55 gal lighting dilemma

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Aquarium Advice Freak
May 10, 2005
New York
I read through the other threads and really need to be specific here.

I am starting this tank (55gal)and the cost is rising daily. I would like to go with the Orbit 48" fixture but just can not afford it now. Can I just use a 48" no flourescaent fixtur and switch the ballasts seperately? I would put 2 actinic bulbs on 1 ballast and 2 other bulbs(maybe 10000k ?) on the remaining ballast.

Do you think this will be enough lighting for now. I am planning on fish, lr, some inverts and maybe some low light corals at a later date.

I am really stuck on this opic and have no idea how to proceed.

why not start with a fowlr tank and just use the NO light till you get some cash to upgrade. Cutting corners only leads to more $$ in the long run.

I have a NO strip light on my fowlr I have 2 40 watt URI bulbs and my LR has great color and I have about 10 kenya tree corals in there and they ae doing great under the NO lighting. There is a shroon and green polyp also with them, the shroon opens large and the polyp is soso right now. Not sure what the long term effect on the shroon will be...
Have you checked EBay for retro fit kits, or just ballast and parts to complete the system? That's what I am doing. I just got 3x 175w Metal Halide ballast for around $40.00 a piece. Now I will get Mogul sockets and reflectors and I will have a nice set up for around $200.00. With a 55gal you should only need 2 MH ballast and maybe a 4ft VHO for atinics, and you could keep anything you want.It takes a little wiring and ingenuity, but with a forum like this you can get help.
Would 2 175w MH and 2 54w t5 Be good for a 55gal for pretty much everyting?

or replace t5's with VHO?

Or just go with all t5's? how long you run the lights for?

Im still confused on lights my self. I heard t5's under par meter are the best light for your buck.
Yes, I would think two MH at 175, and either VHO, PC, or T5 for atinics would be just about right for your 55gal. One MH bulb for every two feet of tank is about what you are after. Go with 10k-14k bulbs and use the fluorescence with 03 atinic bulb for the blue spectrum.
I have never used T5 lights. I am going with VHO, or PC with my 125gal and three 175w MH. 175w what is good for 18-20 inch of water. With consideration to where the things that will need more light are in the tank. I.E. on top of Live Sand and Live rock. So in a 18-20 inch tank if you put your corals that need more light up on your LR witch is already on top of LS you will end up with only about 12-15 inch of water the light will have to penetrate.
Out of T5 light tubes you get 54w, PC 36inch you get 96w, VHO 48inch you get 110w. Look at the cost of the bulbs and how often they will need to be changed. A standard 55gal is 48 inch long. One 220w VHO ballast will run two bulbs at 48 inch. :mrgreen:
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