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Old 10-26-2008, 04:55 PM   #1
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Lighting for Shrooms/Zoanthids

Heyo.

I'm currently cycling a 10G nano tank and am quite aware that I am a long way from adding corals to my tank, no concerns there. ;p But I am looking to get my lighting set up.

I had originally not planned on corals, but after reading a good bit about mushrooms and zoanthids I have to say I am interested in these. I live in a high-heat area and my goal has always been to have an at least partially open topped tank. Currently I have a mesh screen to keep salt creep in and cat out. I'll also be running two Koralia Nanos for lots of water movement.

From my reading, mushrooms and (some) zoanthids require (or at least do reasonably well in) low lighting. I've been looking at the Coralife 20" 28 watt 50/50 unit and making a plexiglass and mesh cover. Will this provide enough light for these soft corals, or will I need to make the step up to the full Coralife Quad hood? I am not aiming to keep a lot of corals, though I know that if established these two species can multiply quickly.
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:08 PM   #2
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I would say that you could get away with the coralife set up. Personally, I am a fan of T5 over PC lighting but in a 10 gallon tank you don't have to worry too much about pushing light through a lot of water. My brother has also had a lot of success with the same light system on his 30 hex tank and he keeps mushrooms and other soft corals.
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:11 PM   #3
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For a very short time I had some shrooms and zoanthids in a 10 with a 24" 2x24 watt T5 strip. (Yes it's a little too long but worked fine, and I wanted the extra wattage). Unfortunately I didn't have the tank set up long enough to tell you how it worked (unforseen tank disaster that had nothing to do with the light). I do have a 26 watt PC light on the tank now as FW planted and it is not a lot of light by plant standards. Smaller tanks need more light per gallon than larger tanks.
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:39 PM   #4
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The shrooms will do just fine. The Zoas may not show their true colors and you may also see them stretching towards the light. It all depends on where you place them in the tank.
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:52 PM   #5
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I would shoot for moderate lighting for mushrooms and zoo`s. Low light they will not do that good in.
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:55 PM   #6
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Thank you very much.

with my aquascape I have some big rocks that sit about 3.5" beneath the top of the tank, was thinking of putting the zoanthids there, high up close to the light, and the mushrooms lower (also makes a nice separation for them). I'll keep reading more before I make a purchase.
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Old 10-26-2008, 07:47 PM   #7
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What is low light versus medium light though? That would be the real question to answer IMHO. As mentioned, the situation changes based upon location in the tank, usually the amount of water between the light source and the coral. Wattage is only a small part of the equation...we just use it because it is easier to understand without having a couple different college degrees.
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:49 PM   #8
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lol yeah I tried to find some more specific things and it was a bit pointless, so I decided the easiest thing would be to ask about a specific tank and a specific fixture. ;p
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:22 PM   #9
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IME, PC lighting is "ok" in a lot of situations...primarily when there isn't a whole lot of water to push light through. For example, my first SW tank (which I still have) is a 90 gallon bow front tank and my first lights were similar to the Coralife set up you are thinking about. It was good for a fish-only tank but the problem is there is about 30 inches of water on top of the substrate and getting any usable light down there for corals is tough, if not impossible, from a couple of bulbs. I couldn't afford MH at the time so I went with a HO T5 system and I've never looked back. So, this is one example as to why wattage shouldn't be the only thing we can look at. However, given the situation of a 10 gallon tank, unless it is some sort of oddball tall tube or something, PC light should be adequate for "low light" corals such as mushrooms and perhaps zoas.

Not that I would ever want to influence anyone but have you looked at Xenia yet? This is a pretty common 'first coral' for those who are interested in having coral sooner rather than later but cannot or do not want to invest heavily in lighting. In fact, I started with Xenia because it is not only a coral but adds movement (IMO, interest) to a tank, is probably one of the most hardy, and can be 'happy' under almost any light. Its also easy to find (usually) and grows fast so even small (i.e. cheap) 'stalks' or frags can turn into something much bigger in the matter of a couple months after it has adjusted to a new home. Again, just a suggestion.
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:43 PM   #10
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Hehe nope, not an oddball tank, right off the shelf 10g. =P

I've looked at Xenia, they really are beautiful. Problem is that most care sheets seem to suggest that it thrives in some tanks and fails in others, without an especially clear reason. It also seems to like mod to strong lighting, so I was looking toward some lower level corals. Looks like I'm going to go with the higher wattage, though. I may look into it further if I can find some decent ones at my LFS.
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