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Old 03-27-2012, 04:45 PM   #1
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Lighting questions for 150 gallon reef system

Hi all!

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, LPS, etc

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 LED 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...
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:06 PM   #2
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MH by far will be your most reliable for growth but comes with the problem of power consumption and heat and not nearly the "pop" in color
T5s will give you the widest spectrum for your buck and great colors but penetration won't be able to match MH or high end LEDs...also no shimmer effect
LEDs look fantastic! Almost no heat or power consumption and longer life but you won't get anywhere near the growth of the equivelant wattage MH...
There are quite a few brands that are realeasing a mixture of leds and MH which I think will be your best bet for coverage and penetration.

Edit* a good site for hardware is bulk reef supply which Carey holds group buys monthly now which will give you 10-15% off almost everything on the site
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:21 PM   #3
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Thanks much, I was thinking that a combination system would probably be the way to go so that is good to hear. Any recommendations on the brands you mentioned with MH/LED fixtures?
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:28 PM   #4
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I run T5s and only moonlights for LEDs so I wouldn't wanna steer you in any certain direction without personal experience with them since it is quite an investment so i think personally researching or waiting for another reefer to chime in on the different brands would be best.. and if you can't find one that you like they do offer led pendants that you can add to your current lighting to get a lil extra pop so you don't HAVE to get a combo fixture to get the best of both worlds just might take up more plugs
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:32 PM   #5
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I have a question, and I'm new to this. I'm setting a 220g reef and wonder if I need to buy the water or can I just use tape water?
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:34 PM   #6
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You can use tap water but it will lead to major algae issues just go to bulk reef supply and order a Ro/Di and never look back lol
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:41 PM   #7
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No thread hijacking! lol
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:42 PM   #8
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Ya he's got a point tan..if you have any questions then you need to open your own thread and people will be more then happy to answer them
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:44 PM   #9
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Sorry guys, I'm new to this site, and don't know how to work it yet my apology
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:47 PM   #10
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Welcome to AA tan and just browse the site get a feel for it and I can't stress enough..just because you have a community to ask questions doesn't mean you can't do your own research either...Google is an amazing thing
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