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Old 07-22-2011, 11:47 AM   #1
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Protein skimmer and light guidance

Hi everyone,

I just about have my tank ready for me to start adding water.

I am still in need of lighting and a protein skimmer.

I have a 125 gallon tank. Can anyone tell me what to look for? Of course I'm trying to stay cost effective.

I would like a protein skimmer that I can sit in my refugium and leave alone.

As far as lighting, I like the idea of LED lighting but not sure how economical that is right now.

And what does running lighting typically raise your electric bills by per month?

Thank you in advance!

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Old 07-22-2011, 08:52 PM   #2
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I told ya I'd find you some links for ya. These are just to get you started, beware the sticker shock on the lighting. LOL That will be your biggest expense in my opinion.

72" 12x39W Nova Extreme PRO T5HO 3x10k/3x460nm Actinics by Current USA*(1082) - AquaCave
AquaticLife T5 HO 6-Lamp Light Fixture w/ Lunar LEDs

If you went with 2 36" fixtures it might be a bit cheaper. There are also these for metal halides.

Oceanlight 72" Metal HalideFixture 3x250 HQI + 2x150HQI, by AquaMedic* - AquaCave


I dont have any cool links for led's but lets just say they are more than the above if you want quality and reputable

There is this option as well, but might limit some coral choices down the line
3Ft/4Bulbs fixture

As far as skimmers the following site has the footprint listed for all their models so you can be sure it will fit below.

Protein Skimmer, Protein Skimmers, Aquarium Marine Reef Foam Fractionators
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180g- Mostly BIG fish and some coral. ~80g Nuvo- My coral tank with "happy fish"~ 90g- FOWLR Not the not happy type of fish~ 125g- Freshwater Malawi Cichlids ~10g- Nuvo- The refugees from the Ich of '18
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:01 AM   #3
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I told ya I'd find you some links for ya. These are just to get you started, beware the sticker shock on the lighting. LOL That will be your biggest expense in my opinion.

72" 12x39W Nova Extreme PRO T5HO 3x10k/3x460nm Actinics by Current USA*(1082) - AquaCave
AquaticLife T5 HO 6-Lamp Light Fixture w/ Lunar LEDs

If you went with 2 36" fixtures it might be a bit cheaper. There are also these for metal halides.

Oceanlight 72" Metal HalideFixture 3x250 HQI + 2x150HQI, by AquaMedic* - AquaCave


I dont have any cool links for led's but lets just say they are more than the above if you want quality and reputable

There is this option as well, but might limit some coral choices down the line
3Ft/4Bulbs fixture

As far as skimmers the following site has the footprint listed for all their models so you can be sure it will fit below.

Protein Skimmer, Protein Skimmers, Aquarium Marine Reef Foam Fractionators
hey for this: 3Ft/4Bulbs fixture I found all kinds of comparative stuff on ebay.

What exactly should I look for in a light fixture? If I just got 2 of these, what are they missing that they will limit my coral choices? I don't think I'll be going all out with coral anyways, I just want some corals so this might be the way to go.

Any help?
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:30 AM   #4
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In a better fixture ie: more money you can get individual refloectors which dramatically increases the light received by the corals. Also, a four bulb fixture is fine for a 12 wide but we have 18" so you wouldnt get as much spread.
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:39 AM   #5
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go with a skimmer that is rated for 200g, like an octopus.As for lights you need to make your mind up on the corals front.If you want corals down the line then spend the money on the lights,I dont know where you are but have heard a lot of good things about craigs list.LED's are spot on,you will save an awful lot of money within 2 years.
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:38 PM   #6
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LED's are spot on,you will save an awful lot of money within 2 years.
the right LED fixtures are spot on, not just any LED fixtures. many of the fixtures out there that claim are good for reef tanks are NOT. Just do your research before purchasing, and i don't mean to follow the advice of a guy that bought his $150.00 LED fixture a couple weeks ago and swears it's the best.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:51 AM   #7
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Hey all,

I am researching lighting; What is the difference between T5, T8, etc?

Would a light like this one work?


http://www.amazon.com/Marineland-Capable-Lighting-System-36-48-Inch/dp/B00494JTFU/ref=sr_1_6?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1311775430&sr=1-6


I will want easier to maintain corals; so I'm guessing soft corals, So I don't care to have a $2000 light; just something that will penetrate my tank properly and work.

Any help please?
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:18 PM   #8
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I have done some research on that fixture mainly because that is what I was going to get. All in all it is an on one. You will only be able to keep low light corals. If I were you I would look at the nova extreme pro 6 bulb t5 fixture. It's alittle more expensive but you will be able to have almost any coral you want. If you do end up going with the led I would recommend getting some t5"s for extra light
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:27 PM   #9
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I have done some research on that fixture mainly because that is what I was going to get. All in all it is an on one. You will only be able to keep low light corals. If I were you I would look at the nova extreme pro 6 bulb t5 fixture. It's alittle more expensive but you will be able to have almost any coral you want. If you do end up going with the led I would recommend getting some t5"s for extra light
Hey Tom,

I am not opposed to getting some T-5 lighting, apparently I can get T-5's cheaper right? But what is the difference between T-5, T-8, etc???

I know I am WAY over complicating this, I know I want 2 32" fixtures due to the width of my tank (6 ft long tank but has a 1 ft or so strip of glass in the middle of the tank)

What I don't know is what is a proper light to get to penetrate deep enough; tank is about 3 feet tall if I remember.

I know with any hobby there is always the commodity; I play hockey, sky dive, scuba dive, and have been involved in several other hobbies and there's always thousands and thousands in expense but if you know what you're looking for you can save a ton of money.

I don't know what I'm looking for in lighting, so if you could tell in a cost effective way, which specs I should look for, how many bulb light I need, etc. I'll research and buy one next week.

