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FAQs about Coral et al. Cnidarians System Lighting 4

Related Articles: Coral System Lighting, Light/Lighting For Marine Systems, Coral Feeding, LPS Corals, True or Stony Corals, Order Scleractinia, Propagation for Marine Aquarium Use,

Related FAQs: Coral Lighting 1, Coral Lighting 2, Coral Lighting 3, & FAQs on Coral Lighting: Science/Application, Designs/Fixtures, Lamps/Bulbs, Quality, Duration & Intensity, Night-Time, Troubleshooting/Fixing, Makes/Models/Manufacturers, & Lighting Marine Inverts 1, Lighting Marine Inverts 2, Lighting Marine Inverts 3, Lighting Marine Inverts 4, Lighting Marine Inverts 5, Lighting Marine Inverts 6, & LR Lighting, Fluorescent Light 1, Actinic Lighting, Compact Fluorescents, Metal Halide Lighting, Lighting Marine Invertebrates, Growing Reef Corals, Stony Coral Identification, Stony Coral Behavior,

All species, colonies have varying light needs, tolerances, capacities...

Small Marine Aquariums
Book 1: Invertebrates, Algae
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums
ook 2: Fishes
New Print and eBook on Amazon: by Robert (Bob) Fenner
Small Marine Aquariums Book 3: Systems
New Print and eBook on Amazon:
by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Halide continued; lighting for frags.... rdg.     2/22/16
Hey Bob,
I've had darkness the past two days. Prior to that it was 12 hrs t5 while halides are out.
All of the frags I have are less than two weeks in my tank (sps).
The tank they came from were led, high intensity and were growing.
How. many hours a day shall I run the halides?
400 watt, about 12 inches off water surface, 20 inch deep tank.
Thanks for your input all along
<Best to have you search, read through the WWM archives... too many factors to go back/forth re: Species; how light adapted, PAR/PUR measuring.... B>

Back in the game; lighting for a 75 reef       1/14/16
Hey Bob, we last spoke probably this time a year ago. Fiancé and I bought a house over the summer, needed the for the sharks, I mean attorneys, and had to sell my seahorses tank and fish only.
It's been 8 months, and I have been looking to get back with another tank, although on the cheaper side.
A friend of mine who I've helped with his tank over the years, nitrate issues, moving tank, changing rock out etc, has a 75 gallon tank at his office he no longer wants.
He wants to give it to me for free. He's awful with names, so he doesn't know what components it has or species it has other than "coral" and a purple tang.
I am assuming it has cheaper, off brand LEDs, which would be fine for low light stuff, but my goal is sps.
<I'd be checking (with a PAR, PUR meter).... am a cheapskate.... to see if the present LEDs would work>

I got a price on a t5/halide combo of 860 for 48 inch tank (yikes). So I found a local guy on Craigslist, who has a 48 inch Aquactinics , halide t5.
He wants 100 for it, not sure how old it is, but it works.
<Can only tell by.... testing>
Only issue I see is it has two halide bulbs, 400watts each, and it has two t5 bulbs. (Always thought you needed at least 4-6 t5 bulbs)
Is 400 overkill for a 75?
<IMO, yes; can be... will have to fight, adjust for heating>

I like the price, buy will it nuke the tank, and in your experience, how dangerous are halides in regards to fires etc?
<Can be trouble>
Thanks Bob, bob
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
re: Back in the game       1/14/16

Thanks Bob. Just to further clarify, if I can save 700 by going with this 400 watt halide, would the only concern be heat?
<Mmm; no; not the only concern. Actually overdriving photosynthesis is more important; secondarily keeping up w/ testing/monitoring alkaline reserve, Ca, Mg.... >

I ask because the tank will be going into a finished basement, with central air, and on the hottest day this summer in August, the basement hit a high of 67.
<Mmm duo... expensive to pay to heat the air then cool it. IF it were me, mine, and I HAD to have/run MHs, I'd go w/ 250 watters.... IF it were me/mine I'd check the current fixture for utility. IF you measure 100 or more PAR or PUR at the depth you intend for SPS, I would stay/try this>
I understand the 75 is not deep, buy could I compensate by hanging the light 15 inches off the surface, as opposed to 7-8 inches?
<Helpful to some degree/s>
This light is obviously used , and is coming off an sps 90 gallon tank, which is 4 inches taller than the 75.
And just to clarify, you mentioned, "can only tell by..testing". The light def works from a electrical, mechanical standpoint (the four bulbs and fans etc)
<I meant bio. function wise; but yes>
If its more than a heat issue using this light, I will ditch it and wait for a 250 watt
to come along used. What makes the decision even tougher is the guy with the light lives 3 miles from me!
Thanks again Bob
<Welcome. B>
re: Back in the game       1/14/16

Thanks for that, makes all the sense in the world now.
I could use it, and hang it high, but your wasting heat and power and now have to subtract it with air conditioning. Never mind not being able to utilize the potential of the 400 and the stupid high electric bill.
Thanks for the explanation. I had a feeling, just needed it driven home
<Cheers, B>

LED lighting       12/21/15
Hello WWM Crew,
Thanks for all the great reading so helpful. I have a question about lighting and would like your opinion, I’m not sure if my LFS is just trying to sell something 3 times the price. On a 72”tank 26”deep would 2x36” Current USA Orbit LED lighting with 144 led’s, 72 daylight and 72 actinic on each fixture total of 36 watts each, and 4x36” T5 HO 10,000K daylight be enough for various soft corals. My LFS said I would have to go up to the USA Orbit Dual Pro for corals. I value your expert opinion. Thanks is advance.
<Mmm; well.... depends (as usual...) on what you mean by "corals"; where they're placed, and what you want them to do mostly (there are a few other more minor considerations). Allow me to expand. There are some "low/er light intensity" stinging-celled groups; like Alcyoniids/soft corals, Pennatulaceans/sea pens.... and even amongst stony corals; typically the fleshier so-called large polyp corals are less light demanding (not all) than the small/er polyp species; notably the Pocilloporids, Poritids and Acroporids.... then again, not all of these share the same light-adaptability/use/tolerance.
Re the placement; of course one can "mount" their organisms "up higher" in the water column; adjust the PAR/PUR exposure therein.
And the note concerning "what you want"; refers to whether you'll be happy w/ a slower boat under wind power, or that you prefer the fast motor boat of high energy input; along w/ the necessities of current/circulation, alkaline earth and other nutrient application.
To sum up: You COULD get by easily with the first fixture here; and IF you wanted more color, growth (with the concurrent maintenance mentioned); you could use the second.
Understanzee? Bob Fenner>

LED light for FOWLR selection     12/12/14
Hi WWM Crew,
First let me say that I am so very grateful to all of you for this wonderful service you provide. The wealth of information in the FAQ’s is invaluable, and the timely and knowledgeable answers each time that I have asked a question has been greatly appreciated. Even though I have not had a tank set up for the last two years, I’ve still been regularly reading FAQ’s and learning more and more.
<Ahh; so gratifying to read, value your statements here>
I am in the planning stages of setting up my next tank, a 75 gallon (48” by 18” by 21”D) drilled tank (my first with a sump/refugium). I’m really excited about that part. The tank is going to be a FOWLR though I MAY eventually get a few soft corals. My question today is about lighting. I wanted to go with LED lighting for this tank primarily because I want to save money on electricity and bulb replacement. However, because the tank will be a FOWLR, I don’t need something fancy or really expensive. I have a friend who is in the setup/maintenance business who can get me a really good deal on a Current-USA Orbit Marine LED (the four foot long one). Here is the link to their website: http://current-usa.com/aquarium-led-lights/orbit-marine/
<Ah, yes. Know of these folks. Gave a talk at their facility in N. San Diego last year>
The question is would this light fixture allow me to have live rock with macroalgae and POSSIBLY a few soft corals in my size tank?
<Oh yes; it would. Do look about... ZooMed also has a worthy, inexpensive, simple four foot HO LED fixture worth comparing>
Thank you so much,
<Welcome and happy holidays. Bob Fenner>

Hi Bob,
I have been re-aquascaping my aquarium recently; I really wanted to create a cave so the contrast between light and dark looked really dramatic. It looks good and allows the corals on top to get the best possible light from the halides. I was wondering if there is any corals that would thrive in the relatively low light space in the cave at the bottom of the aquarium as I thought it would look good if I could get a certain coral established, any suggestions?
Deanna White

Hello Deanna! I do like your idea regarding contrast in aquarium areas'¦ I find that too consistent an illumination not only looks drab, providing an unnaturally bright landscape, but that this is hard on the life in the system; for the species that can choose to 'get out of the light'.
And you are right in identifying 'corals', the disparate groups of stinging-celled life (Cnidarians) casually labelled as such, as being more or less light intensity liking. A good clue as to 'who goes where' can be had by examining a photo or video of a natural reef. You'll see that the principal families of reef-building, aka hermatypic' corals are the stony (Scleractinian) families of SPS, the Acroporidae, Pocilloporidae and Poritidae'¦ with more fleshy hard corals found in deeper, and generally less well-circulated habitats below.
In practical terms, the groups of 'corals' called Polyps (Stoloniferans), Zoanthids (aka 'sea mats'), Mushrooms (Corallimorphs), and some of the soft corals particularly the Leathers (Alcyoniids), the Pulsing (Xeniids), and some of my favourite stony corals like the Plates (genus Fungia and Ctenactis, not Heliofungia) are good to great choices for lower spots and direct on-sand placement.
If you'll allow, I would like to make a few general comments re the mixing of the phylum Cnidaria (the stinging-celled animals) life in hobbyist systems. A hodge-podge approach to stocking is not to be undertaken'¦ with all this life having potent offences and defences to ward off its neighbours'¦ It is only advisable to thoroughly study the life habits of all potential purchases ahead of their acquisition. Indeed, to develop a stocking plan (ask your stockist for help here, and keep a good list of what you already have, would like to add), that incorporates putting in the more sensitive, less noxious and stinging life ahead of more aggressive species. Do try to procure captive produced stocks (these are much tougher and resilient), and small specimens, and allow these to grow up together.
Much, MUCH more could be stated re the above cautionary statements. I strongly advise that fellow hobbyists read books, magazines, attend hobby clubs and conferences'¦ generate a network of fellow aquarists for input in these matters.
Cheers, Bob Fenner

Hi there,
Please could you let me know if the following lighting is enough for my 4'x2'x2' reef tank: 8 x 39watt T-5 arcadia marine white 14,000'K tubes, as my corals do not seem to be thriving nor my purple coralline algae growing!
Thanks, kind Regards
Dave Buchanan.

Let's see if we can throw some light (I know, bad pun) on this issue. First off, know that I am a HUGE fan of advanced fluorescent lighting technology. T-5's and even newer lines generate a good amount of useful illumination, at reduced cost compared with older tech., and generate a pittance of waste heat. This being stated, MH and HQI lighting do still have their place, particularly for large, deeper systems with light-needing photosynthetic life.
So, the issues I have with your lighting? Well, the wattage consumed and the Kelvin rating PAR produced could support some species of 'Corals' (the quotes I place are for the discrepancy between what science and hobbyists consider such'¦ the former is much more limited'¦ just the Alcyonaceans and Scleractinians, i.e. soft and hard classes). With placing the higher light-intensity species higher up in the water column, on stacked rock, you could expand the selection of coral groups even more so'¦ But do note my statement in the first sentence of this paragraph'¦ 'could support''¦ That is, keep alive'¦ but not particularly thriving.
If you have not purchased the T-5 fluorescents, or don't mind trading them in, I encourage you to instead seek out metal halide or HQI fixturing here'¦ for the size, shape of your system, two 150 watt fixtures would be ideal'¦ Some might even encourage 250 watters'¦ The 'temperature' of the lamps I'd use would be a bit less 'cool' than the present proposed'¦ I would go with 10,000 K or even 6,700 K lamp; being more functional and better looking to me.
I do hope I am not confusing you Dave'¦ but the issue of the coralline non-growth is likely totally unrelated to your lighting here. Most cases of poor growth of encrusting Red algae are a matter of either a lack of alkaline earth content (check your Calcium and proportion of Magnesium here) or deficient alkalinity and pH (they need both), secondarily the presence of predators that scour them mostly during the night. Unfortunately you don't list what your other livestock consists of, but a good stockist will be able to ferret out if you have a coralline eater present.
The biomineral issue may also be playing a factor in your apparently non-thriving corals'¦ Do bring a list of what supplements you employ, what tests you have to your LFS for their review.
Sincerely, Bob Fenner

Lighting system for saltwater... Umm; reading      8/11/14
i have a 75 gal saltwater aquarium that has been setup and running with
clownfish, peppermint shrimp and some hermit crabs and of course live rock for 6 months now. i am wanting to start moving into keeping some coral but i have the standard lighting system that came with the tank. i am wondering
what kind of lighting system i will need in order to keep some lps and sps
corals. thanks for your help
<Heeeee! Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm

Scroll down... to lighting. Bob Fenner>

55 gal LED lighting        3/21/14
Hello guys, I just have a question regarding LED lighting for a 55 gal reef tank. My tank crashed a few years ago because my 4x 65w PC flour light failed and at the time I could not afford a replacement. Now I would like to get it started up again and trying to decide on a fixture. My budget options are either a 4x55w T5 fixture or I found a LED option on Build My LED which would only be around $75 more. They seem to have very good reviews and list that PAR around 12" deep runs around 140. I would like to try some LPS corals and possibly a E. quad anemone in the future. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
<Have you read James Gasta's articles, input on LEDs on WWM? Am shuttling this msg. over to him. BobF>
Re: 55 gal LED lighting    /James      3/21/14

One thing you should be aware of is that PAR value alone means nothing if the light being measured is not in a favorable spectrum that
corals/clams/anemones respond to which is commonly referred to as PUR (photosynthetic usable radiation). To properly tune a spectrum capable of providing the proper light spectrum for these type animals requires a spectrometer to aid in developing a spectrum. Can Build My LED provide you with a spectrograph of the light being emitted from their lights. Most photosynthetic animals do best with a spectrum between 390-550nm and 620-700. This range provides the light needed for good growth and color.
Please read here and related articles found in the header.
James (Salty Dog)

Interpreting PAR readings       2/19/14
Dear Crew,
Thanks so much for your diligence and expertise! All aquarists should be grateful for all you've done for the hobby!
Just a brief question today. I was able to borrow an Apogee PAR meter from a friend. What an awesome tool (not to mention pricey)! I was just curious as to your thoughts on my readings.
I have a 6 foot 155 gallon SPS dominated reef lit by 3 Kessil LED 350's (90 watts each) and 4 ATI 80w T-5's. Reading are in PPF units (μmol m-2 s-1) (hope that you know more about these units then me!). All readings are with LED's at maximum.
950: Surface of tank (1" below water level) directly under Kessils at full strength.
750: 5" below water line directly under a Kessil (a large Porites cylindrica resides here)
550: 5" below water line, 6" away from Kessil (a small tabling Acropora is here).
300: 5" below directly under T-5's. (Several Hammer corals are here.)
90-200: Bottom 3" of tank at various locations (various LPS here as well as a Bubble-tip Anemone).
 <About what I'd expect readings-wise here. Some SPS folks keep need/can use more, but most all Cnidarians hobbyists keep can get by to do well on about 100...>

All corals are surviving and many are growing. I was just curious if these reading seem to be too high or low. Not many hobbyists in my area are able to measure PAR so it makes it difficult to use these numbers in terms of drawing comparisons.
Wichita, KS
<There are some folks (Sanjay Joshi and Dana Riddle mostly in English writing) who have tried over the years to enlighten (I could've written thrown light on... groan) the public re lamps, fixtures, esp. reflectors and such readings as PAR, PUR at depth... Do realize that most all photosynthetic life has "adaptive capacity" and often "other sources of nutrition"... Oh, and that photo-duration and other factors such as water clarity do come into play, at times significantly... Bob Fenner>

coral fluorescence; lighting for a 120, 24" depth      4/26/13
I am getting ready to upgrade my lighting. I am going for a 1000 watt MH setup over my 2.5 gallon pico.
<Heeeeee! Liquid lava!>
I can't wait to see the growth I will get then! Seriously though I am considering either 250 watts or more likely 400 watts as I have a Sebae anemone
<Not in a few gallons>
which at the moment is bleached but has settled in and in the week I have had it I see a marked difference in its appearance and its food response. I also want a Crocea or Maxima clam or two at some point. Anyway the question I would like to ask is whether or not corals can be seen fluorescing at depths where the light is mostly blue?
<Oh yes; can be done>
 I am having a hard time deciding if I want bluer bulbs or if I want to stick with 10k's or even 6500k's.
<Some are useful for this... see WWM re "actinic/blue" light/s>
 I love the fluorescence but I also want as natural looking a tank as possible too.
<Mmm; well... a trade-off>
I may just supplement with actinics so I can view the fluorescence at night and in the morning like a sunrise effect.
<Oh! Possible>
Either way the upgrade is going to happen in a couple weeks. I have175's now and I know they are not going to work with the Sebae and Maximas and or Croceas. Thank you for all you put into this site. It has already taught me volumes.
<Be chatting, Bob Fenner>
coral fluorescence     4/26/13

I forgot to tell you the depth of my tank is 24" and it is a 120 gallon tank. I wanted to know if you think I should go with 250s or 400s with the animals I have and want to keep? Thank you as always.
<Three 250's is what I'd go with. Likely w/ some specialized fluorescents... Or do a bit of reading/searching re recent LED technology.
Am cc'ing our James Gasta here re his resp. Bob Fenner>
Coral Fluorescence 4/29/13

<<Hello James,
Bob has asked me to respond to your email.>>
I forgot to tell you the depth of my tank is 24" and it is a 120 gallon tank. I wanted to know if you think I should go with 250s or 400s with the animals I have and want to keep? Thank you as always.
<Three 250's is what I'd go with.
<<I agree with Bob, one lamp per 24" of length.>>
 Likely w/ some specialized fluorescents... Or do a bit of reading/searching re recent LED technology.
<<If it were me, I would seriously consider LED lighting over this tank. 
In the long run it is much less money.  With energy savings and no yearly lamp replacement costs, the savings will pay for the LEDs and they offer high PAR (depending on brand) and the proper spectrum that corals/anemones best respond to.  Another factor is low heat which requires no fans or chillers.
James (Salty Dog)>>

Stony corals... sys.     2/24/13
Hello Mr. Bob.
Took my time on WWM and found answers for stony corals , so I have to thank you for that and also for all the new things I have read. Found also some really useful info about fire worm!! Still need a way to kill it though.
Tried the trap thing but unsuccessfully. I hope that I will come up with something.
Right now I need your personal opinion on lighting as it concerns stony corals.
What do you prefer?? LED , T5 , T8 or MH ?? I am thinking of going from T8 to LED.
<If you can afford the initial cost/investment, LED... then in order (for shallow (24 inches or less water depth), T5, 8, then MH for function>
Also I read many FAQ's at WWM , 6500K is better for growth but coral lose color , 12000-14000K is a middle situation and 20000K is best for coloration. Do you support that??
<Not really; no. The 6,500K is best, most realistic... but "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"... is mostly subjective>
 And here are my thought and need once again your opinion. I am thinking of building a new tank only for stony corals (after what I have read about soft and hard corals in same tank :):):) ) and thought of the following about the lighting. Instead of 14000K permanently I thought of using 6500K for some time (let's say 2 weeks or month) and then use 20000K for the same time , so the corals can grow fast under 6500K for the specified time and then take their colors under 20000K for the same time. Do you believe that this can work??
 If yes how many days/weeks/months under 6500K and how many under 20000K do you suggest???
<Leave the 6500K on permanently>
 Or would be better to leave them under 14000K permanently and will have better results???
Now I am after iodine (that I know nothing about) and then let you know with my questions (if there are) !!
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Thank you once again for your precious time.
Best regards

