I stumbled upon this forum during my search for information. I've been in and out of the hobby for 20+ years but mostly dabbled with fish only and basic reef systems and have never had a tank larger than 40 gallons. I'm finally in a position in my life to fulfill my dream of having a larger custom built reef tank. I'm fairly up to date regarding filtration since I don't think that has changed considerably but there have been a LOT of changes it seems in the lighting department.
My tank dimensions are probably going to be 48 long x 30 wide x 24 deep (150 gallon)or possibly 48 x 24 x 24. I'm having a custom made stand and cannopy to match our current furniture. I'm interested in growing everything ranging from mushrooms, zoanthids, ricordea, SPS
Basically, I'm looking for a state of the art lighting system (within reason-I don't want to break the bank!) to cover a 48 x 30 tank surface area as well as good depth penetration that will support any reasonable livestock for a reef aquarium. There is a TON of info on the web that has become pretty mind boggling and confusing, particularly regarding LED
technology. My wife and I love the flourescent look of "actinic" lighting and it seems that LED
technology may be the most versatile way to really make the flourescent colors "pop" in the coral. Although I understand there may not really be a scientifically proven benefit, we'd also love to have the colors and lighting change during the day to somewhat mimic a tropical cycle.
I realize I am not being very specific with my questions but basically I want to get input on a few issues:
1) T5 vs MH
vs combo vs other for the purposes described above
2) Specific recommendations regarding what hardware/fixtures/timers to get the job done (manufacturers/model #'s/etc)
3) Best online resources to help with these questions and/or calculate more exactly what I may need
4) Any other considerations I am completely overlooking
Thanks much and I hope to be a contributing member of this forum as this journey proceeds!
P.S. Anyone able to recommend a good acrylic tank manufacturer for a 48 x 30 x24 tank with rounded corners? Thats another issue that has been difficult to resolve...