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FAQs Lighting for Marine Invertebrates 2

Related Articles: Lighting Marine Invertebrates, Coral Lighting: what we know and what we don't know (mostly the latter) by Sara Mavinkurve
Lighting Reef Systems: Considerations, Organisms, Goals and Costs by Bob Fenner, Acclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive Lighting, Anemone Lighting, Marine Light, & Lighting, Feeding Reef Invertebrates,
Technology: Putting on the Brakes:  How much is too much? By Tommy Dornhoffer,

Related FAQs: Lighting Marine Inverts 1, Lighting Marine Inverts 2, Lighting Marine Inverts 3, Lighting Lighting Marine Inverts 4, Lighting Marine Inverts 5, & & FAQs on Coral Lighting: Science/Application, Designs/Fixtures, Lamps/Bulbs, Quality, Duration & Intensity, Night-Time, Troubleshooting/Fixing, Makes/Models/Manufacturers, & Small System Lighting, Acclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive Lighting, LR Lighting, Marine System LightingFAQs 2, FAQs 3, FAQs 4, FAQs 5, Actinic Lighting, Metal Halide Lighting, Fluorescent Lighting, Compact Fluorescent LightingTridacnid ClamsLighting Tridacnid Clams Small System Lighting,

Remember... you're lighting all

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

Reef Lighting 9/15/07 Good afternoon, <Howdy> Haven't had to write in awhile so I hope all is well. <Is OK.> I have a quick lighting question. I'm setting up my 2nd reef and am looking to have a SPS dominated tank...with clams. I'm working with the 72 gallon bow. 4' x 21"tall x 17"(at the widest point). Its 12" at either end for the width. I might have ran into a problem with my lighting choice. Its the Hamilton Protostar HQI system. 2x 250 14k's with 2x96 actinics. I plan on using a deep sand bed(4") so that makes it even shallower, although the lighting will be 8'' above water level. I'll get to my point now. I tested out the system last night to make sure everything was working correctly. The light fixture was on the ground, facing up...so I knew it was going to be bright, but....IT'S VERY BRIGHT. <Oh yes.> I felt like I was INSIDE the sun. Did I over purchase on the lighting? <Got more than needed. You are more than likely going to have heat issues.> Is 692 watts for my size and depth tank too much? I choose <chose> 14k's because I knew I was dealing with a lot of wattage but.....too much? <Kelvin temperature has nothing to do with wattage.> I do wish to keep all the high light needing animals but that fixture pumped out a lot of light. Let me know what you guys think. <It's not too much light for the corals/clams, but too much light for the system you have without using a chiller, water temperatures will climb well into the high 80's if not higher. With 14K lamps, actinics aren't really needed. I would turn these on shortly before the halides go off and leave them on a half hour or so. Will be easier on the fish after the sun shuts off. I'm using two Hamilton 175 watt, 14K on a 5' x 18" deep tank and the hard corals are doing well under this lighting, but keep in mind I have no monti's, Acro's or clams at this time. My intention was to add another lamp if this wouldn't do the trick when these corals/clams are introduced.> Thanks for all the help past and present. <You're welcome, and do read here and linked files above: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Quick Lighting Question…Is This Too Much For My Reef? - 09/14/07 Good evening all. <<Greetings Garrett>> Haven't had to write in awhile, hope everything is well. <<Hmm…another rum and coke and all will be just peachy!>> Quick lighting question. <<Okay>> First off, I wish to have all high light needing animals. <<Well…that does simplify your lighting choices a bit…not having to try to balance requirements for a "mixed-bag">> SPS dominated with clams. <<Cool!>> I'm setting up my 2nd reef and might have ran into trouble with the lighting choice I made. <<Oh?>> I'm working with the 72 gallon bow front. 4'x 21'' deep x17'' (at the widest width). I intend to use a deep sand bed (4'') so that makes it even shallower. <<Excellent>> Now my lighting is the Hamilton Protostar 2x250w 14K with 2x 96w actinic. <<Ah yes, their HQI/DE fixture line>> To test the lights I put it together and turned on the system.....IT'S VERY BRIGHT. The room felt like it was the inside of the sun. The fixture was on its back on the ground with lights facing up so I expected it to be bright but.....Is 692 watts per gallon to much? <<…? I think you forgot to divide the rated gallons of the tank in to this number…comes to 9.6 watts per gallon…and even then, I wouldn't count the Actinics as these are for little more than aesthetics…that brings it down to 6.9 watts per gallon. And all this hocus-pocus lighting formulation aside, you did say you planned to keep organisms with high light requirements. Though I think you could get by with a couple 150w halides…this fixture will be fine>> The lighting will rest 8'' from the water above my canopy. <<Would be better if this was "variable," but will also likely be fine>> I choose the 14K's because I know I'm dealing with a lot of wattage but now I'm thinking it's too much wattage. What do you guys think? Am I okay in my choice or no? <<As stated>> Would it help to try out the Bare-Bottom tank method to give it extra depth? <<If it makes you feel better…but I don't think it is necessary>> Thanks again for all your help past and present. <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Mixed Reef…Metal Halides, Too Much Light? - 09/09/07 Hello there. <<Howdy Justin>> I have a 75 gallon reef with softies and LPS. It has been running under 260W of PC. I have been interested in upgrading to a 120 gallon tank and keeping a few clams. <<I see>> My interest peeked when I recently came across a free MH retrofit kit (2-250 HQI). <<Free? …Neat!>> I jumped at the opportunity and eagerly placed the system over my current set-up. <<Mmm, and acclimating your livestock to the new/increased lighting…hopefully>> I acclimated using your site's suggested screen method to my best understanding of the procedure. <<Ah…good>> It has been about 2 months since the first full lighting day and many of my corals (bubble, star polyps, and candy cane) have not returned to their previous glory. <<Hmm…are possibly receiving much more light than they need/want>> Is this lighting ever going to work for these or other soft and LPS type corals (even in the 120 perhaps)? <<Increased distance/water depth between the malaffected corals and the lights may well help/make a difference>> Or would you suggest one of the following: 1. Give up the softies <<Not necessary…but you do need to find them a "place" in the system where they are "comfortable">> 2. Go back to PC. Keeping in mind that there are plans for a 120 gallon upgrade. <<Again, not necessary...with some attention to where the corals are placed in relation to the lighting>> Sorry about the long story, but I have become indecisive and need guidance in making this tough but crucial decision for my reef. <<Metal halide is my preferred lighting source for most any marine system…better aesthetics, greater flexibility, more bang for the buck…in my humble opinion. A few things you can do here are… increase the height of the lights above the water… move the more sensitive/less light requiring species to the bottom of the tank… increase the Kelvin temperature of the bulbs. Any/all of these will reduce the Photosynthetically Available Radiation <PAR> reaching the corals>> Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with a fellow hobbyist. <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Reef lighting upgrade  - 09/05/07 Hi, I have 200G aquarium (72" x 24" x 24") and a lighting unit MH light & T5, 3 - 150W MH and 8 - 39 W Actinic T5 (the unit is made by Current - Outer Orbit model). I have couple clams and some LPS and SPS. I would like to add some more clams and SPS into my tank. I was recommended by few people to upgrade my MH to 3-250W MH. However, it is not economically to completely replace all of the MH ballasts and rewire (because all ballast are built internal inside the unit). I have some questions: 1- Can I add in one or two more 150W MH and be able achieve the same purpose without replace the whole unit? <Probably (more or less). But if you just want to keep more of the same kinds of animals you already have, and if the ones you have are doing well, why do you need more light?> 2- Does two 150 W MH combined give the same result as a 300W MH? <I'm going to punish you for asking this question by giving you a very long, detailed explanation of why it's not a good question. First, recall high school physics: power is energy per unit time. When we're talking about light, we have radiant energy per unit time or "radiant power." Radiant power can be measured in watts (SI units). But don't confuse this with the wattage of a lighting unit. When we say a light fixture is "250 watt" we're talking about how much power the fixture sucks out of the wall, not how much it produces. Because no lighting unit is 100% efficient, radiant power produced will be substantially less than electrical power used (efficiency depends on a lot of different things). In any case, a light fixture produces a certain amount of radiant power. That radiant power can produce all kinds of light (not just visible light- also UV light, which is why you need a UV filter). Visible light is measured in lumens and includes light of wavelengths (in air) from 400 to 700 nm. Light which can be used for photosynthesis is PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation). This is why hobbyists like to talk about PAR so much. However, all this excitement over PAR meters may be a bit premature. PAR meters typically measure the amount of light with wavelengths between 400nm and 700 nm. Which means they're little more than fancy Lux meters. The truth is that which light wavelengths are actually used for photosynthesis is determined by the particular pigments utilized by the organism. Most photosynthesizing organisms use "chlorophyll a" which uses light of the blue and red wavelengths (recall that this is why grass is green). But photosynthesizing marine organisms can also have other chlorophylls. For example, the zooxanthellae in Tridacna clams have chlorophyll c which is a mix of chlorophyll c1 (found in brown marine algaes among other things) and chlorophyll c2 (found in dinoflagellates). Chlorophyll c pretty much only uses light of wavelengths ranging between 400 and 450nm (i.e. blue light). That makes perfect sense, right? Red light doesn't penetrate water very well at all, but blue light does. Now, you've asked me if two 150 W MH combined give the "same result" as a 300W MH. Result in terms of efficiency? radiant power? visible light? PAR? blue light? All these things depend on more than just the wattages of the fixtures.> Do 150 W and 300W penetrate the same through the water? <All else being equal, obviously the 300w will produce more light of all kinds, and thus more light which can reach the bottom of the tank. Some light from the 150w will also reach the bottom of the tank, just not as much as from the 300w (again, all else being equal). Do a search of WWM for lighting FAQs and check out some of the articles written by Sanjay Joshi comparing the outputs of different types, brands and wattages of MH bulbs.> I have another question. My calcium level is around 400 - 420 ppm. I recently bought a Xenia (pumping type) but it seems not doing well and extracted much smaller. Can Xenia tolerate high calcium and strong lighting like clam or SPS? <Yes, they can and do. However, xenia tend not to travel well. If everything else in your tank is doing well, just wait and see if it gets any better.> Thank for your help! <De nada, Sara M.> Best regards,
Re: reef lighting upgrade
 9/6/07 Sara, thanks for your answers and good detail explanation. <My pleasure.> Just one correction, my tank dimensions: 84"x24"x24". <Hmm... that's a long tank. If you were just starting out, I'd suggest you have one MH for every 2ft of tank length (that would be 3 or 4 fixtures in your case). And I'd tell you that 150w HQI MH lights (with good reflectors) should be enough for just about any kind of commonly kept reef animal. However, given what I've explained in the previous email, it's really up to you. I think if you just added one more 150w HQI MH you'd be in good shape to keep more of the same animals you're already keeping.> Best regards, Binh Nguyen <Best, Sara M.>

