be splashed while hot. If a lid is on the thing while the fixture is that low, watch the heat soar.> I know a lot depends on tank inhabitants, but I was trying to keep this brief. That just seems so low with such a bright light. Please let me know. Last but not least.. People are telling me I should lose the actinic. <Why? You have just stated the actinics give you the look you like, keep them!> However, no one can tell me if dual 65w actinic 03 are more, less or equal to 24 inch 24 watt t5's super actinics. I don't want to rip apart my 400 dollar fixture to achieve nothing. Can you make me decide? <Use which ever one you have right now. You will not notice a large appreciable difference from one to another.> Thanks! Kind regards, Stephen <Welcome, Scott V.>

<Sm.> Coral tank lighting 06/06/2008 Hello I have a few questions about a coral/reef tank that I am starting up. First I would like to hear what you have to say about my lighting on the tank. The tank is only a 20 gallon long. So there is not much height only 12 inches high. I have a 65 watt 12,000k daylight and a 65 watt Blue actinic. But the light is another 3 1/2 inches higher because it is on legs. <No worries... better to be this height for dispersion, avoiding splash and spray> Right now I only have 2 Ricordea Yumas in the tank because I just set it up. <Good choices> I guess what I'm getting at here is if that is to much light? <No... not too much> The corals <Actually, Corallimorphs... not true corals> are 15 1/2 inches away from the light at the bottom of the tank. I could move the light up another 4 inches if needed. But the setup I have right now seems perfect to me because the Ricordeas do not seem affected by the light and I would love to start getting into some LPS and SPS corals <Mmm, not likely the last group... most are unsuitable in such small, unstable settings as yours. Trying some small frags is suggested... that have been "selected" through aquarium keeping/culture> and get away from these softies. And from what I'm reading soft corals need the less light, then LPS, and finally SPS need the most? Please give me all your advice on my situation. Thanks Rick <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm Scroll down... the areas on Small Marine Systems... esp. my article on Tom Walsh's 20 gal. systems. Bob Fenner>

12 Gallon nano and LEDs   2/6/08 First I want to be the ten zillionth person to thank everyone involved with this website. It has been a priceless resource. (If Mr. Fenner or Mr. Calfo respond to this question I'm grateful for all that you have done for our hobby and for your literature? several of your books permanently reside on my nightstand!) Now, on to the business? I have been in the hobby/cult for over three years. I initially set up a 12 gallon Nano Cube DX due to necessity (college dorm room) and finances (college). To say the least, I learned quickly that I was embarking on a challenging task of maintaining a nano reef. Well, after extensive research, heartaches, headaches, many expletives, and the installation of a 4 gallon refugium, I had a thriving system. Then after a year and a half, everything in my tank died? well everything but my pair of ocellaris clowns. All my inverts, corals, and macroalgae gone <Almost a universal experience, re-experience with these small systems... Yours "lasted" far longer than any measure of central tendency> and I couldn't figure out why. After two weeks, and what I thought was a power outage, I found the root of my demise? a broken glass heater that had been broken for at least a few weeks prior to its discovery (all of the metal (copper) internals were missing (dissolved?). <Yikes!> I tried to revive my tank but my efforts were fruitless. &#61516; I disassembled my system, gave away my clowns, and packed away my hopes of having a successful reef system along with my nano cube. Well, after a year and a half of having this huge void in my life (yeah? it was that bad), I have decided to setup my nano reef again. Well, I'm now in graduate school and really not in any better situation than I was three years ago financially? so I'm setting up my 12 gal Nano Cube again? I keep telling myself that I am going to do it ?right? this time. My ultimate goal of this system is to have a pair of clowns and some easy corals. The tank is currently sitting empty awaiting a fresh shipment of Marshall live rock. I have made many mod.s to the 12 gallon tank to better meet the needs of a reef... I have already made and installed DIY 9 gallon upstream style refugium. The only aspect that I haven't flirted with is the lighting (the current system includes two 24 watt 50/50 PCs)? I have a surplus of 24W PC lights that are around 10 to 14 months old and am in the market for new lights (which by the time I pay shipping usually runs close to $50 bucks a year). I don't want to opt of a HQI or MH fixture for monetary reasons plus I like having a full canopy over my tank. My local fish guru is currently designing LED light systems that he has measured to compare with metal halides but his systems utilize at least 25 or so LEDs per unit and costs well it makes me shiver just trying to type it! This got me thinking and researching like it was the day before a thesis paper was due. I have found that I can make a DIY 12 watt LED system that will fit in the existing canopy of my tank and save me money (assuming I can get 50,000 hours of useful life from the LEDs). This will be made up of twelve 1-watt LEDs at 50 to 60 lumens each. From my research, I think I should install ten 1 watt 10K white LEDs and two 460nm blue as well as an additional 1 watt 460nm moonlight that will be on continuously. So the final ratio of white to blue is almost 3:1. I know there are mixed feelings about LED lighting and that there are a lot of other external factors that will determine if this would be adequate. I plan on eventually having a few corals such as pulsing xenia, star polyps, maybe an anemone <Mmmm, if so... a cloned Entacmaea> for my ocellaris clown (if an anemone exists that would survive in a nano? any suggestions?), <See WWM> and maybe some Ricordea. After all of this ... would this scheme of LEDs (or any scheme involving 12 1-watt LEDs) be sufficient for the proposed corals in my 12 gallon nano? <Mmm, can be made to work> Also, would this LED design be adequate to produce and sustain coralline algae growth? <This rhodophyte groups species get by on far less light than photosynthetic Cnidarians> Again I can't thank you guys enough at WetWebMedia for your hard work, patience, and dedication to this exciting passion of ours. Sincerely, Matthew Weekley <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

20 gal long reef lighting 12/25/07 I have a 20 gal long reef tank that I'm slowly stocking (due to cash flow). I have on there a 24" Sunpaq 65 watt 10,000k 460 actinic power compact. I only have some orange Ricordea, GSPs and some zoos. All are doing well and reproducing. I was just recently given a finger leather as a gift and was wandering if my lighting was adequate for the leather and what my limits are coral wise with the 65 watts. <Fairly limited selection given the tank size and addition of the leather.> I was told by my LFS that it would be plenty of light for softies and some LPS, especially since the tank is so shallow (12 inches before substrate). Just wandering if I was completely mislead or would be ok with those corals. <I would change the bulb for a full 10k bulb, perhaps add another bulb.> Any advice would be greatly appreciated, hope I provided enough info for you to reply. Thank you, Jeremy <Welcome, perhaps check out the FAQ's regarding Alcyoniid systems and compatibility, Scott V.>

T5 lighting, small SW reef... Hi Crew! <Trenton> Thanks for your site! <Welcome> My question is about T5 lighting. I have a 29 gallon with about 20lbs live rock, a Percula Clown, Yellowtail Damsel, and various snails and hermits. Right now I have just the stock light that came with the tank, but would like to be able to keep some soft corals - the guy down at the LFS is recommending a 36w T5 Corallife with 10,000k and actinic bulbs. Would this be adequate, or would two of these fixtures be better? <Mmm, more light, not as much actinic. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/actinicfaqs.htm> Or would I be better off just getting the 130w T8 fixtures and dealing with the extra heat? Sure wish they'd list lights a more quantifiable way than watts! Thanks much! Trenton <Actually... to skip ahead, you'd be much better off (and so would your livestock) in reading a bit more, getting a larger system period. Bob Fenner>

Viper 75 or 150W MH Clamp lamp... another small reef Hi there, <Javier> I have the 24gal nano cube. It has been up and running for 3 months... I have couple of corals (hammer, torch, xenia, mushrooms, Zoos, green bubble, leather, coco worms) <Not all "corals"> a clownfish and 2 Chromis... I would like to add a Tridacna clam and 2 or 3 small SPS frags, but I know I need more light.. <And more space really> I have the 72 watts PC light.. so my question is should I get the viper 75W or 150 W .. <Mmm, either one could do... I would opt for the smaller wattage... myself here... as your system is so small... to prevent other iatrogenic/"self-induced" troubles> I do not want to kill my corals. I know temp might be a problem.. so I will get a chiller when summer comes.. Also.. should I get an extra powerhead for my tank.. I know SPS need a lot of light and water movement... I was thinking the MJ 1200.. Thanks in advance for your help... Javier <... Do you have room for a larger set-up? I fear that by encouraging you to continue with this small set-up, your chances of success are small, and conversely, the likelihood of a dunning error too large. I'd start again with a bigger tank. Bob Fenner>

