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Old 02-09-2009, 03:18 PM   #1
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Red face Lighting questions...

OK, loved Michael Paletta's The New Marine Aquarium, but his section on lighting is brief. Have a FOWLR tank that I hope to eventually turn into a Reef Tank (I know, some people feel I should make this decision upfront, others seem to rec waiting for my tank to be established). Can someone explain the difference in the lighting. Currently have a basic two bulb 32W X2 K-Lighting strips. My tank is 48X18X24 (90 Gallons). What are actinic lights? Neccesary for corals? What are T5s HOs. Just more powerful versions of what I have? Lunar LCDs? Are they neccesary? What's an actinic bulb? What about 50/50 bulbs? Looked at bulbs in my local aquarium store and they had 40W 50/50 bulbs? 2 adequate for a 90 gallon tank (I assume no if I plan to add corals). 4Watts per gallon rule? Helpful? Outdated?
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:12 PM   #2
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Unfortunatley I'm not going to be any help but I'm curios about this as well. I know this lighting stuff shouldn't be this difficult but I haven't found anything that really describes the the differences of the different lighting options
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:17 PM   #3
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Here is a very basic run down on lighting.

normal output fluorescent - It's what you have now. They can be designated by bulb diameter as T5, T6, T8, T12, etc. If you lined the top of your 90 with about 8 of them, you would be able to keep some soft corals close to the top.

PC (power compact) - A step up from normal output fluorescent. You can keep soft corals and some lower light LPS.

VHO (Very High Output) - These bulbs are T-12 110w for a 48" bulb compared to 40w for the same size normal output bulb. You can keep soft corals, LPS, and some lower light demanding SPS (very high in the tank).

T5HO (High Output) - These are very popular because of their size, 5/8" diameter and high output (54w). Reflectors have been designed to make these bulbs very good. You can keep any type of coral using T5's, depending on the depth of the tank and placement of the corals.

MH (metal halide) - These are high intensity discharge bulbs. You can keep any type of coral. Many times, these are the best option for deep tanks.

Actinic bulbs are bulbs that put out light in the blue spectrum. 50/50 bulbs are 1/2 daylight spectrum and 1/2 actinic. Actinics are mostly just for your viewing pleasure as they bring out the colors in corals. Most of your saltwater bulbs do have blue in them and the actinics just supplement that.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:31 PM   #4
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Thanks. OK, stupid question; What are LPS and SPS? How do you keep corals? Do you feed them? Do you need a refugium? Are any of the following fish compatable (In general) w corals Maroon Clownfish, Yellow Tang Lionfish? I know, i know. If I'm asking these questions I'm not ready for corals!
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:38 PM   #5
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LPS stands for large polyp stoney, and SPS stands for small polyp stoney. they are just different classifaications of colors. Sps corals tend to require MH lighting where as Lps tend to be able to kept under lower light such as ccCapt said. As for compatbility i believe all the fish you suggested except for the lionfish are reef safe but for future research you can check out www.liveaquaria.com and you can see if any of the fish you are interested in are reef safe. It also shows you what specific corals need along the lines of food, lighting, and flow.


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Old 02-09-2009, 05:45 PM   #6
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Thanks. Some say Lionfish are Reef Safe "Cautious" What does that mean? Is Reef safe synonomous w Anemone safe?
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:54 PM   #7
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This thread was asking about lighting. If you want answers on corals or fish or anything else, start a new thread on that subject. People that may not be familiar with lighting may overlook this thread and not see your questions about fish and coral.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:51 AM   #8
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As far as lionfish go. For a beginner I would not recommend getting one. Really not recommended for a reef and your other inhabitants in reef. It will slowly become more and more the dominating force in your aquarium with other reef truly compatible fish.
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