Upgrade lighting question, SW reef   8/28/07 I currently have a 65 gallon tank. 36 in. long x 24 in. deep x 18 in. wide. My lighting is as follows: 2 96x2 power compacts (both incorporating 1 10,000K and 1 actinic) equaling 384 watts. My salinity is 1.023, PH is 8.3, dKh is 12, calcium is 460, nitrate 20, nitrite 0, ammonia 0. I house zoanthids, SPS (green birdsnest, pink/peach birdsnest), LPS (Micromussa, Blasto, candy cane, Alveopora, hammer, sun coral), and a variety of mushrooms and reef safe fish. I want to upgrade my lights to T5 lighting, because I don't feel like I need halides for the lack of SPS corals such as Acropora, etc., that and I don't feel like dealing with the heat issues. I've been looking into getting Tek lighting. At my local store, they suggested the 36 in. light with 4 bulbs for the corals I have in my tank. Which would mean 4x39 watt T5 equaling 156 total watts or around 2.4 watts per gallon. I understand that watts per gallon are a rule of thumb, but will this be enough light to make my corals happy? <Mmm, I am concerned re the depth of this tank... principally with the SPS...> And with the reflectors, do these make it so that the watts of the bulbs work even higher than rated? <Mmm, to some degree one can give "more" credence to lighting on the basis of reflectors... and a "T-5" watt is better than other fluorescents... but... I would not likely make this lighting switch here... But try switching out at least one of the actinics for another "white" and at least one (or two...) of the white 10Ks for a 14K...> I am worried that this light might not be sufficient for my corals needs. What type of Tek lighting would you suggest as another opinion. I want to upgrade the lighting because I am not getting the color I want out of my corals. The local store, where I buy my corals from, use T5 lighting and I bring back colorful corals only to find out that they don't shine in my tank like they do in theirs. <Predictably> Also, I recently ditched the bioballs out of my sump and installed a new protein skimmer. I upgraded to the Euroreef RS-80. Skimmer produces tons of bubbles, but I have a problem adjusting the level of the skimmer for it to work effectively. I understand the issue of a dry skim, but I'm having a problem actually producing it. <You may not have much to skim... but I would adjust the height of the water in the contactor to an inch or so below the collecting cup> Where should the level of the bubbles be or end up in the collecting tube. i.e. should they end in the shaft going up to the collection cup or just under the overflow into the collection cup. <The water itself is a better measure... as the make-up of the foam changes with feeding et al.> As evaporation happens in the tank the bubble level of the skimmer drops, making me check the skimmer daily to see bubble level and adjust accordingly. Besides the use of a top off system, any other way I can make the skimmer level constant? <The adjustment of the input, return...> I've read through the articles on the site and haven't really found the specific answer I have been looking for. Love the site, hope you can help me with what probably seems like a simple issue. Learning is never over. <Mmm, you've gone to Euro-reef's site? Perhaps a call to their help desk... Bob Fenner>

Newbie. Reef Set-up gen., lighting   8/28/07 Hello - I am new to the saltwater aquarium hobby/habit & I don't want to have too many purchase regrets. We purchased a 155g glass bow front aquarium (22" deep). We also purchased a heater to use until the system is set up & possibly requiring a chiller. We also have the sump that the store recommended, but don't plan to use any bioballs <smart move for a reef tank> (prefer to go w/ a more natural approach w/ live rock & what not). I don't yet have the skimmer, but leaning toward the AquaC EV240 (is there a more efficient brand?). <Like most the crew, I love Aqua C skimmers. I'm not sure if there's a more efficient brand out there some where, but I can pretty much guarantee you won't regret purchasing an Aqua C.> Is that an appropriate size to accommodate whatever we put in as pets? <Like any other filter type, the more fish you have and the bigger the tank, the bigger the skimmer you'll want to have. I think the EV240 should be fine.> My other question is for the lighting. I have been searching & can't seem to be able to find out if Metal Halide bulbs can be put on a dimmer switch. <Nope, they can't. But you can raise and lower the light. Raising the light even just an inch or two can make a significant difference in how much light gets into the tank.> I'm asking simply because I was going to go w/ the SunPod 72" (3x250w) or 2 - 36", but I won't likely need that much wattage right away. We are not 100% certain what all we want for "pets", but leaning toward an anemone & clown w/ coral (I heard coral can't be too close to the anemone) & whatever is able to be housed happily together. We want lots of color (who doesn't) & preferably a few uncommon & interesting looking fish. <Most anemones prefer more light over less light. That said, two 250w DE MH lights should be plenty (especially if you go with lower K rating bulbs.)> I realize we should choose the critters first, but isn't there a way of just "calming" a fixture down? <Yep, by raising it farther above the tank.> I don't want to have to buy all my little pals or choose them right now. I'm one of those odd people that like to go slowly w/ choosing a pet. <wise> They're an expensive commitment that I don't want to mess up. <Expensive to you, expensive for to environment, expensive to our collective karma… > People say the light is pretty much the last thing to purchase, but I don't want to go months w/ a boring tank or waste money on a "temporary" light. I don't like going small & working my way up. I don't want to "upgrade" later. I really don't want my tank to be limited by the type of lighting I have. The more FAQ's I read the more confused I get. <This is because reef tank set ups are as unique as the people who own them. It's difficult (if not impossible) to have standard answers to FAQ that always apply to everyone.> Am I asking too much or can you guide me to the type of light fixture that can accommodate my wishy washy decisions? I'd prefer energy efficient, but that seems quite laughable in this hobby. <Indeed… at least when it comes to lighting.> Your help would be greatly appreciated. <Generally, it's easier to tame too much lighting than to add more to insufficient lighting. But again, I doubt you'd absolutely need 3 double-ended 250w metal halides no matter what you plan to keep. You should have plenty of light with two (for just about anything). But if you really want the three bulb fixture, you could always raise the light higher up or leave one of the bulbs out.> - - - - Lost in a Sea of Nothing <Best, Sara M.>

