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Old 03-21-2004, 12:14 PM   #1
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How much actinic? Help me decide on light upgrade.

My 125 FOWLR is about to go reef. First I'm upgrading my sump and skimmer then I need to upgrade my lighting. I'm looking at buying one of the following:

HAMILTON
6' DLX 3MH & 4-55W EURO COMPACT FL
6' deluxe hood with 3-250 watt 10k metal halide bulbs & 4-55 watt actinic PC Compact Fluorescent bulbs, 2 - 4" fans, two switches for the metal halides and one switch for the compact fluorescents. The PC's appear to be 24" and mounted end-to-end, alternating sides, front and back.

6' DLX 3MH & 2 PC COMPACT FL 2-96W
6' deluxe hood with 3-250 watt 10k metal halide bulbs & 2 - 96W actinic PC Compact Fluorescent bulbs. The PC's appear to be 36" and are mounted end-to-end.

6' PROTOSTAR 250 WATT 10,000K HQI & 4 PC COMPACT FL 4-96W

Aqualine Buschke
Aquaspacelight 3 - 250 watt HQI Metal Halide with 4 - 24 watt Osram true 03 actinic power compact.

I should know tomorrow afternoon how soon I'll be able to buy the new lights (possible sign-on bonus ).

I like to look of the Aquaspacelight but is has a total of only 96w actinic.

Pics of the tank are in my gallery.

TIA,
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Old 03-21-2004, 06:27 PM   #2
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Go for the metal halide with whatever actinic you choose OR 10000k metal halide with no actinic. Consider 400W MH instead of 250. More heat, more electricity($$), but you will be extremely successful growing corals - even SPS corals.
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Old 03-21-2004, 07:29 PM   #3
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All the lights I listed are 10k MH but with varying amounts of 03. Are you saying that with 10k MH actinics are not needed? That's the first I heard of that. Maybe with 20k, but surely not with 10k.?
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Old 03-21-2004, 07:55 PM   #4
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10000k is in the blue end of the spectrum. I know of several tanks using 10000K without actinic supplementation. Use them is you want to. They are handy for dawn and dusk so the fish aren't shocked by the sudden darkness. I would definitely use actinic with 6500K or 5500K MH. With 400W 10000K Mh you won't even see a diff with actinic on or off.

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Old 03-21-2004, 08:02 PM   #5
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Depends on the brand of 10K. Before burn in, I could have used my Ushio 10K without actinic, but after it was way too yellow for my taste. IMO, you could bump up to a 12 or 14K and run without actinics, but there are few that would be white enough for my taste. I'm currently running a CoralVue 12K with actinics and it is very blue, it's just about perfect with out the actinics, but noticibly less intense than the 10Ks.
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Old 03-21-2004, 08:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Before burn in, I could have used my Ushio 10K without actinic, but after it was way too yellow for my taste.
Exactly. The spectrum shift of the 10000K I've had is unacceptable. I have resigned myself to 6500K and actinics. The corals grow very fast and it is a natural looking white light.
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Old 03-21-2004, 08:42 PM   #7
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I said that this before that I believe lighting choices are more preference based than anything else. I run a 250w 20k MH with 2x55w PC 03's. I like a blue tank as you can tell. . My stuff seems to be growing fine with this setup.

Although, I will say that when I make my next MH purchase, I will be going to 10-12K MH bulbs. The color of my tank is a "tad" washed out with this much blue...
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Old 03-21-2004, 08:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
The spectrum shift of the 10000K I've had is unacceptable.
Which brand did you go with? I've had excellent experience with some 10Ks Hamiltons and ABs. I haven't used the CoralVue 10K enough to say how much a color shift it's gonna have, but it is actually 11K, per it's spectral analysis.
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Old 03-21-2004, 08:51 PM   #9
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So, for good/best results go with:
6' DLX 3MH 4 PC COMPACT FL 4-96W - PC (250W 6.5K, MH 250W Electronic Ballast, Super-brite Hammertone Reflector, Aluminum Canopy - L72" X W11.5" X H6.5", 2-IN-1 10K/03)

Mark, I understand that 400w would allow more variety with high light loving corals and clams. With a 6" - 8 " DSB the lights will be less than 24" from the sand bed. Wouldn't the increased light also mean that some less light loving varieties will not do as well?

Also, on the the Hamilton website they offer the 250W Electronic Ballast as an option but not a 400w ballast. Will this ballast also drive the 400w lamps?

Thanks for all the help. Kevin, I'm off the the light survey to check the different bulb comparisons. Lots to learn.
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Old 03-21-2004, 08:55 PM   #10
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i would go with three 400 watt MH with the 10K bulbs and just use like one or two 96 watt O3's for actinic. you could even use the ballast's from Lowes to power the pc's to save money. but this would definatly give you the dusk till dawn and the cool blue tone.
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