Lighting Requirements and Coral Compatibility 10/7/12
Hello crew and whom ever responds to this email.
<Hello Ashley.>
I have a lighting question as I would like to start adding corals to my 75 gallon tank. I have approx. 100lbs of live rock and a 2in. sand bed.
Inhabitants are a 3" Blue Hippo Tang, 1 small blue/green Chromis, 1 Ocellaris Clown, a Bartlett's Anthias in a couple days, which will get quarantined before adding, and 3 gold and black Chromis a couple months down the road. I currently only have T5 lighting- 120V with one 10K daylight and one actinic. I would like to keep 4 Ricordea Mushrooms, 10 or so "regular" Mushrooms, 1 or 2 Zoanthids, 1 Sun Coral, 1 Green Birds Nest and 1 Pulsing Xenia. Later I would like to keep a Clam and Acans if possible.
<Your present lighting isn't going to support most clams and Acans. Should be fine for most softies though.>
All of this of course depends on compatibility and light requirements, which is my reason for writing :) I have found a MH light with (2) 150W HQI 15k bulbs (would probably change to 10k when time to replace) and 6 blue led's (6W total).
<If you go this route stick with the 15Ks.>
Is my T5 sufficient for any of these corals if placed near the top of my rocks?
<Mmm, they would have to be directly under the light, no angles and very close to the surface of the water.>
If not is this particular MH?
<That would be ideal depending on the length/width of your 75, you did not state this.>
Could I use both the T5 and MH together if necessary?
<Yep, but I do not believe this will be necessary and will just create more heat.>
Can all of these corals be kept together?
<I would use caution if you plan on any Zoanthids from the Genus Palythoa. They contain palytoxins which are very potent and can pose a health risk to other corals/inhabitants and also to yourself. Best to handle these types of corals with disposable examination gloves. Please read here re compatibility.
Thanks so much for your time and knowledge! Have a great weekend, Ashley
<You're welcome Ashley. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting Requirements and Coral Compatibility 10/8/12

James, thanks for your response!
<You're welcome Ashley.>
The tank is 48" long by 18" wide and 19" deep. I think I will go the route of the 300W MH for the long run if you think it is suitable for my tank size.
<Will be fine.>
 I am also going to add an AquaC Urchin protein skimmer w/ drain and MJ 1200 pump to run in my 10 gallon sump. Is this skimmer recommendable in your opinion?
<Is a very good skimmer for your tank.>
 Do I need to add carbon to my wet/dry sump once I add corals?
<A small amount is useful for removing waste a skimmer cannot remove.>
 I currently just have bioballs and filter media. The zoo I would like to get is Zoanthus sp. "Bam Bam Orange", so shouldn't be any issues there right?
<Bam Bam Orange is a tagged name and doesn't do me much good for identifying the species.  There are about 60 true species of Zoanthids but that can be debatable as some authors claim upwards of 300.>
I also forgot to mention green and yellow polyps, are they compatible the others?
<These will be fine but can spread rapidly and may require occasional pruning.>
 I also wanted to get a BTA for my Ocellaris, but I will try Frogspawn instead since an anemone shouldn't be added with corals. Lastly.... I know, I know, lots of questions... can I quarantine the new corals and my Bartlett's Anthias together in a 10gl QT? The corals for 2 weeks, and the Anthias for an additional 2 weeks?
<It isn't necessary to QT corals but a Coral dip is recommended to rid the coral of any unwanted pests that can cause harm to corals.  Sea Chem's Coral Dip is a good product to use.  Just follow directions on the container.>
Thanks so much for your input! You guys are a blessing ;)
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

New tank, 22" deep, PCs, stony corals      8/7/12
Dear WWM,
   I am setting up a new tank. 55 gal reef. I want to put two 65 watt power compacts over it, but this is not a lot of light. Would this be enough light for Euphyllia species placed high on the rock work?
<Mmm, yes>
 Is it enough for Brain, Disk, or Elegance placed in the sand bed?
<The Catalaphyllia, yes... not likely Fungiids, Faviids... this tank is 22" deep I take it... w/o a bunch of sand depth, too deep for these other families, this ltg>
The corals wont be added for at least 4 more weeks, so don't feel obligated to reply immediately.
<Do keep reading. B>

Lighting Failure... coral ltg.      8/5/12
    Sorry to keep bothering you, but there was a different problem I came upon. I had two 24 inch retro power compacts above my reef tank. This evening after some fragging when I attempted to put the lights back on half of one set didn't work. I have never felt comfortable with this kit, and originally purchased it because of the price. I unplugged it because I don't
want any sort of electrical problems to occur anywhere near the water. My tank has Duncan, Open Brain, Trumpet, Galaxea, Orange Sun, and Frogspawn corals in it. I am replacing the hazardous setup, but I am unsure about which options would be best. I don't plan to keep SPS, so I shouldn't need a Metal Halide. I really like some T-5 hoods, but I don't know if they would produce enough light. I was thinking about using a Coralife Hood with four power compacts for light.
<The PCs or T-5's would very likely be fine. Both produce enough photonic energy of useful wavelengths for a token depth of water, these species... there is photo-adaptation... perhaps a bit slower growth... but will work>
I guess the question is this: Would it be better to go with a T-5 6 fixture hood, the Coralife hood with four 10k lights, or
should I look at getting a 150 watt Metal Halide? I know the usual recommendation is to go with Metal Halide, but I don't want to make lava, or have to buy a chiller. If the Halide is the best option should it be hung above the tank or set up on brackets? Thanks for all your previous help too.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Lighting clarification, 220 reef    3/25/12
<Hello Jess>
My ballast for my MH suddenly started smoking...thankfully I was home!
<Yes, indeed.>
 Needless to say, it will need to be replaced. I have a 220 gal tank..36 in deep and currently have 2 96w VHO and 3 175watt MH in the canopy. The lights have sustained the 3 anemones, Zoanthids, leather coral, devils hand, Acropora (high up), brain coral, flower pot, and xenias, they haven't really grown a whole lot. I have only had them for 3 months or so though (not sure if I am expecting too much in terms of noticeable growth).
<Could be water chemistry, Kelvin temperature of lamps, poor PUR wavelength and intensity.>
 My question is, would it make a big difference to these corals if I kept the lighting at 3 175 watts, or should I upgrade to 3 250 watts.
<With a 36" deep tank the 175's are not enough for light loving corals/clams/anemones.  Do you think they would do a whole lot better or any marginal improvements? I have read all the links on your site but don't seem to find anything comparing the difference between the two...
<With all lamp parameters remaining equal, the difference is more intensity thereby providing higher PAR to the deeper area of the tank.  For your system, my choice would be 14K lamps which has more output in the PUR (photosynthetic useable radiation) wavelengths. Three 250 watt lamps is going to emit quite a bit of heat and may cause heat issues depending on your method of exhausting the hot air.  A chiller will likely be necessary or invest in a LED system.  For a tank your depth, I would suggest investing in LED pendant lighting which offers deep penetration depending on the lens used.  It will also save you quite a bit of money long term, both in energy consumption and lamp replacement.  One 100 watt LED pendant would cost around 3.00 per month to operate based on a daily 10 hour photoperiod.  Of course this will all depend on your energy provider's rate.  That figure was based on my provider's rate.>
Thank you
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting clarification 3/25/12

Hi James,
Thanks for the reply! I was considering the LED option but it is very confusing...I was interested in this set
http://www.marinedepot.com/Current_USA_TrueLumen_Pro_LED_Striplight_20_Inch_LED_Light_Fixtures-Current_USA-CU03000-FILTFILDTN-vi.html  but do not know how many strips to get and in what range. I thought about doing a few 48" strips (tank is 72 long and 36 wide) and doing a combination of the colors listed as options. What do you think?
<You never mentioned the application.  Obviously with three 175 watt halides I'm thinking yes.  If so, the above lights are of no use growing coral in a 36" deep tank.>
How many led's are needed?
 I am embarrassed to say that the lighting is really confusing for me.
<Tis for many, especially LED lighting.>
 I do want this to be a good upgrade from my metal halides (which are 14k by the way), and I want to be able to grow everything, but still not break the bank...(I know I am wishing for the impossible!)
<With your tank depth of 36 inches you would be looking at 2,000+ dollars for sure.  Let me know if you are still interested and I can elaborate further.>
If you wouldn't mind looking at the link I gave you and actually telling me what would work best for my tank I would be SO thankful!
<I did, and as above, not enough light for your deep tank.
Thanks so much, Jess
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting clarification/Now Lighting/Selection 3/25/12

Hi James..thanks for your input...
<You're welcome Jessica.>
$2000 for lighting!! Wowzer!!!
<Initially high but substantial savings long term.  Until LED pricing drops, most folks will light deep tanks with metal halide or HQI.>
Here are more options I have researched...please advise :)
Option 1 -
Buy three 250 watt electronic ballasts,
Right now I have the mogul base sockets with reflectors in my canopy, I am assuming I can use a 250watt mh in these since I was using a 175 watt earlier...
and buy 3 250 watt bulbs at 14,000k
Option 2
Purchase the Hamilton 14000 Reef Star Lighting System x 3 (250 watts each) 
which comes with the ballast and bulbs.
Does it look like this system can be mounted inside my canopy? I have a great oak canopy that hangs from the ceiling that I really love.
<These fixtures are meant to be hung above the tank, pendant style.  There is a glass cover on this system and is needed to filter out the UV produced by HQI lamps.  This would get much too hot in a canopy, the heat needs to be emitted from all sides of the fixture.  Option 1 is your best and most economical.>
Also, which brand bulb do you recommend for HQI and Mogul. I like the look of the 14,000 but I hear that some brands vary and I really don't want the yellowing that I have received before...
<Keep in mind that all metal halide lamps require 100 hours of operation  before color and light output stabilizes.  My choice would be three Lumatek 250W Dimmable Multi-Wattage Ballast Kits with XM 15K lamps.  My question to you is how high above the water are your present lamps?  You might be better to spend a few bucks more and get the above ballast in the 400 watt model.  It will drive 250 watt lamps but gives you the option to switch to 400 watt lamps if needed.  Marine Depot sells both models and I believe it's only around 25-30 bucks more for the 400 watt model.>
These options are more in my budget of under $1,000
What is the difference between mogul and hqi bulbs?
<How they install for one, HQIs are double ended, receive power at both ends while metal halide is screw in or mogul base.  Metal halide lamps are made from halide phosphors and HQI lamps are made from Hydrargyrum quartz iodide phosphors which are often called hy quartz iodide.>
Is there another option that would be better in the same price range?
<Not that I am aware of.>
I want to grow SPS/clams/Acropora/etc.
<My suggestion above should work well.  The Lumatek ballast will produce about 25% higher light output than a standard ballast.>
Thanks for taking the time to sort through my options....I do appreciate!
<You're welcome Jessica.  James (Salty Dog)>

Reef Lighting Opinion -- 12/05/11
Dear WWM,
<<Greetings Bryce>>
I see frequently that corals have 'low', 'moderate', or 'high' requirements.
<<I'll assume from the subject matter that you are referring to their 'lighting' requirements here>>
I have four 65 watt PC's over my 55 gallon aquarium; one actinic and three 10k. I think its 'low to moderate' but what would you consider it?
<<As a generalization, yes, I would agree with your assessment of your lighting. But many things can/do affect the efficacy of the lighting such as age of the lamps, Kelvin, presence/quality of reflectors, water clarity, bulb distance from the water's surface, etc.>>
Intended corals to be kept are Bubble, Frogspawn, Candy Cane, Trumpet, Open Brain (Trachyphyllia), maybe Hammer or Torch. Would this be enough with regular feedings?
<<For what you mention, yes, likely so'¦the regular feedings will help much>>
What would you recommend feeding, because I feed my current predatory invertebrates pieces of fish or Kent Zooplex? Is this inadequate?
<<Possibly not'¦but I like to offer a larger variety of small meaty foods. These can be prepared frozen fish foods like Mysis, Plankton, CYCLOP-EEZE, Nutramar Ova, even Daphnia and Blood worms'¦and/or your own concoction of chopped/minced items from the seafood section of your market>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Coral Lighting 10/20/11
Dear WWM,
<Hello William>
After doing some research on you terrific site, I have decided to leave the BTA's and such at the store and instead try mushroom coral. I have had a 55 gal. fish-only tank with: Two Damsels (Domino and Four Stripe), Live Rock(15 pounds), Turbo Snails, and a Pencil Urchin. I found that I need a stronger light and ordered two of these: http://www.petmeister.com/item2131.htm. I want to be able to keep Lobe Brain, and Bubble Coral some day and was wondering if these are strong enough.
<Should be fine for both, but you may have to place the Lobophyllia a little higher.>
In general most Coral would be housed within eighteen inches of the surface. I also was curious as to if it were possible to buy better lights and use the same fixture when replacing?
<Not knowing the lamp brand I couldn't comment. Your best bet would be to replace one of the blue lamps with a 12K lamp which would give you more useable light.>
Water Quality is: Ammonia-0,
Nitrite-0, Nitrate-5-20 ppm, pH-8.2, Alk.-390, I have added a second filter and there are no 'dead' spots in the aquarium. I intend to get a Powerhead soon. I also wanted to know if these will get to big for the system.
<If you're referring to the corals, no.>
I also searched the site and found I need to supplement the diet of the coral and was curious if they would benefit from strictly metal ions or protein as well.
<With regular water changes any metal ions required would be present.
These corals produce much of the food they need and an occasional feeding of a nutritious coral food is beneficial.>
Also, is the system currently over stocked or would addition of two Fire Gobies be okay?
<No Fire Gobies with those two monsters you have now, but yes, you could add a couple more smaller fish.
If it were me, the damsels would be going. As they grow they will become more aggressive than they already are.>
I have found on the web site it should still be okay but I would rather not have a major catastrophe and therefore wanted a second opinion. I am also slightly confused on the calculation of P.A.R. <PAR> as I could not find the page on the site though I know it is there somewhere.
<PAR is not a calculation but a measurement of photosynthetically active radiation.
Best to read here and related articles/FAQs found in the header.
Thank you for all the help thus far.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting/Reef Lighting 10/19/11
<Hello Rob>
I have a question concerning lighting in my marine aquarium. I have a
55 gal. with about 2-2 ½� sand bed and about 50 # of live rock. I am running a protein skimmer, Canister Filter, and an over the back filter for PhosZorb Cartridges. My hood has 2-65watt 10K Daylight PC bulbs and 2-40watt 420nm actinic bulbs along with two LED moon glow fixtures inside the hood. The hood also has a reflector mounted in the top of the hood. The moon glows are on a moon phase controller. I have 2 Perc. Clowns and two yellow tail damsels. I also have an assortment of snails, hermits, Brittle star, emerald crabs (3), cleaner shrimp, and basically a cleaner crew. I am new to the saltwater hobby but so far loving it! I also have a colony of green star polyp on one of the live rocks and a bubble tip anemone. My question is can I get some coral to work with my current lighting? I would like to get some Zoos, as well as some Ricordea, and maybe even some hammer or frogspawn type LPS. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.
Your lighting would be borderline at best for Euphyllia corals. A four to six lamp T5 HO fixture would work well for these corals in your 55. Zoas and Ricordea should fare well with your lighting but caution needs to be taken with the presence of the BTA in the system. It may move stinging corals along the way. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting/Reef Lighting 10/19/11

Thanks James,
<You're welcome.>
The BTA has only moved one time in the past month,(due to the fact that the cleaner shrimp was trying to "clean/steal" the food out of his mouth.
<More likely looking for better lighting/flow.>
But I will monitor it closely. Do you think in lieu of the new lighting would it help to have three daytime bulbs @ 65 watt or maybe I could step up to 96 watt bulbs?
<Would definitely help, you do not need that much actinic.>
Do the Blue actinic do anything for me? I am not trying to short change anything but being new I have to add to my system slowly of course due to funds available.
<Depends what the nanometer range of the actinic is. The Zooxanthellae found inside many sensitive and deeper water corals require more of the blue spike in the range of 400-450nm.
The 460-485nm wavelength has some benefit for most of the corals we keep in our systems. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting/Reef Lighting 10/19/11

The green star polyp seems to really come alive under the actinic when I just have it on for a few hours before and after my daytime bulbs.
<Okay. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting/Reef Lighting 10/19/11 - 10/20/11

I believe it is 470nm.
<That's fine.>
I guess I could just remove one of the PC actinic bulbs and replace it with the 10k daylight? That way I can get more beneficial light.
<I'd rather see you go with a 12K and replace the others with 12Ks when it's time to change lamps.>
Also a question, I have three Emerald Crabs in the tank as well. I have read on several of your faq's that they can eat Coralline Algae. Is this true and if so should I be getting rid of these three crabs that I thought were very neat to have. I just thought they would eat waste and left over food from the tank.
<The Emerald Crabs are respected for their scavenging ability, and like most crabs, opportunistic feeders. They will feed on uneaten meaty foods and many types of nuisance algae including Bubble algae.
They may eat Coralline algae as a last resort due to starvation but it would definitely not be their favorite item on the menu.>
Thanks again for your prompt answers.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting/Reef Lighting 10/19/11 - 10/20/11

Do they make a 12k bulb for PC?
<No, my error, I had T5 on my mind.>
Thanks for the info on the Emerald Crabs. I think I will just keep them and enjoy them. Going to a 96 watt bulb instead of 65 watt doesn't really make a difference does it? They both are still 10k.
<Makes a big difference in lumens/intensity. You are aware that you will need a ballast capable of driving 96 watt lamps. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting/Reef Lighting 10/19/11 - 10/20/11