Reef Lighting 8/3/07 How are the masters of reefing doing today? <I'm doing well, but not quite a master.> I know, another lighting question. There is a lot to know, read, and hard to suggest what anybody should do. However I am looking for a more tailored answer to exactly what my set up is going to be. And since you guys have been here for me through my 46 gallon reef, I thought I could come to you again. <We are here to help.> I am planning to upgrade to a 72 gallon bow front reef. I will be using 20 lbs of cured live rock that has been in my 46 for two months now. Of course I will need to purchase more. I have been wanting to go with HQI's for quite some time now. I have the okay from the girlfriend as well....she LOVES those clams. Anyways, just want to run my thoughts by you. the tank is 19.5 inches deep. Mostly I've done deep sand beds but am going to try a no deeper that 1 inch bed this time. Keep it completely aerobic. <Can be less trouble.> Controversy in of it self I know. So...I can plan on needing to get sufficient light 18.5 inch's deep but want to keep the stonies, clams, all the great "high light needing" animals. My plan is the Coralife 48' 2x150 HQI metal halides w/ 2x96 actinics. whatcha' think? Do I need the 250's or are the 150's good. Def. want that shimmer to be there. <Would be a good choice for your tank, and sufficient.> Also....want to keep zoo's and mushrooms so I don't want to super nova the tank. I think its a good balance for the what the clams and stony's would need but also allowing me to have the lower lever zoo's and mushies. <Yes.> Also, let me know if <you like> like a different company <other> than Coralife. I know you guys like Aqua C Remora more than most companies for protein skimmers and that's why I purchased one. Very happy with it, you guys know what your talking about. Let me know, you guys rock!!! PS. tried spell checking, it just blanks the whole page, this is the fourth time I've wrote this darn thing. Sorry. <Is fine. You may want to look at the line Current offers. More reasonably priced than Coralife. James (Salty Dog)>

New marine aquarium advice 8/1/07Hi Crew, <Alex> I've used your advice and information many times with my current 4X1.5X1.5ft marine aquarium and am very grateful for all your efforts. Well, it's now time to seek your help again as I'm upgrading to a 4(l) X 2(w) X 2.5(h) ft tank, with a 3X1.5X1.5ft sump. I plan to keep my existing fish (few damsels, a tang, a Hawkfish) and corals (3 soft/leathers). <Sounds good> I have a few main questions as follows: 1. Lighting: I can either go with 6 X 54W T5 tubes. (2 x 10K, 2 x 20K, 2 actinics). OR for similar wattage (therefore power bills) I can go with 2 X 175 metal halides @ 15000K. I'm after a bright white look with a hint of blue. What I'm really after is human perceived brightness, so whichever one that will intensify the color of my fish/corals is more ideal. Also given that my new tank will be 30inches tall, which one will penetrate deeper to the bottom. Please recommend which one to be more brighter for human eyes, and also which one to be more beneficial for coral life. <The MHs hands down... I would definitely go with the latter> 2. I'm unsure about how powerful I should go with my sump return pump. I am keen on getting a Laguna Maxflo 7500 (7500lph). As there will be only one return pipe from the sump to the main tank (coming from a rear top corner), is this too much flow in one direction? <Mmm, yes... I'd for sure split this up... with a manifold... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/pbh2oret.htm and the linked files above> I plan to only include one other circulation pump in my main tank which will be a Tunze Stream Kit (2500-7000lph) - apparently its supposed to create pulse/wave like flows. What are your thoughts on this circulation system plan? <Is a good one> 3. What corals will I be limited to with this new configuration? <Just by crowding, allelopathy...> Thanks for your time and very much appreciate your input. Cheers mate! Alex (from down under) <BobF, in HI presently, pulling weeds>

External Light   6/25/07 Good day folks, I have a question about diurnal cycles and the influence of external light sources. We're considering a very large reef tank with intense metal halide lighting. It will be in a high traffic area where the external (room) lighting might be running 24 hours. Is this a problem for reef inhabitants? <Mmmm, not likely. It's actually quite bright in many places in the tropics most nights> I know most animals have a diurnal cycle and the lack of any sort of nighttime might be stressful. This seems like something that will adversely affect the corals more so than the fish. Do you think the lack of darkness will also have some sort of effect on water chemistry parameters, such as pH? <Again... not plausibly... There are photo-adaptive behaviors, mechanisms that will "make do" here> I appreciate any thoughts you might have on the subject or directions on where to get more info. Thanks, Nic <Bob Fenner> "It's better to have had your wish than to have wished you had" <Mmm, not in my knowledge, value frame of reference... Best to know oneself, seek and learn ones destiny (ongoing) and work toward ones and others wishes>