Thank you very much for the help
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:40 PM   #10
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I like the Aqua C EV series protein skimmers. Not that I've used any others and can offer comparison, but I used the 180 model on my 155g and loved it. EV Series
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:56 PM   #11
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The difference between t5 and t8 is... T5 lights are smaller in diameter and use less power. Thus allowing for smaller fixtures with more bulbs. As far as lighting goes with a 3 feet deep tank you are going to see some strong lights to penetrate that far. personally I would skipp the t5 lighting and led lights and go with a metal halid lighting system if you are wanting to place corals at the bottom and have any other corals. as far as the specs on light. I would go with a combination on actinic lighting and some type of high k value lights such as 10000k or 14000k. Actinic lighting peaks in the blue spectrum allowing for it to penetrate deeper in the water. 5000-around 10000k peeks in the red spectrum. The higher the k the more blue the light looks. algae and photosynthesis do best under a 6500k light. But for a reef tank that lighting would grow corals fast but give them a ugly color. That is why reef keepers use 10000k to14000k lighting to bring out the color in corals. Any other questions you have?


For t5 lighting I would go with a 12 bulb fixture.
For metal halide I would go with 2 250watt bulbs supplemented with 2 t5 actinic lights.
Led lights I don't know to much on but I would suggest looking for one that has high watt led such as 3 watt led for the main lights.

The cheapest in the long run would be led lights but will take a few years to pay for it's self. Mh are prob your best bet at the moment.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:32 PM   #12
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Hi Tom,

Few questions here. . .

1) I scuba dive and diving is figured per atmosphere (every 33 feet) they say the color spectrum that you lose is Red Orange Yellow Ivory Violet; why is it you lose color at such shallow depth in a tank? Something to do with artificial light?

2) Metal Halides run hot don't they? Could save me the cost of heaters (I have 2 from my fresh water tank) but could also cause me to need to buy a chiller right?

3) If I stack live rock up a bit, I can put the corals as shallow as a foot or so can't I?

4) As far as LED's my LFS (Marine Warehouse) suggested http://www.amazon.com/Marineland-Capable-Lighting-System-36-48-Inch/dp/B00494JTFU/ref=sr_1_6?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1311775430&sr=1-6 which seem to be "reasonably" priced; I just don't know how well/reliable the are.

HELP!!!! haha Thank you
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:11 PM   #13
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As your first question... Yes that is correct. Artificial light is no where near as strong as the real thing. You will still need a heater with mh lighting. As far as a chiller. Eh prob not. If you get a good fixture with fans you will be ok. once again it is really up to you on what you want to spend on lighting. They all do the same thing... Just more expensive depending on witch one. For instance I have a 60gal tank that is 24" deep. I am using as nova extream 8bulb fixture with a ballast out so 6 bulbs. I have Lps and soft corals growing bottom to mid tank. If I were to use mh I would use 1 250 watt mh about 9in above the tank for same lighting.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:18 PM   #14
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As your first question... Yes that is correct. Artificial light is no where near as strong as the real thing. You will still need a heater with mh lighting. As far as a chiller. Eh prob not. If you get a good fixture with fans you will be ok. once again it is really up to you on what you want to spend on lighting. They all do the same thing... Just more expensive depending on witch one. For instance I have a 60gal tank that is 24" deep. I am using as nova extream 8bulb fixture with a ballast out so 6 bulbs. I have Lps and soft corals growing bottom to mid tank. If I were to use mh I would use 1 250 watt mh about 9in above the tank for same lighting.
Thank you for your replies Tom.

How do I know how deep a light will penetrate? That seems to be the deciding factor. I am scouring ebay now to see what the best light I can find is, and trying to figure out how deep the light will penetrat. If my tank is 3 ft deep, and I have rock built up so the corals will be 2ft or less, should help my options I would think.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:33 PM   #15
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Hey np. This might help. T5 lights are for tanks 24" deep and less. Mh lights are for tanks deeper then 24".
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:35 PM   #16
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Hey np. This might help. T5 lights are for tanks 24" deep and less. Mh lights are for tanks deeper then 24".

Thats GREAT info!!!! ty Why don't people just say that? LOL

I been looking the T5 route all along when I guess I should be looking at metal halide
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:16 PM   #17
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Do you guys think any of these would this work for me? My tank is 24" deep

72 " T5 HO Aquarium Light Hood 312 W Coral reef | eBay

2 of the following:
http://cgi.ebay.com/36-156W-AQUARIUM...item5ae1774e2d

http://cgi.ebay.com/60-inch-378-W-T5...item45fc0941d3

2 of the following:
http://cgi.ebay.com/36-Metal-Halide-...item45fb2e0299

And LED option?
http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-2011-REEF-Ed...item3a6832aa56

Lastly maybe 2 of these?
http://cgi.ebay.com/36-Metal-Halide-...item588da692ff



I don't know what corals I will have yet; Easier ones for sure; I'm just in preliminaries of research; I like bubbly ones. My corals will also most likely be no deeper than 18 to 20"

Any help here?
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:39 AM   #18
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Out of all of them I would go with 2 of these
http://cgi.ebay.com/36-Metal-Halide-...item588da692ff

Best bang for your buck. Don't get the other mh lighting fixture. They are junk.
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:55 AM   #19
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Out of all of them I would go with 2 of these
http://cgi.ebay.com/36-Metal-Halide-...item588da692ff

Best bang for your buck. Don't get the other mh lighting fixture. They are junk.
How do these differ from the plethora of other eBay metal halide fixtures? I'm really interested because I'm looking for a lighting fixture for my 36" tank.
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:22 AM   #20
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Ozorowsky, you in tampa?
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