I am now thanks!
<You're welcome.>
I will have to see if the set up I have can handle that. Probably not.
<I'm quite sure it will not.>
I will probably for now stick with my PC and go for some of the corals that are going to do ok in that amount of light, like the Zoas and Ricordea. I have time to enjoy it and add as we go. One more question do the Star Polyps I have in the tank now need a supplemental feeding?
<The dissolved organics in your system is all that's necessary along with proper lighting. This information is easily found by searching "Star Polyp Feeding" on our site.>
I have noticed that in the month they have been in the tank they are filling out quite nicely and I have cut a piece and started another colony in another area. I have not added anything to the system to this point. Thanks again for you<r> time.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Help on MH/Reef Lighting 9/21/11
Dear Crew,
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I must say again what a wealth of great information you have, thank you!
<You're welcome.>
Ok, now that I got that out, onto the topic at hand ^_^ . I have been reading through the FAQs on lighting, but I was hoping to get some confirmation if I am on track with my lighting or if you might have some suggestions on which way to go. I am planning on swapping out my two 4x 39w T5 fixtures over my 125g tank for 2x 250w MH. I don't have a lot in there right now save some mini carpet anemones and mushroom corals (a lot less now that I fragged off about 40), but I really want to start keeping more SPS,
so I ended up getting a used 2x 250w ballast with sockets for $100 from my LFS. The reason I went with the 2x250 w was simply because the tank has a center brace, instead of 2 braces on either end like I have seen some 125g tanks have. If my tank had the 2 braces, I would have went with 3x 175w, but I thought in this case having the 3 bulbs, one would be mostly blocked by the brace, thus negating much of the benefit of having the bulb there, as well as having the possibility of damaging, or warping the center brace,
which I would like to steer clear of.
I am planning on keeping the less light demanding mushrooms off to either side of the halides, and center tank, as the brace would be shielding most of the light from over head, and the sides should have less intense light, as halides are said to cover a 2'x2' area. As far as reflectors are concerned, what should I be looking at? I don't want to toast anything, but I also don't want any of the SPS I decide to keep to starve. I have access to be able to make my own parabolics, but I was thinking of getting some Reef Optix 2, as they are fairly reasonable, since I don't need sockets.
<The Reef Optix are decent reflectors.>
Perhaps I might get better reflectors down the road as money warrants, but I don't know if they would really be needed if I kept everything towards the top of the tank anyway (due to the LR formation in the tank).
<Although metal halides do produce a lot of light, there will be much light lost without the use of a reflector. You have to realize the halide lamps emit light 360 degrees.>
Actinic supplementation isn't really an option right now, so I was looking at getting a higher Kelvin bulb. Right now it seems that the 20000k bulbs are a good option, though I was thinking about possibly getting 14000k bulbs, though I can't really decide.
<The 14Ks would be a much better choice, more useful photosynthetic radiation (PUR)>
Any suggestions here? Over all, I would like to make this the last light upgrade I do for the tank, so if it sounds ok, or needs some tweaking, please let me know.
<You did not mention the length, width, and height of this system as well as how far the lamps will be from the water's surface. Would have helped me with my response.>
Thanks Crew!!!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Metal Halide Help/Reef Lighting 9/21/11

Dear Crew,
<Justin, before I get started, please reply to the original thread. It helps to know what went on and, when mail comes in, it all goes to an inbox which is sorted out by crew members.
No one would have a clue as to which crew member responded to this query.>
I do apologize on not giving all the LxWxH and distance from water surface. The tank is a 72"x18"x22". I have a 6" sand bed so, from the top of the water surface to the sand bed it is pretty close to 16".
I was planning on keeping the lights somewhere between 8"-10" off the surface of the water to allow ample room for my fans to push some air across the surface of the water to help reduce some of the heat.
<Will help and you should have pretty good light coverage at that height as well.>
As far as the comment"<Although metal halides do produce a lot of light, there will be much light lost without the use of a reflector. You have to realize the halide lamps emit light 360 degrees.>, I was planning on using a reflector off the get-go.
<Mmm, thought you made a statement as to doing away with a reflector for fear of scorching corals.>
I was wondering if the Reef Optix 2 will serve my purposes, as spending $140-$150
per reflector on Lumenarc/Lumen Max isn't an option right at this time.
<As I mentioned in the previous email, the Reef Optix is a decent reflector.>
At most the SPS will be 6"-8" under the surface of the water, so I am not really sure if I need to spend all that extra money on the reflectors, with the corals sitting in such close proximity to the lights.
<Is not that close considering the height of your lights.>
I am thinking of getting some Montipora, Pocillopora, or Porites (though proper husbandry
will see what I end up with). I am not sure on the Acropora, as the ones available at my LFS always seems to be the green variety, and I am looking for a little more color variation. My wife loves maxima clams, but I am not
sure if the lights will be intense enough on the sand bed.
<Should be fine with your tank depth, and you may have to experiment with the lighting height.>
I Hope that helps a little more.
<Yes, it did.>
Thanks again!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Marine Set-Up 4/12/11
<Hello Ryan>
My name is Ryan and I am trying to put a saltwater aquarium together.
So far all I have is the tank...a 55 gallon that's rectangular, four feet long and 20" deep. I have been doing a lot of research over the past few months but it obviously hasn't been enough! Your sight has been most
<We feel the same in that regard.>
I am looking into some coral that need high intensity lighting. Seeing that my tank isn't very deep, couldn't I get by with using fluorescent tubes instead of metal halide lamps? These MH lighting systems are very expensive! Whether I can or not, what do you suggest? Id prefer the cheapest way possible that is still successful.
<T5 HO lighting is frequently used for shallow coral systems but they really aren't that much cheaper, if any, providing you have a custom wood hood that will allow a DIY job using separate components.
May want to read here and related articles found in the headers before taking the plunge.
Thank you.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Another LED ??/Reef Lighting 3/22/2011
Hello to all at WWM,
<Hello Crazy>
I have a Reef aquarium with a lot of SPS . The tank size is 5' long x 20" x 20" I run 8 t5's HO over It, For <four> 5' and For <four> 4' all ATI's . I do get a lot of growth out of them. But my power bill is still too high. So now I'm going with LED's.
<Mmm, theT5s are rather energy efficient but not nearly as good as LEDs in that department.>
The only thing is the whole watt's. Some you talk to say that one watt of led's are more powerful then one watt of t5's or M/H is this true?
<There is more to it than that. The brand of LEDs used, reflectors, etc. will all play a part in quality LED lighting.>
The LED I went with is a fixture it will have a 2 =blue to 1=white ratio 120w and the blue is a 420 to 480. I will have 3 of these over my Reef Aquarium. The place I spoke with says that I'm crazy to put that much over my tank and that two would be just fine even running SPS coral. These are a 1 watt LED that put out as much as a 3 watt LED. Now I not talking with a store I was on the line with the place that test and makes the LED's.
<Cree perhaps?>
The worry I had with just going with two is because of my tank being 5 foot long.
<I'm not aware of any LED fixtures that are capable of covering five feet with enough intensity/PAR with just using two fixtures. You could start with two fixtures and buy/borrow a LUX meter and take measurements from various locations in your tank. This would readily show any loss of intensity in given areas. You could also get away with using two by strategic placement of your light loving corals.
Naming the brand of fixture you bought would have helped me some.
James (Salty Dog)>
Yet another lighting question/Being Impatient 3/22/2011

Hello WWM,
<Hello Reef Crazy. I believe I covered most of this in your last email about one hour ago.>
I have a reef aquarium 5' x 20" x 20" with most of it SPS. Right now I went from M/H two 250w and now I have 8 T5's for 5' 80watt and for 4' 54watt all ATI's 6 of the 8 are Blue plus and two are Aquablue Special. And my power bill is still to high so now I'm going with LED's. I have spoke, Called, Emailed, let me say I got deep into it. After 4 or 5 months I made the order and this is what I went with. When I spoke with the place that test and makes LED's for a lot of brands out there. They told me I can buy from them and they have there <their> own fixtures. I went with 3, 120w LED fixture. The LED I went with is a LED that will run at 1 watt but is more then <than> 2watt LED
<More in what way? Based on what you are telling me, this doesn't make sense. LEDs need to be driven at their recommended current rating. Anything less or more will cause a shift in Kelvin temperature. They also need to driven with a constant current/constant voltage power supply to provide the best results.
I'm guessing what you are trying to say is that the one watt LEDs put out the same intensity as a two watt LED.>
But the one big question that no one still understand is how much will a LED cover. Some say that a one watt LED is more powerful then one watt of M/H or T5's. What do you think?
<As I mentioned in the last email, will all depend on the LEDs, reflector used, drivers, etc. There are some LED fixtures out there that cannot match the power output of T5s. I would have asked for PAR values at your tank depth before purchasing. If none
can be given, I'd stay away from that company until I could reference this either from a given company or obtain elsewhere.>
The other thing is when I spoke with the place and I told them what I run (SPS) and the size of my tank they said I was crazy to put 3 of them over my tank I would not need that much to get every thing out of them like growth and color I should only put 2 of them. My worry is that my tank is 5 foot long and I would not get the spreed <spread>
to cover a 5 foot tank they said to put the fixture up higher. What do you think?
<Covered this in the last email.>
Any help would be nice Thanks
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Yet another lighting question/Being Impatient 3/22/2011
Sorry I didn't put all the info in. And yes on ( I'm guessing what you are trying to say is that the one watt LEDs put out the same intensity as a two watt LED) .... Sorry about that.
<No problem, but to give useful information I must have useful data.>
I did make sure about the par <PAR> test.. This pic. shows pars on one of the test tanks. It's been up for about a year..
The tank has 2 fixtures on it.
<OK, I'm going to guess it's the company's test tank whomever that might be. Keep in mind that this
test tank does not appear to be 20" deep nor five feet long...... can make a big difference in PAR levels.
James (Salty Dog)>

Metal Halide Placement/Reef Lighting 1/24/11
Hey Crew,
<Hello Nick>
Hope you guys had a great weekend.
<Good football games.>
I needed your opinion on some lighting issues. My first option is to stick to a T5 fixture over my 12 gallon Nano. The light itself is 4x8w t5s, 2 10k and 2 actinics, 32 watts total. My second option is the 70w 20k metal halide. Would the t5s be sufficient for sps and lps? Or if I use the metal halide, how far off the surface of the water should the light be?
<Your T5 lighting should be fine for your SPS/LPS corals. I would suggest going with three 10K lamps and one actinic to increase the PUR level.>
Thank you so much for your time.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

lighting questions 9/29/10
Hello there!
Allen here.
<Hello Allen.>
I have a question for lighting a 79 L x 22 W x 27 H tank.(27inch all water). I have not planned yet what kinds of corals I will be putting, but I would want my lighting setup to be enough for whatever I will be putting in it. LPS,SPS, softies! Will CFL lamps be enough?
<No, T5s are a better choice over CFLs nowadays, you will really want MH for a tank this deep for a keep what you want wherever you want tank.>
If yes, how much watts and tubes will I need?
<Three 250s to do the job here.>
I am having second thoughts on using MH because of the electric consumption it will be using plus the heat it will generate. I have scaped by tank in a way that I can place the more light demanding animals to be higher.
<MH fits the bill here. The LED lighting is really catching up quickly though.>
One more thing, how about the product Microbacter7 from Brightwell, are they any good?
<A great company, but I am not a personal proponent of bacteria boosters.
Cycling or curing a system in its own time is what leads to a stable system in the end. Scott V.>

Need Metal Halide Help/Reef Lighting 9/14/10
<Hi Jeff>
Thanks for all you do to make our hobby a better one.
<You're welcome.>
I need your opinion as to what would be the best lighting for my future tank. my plan is to have a 90 gallon reef tank (36x24x24) with mostly LPS and some SPS around the top of the tank.
<May I ask why not the standard 4 foot 90? If space permits, it would be a much better reef tank than what you plan on getting.>
I was thinking of using one or two XM 250W 10K SE metal halide bulbs with a LumenMax Elite reflector. I plan to also use a Galaxy Electronic ballast. I also intend to use some T5s with reflectors. The lighting will be housed within a canopy. I have orders from my wife that the tank
<Would her last name be Patton by chance?>
must be quiet as it will be in a part time guess bedroom. Also no chiller.
So far I am thinking about 3 options.
Option No.1 - One XM 250W metal halide within a LumenMax Elite reflector in the center of the tank. In the front and back of the reflector a 36 inch actinic T5. The edge of the reflector would measure 10 inches from the top of the water which means the canopy would need to be 16 inches high as the LumenMax Elite reflector is 5 inches high.
<One T5 actinic would be plenty for option 1.>
Option No.2 - One XM 250W metal halide within a LumenMax Elite in the center of the tank with one 24 inch T5 in the front and one 24 inch T5 in the back of the reflector. There would also be two 24 inch T5s on each side of the reflector. That would be a total of six T5s. One in the front, one in the back and 2 on each side of the reflector.
<T5's aren't necessary with using a 250 watt MH. I'd opt to go with one or two LED actinic tubes, much less heat/power consumption and still gives nice color.>
The distance from the water would be the same as option No.1.
Option No.3- Use two XM 250W metal halides with LumenMax Elite reflectors with two 36 inch T5s.
<Yikes, a chiller would very likely be required with option 3.>
The edge of these reflectors would be 15 inches from the top of the water which makes the canopy 20 inches high as the reflector is 5 inches high.
I am not sure option 3 would work.
<Would not fit within the order you were given.>
I was thinking if I used 2 metal halides I could put them higher from the water and that would reduce the heat going into the tank. But this may be too much light.
<I believe more than needed.>
The main thing for my wife is that the tank must be quiet. I am thinking the higher I can put the lights the less heat will get in the tank and the less I will have to use cooling fans.
<True, but with the lighting being that high, you will illuminate the entire room unless some type of hood/shield is employed.>
What is your opinion.
<To toe the line from headquarters, I would go with a 36" hood utilizing two 150 watt HQI lamps. See here.
With a hood, the lighting will be focused into the tank rather than sprayed around the room as would happen with a hanging pendant. With any system you choose from the above, a cooling fan will be
Can you recommend a good and quiet cooling fan?
<Self contained hoods will contain a fan. If a DIY is in your plan, the Ice Cap variable speed fan is pretty quiet...use one myself.>
Thanks for the help,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting Questions (Show me the way!) -- 08/04/10
Dear Sirs,
<<'Madams' here too--but no need to be so formal'¦ Greetings!>>
Your site has been very informative!
<<Good to know!>>
I have a 79x22x27 tank. What kind of MH should I use? How many pieces and watts?
I plan to have mostly LPS, soft corals. Maybe some SPS at the upper third of the tank.
<<For the best in flexibility, I would opt for three 250w bulbs (10K-14K) mounted individually in quality reflectors (e.g. -- LumenMax, Lumen Bright, or Lumenarc)--bulb style, single or double-ended, makes little difference>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>
Re: Lighting Questions (Show me the way!) -- 08/05/10
Greetings Eric,
<<Greetings'¦um'¦unsigned querier>>
Have you heard of the brand ATM or Reef Octopus for Metal Halides?
<<I have not'¦ Reef Octopus makes what is looking to be a pretty good line of skimmers, but other than that I know not. As for ATM, there's a like-named company that makes acrylic aquariums (Acrylic Tank Manufacturing), but I find no reference to MH lighting systems.>>
Are they any good?
<<Reference my previous comment>>
And I can light up the tank for 6 hours only right?
<<'¦? I run my own MH lighting for 11-hours. Somewhere near a 'tropical' photoperiod (10-12 hrs) is best, in my opinion. Some will argue that the sun in the tropics is not at 'high noon' for that period like the lighting over a reef system, but I would argue that the lighting over most any reef system provides nowhere near the PAR value of the tropical sun even when not at its highest point--and that 'extending the photoperiod over your tank' can provide some measure of compensation for those photosynthetic organisms not able to achieve complete photosaturation. With that said, I feel merely 'knowing' photosynthetic organisms require light is not enough--reef hobbyists should research the topic and become familiar with such terms as photocompensation, photosaturation, and of course'¦photoinhibition>>
Thanks for the quick reply!
<<Happy to share'¦ Eric Russell>>

Product advice?/Reef Lighting 6/2/10
Dear crew,
You are always giving me a great advice. Your site is full of tips and helpful information.
<Thank you and glad you enjoy/use.>
I search for info/feedback on a few products, but could not find anything.
What do you think about NutriKol food for corals.
<Never used the product. Best to post this question on a bulletin board where actual users will input. Might want to try ours here.
I mix it with Frozen food and Selcon, and it looks like my LSP <LPS?> like it. Is it a good product?
<As above.>
Also I'd like to know if " Reef Bugs" are really hatching, and what exactly is it?
<Reef Bugs are no more than strains of supposedly edible marine microbes, primarily bacterial and fungal spores. I certainly would not depend on this if used as the only means of coral nutrition. Personally, I feel that Marc Weiss doesn't have the best reputation among seasoned aquarists, as many of his products (and I have tried a few) are virtually worthless and expensive. Please keep in mind that this is my personal opinion, and not necessarily that of Mr. Fenner or other crew members.>
And my last question. I not smart enough to find out what is T5 equivalent to compact bulbs <?>. I have six 65w compacts ( two 50/50 and four 10K) for my 75 gallon tank with LPS, SPS and Maxima clams placed on a top of my rocks. I feel I need more, but I don't have enough room to put a halide in my canopy.
<If growth/color is fine, leave as is. If not, switching to a six lamp HO T5 system driven by Ice Cap ballasts will tremendously increase light intensity. Do read here and related articles.
Please advice <advise>.
Thank you so much for your time and help.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Best regards,
Re Product advice?/Reef Lighting 6/2/10 - 6/6/10

Again, thank you very much.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

New aquarium lighting... SW, 75 gal., reef 2/15/10
Hello crew,
<Hi John!>
Please let me thank you and apologize in advance as this will be repetitive to many of you and long winded.
<No problem, more information means our job is easier, not harder!>
I have been scouring the FAQ's and articles for days and can't quite find that perfect nugget of info I am looking for. Please let me explain...
Its time to upgrade to some better lighting and move from fish and a couple softies to more of a reef setup.
I currently have a standard 75g tank (48x18x20h) with 1-4 inches of sand that my Clown Fish has moved around. My plan is to remove my Clown and Tang (nutrient factories) and leave my Coral Beauty and Gramma. I would like to keep LPS for more color and possibly a Clam. I currently have a Toadstool Leather, a 5" Colt Coral and a rock with some Mushrooms on it. I understand adding more corals will have to be strategically placed regardless of the lighting.
<I would stick to either softies or swap them out for Scleractinians. You will do better this way>
I currently have a 260w pc fixture with 12k bulbs but I know this is barely enough for what I have (they aren't sickly they just haven't grown much in 2 years.)
<Mmm, Ok>
I am looking at a MH fixture or a T-5 each have their pros and cons and I can't find the right answers to my questions. MH is the gold standard for lighting, I am considering a 2x150w + T5 for aesthetics or a 8X54w T-5 fixture as an alternative.
<Ok, both would be fine here, the T5 fixture is powerful indeed>
I have several problems that need to be addressed when it comes to selecting a fixture. First is my water temp runs about 82* all year round due to the pc lights and the skimmer and return pumps. I know 82 is pushing it but at least the temp is stable:).
<Yes, this is a little high, but not too bad. In the wild temperatures can get much higher than this>
I keep the house at 76* in the summer with the tank uncovered but a cover on the sump to keep the splash noise down. In the winter I keep it at 72* and I have to cover the tank to keep the humidity down in the house. I live in a cold climate (Wisconsin) and high RH levels in houses will destroy them
in a short period of time. Even with the glass cover on the tank the humidity never really gets below 40%, not good when its -5 outside. This is why cooling fans for evaporation is not an option. I know that MH will add a certain amount of heat to the water, <Yes> would this size in particular add more than a degree to the temp?
<I would be wary here>
What about with the cover on in winter? I understand it will cut down on light transmission but I am more worried about the heat.
What about the T-5 fixture? How much heat do they radiate/ transfer to the tank.
<More than your current pc fixture, and probably a little less than this halide fixture, but not much>
With a 8x54w fixture (planning on 5-6 sun, 2-3 actinics) can SPS survive/ thrive in a 75g if I wanted to add them at a later date?
<This is a powerful fixture, and you should be able to keep very high light demanding corals with it, but you are making a common hobby mistake here. There is no designation between SPS and LPS corals, no rule for which 'type' needs which light. Yes, corals with smaller polyps might often require more light (and flow) than others, but it is dangerous to assume this without researching the species>
How noisy are these fixtures with fans?
<Very quiet>
Thank you so much for your valuable answers they are appreciated more than you know,
<No problem John. Is your current fixture a pendant or enclosed within a hood? If it is enclosed, then I think the T5 fixture might do ok as a pendant, as this will enable a lot of the heat to escape to the room rather than into the tank. If not, then you will have to consider a smaller 6 bulb pendant T5 fixture w/ internal fans (my choice here actually) which will still be perfectly suited for your system, you do not need 8 T5's over an 18 inch wide tank. Your other alternatives are to stick with the lights you have, or consider a chiller>.
John P
Re: 15/02/10 New aquarium lighting 2/16/10