Flexible" Reef Lighting Setup (Is There Really Such a Thing?!)- 05/04/07 Hi Guys! Greetings from Manila, Jason here again.  Hope you guys are still doing well! <<Howdy Jason, Eric here from South Carolina...still doing fine thanks>> Been some time since I've contacted you last. <<Hey, weren't you here just last week? [grin]>> I'm thinking about my lighting setup.  I know for the first 2-3 months, I will be doing FOWLR only till my tank is stable. <<Hmm...actually, if you are planning to "go reef" the addition of a few hardy corals early on after the tank is cycled can help "balance" as the corals will utilize the nutrients/nitrogenous compounds present in the system>> Then I will be going Zoa, and either softy or LPS.  I might go SPS, but I can't decide yet! <<Am sure you are aware that lighting is only a small part of the equation and these decisions are best made "ahead" of this stage with equipment/system design chosen/decided accordingly>> That's why I am looking for something that will be flexible enough in lighting. <<No "one" lighting option suits all, but my standard response for any reef setup with the exception of very deep biotope systems is...go with metal halide lighting.  It is my opinion that this lighting provides the most "bang for the buck" and is quite "flexible" through selection of wattage and Kelvin temperature, as well as the adjustment of position/height/distance from the water/organisms>> My tank will be 18"Tall X 24"Wide X 36"Long.  The current setup I'm looking at (because HO end caps are readily available in my location) is: 6 39Watt T5s (35" with end caps already so it would fit my 36" canopy) -2 Super Actinic -2 Sunpro -2 Oceanpro Can I get away with less? Jason <<I do like the T5 technology...but what you can "get away with" will depend on the organisms you keep...at any rate, the six-bulb T5 setup should prove quite "flexible" for this tank.  Eric Russell>>
Re: "Flexible" Reef Lighting Setup (Is There Really Such  - 5/5/07
a Thing?!)- 05/06/07 Hi guys, I have a reply on your comments... <Okey-Dokey...for clarity my replies this go will be in single carrots <> > "<<Hey, weren't you here just last week? [grin]>>" You got me!  I just always run into more questions :) <Not a problem...we're here to help> "<<Hmm...actually, if you are planning to "go reef" the addition of a few hardy corals early on after the tank is cycled can help "balance" as the corals will utilize the nutrients/nitrogenous compounds present in the system>>" Ok, I haven't looked into the coral FAQs about this yet...which hardy corals are good for the initial introduction/end of the cycle? <That depends on what you plan to keep...as of our last exchange you still hadn't decided.  But obtaining second- or third-generation captive specimens for their increased hardiness/tolerance to captive conditions is a good start, regardless of species> "<<No "one" lighting option suits all, but my standard response for any reef setup with the exception of very deep biotope systems is...go with metal halide lighting.  It is my opinion that this lighting provides the most "bang for the buck" and is quite "flexible" through selection of wattage and Kelvin temperature, as well as the adjustment of position/height/distance from the water/organisms>>" I would go MH but two reasons why I'm leaning away...major one is price.  I believe the prices of where I am at, MH is more expensive than HO, this is in terms of electricity and equipment.  The second is heat.  The ambient temperature of my tank room is not cool as it is and I am trying to minimize all heat issues. <I see...  The initial expense of MH is more yes (is the same here in the states), but as for electrical consumption, the six-bulb T5 setup you described is only using marginally less power than a two bulb 150w MH setup, and more than a twin 70w MH setup.  As far as heat buildup goes, this can be a problem but is often easily handled with a small desktop fan mounted to blow across the surface of the tank for evaporative cooling> "<<I do like the T5 technology...but what you can "get away with" will depend on the organisms you keep...at any rate, the six-bulb T5 setup should prove quite "flexible" for this tank>>" I've read the Lighting article and how it says that using Non-Aquarium Fluorescent lights "will not support hermatypic life". <Mmm...I guess that would depend on the definition of "Non-Aquarium."  Normal-output fluorescent lighting can be used if enough intensity required of the organisms kept can be made available and if the bulbs are of a "daylight" spectrum (5000K-6500K).  My very first reef tank was "powered" with 4' T12 40w fluorescent bulbs> However, I've found someone that uses around 10 bulbs .. 24W each, rated at 6500K. <Indeed> These are the bulbs that you would find in your hardware store, using 24W, but outputting more than 100W of light. <Not "each" bulb, but in concert> He also has a 36w 10k, and a 36w Actinic.  And his tank species are thriving, even his SPS Acropora. <Yes...can be done> I am leaning towards this because of the price, and because he has tested the system and works.  Have you seen or heard of otherwise? Jason <There's no reason you shouldn't give it a try if you wish.  As stated earlier, I did accomplish something similar by cramming as many 40w fluorescent bulbs as I could fit over a custom 80g tank with my first reef setup while living in England in the late eighties.  It "can" be done with proper consideration to selection/feeding/placement of organisms...but given today's options, metal halide is still "my" preferred choice.  EricR>

Equipment Selection, reef  5/2/07 Hi, <Hello Ron> Just bought a Oceanic reef ready 56 gallon tank, and PM sump.   I have a very successful 26 gallon nano cube loaded with SPS growing out of the tank, which is why I purchased the new system.  This size will fit my budget right now.  I have been keeping small reefs for 4 years now... What lighting should I use?  Are 2 250 watt HQI Aqua Medics ok? <Two 150 watt HQI's would do the trick.> What skimmer?  Aqua C 120 or 180, or PM1 or 2?? <My choice would be the Aqua C 120.> Thanks for your time... <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re:  Equipment Selection, reef... lighting  5/3/07
Only 150's for SPS?? <That provides 5.3 watts per gallon of very intense lighting, should be no problems.  I'm running one 150HQI on a 40 tall with good success.> My electric bill will love you.  I figured to go with the 250's for color and growth? <The wattage doesn't have much to do with color, it is the Kelvin temperature.  I'd go with 14K lamps.  Will give you decent color with a natural look.> If I get the bigger skimmer will it be to much? <Nope, no such thing as overskimming.  If you plan on going to a larger tank later, it will be one less piece of equipment you will need to upgrade.> I want to eventually upgrade to a 120 down the road, and will need a bigger one then... <I like the Coralife clip on HQI fixtures.  Sure makes working on the tank easier...no hoods to take off and no noisy fans.  There is a fan in the Coralife unit, but I've never heard it yet. Nice thing here is that if you go to a larger tank you just buy an additional unit, no need to replace the entire hood.  Another nice point is that they only run about $230 each with lamp/fan. If wife/aesthetics are a problem, then this would not be for you.> Thanks. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Ronnie
Re:  Equipment Selection... reef lighting, HQIs?  5/11/07
Hey Salty Dog, thanks so far!~ <You're welcome, and sorry for the delay in responding.  Have been very busy lately.> A friend gave me 2 250watt HQI Aqua Medic pendants, and I replaced the inserts where the bulbs slide into, since they broke... Would it be ok to use these since they were sort of free??  Or is it overkill?  I do have a Pacific Coast 1/4 horse Chiller. <By all means, no overkill here, was thinking you would be purchasing and my suggestion was for what would be adequate. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting Choices, Confusion.........  4/26/07 I have a 120 gal. 1/4 cylinder acrylic tank - 36" sides/rounded front/30" deep and a short 7" canopy. <Neat.> The tank came with 3 96W power compact quad bulbs - 10K/Actinic 50/50 -  288W total. <Not my first choice but can work in certain situations.> I was told numerous times this was not enough for a reef <Depends on hat kind of reef tank you want, what the targeted photosynthetic animals are.  I personally am not a fan of PC's...the bent back design literally makes them heat themselves up, imparting a lot of heat on to the tank as well as decreasing the life of the bulb.  The design also prohibits the usage of "more" effective reflectors, like those paired with T-5 HO's.> tank so I added a  14K 150W HQI <You already had a lot "blue" light with the 50/50 PC's, I would have rather seen a 6500k or 10,000k bulb used here.> in the center of the canopy with PC bulbs arranged around it in a   triangle (to fit canopy). This gives me 438W total. Does the actinic on PC 50/50  bulbs count? <As far as useable light, by photosynthetic organisms...typically  not...there are exceptions though.> The color of the corals I have brought home were not as bright as in the  stores, so I have added one 65W 03' and one 65W blue actinic down the back side  of the canopy. This seems to bring out the colors better. Does it matter 03 vs. blue or mixed? <Actinic lighting is mostly for aesthetics...it may look better to you but it's not much in the way of useable/intensity of the lighting.> Now total wattage is 568. Is this good enough? <Well typically you don't measure lighting by wattage...too many variables here, measure it my PAR rating.> I am trying to grow Acropora   as well as LPS, soft and hard corals, mushrooms, zoo's, etc. <I wouldn't mix all of those long-term. Furthermore I would consider changing the MH bulb to at least a 10,000k bulb and some of those PC's from actinic to 6500k or 10000k.> I have considered trashing the PC's and going with HQI and actinic <Actinic isn't a type of lighting system, it usually refers to a bluer, higher Kelvin temperature bulb...so I'm not sure what you mean by that.> but with lights just 4" or so off top of tank (6"-7" off water), I'm wary. <You already have MH on the tank correct, the HQI (synonymous with DBL ended MH now...) won't have much more of an impact, heat wise.> If I were to go HQI, what wattage/Kelvin range would you suggest and how   many? <Well I too am wary about using them in such a short canopy.  But if you do go that route, I'd go with at least 2, 250 watt bulbs...because you have quite a deep tank. You already have my thoughts on Kelvin ratings.  Other than that I think you should indulge on some reading...you may find it enlightening (funny, huh?). Seriously, please look into Dr. Sanjay Joshi's articles as well as the readings here on WWM, it will alleviate some of your confusion.> Thanks, <Welcome.> Jones <Adam J.>

