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Old 02-23-2012, 03:04 PM   #1
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Lights for a 55 gallon reef

Here's the scenario:

I'm currently running 2 t8's over my 55 gallon reef and I know that its not enough light, but my current corals are actually doing fantastic. I plan on starting a DIY hood/canopy project soon and was going to be installing some t5's attached to the lid.

I was wondering what you guys recommend for the lights. I was thinking 4 bulbs (2 blue and 2 white) but I cant decide on 36" or 48". Been looking online for a while and i keep going around in circles. Also is it better to by a complete fixture or buy retro kits and attach them into the lid. Any and all help/comments would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 02-23-2012, 03:08 PM   #2
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If you have a standard 55g tank then I would go with the 48" ones. You can also use the 36" but then you would have to stagger them. Can you fit 6 bulbs in the canopy? That would be a really great upgrade, you could keep most anything you wanted and it would only cost a tad bit more.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:31 PM   #3
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If I do individual or paired lights then I could probably do 6. I would start out with 4 and then add 2 later. Are these the kits I should be looking to get:
Clear-for-Life Aquarium Light Kit

or do you recommend another route.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:34 PM   #4
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I would look more at something like these:

Sunlight Supply Easy Fit T5 Retro Kit - AquaCave.com

OR

Wave Point T5 Retro Kits - AquaCave.com
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:30 PM   #5
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Thanks Carey. I think that I like the Sunlight ones because they come in pairs so I can install them in pieces. My plan for the canopy is to only have 2/3's of the top open leaving a third in the down position with one set of the lights attached there so the tank will have light on it even during cleaning and other maintenance. Does this sound like a good plan?
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:36 PM   #6
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I would not use 3' lamps over a 4' tank. I would use at least four 4' lamps. What corals are you keeping now, and what do you intend to keep in the future?
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:48 PM   #7
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I love the 48" Current USA Nova Extreme Pro 6 54w bulb! fits right on my 55g
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:52 PM   #8
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Right now we have a frogspawn, a leather toadstool, and a green star polyp. We plan on adding some mushrooms, some LPS like brain, torch, and bubble, and maybe an acro
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:58 PM   #9
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If you are going to have SPS like acro, you'll prob need atleast a 6 bulb T5HO. I'm currently researching the same thing you are. I'm looking at 2 LED units for it rather than T5.
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:04 PM   #10
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I have most of those under the 6bulb T5HO
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:46 PM   #11
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My plan is to build the canopy next month and stick with the lights and coral that I currently have. Then in April I'll get 1 or 2 of the double bulb t5 setups. Then probably in May add the last one. I'm a high school teacher so it's hard to drop it all at once on my salary 😄
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:05 PM   #12
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I would keep what you have until you've saved up for quality lighting. If you say these corals you have are doing exceptionally well, I would wait.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:17 PM   #13
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Sorry Mr. X forgot to mention that... I'm not gonna add any new corals until I have the entire new light setup completed and installed.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:49 PM   #14
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I understand, but my point is, save up a few hundred and get the right lighting, instead of piecing together something that you aren't going to be happy with.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_X
I understand, but my point is, save up a few hundred and get the right lighting, instead of piecing together something that you aren't going to be happy with.
I would have to agree. Save it all up first. Then just get it all done at once. I opted for a fixture over a canopy mostly because I needed the air flow between my lights and tank seeming as I have a metal halide fixture. But I looked at piecing together all sorts of stuff because we aren't exactly rolling in it either but it was well worth the wait when I got that fixture on Tuesday.
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:07 PM   #16
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I'm using a 4 bulb t5 deep blue sloar extreme and have mushrooms zoas a Duncan and now a open brain trachyphilia and they are doing great so far. But was hoping it would be enough light. Seems like enough but this is my first go at salwater.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:39 PM   #17
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I don't view it as a problem if I'm slowly upgrading the system as I go since everything is stable and doing well right now.
Step 1: build canopy and continue using the 2 t8s
Step 2: buy a dual t5 attach it to the lid and add it to the tank. So 2 t8 and 2 t5
Step 3: buy another dual t5 attach it to the lid and replace one of the t8's. So 4 t5's and 1 t8.
Step 4: buy another dual t5 attach it and end with 6 t5's in the canopy

Am I seeing something wrong cause the way I'm looking at it that at every step I'm improving the lighting on the tank.
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Old 02-23-2012, 11:42 PM   #18
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You have a point if that's what will work best for you. But I think can be done cheaper if you purchase a 6 bulb t5 from the start...
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