Thank you Simon for your reply, much appreciated.
<No problem John>
I have learned the hard way with this hobby about rushing into things whether it is buying livestock, adding supplements or buying new hardware, a pinch of forethought saves a pound of headaches later.
<Yes you are so right>
The softies will probably get replaced by hard corals as conditions necessitate. You seem to be confirming my thoughts that the T5 is the way to go for my situation. You said that the six bulb fixture was a better fit than the 8 bulb but that isn't much more wattage than my PC lights.
<No, and I was a bit hesitant here because what you have is actually not too bad>
How does this compare to the PC as far as PAR, PUR, LUX etc.. ?
<You do get more 'bang for your buck' as far as PAR/ wattage is concerned with T5 bulbs over CF. Don't get hung up on 'watts per gallon'>
That is some of the most difficult info to find anywhere, I understand what wattage means- A x V=W= how fast your electric meter spins. Finding out how (x)W of MH versus (x)W of T5 versus (x)W of PC lights compare to tank penetration, usable light etc... not easy.
<Yes, it is confusing. There are many factors here including water clarity. Have you looked for Sanjay Joshi & Dana Riddles works on Advanced Aquarist magazine? Maybe you should look to 'borrow' a PAR meter from somewhere, see what your present fixture is giving you>
With a 75g tank what types of hard corals could one expect to keep and would that include a Crocea clam that my wife has been bugging me for three years?
<Most if not all, and yes I would say so -- have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tridaclgtgfaqs.htm>
I would like to keep more of the light demanding species of organisms but nothing that requires 100kw of lighting either. Will 300w+ of quality T5 bulbs be enough for this?
<Yes, a six bulb fixture will be fine. Bear in mind you are at 82 degrees and are trying not to increase the heat here. An 8 bulb fixture will definitely increase the heat. I have a 75 gallon hooked up to my system the same dimensions as yours, and I am envisioning six 48' T5's over it -- this is a lot of light.>
How many sunlight bulbs vs. actinic for happy corals and happy colors?
<This is down to individual corals, their placement, personal choice, trial and error, hoo-hah and maybe. Generally speaking I would prefer 2-3 'whites' to one 'blue'. You could go 1 x 6500K, three 10000K, one 20000K and one pure actinic. or 4 x 10000K and two actinics, or put some 14000K's in somewhere>
I am thinking along the lines of a Current USA or similar type of fixture that sets on top of the tank with legs, any thoughts?
<Yes, this sounds/ looks fine to me>
This is how my PC lights are set up. I'm not opposed to a hanging type but it would have to look right in my living room. Lights hanging from the ceiling says warehouse, or at least it would to my wife.
<I do sympathise with you here -- for years I wanted an open top tank, but my wife would not allow it! Instead I had to struggle with a heavy wooden lid that eventually gave me a hernia!>
Thank you very much for your insights, you are very kind to give us your time an experience!
<No problem John>
John P

Acropora yonggei & Lighting -- 01/12/2010
Hello WWM Crew, <Hello Adriel> It's been with your help that I've been able to sustain a Nano reef!! <Wahey!>
Apologies for being verbose, but was hoping you could help me with the following <I'll try>:
Tank: 24x24x18 (DSB = 3 inches, water column = 14 inches). I have a mixed Nano reef tank, containing Acropora , Pocillopora and other softies & LPS. The tank is lit with a single 150 MH, 14000k, and 2x 9 watt PC
actinics <ok>. Recently, I replaced the MH bulb (about 5 months old at the time, photoperiod about 10 hours.) Within a couple of days the Acropora started looking pale all over, with reduced polyp extension <bleached>.
Pocillopora etc were fine. I'm guessing that this problem is due to my failure in not adapting the specimen correctly <yes>. I have since lowered the Acropora from 2 inches below the water surface to 2 inches off the DSB.
Am I on the right path? <Yes> Would it help if I changed the bulb to 20000k to reduce the intensity on the coral? <No, not now. I would leave as it is>
In future, I would like for this to be an all SPS tank, with minimal live rock in the display, with frags placed on the substrate itself. My question therefore is, would a single 20000k MH, on a 10 hour photoperiod be adequate? <Not for the two corals you mention. The 20,000K bulb does not have as much light in the 'useful' spectrum as the 14000k, and you already have two pc actinics. I'd leave the lights and the coral where they are now and try to keep everything, all parameters etc, as 'spick and span' as you can in an attempt to coax this coral into regaining some of it's lost zooxanthellae. If you can increase feeding some useful foods to the coral without letting the nitrate and PO4 rise too much then I would do so. Try here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acrofdgfaqs.htm>
Thanks for your invaluable help!! <No problem> Adriel <Simon>
Re: Acropora Yonggei & Lighting -- 01/13/2010

Hi Simon, <Hello again Adriel>
It's me again. Thanks!!!!! It's amazing how much more relaxed I am now :-)
<that's good to hear!>
I also have Tubastrea in this tank, so am already feeding Cyclop-eeze <ok, but these corals do appreciate 'live' foods as well - do you have a refugium of any kind?>. The Acropora polyps are extended, less than before, but they're there :-)<Then it is quite possible that this coral can recover in time>. Is it a logical deduction that reducing the light supply via lowering the coral location/ reducing the photo-period etc, "encourage" the coral to regain its zooxanthellae to acquire energy?<hmmm, all lowering the coral does is 'encourage' it not to lose any more zooxanthellae, although the damage was probably already done. Assuming that it has some left (very likely) then these should multiply, albeit very slowly at first. I would monitor this coral and when/if it shows a colour improvement start to slowly move it up in height, a week at a time>. I do have another question, my lfs tells me that to keep bluer Acropora specimens, I would require to use higher Kelvin lights. Is this accurate? <Some stony corals can/ do show colour changes with different lights. I believe it is to do with the different 'Clades' (types) of zooxanthellae and how they react to different lights, but you are better off searching for the works of Sanjay Joshi and Dana Riddle for this, as I am not by any means an expert on this subject. In fact I prefer brown corals, believe it or not (I am my LFS's dream customer because I buy all his 'boring brown Porites' corals that no-one else wants!), I feel they look more 'natural', so it is not something that I have looked at in detail. Try here:
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2006/1/aafeature1 &
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2009/1/aafeature1. There are many similar articles by the same authors on there that might help you, otherwise Bob or one of the crew might know more>. Could I just continue with the 14k's <I
would, yes. Is a much better spectrum than 20K IMO, but I use 10000K's & 6500K's w/ actinics>. I'm aware that corals do change colors based on tank conditions <yes, and the same colors can get darker with more concentrated zooxanthellae>, but is the above a reasonable generalization? <It would depend on the coral, and the clades found within it>. Fast growth is not really a criterion for me <Fast growth can be a pain sometimes. Borneman also states that slow but steady growth can result in healthier (less brittle) specimens, so I think you are on the right track here>. Thanks again!!<We're here to help!> Adriel <Simon>

Lighting Corals Questions/Reef Lighting 10/10/09
Dear WWM Crew,
<Hello Sue>
First, I would like to say that you have a wonderful web site with a plethora of information.
<Thank you.>
My husband and I are new to aquarium keeping, and I am finding some of the information overwhelming. I have been trying to research my questions in books and on the Internet, and have been perusing your site for a few days, but I have not seen my particular situation addressed. I hope that you will forgive me if these questions are redundant, and, mostly, I hope you will be able to help me.
<I'm hoping I can.>
We've had our aquarium running almost a year now - since November last year: a 55-gallon All-Glass FOWLR with 80 pounds of crushed coral substrate and about 70 pounds of live rock; one powerhead in the tank; a Pro-Clear 125 Sump containing bioballs and a Coralife 65-gal Super Skimmer. Lighting is a two-bulb fixture: Coralife 53008 Compact Fluorescent Fixture w 2 65-w Lamps, 50/50" tubes: True Actinic 03 Blue (50%) and 10,000K Daylight (50%) full-spectrum lights.
Livestock includes 3 Dartfishes added after about a month, 2 Royal Grammas (we had 3 at first, not sure why we lost one)
<Likely from aggression. This fish is territorially aggressive toward it's own kind and should be kept singly, especially in smaller systems.>
added perhaps 6 weeks later, a Tuxedo/pincushion Urchin about 1 months after that, and 2 "Nemo" Clownfishes about 3 months after that. We had tried 2 Banggai Cardinals about 5 months out, but they did not make it, unfortunately -- not sure why. Hitchhikers include some feather duster worms, and probably some other critters that have yet to make themselves known - for instance, we saw a tiny crab early on, and a tiny white sea star a few weeks ago - but they both seem to have disappeared. Don't know whether we are stocking too quickly or too slowly, because my spouse wants to put in as much as possible, and I am trying to take it slow - hopefully we are achieving a balance.
<You're method is more ideal.>
We've been thinking of adding some soft corals, and this has given us a reason (excuse?) to upgrade our lights, if necessary.
<Will be necessary.>
Everything I've seen on your site says to pick the corals first, and then the lights. So with that being said, the corals that we will be starting with are: an African true blue Cespitularia, family Xeniidae; a Palau neon green Nepthea, family Nephtheidae; a Purple Photosynthetic True Sea Fan, family Gorgoniidae;
<Although photosynthetic, the sea fan will require supplemental feedings a few times per week with phytoplankton.>
and an Ultra true blue 'Paly' frag,
family Zoanthidae. Hopefully these will not be too difficult for us beginners!
<Not too bad, but do research these animals as to their needs before purchasing.
Ensure you can provide their needs for survival.>
Initially, I've been told that we should upgrade our current lights - I still keep re-thinking this, I am not sure we need to do so.
<You will if you want to keep these corals.>
But I've been told that these corals will do well with either Power Compact or T-5 Fluorescents - is there really a big difference over the Compact Fluorescents we have for corals?
<The two lamps you have are not going to be enough lighting for these animals. The T5 HO's do provide more intensity than the PC lamps.>
And it has been recommended to have some white (10K) and blue (Actinic) alternated in the fixture of our choice.
<One actinic would be sufficient with the 10K lamps.>
However, I am finding it difficult to determine what exactly the differences are between the Power Compacts versus T-5 lights - does one run hotter/cooler, and which types of fixtures would be needed.
<T5 is the newest technology in fluorescent lighting and are more efficient versus PC's.>
Also, is a fan required?
<Will depend on the system.>
And if so, is it built into the fixture?
<Most have built-in fans.>
And with that in mind, is there a 'package' fixture that fulfills these requirements?
<Plenty of them can be found by Googling.>
We do not want to build this from separate components - but are looking for something that would include everything. Much of the information I've been reading is overwhelming, to say the least. What is a ballast, anyway?
<Is the device that drives the lamps. Most now days are electronic.>
Something that concerns me is heat buildup. We live in Philadelphia where it can become quite hot and humid in the summer. We do have central air conditioning and keep our house generally around 74-to-76 degrees in the summer. We turn off the tank's heater when it gets that hot, although it doesn't seem to affect the tank temperature,
<It won't, heaters are much like thermostats in the home, they will only cycle when the temperature falls below the set value.>
which I've seen go up to around 80 degrees. In addition, we usually have our lights set to turn on at about 10am or 11am, and to turn off at about 9:30pm, so that we can enjoy the tank when we are at home in the evenings. Oh, one other point - we do not want to suspend anything from the ceiling.
Based on my research, I would want a fixture that would not get too hot, would have built-in fans if they are needed, includes a reflector or deflector to properly direct the light, includes a splash guard to protect the lights from water,
<A glass cover should always be used to protect the fixture from the salt water and for your own protection.>
includes mounting or docking legs to be placed over the tank, can be used with the tank covered as we have jumpers, includes lunar lighting, and would ideally include built-in timers. Does such an animal exist?
<Sure, you can start by going here. Is wise to price shop at other etailers for the best buy.
Reading here will help you get a better understanding of reef lighting.
Thank you so much for all that you do, and for your kind consideration.
<You're very welcome.>
P.S.: It was a pleasure hearing Bob Fenner's presentation at last month's MACNA XXI in Atlantic City, NJ. I learned a lot just from that one hour.
<Will pass along to Bob.><<Thank you Sue, James. BobF>>
P.P.S.: I, for one, am very glad that you insist on properly written letters. It is refreshing to find such a professional approach on the Internet, from such a professional crew.
<Yes, makes our job much easier if we do not have to correct/edit. Queries that require numerous corrections are returned to the querier for correction. As we are all volunteers with a limited amount of time available, we do not like wasting it doing such.
James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting Question/Selection/Reef Lighting 9/28/09
Hello Bob,
<James with you today.>
been reading your threads for a some time..... every educational... thanks
<You're welcome.>
I have a 90g bow front 48' long 24' deep.... currently running 2- 96w PC fixture, 1 10k, and 1 460n , I know its well below in lighting, to keep corals,
I wanted to ask if upgrading to (6) T5 VHO's lamps...3 actinic blue 460n and 3 10k @ 54watts each is good? or should I upgrade to 4- 96watt pc? (2) 10k and (2) 460n
I'm only interested in keeping LPS and mushrooms. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated? thanks
I was looking at the Current USA T5 Nova Extreme 48 " fixture w/ 6 T5 VHOs @54w each.
and for PC- 48' 4x65w AquaticLife PC w/ 4 lunar lights.
<My choice would be the Current USA T5 system. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Lighting Question/Selection/Reef Lighting 9/28/09

<You're welcome.>
In your opinion. Are T5 VHOs
<They are just called T5 HO. VHO refers to high output T12 lamps.>
better than pc, and is the T5 Nova Extreme, a good reliable setup?
<I've never heard anything negative about them. I had a Current USA fixture on a experimental tank and I was quite happy with it. You may also want to check out the Sunlight Tek T5 fixture here. This fixture uses convection cooling, no noisy fans. http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=SL-960040&Category_Code=SunlightT5 James (Salty Dog)>

Re Should I Change My Setup/Reef Lighting/Growing Corals 10/20/09
Hi James,
What I meant by giving up was that if I use the hood then I can't use the skimmer, so yes the light is the same but I would lose out on skimming. But would it matter. The LPS I have come from 'not clean' water based on what I read. So maybe it wouldn't hurt in not having the skimmer.
<In your situation, I'd go skimmerless and place a bag of Chemi Pure in the filter chamber.>
If I stay with a glass top I will either add another 65w strip or maybe go to a HO T5. I can get one with 4 -24w bulbs. As far as light for the LPS how does 130w PC match with 96 HO T5.
<I'd go with the high output T5 lamps, are more intense, have a higher PAR value, and the lamp replacement cost is much less than comparable PC's.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Looking For Lighting Advice/Reef Lighting 7/23/09
Hello all,
<Hello Gold Fish>
I would love your input in the best route to take for my deep tank situation...seems like there are so many options and various opinions and I'm not sure what to do. I know that I need to upgrade my lighting on my tank and have tried to get as much info on MH, CF and LEDs as possible...it's a little overwhelming and not sure what would be best for my tank.
My tank : 20W x 18W x 31H The depth is a factor. The live rock is only about half way up the tank in center...I'll add a picture.
<Got it.>
The tank right now has a 20" Current brand fixture with 40 Watt Dual Day and 40 Watt Dual Actinic and Lunar/Moon Light (has two fans in it too)
Right now I have two BTA, mushrooms and a few soft corals...Maroon Clown, dart fish and some shrimp. All are doing very well, but I don't want to wait till it's an issue.
<Well, for starters, it's really not a good idea to mix anemones with corals, especially in a confined area such as yours. But to answer your question, HQI or MH lighting is going to be needed to successfully grow
corals/anemones in a tank that deep. You might want to check out the Coralife clip-on HQI fixture which should work well for your tank. See here.
Thank you so much for your assistance, it is very much appreciated!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Looking For Lighting Advice/Reef Lighting 7/25/09
Thank you so much.
<You're welcome.>
It looks good, what do you think of the pendant lights? I like having the top open....
<The pendants are fine as long as the lamp is mounted in a horizontal position inside the pendant. Much light can be wasted when the lamp is in a vertical plane, as you are depending on the quality/efficiency of the reflector to reflect the light back into the tank.>
Also, right now I put the blue light on for over an hour before turning on the "daylight" (keeping the blue on also) and then when the "daylight" lights go off, the blue lights remain on for a couple hours before turning off for the evening. I have a moonlight for when company is over or want to see the tank in the late evening... Do I still need to do the same with the MH (to simulate sunrise and set) and if so, is it all contained in the MH unit or is that an additional fixture I need to arrange?
<If you have nearby window light, it isn't necessary to simulate sunrise.
These type of lamps do not come to full power immediately, but rather over a period of a minute or two, so no photo shock should occur. A moon light would work well for the evening period.
I do not know of any pendants that come with moonlight or actinic lamps, you will need to Google for this
or email the dealer.>
Thank you so much, this lighting issue seems to elude me. Your experience and advice is very much appreciated!
<Do read the article here, and related FAQ's, for a better understanding of
reef lighting. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm
James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Beginner Reef Tank Corals, & lambda f' 7/15/2009
Hello WetWebMedia Crew,
Thank you for the advice regarding beginner corals,
< Your welcome! >
I now have a 4 bulb t5 fixture as you suggested for my 75 gal 20" deep tank. I've been searching
for info on what type of bulbs to put in it which would be best for corals.
I ended up purchasing 2 - actinic blue and 2 - 18000k, but then my husband read an article saying 6700k is what the sun is and highest k rating you should use.... Could you recommend the 4 bulbs I should run with, or will what I purchased work?
< The 2 18000k with 2 actinics will have a very blue look and not much usable light. I would swap one of the actinics for a 6700K and a 18000 for a 10000K . >
Thanks for your assistance!
< Anytime..... GA Jenkins >
Re: Beginner Reef Tank Corals, & lambda f'?? T5 Bulb Set up 7/15/09

Thanks GA.
< That's why we are here. >
So, even if I returned all the bulbs and got 4 new, the best configuration of bulbs would be 1-18,000k, 1-actinic blue, 1-10,000k, 1-6700k ? Or would you have gone with anything different in a 4 bulb T5 fixture ?
< The great thing about T5 lighting is the wide range of bulbs. The bulb setup above will get you great growth but not the POP that a lot of people like. For pop and growth I would go something like:
1 Aquablue (11,000 K )
1 AquaSun (10,000 K )
1 Pure actinic
1 super Actinic
With that being said( or typed ) don't hold yourself to what I like. You may want a more blue or white look. If so I would suggest changing the Aquablue to a higher or lower K rated bulb depending on the look you want.
GA Jenkins >