Reef Lighting 4/16/07 Dear WWM, <Tony> I am in the process of setting up a 5ft reef tank, I have a 5ft halide with three 150w 14k bulbs in it ready to go but I also have a 4ft twin halide unit with 14k bulbs. I was wondering by combining the two over the tank, what would be the best combination of bulbs? I was thinking three 14ks and two 6500k bulbs to give as broad a spectrum as possible, or would I be better of just using 14k bulbs in both units? <If it were mine, I'd use the three 150watt HQI's, would not use the 6500K's unless you prefer to bring out more color in the animals.> Many thanks in advance, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Tony.
Re:  Reef Lighting 4/17/07
Thanks for the quick response, <You're welcome.> I'll try both ways, but for me, reef keeping is about making their home as natural as possible, it's my recreation of the ocean, not a painting (although my current reef is the most beautiful thing I have, barring the misses hehe). <I really like the rippling effect created by MH/HQI.  Using PC's etc, takes away most of the effect.> Thanks again and keep up the fantastic work your doing, oh, and when she's up and running, I'll drop you a photo. ;o) <Great, and next time you query, please cap what needs to be capped.  Saves us much time if we do not have to edit punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc.  James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting, Reef    3/31/07 Ok, I have not been a big fan of WetWebMedia, that is until today. I usually find combing through the vast numbers of FAQ's a little daunting maybe, and prefer to use something like 3reef to quickly search for what im <im?> after. <To each their own... we do have indices, a search tool...> Anyway, my wife has always (well at least since my drug (prescription) induced aquarium purchase some 12 months ago) <Heeeee! Oh, sorry> tried to convince me that WWM is a great resource. Well I guess I have been convinced. <Well... about time!> I am awaiting the delivery of my 230G aquarium, and as so I am looking to see how to best spend my money. My current tank and AGA 95-wave (25" deep) has a T5HO 6-bulb TekLight, with 2 aquablue+, 2 actinic +, and two 6500K, I use the actinic + for 45 min dusk/dawn. I am happy with the "look" of the tank and the inhabitants seem to be doing very well. I have several SPS (Monti, across, caps) that are spreading and growing at a surprisingly good rate, I have mushrooms, and Heliofungia on the sandbed and they are doing great too. So here comes the question, why fix something that isn't broke? <How many times have we stated thus?> Well I had an impulse purchase of a Naso tang, that is obviously eager to stretch its fins out a little , hence the new tank. The new tank is only 24" deep, w/o sand bed (probably going with a 2-3 inch sandbed) so that would leave about 22" of light penetration. I would really like halides as I do like the shimmer effect. I am still going for the mixed garden reef, putting low light creatures crevices/in caves, etc. so initially I was going to go with 3 175 MH and a couple of T5HO for "actinicness", after reading several articles, I am now thinking about maybe only lighting 2/3 of the tank with MH and just having T5's on the other 1/3 for the low light critters. <Sounds good... I like this approach for a few reasons... some of them aesthetic only...> Would this work? I.e. having clams on the right hand side of the tank under the halides, and then helio's on the left side under t5's? <Okay!> Like I said I have maybe spent about two hours (don't tell the boss) reading thought WWM articles today and found it very interesting, but not quite answered the question at hand. I appreciate your response. BTW, WWM is now bookmarked in internet explorer J Olly <I do think this lighting arrangement not only prudent for the life you describe, but spectacular in providing contrast... Bob Fenner, WWM common progenitor>
Re: Lighting   4/2/07
Mr. Fenner, thanks for your quick and helpful reply.  I am honored to have direct communication with you.  As everyone who participates in your wonderful site; I am a huge fan of your book.  Anyway, enough with the praise. <Heeeee! Won't be able to fit my cap on!> A couple of answers, some clarification, and as always more questions. When  you say you would switch out for more "white" are you recommending that I go with 4-65 Watt 10k bulbs and no actinics? <Mmm, yes... at most I would use one actinic lamp... for looks only> As for the pH, I made a typo.  It is typically 8.0 - 8.2, but as I understand it still a little low. <This is fine, really> I have recently began feeding this colony usually in the morning or middle of the night when the feeding tentacles are out.  I target them with Frozen Cyclops by San Francisco Bay brand using a turkey baster.  I do believe this has been helping tremendously.  As for the addition of the additional lights, are you saying, that I do not need to add it if I switch out to more "white" bulbs, providing proper nutrition, and good water chemistry? <Is a possibility... though more lumens/intensity would be of benefit here as well> As always, thanks for all your time help and contribution to our world. Charles <A pleasure to share my friend. BobF>  

Reef Lighting 3/12/07 Hello All, <Hello Barry> I've been reading your Q&A's for some time now and it has been quite enlightening (pardon the pun). Here we go… I have only been in the hobby for about 2 years now but as so many others could attest, it is now my addiction. I started out with a 55gal FOWLR setup but last Aug jumped up to a 110gal Reef Tank w/30 gal sump (See attached photo) and a ? hp chiller. I've been using a Catalina Aquarium Retro Fixture in my hood. 2x250 20k AB HQI's and believe it or not 2x125 PC's 1-50/50 and 1-420nm. <Wowsie.> I've had some problems with the fixture itself. The brackets that hold the PC's have broken off and the fixture itself gets quite hot. <Heat fatigue.> I've installed 4 - 80mm fans in the hood and that has helped a lot with the heat displacement inside the hood and my water temp maintains at about 79 degrees. My wife wants the hood so it has to stay:-)). The other night I smelled something burning and it turns out that one of the PC ballasts had burned out. At this point I'm afraid of what else might burn out so I've looked in to the Aqua Medic Ocean Light T5-MH combo and the Maristar HQI T5 Combo. Beside the price…can you help me out with the details? <Not familiar with these brands.> Will one run cooler under the hood? Better Ballasts? <Is best to have a lighting system with remote ballasts that you can place in the cabinet.> Also, for my setup what Kelvin ratings would you recommend? <I like 14K myself.  Find that actinics aren't necessary in this regard. I think an ideal fixture for your set-up would be three 150HQI's, no PC's. Check out etailers such as Foster & Smith, Premium Aquatics, Champion Supply, etc.> Thanks so much,
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)

Re:  Reef Lighting 3/13/07 Just to clarify in case someone was thinking of using Catalina Aquarium Retro's, the brackets that broke, broke before the fixture was even used. <Thank you for the input.> I decided to go with the Maristar 48" unit. 2x250 HQI's and 2x54watt T5's. With this configuration, what Kelvin ratings would you recommend? <If it were me, I'd still go with 14K halides and true actinics for the T5's, although it isn't necessary for life when using the 14K's, I would use as a transition/calming effect when the halides go out.  What I am implying is to turn the T5's on an hour before the halides go off, then the T5's can turn off at your discretion.  James (Salty Dog)> - Barry

