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Old 05-12-2007, 11:56 PM   #1
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$500 Lighting Budget. Pointers?

My boyfriend and I are moving across town at the end of the month, and figure since we're moving the tank, it'd be a good time to do a little bit of an overhaul.


Eventually, we'd like to do some coral in our tank.

We have a 135 gallon Oceanic tank. It is 72" long.
Our lighting budget is about $500.

This is what we're looking at:
http://www.marinedepot.com/md_viewIt...roduct=CU01026

http://www.marinedepot.com/md_viewIt...roduct=ES53409


Any pointers? Can someone suggest a better light set up for our budget?
What kind of coral could we hope to manage with this kind of lighting?



Thanks for any help!
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Old 05-13-2007, 12:44 AM   #2
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I have (4) 96W PC fixture, it works well as far as output however I have always found the look of a tank much nicer with MH bulbs, something about the shadows or something they provide that the PC just does not give.

My next set will include some MH fixtures, or the mix of MH and PC...they had one at my LFS recently that was not too badly priced with a couple MH bulbs and also two florescent.
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Old 05-13-2007, 01:49 AM   #3
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I've had the same Coralife fixture as you linked to (except the 36" long version) for 8 months now and can't say anything bad about it. It's quiet, nice looking, has three independent plugs, and has good ventilation/cooling. I'd buy it again if I was setting up another tank. I've got three LPS and a zoa colony in my tank that are doing just great with the lighting.
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Old 05-13-2007, 01:55 AM   #4
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You can do a nice set up with PC lights and keep basically everything except for sps and some species of clams. If you were interested in going with stony corals or clams and don't mind building a canopy you can definitley make some MH retrofit kits work to your advantage.

You could also do 2 36" Nova Extreme HO T5 fixtures for something that is stronger than PC, but that would require 2 fixtures if you don't mind that.
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...&N=2004+113175


Basically, you need to decide what you want to keep and tailor your choice to that. If money is an issue and you or your boyfriend are handy with making a canopy, you can save yourself lots of money and get the exact same quality lighting.

HTH
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Old 05-13-2007, 02:14 AM   #5
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Would going with the T5s as opposed to PC broaden our spectrum of what could be stocked in the tank?
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by DreamerTheresa
Would going with the T5s as opposed to PC broaden our spectrum of what could be stocked in the tank?
Definately, depending upon the T5's you get. You need individual reflectors. I built my own hood, using T5 retrofits from www.reefgeek.com but it was a bit more than $500. $670-ish for all the parts (bulbs, ballasts, endcaps, reflectors, etc, not the wood for the canopy, fans, etc). But I can keep any type of coral, sps, light-loving clams, etc. Less heat than MH, too.
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Old 05-13-2007, 11:32 AM   #7
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Using individual reflectors will get you the maximum amount of lighting, but it's also lots more expensive.

I use the Nova Extreme now and I really like it (just one reflector). I'm keeping sps and have found that I have to move my zoos lower in the tank because they are getting too much light. T5 will get you more depth and more intensity than PC, but unless you are interested in keeping stony corals it's not entirely needed.

Just my opinion, of course.
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Old 05-14-2007, 12:49 AM   #8
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Devilishturtles is right, you don't need T5HO with single reflectors for a lot of coral. PC's are fine for softies and lps. If you think you mght want sps or clams in the future, maybe spend a little bit more now for T5 or MH, instead of a lot now and a lot later.
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Old 05-14-2007, 08:05 AM   #9
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What type corals are you planning on? As mentioned above if you are planning on a soft or LPS tank then the PC`s will be OK. The t5`s will give you more options.
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Old 05-14-2007, 04:28 PM   #10
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Does the tank have a canopy or are you intersted in DIY canopy? You could do 3x250w MH retro kits for about $550(including bulbs, reflectors, etc) + cost of canopy if needed. That would provide good penetration, and allow you to keep a large variety of coral. It also creates glitter lines, a shimmer, like natural sunlight.
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