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Old 06-05-2004, 04:02 PM   #1
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Fish and soft coral tank lighting

I have a 54 gallon corner (fairly deep) tank. It's been going for about a year, and generally successful with mushrooms, polyps and leathers. It has two regular 20w 50/50 flourescents. The fixture sits directly atop the glass tank cover.

Is there a simple upgrade in lighting that I could make, without getting into fans, chillers, elevating the light fixture, etc.?

I gather that the best possibility might be VHO, but I don't know how many bulbs, wattage, etc. From what I understand, VHO runs cooler than PCs and T-5. Also, I had read somewhere that there is something call HO, though maybe that's been obsoleted.

I would appreciate your thoughts. As I said, the corals have done OK, not great, with what I have. But I don't want to get into multiple levels of complexity or cost. I would be happy if there's something simple that would be a moderate upgrade.

Thanks.
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Old 06-05-2004, 05:57 PM   #2
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A PC fixture would work. You might need to lose the glass tops though.

A 48" 4x55 fixture can be had on ebay for around $80+ shipping. Some fixtures are better and cost more but this one is cheap. I use one on my 75 gal right now. I am going to be upgrading but this one has served me well.
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Old 06-06-2004, 03:07 AM   #3
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Since this is a corner tank, I'm going to guess that VHO would be difficult since they are basically the same size as regular fluorescent tubes. If you wanted to do PC's, I would look at the 96w quad fixtures. It depends on the measurements of the tank too. While soft corals don't need the lighting intensity of the SPS corals, most of them need a bit more than mushrooms. A deep tank needs more light than a shallow tank because the light has to penetrate further. Here's a thought although you may not want to spend this much... I think a corner tank would look great open top with a MH pendant hanging over it. You can get these with built in PC actinics too. Also, VHO isn't really much cooler than PC or T-5's...they get pretty warm.
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Old 06-06-2004, 04:06 PM   #4
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Thanks!

I am thinking of either the Satellite single pc, or the All-Glass high output pc. It would be the 30 inch in either case.

I believe the Satellite single uses a 65 watt compact, and the All-Glass uses a 55 watt...so, it sounds like either way it's is considerably more light.

I very much like the look of the 50/50 bulbs, which combine daylight and actinic 03 blue. I am trying to figure as between the Satellite and the All-Glass which would come closest to that effect. I don't like 10,000K and other intense daylight alone, as they look green to me.
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Old 06-06-2004, 05:31 PM   #5
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I wouldn't suggest the All Glass for the reason that I know of two people who have had these fixtures catch on fire and destroy their tanks. If you can fit a 30" PC fixture on the tank, I would go with the Orbit 2x65w fixture. Going from your 2x20w to a 1x65w isn't going to make a huge difference in the tank. Also, with the Orbit, you can run one 10k and one actinic bulb. It also comes with moonlight which is a neat option. My 2 cents anyway.
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Old 06-07-2004, 11:41 PM   #6
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Wow...that's scary, and ironic since All-Glass advertises the UL seal which would seem like some assurance of safety.

Did those fires involve the compact flourescent fixtures they currently market?

Do you think the Satellite fixtures, made I think by Current USA, are better?
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Old 06-08-2004, 08:44 AM   #7
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I'm not familiar with the current offerings from All Glass. Both of these were older PC fixtures that caught on fire. My opinion of them was that they were cheap plastic hoods with a couple of 55w PC's stuck in them. I sincerely hope All Glass has improved their lights.
Based on my past experience with the All Glass lights, and my past experience with CSL lights (now Currents), I would say the Currents units are very good. As I said before though, I would look at the Currents Orbit fixture instead of the Satellite.
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