The Ubiquitous "What Lighting Is Best For My Reef Tank?" Question - 02/23/07 Mr. Fenner, <<Is Eric with you this morning>> Thank you for running the most informative website I have ever been to! <<We're pleased you feel this way>> This is more than a hobby to me, and there are no other websites I trust in; you all have always "been there" for me in my best and worst aquarium moments.  I really appreciate every crew member who gives back to our community by volunteering.  You all are an inspiration and a "voice" of truth. <<Thank you for the kind words>> All right...on to my question.  I built a custom plywood tank, and the dimensions are 96"Lx18"Hx12"D (around 90 gallons empty) with 1/4" glass front. <<Ah yes...I see the photo>> Considering the dimensions, what lighting would be ideal for each "level" of care: live rock, soft corals, LPS, SPS, clams and anemones? <<Must ask...where do you plan to place these?...with all those "fake" corals already in the tank>> Is that a horrible way of asking for lighting advice? <<A bit nebulous maybe.  If I interpret correctly, you're asking what lighting would be best for each "type/style" of reef tank just listed>> If you had my tank, what lighting would you use for each "level?" <<With out a doubt, my personal preference for "any" reef system is metal halide lighting.  This type lighting provides the most bang-for-the-buck in my opinion...and can be moderated (wattage selection, bulb type, Kelvin temperature, distance from the water's surface, etc.) to suit any environment.  I do hope you will be more "specialized" re your Family/Genera/Species selection where your corals/inverts are concerned...and then select the specifics of your lighting based on their needs/requirements>> I hope this question can be answered with ease by you all. <<Is much a matter of opinion>> I have asked many friends who are reef keepers, yet they all have many different answers. <<My case in point>> So, I will ask and adhere to the advice of Mr. Fenner or any other crew member that has the answer to my concerns. <<Would like to state...it is best to research/gather information from a number of "different" sources and use your own good judgment to make a decision.  Do please have a read through our lighting articles/FAQs if you have not done so already>> On a side note, how "should" we conscientious aquarium keepers correctly label dimensions in order?  I notice that there are several variations: LxWxH, LxDxH, LxHxD, LxWxD, etc.   I know this is not a major issue, but it would be nice if there was a written standard for labeling dimensions. <<No "written" standard as I am aware...and when the dimension is "labeled" as you did it is of no consequence...but for arguments sake, I believe "LxHxD" to be "common" among many authors>> I wish you all the best, and hope all your aquariums flourish. <<And to you in kind>> Thank you again for your continuous guidance and sharing your personal knowledge and experiences.   <<Is truly my (our) pleasure>>   Respectfully submitted, Jason Volpi Summerville , SC <<Ah!  Just down the road...  Regards, Eric Russell...in Columbia>>
Re: The Ubiquitous "What Lighting Is Best For My Reef Tank?" Question - 02/24/07
Eric, <<Hello Jason>> Thank you for your prompt response. <<Quite welcome>> I see that you do not believe "fake" and living corals can live together in harmony (you may dislike them completely)...ha ha. <<Sorry mate...but yes, I do consider them rather "cheesy" and on the same level as "typical" aquarium ornaments (castle ruins, wrecked planes, bubbling treasure chests, etc., etc.).  I suppose I've become a bit of a "snob" re the items.  But hey, whatever floats your boat! [grin]>> You guys always have some witty responses. <<Ah yes...though some might describe them as just "snide remarks" at times [grin]>> For now, I am happy (well, my wife is) with the coral replicas, yet I know in the future I will want to care for living corals. <<Mmm...helps to keep the significant-other "happy" I reckon>> The reason I asked what lighting I should consider, while omitting the laundry list of details (i.e. specific bio-types), was because I have already researched (hearing/reading many sources) reef setups and what all is required/recommended, and I do not want to purchase more/less lighting than I need. <<I see...then you must be aware that most anyone will tell you to pick the animals you want to first, then research/obtain lighting that "best" suits their needs>> There is not a specific bio-type I would like to care for. <<...?>> As with many others, I would like to keep a mixture of corals/inverts, from polyps and soft corals to LPS and SPS corals. <<Ah yes, the highly popular if not so easily maintained "garden variety" reef tank>> I know that more information would be required in order to choose the better lighting choice. <<Actually, my choice/suggestion would still be metal halide lighting>> I was just hoping that there were minimum and maximum light requirements for keeping the least/most light-loving corals and inverts in my tank, considering the dimensions. <<With the garden reef you will need to be able to provide for the most light-demanding species present...while using careful placement/shading techniques in an attempt to prevent excessive photo-saturation of the less light-demanding species>> I really do understand that corals and inverts are from the ocean, thrive at different depths, have many different lighting, feeding and other requirements, etc., and we caregivers can only attempt to give these creatures as good a life as they may/could have had in the ocean. <<Then you must surely realize the ambiguity of the question>> Ultimately, I need lighting that will enable these creatures to thrive: (examples only) Ricordea Mushrooms, Soft Corals, Green Star Polyps, Gorgonians, Torch Coral, Acropora, and an Anemone. <<Ahh...but it just isn't that simple my friend>> I know, I know, there is no 'Easy' button, but there has to be One lighting option that stands out above the rest as being the better choice for my situation. <<Only in "my" opinion...metal halide>> Phew...lighting concerns are giving me a headache...and my crying is doing is the same to you I'm sure. <<Nah...no worries mate>> Eric, thank you very much for your assistance.   <<A pleasure to share Jason>>    Take care, Jason <<Regards, EricR>>

Lighting for a Custom Tank   2/24/07    Mr. Fenner,   <Jason>   Thank you for running the most informative website I have ever been to! <Wowzah! High praise indeed> This is more than a hobby to me, and there are no other websites I trust in; you all have always "been there" for me in my best and worst aquarium moments.  I really appreciate every crew member who gives back to our community by volunteering.  You all are an inspiration and a "voice" of truth.  All right... on to my question. <I'll say!> I built a custom plywood tank, and the dimensions are 96"Lx18"Hx12"D (around 90 gallons empty) with 1/4" glass front.  Considering the dimensions, what lighting would be ideal for each "level" of care: live rock, soft corals, LPS, SPS, clams and anemones?  Is that a horrible way of asking for lighting advice? <Mmm, no... am sufficiently "buttered up" at this point to respond to most everything> If you had my tank, what lighting would you use for each "level?" <Fluorescent of some type... even "normal output"... depending on how much you wanted to spend of fixturing up front and ongoing electrical and lamp replacement> I hope this question can be answered with ease by you all.  I have asked many friends who are reef keepers, yet they all have many different answers.  So, I will ask and adhere to the advice of Mr. Fenner or any other crew member that has the answer to my concerns.  On a side note, how "should" we conscientious aquarium keepers correctly label dimensions in order?  I notice that there are several variations: LxWxH, LxDxH, LxHxD,LxWxD, etc. <Length times width times height> I know this is not a major issue, but it would be nice if there was a written standard for labeling dimensions.  I wish you all the best, and hope all your aquariums flourish.  Thank you again for your continuous guidance and sharing your personal knowledge and experiences.        Respectfully submitted,      Jason Volpi   Summerville, SC <Mmm, EricR did respond to this I believe as well... Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Kelvin Rating Issues...    2/16/07 Hi Guys: <Hi Joe.>   Thank you for your wealth of information. <Thank you for noticing....using.> I have a 90 gallon tank with two  150  watt 10,000k  HQI lamps and two 96 watt actinics. <Okay.> I know you guys say actinics are for enhancement mostly. <aesthetics for the most part yes...have some redeemable qualities but it is rare that I would recommend the use of high Kelvin temperature lighting exclusively on a reef....a tank with animals that are photosynthetic, hosting zooxanthellae.> Would I reap any benefit from switching out one of the 96 watt actinics to a 96 watt 10,000k bulb, and just leaving one 96 watt actinic. <No, the photosynthetic animals are deriving most of their needs from the MH bulbs, switching out the fluorescent bulbs will not make much of a difference par rating/intensity wise.> <<RMF would switch at least one of the actinics out>> I want to keep a range of reef creatures, but mostly LPS's and soft corals. <Then you are perfectly fine keeping what you have.> I was just wondering if I really needed  200 watts of actinics or could my lighting system be better utilized. <If you prefer the aesthetics of having all lower Kelvin bulbs (6,500k to 10,000k) I do not think it would be a problem, however what you have now will work equally as well for what you plan to keep.> Thanks again for listening and helping <Of course.> Joe <AJ.>