Other lighting options, small SW  9/13/07 Hi, <Hello> I was reading the FAQs under the lighting section and then did some web surfing for full spectrum lights. The reason is I have become quite interested with zoanthids. I gave away some of my fast growing Xenia and was in turn given frags of zoanthid although I had previously said it was not necessary. I have since added to that collection in a 3.5 gallon pico tank. But under the 40W 50/50 lights most are losing color and most are stretching for more light. <Maybe> Not to go into tons of detail but I plan to move them to my 10 gallon tank. Unfortunately this tank sits under a cabinet leaving very little maneuvering room for lights or anything else I need to do. It has an 80W 50/50 PC on it now. Finding most pictures of colorful zoanthids were housed under metal halide I was thinking of getting the Viper 70W HQI but reviews showed many people not pleased with it. I really liked the idea of a clamp lamp that I could maneuver to and away from the tank much easier. So after reading the FAQs here I found the site for Full Spectrum Solutions. They do list the specs on their lights. They have what they call their BlueMax 42W CFL. "Replaces 200W bulb; CRI: 94+; Kelvin: 5900; Lumens: 2400" They also have a lamp rated at 70W stating: Full spectrum lamp at 96 CRI. ...producing 10,000 lux at 18" and 5,000 lux at 28". Produces 4,300 lumens" The replacement bulb is actually a square pin tube type bulb to be used in their lamps only. Based on the specs they give would either of these lighting options be good options for a small aquarium? <They might work... the latter better than the former> Have you ever heard of these or the company... possibly from someone else? The specs run pretty close the Vita-Lite information posted under the FAQs. Thanks. Debbie <I have not had these products, nor met representatives from the company... but if the values stated are accurate... Bob Fenner>

T5 Lighting For A 20-Gallon Nano With 'Moderate?' Lighting Requirements -- 08/05/07 I am planning a nano reef in a 20-gallon long (30" long, 12" wide, 12" high). The corals I would like to keep are mostly low to moderate light (mushrooms, zoos, LPS, Montipora) <<A quite noxious mix in such a small volume of water'¦>> and are currently in my 125 under PC lights. I am interested in retrofitting 24w T5's into a canopy, but am unsure how many I should use. <<Mmm, my preference is metal halide for most any setup, but I also think the T5s are a good choice here/for this tank. I would place at least four bulbs, more if there is room. Different bulb configurations can make this setup quite versatile>> I want lighting that will sustain the corals I have in mind and also that will make the tank look bright and crisp. <<75-percent 10,000K bulbs and 25-percent Actinic bulbs>> I never felt like my big tank had a bright enough look under the PC's. <<Indeed, just not enough 'punch''¦though you might be surprised at what a difference T5s would make here as well>> I recently saw a 19" deep tank under 4x54W T5 and it looked great - that's about the bright look I'm hoping for. Would 2x24W be enough to do what I'm looking for? Or should I go for 3? 4? <<Four bulbs I think'¦three 10,000K bulbs and one Actinic bulb at this wattage should work well here in my opinion. You could even experiment with swapping out a couple of the 10,000K bulbs for 20,000K bulbs (i.e. -- 2ea. 20,000K, 1ea. 10,000K, 1ea. Actinic) for a more 'deep water' look'¦but be cautious about adding any more Actinic bulbs. These may look nice to your/my eye but do little for the corals themselves>> Thanks for any help you can give. <<Hope you find it useful. EricR>>
Re: T5 Lighting For A 20-Gallon Nano With 'Moderate?' Lighting Requirements - 08/06/07
Thank you for the quick and helpful response! <<A pleasure to assist>> If mushrooms, zoos, LPS, Montis are a noxious mix for this small tank, perhaps I need to leave some of them out - which of these would be most problematic? <<Hmm...you don't state which species of LPS corals you plan to keep but speaking in generalities, the Corallimorphs and Zoanthids are your worst offenders/most problematic here. Regards, EricR>>

Nano Tank Lighting - 7/20/07 Good Afternoon Crew, <Eric> I currently have a 20 gal high FOWLR system and am looking to add a few corals. I'm thinking of a few Button Polyps "zoo's" and maybe Xenia. The tank is 20gal high, w/ Florescent bulb (included w/ tank, and I'm upgrading). Aquaclear filter rated for 30 gal tanks 15 lbs live rock Maxi-Jet 600 powerhead Fission Nano Skimmer (upgrading as well) 1 False Perc. 1 Fire fish 1 Algae Blenny. <Misplaced here... these species need more room> All water parameters are (and have been) excellent. Nitrite, Nitrate, Ammonia, all zero. SG is 1.025, Ph 8.0. I have two main questions: I was in the LFS recently and saw you can buy bulbs (obviously)... I only have room for one bulb, and was thinking of purchasing a Coralife bulb that was a "50-50 mix"-- 50 % daylight and 50% actinic. It's only ! 20 watts. Will this be sufficient lighting for the corals I am planning on adding? <Mmm, no... and pardon my penchant for this, but the Polyps, Zoanthids are not really corals...> I have been reading (maybe you can suggest specific areas?) on your site but am becoming more and more confused. Also, other suggestions for "add on" bulbs? Such as the 6000k? (I know, that's vague) <Sure, see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm The tray at the bottom> My next question is in regard to the protein skimmer. I first would like to say that I don't like the Nano Fission, and am thinking of upgrading to a Berlin Airlift 60. Will this be sufficient for my tank? I have looked for this specific product here and have found that there are reviews of other Berlin products, most of which are indeed favorable, but I have only found one or two on this product specifically. <Should be fine> My last question is in regard to fish: I would like to add a second Perc. Clown. The first is only a bit longer than 1inch. Should I buy one who's a little bigger or a little smaller? I think a larger one would be better, but any advice would be great! <Could be trouble behaviorally with this addition... but starting with a much smaller (tank-raised) individual is the route to go> Thanks! Eric <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

CF Lighting, RBTA and the mini-reef   7/10/07 Hello, <Saludo> Thanks to you all for such a resource as you offer, it is a credit to the hobby! My question deals with very specific "in's and out's" of lighting a mini reef. I apologize to the poor soul who answers these questions, but perhaps it would help clear up confusion to many other people. <Well, okay!> I find the 3 to 5 watts per gallon rule to be terribly out-dated as that is too little light for very tall tanks, and a needless expense for very shallow tanks. My last lighting fixture just blew, and I'm in the market for a new one ASAP. Before I buy, I wanted to ask a few questions... 1) Has a system been developed that uses the measurement of inches of water depth to the amount of watts required? <Mmm, no... too many other factors involved... e.g. the distance of lamps from the water surface, the use of useful reflectors, reflecting material in the hood... These alone can negate the utility...> Loosely running the numbers, it seems that 8 to 10 watts per inch of water depth would be a better measurement of wattage needed( but then again, I'm the one asking for advice, so please don't take mine!) These are numbers I've derived by reading the suggestions on this site and others. <Okay> 2) I have a 30g long tank with a DSB which means I have a water depth of 12 inches. I have a tank of soft corals right now, but I have the opportunity to have an RBTA <... problematical to mix with other Classes, Orders of Cnidarians...> ( my tank is very stable, has been running for 4 years, has a 10g refugium with a 6 inch DSB, a good skimmer and this would be the only anemone I keep. All test parameters have been excellent for a year or two without incident). Would 6 watts per gallon of CF lighting at a maximum depth of 12 inches be enough for the RBTA? (back in 1987 I had a large long tentacle anemone I kept alive over a year until I had to move, not a small feat with the lighting of the time) <... let's finish this right here... Your system is too small, the mix of present livestock trouble...> 3) (Most Important question) Does Kelvin rating play a huge role in the care of RBTAs/Soft Corals husbandry? <Can, yes> I've seen varying suggestions from 6500K all the way up to 20,000K for the RBTA, while many agree that soft corals adjust and thrive under most lighting situations. <I agree> 4) And finally, please correct me if my thinking is in error, but higher wattage Compact Fluorescent Lighting doesn't mean more light intensity, it only means it's a longer bulb. <Uhh, no. Get a PAR or other light measuring meter and see for yourself> Roughly, I see that CF lighting provides 3 watts per linear inch per bulb (34 inch bulbs are 96 watt, 21 inch bulbs are 65 watts and 18 inch bulbs are 55 watts) Given that the light would be positioned directly above the coral/anemone in any scenario, a 192 watt, double bulb fixture and a 130 watt double bulb fixture would provide the animal with virtually the same light intensity? <No> Sorry for that question, it's splitting hairs I realize, but I see people offer advice on 23 inch high tanks with 220 watts of CF and call it good, where as 130 watts of CF on a tank of 13 inches in height is seen as lacking. If you crunch the numbers you see that the 130 watt, 13 inch high tank is actually slightly better illuminated. Just an observation from a guy on his day off with nothing better to do.... I would kind of understand if you chose not to answer these questions, but I hope you will. I searched the site and couldn't find the answers. Thank you so much for your time! Mike <Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/bubbletipanemones.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Lighting for 20gal tank, BTA...   6/20/07 Excellent site, I get great info here all the time. I have a CoraLife 130w (2x65w) compact fluorescent light on my 20 gal tank. The bulbs are getting old and I need to replace them. There is currently a 10000K and actinic bulb in the hood. I run the lighting currently as 2 hours of actinic, 8 hours of both and then 2 hours of actinic again before going to lunar lights overnight. <A good routine> I have a bubble tip anemone <Misplaced here... needs much more room...> and a pipe organ frag in the tank along with assorted cleaning crews, hermits, peppermint shrimp, and a gold stripe maroon clown. <Ditto> Would it be advisable to keep the lighting as is or switch to 2 50/50 bulbs instead of a dedicated 10000K and actinic? Thanks <Am not a fan of actinics period, and with the BTA present need more "white" light... Please see WWM re this animal, lighting small systems... The indices, search tool... Bob Fenner>