SPS ID/ Lighting 5/24/09
Hello again.
< Hello! >
Let me just say it's a good thing I work from home, otherwise I'd be fired for spending all day reading articles on your website.
< Well don't get fired. It cuts back on the aquarium money! >
It's quite addictive. I have a couple more questions for you regarding this coral which is pushing me into the reef world (hadn't planned on keeping corals, but the more I research, the more I want to keep them). First off, the only T5 light I can afford right now is the Current Nova
Extreme T5HO. It has one 24 Watt 10K bulb and one 24 watt 460nm actinic fluorescent bulb. I know this isn't much, but it'll at least help a bit, right?
< Its an improvement but not enough. >
Also, the manufacturer directions state that it needs to be placed over a glass top; does the glass alter the amount/quality of light going into the water?
< Yes, glass tops reflect and distort lighting. >
My next question is about the coral's polyps. The only things I see opening and closing on it are little white extensions on the tips of the branches. Are these polyps?
< Most likely. >
I haven't seen any other sort of extensions on the branches themselves, just lots of bumps, nothing like what I see in pictures online. I've even tried looking a few hours after turning off the lights, and no changes I can see. Would the low lights be affecting this?
< Yes. >
Would the insufficient lighting also be making the coral spread it's branches out more (it was more upright when I first got it)?
< Possibly >
Lastly, I've attached a couple of pictures of my coral (sorry for the poor quality) in the hopes that someone can at least tell me if what I have is an Acropora, Montipora, etc, so I can more accurately know it's care requirements, though I understand how hard it is to I'd. coral from not so great pictures.
< Hard to tell specifically but definitely an Acropora. Look here for Acro care.
It's very brittle, if that helps at all for identification. Thanks in advance,
< The two bulb set up will not be enough lighting. Check your local clubs for used lighting. A four bulb T5 light with individual reflectors would be a minimum. GA Jenkins >

Re: SPS ID/Lighting 5/24/09
Thanks for all the quick answers.
< You're welcome! >
Just two more questions (at least for the moment). Should I ignore the manufacturer instructions and mount the fixture on legs and not use a glass top/lid so that I get every bit of light to my coral? Is this safe?
< If the instructions say to use over a top , I would do so. It most likely does not have a splash guard and would not be safe run without a top.>
And if I were to get another of the same fixtures in the hopefully not too distant future, will there be any heating/electrical issues if I place both fixtures next to each other?
< No, they should be fine. This particular fixture does not have the individual reflectors so I cannot say for sure that they would be enough to keep any more than the more moderate light needing animals. GA Jenkins >
Thanks again

Question About Lighting Spectrum 4/19/09
Hi Crew,
I have a hopefully not too dumb of a question about lighting spectrum. I am building a 800 gallon (120" x 44" x 36") in wall reef tank and I'm weighing my options on lighting.
<Wow, big tank!>
The tank will be about 30 inches deep to the top of the sand. I am planning on 36 inches tall with a 6 inch deep sand bed.
The tank will have sps corals. I don't know if 2 48" 8 bulb T5HO fixtures will be enough for a tank this deep. What is your opinion?
<Well, it depends on where you intend to place the corals. If you want some on the bottom I would go with 10+ bulbs or MH.>
Of course, metal halide is an option, but worried about heat and power consumption. Would I need 250 watt MH or more?
<250s will do it.>
Now, the spectrum I want is 14,000K because of the corals and inverts. I was looking at the Lights of America Fluorex fixtures (the 100 watt fixture) but I don't want the 6500K bulb spectrum of these fixtures. First, would it be possible to make a diy filter (possibly blue tinted acrylic) to alter the spectrum, or would I still essentially have 6500K wavelengths that just look blue to the eye.
<Hmm, it effectively would change the spectrum by filtering out the red end of the spectrum.
You do end up with less usable light for your corals.>
I have had the best luck with coral coloration and algae control with 14,000K bulbs. With the cheaper fixture costs and operating expenses, I could use more of the Fluorex fixtures, possible supplemented with actinics. Please give me your opinion/advice on what is the best lighting route to go for this size tank.
<I am not much of an advocate for MH these days, but in this case I would go with four 250 metal halides.
There is little that will be frugal about running an 800 gallon reef!>
Thank you for all you do, I use your site often. Matt
<Thank you and welcome, Scott V.>

LPS Tank Lighting 4/13/09
Hello everyone.
< Good Evening >
Thank you for your help with my questions in the past but I have one more.
< I hope I can help >
I have read over your FAQ's and have done many Google searches but I have read too much conflicting information so I thought I would just ask an expert. I have a 45 gallon tall tank 24 inches tall.
< 36 1/4" X12 5/8" X 23 1/2" >
I currently have 2X65W CF lights and 1X65W actinic in a tank that contains 1 large hammer coral, 1 Galaxea frag, 1 open brain, 1 moon Coral and 1 long tentacle plate coral. I wrote in to WWM and James "Salty Dog" recommended using Metal Halide lighting.
<I second James's recommendation. Much to deep for compact lighting.>
The time has come for me to purchase one. What wattage would be recommended for these corals and 24" deep tank?
< I would suggest one of the 150W metal halide combo setups. Preferably the metal halide with T5 combo. The halide, power compact combo would be fine as well. If the combos are bit much for your budget the SunPod 2X 150w is a few bucks cheaper and would do nicely ,although heat could become an issue. You could probably get away with a simple 175w halide but, this would limit you for future coral purchases. >
Thank you so much for a great website and your response.
<You are quite welcome....Adam Jenkins>

Lighting Question/Reef Lighting 2/27/09 Hi Crew, <Hello Anthony> I would like to know what the best lighting set up for a 75g FOWLR tank with a mix of LR would be? Currently I only have 2- 6500K (NO) T12s 48" 80watts total these bulbs run about 10 hours a day and so far so good no real problems. Should I add Actinic to those.... and if I were to change what would be the best to get some feather dusters, purple Caroline <coralline> and other little things growing a bit better. <Actinic will help with coralline growth, and Feather Dusters are not a light demanding invertebrate.> I would also like to know the best set up for a 125g reef tank (just starting) would be? Currently on this tank I have 2-24" 250w MH and 16 blue LEDs and 2 20000k T12 24w (NO) Coralife super daylight bulbs. I would like to have a diverse coral growth of soft and hard with sponge and other neat little things growing. What other light should I add or change? <Will depend on tank length/depth, you did not state. Do read here and related articles/FAQ's. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm> Thank you in advance <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> -Anthony in Ohio

Lighting confirmation 2/25/09 Hello Crew <Dave.> I am writing over what is probably a tired and over answered question and for that I apologize. I did use the search and spend much time searching for the answer, however it remains to be a tough one to find, as well as very controversial. I have been growing sps in 1 of my frag tanks for only a short time, I am using VHO's, 4 x 96W and my tank is 5' x 2' x about 1' deep and my lights are about 12" off the tank. I have not been having any problems but am told often (not that I have any good reason to listen to most other people) that my VHO lighting is insufficient. <Hmmm, VHOs can be very effective.> It is my understanding that the MH lighting everyone is so fond of is only so popular and necessary because of it's ability to penetrate deeper into the tank. <Even this can be accomplished with sufficient amounts of VHO/T5/PC lighting. It just gets to the point with deeper tanks that MH becomes less cumbersome and more economical when it comes to replacing many fluorescent bulbs.> In my situation I have no need for deep penetration so am curious if there may be anything my corals are missing out on by using this lighting, or if I may be completely mistaken. <Nope, if it's not broke, don't fix it.> Many praises once again for all you do to help the wet community, and for the record, the new home page looks great. Keep up the good work and thank you. <Thank you and you're welcome.> Dave <Scott V.>

Light for 55gal Saltwater Tank -- 02/20/09 My husband has a 55gal saltwater tank that has been up and running pretty successfully for about 1-1/2 now, it was a 29gal until about 4months ago, we have 3 blk & white damsels that we have had for since the original tank was set up, <<Mmm, surprising'¦ I wouldn't expect them to tolerate each other in such a small volume. Just goes to show'¦>> also, a couple of purple mushrooms (6-9 polyps), a small amount of coralline algae growing on rocks, substrate, and some spots on the back of the tank glass, along with too numerous to count snails, and about 7-10 blue leg hermit crabs, as well as a bubble-tip starfish, << '¦? Could this be a Chocolate Chip Starfish? If so, this animal is not considered safe with sessile invertebrates>> I have also noticed some small what look like to be tube worm things growing on some of the rock formations. <<Ah yes'¦and harmless if not beneficial>> As I stated earlier we recently (4months ago) received a larger (55gal) tank from a friend who was being transferred from our military base housing, and as my husband was leaving for Iraq soon, we just kind of transferred the smaller tank to the larger one, of course adding more substrate, live rock and salt. The water levels according to our local fish store are normal, <<Such water testing services as provided by the stores are quite helpful to budding aquarists. But if you are serious about the hobby'¦and for the best chances of long term success'¦it is best to learn to do your own water tests and to gain an understanding of the water chemistry of your tank. There is much to be shared here'¦ To start, please have a read here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/watrqualmar.htm) and here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water.htm) and here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm) and here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm) as well as following/reading among the associated links on the pages>> but I realized through some research that the lighting may not be right. <<Oh?>> We had bought new Coralife 50/50 bulb plus a blue actinic for our smaller tank that we rotated in and out, <<Rotated?...>> but we never did anything to the new tank, it has right now only an Eclipse Natural Daylight F40T10 bulb that is on a timer for 12hrs./day. <<Hmm, so a single 40w bulb'¦ Though you don't have any high-light requiring organisms (right now), the Corallimorphs would appreciate a bit more light'¦and more light would also make the tank more pleasant to view I'm thinking>> Nothing is dying but nothing is growing... <<Indeed>> I am kind of worried as I really don't want my husband to come home to a dead tank. <<Then let's see what we can do to prevent that>> What other than a metal halide lighting system would you recommend? <<Metal Halide is my fave for all but the darkest of marine biotopes (intensity can be easily accommodated by lamp selection [wattage/Kelvin] and distance from the surface) and provides the most bang-for-the-buck in my opinion, but T5 lighting is my recommendation for those folks who wish to stay away from MH. T5 Fluorescents are an excellent technology with a good range of bulbs (differing Kelvin temperatures) available'¦and a lot can be fit in to a small space for those people/times when more intensity is desired>> I would like to get a few more fish, inverts, maybe a Condy anemone, and some more mushrooms. <<These last two have differing lighting requirements'¦do research re to determine best positioning within the tank>> Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!! <<Have a look at the available T5 lighting systems. I think a 48' 4-bulb (4x54watt) fixture would serve you well here>> Thanks a lot! <<Happy to share'¦ There's much to keeping a successful marine system beyond proper lighting. I urge you spend time reading among our articles and FAQs (or keep reading if you've started already). The marine master index is located here (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm). Cheers, Eric Russell>>

Coral Tank Lighting, & T5 fixt. f' 2/14/09 Dear WWM crew, <Hello Rusty, Minh at your service.> I plan to get a 6'x2'x2' 180 gallon rimless tank and I plan to make it a reef tank. I currently have a 6ft T5 HO fixture that is 640W with 4X 460nm Blue Antics and 4X 10,000k 50/50's. To be able to keep corals with moderate to high lighting needs, how much more T5 HO lighting will I need to get? I plan to hang the light above the tank since it is a topless, rimless tank. the tank will be 24" deep with a 12" tall pile of live rock in the center that stretches 4ft long . <This sounds like an excellent project. You've chosen fantastic dimensions for a reef tank. Rimless no less!> Could I hang this lamp 10"-18" above the surface? Could I get away with doing 4W per gallon or would I really need to get 6W per gallon? <The old "wattage per gallon" rule is a rubbish way to gauge lighting intensity for a modern reef tank. With increasingly efficient lighting methods, particularly T5 HO, a lot more intensity can be squeezed out of fewer watts so let's think about lighting in terms of intensity.> What if I do more than 6W per gallon, would that cause any damage? <The question of adequate intensity and possible over-saturation if you go with more lighting varies on two variables. First, what type of T5 HO do you have? There are many fixtures with various ballasts, reflectors and bulbs that all have varying intensity. Second, what type of corals do you wish to keep specifically? A mid-range set up like the Sunlight Supply Tek T5 HO fixture with 8 bulbs would be adequate for most moderate to high light corals if hung closer to the water surface, within the 6" range. More powerful and over-driven set ups, such as the Icecap/Aquactinics or ATI Powermodules can be hung higher and still be quite intense. The type of bulbs can also play a significant role in PAR production, you can review this page for more PAR data on various T5 HO bulbs: http://tfivetesting.googlepages.com/.> I also plan to stock the tank with 2 ocellaris clownfish, 4 green chromis, 3 Bartlett's anthias, a purple tang, and a yellow tang. Would these fish be okay if I add the 2 tangs last as 2"-3" specimens? <Purple Tangs are known as the most aggressive fish in your selection so care should be taken in the addition order. However, I suspect you should be fine in a tank of your size. Cheers, Minh Huynh.>

Enough Lighting? "Corals" 12/22/08 Hello, I have a 150 gal tank. Right now I just have 4 fish but want to add corals soon. I have two 6' VHO lights; one actinic white and one super actinic. Basically I'm just wondering what corals and anemones I can (or if its easier to list the ones I can't) keep with this setup? I know I'm on the low end here so I will probably add more light in the future. Would I be better off adding two more VHO bulbs or would I need to get some metal halides? Thanks for your reply! <Your VHO's should be fine for some low light soft corals but I definitely would not purchase any hard corals or soft corals that require more intense lighting until you have halides in place. Please research more on the wetwebmedia.com website on what species would be good for your setup. Happy Holidays!, IanB> <<"... what corals...?" RMF>>

Re: Size of Water Pump/Lighting 12/2/08 Doesn't it damage the pump to throttle it back? <Not within a reasonable extent, do not cut the thing totally off and do throttle back on the output side!> Does it not create back pressure, thus damaging the pump. <I was schooled many years back by my now current business partner Mike Kirkman. He was a pump engineer for a enormous international irrigation company many years back. The pump will actually be doing less work, pumping less water. This in turn puts out less flow and uses less energy how much less depends on the overall pump design. So long as it is not completely choking the pump off it will work.> Also a question regarding lighting. My tank is 24 inches deep. Planning on keeping soft corals and some fish. How much lighting do I really need. Metal halides consume a lot of power and expensive to replace. Is t5 the way to go! <I think so too, also for other reasons too extensive to get into here.> Lighting overall is very expensive. How many bulbs is sufficient. People tell me all sorts of stuff, don't know who to believe anymore!! <Any of the 6-8 bulb fixtures in the length of your tank will serve you well. Scott V.>

Identification help? And a whole lot more!, Shroom, and stkg.... FO SW, & coral lighting... 12/02/08 Hi crew again-- <Hello, Mich here.> For the purpose of trying to get as many questions asked/answered with one email, please bear with me! <No worries.> I am attaching a picture of what I believe may be a Ricordea mushroom, but I cannot tell. <Looks like a Ricordea yuma to me.> This mushroom hitchhiked in on a piece of live rock. It has "split" once. It does much better under actinic lighting and closer to the lighting than the other mushrooms I have in my tank. <Ricordea are often found in shallow waters.> I have also invested in the Pocket Expert Guide to Marine Fishes by Scott Michael and the 101 Best Saltwater Fishes by Scott Michael. I also purchased the Pocket Expert Guide to Marine Invertebrates by Dr. Ronald Shimek. My next purchase will be the Conscientious Marine Aquarist. <All four are excellent books! You are very wise to spend some money on educating yourself. These books are well worth the money and very useful tools. Congrats to you.> The first three books have helped me immensely on planning the rest of my current 75 gallon tank as well as my preparations to begin setup on a 55 gallon tank and a 30 gallon tank. My 75 gallon will be my reef tank and the 55 gallon will be an aggressive fish only tank. The 30 gallon will be a peaceful fish only tank. Can I ask your suggestions on my list of what I want to put in the 55 gallon? Also what to put in the 30 (below)? <Sure, though I will defer here to ScottF. as he is more knowledgeable in this subject area.> I would like to put in the 55 gallon: <Hi! Scott F. chiming in...> 1 Harlequin Tuskfish (Choerodon fasciatus) <Yikes! In a 55?> 1 Volitans Lionfish (Pterois volitans) <Oh my!> 1 Scimitar (Bursa) Triggerfish (Sufflamen bursa) <Please, no! You're killing me.> 1 eel (I am undecided on a type here) either a Whitemouth Moray (Gymnothorax meleagris) or a Zebra Moray (Gymnomuraena zebra) or possibly a Snowflake Moray (Echidna nebulosa) <OMG!!!!> 1 Pufferfish (again undecided) either a Blackspotted Puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) or a Spiny Puffer (Diodon holocanthus) <Airway...I need an airway!> #1 is this too big of a bio-load for a 55 gallon? After reading about each of these, I think they should all do fine together, but wanted your suggestions first. <Um...in a word- YES! I didn't mean to sound too insensitive, but we need to revisit this stocking plan. Not one of these fishes is really even a viable choice for the short run in an aquarium of this size. In addition to reaching sizes that are way too large for this aquarium, these fishes are quite aggressive and incompatible, are messy eaters, and produce copious amounts of metabolic wastes. We need to look at some alternative fishes that will be better suited for this aquarium. Smaller, more peaceful choices would be a better approach. The Harlequin Tusk and the Triggers are simply out of the question for this aquarium. A Lionfish is a possibility, if you are willing to try a different species, such as the "Fu Manchu Lionfish", Dendrochirus biocellatus. This fish is almost as "sexy" as the full-sized guys, yet reaches a more manageable 4 inches or so. It can be a bit shy, but can easily be kept in a 55 gallon aquarium. Like all Lionfish, it is venomous, so do exercise caution when handling this fish. A moray Eel is really not a viable choice for this sized aquarium, either, but you could consider a smaller version, such as the "Golden Dwarf Moray", Gymnothorax melatremus, which is a tiny version of the full-sized species. It reaches a maximum size of about 6-8 inches, and is the diameter of a pen. However, don't let the small size of the fish fool you; these fishes can eat surprisingly large prey items! And, to top it off- they are amazing jumpers. If you do keep one, remember to keep the aquarium tightly covered. They can find the smallest opening and use it to go "carpet surfing"! Oh- and did I mention that they are pretty darned expensive, too! Nonetheless, I think that this would be the only Eel that I would even consider for this sized aquarium. In place of the Harlequin Tusk, consider a smaller wrasse species, such as a Halichoeres species, which generally top off in the 3"-4" range. Better long-term choices for a modest-sized aquarium.> #2 what order would you add them in? I think the trigger should probably be added last, but not sure. <I'd add the Lionfish first, and make sure that he's eating before another fish is added. Then I'd go for the GDM, and the wrasse would round out the stocking list.> Next tank I want to set up is a 30 gallon peaceful. The following are the inhabitants I want to put in: 1 Yellow Shrimp Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus) 1 Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) <Some controversy with this fish. Please see here: http://microcosmaqx.typepad.com/ret_talbot/2008/09/banggai-cardi-2.html http://en.microcosmaquariumexplorer.com/wiki/Portal:Letters > 1 Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) 1 Cherub Angelfish (Centropyge argi) 1 Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa) <Don't mix Centropyge angelfish in this sized aquarium. Choose one or the other. Personally, I'd pass on an angelfish in this sized system. However, if you must have one, the C. argi is the better choice. It can be a bit aggressive, so be careful and observe the system often.> 2 Yellow Clown Gobies (Gobiodon okinawae) For this group, I would add the Cherub last. <Absolutely.> Too big of a bio-load? <Oh yes, by far. You need to pare down the stocking list quite a bit. I'd consider keeping the Goby, Royal Gramma, and the C. argi. That would be it! Remember, a 30 gallon aquarium holds less than 30 gallons when you take into account the volume consumed by rock and sand. Smaller water volumes are a great challenge to maintain.> What order to add? <Goby, Gramma, Angelfish!> The fish only tanks will get live sand and some live rock, but that is it. <OK.> I will be putting a protein skimmer on the 55, but will it be necessary on the 30 gallon? <I would say yes. In my opinion, a protein skimmer is not an optional piece of equipment in a marine system. I simply would not run a marine system without one. This is my opinion, of course, but I would be remiss if I did not attempt to convince you to utilize protein skimming in your system, regardless of size.> Could I do more frequent water changes in 30 instead of skimming? <You could, but I still feel a skimmer is mandatory. There are skimmers available for almost any size of aquarium and budget, so do a little research and you'll find one that works for your system.> Okay now a quick question on my 75 gallon if I may. You guys have helped me out with other problems with that tank. Needless to say, I did what I assume many beginning aquarists do--I ran out and bought and bought and bought and did not research first. I have learned the hard way that is not the way to do it! <A terrible lesson, but at least you learned. And the fact that you are sharing your experience with others proves that you have progressed!> With the money wasted in now dead livestock, I could have purchased some really awesome high dollar fish! <Like a Golden Dwarf Moray!> Live and learn I guess! Okay on to the question.... I am planning on purchasing a metal halide/T-5 combo light for my 75 gallon. The following is what I am looking at: 2 X 250 Watt Metal Halide � 15k bulbs included 4 X 54 watt T5 HO Lights included- 4 actinic 03 bulbs 8 lunar moonlights included on fixture � 8 blue 1 watt LED's Unit has 3 Chords and 3 switches Is this sufficient lighting for all corals, etc? <It can be sufficient for a great many corals, and may actually be overkill for some species! It really boils down to what kinds of corals you intend to keep. Personally, I like the flexibility of the Halide/T5 combo, but you could actually get by with exclusively lighting the system with T5 bulbs. They are a remarkably powerful lighting source for a variety of corals. You also may not need 250 watt halides over this sized system. You could do pretty well with two 150 watt DE halides over this sized system, and realize the same flexibility and enjoy energy savings as well!> The other 2 tanks will have actinic lighting--no metal halides or anything "fancy". Any help would sure be appreciated! Thank you so much for being there for people! <You are very welcome! Scott F. signing out!>

