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Old 04-18-2005, 03:29 PM   #1
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Lighting Advice Needed (180 Gallon)

I just recently purchased a home made (very well built) Plywood/Glass 180 Gallon Aquarium. It's dimension are roughly 6'x2'x2' and it is very basic on the outside (I will be touching it up to make it more asthetically pleasing)

It has no Hood as of right now, and has a 4 foot shoplight sitting above it, I want to improve this, and hopefully build something that will keep the freshwater setup going, but allow me to convert over to Marine with little extra spending sometime down the road.

Keeping this in mind, my Freshwater is going to have real plants, and my ideal Marine setup (in the future) is going to have Coral, so I am looking towards a Metal Halide Setup to facilitate freshwater plant growth and coral growth when I change over.

I am familiar with Metal Halide from my Horticulture experience, and so I know all about the wiring for a ballast and the heat these bulbs can throw.

I have some questions to get me started sourcing the parts, and costing out the project.

1 - I was advised for a full length reef (6') I would need a 250watt MH lamp every 2 feet, or 3 Lamps total. Is this correct?

2 - If I decide to only have a main coral in the middle of the tank, and drop off to either end of the tank, then would 1 250watt in the middle and sumplimental Compact Fluros be ok on either end?

3 - What Kelvin Range should the MH lamps be in? I read anything over 5,000K is ok, and I was able to find a 5,500K lamp, but 5,500 seems a little to close to the cut-off point, any thoughts?

4 - How high off the tank should the lamps be to avoid livestock or coral burn? assuming adequate ventilation.

5 - Should MH setups be suplimented with Fluro of any kind, or if they are in the right Kelvin range, is MH alone good enough?

6 - Is moonlight fluro a reqirement, or just for effect/viewing nocturnal activity?

Basically as I said, I want to build a hood/canopy that is going to work for the existing Freshwater setup, and that I can later use for marine without having to break the bank again to get the lighting needed, so I am trying to do this in one shot. Any advice, answers to the above, extra friendly info related to experience, or suggested reading would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 04-18-2005, 03:37 PM   #2
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1/ yes 1 per 2 feet.
2/ your corals will grow wherever they want to but that setup would probably work for most beginner corals
3/ If you are going to go coral I would recommend not less than 10,000k bulbs
4/8inches minimum off the water with 12 being about max.
5/ If you go with 10,000k or 14,000k you will need extra lighting in the actinic blue family. If you go with 20,000k bulbs you will need nothing extra. If you go with one bulb instead of 2 or 3, you will need your ends to be both daylight and blue actinic.
6/moonlight is not required. It's nice but not required. You can diy with 470nm blue led bulbs and a power supply from radio shack. That's what we have.

If you look in my gallery you will see our diy setup for the mh and diy canopy.
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Good luck! Kat
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Old 04-18-2005, 03:54 PM   #3
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Thanks so much, you have given me a great start!
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