I just recently purchased a home made (very well built) Plywood/Glass 180 Gallon Aquarium. It's dimension are roughly 6'x2'x2' and it is very basic on the outside (I will be touching it up to make it more asthetically pleasing)
It has no Hood as of right now, and has a 4 foot shoplight sitting above it, I want to improve this, and hopefully build something that will keep the freshwater setup going, but allow me to convert over to Marine with little extra spending sometime down the road.
Keeping this in mind, my Freshwater is going to have real plants, and my ideal Marine setup (in the future) is going to have Coral, so I am looking towards a Metal Halide Setup to facilitate freshwater plant growth and coral growth when I change over.
I am familiar with Metal Halide from my Horticulture experience, and so I know all about the wiring for a ballast and the heat these bulbs can throw.
I have some questions to get me started sourcing the parts, and costing out the project.
1 - I was advised for a full length reef (6') I would need a 250watt MH
lamp every 2 feet, or 3 Lamps total. Is this correct?
2 - If I decide to only have a main coral in the middle of the tank, and drop off to either end of the tank, then would 1 250watt in the middle and sumplimental Compact Fluros be ok on either end?
3 - What Kelvin Range should the MH
lamps be in? I read anything over 5,000K is ok, and I was able to find a 5,500K lamp, but 5,500 seems a little to close to the cut-off point, any thoughts?
4 - How high off the tank should the lamps be to avoid livestock or coral burn? assuming adequate ventilation.
5 - Should MH
setups be suplimented with Fluro of any kind, or if they are in the right Kelvin range, is MH
alone good enough?
6 - Is moonlight fluro a reqirement, or just for effect/viewing nocturnal activity?
Basically as I said, I want to build a hood/canopy that is going to work for the existing Freshwater setup, and that I can later use for marine without having to break the bank again to get the lighting needed, so I am trying to do this in one shot. Any advice, answers to the above, extra friendly info related to experience, or suggested reading would be greatly appreciated.