what lighting to use for 50 gallon lighting

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Aquarium Advice Freak
Feb 7, 2005
New Orleans
My 50 gallon's dimensions are 30"Lx18.5"wx21"T. I currently have one power compact unit on it with 2 65w bulbs in it, 1 actinic and 1 10k. Due to the tank being 18.5" wide the lights are only on the back half of the tank. The front half is still lit, but I dont know if it has enough lights for coral.

With these current lights the tank has only 2.6 watts per gallon. I was thinking about building a canopy and taking these apart.

I would like to get a metal halide lamp but very $$$, same with VHO. Unless someone knows a good place to go.

If I was able to get a metal halide, would one bulb be enough since the tank is not very long. I would use one bulb with 2 65w actinic power compacts, 1 on either side. How many watt metal halide?? How many "k"?

........Back to reality:( what do you suggest for me?

I would go for halides, personally I use halides supplemented with PC.

Go to businesslights.com and find some cheap ballasts and wire them up yourself, you will save yourself quite a bit.

I think that one metal halide would be sufficent, the sides might be a little darker, if that is a problem you might want to move up to two metal halides. I did a MH retrofit for about 250 dollars, 2x 250 10k MH including the lamps.

But the darker sides isnt much of an issue with the PC supplementation.
You only need one mh per 2 feet of tank length so you should be great with one. You would want at least a 250w but maybe a 400 depending on what you want(corals). 250 would give you 5 wpg.
If I get metal halides, am I going to need to use a chiller then too?? If so, That is definitely not the way that I can afford to go. I wish though!!
I have two 250w mh plus two 40 watt no flourescent. I have a computer fan at each end of the tank to pull heat out of the canopy. Our water never gets over 78 unless the room temp gets over that. We have no chiller. If the back of the canopy is open and you have at least one fan pulling/pushing across the top of the water you shouldn't need a chiller.
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