Originally Posted by ragunnaath
Pat, thank you for your suggestions!
I agree with you on the lighting requirement, I think the calculation works upto 6 x 80W T5. If I'm not wrong, my tank would require 450W of light @ 4.5W per gallon considering I would want to go for the corals that need high lighting.
I'll look into the option of DIY light canopy. I think its a good suggestion considering the benefits.
Watts/gallon is kind of an antiquated idea for how to light a reef. It is a good starting point, but you have to consider a lot of other things.
Lets use a 50 gallon tank as an example:
If you have a power compact fixture with 4 96w bulbs over it, you are looking at around 7.7 w/g. Compared to a quality 250w MH
fixture, you are looking at around 5.
I don't think anyone here would steer you onto that PC
fixture before the MH
. You have to take into effect their lighting intensity, and even though it may be less watts, it is more intense and has a higher PAR value. PAR gets tossed around in reef a lot, but it stands for Photosynthetically active radiation. It has been found to be the most accurate way to measure the amount of lighting used by corals and all types of photosynthetic plants/animals. Actually measuring PAR is difficult, there isn't really an economic meter for the individual, but some research around and you will be able to find others PAR values.
Sorry its early and I'm rambling.
I just finished my LED
light fixture last night as it were. Check my sig for details on the build, I custom made it. LEDs are awesome for smaller and shallower tanks, but once you get past a certain threshold, you are looking at huge amounts of money to be able to cover any given space. For the larger and deeper tanks, I still think MH
are the best.
My brother wrote up a big thing on lighting somewhere, I'll see if I can find it for you.