Lighting Needs for 75 reef   2/14/07 I am in the middle of setting up a salt <Marine> tank. I have a standard 48 x 12 x   20...i think standard 75 gallon tank. I bought the tank with no intention of going to saltwater. I bought what i think is a compact fluorescent 48" Strip light. I am going to attach photos. I was wondering if this light will be enough, or at least help or aid my lighting situation for a reef tank  containing all types hard, soft, and SPS corals, polyps mushrooms  anemones and live rock. <Well first off I would not mix all of those creatures in this size of a tank, second the lighting appears to be normal output florescent which in this size tank will not do much in the way of zooxanthellae hosting organisms....so no. Search WWM re: lighting needs on a reef tank.> I also have a 30 gallon quarantine tank. I bought  the marine land tank with the built in bio wheel and hood. I will also attach  pix of that light. Will this light be sufficient to quarantine my fish... <Yes.> i  <I> don't plan on adding live rock or corals... it will be fish only since i <I> will  need to cure using medicine on the fish during the quarantine period. I also  plan on keeping a copperband butterfly, regal tang and maybe another tang or  Bfly mixed in with cardinals, clowns, blennies, gobies and other community fish  (in the 75). <Butterflies may or may not be a good choice depending on the sessile inverts. you plan to keep. I also do not recommend butterfly's for novice marine keepers.> Please see attached pix. Also if these fixtures wont be sufficient  which systems would be best to use for my tank. <It really depends on what you want to keep, do you plan on going for the easy going inverts. or a more demanding shallow water bio-tope.> Thanks for the help your site  has done me many favors and plenty of help! <Adam J.>

Lighting Choices for Reef Tank   2/11/07 Hello Crew, <Hi.> Thanks for being here for us. <Thanks for noticing.> I have a 70 gallon tank Oceanic Tech tank. The dimensions are 36.5 X 18.5 X 25. The top of this tank has a 3 inch lip around it leaving the opening at 12" X 30". I am trying to decide on a light fixture to get. I have been looking at an AquaMedic Ocean Light 36" 2 x 250W plus 2x39W T5 http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_C ode=AM-75040&Category_Code=Oceanlight-T5  and an 36" Aquamedic Ocean Light 2 x 150 Watt + 39 Watt T5's http://www.premiumaquatics.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_C ode=AM-75070&Category_Code=Oceanlight-T5 . I have also entertained Current USA Outer Orbit HQL/T5HO and Coralife Aqualight Pro. Is Aquamedic a better/higher end choice here?   <About equal in my opinion.> My goal with this tank is to keep a wide variety of reef inhabitants.  I am not sure if the 2- 150 Watt MH will be enough for this 25" deep tank or should I go with 250W? Would there be a considerable heat difference between these wattages? Would the 150W limit certain types of inhabitants or could they just be place higher in the tank. Would the 250's force me to place others lower in the tank?   <If you want to be able to keep any photosynthetic animal at any depth in the tank the higher wattage lighting would be your/my choice, however can you handle the heat? (literally).> Can you make recommendations for these bulb choices too?  5, 10, or 20K. <The halides 10,000k or lower.> I appreciate your insights. Thank you for your time and consideration. <Anytime.> Josh <Adam J.>

Re: Reef Lighting   4/30/06 Salty Dog,  <Yo> Do the HQI fixtures come in 175W?  I have only begun searching for them and I am seeing only 150W & 250W.  I also forgot to mention that I am going to have some clams as well.  Would 175s still be the way to go or would you recommend 250s? <Scott, yes, 175's are available and three would do fine for your clams.  James (Salty Dog)> Scott

Re:  Lighting/Corals 11/20/06 Crew (James): <Jeremy> You have inspired me to return the 260W PC fixture (I had not had it for too long). In it's place I am getting an Aqualight Pro fixture which contains 2x150W 10000K HQI metal halides & 2x96W true actinic 03 blue PC & 3x1W blue lunar moon glow led. This should give me all the light I need for SPS & LPS in my tank going forward. :) Thanks for your help. <A good trade off, and you are most welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Regards, Jeremy

Lighting the Deeper Reef Tank  - 04/14/2006 Hi WWM Crew, <Hey there Michael.> Thank you for all the help you've provided already. <I'm glad we could help.> I've had great success with you assistance. <Awesome.> My tank is current 90 gal. tank is thriving, and there is barely enough algae to keep my snails feed. <I know there was some slight "tongue and cheek" connotation to that sentence but in all honesty if you believe your herbivores are lacking in the "food-department", some good alternatives include dried Nori, and Spirulina.> Since things have gone so well, I've really caught the bug to upgrade a 270 gal. bowfront (72x30x36). <Wow, sounds like a fun project.> My question has to do with lighting. <…..A never ending debate among reef aquarists.> I plan to have a 6" DSB in the tank so that max depth will be 30 inches. <Still a long way for light to "reach".> I have some crocea clams already that I would like to put in the new tank on the bottom substrate. <You will want a few 400 watt MH's at the least then for this application, to reach those light loving clams 30" down..> I also have Fungia, Euphyllia paradivisa, Euphyllia glabrescens, Euphyllia cristata, and Trachyphyllia geoffroyi that I want to place in the lower portion of the tank. In the upper region I would be placing my Montipora, Acropora, Seriatiopora, Stylophora, Pocillopora, and Porites. To reduce energy cost, purchasing expense, and heat generation, I was thinking of using MH lighting on a track system. If I did this, what would you recommend in terms of quantity and wattage of lights? <My choice would be 4 to 6 metal halide pendants ranging from 250 to 400 (10,000K) watts with a few banks of T-5 HO or VHO actinic to supplement.> By the way, I use carbon and ozone occasionally controlled by an ORP monitor to keep the water clarity very high - no yellowing. <Cool.> There is also the possibility of dropping a light tube from the ceiling to get nature sunlight into the tank, would you recommend? <Natural sunlight is great but most people lack the mmm, shall we say location or knowledge to fo it properly, if you can pull it up the affects and benefits of natural sunlight are AMAZING, for more on this book up A. Calfo's book of Coral Propagation.> Thanks for your help. <Anytime.> I want to provide the best for my charges, but I know from reading your site that you can have too much light. <At times, but you will need mucho for this application.> Michael <Adam J.>

Reef Lighting…Again…   03/9/06 Hi all <Hey there…> it has been awhile since my last question....  Maybe because this site is full of information I can just find it in other people's questions. <That's the case 99% of the time.> But I pretty much have a specific question...   <Hehe, I remember answering "this" specific question a few times before actually…> My tank specs are 36x24x25 with about 60-70 times turnover. <Ooh that's a first, 'yah got me beat, I'm just over 50X.>   I currently have about 5 or so sps and then just fish. <Okay.>   I am going to eventually have it sps dominated. <Okay.> I have a 250 DE with 14k Phoenix. <Good lighting for this size tank, though for optimal photosynthesis and output I prefer to go with 10,000K bulbs and then supplement with VHO or PC's if you want a blue(er) look.> It seems all the online vendors and frag sellers have 400 watt 20ks. <They are also usually using much larger tanks and as far as the 20,000K spectrum…well see my above comment. So why do re(e-)tailers use them? Well I'll admit the blue color of the 20,000K's is nice….and they are in the business of selling.> Should I upgrade my lighting to 400-watt radium 20k or am I set with 250 DE? <What you currently have is enough.> I thought I read on here one time about anything more than 250 on my type tank would be overkill. I cannot find that thread on here now.  I guess I just do not want to have to put everything at the top to get good color and growth <Change the bulbs every 12 to 16 months and what you have now should be fine.> Would like to have stuff toward the bottom also...  Just guess I am asking would it be worth it in the long run to get the 400 watt setup and not be wasting my money since I already have the 250 DE setup? <See above.> Thanks a lot!!!!!! <Anytime, Adam J.>

