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Old 12-16-2006, 11:47 PM   #1
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Saltwater Lighting metal halide questions

Hello all, and thank you in advance to all who reply!

I'm a new a new user to this forum, and i've noticed quite a bit of useful information for a newbie like myself.

My situation.....

I plan on starting out a new SW 130g tank, but i'm hung up on the lighting. As an electrician i'm able to get ahold of regular "run of the mill" ballasts and metal halide lamps, there is no need for me to buy a lamp/ballast unit as I can wire the unit myself and build a fixture. I can pick up a 400w ballast for approx $70 cnd and a 400w bulb for $15 cnd

My question..... Will any old metal halide bulb work, or are some better than others? Will an ordanary MH bulb (250w or 400w) with a "K" rating between 10,000 - 20,000 harm aquatic life? Has this been done before or is there certain filters required for such bulbs?

Thank you for your time.

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Old 12-17-2006, 12:14 AM   #2
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Please do not cycle your tank with live animals.

Originally Posted by tvor
Will an ordanary MH bulb (250w or 400w) with a "K" rating between 10,000 - 20,000 harm aquatic life?
I'm not an electrician, but the "K" rating refers to the "color/spectrum" of light.....the higher rating the more blue (someone please correct me if I am wrong). Wattage is what it takes to power the specific bulbs. This might be better in the General Hardware section of this site. So I will move it for you.
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Old 12-18-2006, 01:51 AM   #3
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If you have the means to build your own fixture, I don't see a reason why you cannot. I assume you know about the UV shield that is required, and things like that. I'm just starting to break into MH lighting msyelf. If you can build and wire your own fixture with ballast, reflectors, and bulbs then that's great.

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Old 12-19-2006, 11:41 PM   #4
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Yes, you can use a run of the mill core and coil magnetic ballast on most MH bulbs. If you can get MH bulbs in the 10K to 20K for $15 cnd, let me know where so I can order a few. You can probably get a standard bulb, which is usually in the 4K range, really cheap, but for aquarium use you should use 10K or higher and those bulbs generally run $50 and up.
Just remember to match your wattage for both ballast and bulb. If you get a 400w ballast, you must use 400w bulbs. If that's a 6 foot tank, you should use 3 bulbs. You don't have to use 400w bulbs, 250w would be fine on a 6' tank. You only need to go with 400w if the tank is real deep (over 30").
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