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Platinum 12-11-2003 04:30 AM

Lighting for 100 Gallon !!!URGENT!!!
I am going to setup my 100 gallon SW tank tomorrow and I had a quick question about lighting.

First I know you guys like to know what I have and what I plan to keep before you guys answer any lighting questions, so here goes.

100 gal glass tank with corner overflow, wet/dry filter with bio balls, skimmer, 300 watt heater, 2 power heads, 175 Lbs of LR and 2" sand bed.

Tank dimensions are 5 foot long, 18" deep(from front to back), and 2 feet deep(top to bottom).

As far as fish I want to keep clowns only. I want anemones and corals, but the "easy to keep" kind. I really like the bubble corals and the brain coral I am not sure if they are easy to keep though.

As of right now I have an empty canopy. I was thinking of going with VHO because it is very cheap. I found a retrofit kit that can support four 48" 110 watt bulbs for $165 (here is the link that would give 440 watts of light. Is that enough for what I described??? I know the 1,5 - 8 watts per gallon rules but I still want to make sure of it before I invest my $$$. The only thing I am concerned about at this point is the depth of my tank; at 2 feet deep I donít think the VHO 440 watt will be able to penetrate that deep. I could be wrong there fore I am asking. Also what 4 bulbs should I put in there? PLEASE BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE AS FAR AS WHAT TYPE OF LIGHTS!!!!! TIA, sorry for the long post

jackdp 12-11-2003 05:34 AM

IMO VHO won't cut it on a 2 foot deep tank. Ideally you would want to go with metal halides i think at least 250 watts or maybe even 400's. 3 or even 4 lamps to cover 5 feet long. With the VHO's you probably only get away with some soft corals placed high up in the tank or mushrooms...definitely not much in the way of hard corals or anemones. Remember, very cheap and reef tanks usually don't mix. :)

ohio reefer 12-11-2003 09:03 AM

I agree with jackdp, MH are the way to go. IMO i would start off with the expensive stuff that way you won't have to go back and buy more.

MH bulbs will cover 2 sq ft, so you can get away with three bulbs, as far a the wattage per depth is concerned 250 watts will be adequate. i would still use the VHO's as actinics to cover the blue spectrum. (depending on the bulbs you get, i bought 6500k, which is kinda white. and this will bring out the colors in coral and the fish)

that should set you for a great aquarium!



ohio reefer 12-11-2003 09:06 AM

also be careful of those bio-balls. they tend to produce and hold nitrates. the live rock, depending on how much you have, will do a great deal of the filtering.



loganj 12-11-2003 09:10 AM

I'd have to take a slightly different stance on that. If you're sure that softies and shrooms is all you want to keep, you'll be fine with a VHO system. I have a 180 set up with 4x160w VHO tubes on it and the soft corals are growing like weeds in there. One thing you might want to consider is using 5' bulbs instead of 4'. Three 5' bulbs will give you 420w...I'd go with 4 of them though. That would give you 560w. You won't be able to keep SPS or anemones with this setup IMO. What I see happening here though is you buying a VHO system and later deciding that you want to keep inverts that have high light requirements. Then you've spent all that money and have a lighting system that, at best, you can only use part of for actinic supplementation. If you can afford it, MH would probably be the way to go. You can DIY a lot of the MH setup and you don't have to use "aquarium ballasts". Biggen has considerable experience using the supply house ballasts and would help you with the setup I'm sure. Probably save you some $$ as well.
One other thing is that the price you quoted does not include the price of the bulbs...look to spend another $100 for 4 bulbs. I wouldn't even consider using anything other than URI bulbs and I'd use 2 white actinics and 2 actinic 03's in a 4 lamp system. In a 3 lamp system, I'd go with 2 whites and 1 actinic. FWIW, if I had the 180 to do over again, I'd have put a MH system on it.
EDIT: One other thing to note about VHO is that the bulbs require replacement more often than other types of lights. Icecap claims their ballast will keep the bulbs effective for up to a year, but I'm not sure the ARO ballasts will do that.

cj10488 12-11-2003 11:45 AM

IMO go with MH lights Here is a link to some that I have that would work.. If you ever plan on keeping Any Anemone as you stated (btw the ones you stated aren't anemones) you must have halides.. Here is a link Ebay Lights Get these along with some bulbs from one of our sponsors and maybe a VHO retro kit and you would be very happy and so would all your inhabitants.. Dont make the mistake of buying short in the beginning.. It will only just cost more in the end...


Platinum 12-11-2003 03:06 PM

Wow thanks for all the input guys, after I move my tank to my room today I will post pictures. Once again I love this website!!!!!

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