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Old 07-25-2004, 11:49 PM   #1
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Setting up timers for lighting?

Ok, bought some soft corals today.. (some mushrooms, polyps & Zooanthids) Lady at the LFS said it would be good idea to leave my blue atinics on at night. (comments welcome, newbie with corals). I have a 4 bulb setup, 2 white VHO atinics and 2 blues. Is there a way to set up a timer to have just the white atinics cut off at night when all 4 bulbs are powered by the same ballast? or will I need to by another ballast and set up 2 bulbs on each?

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Old 07-26-2004, 01:46 AM   #2
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Get some moonlights!! They make the tank look nice at night, love the ripple effect it has on the rocks/bottom...wish I had sand to have another thing to look at. When you acclimate the coral, make sure you place it low in the tank so it has time to adjust to your lighting. After a week or so you can place them higher in the tank.

About the dawn/dust effect, I think you're going to have to have two ballasts. Not exactly sure but since a ballast only has one power outlet cord, its either all on or all off.

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Old 07-26-2004, 08:40 AM   #3
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Leaving any of your main lights on 24/7 is gonna give you serious algae problems. Not to mention it just isn't natural. The actinics may look dimmer than the whites to us but to the tank inhabitants they are both the same intensity. You're right about what you would have to do to achive it though.

The polyps will thrive with just a regular 12 hr photo period.
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Old 07-26-2004, 08:53 AM   #4
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You can buy a digital timer from Walmart for around $14 bucks. You can get a regular one for around $7 bucks. I would go with two digital ones if I were you, and let the blue come on in the morning an hour or so before the white. And let the white turn off, an hour or so before the blue. The timers work great!
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Old 07-26-2004, 09:39 AM   #5
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Sorry to add to this, my father-in-law has just completed my new tank lid (brilliant!) I have a D&D mega twin (2x39w) with aquablue+ tubes which are a 60/40 mix AFAIK & 4 moonlights.

I presume that I should build up the T5 from say 6 hours to start all the way upto 10-12 hours a day & then have the moonlights on the rest of the time with a minute or so overlap so the tank always has light? I have a couple of digital timmers to control this.

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Old 07-26-2004, 11:25 AM   #6
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or will I need to by another ballast and set up 2 bulbs on each?

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Old 07-26-2004, 07:59 PM   #7
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IMO you do not need to have lighting on 24/7 this includes the Moon lights. I have my Moon lights stay on for a few hours so when Im up I can enjoy them but late at night when no one is up why have them on. The fish won't mind being in total darkness.
As others have said 2 ballast's. My friend has the 2 ballast set up and the tank looks cool with just the actinic.. He runs them in the am for an hour or so then has the whites come on then has the actinic stay on after the whites go off for a few hours for the dawn / dusk effect as others have talked about. I am going to change my lights around soon so I can have the same effect. The corals are real cool looking under just actinics.
I would ask the LFS if they leave there lights on all night.... Bad advice from the LFS... Good luck with them.. What did they tell you to feed the corals?
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Old 07-27-2004, 12:49 AM   #8
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If your four VHO bulbs are set up on one ballast, then no, you cannot control the actinics separately from your whites. You would need a second ballast rewired in order to do this.
FWIW, you don't need to do the dusk to dawn (not 24 hr photoperiod like your LFS told you), it's just nice and a little more natural as in sunrise & sunset. If you do setup your lights to achieve this effect, I would only set them for 12 hrs actinic & 10 hrs white max.
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Old 07-27-2004, 06:53 AM   #9
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If you just want blues on without the whites go w/ something like this. It has a built in ballast (only 40 watts) and puts a real nice effect before and after your main lights come on. Mine comes on 2hrs before then shuts off and 2hrs after then shuts off. Its says its submersable, but I hung mine from my canopy, works great!


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