I think that's probably somewhat acceptable on lights. I've seen recommendations on replacing every 6-9 months which, IMHO
, seems slightly along the lines of trying to get the customer to purchase lights more frequently than needed. But, there does appear some validity in bulbs losing the ability to deliver lighting at the specific wave lengths and intensity over time. It's also maybe somewhat worth bearing in mind that AquaticLife, in my case, aren't forcing me to buy their bulbs - there's quite a few alternative brands I could purchase, so it's not simply them trying to gain some extra dollars. I don't see an issue in looking at replacing a pair of bulbs every 12 months or so. Others may chime in with more specifics from the units they've ran over time. And yes, I think expandability is useful so I'm not replacing an entire unit in 12 months or so
Hopefully the AquaticLife unit will be here over the weekend and I can let you know what I think!
As for the watts per gallon, I really don't know. I think it does depend a little on what you're hoping to do. For fish only (FO
) or fish only with live rock (FOWLR
), it doesn't seem to matter on lighting, as it's more for you to be able to enjoy the fish and keep their bodies somewhat in rhythm. When it comes to a reef system, it seems more the intensity and ability to penetrate deep in to a tank, along with the range of the bulbs rather than a specific amount of watts per gallon. Again, in my circumstances, I think a pair of 24W bulbs, one at 10k and one actinic, should be enough for me to grow some basic corals or polyps, but I want to be able to manage the FOWLR
tank before researching what would fit well and be comfortable under those light conditions.
All the best with your adventures! Hope some of this helps.