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.