Lighting Question

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Mar 23, 2005
I have a 120 gallon reef tank (60 inches long) with Current USA PowerCompacts (260 Watts). Works fine, but I'd like to augment the power compacts with VHO and try to get some more color from the coral. The problem is I don't have a canopy and it's seems like most of the VHO options are kits that install into a canopy. Does anyone out there have a suggestion for a fully assembled VHO (60 inches) that would be a good addition to what I already have, or an idea of how I can use a retrofit kit without a canopy?
hmmm...Can you ditch the Current and go with a complete VHO hood? If you can you will get better lighting and more of it out of the VHO. The lighting you have isn't really enough for several of the corals you have in your tank. Right now you are looking at about 2.1wpg, which is a bit low. For the Brain and the Torch a bit higher amount of light would help them out a lot! Also the ricorda, for the most part, is a higher light mushroom coral. I expect you have dark areas on the ends of your tank if you have the fixture centered over the tank.

If this were my tank I would look into upgrading to a complete VHO or T5 HO setup or possiblely going to MH combined with VHO....the unit you have makes it difficult to add to because of how they are made and the space they take up....

Even if you don't want to build a complete hood you could create something that could house the VHOs, though I think for what you are looking for T5s may work better!
Thanks for the reply. Yes, the corals could use some help, which is why I'm looking into a lighting upgrade. Everything is healthy - I just don't get the color I would like. As far as ditching the Current, I could, but of course cost is an issue. That's why I was hoping to augment it. Are the T-5's better than standard VHO's? I was looking at T-5's, but can't really find a unit 60 inches long, so I'm back to a kit that appears to need a canopy. I found this unit for VHO's:
but it still looks like it needs to be housed in something. From what I've read Hamilton is a good name. I'm going to get something, but really want some advice and help before I do anything - and this forum has always been a big help.
I dont have a canopy and use VHO lighting. All you need is endcaps on the ends and lay it on top of the tank. The braces will keep it from going in the tank as will the length of the bulbs on the end. I also have a metal reflective hood over the bulbs. If you do go that way then get the URI bulbs as they have a internal reflector also. BTW I thought a 120 gallon was 48 inches long. Could you check that for me? If you are interested I will take pics of mine. I`m moving this to General hardware and equipment discussion.
Yes - I'm sure of the length and size. 120 gallons. Dimensions are 18 X 24 X 60. I ordered the Current PC's myself two years ago - 60 inches. Thanks for the offer to take pics. Yes that would help a lot. Do you have a recommendation of VHO's or T-5's?
I personally like VHO`s. I love the color and how easy they are. Just change the bulbs by removing the endcaps. JMO
Thanks much for the site. They do have a bunch of stuff and actually have assembled T-5 units 60 inches long, so I will seriously consider using them. Sounds like you were happy with them and the quality of their product. I still don't have the money to go MH. Anyone think T-5's with my Current PC's would be a problem. Any advice on how many T-5 bulbs would be needed and what combo of bulbs would work best?
I have T5s on my 45 gallon setup... I like them. They penetrate deep (some would argue, deeper and over a wider range than MH) and they run cool. The T5 retros on that linked site are very nice, indicidual parabolic reflectors increase your light depth and penetration, and make them more efficient.

That unit seems a good all in one fixture (make sure you get the legs). A brand isn't listed that I see.

As for bulb combinations, I use alternating 03 actinic and 10,000k. I like the color it puts out.
Thanks to everyone for the replys.

Agnate, Thank you very much for directing me to the folks you bought your MH/VHO's from. I've scanned thru their products and they definitely have what I'm looking for (60 inch assembled T-5 unit). I've also called them a couple of times and they are very helpful. Turns out they are closing their e-Bay store and selling direct as a wholesale shop. They can still be reached via:

Have you received your MH's yet, and if so, how do you like them?

I have not ordered yet, but I think I'm getting close to getting 4 80 watt T-5's. This will be in addition to my PC's (dual daylites and Actinics for a total of 260 watts). Part of me wants to just get rid of the PC's and go with 8 80 watt T-5's. Does anyone see a significant advantage in this?
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