Lighting Upgrade on an Oceanic 29 gallon Bio-Cube   6/13/07 Hello Crew, <Howdy> Thank you for all of the informative question and answer sessions you provide for our continuing education. <A pleasure> I have a bio-cube 29gallon with stock 2x36 lighting. I am planning an upgrade to the 4x36 Nanotuners kit. (from 72 total watts to 144 total watts). My current light schedule is actinic on at 12 noon, daylight on at 1 pm, daylights off at 9 pm actinic off at 10 pm. What schedule change(s) do I need to make after the upgrade, if any? My critters are: 1 Assessor Macneilli 1 Cryptocentrus Cinctus 2 Amphiprion Percula 2 headed Euphyllia Glabrescens 1 Nemanzophyllia Turbida Assorted Discosoma 1 Ricordea A bunch (?) Pachyclavularia A bunch (?) Xenia umbellate A bunch (?) Caulastrea furcata 1 Sarcophyton toadstool 1 Lysmata wurdemanni 1 Lysmata amboinensis Assorted snails and hermits. Thank you for any assistance you can give me in the new lighting acclimation for my tank. Best regards, Henry G. Mello <Mmm, no real changes in the light schedule will likely be needed... Do pay attention to your non-Stony corals with this change though, and consider shading/shielding the white light if they appear to be too-closed for more than a day or two with the switch out. Bob Fenner>

Nano Reef Lighting 6/6/07 Hello everyone, I have a question about nano reef lighting. I have a 20 gal. nano reef, which overall has been doing very well. The one problem is the light has been overheating the tank. Now I know that 20 gal. tanks can be unstable and bigger tanks are better, but a larger aquarium is out of the question. The light is 130watt. compact fluorescent light. It had been sitting directly on top of the glass canopy. <Needs to be elevated... an air gap provided...> Well it melted (or maybe warped) the plastic on the canopy, and heated the tank up to nearly 90 degrees. All the corals and animals in the tank lived and are doing fine. BTW it was about 83 degrees in our house when the tank hit 90 so that was probably part of it. I have been thinking about possibly replacing the light with a metal halide. I found one that is 70 watts. Would that be enough to light the tank. The tank is only 12" deep and the corals are not especially light hungry. Is there a way to remedy the situation without buying a new light? Thanks, Peter <Mmm, not likely much net difference here unless you suspend... again the air circulation, and or cut holes in the canopy, supply fan/s... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/index.htm Scroll down to Small/Nano Reef Systems... Bob Fenner>

Questions regarding nano reef (5.5g AGA): lighting and compatibility. Small Tank With Big Plans   5/25/07 Dear Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> I'm not sure who will be the one reading this letter, but thanks in advance to that helpful person! I have a few questions; any help would be greatly appreciated. My system is an AGA 5.5g nano reef.  I would like to keep the following:    - Mushrooms galore    - Purple cap (and similar corals)    - Pulsing Xenia    - Finger Leather    - Yellow Polyps    - Various zoanthids    - Dwarf Seahorses (couple)    - Peppermint Shrimp    - Scarlet Leg Hermit Crabs <In my humble opinion, this is too many corals of too many different types in too small a body of water. You'll have long term problems with chemical interactions between the various corals, particularly the Finger Leather and the Montipora (I assume that's what you mean by "Purple Cap"). In a system this small, I'd limit myself to one or two corals. Zoanthids would be a nice choice, because you could get a few different color varieties in this small space. Or, the best choice would simply be Xenia. They add movement, interest, and grow rapidly.> After doing extensive research, I confirmed that all of the animals I picked are compatible with dwarf seahorses (except Zoanthids, of which I am unsure). <I am not aware of any danger they would pose to the Seahorses. Although the crabs are generally inoffensive, they can stomp on and irritate your corals. If your dealer or other source for these crabs mis-identifies the species of crab, you could end up with a potentially dangerous one...Just something to think about when considering keeping crabs with Seahorses.> Formerly I wanted to keep a blue clam, but after reading through the FAQs, I found that the clams are best left for larger aquaria.  Some people also said that Linckia Sea Star (Blue) also need larger aquaria to survive, but I would like to get expert advice from you regarding that matter. <Avoid the Linckia at all costs! They typically require large, long-established systems with large areas on which to feed on detritus, etc. A small system will simply not provide the necessary food sources for the sustainable husbandry of these creatures.> My second question pertains to lighting.  I searched for days for appropriate lighting for an AGA 5.5g.  While I love DIY projects, I've got two DIY projects queued, not to mention studying for GRE's and what not, so this is a bad time for another DIY.  Would the 20" 1x28W Coralife Aqualight hood w/ 50/50 be a good choice, or do you suppose I must go with higher intensity lighting (e.g., the 96W variant of the Coralife Aqualight)? <Depending upon the photosynthetic animals that you'll be keeping, this could vary widely. For versatility, I'd probably opt for the 96 watt system.> (Since the AGA 5.5g tank measures 16 inches long, there are not many lights that can neatly fit that are also appropriate for a nano reef.) At first, I wondered if it would be a good approach to get the 96W simply as a precaution in the event of an upgrade to say, a 10g tank.  In that light, would it be a wise maneuver? <As above, I'd also opt for the higher wattage light. However, there are more and more small lighting systems coming to market all the time as "nano reefs" gain in popularity. Do check some of the e-tailers out there for what's new in nano lighting systems.> Again, thank you very much. Faithfully Yours, Jason C. Wang <Good luck, Jason! Hope your system is very successful! Regards, ScottF.>

Oceanic 29 Gallon Bio Cube. Euph/(frogspawn) in Nano Reef?  -- 05/08/07 Hi crew. <Hi.> Before I get to the question I just want to say how helpful the site is. <Go on'¦'¦'¦'¦'¦> VERY!!! <Great; thanks!> Anyways I would just like to know if you think that the Oceanic 29 Bio Cube has lights powerful enough to keep a frogspawn coral healthy and happy? <Tis' borderline. Not only the lighting but the size of the aquarium will make it difficult to keep the chemistry stable for this animal. But it is doable.> It comes with 2 36w pc's. <I would make sure both are 10,000k bulbs and replace them every 6 to 9 months as PC's depreciate in lumens at an alarming rate in comparison of other types of lighting.> If it is not, I heard of this  website called nanocustoms.com where they mod nanosystems. I just want to know what you think of this site, <Am familiar with it. Have not used it personally, though I know many who have and have been very satisfied. Can't give you a personal opinion really as I have nothing to base it off of. Having said that modding the original set-up may void the warranty. And I believe, though I am not sure, that nanocustoms gets around this by offering their own warranty. At the least it is something you should look into.> if you've heard of it and would 4 36w pc's be enough? <Yes but then there are heating issues to be concerned about.> Also they have a skimmer on that site that fits into the back of the Bio Cube made by Sapphire which I never heard of, do you know if it is a good quality or not? <No am not familiar with it either, though any skimmer is better than none'¦.to many nano-'ers go skimmer-less. Read this to; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nanoreefsysart.htm .> Just looking for your input. <^^ There it is.> Thank you. <Welcome, Adam J.>

