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Old 12-24-2003, 02:08 PM   #1
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A List of Lighting Questions

I'm researching what lighting solution I'm going to use when I get my new tank in about six months (Yes, I'm already drooling.) I've realized, however, that I don't know squat about the higher-end lighting systems. Thus, after about half an hour of looking around, I've come up with the following list of questions...

1) Are all MH lights physically small? (i.e. not elongated like PC and VHO)
2) What spectrum of MH should you get? (i.e. 10,000K, 20,000K, etc)
3) Will a MH ballast work with any bulb that is of the right wattage, or are there other compatibility issues that need to be considered?
4) I'm seeing different socket sizes. Is there anything I need to know about them? (i.e. bulbs of a certain wattage and up are a certain size, or certain sizes have different advantages)
5) What is T-5?
6) Should my lighting solution include anything other than MH and actinic PC/VHO? Or should there be other things included?
7) What is the suggested lifetime of a MH bulb? I hear PCs should be replaced after six months.
8) I see the fans that they sell for MH hoods and such, and they look EXACTLY like an 80mm fan for a computer case. Is there any way to incorporate a computer case fan into a DIY lighting project to save some money? (I'm no electrician, so I don't know what would be involved. Ironically my father is, but he couldn't answer this.)

Thanks a bunch. I may post more if I come across them.
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92-gallon corner tank, 100lbs of LR, 140lbs of sand, 250watt 10,000K MH, 110watts of actinic PCs, Mag 7 return, custom refugium, AquaC EV180 w/ Mag 5

Female lyretail anthias, eyelash blenny, tomato clown, saddleback clown, firefish goby, 2 sand-sifting stars
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Old 12-24-2003, 02:44 PM   #2
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1. depends on which style, there's mogul and double ended. The double ended are the small ones and the mogul or screw in type are the larger ones.
2. I like 10k myself but 20k is good because its supposed to provide a bluer spectrum which means you dont need to supplement with actinic lighting. Altho i would anyway.
3. IMO i would only fire a mh in a mh ballast. Ive heard a mercury vapor ballast will fire a mh but the reverse is not true. Better safe than sorry and just stick with mh bulbs in a mh ballast.
4. I guess youre talking about DE (double ended) and SE (single ended or mogul) Bulbs. The SE screw in type have a UV coating already on the bulbs and are good bulbs. The DE bulbs arent coated and you need a uv coated shield or glass cover. Ive read that DE bulbs put out more light and im partial to them myself.
5. I havent read much about T5 but i believe its a new type of fluorescent bulb/ballast which is supposed to be the next new thing in fluorescent lighting.
6. As stated in #3 you can supplement with actinic if you get a 10k bulb. I find its better to have a separate actinic bulb than just relying on a 20k bulb. The super actinic 03 is what id go with.
7. Most mh bulbs can run for up to a year
8. Yes those fans are basically the same, the only difference is the computer case fans run on DC instead of AC so youd need a converter.

Hope those answers help, good luck
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Old 12-24-2003, 02:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
1) Are all MH lights physically small? (i.e. not elongated like PC and VHO)
they are about 4-6" WEll at least the XM bulbs are
Quote:
2) What spectrum of MH should you get? (i.e. 10,000K, 20,000K, etc)
Depends on what you want to keep but most go with 10k
Quote:
3) Will a MH ballast work with any bulb that is of the right wattage, or are there other compatibility issues that need to be considered?
From My understanding the probe start ballasts will light 99% of the bulbs except the Radium 20k and HQIs... I believe the Icecap ballasts are supposed to light anything but dont quote me on that..
Quote:
I'm seeing different socket sizes. Is there anything I need to know about them? (i.e. bulbs of a certain wattage and up are a certain size, or certain sizes have different advantages)
Most bulbs are Mogul based or HQI based.. Mougal is a larger typ of the screw in bulbs.. The HQI are more like your plug in bulbs.. HQI requires a glass shield to block out the bad UV rays.. HQI is supposed to be better
Quote:
5) What is T-5?
T-5 is supposed to be another form of lighting that is better than VHO or PC but it is new and not that many people have tried them
Quote:
6) Should my lighting solution include anything other than MH and actinic PC/VHO? Or should there be other things included?
You should consider some cooling for your lights.. I use 2 120mm computer fans Exhausting 1 on each side.. price is about 15.00ea and 15.00 for the power supply.. Works great..
Quote:
What is the suggested lifetime of a MH bulb? I hear PCs should be replaced after six months.
They suggest MH bulbs be replaced annually and pc lights are anywhere form 12-18 months.. VHO is around 3-6 months...
Quote:
I see the fans that they sell for MH hoods and such, and they look EXACTLY like an 80mm fan for a computer case. Is there any way to incorporate a computer case fan into a DIY lighting project to save some money? (I'm no electrician, so I don't know what would be involved. Ironically my father is, but he couldn't answer this.)
It is very easy to do this.. If you need help SEnd me a PM and I can help you.. It is extremely ewasy and I think that a 10yr old could do it.. If you can plug a plug into the wall and cut/tape a few wires you are set..

