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Old 01-20-2011, 01:59 AM   #1
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Lighting for my 75 gallon reef.

Looking to get a light fixture. Just wondering which brand I need to look for? I have heard T5HO and something about reflectors. I am just starting my reef aquarium and really know nothing about the lighting. I am also wondering if I will see a difference in my electric bill? Any thoughts or recommendations?
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:45 AM   #2
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It's really a matter of how much you want to spend and what you want to grow. If you won't have a heat issue or you have room for a chiller. Metal halide are the best as far as im concerned. especially if you want to grow sps corals, As for as everthing else T-5HO or power compacts will do the job. I'd reccomend waiting awhile on the Led's. Theirs not alot of options out there, and the really nice ones that are out there very exspensive. Good Luck!

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Old 01-20-2011, 02:53 AM   #3
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Will the lighting affect the temperature that much? I dont plan on having anything other than my heater and light fixture. Is there something else I need to regulate temp?
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saltwatertogo
T-5HO or power compacts will do the job. I'd reccomend waiting awhile on the Led's. Theirs not alot of options out there, and the really nice ones that are out there very exspensive. Good Luck!

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I agree, go with power compacts or t5s. Do not go with metal halides if you do not plan on getting a chiller. Halides really heat up the water. My opinion is 4x96w of power compacts for your 75g will be great for a reef
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:05 AM   #5
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It depends greatly on the temperature of the room and what other heating factors there are like pumps, lights and sunlight... also are you going to have a sump? Will there be lots of area for evaporation (helps cooling). If you start to have problems with heat you can add fans across the sump or tank to help cause more evaporation.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:58 AM   #6
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i would not use power compacts. they don't penetrate the water very well, they only come in 2 colors, and they are very expensive to replace.
a 4 x 96 watt PC fixture probably puts out half the PAR as a T5 HO fixture of the same wattage.

individually reflected T5 HO or metal halides will both do whatever you want them to. a quality T5 HO fixture is every bit as powerful as metal halides.
as a matter of fact, my last 8 lamp T5 fixture put off almost double the PAR as a 250 watt halide setup.

i'm not sure about the heat though. when i changed from halides to T5s, my tank temp didn't drop a degree.
sure the halide will burn your skin if you touch it, and the T5 will only feel hot, but you are talking about spreading heat out over 8 long bulbs, instead of focusing it at one spot.
i wish someone would be able to figure exactly how much heat is radiated from each setup, but to date i haven't found any study done.

i've used everything but LEDs up till now, and i never had the need for a chiller. i did use fans though. two 12" fans actually. one over the 125 gallon sump, and one blowing across the top of the DT (195 gallons).

you will definitely see a difference on your electric bill. think of the wattage used, and think of the time they are on.
add up everything (pumps, heaters, lights...), and then you can look at your bill and figure out what you pay per kilowatt hour, and then you'll know how much it will change your bill.

what are you looking to spend?

sunlight supply, coralife, current, hamilton, aquactinics, ati, aqua medic, giesemann, icecap, coralvue, are all decent brands...some better than others, but none of them junk.
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:43 PM   #7
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I agree with MR X jus say no to power compacts UNLESS you are using the PCR bulbs from nanotuners. Power compacts come in very few color combos and really are not suited for deeper aquariums like a 75. T5s are an awesome option but to be perfectly honest Halides bleed very little heat into your water column as long as they are adequetly ventilated. I have done a few tests over my own tank

I used a 48" 2 bulb PC light with internal ballasts. a 48" 4 bulb t5 with internal ballasts, and lastly a 150wx2 halide with an external ballast. I have a closed hood with linear fans (one draws in air the other acts as an exhaust. Hood temp (as recorded by my reefangel temp probe) stayed in the upper 80's with the PCs and in the mid 80s with both the t5 and the halides. The fixture body with the pcs on the surace ran in the high 90s while the t5 stayed again in the high 80s, interestingly the halides did not differ much from the ambient temp in the hood. Next water temps, the only setup that made a perceptible difference was the PC lights.

By no means is the empirical data merely my observations.
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:25 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the info guys. I'm leaning toward T5HO's. Unsure of number of bulbs and watts though. I really only want something that will do some mushrooms, zoas, green star polyps, frogspawn, and hammer coral. Any recommendations considering? I dont want to much $ in it just incase I have a problem down the road.
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:04 PM   #9
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I see there is a great deal of info to digest here.. All of it is sound advice. I have only been reefing for 2 yrs or so.

My set up is a 75 gal Reef with a 48" Current/Nova Extrem light that has 6 bulbs, that can be lit 2, 4, or all 6. I reconfigered the bulbs to 2 actinic by them self and then 3 10K t5's and 1 actinic. My tank is hoodless and use eggcrate to keep the jumpers in. I also have a 29T sump w/3 chambers, 1 sand and rubble, 2 protien skimmer, 3 return pump.

this time of year i loose about 1.5 gal a day to evap. and have a hard time keeping the water above 76*. Anyway I am very happy with the light.

I have candy cane's that are growing like crazy/ acan's that I just fraged for the first time this week. 2 blasto that are doing great, a clam, some forg sqawn, a kenya tree that I prun like it is a bonzi tree, pom pom xenia that are very aggressive growers.

All in all the light is great an I got a fair price by picking it up at Premium Aquatics in Indanoplis IN. Good luck and HTH

also I just posted some pic in my profile, and welcome any and all feedback
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:13 PM   #10
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Get a 48" 4 bulb fixture and it will do everything you want it to and then some. Price v quality is a huge debate some fixtures on the highend go for quite a few bucks... with that said I personally have had great luck with the, often talked down on, odyssea fixtures from aquatraders. If your plan is indeed to only have those softies then this fixture will work fine, and if you decide to go better you can always upgrade the bulbs. Nova extreme makes a fantastic unit with individual reflectors that comes highle recomended but they are proud of thier product and charge accordingly
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