Reef Lighting 3/28/07 I have a 36 gallon corner tank that I want to begin an SPS tank with.  I was looking at lighting options and wanted to know if 150w HQI Metal Halide would work.  I kow that people say more is better, but with 36 gallons and a 21" tank depth, I did not want to have heat issues.  I do not want to purchase a chiller and was wondering if SPS would thrive under 150w. I've searched all over and everyone seems to have an idea about what works best for them.  Some people even chose T5 lighting, but I've heard bad things about this as well.  What do you think? <SPS corals do best under MH/HQI lighting.  I've just started using a Coralife Aqualight clip-on.  The only drawback is that you cannot mount it in a hood. This light has a built in cooling fan (very quiet), and comes with a 14K lamp.  Is a very well made system and my corals have reacted favorably to it. If you must use a canopy, you will not find an HQI strip light that will fit a 36 gallon corner, at least none that I'm aware of. In that case, you will have to get a retrofit, and a fan will be necessary.> Thanks for your time, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Shane
Re:  Reef Lighting 3/29/07
Jimbo, <Shano:)> The opening of the 36 Gallon Corner is 23".  I was looking at getting a 24" Current SunPod 150w.  It is a strip light. <OK, so there is no wood canopy.> The other thing I was looking at, but quite a bit more for money, was the Coralife light which is an HQI/PC combo fixture. Both fixtures are 150w and should fit atop the 36 gallon with little difficulty. While I agree, SPS will probably do better under MH lighting, my question is, will the 150w be enough for a 36 gallon, 21" tall tank?  Is 250w your recommendation or will 150w do the job? <If you like a bright tank, the 250 watt would not be overkill, but the 150 HQI would work well.  I'd place the light loving corals (SPS) in the mid to upper levels of the tank.  The Coralife fixture I referred to is a 150 watt HQI.  I'm using this fixture on a 40 tall mini reef (20" high).  I personally like the Coralife clip-on because it allows me to do maintenance without taking the fixture off, making it much easier to clean when I can see what I'm doing.  If your tank is less than 12" wide, which I doubt, you would not be able to adjust the light to be in the mid section of the tank with this fixture.  Take a look at it here.   http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=13922&prodid=27192&catid=115  James (Salty Dog)> Shane
Re:  Reef Lighting 4/3/07
I see.  That would be great for another tank, but this is a corner tank.  It would be very difficult for me to attach a clip on light.  The front of the tank is 38" across 24" wide and 21" tall.  The back of the tank comes to a point.  Basically, a standard AGA 36" corner tank. I don't mind a bright tank - but wanted to ensure sufficient lighting for an SPS tank.  I am only planning on 2 fish in this tank to keep a low bioload.  I have already purchased and am quarantining two true percula clowns.  I don't want to create too much heat for these guys either. So, you're using 150w on a 40 gallon tank which is 1" shorter than mine and you've seen good results.  Well, 150 w is cheaper! <Is cheaper.  If you plan on keeping clams, the Squamosa and Derasa would do well under this lighting.  If Maxima or Crocea are in mind, I would probably consider the 250HQI.  You can help increase the intensity by painting the back of your tank with a latex sky blue or other light color of your choice.  It will help reflect more light into the tank.  Then again, if you have a heavy coating of coralline on the back, this would not be needed.> Thanks Jimbo, <You're welcome.  I would hate to ask how you arrived at "Pungent Beaver".  James (Salty Dog)> Shane (Pungent Beaver)

FOWLR to Reef 3/27/07 Hello Mr. Fenner. <Chris with you today.>  First of all I would like to say I love the site. <Thanks> it has been very helpful.  <Then please help us next time by using proper grammar and punctuation.> I just have a quick question. I currently have a 29 gallon FOWLR and would like to make it a reef. My lighting is 130 watts total. 65 12000k and 65 actinic with moonlighting. Is this sufficient and what kind of lighting schedule should I use and can this system really be a 24 hr lighting solution. Thanks in advance for any reply Jacob <It completely depends on what you want to keep.  It should be ok for most medium light corals, although in a small system like this I would stock lightly.> <Chris>

Lighting for a 20 gallon hex minireef  - 1/18/07 Hi,<hello David> I have been slowly getting a minireef up and running.<Awesome>  I had an old A.G.A. 20 gallon Hexagonal tank (20 inch depth) laying around and thought I would give it a whirl after years of freshwater aquariums.  So far so good, I have my live sand, rock well cured.  I have a few hermits and snails, and recently added my first open brain coral.  Everything is healthy so far.  My question is regarding lighting.  I have been using 36 watts 50/50 up until now, but am  considering moving up to one of the clamp on MH light fixtures, such as the JBJ Viper.  Would you recommend 70 watts or 150? <Currently I have a 15g high with a 10K-175w MH, and my 14g has a 10K-70w MH with 2-9w actinic. Personally I would go with the 150w, only if you plan on keeping high light corals otherwise the 70w will be just fine> With the 14K bulbs it comes with will I need or can I continue to use my 50/50 's.<14K give off a nice blue hue, 10K bulb is more white in color, your choice on that my friend>  Is there a big difference in appearance between a 14K and 20K. <A LOT more blue from the 20K> Thank you so much for your help.<Your more than welcome, Rich K.> Best Regards Carlos David

29-gallon reef tank lighting   12/28/06 Hello, I've been reading your site for a few days now, looking for the answer, but I'm getting very confused.  I apologize if my question is a duplicate, but I'm finding so many different answers to my lighting question that I'm completely lost. <Let us find your way together> Here's what I have, and would like to have, that I need appropriate lighting for. 29 gallon tank with some live rock and sand. I'd like to add more live rock gradually, but since I'm still considering whether or not to do corals, I'm waiting so I have room. Right now this is what is in my tank and how long I've had them. 1 Ocellaris Clownfish (8 months) 1 blue damsel (8 months) 1 black sea cucumber (less than a week) 1 sea slug (less than a week) 2 coral banded shrimp - a M/F pair (less than a week) <... do keep your eye on these... are opportunistic in their feeding habits> 1 turbo snail (8 months) 1 Florida Condi anemone (4 months) 1 feather duster (4 months) 1 flame scallop (2 months) 1 sand sifter starfish (6 months) I have two PC light fixtures. They were on sale (they're usually so expensive), so instead of having one fixture that spans the length of my tank, I have two smaller fixtures that span 90% of the length of my tank. <Not a "big deal"> Here are the specifications of the lights. They are the Mini Aqualight by Coralife.  Each fixture has (quoted from the box): * two bulbs, one 9 watt True Actinic 03 Blue and one 9 watt 10,000K daylight compact fluorescent lamp. *built in ballast *highly polished reflector They sit on top of the glass aquarium cover so they are only a couple of inches from the top of the water.  The tank is only 18" deep and there are 2" of live sand on the bottom.  I figure, with the live rock and sand, there's probably only really about 26-27 gallons of water in the tank due to the displacement by the stuff. I would like to have soft corals and I read the article "Lighting Your Marine Invertebrates: Reef Lighting Without Controversy!"  I would like to keep corals that typically live in the same level of water and I don't want to overheat the tank because now it's at a perfect temperature. Your suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you! Marcia Weinstein <Well... your stated lighting is fine for the fishes you have now... but really is insufficient for soft corals (Alcyonaceans)... I would look to increasing the intensity here considerably... five to eight times at least... Bob Fenner>