HTH<
James
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Old 12-24-2003, 03:16 PM   #4
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Okay, a few more thoughts.

1) Earlier when I asked about a ballast firing any type of bulb (Question #3), I just meant would they work with any MH bulb. Sounds like the answer is yes. Sorry I didn't say that clearly.
2) Good info on the 10,000K and 20,000K bulbs. So, the higher the Kelvin rating, the more blue/violet the bulb? I ask because you said that 20,000K was sometimes used without actinic, so logic would point this direction.
3) What good are the bulbs that are lower than 10,000K? Is there a specific use or purpose for them? Or can I do without them?
4) I didn't realize that PC bulbs were supposed to last that long. I feel like my tank is starting to yellow, but my bulbs (50/50 and 10k) are only about 9 months old at this point. Must be my imagination.
5) Are moon phase systems or any other type of night lighting worthwhile or suggested? I hate when the lights are off entirely and I can't see what's going on in my fish's world.
6) I've heard brief rumors of dimming systems where you can turn your lights on at full strength and something will slowly change to let the light through. I don't know if this is like a set of "blinds" that just open and close or if it's a plate of polarized glass or what. Has anyone heard about this sort of thing?
7) Kudos to both of you!


Thanks a bunch for all the info!
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92-gallon corner tank, 100lbs of LR, 140lbs of sand, 250watt 10,000K MH, 110watts of actinic PCs, Mag 7 return, custom refugium, AquaC EV180 w/ Mag 5

Female lyretail anthias, eyelash blenny, tomato clown, saddleback clown, firefish goby, 2 sand-sifting stars
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Old 12-24-2003, 04:43 PM   #5
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1. Just remember to ask about (an example) if a 250 watt MH ballast can fire a 175 watt bulb (again its just an example). I don;t think it can.. so when specifying MH ballasts to MH bulbs... make sure they work together well, so you don't end up with any probs.
2. the reason most people use 10,000K with actinics is because of a number of issues. A lot of people find the 20,000K too blue, plus 20,000K have much less intensity than do the 10,000K. Realize that the suns K rating is about 6500K!! With 10,000K you are still getting some madd intnsity, plus with the actinics you can get useful lighting to the corals and make the water a little more to your liking. On top of that with a seperate actinic lighting.. you can even time it that it comes on an hour before the halides to create a "dawn" effect, and an hour after the halides turn off to create the "dusk" effect which some say helps with the corals gradual declination or acclimation of light. I just bought my system, an XM (its a brand of a bulb) 250 Watt 10,000K bulb (single ended), an ARO 250 watt (from hello lights) ballast, and two 65 watt PC 03 actinics set up.

5. Moon systems are great I love them, plus you can very EASILY make your own without a prob. I made my own in no time. basically I will have those on about 30 minutes before the actinics turn off, and then turn them off 30 minutes after the actinics turn on.

6. I have heard of it, but sounds too new and ocmplicated as of right now (in experimentation mode). I am waiting till I hear it become more efficient or a DIY method comes out

Have fun!
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