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Old 01-06-2005, 01:12 AM   #1
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New Tank - What Lighting

Read Below for the Design, Price, and Spec differences between the Hamilton and Coralife PC/MH Hoods

Ok all, first off I wanted to state that this a great place you all have created and I kill a lot of time here...

I have been reading here on and off for around a year and finally have found the time (new job - less hours) to dive in. Just never registered because I felt that I was not educated enough to give any educated advice - and as far as questions.... they have all been answered with the search button

I will be purchasing a Oceanic RR 75g 48x18x20? tank next week. I am not wanting to drop a full paycheck on lighting while not skimping either. I understand the differences between PC, VHO, and MH lighting but still unsure of what the norm power is for my tank size. I want to get something to where I will not have to upgrade in the future while being able to support almost anything (I know there are certain hards and clams and such that some consider tough to keep but people still keep them and have been healthy for extended periods in borderline lighting situations) But I still do not want to over do it with wasted money/lighting and unneeded elec bill

So, should I go with 2 or 4 bulb setup on the VHO with Blue and Actinic? What wattage bulbs? 2 MH's and what wattage bulbs? Or should I got with a mix including PC lighting? Should I get DIY kits to fit my canopy or is there a good cost effective out of the box setup that is reliable that one can point me to?

Thanks all!
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:09 AM   #2
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First off...WELCOME TO AA!!!
What people fail to factor in when setting up a tank is the cost of lighting. If you plan on a reef tank (which it sounds like you are) then lighting could very well be the most exspensive part of the start-up. That is why you only want to have to buy lighting once. If you want a lighting system that you can keep almost anything in, go with MH and PC combo. If you are handy, you can save $$$ by buying the parts and building your own light. Otherwise, there are several combo fixtures on the market. I would reccommend the Coralife 48" Aqualight Pro. Go to www.captivereefs.com and check them out. Darin is a sponsor and member of this forum and can be a great help to you. Good luck...Lando
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Old 01-06-2005, 02:34 PM   #3
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THe Hamilton 48" 2-250 MH hood with dual 96 watt PC actinics would work great. With your discount they are under $600. The aqualight pro is nice as well but a little more exspensive. PC'S are nice but hold you back from some of the more light demanding corals. Same goes for VHO.If you never want to have to upgrade go with MH from the start!
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Old 01-06-2005, 08:22 PM   #4
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Wow... thanks for the excellent advice guys. So, basically I should go with a combo of PC/MH versus VHO/MH? Also, it looks like Hamiltons are only in 3' and not 4'... don't I need the 4'? You also commented on the Coralife Pro being more expensive - what would the total price in comparison on both be shipped to 70774 zip code? Seems like it would only be like 50.00 or 75.00 difference... if Coralife is a better product and I'm already spending over 500 dollars - I'll probably just get the better of the two. Also, do timers come on either of these? It looks like I'll have to get the MH bulbs separately...
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Old 01-06-2005, 09:04 PM   #5
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Hamilton actually makes 2,3,4,5 and 6 foot hoods, i sent you a PM about them.

Coralife is not really better when compared dollar to dollar. The hamilton comes out to $1.18 per watt and the coralife is $1.27 per watt but also has built in moonlights. Also the hamilton has stronger fans than the coralife and higher wattage bulbs. Both are good but if you want the strongest light the Hamilton wins hands down.


No timers come with eother hood and all bulbs both PC and MH come with each hood.
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Old 01-06-2005, 09:30 PM   #6
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Darin offers great advice and knowlege, as he always does . I am not very familiar with the Hamilton product, but have seen them in action at the LFS and they look great. I believe they are pretty heavy and need to be hung from the ceiling (no mounting legs). The coralife comes with mounting legs so it can just sit on the top of your tank. That may make a difference in ease of instillation. Lando
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:57 PM   #7
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is that true about the Hamilton having to be hung from the ceiling? I was looking at purchasing this exact light but if that's the case, may have to rethink and go with the coralife.
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Old 01-07-2005, 01:57 AM   #8
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The hamiltons are made to sit right on the aquarium. They do have the option to be hung from the cieling but htere main design is to sit on the tank.
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Old 01-07-2005, 10:30 AM   #9
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Good info. Do they come with legs or brackets to elevate them up from the tank?
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Old 01-07-2005, 11:11 AM   #10
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No but you can I-hooks added to them for hanging. The dual 4" fans move a ton of air so they run cooler than most hoods.
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Old 01-07-2005, 07:44 PM   #11
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Thanks Captive... I will probably be ordering those in the next week or so I have to pick up my Oceanic at the LFS after it's drilled by them first. If I got the Hamilton - is there space where I can add the 3 Moon Lights similar to the Coralife? Do those kits sell on Ebay or do you sell them?
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Old 01-07-2005, 09:54 PM   #12
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You can find all my moonlights here. They mount anywhere near or on the tank.


http://www.captivereefs.com/captiver...sp?CatID=lt-ac
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Old 01-08-2005, 05:05 PM   #13
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Would you need a chiller with the 48' Hamilton on a 55 gallon? Would it help if I put another small fan underneath the fixture? It would be under a canopy with holes cut in the sides. Thanks, Wolf

BTW Captivereefs, thanks for helping me out with the lighting questions in December. I've decided to keep researching and reading before I decide what exactly to buy.
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Tank: 55 Gallon
The equipment: Coralife 4x65w (2x10k; 2xActinic), Emperor 400, 2 PH
The Fish: black maroon clown, neon goby, yellow watchman goby, 3 blue-green chromis, royal gramma, and a yellow clown goby.
The Coral: zoos, kenya trees, shrooms, leathers, hammer, and star polyps
The Inverts: LT anemone, pistol shrimp, urchins, etc.
The Janitors: nassarius snails, turbos, hermits, several brittle and serpent stars
The Rock: 68# of Keys-12# Base Rock; from LR.com
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Old 01-12-2005, 01:40 AM   #14
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Well - things have changed which it seems they always do in this hobby
First off - a few people on these forums gave the suggestion of going with MH (of course, I wont go any other way) and PC lighting for the fullest range of diversity on what I could keep while not going broke - suggesting the coralife kit that I was going to get from Darin (665.00 for 4')

NOW, I am not going to be going with a 4', 75g tank... I found a good deal on a 100g 5' instead. The LFS is telling me that VHO and MH are better together than PC and MH (they are always throwing people for a loop). I am also seeing that it looks like on captivereefs.com that HAMILTON is the only manaf that has 5' complete kits... I will be getting a custom canopy designed by a friend of the family - what should I do??? Listen to the obviously non-majority LFS?? Should I piece together my own MH/PC or MH/VHO kit and install the sockets and reflectors to that? Or, should I get an all-in-one and just set it on top/hang from the custom canopy that I will get? I am very handy when it comes to these things... just don't know what wattage on the DIY kits I need.

Do I get 2x175 or 250 10k on the mh's? Just basic 96w PC bulbs? Remember my tank will still be 18.5 deep... just an extra foot in length. When I peice together 2xballasts and bulbs for MH and another kit for VHO/PC - the DIY price is no cheaper. Am I doing this wrong? Hopefully Darin or someone else can point me in the right direction - or heck, directly to the kits that make it justifiable

Thanks once again!
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Old 01-12-2005, 11:15 AM   #15
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It is hard though to beat the Hamilton hood at $625 for 2 250 MH and 2-96 watt PC wit the cooling fans.


Sent you a more detailed PM.
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