Simple question for my 29 gal. lighting   12/22/06 I have a 29gal saltwater tank and just need some advice on lighting. First off it was a Eclipse combo. My tank includes - - 1 65watt 24"  50/50 10,000K / Actinic 03 blue - Took out original lighting. 50lbs or a little more live rock. 1 powerhead at 160 gph. Various little scarlet crabs/snails. 2 false clownfish. Hood with built in bio-wheel and carbon filter. I want to upgrade to either a 30" t-5 or Power Compact Fixture. What specs would you recommend for low-medium types of coral? watts/bulbs/how many? <Mmm, 2-300 watts or so...> Skimmer to come after Christmas. Thank you very much for your time! Merry Christmas! <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/smmarsyslgtfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Lighting for 40 gal tall   12/17/06 Good evening! I have a concern regarding lighting. I currently have a standard 29 gal glass aquarium with a 24 in. PC Orbit lighting 65 w 10000K daylight SunPaq x 65 w actinic Sunpaq about 2 inches above water surface. Recently I was given a Sea Clear 40 Gallon Tall Eclipse 3'¦. I know'¦ not much of an upgrade. My question is do I need to add more light to this new setup to account for the added depth. <Mmm... what you have can/will work with an assortment of low to medium intensity-light-use organism groups...> My corals are doing wonderful right now in the current 29 gal setup. (Kenya tree, toadstool, green star polyp, several zoas, Hairy mushroom, xenia) <These fall easily into this category> as the reason I would like to have more tank space without having to buy all new stand and equipment. I was reading in a previous post in which you suggest replacing a PC setup with higher wattage in a metal halide 10K pendant is this something I should consider or will the halides cause problems for the acrylic tank (read about cracking due to intense heat output from lights). <The trade-offs in energy consumption, waste-heat production... are not "worth it" to me... I'd stick with fluorescent technology here> Cost is a little bit of an issue'¦was hoping to upgrade without having to buy a complete new lighting system. <I agree with your position>   Thanks for all the great info,   Carrie   P.S thanks for all the help on the set up of my refugium-wow what a difference it makes in the tank. <Ahh! Good. Bob Fenner>

Sm. SW Lighting  12/12/06 Hi, <Hello San, Mich here.> Thanks in advance. <Welcome in advance.> I am planning on getting a 30 gallon tank. Do you think that 130W PC lighting would be considered moderate? That comes to about 4.5W per gallon. <The measurement is kind of subjective depending on variables such as the depth of the tank, if the light has a reflector, the distance the light is from the water, etc. It could be considered moderate.>    Again, thanks! <Welcome> Great, and I mean great website. <Thank you for your kind words.  -Mich> -San

Shallow 40G with LPS -- best lighting?    11/27/06 Hi: <Hey Matt, JustinN with you today> Sorry to bother you.   <Is what we're here for> I've read most of the lighting FAQs, and am still not sure what to think. <A detailed issue, with many facets for certain> I'm having a custom tank built that will only be 15" tall (24 wide x 15" high x 28" long).  I don't want it to be too tall since I'm going to have it 'built in' and don't want to sweat reaching the bottom to clean/etc.  Also, I heard that you have less lighting issues if the aquarium is not as deep. <Not so much less lighting issues, just less intensity needed to reach the deeper areas> I have no intention on ever going SPS.  My favorites, that I plan to put in this aquarium:  Brains, mushrooms, zoas, frog spawn, Acan. <Ok> My problem is that the 24" leaves me with few options for getting to the 3 - 5 watts/gallon without getting two separate fixtures, which I'd like to avoid.  Would MH be overkill for this shallow LPS / softie aquarium?   If not, what would you recommend in terms of wattage?  I think I read you suggest avoiding pendants for shallow aquariums? <I think that MH would likely be ok on this setup, though they would have to be fairly high off the surface of the water. What about a T5 setup? If you're going to have a built-in design, why not just purchase a good ballast and retrofit your own lighting? It will likely save you cash, and be more customizable.> Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Matt <My vote would be for T5's simply for the heat buildup issues and distance the lights can be kept above the water surface. I am a bit impartial to T5 technology personally, however, so I should warn you of a slight bias on that opinion. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Re: MH lighting, mis-stocking in a too small SW system  11/20/06 After writing to you I am considering taking some animals out whats the logical move Thanks Ron. <To read as you've been instructed... determine "who stings who" most... what you'd like to, can keep together. BobF>

40 gallon tall ... lighting    11/14/06 I have just purchased a 40 gallon tall 30" high. I will be using my live rock to build a nice tall wall in the back. This tank is only 20" wide so my lighting is limited. From reading on your site, it appears that you guys have kind of strayed away from the watts per gallon rule. <Was only ever simply a "rule of thumb"...> How limited am I with just a 96 watt power quad? <A bit for high intensity requiring animals> Would that be enough for some LPS up higher on the live rock and maybe mushrooms towards the bottom? <Okay> I have also looked at the 150w HQI light strip by SunPod. I would have to wait for this purchase though due to the additional costs. James S. Smith <The HQI would be better... less limiting. Bob Fenner>

40 gallon tall lighting   11/8/06 I have a 90 gallon setup that I am sorry to have to part with due to a move. I will have a small location that will be available to use for another tank. I want to set up another reef but most of the tanks that will fit in this location are either really small or really tall. I have been looking at what pet smart calls a 40 tall(20w 19d 30h). I like the look of this tank, but am afraid of lighting problems due to width and depth. The only light strip that I have seen is a SunPod HQI halide. It has either a 70w or 150w 14k bulb. Would this bulb by itself be as aesthetically pleasing as what I am currently used to (10k halide with 2 actinic VHOs)? <I do think you'll like it, but ask to see it "fired up"> I have also looked at a 30 tall, but I like the depth of the other tank better. However, since the 30 is 24 wide, my lighting choices are more readily available. What do you think about the two tanks in comparison <I'd go with the larger> I like hex tanks but don't really see a big increase in size for the price. Blue Skies, James Smith <Hot jets. Bob Fenner>

VHO or MH For a Nano? - 10/10/06 Hi Crew! <<Hello Tonia!>> I have a question (why else would I be here?). <<Indeed>> I don't know if it has already been asked or not. <<Probably...but please...continue...>> I have two nano tanks, a 20 gallon tall and a 29 gallon that I would like to upgrade lighting.  Right now it only has a 20 watt fluorescent each, but in the future I would like to have mushrooms, zoanthids, and a place to put my growing Xenia. <<Mmm, moderate light demands...>> Xenia is in another tank, a 5 gallon Eclipse hex with 10 watts PC.  It has already split in the month that I have had it. <<Neat!>> Anyways, I will be moving some of my tanks around to make room for a new one, so the 20 and 29 will make an L.  Now, should I use VHO (thought maybe 2-75 watters for each tank under the same ballast, or would metal halide spread over both tanks?  (I doubt it, eh?). <<The VHO should do fine here>> In the 20 I was hoping to get a E. crucifer anemone or two. <<Ah yes, Epicystis crucifer...the "Rock" or "Flower" anemone.  Too about 4" maximum...and about your only suitable anemone choice for this size tank!  "Kudos" on your selection>> Which lighting would you recommend for that? <<With this size/depth tank a pair of 75w VHO bulbs (10,000K) positioned close to the water's surface will do fine.  But my personal choice/for a bit more punch, a 150w DE 10K-12K pendant would be superb for the anemones (come from shallow water, high light environments)>> Will my VHO idea work for the E. crucifers, and the corals I mentioned for the 29? <<They would>> Thank you for your time! Tonia <<Quite welcome.  Regards, EricR>>

Reef Lighting 9/21/06 Hi Guys! <Hello Shaun> 36 Gallon 19" deep corner tank. I am trying to replace my 96 Watt PC quad, but am having trouble deciding on a light. I am thinking about buying a 24" 4x24 T-5 HO. Looking at the NOVA Extreme or TEK. I would like to keep softies, a few LPS and maybe a SPS or two. I live in Las Vegas, (115 degree summers every year). I also would like (against better judgment) a bubble tip anemone preferably one that lives past 6 months) <Most anemones rarely live longer than a year in the home aquarium, even under the best conditions.> Will this light git 'er done? I am also considering a 24" outer orbit, but think it may be too strong. Any advise would rock. Love your site, best around! <Shaun, if it were me, I'd go with the Aqualight 150 watt, HQI clip on fixture, very well made, and it clips to the wall of your tank, and is adjustable.  A 20K bulb is included, and this unit sells for about 240 bucks through Foster & Smith and other on-line dealers.  Aquariums with HQI lighting should have a glass or acrylic top to minimize UV light.  James (Salty Dog)>   Shaun

29 lighting upgrade  - 09/10/06 Hello.  First off there is so much great info out here, thank you.  My question is about upgrading the lights on my 29g tall.  I've had the setup a little over a year now and have started adding a few corals such as mushrooms and zoos.  I am currently running only regular fluorescents 2x20w 10,000 K, one 50/50 20w and one 18w actinic.  I am looking to upgrade.  The tank is 24" tall 24" wide and 12" deep. I've been told halide is overkill as well as T-5's is there truth to this.  I'm also looking at a 20" 96w coral life with the quad bulb, supplemented by another 20-40w of actinic, would this be enough for my tank to support corals?  Thanks you for your input. Sara <<Sara:  If you have something like 150 or 250W MH lighting, you could pretty much keep anything.  However, many people don't like putting MH lighting on small tanks due to the heat factor.  I have purchased Coralife lighting and it's worked fine for me.  It all depends on the type of critters you like to keep.  SPS corals and anemones usually only thrive under the brightest lighting conditions.  I have tanks with no lights, PC lights, VHO lights, MH lights, and mixtures of the above.  For the money, I think that PC lighting gives you the best overall value.  If you later want to take care of critters with higher lighting requirements, you might also want to start a bigger tank to house them.  Best of luck, Roy>>

