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Old 04-25-2004, 07:09 PM   #1
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So very confused

Okay my tank is still pretty new and my fish are doing great. I'm trying to research on turning my tank into a reef tank some day and Ive been checking out the lighting and I have no idea where to start. Right now I just have a 29 gallon tank with the standard hood on top with a single flouresant bulb in it. Needless to say it just lights the tank nothing special. I want to get better lighting but I have no idea what I should get, how many watts I should have for a reef or how I would go about installing the lights. I imagine I will have to get a brand new hood or something along that line but I just don't know.

Please if you have info and suggestions don't hesitate. I can use all the help you can give on the subject.
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Old 04-25-2004, 07:42 PM   #2
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I have a 29 and I am having good results w/ a 2x24" 75 watt VHO retro-fit lighting system from hellolights.com. 1 actinic 1 10k aquasun. MH are always an option later this way, when you become more experienced.
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Old 04-25-2004, 08:30 PM   #3
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It depends on what you want to have in your tank. I'm using 4 x 65w PC and 2 x 40 w NF. I currently have corals and anemones, and they are doing great. However some corals require high amounts of light. If your considering clams you will definitely want lots of light. IMO you first need to decide what additions you wnat to make in your tank so you can plan you lights accordingly. HTH

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Old 04-25-2004, 10:57 PM   #4
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Research reef tanks and try to decide what you want to keep in the future. A MH fixture with some fluorescent actinics would let you keep almost all high light corals and inverts. Keep in mind that on a 29 gallon, MH lighting can cause heat issues if not properly ventilated and cooled. Enough intensity of PC or VHO lighting would let you keep a wide variety of corals including all but the most light demanding sps and clams. You can either go for broke right away or gradually upgrade. I started my 20 gallon with the standard 20 watt NO fixture, upgraded to 2x55 watt PC lighting and now have the 2x55 watt PC with a 175 watt MH.
As far as installing, you can buy manufactured fixtures in almost any configuration of MH, NO, VHO or PC lighting, just shop around the web. If you are handy or have a handy person to help out, you can make your own canopy, hood or pendant and install retrofit kits to save some money. Building your own can sometimes give you a little more flexibility and control over what's in the fixture and how it is controlled. HTH
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Old 04-26-2004, 09:20 AM   #5
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since my hood only has one bulb outlet what would I have to do with the new lights....I have looked and they don't look like they come with a hood. How would I insure that my fish wouldn't jump to their death..whats a good way to cover the tank, separate the light from open water and still get the most out of my lighting???
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Old 04-26-2004, 10:36 AM   #6
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one more question.....about the retrofit... are these made so you can put them into an existing hood? Do you just unscrew what you originally have and then screw these into it? Do the retrofit sound like a better deal or should I just go and buy a new hood.....all the choices ahhhhhhh!!!
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Old 04-26-2004, 11:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
since my hood only has one bulb outlet what would I have to do with the new lights
You would have to figure out if the retrofit kit you are looking at will fit into your existing hood. What lighting set up are you looking at? If it won't fit, you will either have to build a canopy or if not construction inclined, look for a pre made lighting canopy.
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How would I insure that my fish wouldn't jump to their death..whats a good way to cover the tank, separate the light from open water and still get the most out of my lighting???
Cover the tank with plastic eggcrate. Its a plastic grating that goes in ceiling fluorescent lights. You can get it at Lowes or Home Depot. Its easily cut and you can custom fit it for your tank and accessories.
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one more question.....about the retrofit... are these made so you can put them into an existing hood? Do you just unscrew what you originally have and then screw these into it? Do the retrofit sound like a better deal or should I just go and buy a new hood.....all the choices ahhhhhhh!!!
Again, that's really up to you to figure out. Some retro kits will go right into a standard NO hood, but often to get more intense lighting you will need more lamps than will fit. Coralife makes some decent premade PC canopies, take a look at their site.

http://www.esuweb.com/subcategory.as...&RelationID=13
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Old 04-26-2004, 11:21 AM   #8
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welcome to the lighting nightmare

As you've already found out, there's a lot of info and options out there. As others have suggested, the first thing you need to do is decide how far you're willing to go with the corals and other light needing life. Some corals don't require high lighting and so a simple VHO or PC retro fit would do fine. Some corals and clams require very high lighting and so you'll need to use MH and some PC or VHO actinic. but there's a big difference between the two especialy when it comes to price.

What most folks do, if they have the financial ability, is shoot for the high side. Go with MH and PC actinic if you can afford it, that way as you become more and more adicted to your reef, you won't be limited in what you can put in there because of your lighting 8)

or go with something you can upgrade. Start with a couple PC fixtures and if you decide you want more to it, you can add some MH (but you will likely need to devise some sort of DIY hood solution when upgrading this way.) [btw, this is what i'm doing. I currently have 4x65 watt PCs on my 55 gallong and will add some MH in the future]


JMO. Your first task is to decide how far you're willing to go
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Old 04-26-2004, 02:40 PM   #9
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Leahdanilalton, I'm so glad I'm not alone! I've been asking the same questions that you already posted! Thanks for beating me to the post!

.... now comes the fun part, choosing one! ACK!
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Old 04-26-2004, 03:01 PM   #10
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So how much lighting would one need for a 20 gal high, in order to support an anemone?
I checked out hellolights.com and they have some build it yourself retrofit kits that sound VERY promising. Just pick and choose what lights and the size of the hood. I do have a question though... Ballast vs. bulb? Ballast is the long bulb that doubles back on itself? and the bulb is just a modified standard lightbulb (going for shape- I know that they are WAY different). Is there a preference for one over the other? Way too many options!
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