Zoanthids, Mushrooms and Light Intensity and Duration -- 10/21/08 Hey crew, <<Hello>> Thanks for answering my previous questions, <<Quite welcome, I'm sure>> it has been very helpful and much more accurate than some of the stuff you see on posting sites! <<Ah good>> I have another question for you. I am keeping a 55gal (fish focused) tank with good levels (1.025, 79.8-81.6, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 5-10ppm, ph 8.2) and good flow (1300gph with powerheads and return pump). I wanted to grow some low light zoos and mushrooms on the rocks for a more natural look to the tank (still fish focused). I have read on here that some people have attempted to keep them with as little as 15w of 50/50 N.O. light. <<Mmm'¦a bit low for a tank the size of yours, in my opinion>> Currently I have a dual strip N.O. T-5 with a 10k and a 03 bulb and a N.O. single strip t8 with 50/50 bulbs. <<Okay'¦and a good spectrum mix for what you want to do I think>> My total watts are 96. I went this way over a pc fixture for cost of fixture and cost of bulb replacement (and it was just a FOWLR tank). The questions: 1. Will this be enough light (with feeding Cyclops) to get the zoos to grow out (I know not optimal)? <<Yes'¦ Though I would be inclined to add another N.O. bulb or two (50/50) if possible>> 2. Are there zoo/Shroom species that do better in lower light conditions that you would recommend? (keeping in mind that this will remain a fish focused tank) <<Not so much species as the color variants within... In my experience, with few exceptions, those organisms with red or blue coloration seem better adapted to, or may do better at, the lower light intensities. I have found this to be especially true among Corallimorpharians. But with your tank and current lighting setup I wouldn't expect this to be an issue>> 3. Assuming yes to #1, how many hours do you suggest I run these lights? <<I prefer a 'tropical' lighting period of 12-14 hours for all tropical systems. You can set the Actinic to come on/go off within this period an hour before/after the rest of the lights to simulate a dawn/dusk period if you like'¦not a necessity, but the fish at least will appreciate the 'warning' before the tank goes completely dark>> Thanks for all your help! <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Lighting Help'¦T5s On A Deep Tank? -- 10/16/08 Hello everyone. <<Greetings>> My question is, I have a 155 gallon saltwater tank 4 feet long by 2 feet wide by 2 ½ feet deep. Would I need metal halide to keep anything other than softies or could I get high output T-5 lighting? Thanks <<Though this tank is considered 'deep' at 30' for reef keeping, the T5s can work. By maximizing the number of bulbs over the tank (use as many as you can)'¦keeping 'blue' bulbs to a minimum (no more than 30% to maximize useful light penetration)'¦and utilizing careful placement of livestock in regards to their height within the water column (e.g. -- lower light demanding species toward the bottom and higher light demanding species toward the top)'¦I think you could keep just about anything you could otherwise with MH lighting. Regards, EricR>>

Lights question, reading... 08/28/08 Hi :-) Can you please tell me the difference between the following lights? 1. PC - Power Compact 2. CFL - Compact Florescent 3. PL - I don't know what the full form is for this one. <... this last is a company: http://www.pllight.com/about.php> Is PL good enough for LPS and Zoanthid and Shrooms in a 40cm water column tank? Thanks Again Ranjith <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marsetupindex2.htm the last couple trays... and Corallimorph Systems FAQs... Don't write... read. BobF>
Re: Lights question 8/29/08
Aloha bob I have gone through the FAQs many times. My question is I don't understand the difference between these technologies. Couldn't get out of Google or Wikipedia too. <? What do you mean by "couldn't get out?"> I apologise for not being clear with the question though. Will zoas shrooms and a moon coral thrive in a cfl lit tank of 16 inch water column depth when lights are 6 odd inches away from the water level? <Yes, can> So many say MH is needed and so many say otherwise. Driving me nuts. I see you recommend full spectrum T12s. <I have at times, places... There's a bit more to any given "equation" of determining a "good fit" for lighting (and other gear)... To wit: what are your intents (not needs)... IF you're trying to maximize growth, reproduction, repair from fragmenting... MH is very likely a/the route to go... perhaps with even some "natural" light... But, if you simply want to keep these sorts of Cnidarians "successfully", less photonic energy is fine, preferable in terms of not "over-driving" other factors (e.g. temperature, biomineral content...) and increasing the cost of operation of your system> I just do not want to go to MH unless necessary due to the heat issue. Cheers Ranjith <I understand, and agree. Bob Fenner>

Metal Halides for 120 Gallon Reef -- 07/10/08 Hi Crew, <<Greetings Jeff>> Really enjoy this web site. <<Me too!>> It has been of great help as I learn something new every day. Many thanks. <<Ah good'¦and quite welcome>> I have some lighting questions and would very much value your opinion. <<Always happy to proffer my opinion, mate>> My plan is to have a 120 gallon acrylic reef tank (48x24x24) made by Tenecor. <<I have a Tenecor tank'¦you will be pleased with them>> I will have SPSs in the top half and LPSs in the bottom half, fish and no clams. I will do a retrofit style inside a canopy. I will put a fan on the left side blowing air into canopy and a fan on the right side blowing air out. <<Okay>> I have done some reading and think the following light system may work: (2) XM 175W 10K SE metal halide bulbs with an EVC 175W Electronic ballast. This combination was tested by Sanjay as having 70 PPFD, 11047 CCT and 181 power. <<These 'readings' are fine'¦and Sanjay has done some wonderful research'¦but don't get too 'caught up' in the numbers. Most any quality bulb/electronic ballast combo will do just fine'¦what you should really look closely at is the reflector you will use as a poor reflector will negate any research you've done for the 'best' bulb and ballast combo. If you have the room over the tank and the budget for it, I suggest a reflector from Lumenarc. Others will do, but these are among the very best>> I plan to use a Lumenarc III Mini MH Reflector to increase light to the tank without increasing heat. <<Ah! I should read ahead'¦ Excellent!>> This should be enough light (I hope). <<I do think so, yes'¦ Most 'die hard' SPS keepers would go with 250w bulbs/ballasts (some even 400w), but with the quality Lumenarc reflectors you are planning on using, the 175w should do fine in my opinion>> I will also have (2) blue T5s. The Lumenarc reflectors for the XM bulbs measure about 6.5 inches high. I am not sure how high the edge of the reflector should be from the water but was thinking about 6 inches. <<Can be, but no closer for sure. I would strive for about 8-10 inches from the surface of the water'¦less splash/dirtying of the bulbs and a bit less heat transfer'¦yet still plenty close>> This would put the bulb itself about 8 inches from the water as the bulb would be sitting about 1 to 2 inches inside the reflector. <<Ah yes'¦okay>> I will be sure to have the bulb over the open water and not over any of the acrylic cover for fear of damage to the tank and its support. <<Bulbs 'too close' to the acrylic can be problematic (I have seen ¾' acrylic that was soft enough to be deflected with a push of your finger'¦scary), but you have little concern at this distance and with positive air flow across the top of the tank. But still, better to position the MH lighting over 'open water' for the increased light transmission>> Questions and concerns: 1. Is this enough light to do the job? <<It is'¦ The 'light' is not everything though'¦you will need to feed your corals and provide optimum water quality and essential water movement for them to display at their best>> I really wanted to do the 250W XM but thought that would produce too much heat. <<In reality'¦is likely a small measure of difference overall>> Chiller does not seem possible for me right now. <<Do not discount the value of evaporative cooling'¦ Positioning fans to blow over the surface of the display tank as well as the sump and/or refugium can be very helpful here>> 2. Heat - Cannot use chiller (wife veto). I am thinking that can be overcome by the fans in the canopy and 1 fan within the stand. Also the room will be around 75. <<These will help'¦but do refer to my earlier comment re placing fans to blow on/across the water where possible>> 3. Am I correct in thinking that a 175watt metal halide SE would produce a good deal less heat than a 250watt SE? <<I have used both in the past (currently utilizing 250w DE bulbs) and both get 'very' hot. Logic dictates that the 250w system will emit more energy as heat than the 175w system, but whether this difference is 'sizeable' I do not know'¦nor do I know exactly how it translates in 'transferred energy' to the display. I think much would have to do with the lighting system itself (enclosed vs. open, distance from the water, et al). But I do think the difference in wattage could be 'handled' with some increased airflow (bigger/more fans), at the least>> 4. Will the light be even across the tank? <<Visibly, likely so'¦ and the Lumenarc reflectors will do much for this'¦though the wide acrylic braces across the top of the tank will impede light if/as they become obscured with salt buildup'¦but there will still be differences in PAR values at the differing distances and angles from the bulbs, regardless>> Little worried that the reflectors may cut down on the spread of the light. <<Actually'¦the ones you have chosen will probably give you the 'best' spread of light for a given distance from the water's surface>> Do not want to look at the tank and see dark, light, dark, light, dark. <<Two of these reflectors over a four-foot tank should be adequate'¦any 'problems' with light spread is likely due to their application (e.g. -- too close to the water's surface)>> Do not think this will happen but want to be sure. Also will the reflectors hurt the efforts of the fans as the air moving across the tank will hit the reflector and not the bulb? <<I do suggest adding fans positioned along the top of the tank edge to blow across the water's surface and 'under' the bulbs, as well>> I think the fans will still be productive as the warm air made by the bulbs will be moving on out of the canopy. <<This will help, yes>> 5. How many inches should the reflector be from the water? This is one of my main concerns...heat! Do not want it to be higher than it needs to be but for sure want it to be high enough. <<As mentioned'¦position the reflector to put the bulb 8-10 inches from the water's surface>> 6. Will the T5s work well being that high from the top of the tank? <<The Actinics only provide an aesthetic value to the system'¦will be fine. The 'blue' light needed by your photosynthetic organisms is provided in sufficient strength and quantity by the 10000K metal halide bulbs>> 7. What size area of open water should there be under the bulbs? Want to be sure none of the acrylic tank gets damaged. <<As much as possible. The openings that come standard with the tank will work'¦But I will state here that I think the wide top perimeter and cross bracing on production acrylic tanks, while necessary, are a real pain. Not only impeding light transmission but making working in the tank/routine maintenance a real hassle as well. If you have the resources, chat with the Tenecor engineer or sales person and see about increasing the thickness of the top to reduce the overall size of the bracing>> 8. Bulbs. Looking over the data taken by Sanjay the performance of the Ushio 175W 10K SE bulb was very similar to the performance of the XM 175W 10K bulb, except the CCT was 8136 for the Ushio bulb compared to 11043 for the XM, both bulbs were tested with the EVC 175W Electronic ballast. Is this enough of a difference in the CCT to notice? <<CCT stands for Correlated Color Temperature'¦is another way of stating 'Kelvin''¦ The Ushio bulb is a bit 'warmer' in temperature than the XM per Sanjay's findings, meaning it will appear more yellow to the eye. Considering the exceptional quality/reliability of the Ushio bulb, and the fact you will be supplementing with T5 Actinics, I feel the Ushio bulb to be the better of the two>> How would this difference affect the critters in the tank? <<The warmer bulb here will provide more useful light to the 'critters''¦and possibly an increase in growth/vitality>> I am thinking the XM would be more of a blue color. <<You are correct. The color spectrum of the XM bulb is fine'¦I am just not a fan of this brand (have seen too many burn-out prematurely), though many hobbyists do swear by them>> 9 Ballast - The performance with the XM bulb was the same with the EVC 175W electronic ballast and the Icecap 175W Electronic. Between these two ballasts which one do you prefer? <<I have always used/been a proponent of the IceCap electronic ballast'¦ But these components have come a long ways of late, and shopping for price where these devices are concerned may make more sense these days (heck, there's a chance the ballast you choose is a relabeled component of IceCap's manufacture)>> One very quick, off the topic, question. <<Okay>> I plan on getting a Euro-Reef skimmer <<Ahh, excellent choice! (Is the brand I use too!)>> but not sure which one would be best for my tank. I am looking at the RS100, RS135 and the RS180. Which one would you recommend among these three?? <<You can get by fine with the RS135'¦but I would be tempted to go ahead and get the RS180 now for that future tank upgrade [grin]'¦or if you are planning a very heavily stocked system>> Thanks for the help! Jeff <<A pleasure to share. EricR>>

Conflicted over MH for Reef 7/3/08 Hey folks, <Hello David.> As the subject line alludes, I am conflicted about whether to upgrade my current lightning scheme (260 watt PC) to a MH fixture. I have an 80 gal with 90 lbs. live rock, one C. cyanea damsel, one Gramma loreto, one tiger pistol shrimp, one A. randalli goby living with the shrimp, one C. strigosus tang, and one Dascyllus trimaculatus. The system has been running for two years. It is a work in progress and has always been intended as a reef tank. I am now at the point where I am ready to add some photosynthetic inverts. <An eventual progression!> I am not really interested in, at this time, SPS type corals, quite frankly because they scare me. <In time they will not.> I have seen so many dying specimens and skeletons in tanks all over the place that I don't want to contribute to the carnage. <Start with frags when the time comes, they grow surprisingly fast.> It could be that I just don't understand them well enough or am unwilling to commit to their more demanding upkeep, but for now I would rather leave them to the experts. I like (and am much more confident in my ability to make happy) most of the soft corals, including mushrooms, xenia type, brain etc. but have always desired to keep a Tridacna clam. I understand from researching your site (Laurie Smith article) that certain Tridacna clams can be kept under PC light in shallow tanks. <Indeed they can.> The water is approx. 20 inches deep from the top of the aragonite substrate to the surface. Is my tank too deep for just PC and a clam? <Not with correct intensity, spectrum and placement.> Would a fixture consisting of two 150 watt MH bulbs mounted 4" above the tank allow me to keep softies low in the tank/substrate while keeping a clam higher up on the rock? <Yes.> Another option would be two 250 watt MH's hung about a foot above the tank or more depending on your recommendation. (These are the fixtures I have thus far found to be in my price range.) <Given what you are inclined to keep, the 150's will do fine with the placement you mentioned above depending on the clam.> Are these two types of invert life (softies/clams) mutually exclusive? <No.> I would be happy with ether one of these MH fixtures, or with just keeping the 260 watt PC's as long as the livestock would also be happy with them, which is my greatest concern. <You could get a lower lighting needing clam such as a Squamosa with this lighting, although any of the Tridacna will be better suited for higher intensity lighting, more PCs or the leap to the MH.> I really want a clam. So, if I must forgo the lower light loving softies in order to keep a clam I will have to think and do some more studying to see what else can be kept with clams that I feel confident keeping, but there it is. <I understand, if you asked me to pick one thing to keep, clams it would be!> I really appreciate this site and the view towards the responsible upkeep of marine life. <Thank you, it is very much a pleasure to be part of.> I hate it when I lose a freshwater fish/invert, which I am happy to say is rare, but I am especially sensitive with regards to marine life, most of which cannot be mass produced in a breeders tank. <Many cannot, but more and more corals/fish are now captive propagated or bred.> Thanks so much for your help guys, David <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Lighting/Acclimation- corals 4/22/08 Hello crew. <Hi Taylor> I have a question in regards to light acclimation. I currently have a 55 gallon system being lit with a 4X65 watt fixture (2 bulbs on left/right). I plan on upgrading to a 6X 54 watt T5 setup (each bulb running the full length of the tank). I am currently only keeping LPS, mushrooms, zoanthids, as well as a frag of Montipora near the top of my rock. Strangely enough, the Monti is doing really well and has had measurable growth in the past month. Anyway, my question is, what type of light acclimation would you recommend when my new lights arrive? I am currently running the PC's on an 11 hour cycle. I don't want to end up bleaching the LPS or Montipora. <Mmm, not a huge increase in light intensity, but enough to start out with a six hour photoperiod and increase thirty minutes per day.> Thank you for your time. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Taylor