Can gods make tanks that are too small to illuminate Anemones properly?   8/23/06 Hi <Hello>     My name is Trevor and I was wondering how much lighting I need for a 5 gallon 10 in. high minibow tank. I will have a bulb tipped sea anemone in it. <Not for long likely...>   I'm pretty sure the 15 watt bulb that comes with it is not enough.  Please respond as soon as possible <Very hard to keep such a small marine system stable "enough" Trevor... particularly for animals such as Anemones. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm and the linked files above. Trying to apply sufficient light/ing here will create heat/temperature vacillations that will... Bob Fenner>

Metal Halides, Webmail Lateness - 07/04/2006 I just want to start out saying thank you for such a great web site.   <Thanks for this kindness.  Let me firs apologize for the delay in this reply; seems as though your email came to us in a state that few of us are able to view/respond to.  My system allows me this privilege, fortunately.> My question is somewhat simple.   <That's the kind I like!!> I want to upgrade my lighting in my tank. Currently I am running a power compact with two 65W 50/50 lights.  I have wanted to upgrade to a HQI Metal Halide but don't know how much light I really need for my tank - And if I may be getting too much. Some specs on the tank: 30gal tank with 50lbs of LR, have a 12 gallon refugium. Currently I only have Soft Corals, Mushrooms, Polyps, things in that nature.    <These do NOT need extreme lighting....> I have been looking into getting a 150 watt HQI metal halide with a 15,000K bulb, is this a good choice? <For your softies and corallimorphs?  No....  too much light, in my opinion....> Will I be able to keep Hard Corals with this lighting condition? <Not in the same system with loads of soft corals and corallimorphs.  Best to go one route or the other; too much allelopathy.  If you do choose to retain your softies, 'shrooms, etc., try at least to not have "too many", and plan on using lots of chemical filtrants to remove (or at least decrease) the amount of chemical toxins they release.> Also when I upgrade the lighting I'm afraid that some of my current corals may not adjust well. <Agreed.> Should I just reduce the number of hours the light runs for; say from 11 hours to 7 hours and gradually increase over time?   <Best to raise the light a ways from where it will ultimately be located, and slowly (over days) lower it.  The farther it is from the tank, the less light your animals will receive - this, in my opinion, is better than dropping it right on 'em and decreasing the amount of time lit.> Thanks Ron <All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

High Light Situation...Nano-Reef Aquaria   7/4/06 Hello <Hey.....there.> , I have a quick question i <I.> want to ask. <Sure.> I just purchased a new JBJ K-2 Viper 70 watt metal halide light for my 12 gallon nano.   <Lot of heat on a tank that size.> This is the only light I'll be using over the tank. <Umm...that's all you'll need.> How long should I leave it on everyday? <What is the targeted photosynthetic livestock? You be attempting to emulate the habitat, artificial or natural (assuming it is coming from an appropriate habitat) the specimen is currently in. As a general recommendation, I would say a minimum of 6 hours and a maximum of 12, 7 would be a nice median.> Also, when should the bulb be replaced? <You should be using a light meter to monitor the lumens, but again generally speaking about 12 months. Give or take a bit (or alot!!!) depending on the ballast, bulb and quality of the reflector.> Thank you!! <Adam J.>

Lighting a Nano'¦..More Lighting 'of'   6/22/06 Hey, <What?'¦I mean Hi.> I have a 1.5 month old 20H nano reef.   <Okay.> Right now I am only keeping hairy mushrooms but would like to be able to keep all kinds of soft corals with good coloration in this tank. <Okay, but don't mix too much'¦competing corals in a nano is not a good mix.> I am currently running a single 65w power compact fixture with a SunPaq dual daylight bulb.  My problem has been in finding an affordable light that costs no more than $150 and will allow me to be able healthier soft corals. <65 watts should be 'enough' to keep many 'soft' corals.>   Is there an electrically efficient light that will work for my situation? <If you have a canopy and want more light I would just retrofit what you already have and add a T-5 HO or PC kit to the 65w PC you have.> Thanks. <Mmm-hmm.> Travis <Adam J.>

Nano Lighting For Acropora  6/15/06 I have a 14gal nano with 2x 55w power compact 50/50 10,000k/actinic plus a NO 18w fluoro. I would like to get a small Acropora frag to put high in the rockwork in around 4" of water. I have been getting mixed info from different sites as to whether this lighting will do, (mostly from guys who will only use MH) but have seen examples of it working. Stable water parameters and supplements aside, 1) will it work? <Should> 2) will I be able to run the 18w as actinic for aesthetics or should I run a 6.5k for better health and growth? <The actinic will be fine.> 3) when I replace the globes would I be better off with a dual daylight 6.5k/10k and a actinic as well as the 18w? (I stuffed up the globe order the first time) <If using the 18 watt actinic, I'd go with two 10K's.>    I have had a bit of trouble finding a definitive answer. Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Scotty For Aquapod Owners - 06/08/06 Hello all, <<Hi Jenn!>>    Love your site. I read it religiously to satisfy all of my aquarium questions. <<Thank you, pleased to hear>>> This is my first time emailing though.  I have more of a comment to pass along rather than a question. <<Okay>> Anyways, after purchasing a 12 gallon Aquapod a little over a month ago, I realized one of the blue lights was not working.  I contacted my LFS about ordering a new light, and as it turns out, there is a defect in the hoods of the 7050 models.  I guess this is a fairly new development, and they haven't even published the recall yet, or whatever it is they do.  The only way my LFS guy found out was from contacting Current to order me a new light.  So, they are replacing my whole hood for free, which is cool, but I guess it would have been nice if it would have worked properly in the first place.  Now my inhabitants have to be without their lights for a few days.  Anyways, I just wanted to let other Aquapod users know in case they have the same problem as I do, and may not even know it yet. Thanks for all the great info., Jenn <<Thanks for sharing Jenn.  Be chatting, EricR>>

Nano and Metal Halide Lighting... Nano Soup?  - 05/17/2006 Good Afternoon all, <Late night now, Hi.> First allow me to preface by saying I am relatively new to this hobby, <Welcome.> but have I have been reading all I can to get up to speed.   <Superb.> My current set-up is a stock 24 Gal. JBJ Nano Cube DX with the standard 72w of PC lighting.  I currently have stocked;   -                     One (1) Wellsophyllia 4.5" -                      One (1) Flowerpot <Not an easy species'¦.rarely live 6 months in captivity.> -                      One (1) Pod of (8) Blue Mushrooms -                      One (1) Trachy Brain 2.5" -                      One (1) Crocea Clam 2.5" <Not a great choice for a nano or power compact lighting.> -                      One (1) Multi Headed Torch Coral -                      One (1) "Green" Finger Leather Coral 5" -                      One (1) small candy cane coral -                      One (1) small pod of Zoa's -                      One (1) Coco Worm <Ditto on the comment about the flowerpot.> -                      One (1) Regal Tang 2.5"   <Not a great beginner fish, and inappropriate for this size tank.> I have read that the corals will benefit from a Metal Halide 10K-14K light source and that the color will be more intense.  If this is true, I would like to remove my stock hood and install a Current USA SunPod 150w 14K.   <In my opinion to much heat and light on such a small volume of water'¦and to be honest your animals barring the clam will do fine under your current lighting.> This unit has legs and will be perched 4" - 5" above the water's surface.  So, is the benefit worth the cost and am I going to create too much heat (current water temp 79.1 F. with heater)? <There are ways around heat but if you are new you may want to wait before you attempt to deal with such.> Thanks for all of the advise. <Adam J.>

