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Old 08-23-2006, 09:12 PM   #1
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Metal Halide or Normal Output fluorescent?

I am currently building up this new 6 foot tank. At this stage plan for FOWLR but pretty sure in future will become a reef tank. And I know FOWLR tank won't need metal halide normal one will do and reef tank definitely needs metal halide. I want to save electricity bill. So here is the question:

Do you guys suggest me buy a metal halide housing now or just normal fluo housing? I am thinking if I buy a 6 foot long lamp housing with 3 metal halides, 2 actinic fluos but only switch on one metal halide and one actinic fluo I think the power usage will be roughly the same as I running a fluo housing with ALL normal fluo lights on (There will be at least 4 fluos to be running at the same time I think)?

If I only switch on one metal halide in the middle will it bright enough to light up the whole tank if I am going to hang it on the ceiling about 2 feet away from the water?
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:24 PM   #2
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In the begining phases, I would just go with NO flour. strip lights. You will have plenty of time to research and decide on lighting when your tank is cycling and maturing. The lighting is generally the largest expense in a reef tank of it should be researched prior to purchasing. It all depends on what you want to keep.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:31 PM   #3
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But I am definitely sure this FOWLR thing won't last very long before I convert it into a reef tank. And I am thinking if that is the case upgrading is not worth it (means buy the metal halide then sell the fluos) may be I'd just go straight to metal halide but I am worry about the power spending cost for the time being.

Is running just one of the metal halides will be enough for the 6 foot tank and about the same cost running 4 fluos housing?
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:36 PM   #4
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If you are set on MH then go for it. It will work best with your long-term plans. SInce MH originates from a single focal point, only using one on a 6ft tank will look funny. They have a spread of about 2sqft per lamp. I would do all three at once. 175-250watts per bulb at 10-14K rating. Supplement with CF actinics and you will be fine.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:38 PM   #5
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If your tank isn't very deep why not go with VHO (very High Output) lights instead of NO (Normal Output) lights. If electricity conservation is what you are going for. A reef tank is still a little broad of a description as you didn't mention if you wanted SPS or Softies. For SPS I would recommend MHs but for softies the VHOs would work fine.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:41 PM   #6
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angel raises a very good point. It is soley dependant on what you want to keep. SPS, clams and high light anemones do best under MH. Softies, LPS corals and some anemones are fine under CF or VHO.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:56 PM   #7
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I am not sure what coral I will be keeping in future depends on how successful I go along the way. I am taking one step at a time currently thinking of FOWLR therefore just wondering is it better to get the metal halide now or later. I don't want the huge energy bill right now and but will be ready in future. Therefore is it better to get the metal halide now and don't switch all of them on but can switch all of them on in future when I have corals?

Or is it worth it to just get the fluos now and replace it with metal halide in future when I have corals? But again if I get the fluos I will need to switch on all tubes and the cost will be almost the same running 1 metal halide therefore is it worth it to just get the metal halide now?

Mannnn I am so confuse...
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Old 08-23-2006, 10:01 PM   #8
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If you don't plan on doing anything for a while and your current set up is fine than save your money until you are ready to upgrade or add to your corals. deciding on the type of corals you want will greatly influence the lights you want.
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Old 08-23-2006, 10:01 PM   #9
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Alright, given your uncertainty, I would stick with NO flour. lights for now. This will give you time to research and decide just what you want to keep. MH will increase your electric bill to where you notice it. If you do not need them, I would not use them.
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Old 08-23-2006, 10:12 PM   #10
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Lando and angel, thanks for the opinions. Really appreciate it. I heard that hard coral is hard to keep and I have no experience in them as yet. I have a few softies in my current 20g nano, xenias, brain, zoos, toadstool running power compacts with no problem. Therefore I think even if I convert this 6 foot tank in future it won't straight away keep hard corals but soft corals will definitely on my list as I have got experience with them.

Also I will need longer time to venture into hard corals therefore I think it is worthwhile to get the fluos for the time being as they are ok for softies. Will upgrade to metal halide in future when I venture into hard corals (maybe 2 to 3 years down the track). Also switching on ALL fluos will look nicer than switching on only one metal halide in the middle.

Does my reasonings/pros & cons sound logic to everyone? Thanks guys.
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