Lighting needs

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Aquarium Advice Addict
Jun 14, 2003
Bristol, Pa
I will have either a 90 or a 110 high. Both will have a 48" width. What is the lighting suggestion for a FOWLR tank? It may eventually be turned into a reef, but not for a while.

For FOWLR couldnt you just have NO flourescants? I am setting mine up as FOWLR and I have a 36" coralife pc fixture. I think it would show the tank off better. After that I would think something like 2 400w MH lights would be good. Probably 10k bulbs and then VHO or PC actinics... Just from what ive read it sounds good. lol No experiance though...
I'm setting up a 90 gallon megaflow as a reef now and what I went with was the Aqualight Plus Deluxe Lunar from Coralife. This has 4 X 96 watt PC Bulbs ( 2 X 10,000K and 2 X 03 Actinics) and 3 blue lunar LED's. It hurt spending the money for it, over $500, but I figured it would be cheaper in the long run to spend the money up front. Would have liked to go metal halide, but the budget wouldn't handle it right now. I have a regular Aqualight 36" PC fixture on my 50 gallon ( 2 X 96 Watt) and have nothing but good stuff to say about it. The 50 was basically a FOWLR when I got the lighting, but have since added an anemone and some shrooms which are doing great. It does put out some heat, but has built in cooling fans that do seem to work well. Can't comment on the new light yet since the tanks not up and running, but I expect it to also do fine based on my experience with the smaller version. Coralife does make a 48" fixture that includes the Lunars and goes for right around $250 which should be adequate for a FOWLR. Will only get you around 2 to 3 watts/gallon in a 90 though and would have to be replaced if you go reef. I looked at that option myself.
Depth in this tank is the biggest issue. Getting useful light to penetrate all the way to the bottom of the tank will be your challenge. CF may be okay, depending on the type of corals you wish to keep and the placement of said corals. I would look at nothing less then 4x96watt CF. Doing a combo of MH and CF would be a bit better. It will give you the penetrating power needed to reach the bottom of the tank and allow you to keep a wider range of corals.
ok, so even if I never turn it into a reef, it would be more efficient for my just to get the 90 gallon with less depth?
I really like the larger footprint on the "breeder" type tanks. Seems like they have more flexibility with aquascaping, maintenance is easier with the shallower depth, and light penetrates better. My 50 breeder is much easier to work in compared to my old 55. I don't have much in the way of livestock that is light sensitive in the 50. Just a condy anemone and a few shrooms, but they are really thriving with my 2 X 96 CF lighting. I would expect the same to be true with my 90 gallon which is why I went with the 4 X 96 watt CF fixture. Gives me slightly more watts/gallon over what I have in the 50 gallon. Hopefully I'm guessing right. Will have the 90 up and running by the end of the week if I ever get off my lazy butt and do the plumbing on the sump hehe.
ok, so even if I never turn it into a reef, it would be more efficient for my just to get the 90 gallon with less depth?
When faced with the choice of getting a longer vs. taller aquarium, the longer is a better option for SW. They will give you more surface area for gas exchange (better O2 and more stable Ph) and they will provide more usable swimming space for most of your fish. Most fish prefer horizontal swimming space, not vertical. Shallower tanks are easier to light effectively as well, better for corals.
Welp, not too long after I asked that question, Daniel called me from the lfs, he had just ordered a predrilled 110 gallon. So, looks like we went with the taller one, lol.

Thanks all!
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