Re: My Poor Brain, Hello again! Quick question about lighting. -04/11/08 Will I notice much of a difference if I switch to a dual 175 watt electronic ballast? I currently am running two magnetic ballasts. I have heard they consume more electricity and fluctuate more throughout the day. <This is so> I would like to switch to 14k bulbs, will this be sufficient with the soft coral in a 2' deep tank? <Mmm, yes... possibly some acclimation/adaptation...> Or would I benefit switching to 20k 250 watt bulbs? <See WWM re... I would not switch to the higher Kelvin rating for functionality sake... and only to higher wattage if you can/intend to match other aspects of physiology here> I do like the 20k look, but not sure if I can get away with it using 175 watt. <Will include your prev. corr. below... for this size/shape volume (a 65 gal.), the 175's will be fine> My canopy will not allow a HQI fixture unfortunately. Thank you for your help! The brain is doing much better, no noticeable regrowth, but the recession has stopped. Rob <Ah, good. Bob Fenner> WetWebMedia Crew <crew@wetwebmedia.com> wrote: Help with my Brain? he means the one in his tank) Hello! <> I have a 65 gallon (love this size!) tank with a built in overflow. The overflow has a 1" drain and a 3/4" return. (MegaFlow my a$#) They both are used as drains, the 3/4" goes to my refugium. It is a 30 gallon rubber tub with 4" live sand and Chaeto that completely fills it! The 1 1/2" bulkhead drains from this refugium into a ten or so gallon area that houses a DIY skimmer (very pleased with it!), heaters and carbon. This area also receives the water from the 1" overflow on the main tank. Water is then run back to the tank via a "little giant mdc-x" I believe. It is rated 1100 per hour. Water is run into a 1" pvc closed loop with four 1/2" outputs that were heated and squeezed at the ends. <> Main tank; 1/2" to an inch of crushed coral 104#s of live rock No fish, <> three fingers, a green toadstool, a red and teal open brain and a couple mushrooms. All up and running for over a year. The tank is lit by two 175 watt bulbs, one 10k and the other 20k. The refugium is on reverse light cycle and is lit by two 65 watt 12k pcs. Water; nitrite and ammonia-0 nitrate-0-.5 pH-8.2 Alk- 13dkh calcium-ran out of the tests..oops was around 450 temp fluctuates between 77 and 80 <> I have no algae problems and everything is quite stable. I prefer light stocking, although I want to add more a little at a time. Okay, several questions! My open brain has bad tissue loss, it has reached one of its mouths! I admit, I have been on the road a lot lately and have neglected my duty a bit. There were probably times where it was fed only once a week, maybe less! I know..its not fair to the animals! It still eats, in fact I am still able to feed the mouth that is reduced to half its former glory. I am feeding fresh gulf shrimp and clam. I will feed it as often as it will eat until it hopefully recovers. It gets light only from the 20k bulb, shaded from the 10k. I cant imagine this is too much light, the tank is two feet deep and it doesn't expand to the point that makes me think its reaching for light. It gets just enough current to gently move the flesh now and again. I am adding iodide daily. Should I increase flow, lighting...anything? <>> My water seems fine, I am back to weekly 5 to ten gallon water changes. I use instant ocean aged for at least two or three days. Only R.O. water is used for mixing salt and my top off unit. The top off water is buffered before use. Another question! I have not noticed much growth in my coral over the past year. I feed my refugium weekly with some flakes or scraps from the food cuttings for the brain. It is full of little white stars and Amphi/cope pods! I have baby snails (Margarita) coming out of my...and there is good Coralline growth. Is there a need to house a small fish or two for nutrients or something? <> Other than the feeding the fuge and the brain, I add no other foods. <> I do not get it! I have noticed that when I turn my Chaeto over and the tank clouds up a little, that the little hard tubes on my live rock shoot out what look to be old dusty spider webs. It makes me want to stick a feather duster in there and clean it out! I think I know the answer, but just to be safe, could these little guys irritate my coral? <> I really appreciate your role in this hobby, you are all a great source of help! <> Thank you! Rob <>

Question regarding lighting 04/05/2008 Oh Mighty Wet Web Media Gods and Goddesses, Thanks for all of your hard work and effort. I shudder to think what the tank in my office would look like without all of you! With that in mind, I respectfully submit a question to you regarding lighting. The tank in question is all glass and measures 72? long x 23? deep x 17 ½? wide. It has dual overflows, a 4in sand bed of Caribsea Aragonite with some rubble on top, and approximately 150 lbs. of ?live? rock. It is in the lobby of a non-profit organization dedicated to the needs of children and families. Over 200 people pass the tank each day from newborn to 90. The inhabitants include: Coral 1 Sinularia flexibilis 1 Sarcophyton sp. 1 Lobophytum sp. 1 Klyxum sp. A rock of Pachyclavularia sp. 2 species of Actinodiscus 2 species of Ricordea Inverts 1 Lysmata amboinensis 1 Lysmata debelius A handful of hermit crabs (which I am considering pulling out.) A handful of snails (infested with Pyramidellid snails, I believe) Fish 4 Chromis cyaneus 2 Amphiprion ocellaris The tank is 20 months old. There have been no new additions in 8 months. My stocking plan includes one more Sarcophyton sp. and a few more mushrooms. I am also interested in Featherduster worms. With regard to fish, I'd like to add a shrimp goby, or pair of shrimp gobies, such as Amblyeleotris randalli or Stonogobiops nematodes, along with a symbiotic shrimp. I'd also like a Paracheilinus mccoskeri. Last, I plan to add either a yellow or a purple tang and maybe a Centropyge loriculus, though I know they can be difficult I am open to suggestions for different centerpiece? fish that would fit into this community.) I am waiting to purchase until I see healthy specimens that are eating well. The right fish is worth the wait. The tank has a Current USA Orbit lighting fixture. <<One of the tangs mentioned above would be a superb centre piece>> It is 72?long with dual 10,000k 96 watt bulbs and dual 460nm Actinics. I would like to upgrade. I cant hang anything from the ceiling. I don't have room for a chiller. There is no canopy over the aquarium; however there is a glass top. The glass is in place to keep fingers and flying toys out of the tank. I have also seen people just walk on over and pick up the lights to look underneath. Keeping these things in mind, I am considering the Nova Extreme Pro 12 x 39 watt T5 HO which includes six 10,000k bulbs and six 460 nm actinic bulbs. Because we are a non-profit and I am spending someone else's money, I want to make dang sure that what I am purchasing is worthwhile. Do you think, considering our tank dimensions and stocking list, that it would be worth spending the money to change our lighting system to this new fixture? <<Certainly, its a nice lighting fixture you have mentioned. However, i would at least fix a warning by the tank explaining that they could get burned from the lighting fixture. Ourselves, as aquarists, are aware of the heat factor, Joe blogs public are not, as you have already mentioned people lift the light, a warning with the fixture quoted above should be in place.>> Thank you, Kim <<Thanks for the questions Kim, hope this helps, and good luck. A Nixon>>

Coral Specific Lighting -02/20/08 Hi all, First let me begin by saying how much I appreciate all you provide to the aquarium lover. I'm new to the hobby and your advice has proven invaluable. Currently I have a 46 gallon bowfront aquarium with a Current 192 watt, dual daylight, dual actinic compact fluorescent fixture. I also have a Typhoon skimmer, Magnum 300 canister filter, and 25 watt gamma UV sterilizer with 60 lbs. of live rock for natural filtration. My livestock includes, 2 tomato clowns, an algae blenny, a purple tang ( who will soon have a larger FOWLR home ), 3 peppermint shrimp, and a scarlet cleaner shrimp. I'm new to corals but have had success so far with a Australian Duncan whisker, a silver pulsing xenia and a Montipora digitata ( which has changed from blue to pink ). My question relates to some LPS I have taken interest in. I'm looking into an Australian Acanthastrea, Micromussa or Blastomussa, and possibly a Lobophillia. Will my existing lighting be sufficient to support these new corals or should I upgrade to a Current SunPod, dual 14k HQI fixture which seemed to be an economical upgrade. <You don't need much light for Acanthastrea, Micromussa or Blastomussa corals. You might want a little more for the Lobophyllia, but they can also adjust. In any case, you should pay attention to the lighting they are currently being kept under at the LFS so that you can acclimate appropriately. This link might also be helpful: http://www.asira.org/caresheets> Thanks in advance for your help. <De nada> Shawn Green Baltimore, MD <Best,
Sara M.>

Lighting for shrooms and polyps 02/19/2008 Hello again crew...... <<Hello, Andrew here>> I'm hoping I am not going to be referred to the archives because I've just exhausted myself for 2 days trying to get an accurate answer before pestering you guys!? lol <<will try not too.. he he he>> I have a 125 gal ( 72" x 18" x 21") FOWLR with DSB set in a wall between my office and our clubroom. From my office there is a lower cabinet that houses the sump/refugium LR/DSB/Chaeto) and skimmer, along with all the plumbing. The lights and feeding area are hidden by the upper portion of the cabinet that pulls down to access. Not the best design at all but it was my husband's first attempt and I am a newbie (2+yrs) so we didn't think ahead on a lot of things. Lighting for one.....there is little room to hang lights so we just have them sitting on top of the glass panels that are on top of the tank.....it's not "air tight" so it doesn't get all that hot, even with the cabinet doors shut. Tank temp is always between 79-80 degrees. Because of the way the tank is set in the wall and the framing design this is the only lights we could fit that "just about" make the length of the tank. I have one Coralife lighting unit (with fans and moonlights) that is 36" that has a 96watt 10,000K bulb (well it looks like two tubes joined at the connectors...told ya I am a newbie!? lol) <<power compact lighting then>> and the same with a 96watt Actinic. Then there is the same "set up" with a 21" unit holding the same bulbs but at 65watt. <<oook>> The two lighting units sit side by side on top of the tank. I'm "assuming" that this is not going to be enough light even for some mushrooms and polyps?? <<Shrooms and some polyps can do ok in low lit aquariums. However, in your tank, due to the type of lighting and the height of the tank, I would situate these pretty much high up in the tank for them to do "ok">> I know it's low light but was hoping to be able to still have a few easy to care for hardy soft corals. A guy at That Fish Place sold us this lighting set up after seeing photos of what we had to work with. I change the bulbs every 6 months...... <<Sounds fine>> the color of the LR and the fish are great and of course the moonlights are awesome. Everything is set on a timer......and at night the light on my refugium comes on. Any thoughts or suggestions would really be appreciated! Oh, and the fish are a pair of percula clowns.......coral beauty, royal Gramma, and lunare wrasse....all added in that order after each had 3 weeks in QT. Almost 2 yrs later I just lost my royal Gramma....now the terribly tough decision of what fish would be safe to add with my now established (though very well behaved) lunare wrasse. The wrasse has never had any scuffles with it's tankmates and it seems to be buddies with the angel (which I thought was odd). Soooooooo if anyone cared to give some thoughts on a fish (or 2) who would not be terribly intimidated by the wrasse or one that would not terrorize the angel and the clowns that would be a great help as well!!!! Ok, maybe I'm pushing it asking 2 totally opposite questions here but hey, worth a try!? :o) http://pets.webshots.com/album/562537516gxIoMM Lisa <<Fish stocking wise, you do have some good options. There are blennies, gobies, chromis to name a few. As a side note, I thought you tank looked familiar. The archway and the wrasse photo in your album gave it away. Seen your tank on AquariaCentral.com, I'm Reefscape on there, a moderator. Its a pleasure to see your system again. Hope the above helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Lighting for shrooms and polyps 02/19/2008 Thanks for getting back to quickly!? :o) <<Hi Lisa, no problem at all>> Yes, I have had this tank (bought it with our house 4+ years ago) for a while and did everything WRONG the first go around. I used our well water....had some jerk from the LFS who charged me an arm and a leg to come in and clean the tank and stocked me with all the wrong (large) fish. Of course, everything started to slowly die....I became frustrated, upset over the loss of life, and wised up to begin my own education. Now, 2 yrs later, I have a different approach and have been very happy (so are the fish!). I decided to display my LR a little different than most....I wanted open "holes" and caves and plenty of places for hiding and "zooming"!? lol? And all the fish...including the clowns to swim in and out of all the opening.....so fun to watch. And the archway is great for the wrasse who is growing like a weed.....that tail alone has grown so much since I bought him/her. <<The wrasse does look in great condition>> On the fish note....I considered a small school of blue/green chromis but wanted to find something with a different color as I see enough blue/green flashing around with the wrasse!? lol?? But, if they're going to be more of the open water fish that will be ok with the wrasse....might be my only choice? I just can't give up the wrasse (as many folks have suggested) ....I love the fish, so beautiful and this one is not obnoxious at all (well not yet anyway..lol). All the fish eat well (actually maybe a little too chunky) so I think that has something to do with everyone getting along well for now. I'll more than likely go with a goby.....or blenny to help with surface cleaning the sandbed. But, I'll have to research them more before making a decision. <<You do have a few choices for additional fish, however, research is the key, which you know all about>> And with lighting and soft corals......it might look odd having a few patches of mushrooms or polyp colonies higher up on some rocks and nothing below....so maybe I'll just stick to the FO and someday set up a smaller tank and try some corals. Thank you again for getting back to me and helping out! Much appreciated!! Lisa <<Good luck with the system and good day. A Nixon>>

Is My Normal Output Fluorescent Lighting Suitable for Anemone and Corals? (The Short Answer Is'¦No) -- 02/12/08 Hello, <<Hiya, Joan!>> I read and then reread your article on lighting. <<And?...>> I have used Vita-Lites for many many years and thought they would be fine for my introduction of inverts, an anemone to start with, and maybe a coral or two. <<Mmm, you will need to be more specific than 'a coral or two''¦and some specifics about your tank would be a big help too...oh, and do read up on our site re anemone systems/mixing with sessile inverts (not recommended). As for the Vita-Lites'¦these are a great 'daylight' spectrum fluorescent bulb, but being a NO (Normal Output) bulb you need a fair number of them over the tank, with actual 'numbers' depending on the light-requirements of the organisms you plan to keep. And while it is possible to keep some coral species under NO fluorescent lighting (I did so back in the late-eighties and early-nineties), I don't recommend this for keeping Anemones>> The Fish Store says No, I need MORE. <<Without more information/detail re your system and its proposed inhabitants, I must agree'¦and I certainly do where the Anemone is concerned>> I.e. 10K etc and recommend the Coralife compacts. <<You don't 'need' 10K bulbs; these are usually suggested because they provide a 'balance' between what is suitable for/useable to the photosynthetic organisms and what is pleasing to the human eye. In fact, if you like or prefer a lower Kelvin temperature (e.g. -- 5500K -- 6500K), these will generally provide a better output/PAR rating watt-for-watt than the higher Kelvin temperature bulbs. A mix of 10K and 6.5K bulbs provides far more intensity, as well as light in the more 'useful' wavelengths, than a mix of 10K and Actinic bulbs>> I am sure they are great, but do I really need that much light? <<The answer here likely is, yes'¦I am doubtful your NO fluorescent bulbs will support an anemone>> Especially when a retrofit is $200+ on sale. <<Unfortunately, the price of lighting suitable for keeping many/most of the reef-associated photosynthetic organisms often proves to be as much as one-third the cost of the entire reef system. If you do decide to upgrade, I would like to recommend T5 fluorescent lighting over the PC fluorescent lighting. Not that the PCs can't work, but the T5 is better technology in my opinion, and has greater bulb selection/allows more flexibility over the PCs. The smaller size of the T5s will also allow more bulbs to be fitted/placed over any given tank size>> Please drop me a short note with your ideas. <<You have my thoughts'¦do write me back if you wish to discuss further>> Joan in Seattle <<Regards, EricR in Columbia>>

Bigger Marine Tank Coming...Which Lighting Choice? -- 07/25/07 Hi guys, <<Daniel>> I have got 30-gal reef tank for about 9 months. My lovely wife is gonna buy me 90-gal (48*18*24h) next month for my 30 birthday <<Sweet>> (aren't the Polish women great?) <<Indeed, so it would seem>> And finally my question is: What kind of light should we purchase? <<Mmm, much to consider here...have you read through our lighting articles/FAQs? Here's a good place to start, and do continue to follow/read among the links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm >> I have two options: -8x54w T5 -2x150HQI+ 4x54w T5 (actinic) I am gonna keep there some SPS (just a few like 5-6) and rest are gonna be LPS. Remember that tank is high (24 inches), SPS are gonna be just under the water surface, <<Be sure to allow room for growth>> are T5 gonna be ok, or I need definitely buy MH? Regards' Daniel P <<I think it very likely the T5s will do just fine. But before you make 'any' purchases, do be sure to read where I have directed you...and do identify/research the organisms you plan to keep. EricR>>

Coral Lighting 4/13/07 Hello, <Hello, whoever you are.> I was looking to upgrade my lighting so I can add some corals to my 36 gallon tank. It has 45 pounds of live rock and a Clown Goby and Flame Angelfish. It has been a FOWLR, set up for a little less than 4 months. I wasn't sure what type of lighting to get, and how many watts, so I need to decide what corals I would like to keep first. These are some corals I have looked at. Orange Sun Coral - They say it's hard to keep, but you need to feed them 4 times a week directly to the coral, and they require strong current and low lighting. <Yes, a hassle to keep.> I have a strong SEIO 620 powerhead. I was also looking to add Montiporas, Brain Coral, and some soft corals, along with a Ricordea Mushroom. Suggestions for corals would be nice to work under one lighting. Don't want something real strong, but maybe about 3-5 watts per gallon would be good. <A 150 watt HQI would work well here for corals you have mentioned. If aesthetics or wife are not a problem, the Coralife Clip On fixture would work well and sells for around $230.00 at most etailers. I got mine from Drs Foster & Smith. James (Salty Dog)>

