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Old 03-21-2014, 05:47 PM   #1
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55 Gallon Reef Light Setup

Hello, I'm changing my freshwater into a saltwater tank. I have sold the fish, cleaned the tank and got some sand & some basic porous rock. I got the salt setup and and the hydrometer reads good for the reef. I ordered a test kit yesterday through Amazon, so I'm waiting to get that before starting to get fish.

This weekend I'm supposed to get live rock for my LFS.

However, I want this tank to be a reef, and my lighting isn't the greatest.

I have a 48" Dual T5 Lamp - Specifically this one from PetSmart:

AqueonŽ Colormax T5 Aquarium Light Fixture | Lights | PetSmart

Is this compatible for a reef, such as just changing the bulbs to a higher output? I know that 10k is recommended, and this has a 1 colormax, and 1 6.7k lamp. I don't mind adding a 10k to replace the colormax, and doing actinic once I start putting some more in there.

Any help is appreciated, and once I start purchasing more, I will make a 'build' thread.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:21 PM   #2
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2 bulbs over a 55 isn't going to support much of anything. They aren't the most coral friendly bulbs due to spectrum...
In all honesty, to save you money and let you keep whatever you want under them, look into the Taotronic LEDs. Each unit covers a 2ft area, so 2 for a standard 55 gallon. Try to get dimming units so you can adjust coral to the lighting as well without burning them. LEDs are great at penetrating water compared to bulbed units.
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:03 AM   #3
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Ouch

Ouch, that is not good news. Also, the price of the new light hurts worse. I cannot afford something like that at the moment, nor in the near future.

Would it be possible to just start out at a FOWLR tank? I'm not opposed to the idea what so ever; if I can't have a reef tank right now, then I will just have to settle for less. I don't mind upgrading the bulb, or both bulbs if I must to achieve a good looking tank.

My light as is makes the tank look very nice, very white and the colormax compliments it. I imagine a 10k bulb with actinic would be nice..

Again, any help is appreciated.
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:07 AM   #4
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You may need to change the bulbs anyway - i believe the 6000k types can fuel algae in a bad way. On reading your first post make sure you cycle your tank properly after you add your live rock. It will probably take 3-4 weeks...
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:47 AM   #5
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You can start off your tank as a FOWLR while you put together the funds for reef lighting. It is a good chunk of change, but in this case it is in the beginning and ends up saving you money over time since bulbs can be expensive...my last set of 4 bulbs cost me over 100 bucks.
My suggestion would be to cycle your tank and slowly add reef safe fish to your system over the length of time it takes to put the funds together to switch over to reef. But to do this, ditch any bulb under 10k so you don't algae bloom your tank to death. If you even have a PC light for over the tank, just toss it on the system and let it go. It is only a FOWLR setup, so why use more electricity when nothing needs the light?
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:38 AM   #6
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Glad to hear! I knew that I would have to upgrade the bulbs in the least, so that wasn't a big shocker to me. I will pick up a 10k bulb and actinic bulb today and see how that does me.

My intentions: Pick up a small amount of live rock tonight (5-10lbs) and just put it in there, and add some more within the month. I probably won't begin adding any fish for a few weeks or so, maybe just start off with a neat cleaning crew.

Then within 2-3 months, after I know the tank is good to go, and I have a basic knowledge on this - I will add a few gorgeous fish. I don't want to kill anything in the process, so I want to make sure my tank is in preferred conditions. I will make sure that they are reef compatible, so that way I can do a changeover in the future.

Thanks for the help guys..
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