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Old 08-29-2011, 11:21 AM   #1
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Metal halides 101 Now what?

Ok, so I picked up a jbj viper 150w metal halide fixture for my 20g rimless last night.

I have to confess U am a total NOOB when it comes to hqi so bear with me as I ask some silly questions.

All I know is it has a 14000k bulb in it and the ballast is extremely heavy, wasn't expecting that! LOL

I have it hooked up now and to be honest I really don't see the blue in the light. The par38 bulbs I was using were alot more blue and alot brighter.

Is it natural for the MH not to look as bright? I moved my corals all to the bottom of the tank just in case, was this the right thing to do?

The fixture takes a double ended bulb so I have been pricing new ones, boy they arent cheap are they? lol

I was thinking a 20k as I really like a blue tank. BUT will a 20k encourage coral growth or is the par of the 20k not as good as say the 14000k?

I was thinking of buying one of the cheapo ebay 20'ks and seeing if the color is ok. I hear ushio is the top of the line but didn't wanna chance it for so much money.

What are the drawbacks to a cheapo hqi bulb? Do they not last as long? I'm fine with that if thats it. Or is the color spectrum so much different for a higher end bulb?

and what can I keep under this light? I wanted a clam and a mini maxi nem maybe at some point.

Any one who can shed some light so to speak on this lighting issue? lol

Thanks everyone for reading and if you have anything to add please don't hesitate!
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I have a mix of many different saltwater fish amongst my tanks, but I love my Tangs most of all.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:30 PM   #2
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Well I got alot of views on this thread but no answers. :-(

Bueller.....Bueller.....
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180g Reef - 60g Rimless Reef -90G FOWLR- 125g Malawi Cichlids- 40b REEF- 34g Fresh Planted-working on- 20L FOWLR- working on
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:42 PM   #3
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The only part I can really answer is IMO the par 38s are going to make everything appear much brighter
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
the ballast is extremely heavy
HQI ballasts are magnetic and do weigh a ton. Much heavier than electronic ballasts.
Quote:
Is it natural for the MH not to look as bright?
No, but it depends on the bulb.
Quote:
BUT will a 20k encourage coral growth or is the par of the 20k not as good as say the 14000k?
Typically the higher the K rating the lower the PAR, but on a 20g a quality 20k bulb, like a Radium, should be fine.
Quote:
I hear ushio is the top of the line but didn't wanna chance it for so much money.
What are the drawbacks to a cheapo hqi bulb?
With MH bulbs you pretty much get what you pay for. Cheap bulbs = low PAR, shift color spectrum fast and burn out fast.
Quote:
and what can I keep under this light?
Anything.....with a good bulb.

You can check out Sanjay's MH Lighting site. He gives PAR #'s and actual color temps of a bunch of bulbs.
Manhattan Reefs - Sanjay's Lighting Guide
Here's a few results.
(Bulb - PAR - Actual Color~except 20K bulbs couldn't be analyized because they are too blue for the equipment he used to measure the color)
Aquaconnect 14K - 37 - too blue to measure
Aqualine Buschke 10K - 50 - 10k
Coralvue 20K - 29 - too blue to measure
Giesemann 10K - 60 - 8.5K
Iwasaki 50K - 41 - too blue to measure
Radium 20K - 47 - too blue to measure
Ushio 10K - 59 - 6K
XM 10K - 61 - 8.3K
XM 15K - 25 - 13K
XM 20K - 23 - too blue to measure
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:38 PM   #5
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Wow, exactly what i was looking for! Thanks so much!

I'm thinking if I want to go MH for sure I will need a lower k, like 14000 and actinic supplements for the blue hue that i want.

Gonna go check out that link now!
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180g Reef - 60g Rimless Reef -90G FOWLR- 125g Malawi Cichlids- 40b REEF- 34g Fresh Planted-working on- 20L FOWLR- working on
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carey
Wow, exactly what i was looking for! Thanks so much!

I'm thinking if I want to go MH for sure I will need a lower k, like 14000 and actinic supplements for the blue hue that i want.

Gonna go check out that link now!
If you're used to fluorescent lighting, MH will look dimmer (at least to me). With fluorescent's you have a blanket of light over everything, and with MH you have the shimmer effect. The intensity of the MH obviously is still higher though. Reef lighting is very complex, it took me years of studying, researching and trial and error with different types of light just to get the basics. There is so much involved, reflectors, wattage, quality, water clarity, depth of tank, types, optics types of corals Kelvin and so on. Ultimately, I've decided my next purchase is going to be a high quality adjustable high power led setup, probably the Aquaillumination sol super blue unit. That way I can adjust the look, color, and intensity for my setup. I've learned to be a little cautious of any light advice, there are to many variables involved.

By the way, check out this cool video of the adjustability of the ai sol. I know it's off topic, but it's so cool.

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Old 08-31-2011, 02:42 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input. Yeah, I'm finding out leds arent at all easy and MH isnt either. lol

I woudl love the SOL's but they are out of my price range, by a lot I may add. lol
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carey
Thanks for the input. Yeah, I'm finding out leds arent at all easy and MH isnt either. lol

I woudl love the SOL's but they are out of my price range, by a lot I may add. lol
Out of my price range for a while too. Regarding MH, what worked for me in my 34g mixed sps, lps tank, was a 250 watt 10,000k bulb, supplemented by two t5's actinics looked good and performed good as well. For me and all my lights, 10,000k supplemented by some type of blues or purple always seems to work best for color and growth. Just my experience.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:15 PM   #9
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Thats what I;ve come to find out. I ordered the 20k bulb for the color but I'm afraid the par won't be there without supplemental lights.

I'm thinking of moving tanks around and that would give me a wall behind the rimless 20g that I'm discussing here, so I could mount them in some way. still working on the details....

I went with the 150mh as the water depth is only about 12", If it were any deeper I'd have gone with the 250w MH.
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180g Reef - 60g Rimless Reef -90G FOWLR- 125g Malawi Cichlids- 40b REEF- 34g Fresh Planted-working on- 20L FOWLR- working on
I have a mix of many different saltwater fish amongst my tanks, but I love my Tangs most of all.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carey
Thats what I;ve come to find out. I ordered the 20k bulb for the color but I'm afraid the par won't be there without supplemental lights.

I'm thinking of moving tanks around and that would give me a wall behind the rimless 20g that I'm discussing here, so I could mount them in some way. still working on the details....

I went with the 150mh as the water depth is only about 12", If it were any deeper I'd have gone with the 250w MH.
Yeah the 20k is amazing for color or deep tanks, but I've always struggled with acros with that temperature. Even 14k wasn't great either. I was really amazed with my old 6500k halide and even 6500k t5 ho's, but algae was always a fight, guess that's why zooxanthellae thrives under it as well. 12" is pretty shallow, keep us updated how it works and if heat is a battle. I'm a true believer in trying different / unorthodox methods, many times with reefs, everyone else is wrong. 20k could be perfect and probably will be just fine. I'm still dreaming of those sol's though.
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