SPS + Lots of Light + Nano = I dunno'¦'¦.  - 05/17/2006 Hey Bob, Anthony, Sabrina, and the rest of the crew! <The younger friend of both with you tonight, Adam J'¦the two you mentioned are in Hawaii as of right now.> (Sabrina gets special mention, cuz Yowza! hubba hubba!) <Lol, she is very fun in person.>      I've been digging through the SPS lighting FAQ's searching for a definitive response about lighting on a nano tank. <'¦Well if you read my article on nanos and SPS I'm not keen on the idea'¦SPS comes form one of the most stable environments on Earth'¦a Nano is arguably one of the most challenging close biotopes to keep stable. Furthermore SPS, as you know need A LOT of light, and A LOT of light means a lot of heat on a small system, which makes an already unstable tank even less stable.> I gleamed from Bob and Anthony's responses that I could get away with 130 total watts of power compact lighting (2x65) for my 20 gallon tall nano, to support SPS. <Well maybe near the top of the tank, to tall for the bottom of the tank.> My question is less if this will be enough lighting for such a small space, and more on spectrum. Should the bulbs for this setup be mixed, that is 1 full daylight spectrum bulb, one actinic bulb, or should I go with all daylight? <Well if you do decide to go through with it use 6500K to 10000K bulbs'¦but again I think my above comments you know my opinion on the SPS, highly lit nano'¦'¦.> Thanks, Justin <Adam J.>

Lighting/Reef/Metal Halide  - 04/25/06 Hi. <Hello Danny> I am wondering what wattage Metal Halide bulb to use over a 29 gallon. I mainly want to keep Tridacna clams. Possibly an SPS or 2. The tank is 18" tall and 30" long. I have about 20 pounds of reef sand and 35 pounds of live rock. I want to go with the 250watt 10,000k halide but my LFS says it will create too much heat. <Yes.> So, my question is, should I go with the 250 or the 175watt? And what color bulb would you recommend?  <Danny, I'd go with a 175 HQI system. Here is a link to an on-line dealer selling such a system for $169.00.  My dealer has received some PC fixtures by this company and he considers them very good quality for the buck.  I like 14-20K lighting for a reef system.  OK, here is the link.   http://www.aquatraders.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=217&HS=1> I am experienced in keeping marine and reef tanks but have always had PC lighting. This is my first venture into Halides and due to the cost, I want to buy the right setup the first time. I can't really find alot of info on Halides over a 29gallon. BTW the tank is plumbed to a 10 gallon refugium. I know it's not a large tank but I am diligent in research and maintenance. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks for your time. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Danny R.

Use of Canopy   3/24/06 Hello Wet Web Staff <Hi Bonnie - Tim answering your question today!>, I am considering upgrading my lighting system on my 30 gal. reef tank.  I currently have power compacts.  I've noted that some of the HQI systems I am looking at state that they should be used with a glass canopy to help cut down water evaporation.  I always thought that any tank must be well ventilated.  I would think by placing a glass canopy over the entire top surface of the tank/water, that this would be bad.  I'm worried that the heat would build up in the tank from the lights. If you could tell me your thoughts/comments on this, it would be appreciated <I completely agree - the tank should not be covered with glass as this will result in a heat build-up, lack of gas exchange and also reduce the amount of light entering the aquarium.>.  Thanks.  Bonnie

Blasting A 10 Gallon (Lighting) - 03/16/06 Hi Crew, <<Howdy>> I have a 10 gallon SW setup for over 2 years.  It has a bunch of mushrooms (greens, red, blue, and lavender) besides some fish and the light is a Coralife 50/50 96 watt which I bought about a year ago. <<Mmm, a lot of light on this small tank...>> I am moving so I set up another 10 gallon in my new place with live sand and rock and let it run a few weeks with an old standard fluorescent cover of 18 watts.  I just put in the mushrooms from the old tank into the new and in about a days time they look better than in the old tank. <<Tis the lighting.>> They are spread out and the colors seem more intense. <<Indeed>> Even my 2 candy canes have brighter centers.  Does this mean that my 96 watt is too strong for the mushrooms or is it just the quality of the water is better since it has not been polluted by fish or food residue yet? <<May be a bit of the latter, but the majority is likely due to lighting.  The organisms you mention, though highly adaptable, don't need and likely don't "want" the amount of light you had over the tank.  I think you could downsize to 36 watts of 50/50 PC lighting with the corals you listed, and be fine if not better off for it.  Regards, EricR>> Thanks

24 gallon Aquapod  - 03/13/2006 Howdy Guys,    <And some ladies...>        First let me say I love your site. I attribute my first tank's (75 gallon reef) success to mostly you guys a lot of research and a little luck. It was gorgeous. I had to take it down to move but will be replacing it with a 180 gallon, I am HOOKED! <Yikes!>       Now to my question. Until I can get my big tank up and to help me from going through withdrawals I purchased a 24 gallon Aquapod. I would like to keep a dwarf lion fish and possibly a ghost eel with some LPS coral. <Not good choices for this size/volume...> I am curious about the lighting. It comes with a 70w 14,000k metal halide. Is this enough light or do I need to up to 150? <... please see WWM re> Lastly, can I buy just the bulb or do I have to buy a completely new fixture? Thanx as usual for your valuable advice.           Sincerely, Butch <See the manufacturer re their lighting suggestion, liability. Bob Fenner>

I would like to say... Success in a small, seeming under-lit reef system Thank you for a great book Robert, "the Conscientious marine aquarist" has been invaluable to me in setting up my first reef saltwater tank, despite your warnings, i started up a Nano reef on 15 gallons. my very first saltwater tank, and its been running for 1 year now, a complete success, no illness, no water chemistry problems, what is more, its a full blown reef. <Testament to your preparation, good care... and luck!> I was wondering a bit about the section on lighting in your book, there you mention that one should have 3-5 watts per gallon when keeping hardy invertebrates and macro algae, and 7-10 watts for corals and anemones. <Of likely "normal output" fluorescents> My tank only has a lighting of 30 watts, that's 2 watts per gallon (a full spectrum and a blue actinic fluorescent tube) despite it seeming to be low output i have soft corals and even a LPS and SPS that are thriving under the light. <Can be done, yes> Naturally i am pleased about everything going well but i am still curious why it may be going so well? Some say that Actinic lighting has a greater effect on coral health and growth than the full spectrum lights, could this have anything to do with it? <Not likely, no> because my system runs with one Marine White 9600k 15w and one Marine Blue Actinic 15w fluorescents. Regards,  Mark <There is a wide and varying range of "photo-adaptation" in cnidarians... initially a matter of species and depth where collected mainly... An important factor is also a given species, group's capacity for deriving nutrition from other sources (feeding, chemical...). Some individuals, species are better/worse at "starving" and making up for nutritional lackings... Bob Fenner>

Questions On Lighting and Invert. ID - 12/06/2005 Hi Crew, <Hello.> I seem to have a mental block about lighting. So, if I have a 10 gallon with mushrooms and candy cane and some fish. Am I better off with 96W quad 10,000k or with a 96w quad 50/50 act/10k? Right now I have the 50/50 and it seems ok except for a couple mushrooms that prefer less light. <That's really up to you/aesthetic preference. Either will be fine, so if you've already got it just use it. When it's time to replace bulbs you can try a different combo. and see how it suits you, just remember to acclimate your livestock properly.> I have the candy cane for about a year. It came with various tube worms on it. <Rather common.> Recently I noticed something poking out of the base. It looks like a light brown snowflake about 1/16 of an inch across. It looks just like a magnified picture of a snowflake. There are two of them and I can not see any tube. They seem to be coming out of a space in the base. Where should I look to ID these? <Try searching the net for images of the Serpulid fan worms. That's most likely what you're seeing and they are commonly found in live corals as well as live rock. If this turns out to be the case, then don't worry about them possibly harming your coral. - Josh> 

Lighting options - 11/29/05 I am fairly new to the saltwater hobby and totally addicted to it! I have a 30 gallon tank (Eclipse 30"x12"x18"deep, Biowheel filter  <Do you have live rock? If so, you may wish to consider removing the bio-wheel>  and the lighting now is 24" T8-20 wt X 2) I want to change out the lighting so I can start adding corals, etc. and I am very confused on how to go about this. The LFS wants to sell me ($149.99) 24" Power compact Odyssea which will sit up some off the top front of my tank and it is not long enough.  <doesn't sound much good.>  Is there some way I can retrofit the existing canopy with new lights so everything looks the same as it does now (a nice pretty tank) <Yes, you have options here... if you don't mind a spot of simple DIY, you may be able to retrofit light fixtures into your existing canopy. There are a number of sites which offer kits for this.. check out AHSupply.com and Hellolights.com for starters. That said, there may not be much room in your eclipse, and your choices may be quite limited. You will also have less heat issues with external fixtures -- but you are certainly not limited to fixtures which are too short for your tank!> or if I go to corals will I have to buy something like the fish store wants to sell me.  <No.> Also I don't have a skimmer, is it  necessary? <Some people have been successful without them. In my opinion, a skimmer is a very worthwhile investment for any tank, and I'd strongly recommend you to buy a good one.> Right now I have a cardinal, 6 line wrasse, gold striped maroon clown and a cherub angel along with 1 turbo snail 2 Astrea, 3 hermits and one Narc snail that I never see. Please help soon. My husband is going to get this for an early Christmas present and I don't want to spend more on a lighting system when I could spend it on the corals.  <Lucky husband! Bear in mind that you need to decide on what corals you want to keep first, and then tailor the lighting decision accordingly. Different corals very widely in their lighting requirements.> Thanks so much. I read this site everyday. Beth Van Zandt Montgomery, TX <Me too! Good luck & best regards from Shanghai, John>

