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Old 12-17-2008, 01:03 PM   #1
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What type of MH lights should I get

I am looking at upgrading my lights and would like the flexibility of using my new lights on a larger tank later on down the road.
I have been looking at retro fixtures but I do not know much about ballast. What brand name should I go with and what type should I get. Does it matter or not.
My existing tank is a 55 gal (48"x12"x21")and my next tank will be a 125 gal (48"x24"x24") so I am looking at dual 250W MH lights, I will build the canopy for both tanks if need be our should I just go with a prebuilt light like Current USA Outer Orbit or something similar?
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Old 12-17-2008, 03:13 PM   #2
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
I have been looking at retro fixtures but I do not know much about ballast. What brand name should I go with and what type should I get. Does it matter or not.
I would suggest electronic ballasts. There is very little difference in performance among MH electronic ballasts, so name brand doesn't make a whole lot of difference. What bulb you choose makes a huge difference tho. Some bulbs perform much better than others. (I'm assuming you are talking about single ended bulbs)
Quote:
My existing tank is a 55 gal (48"x12"x21")and my next tank will be a 125 gal (48"x24"x24") so I am looking at dual 250W MH lights
Actually, those are the dimensions for a 120. A 125g tank is 6' long.
250w MH's will work fine for a 120. If you get top of the line Lumenarc or LumenBright reflectors (aprox $100 each), you can easily get away with 175w MH bulbs and save some $ in electric use.
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Old 12-18-2008, 10:33 AM   #4
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Thank you ccCapt for the response. I was looking at this retro kit on ebay pfo metal halide dual 250w ballast bulbs reflector mh - eBay (item 300280933276 end time Dec-21-08 12:11:57 PST)

I just did not know much about pfo ballasts and since they do not come with bulbs, I could pickup whatever bulbs are best. Am I correct in my thinking or do the ballast need to be matched with the bulbs?
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Old 12-20-2008, 07:50 PM   #5
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The bulb wattage must match the ballast wattage other then that you can get any brand of bulb you want.

Since you are putting these over a 55g tank I would suggest keeping them at least 10" off the surface of the water and have a lot of air flow through your canopy. They will get very hot.

For what it's worth, I have 120g (48x24x24) and I have dual 175w MHs on my tank. I have SPS growing on the sandbed with no issues. Dual 250w is going to be a lot of light on your 55.
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Old 12-21-2008, 12:30 PM   #6
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Thanks Ziggy. There is not that much price difference between the hoods (SunPod w/175W & LED Moon lights) then if I buy a retro kit and build a hood. Plus it will probably look better than something I could make. Is there some other reason to build your own canopy and lights?

P.S. The cost difference would be $200 between the two and I did not include the price of materals for building the canopy.
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:18 PM   #7
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There are a few benefits of building your own canopy. If you do retro fit kits all the parts are replaceable. You can custom fit the location of the lights to your system. You can adjust the height of each bulb based your tanks needs. You can match the canopy to your stand for a nice clean look.

If you go with a fixture anything that has to be replaced or repaired must be one of their parts and sometimes repair/replacement is very difficult. I personally am not a fan of the fixtures for a reef tank. I like the flexibility of retro kits.
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