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Old 01-18-2006, 03:02 PM   #1
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Overwhelmed by lighting choices

Geez, I'm looking for reef lighting for my new 100 gal. I'm just flat overwhelmed by the choices and price range out there. From what I've read here I need about 4 to 5 watts per gallon for reef and could get by with about half that for a FOWLR setup. Is my thinking correct here?

My main tank is 60" long and 18" wide. I'd need a 60" fixture (preferably duals) or two 30"s or some **** combination. I can't decide on what. Mounting is not an issue. They don't have to fit the tank exactly. I can suspend them from the ceiling or fabricate some type of stainless steel bracket. (Hey, I'm an engineer who works in a steel fabrication shop). The Orbit fixtures look very nice but pricey, I do like the way the legs stand them off from them tank.

Some manufacturers claim dramatic bulb longevity and lower overall ownership costs. Some of it sounds like marketing BS.

It looks like I could get by for about $250 or spend $1000 or more. Maybe I could go with a FOWLR and buy LR with the difference and then add additional reef lights in a year or so when the tank is stable. Could someone give me a baseline idea on how to light such a tank?

7 month old 100 gallon. Hopefully on my way to a great reef tank. A few small fish and a few small soft corals. T5 HO Lights and ro/di unit.
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Old 01-18-2006, 10:57 PM   #2
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Lighting can be complicated. The first thing to determine is just what type of corals/invets your would like to keep. Some require more intense light then others do. You can then build your lighting system around that. In general, CF or VHO lighting will do just fine for all soft corals and most LPS corals. If you wish to keep SPS corals, clams and anemones, you should consider MH lighting.

Some people are like slinkies...they serve no real purpose yet can still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs!:p
Have a great day! Brian
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Old 01-19-2006, 01:03 AM   #3
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EBay has good deals on metal halide Ballast. I just got three for around $40.00 a piece. Then you get bulbs, mogul sockets, and reflectors or make them. Wire them up to 120v and your ready for just about anything. In my opinion Metal Halide is the way to go. The bulbs last years, given you only run them 8-10 hrs a day. Something like PC or VHO you have to change bulbs like every 6-8 months.
If you do get MH Ballast, get the one without starter/igniter. Just core and coil.
It will come with a core ballast and capacitor. I think they are called probe start, not pulse start. these are the ones used in aquariums. The probe start bulbs have the starter/igniter in them. I guess you can get either kind and just not wire in the starter, I have been told. But best not to muck with that stuff to much. Also I would rcemend 14k bulbs then you would not have to use PC or VHO for Atinics. Hope this helps.
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light, lighting

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