Small Tank Lighting/Skimming - 11/18/05 Quick history, I used to have a 55 gallon reef with 4x65 lighting, deep sand bed, CPR and refug, everything went well but I just didn't have the time/attention after my daughter was born to take care of it properly so I broke it down before I neglected the animals. <<Good for you...>> Well my daughter is 2 and loves Finding Nemo so I decided to purchase a 20 gallon standard tank and make it FOWLR and of course... Nemo and Marlin (two Percula clowns). <<of course>> No Dory (blue tang) I don't want the tang police to come after me for housing in a small tank. <<Glad to hear...I have their number on speed dial...>> Anyway, I was lucky enough to get back some of my live rock I gave to a friend two years ago and a few nice pieces at the local store to about 20 lbs (will add more periodically till about 25-28) <<may not be necessary>> and I have a 3-inch bed of sand., and an Aqua Clear mini for debris (will pull sponge and only run it a week at a time, don't want the nitrates). My question is lighting and skimmer. I don't plan on adding anything but a few more fish  <<Very few I hope.>> a shrimp and some crabs, and maybe a few small mushrooms/polyps. Total would be 4-5 very small fish (one inch each) <<Fish grow up...>>  1 shrimp, and a few snails, a small hermit crab or two. Possibly a few nice mushrooms near the top or middle and a polyp rock if I find some. Not much bio-load for a 20. <<Mmm, use caution...all adds up/multiplies quickly.>> I was tempted to buy a 2x65 watt power compact for the thing but all I want to do is keep the coralline on my rock, perhaps propagate the little mushrooms and add a few more. Do I really need that much heat/lighting or can I get away with just one 65 watt 50/50 power compact bulb? <<For what you have proposed I think a single 65w (my choice would be 10000K) will do fine.>> I won't add more than a few pieces of mushroom and maybe a polyp or two. <<The will grow/multiply, sometimes very rapidly...just be ready to deal with them.>> The 2x65w heat concerns me as well as the instability of the hood (clips), with the two year old around. <<understood/agreed>> Price is not the issue, there isn't much difference. Just don't want the extra heat/fans and hood accessories, just more to go wrong/break. And if I change the water enough do I really need a skimmer for that? I could get one, just curious. <<I always recommend a skimmer...but you are correct, you can probably get by on this small tank with frequent partial water changes...but don't neglect else there will be trouble with those noxious mushrooms and polyps in there.>> I had one on my big tank but the load was so much higher. Thanks for the great info, I can read this stuff all night. Just trying to keep it simple. Frank <<Simple is fine. Regards, EricR>>

NO SOUP FOR YOU...! Maybe With These - Cooking/Lighting a Nano with Halides Hi, <Hello James.> I have been reading your forums and they are great. I have learned a lot.  <Glad to hear it.>  I have an Eclipse 12 tank with about 10 lbs of live rock, a bubble tip anemone,  <These animals can reach 12' in diameter, really to small for this tank'¦if you choose to keep it, make sure it is the only sessile invert. in the tank.> <<I think you meant the tank is too small for the anemone, yeah? ;-) MH>> 2 tomato clowns  <These two will also outgrow the tank given time, tomatoes get rather large compared to some of their cousins like A. percula.> 2 turbo snails  <Only one is necessary for this tank.> 2 hermit crabs, and am planning on getting a Sebae  <Not with the bubble tip in there, these anemones also get up to 24' in diameter. Best left in the ocean or to veteran aquarist with large tanks.>  and eventually other corals.  <Will be stung by the bubble tip.> I currently am running the standard Eclipse PC light but am in the process of purchasing a AQUALIGHT ADVANCED - MH Bulbs = Coralife 150W 20,000K that is a hang-on tank mount (due to arrive tomorrow).  <A lot of light for this tank volume.>  So I will be removing the hood of the Eclipse and putting that light on. I read a previous forum discussion where you said that was too much light for a small tank  <Possibly true, will severely increase the heat the tank is subjected to, a top-off system and fans at the least are a must.>  (especially the animals)  <Yes the photosynthetic animals (anemone) will have to be acclimated to the new lights by hanging it high and slowly lowering it over weeks or starting with short photoperiods and slowly increasing over time.>  and the hating would be another issue. <<Heating, mayhaps?  MH>> <Yes a huge issue, the biggest issue, see above.>  The guys at hellolights.com (which was are recommended lighting store from your forums) told me this light would be adequate.  <Well it is adequate, overly adequate in my opinion.>  Will the heating issue be void b/c I am running it without the hood  <No it will not be void, you will see a large increase in ambient temperature as well as evaporation, nanos really aren't built to be subjected to this type of intensity and heat.>  and will the animals be hurt with the increased lighting?  <See above.>  So should I cancel and change it to something that would be more appropriate, <Depends, Can you keep the tank stable with this addendum of intense heat in such a small water volume?> or is this lighting okay?  <If you want to increase your lighting on a nano I would prefer to see T-5 high output, intense lighting not as much heat'¦.not sure if a fixture is available for this tank size. To be honest it does not sound as if you are ready for the heating issue and you could very well cook your animals if you are not prepared to deal with this intensity/heat.>  Thanks James <Adam J.> 

Reef Lighting part 2 9/26/05 Thanks for your advice.   My tank measurements are 48" long, by 20" deep, by 30" height.  I only have a JBJ 36" Power Compact with 2 96 watt bulbs. Should I buy just one Metal Halide pendant???  I could put the PC's towards the back, where my rock gets higher, and put the metal halide in the front, where the rock is lower.  Also, just buying one MH pendant is only $250, as opposed to buying a whole new lighting system for over $400.  Do you think I would have a sound lighting system then????  Thanks again.  Jeff. <A good rule of thumb is to use one MH lamp for every two feet of tank length.  By this rule you would need two lamps.  Using only one lamp will leave quite a bit of shadows at the ends of the tank.  You also need to be sure not to place a MH lamp directly over a center brace.  Doing so will not only block light but can also damage the brace.  Hope this helps. AdamC.>

Mini-Reef Lighting 11/3/05 I'd first like to say how much help your site has been with my aquarium. I have a 29 gallon FOWLR tank that I've had for about a year now and would like to begin adding some corals. Right now my lighting is a Coralife Lunar Aqualight Compact Fluorescent with 1X65 watt 10k daylight and 1X65 watt actinic. I am planning on building a custom hood and would like to put some type of retro fit kit into it. I am looking at a Coralife Aqualight retrofit kit that has the same output as my hood now, but I am wondering if 130 watts is enough.  Would it be ok to double up this retrofit kit for 260 watts, or is that too much lighting? I have also considered a VHO retro fit, but again I wonder if two 75 watt bulbs making 150 watts enough? I don't want to go with 50/50 bulbs because I like putting my lights on a timer for dawn and dusk cycles. I am leaning toward the option of doubling the compact fluorescent retrofit kits. I am mostly interested in keeping  Soft Corals and LPS, but I would like to be able to have some SPS if I saw something I couldn't live without (you guys have to know how that is).  Any suggestions or other options you have would be great. Again thank you so much for all your help. <Sounds like you're not so sure what type of "reef" (what direction the coral is going in yet) I would choose one bio-tope or the other because mixing softies/SPS/LPS in tis volume will only be a short term arrangement at best. The lighting you have now is okay for most of the items you mentioned above including a few hardy SPS like Monti. and Turbinaria <<?>> but for other Acros it may not be intense enough. It would be better if you used x2 10,000K bulbs and not just one. IF you do plan to keep shallow water organisms like SPS I would look into T-5 High Output Bulbs. Of course there is the MH option but with the heating issue these bulbs bring, I'm just not a fan of them on smaller tanks. Adam J.>   

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