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Old 05-31-2003, 11:27 PM   #1
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Is MH necessary?

Hi guys,

This is my first post:

I was wondering if you could help me with some questions regarding the set up of my marine fish tank.
I have 6 X 2 X 2 feet tank (160 gallons)which I intend to use for keeping mainly live coral and a few fishes. At the moment I don't have MH lighting but instead have 6 tubes - four white light ( I assume its VHO) and two blue (acthinic?). Is this sufficient light to maintain corals? Someone told me the light penetration is not effective beyond 12 inches and so I need to install MH light which I'm reluctant to do as it's hot and I would then need to install a chiller. (THe room is currently well airconditioned and the tank temp hovers around 77-80.6 Fahrenheit.)
Thanks

JoeMacros
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Old 05-31-2003, 11:33 PM   #2
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It all depends on what you want to keep. High light loving corals like SPS will require much more intense lighting. But perhaps some different species of softies would thrive under those lights. It's almost impossible to give a definitive answer without knowing the type (VHO) and total wattage of the bulbs you have....any way to find out? If they are a good VHO lighting system, I don't see why you would have to get MH lighting.
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Old 05-31-2003, 11:39 PM   #3
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I totally agree with Hoops, many softies and LPS can be kept under VHO and PC lighting. There are simply to many variables to say yes or no.
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Old 06-01-2003, 12:06 AM   #4
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It is also possible to keep your tank cool enough without the use of a chiller. Simple fans placed in strategic locations will help keep your tank between 80 and
82.
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Old 06-01-2003, 12:12 AM   #5
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I'm a pretty big proponent of MH lighting. When I first started this hobby a few years back, I ran PCs or VHOs on everything. The biggest complaint I had with this type of setup was the fact that it takes a good deal of these bulbs (and therefore a good deal of $) to get the lighting wattage up to satisfactory levels necessary to maintain the higher light corals, especially on larger tanks. In addition, I felt like I was constantly replacing bulbs (every 6-9 months) and this was a good drain on my bank account. I then ran across a deal on aquaticlight.com for $75 MH retro kits (w/o the proper bulb) and I gave it a shot and I will never go back. The success I've had with it accompanied by the lower operating costs (replacing bulbs once a year) has produced big dividends, especially for the health of my corals.

Just FYI, MH/VHO setups are, in my opinion, the most well-rounded setups and also happen to be the most aesthetically pleasing. I'm running 3 20,000K MH bulbs on my tank and it is absolutely beautiful, but I plan to add 2 actinic VHO tubes sometime this year to create that deep-water look that I'm shooting for.
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Old 06-01-2003, 01:30 AM   #6
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Wow! Thanks for all the helpful replies. Now I know there are different kinds of corals that like different levels of like and also SPS and LPS. I'm a total newbie. Can you please suggest a website where I can learn about different kinds of corals too?

I'll find out about the specifics of the lighting. The support here is great. I feel so much more confident in going into this wonderful hobby.

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Old 06-01-2003, 01:36 AM   #7
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My suggestion to learn about the different kinds of corals is to check the suggested reading list http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=17


And welcome to Aquarium Advice.
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Old 06-01-2003, 06:10 AM   #8
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Not saying that you wouldn't be better off with MH, but how long are the lights you have? Do they span the entire tank? If so, they are most likely VHO. 72" VHO tubes are 160 watts each. If you have 6 of them, that's 960 watts. Lots of light. There are lots of creatures you could keep under that kind of light. If the bulbs are VHO, what kind of ballasts are powering them? Are they blue and do they say "Icecap" on them? If so, you can run the bulbs for a year or a little longer between replacements. You'd need three MH fixtures for a 6' tank and you'd need to probably keep two of your actinic (blue) fluorescents if, in fact, they are VHO lights. If they aren't VHO, I wouldn't use them. The best info I could give you for now is to read, research, ask questions, and then do more of the same. Setting up a tank this size is not a cheap venture. If it's done right, you can get years of enjoyment out of it. If it's not set up right, it will be your worst nightmare. We'll be glad to help in any way we can.
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