MH Tweaking 3/31/07 Hello there, <Hi from HI> I bother your crew way to <too> much so I will be short and to the point. <Sort of like me!> 125G display, all SPS, predominately Acros. Previously ran 3X400W radium 20Ks but my corals became very pale some bleached at the tops on an 8 hour photo period 14" from the surface. <Yikes... ever try placing your face this close to these lights?> I downgraded to 3X250W 20K Radiums, they run 9 hours @ 10" from the surface, and while the undersides and deeper Acros show more color, the higher placed corals are still very pale. <Mmm... have you heard of the term "photo-acclimation"?> I don't have a single coral in my tank I would consider "stunning" they were all "stunning" when I bought them, however they quickly grow very pale. <Can/could be a few "things" at play here...> I have tried adjusting the height however it takes so long to notice any change I feel fairly lost. <The lighting needs to "start" higher, screened, electronically dimmed... the animals lower... however less-intense initially... graded to brighter over a few weeks time...> My question is having ruled out all other factors like chemistry/flow/etc. and being fairly confident my problem is related to Photo period/distance from water, what suggestions would you give me as a place to start and how long would you give it to notice positive change? <Mmm, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm and the linked files above> Is there something else I am missing in regards to this pale plague? <Mmm, could be... as stated, there are other possibilities... and you've presented no real data re actual measures, set-up, maintenance... Not a mind reader... but do have very strong intuition at times> Color aside the Milli's grow .5-.75"/month, the Montis grow like weeds, even the very thick branched Acros are growing at a very pleasing rate, they just look like crap. <Can you define this? Or send a pic? Not of the fecal material... Heeeee!> All frags show low/medium daytime extension and crazy full bloom moonlight extension. <Okay> Any guidelines or pointers would be great. The only other piece of info that's relevant is that I did start the new 250s at about 20" and brought them down 1" per week until they hit 10-11" <Oh! Well that's an equine of a different hue altogether... Perhaps there is some sort of allelopathy at play here... Again, you don't present a stocking list...> I don't know WWM crew, getting pretty frustrated. Thanks for your time, Jeff <Guess so. BobF>
Re: MH Tweaking, pale scleractinians... 4/1/07
SG: 1.026 PH 8.3ish dKH 10ish CA 400ish <Mmm... what is your Magnesium? Easy for this to get out of balance with Kalk use, some types of melted media in Calcium reactors> 20G water changes every Sunday I only keep a couple of fish (pair of black percs, pair of F. Pseudo's, Six Line. I have a peppermint shrimp, 2Xskunk cleaners, and a pistol. Flow is achieved with a Oceans Motions 4 way on a 4800GPH External Pump. I under skim slightly, using a 240G rated skimmer on about 300ish gallons I run a CA reactor and drip Kalk. CA reactor maintains about 10.2 dKH Kalk is only about 5G per week. but holds the PH and CA steady. I have undetectable Nitrate/trite/PO4 All water is with RO/DI with a TDS of 0 The 300g system is split 125G display, 80G sump, 75G fuge, and a little 25g AquaPod for a Mantis species only. <All this sounds/reads very well/as good...> All in all I feel like I have built a good system and I have good husbandry, I just have pale corals. I don't use any additives at all except about 1.5ml of P. Iodide daily <Mmm, I would add this only once a week... during water changes... This alone could be "the" problem here... I would not add Iodine/ide/ate more often than this unless you had good tests for, and a real need...> or at least when I remember to. I feed the corals reef chili about 2 or 3 times per week. I have a wide variety of Acro species (maybe 12 different) plus Pocillopora, Pavona, Montipora, all of which are pale in color. Bleachish tips, pale branches. <Mmmm...> I hope this provides the extra info you were looking for, thanks again for your time. <And lastly... am sure your water temperature is rather stable... Thank you for this further information, follow-up. I would expand your feeding menu here... including the addition of vitamins, HUFAs (like with the use of a product like Selcon). Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral lighting vs. water flow 1/4/07 The plate has been on sand since we first received it. <Ah, very good. Read like it was placed in the rocks, I apologize for this misunderstanding.> Our goby seems drawn to burying the plate in the night, so the plate coral has been moved twice which I would guess creates stress on it. <Yes, sand sifting gobies are certainly good at this activity *grin*> Still, some readings indicated that hard corals do fine under tumultuous water conditions (which the goby is good at replicating!) <I think this largely depends on the species> Our lighting is a 150 watt metal halide spotlight with 2- 30 watt florescent lights across the 6 ft. long 125 gal. tank. Since we moved the brain coral to a higher water movement area it looks a bit better even though it is farther out of the range of the spotlight. <Good. These corals are not the highest in light demand.> The soft corals seems to thrive directly under the spotlight and particularly where water flow is strongest. <Sounds like they're happy as is> We are not looking to have a tank so bright and as tumultuous as we see at LFS's, but we do need to know what we need to provide what our corals and fish need in order to thrive. <It sounds like you've got a good handle on things, Gloria. Just keep with your current husbandry, and I feel everything will establish comfortably in time.> Thanks, again, Justin for your time. We really do take your advice very seriously. Gloria <Thank you for the kind words, Gloria. The pride in feeling you've helped your fellow hobbyists is certainly reward enough. -JustinN>

Coral Lighting 8/21/06 Hi gang, great site it's been a source of information for me for many years. <Glad you enjoy/learn.> I am in the process of planning out a new 125 gallon SPS reef. I've had a 55 gallon Zoa tank set up for the last 2 years and I've been very successful with it and now I'd like to upgrade to something a little more challenging. That being said, I have a few questions on lighting. I had initially planned to go with 3 250watt MH HQI (10000k) and also use 220 watts of VHO 20000k for some additional color. However, I was told that I'd need to go with 3 400watt MH HQI for Acro frags. <Who told you that, Edison?> I question this; it seems like an ungodly amount of light for a tank of this depth and I worry it would overwhelm even the most demanding corals and I wanted to get your thoughts on it. <Three 175 MH's should work fine providing they are not pendant lights.> Second, I plan to use my old 55 as a fuge with a remote DSB and would like to place some of my more colorful Zoa colonies in the SPS tank (probably more towards the bottom) for additional color. I run activated charcoal regularly to help maintain water clarity and I skim aggressively, with that said, do you see an issue with the Zoa's in a SPS tank? <I'd filter with Chemi-Pure in this regard. You will have some chemical aggression taking place here and we want to minimize the chemical content in the water. If you are going to mix corals, stay away from the potent types like Galaxy, Elegance, etc. Do search our site and others for Allelopathy/Chemical Aggression.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> John

Candy Cane Coral...Turn Off Your Brights - 05/19/2006 Hello WWMC !! <Hello Esteban> Always a pleasure to have someone to send an e-mail too that will guarantee a great response! <Thank you.> I have had a nice colony of about 15 1 inch pink Caulastrea (trumpet coral) <Caulastrea curvata> about halfway vertical up my 125 gallon and half way horizontal in the tank. I was using two 175 watt MH's on for 10 hours and two 6 foot blue HQI actinic bulbs on for 12 hours (1 hour on before the MH turn on and 1 hour after the MH shut off) for about 3 months. The colony would come out beautifully - which after my reading I am guessing was because it was reaching out for more light. Well, I switched the MH's to two 250 MH's running for 10 hours, and the same 6 foot bulbs running for 12 hours. That was last month. About two weeks ago, I noticed that the heads of the coral were not as expanded as before. They will come totally out for an hour or so in the middle of the 10 hours, then close back up. Their tentacles still come out when I am feeding the tank. I'm worried that something might be wrong? The water levels are still consistent with No ammonia, Nitrite, PH 8.5, nitrates around 40, calc 440, 1.025 SG. I have not changed my usual dosing of iodide, C-balance, Reef Calc, Reef Plus, Reef Complete or Magnesium. Should I consider moving the coral lower in the tank? Is it getting too much light? <I think they are going through a light adjusting period with the more intense lighting. These corals only require moderate light and they generally do not open their feeding tentacles until the lights go out. My Candy Cane <furcata> has never opened during the daylight photoperiod. You may want to try putting them in the lower level of the tank to encourage opening.> Thanks mucho! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

LPS Lighting (One More Time!) - 05/18/06 Dear Eric R. <<Hello Diane>> It's been a long time since I've written in and the first time to you. <<Welcome back>> I have been trying to follow Bob's advice; read, read, read some more, then make up your own darn mind. (To paraphrase). <<Indeed>> Well, I got the first part down. However, just when I thought I had this lighting figured out I went to a different LFS and POOF! here we go again. <<Ha!...nature of the beast/hobby...opinions abound!>> If you would be so kind to go over what I have and help me straighten this out. <<Would be glad to provide my input>> We have a 125 gal. acrylic tank 72" X 18" X 20" with a 6" DSB. Lights hang 11 to 12" above the water line and can be raised or lowered as needed. <<Ok>> The lights are two 36" Power Compacts, the left-one is SunPaq 10,000K/460-Actinic and the right-one is SunPaq Dual-Daylight 6,700/10,000K. The halides are 3 X 175 watts. Left is 6500K, middle is 20,000K and right is 14,000K. <<Mmm, why the variation across the length of the tank? Are you attempting to create differing "zones/niches"?>> The yellow of the daylight halide is tempered by the blue of the actinic and the blue of the 14K Halide is tempered by the yellow of the daylight PCs (the 20K is because I have read so many raves and Anthony's book BOCP says for LPS you can go bluer.) <<Ok>> Well yesterday we went to a different LFS and they had the MOST beautiful corals! We purchased several and during the selection and bagging process I questioned the manager as to his procedures for maintenance and lighting. He told me that 15K are THE best and that my 6500K should only be used for high light SPS. <<Too "general" a statement...I disagree>> Now Drs. Foster and Smith will let me return bulbs for replacement but am I that far off with my lights? <<I don't know, what are you keeping/trying to accomplish with this lighting?>> There can't be that much difference between 14K and 15K! <<Or even 20K...agreed>> However, I am not sure about the 6500K and the 20K. <<A marked difference in spectral output...but the 6500K still contains enough "blue light" for most all corals>> We have: (all bought yesterday),1 6" green Bubble (Plerogyra sinuosa), 1 6" Favites (?) shared corallite walls. <<Favites, yes...a shared wall between the calyces>> They are both under the 65K with the Favites on the sand and the Bubble three inches higher, on a rock. <<It may be fine, but keep an eye on the Bubble coral. Plerogyra are not high light requiring corals, if the "bubbles" looks to be turning brown or stop expanding, do move it lower/to a more subdued lighting location>> One 4" green Long Tentacle Plate/Disc (Fungia scutaria) on the sand under the 20K with the most gorgeous green Fox (Nemenzophyllia turbida) also under the 20K but under a ledge. To the right of them are 2 separate pieces of Branching Hammer (Euphyllia parancora) consisting of 8 and 9 heads respectively (after adaptation, thought of moving apart under different lights to experiment?). <<Sure>> They are also placed just three inches above the sand bed, however the highest two heads are 6" below the water line and they are centered between the 20K and the 14K. Now, under the 14K is my baby, an Open Brain coral (Trachyphyllia geoffroyi) whom I've had 2 years now. She is not the vivid color when I purchased her (bright green and deep maroon) but I would swear in the last few days her red is coming back! <<Maybe had "too much" light before hand. It's not a hard and fast rule by any means, but many LPS with "red" pigments require/demand lower light levels than those with "green" pigments>> The new bulbs are either more to her liking or else the color was always there and I just couldn't see it under the old 5500Ks. <<A bit of both>> After all that I guess my questions are, is the 6500K that bad? <<Nope...especially considering the wattage/distance you have the bulbs above the tank. That's not to say I think it's the best bulb for your particular selection of livestock. Speaking for me...for an LPS dominant tank I would go with a higher Kelvin rating...10000K is a good "all around" spectrum...but in this instance I would be tempted to go with a quality 14000K or 20000K bulb for each fixture. Much depends on your own sense of aesthetics and what your trying replicate in your system>> (I have a 10K that I can replace it with but it is WHITE!) Am not interested in SPS (never say never). << <grin> >> Is the 20K a good bulb for LPS? <<With enough intensity, yes. If you go with 20000K I recommend you move the lights to within 6-8 inches of the water's surface>> The blue look is nice and the corals are beautiful under them but I want what is best for the animals (short of leaving them in the oceans of course). <<...of course>> These are the only corals I want with the possible addition of a nice Hammer (E. ancora) and maybe, sometime down the road a ways, I would love to have an Elegance (Catalaphyllia jardinei). <<Do please read up/research the Catalaphyllia well (you can begin here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/elegance.htm). This is not an easy coral to keep, and is best tried in a specie specific system designed to/for its care>> Thank you so much for your time and patience. All of you are appreciated and I hope one day you will all know how much! <<Thank you for the kind words...we're happy to assist>> Wishing you the best of life, Diane. <<And to you in kind, Eric Russell>> P.S. the LFS is ATM in Las Vegas, Nevada the one on the corner of Patrick and Sandhill in the Southeast part of the valley. Beautiful corals and good prices. <<Hmm, will have to make a point to stop in next time I'm in Vegas. EricR>>

LPS Lighting (One More Time!) II - 05/20/06 Polyp Bailout in Branching Hammer Dear Eric, Thank you so much for answering so quickly. You guys (yes, and gals) are great! <<You're welcome...and thank you>> But it seems quick as you were problems arise quicker! <<Uh oh>> The Branching Hammer has just been dissolving continuously since adding them to the tank. I have been reading for two days now and since 2 a.m. this morning, But other than photo shock (?) which I didn't think happened that quickly, I am at a loss. I have also siphoned off two more gooey brown heads of the Hammer. <<Mmm, photo shock "can" have a rapid effect, especially if the coral was already stressed...but from the "gooey brown" description, I'm inclined to suspect a bacterial/protozoa infection. Though admittedly pure speculation, but have you read through our coral disease FAQs?>> I separated the two pieces, leaving the best (?) of the two in its original location and moving the other to the far left end where I have removed the 6500K halide (to be replaced by another 14K Thank You <<welcome>>). I also dipped this piece in an iodine mix of one quart aquarium water and ten drops Lugol's for ten minutes. It only has two heads, out of nine, that look even halfway viable so I figured we had nothing to lose. The other piece has two heads that look great and two that look iffy. <<I would dip "both" pieces in the iodine solution: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/iodfaqs.htm >> We bought these corals on the 17th of May and this is the first day the Green Bubble has inflated but it is no longer the fluorescent green it was in the store, but rather a much paler green. <<Hmmm, would have thought the bubble coral to inflate before now...possibly telling (something in your water parameters?). The color is "possibly" a function of the lighting...maybe the LFS had more "actinic" over the coral in the store>> The Long Tentacled Plate is starting to show himself and the Fox looks to be doing O.K. Only the E. parancora crashed (but I know it's still real early in the game). At the LFS the corals were in maybe six inches of water approximately 18 inches under 175 watt 14 and 20K (3). The salinity was 1.025 but I forgot to ask about pH. Anyhow I drip acclimated them over four plus hours and swore I would not move them around for at least 2 weeks if at all. But I'll probably move the Bubble lower when the new bulb gets here. <<Okay>> Right now it is about 16 inches to the left of 20K, 5 inches below the water surface and 15 inches under the 10K/actinic P.C. My water parameters are temp. 80 ; salinity 1.025; my pH was 8.3 at 6:30 last night and 8.0 at 7 this morning. <<Is fine>> I had added 1 tsp. Seachem Reef builder directly to the tank in an effort to get my alk. up from 2.5. Added it last night and this morning my alk is 3. Amm. is 0, nitrites are 0, but my nitrates are 10. <<Mmm...possibly a result of the decomposing Euphylliid...or an indication something else is amiss>> I have a 6 inch DSB and never had a problem with nitrate. I use a Turboflotor-Multi HOB skimmer and (temporarily) an Aquaclear 110 with 2 new bags Chemi-pure and one Polyfilter. <<Both good stuff>> My iodine kit showed no iodine even after a couple of small water changes (approx. 20%) over 2 days so I added 4 drops Lugol's, still nothing on the test so I added 3 more drops, still nothing this morning. <<Hmmm...>> I use I.O. salt and the new water tests at .05 iodine, (perhaps the chemical filtration). <<Ah...yes>> Water movement is with 3 Aquaclear 70s <<...? Aquaclear 70 power filters? How often do you clean these...should be done "at least" weekly>> and 1 Seio 820. <<Some additional "vigorous" water movement would likely do this tank some good as well>> I don't know what else to do except maybe another small water change today to get the nitrates back to zero. <<I recommend a 30-40 percent water change>> I did not think my set-up was that different from the LFS where all the corals looked fantastic! Do you have any suggestions. <<Mmm, yes...dip both Euphylliids again (remove any diseased/dying heads first), perform a 40% water change, and keep monitoring water quality/performing water changes as needed>> The sad thing is I truly love the Euphylliid family and could easily picture a tank of just them. <<Would be beautiful I'm sure. Don't give up...get over this hurdle, learn from the experience, and pursue your dream tank>> One more thing. Do they dye corals? <<Some...mainly "soft" coral species...a terrible practice>> The Bubble was a very vivid neon green and the Fox is bright, almost fluorescent green. (But the Hammer is/was a more normal brown and green). <<Is rather unlikely these were/are dyed corals...have not heard of this being attempted with stony/LPS corals. Regards, Eric Russell>> <Unfortunately... I have. RMF>

Frogspawn & other various corals ... health, sys. - 03/26/2006 Hi I am currently having a small problem with my frogspawn and my maze brain coral. My setup is an 80 gallon peaceful reef with metal halides (double ended) actinics and moon LEDs. Last week I installed the LEDS and I also left the glass off of the tank on the right side. The brain has since had a mucus coating and does not open up very much. I blew off the mucus the first day and thought that I had "burned" the coral. <Reads like this> The frogspawn has about 6-7 different colonies I guess you could say. They have been opening up huge until I left the glass off but they are not directly under the light. Now only 2-3 open up and maybe only get about halfway to what they were doing. All of my water parameters are the same and I add a full regiment of Kent additives. I also have a leather that is on the opp. side of the tank and it looks waxy and no polyps are coming out like they used to. My LFS said that they do this to expel waste and algae, etc. <This is so... you want to remove this waxy material once it is shed> every once in awhile. I guess that my main question is how can I help my frogspawn and brain back to good health. I am very appreciative of your website and all of the help that it provides. Thanks, Dustin <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Lighting/Corals 3/22/06 Hi, <Hello Zach.> I'm in the process of setting up a new reef tank. I have run a poorly planned but successful reef tank for about half a year now, so knowing what I know now I am definitely interested in planning the system before I start. The primary purpose of the new tank is going to be coral propagation (mostly soft/polyp to begin with, then if all goes well sps). I already have the tank, its a 40 breeder so it is not very deep. I am wondering about what to get for lighting. I think I would prefer a setup with at least 1x150W metal halide. I was wondering what the limit for lighting on a shallow tank like this would be for soft and Zoa corals? The tank is only 16" deep so I was wondering about the possibility for too much light. I am considering systems up to 2x250 10k MH + 2x39 t5 actinics. I am interested in if this much light would be too much, and if not, is there any advantage (other than being ready for more light loving corals) to having this much light in terms of soft/Zoa growth. <Zach, would be very difficult to out-do Mother Nature's lighting. No worries about too much light. I would suggest a fixture with two 150 watt HQI lamps, 10-14K. You will then be ready when you decide to do SPS corals. Do take a look at the HQI clamp-on fixture (HQI) available from www.drsfostersmith.com.> Thanks in advance. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> -Zach

SPS lighting 1/30/06 Crew- <Craig> Quick question: I am planning on putting some SPS about halfway up the rockwork in a 300 gallon tank (31" high). I am also planning on trying different lighting schemes throughout the tank. I would like to leave some recessed lighting on the ends so that private entreats exist for more reclusive fish to feel comfortable. Since I do not want the whole thing lit up like the midday sun, I am only planning on putting 400 watts of 20K metal halide on the middle third of the tank (a length of about 32"). If the SPS are put directly below the fixture 1-2ft deep, would this amount of light likely suffice? Let me know if this is ill-advised. <Sound be a pleasing effect, no worries my friend, sounds good.> Thanks as always, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Craig

Lighting A 29g For LPS/SPS - 01/21/06 Hello.... <<Howdy>> Thank you for all the advise and help. Don't know what I would do without your help. <<You're welcome>> Now to my question. <<Alrighty>> I have a 29g Tru-Vu that measures 30x12x18. I currently have LPS coral with no problems. I am running 2 65w PC's, but love SPS corals because of there beautiful colors and reef landscapes (don't we all). <<Mmm...>> What I want to know is, is there any SPS coral that thrive with PC lighting or upgrading to MH the only way to go? <<Many SPS would do fine in the upper third of your tank with your current lighting.>> Would I need to add more PC bulbs <<A third 65w PC could prove beneficial.>> or is MH recommended as the best option? <<Metal halide gives you more "bang for the buck," but understand that mixing animals with differing lighting requirements (LPS vs. SPS) has its own challenges. If all is going well now you might just want to try adding some frags in the top third of the water column and keep an eye out to see how they do.>> What size of MH bulb would you recommend for my size tank in wattage? I've heard of 175w and 250w. Would you recommend 1 or 2 MH bulbs if they are needed?... <<If you decide to go this route a single 150w DE 10000K pendant will work fine for your tank.>> I would really like to keep my PC's lighting because I don't have to worry about my water temp rising with them and it is a lot cheaper to add more PC's than buying a new MH lighting system and canopy. <<Then that is what you should do.>> If I do need MH how high should they be above my tank? <<8" - 12">> I tried to find the answers in your website but was unable to find the same question and answers for my same size tank. Thank you for all your help and advise once again! Julio

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