I'd have to take a slightly different stance on that. If you're sure that softies and shrooms
is all you want to keep, you'll be fine with a VHO
system. I have a 180 set up with 4x160w VHO
tubes on it and the soft corals are growing like weeds in there. One thing you might want to consider is using 5' bulbs instead of 4'. Three 5' bulbs will give you 420w...I'd go with 4 of them though. That would give you 560w. You won't be able to keep SPS
or anemones with this setup IMO
. What I see happening here though is you buying a VHO
system and later deciding that you want to keep inverts that have high light requirements. Then you've spent all that money and have a lighting system that, at best, you can only use part of for actinic supplementation. If you can afford it, MH
would probably be the way to go. You can DIY
a lot of the MH
setup and you don't have to use "aquarium ballasts". Biggen has considerable experience using the supply house ballasts and would help you with the setup I'm sure. Probably save you some $$ as well.
One other thing is that the price you quoted does not include the price of the bulbs...look to spend another $100 for 4 bulbs. I wouldn't even consider using anything other than URI bulbs and I'd use 2 white actinics and 2 actinic 03
's in a 4 lamp system. In a 3 lamp system, I'd go with 2 whites and 1 actinic. FWIW
, if I had the 180 to do over again, I'd have put a MH
system on it.
EDIT: One other thing to note about VHO
is that the bulbs require replacement more often than other types of lights. Icecap claims their ballast will keep the bulbs effective for up to a year, but I'm not sure the ARO ballasts will do that.