Wanting to try Coral…  01/01/2006 Hello crew, <Hi.>   I decided on a Coralife 36" Aqualight Retro (192 Watts) for my 70 gallon FOWLR (36" long, 18" wide, 24" tall) to sufficiently grow coralline algae. <You definitely have enough light to do that.> Since then, I've been wondering if I could grow ANY corals under that lighting as well. <Actually yes this lighting will be sufficient for some coral species. I'll name a few for you: Zoanthid Polyps: Zoanthus sp. Mushrooms: Rhodactis sp., Actinodiscus sp. Star Polyps: Pachyclavularia sp. These are generally quite hardy species, try a few small fragments of these in the upper half of the tank and see how it goes. However I must note that lighting is one need of many for corals so be sure to research these needs thoroughly through WWM and other media such as books; "Aquarium Corals," by Eric Borneman. With the power-compacts be sure to change the bulbs every 6 to 9 months, 12 at the most.> What do you think? <See above, Adam J.>

Reef Tank Lighting: Intensity and Amount  11/28/05 Hi there, <Hi Keith.> I am a rookie reef guy and my question is if I buy a halide lighting system pushing the 10 watts per gallon mark (items include TWO 175W double ended HQI 20000K & two 95W compact fluorescent bulb actinic blue & SIX blue moon LED night light), will that be harmful to low to medium light required corals and invertebrates. <Keith honestly the watt per gallon rule is rather outdate in my opinion. 100 watts of fluorescent lighting is not equal to 100 watts of metal halide lighting. In answer to your query, the lighting in question may very well be too intense for lower light animals such as mushrooms in the beginning. If you choose to keep these animals I would shield them through shade or place or them on the very bottom of the tank. Also be sure to "light" acclimate (start on the bottom of the tank and slowly work up over a few weeks.) any specimens coming from systems that are under lit (in comparison to your own.) On the bright (pun-intended) side this lighting also allows you to keep more light demanding/shallow water specimens.> My aquarium is a 55 Gallon long 48". Thanks Keith <Adam J.> 

Lighting a Reef Tank Round 4  12/16/05 That being said,  could I just use one of the bulbs for now and how high off the tank would you recommend I place it.  I eventually would like to get a 100 gallon tank and then maybe I could use the second bulb of the dual 400 watt MH. <Even on a 100 gallon, x2, 400 watt is a lot of light, this wattage is usually reserved for tanks 30" deep and deeper.  Furthermore hanging one 400 watt light on a 60 gallon tank (48" in length) will cause shadows at the ends of the tank. Much better going off with x2, 250 watts (which is still a lot for a 60) but would easily transfer to the 100 and still be GREAT lighting for a 100 gallon (depending on the dimensions of course), but generally speaking it would be more than sufficient. Of course when it comes down to it, using the measurements of watts is a horrible way to determine the light needed for a reef tank, measuring lumens is of much more benefit. Search WWM Re: Reef Tank Lighting for more detail.> Thanks again and have a great day. <You to my friend.> Jose <Adam J.>

Question about different colors of light affecting the growth of coralline algae+other corals 7/18/05 Hello, <Hi there> First let me say that i am in this industry and you are an invaluable resource for knowledge.  I recommend you to my customers and log on almost everyday. I'm sure you hear it a lot, but thanks. <Welcome> Anyway, on to business.  The tank in question is a 120 gallon reef. -Ca 350-400 -DKH 12.6 -salinity 1.023-1.024 -Red Sea salt water changes are once a month 15 gallons (not my choice) -4 VHO's (2 actinic, 2 daylight) 2 standard output actinic -temp is 78 and constant with a chiller -ozonizer (Clearwater technology) -turquoise 'moonlight' (green/blue T5) on 24 hours a day <Why all the time?> -one large downdraft skimmer in a 30 gallon sump   -livestock fish:   tangs :  Z. desjardinii, Z. flavescens 1 Valenciennea  strigata 1 Pterosynchiropus splendidus   (all healthy) corals: Trachyphyllia/Wellsophyllia?  (looks like it has expelled some zooxanthellae) 2 small green leathers (not growing, no polyp extension) 1 torch doing beautifully (brown) 1 crocea (doing great) 1 huge gigas (go figure) Palythoa colony 1 branching Goniopora <Watch these last two> 1 large yellow Sarcophyton 4 med Rhodactis 1 orange Tubastrea (half dying, the other half has polyps extending) <Have to feed each polyp... two, three times per week> my question is the person that was caring for their tank before purchased a T5 and painted it aqua green. this was his 'moonlight', <? Funky> it was mounted in the back of the canopy. the question that i had was about the color of the light (the spectrum?)  and if it was interfering with the photosynthesis of the zooxanthellae. <Mmm, yes> the reason i ask if it might interfere with photosynthesis is because some of the corals are not growing at all, and there is NO, as in none at all, coralline algae in the tank except for a tiny patch of dark red (that i thought was a bit of red sponge, but it actually looks and feels exactly like coralline.) very strange. <Given the salt mix brand listed, I would check for Magnesium concentration here... could explain a few things... needs to be about three times Calcium...> also, you should know that the ozonizer was just added. this is a new account for me and the corals were not my choice. please let me know your opinion on my question and thank you for giving me the time to answer.   my first job is at a retail store in Kenner, and my second job is aquarium maintenance. at the retail store i am in the process of getting us a website to sell online. we are dedicated to propagation, <Wow! When do you sleep?> we just built a "greenhouse" and I've got the book of coral propagation vol. 1 ...i just wanted to let you know the level that I'm on. I'm in this for the hobby. any information you can give me to better myself as a professional make me that much more able to help people with this hobby. so thanks again. Niki <Glad to share. I would suggest talking with the owner/s re upgrading their lighting, change the synthetic salt brand... perhaps add a bit of new live rock in the process. Bob Fenner>

Rose Bulb Tip Anemone Lighting Help Thanks for the quick reply! If I add another 96W VHO will that do the trick for the anemone and for a crocea or squamosa?  <John, I'm going to direct you to Barry at Clams Direct. I'm thinking you would have enough light with the addition for certain species but not sure which ones. < barry@clamsdirect.com>  As far as the anemone goes, yes, another 96w should be plenty. James (Salty Dog)>

Rose Bulb Tip Anemone Lighting Help Dear WWM Crew, I hope this email is not a pain and you have the time to answer. I think I'm OK from browsing your FAQs but wanted to make sure I have sufficient lighting as I try to take the health and care of my charges seriously. I currently am running a reef tank that is 15?deep x 17?high x 46?long (I believe it is around 55 gallons, I inherited it from a friend). I had another friend of mine help set up the tank and lighting but he has since gone AWOL.  What I can tell, I have an Aqualight Retrofit kit with one Hamilton PC 96W 03 Actinic and a Hamilton 10000K Ice White (I believe this to be 96W as well). I recently purchased a Rose Bulb Tip Anemone and he has since migrated to the top of my aquarium, planting itself 4? from the surface.  His bulbs are still intact and he seems ok so far BUT is this really sufficient lighting? The guys at my LFS insisted that I had sufficient lighting but after reading up a bit online I?m not so sure anymore. Please advise. Also, I was thinking of getting a Tridacna clam and was leading towards a Squamosa (less light requirements I believe) but would love to have a Crocea, is there enough light for either?  <John, you are borderline for lighting with the anemone and it is not enough light for the clam. James (Salty Dog)>

Light Requirements Small Reef Tank Hello, I'm the process of setting up a 29g Octagon Reef tank with a tank depth of ~24". My long time goal is to have some soft corals and anemones. I'm current looking at the 24" Coralife Lunar Aqualight with 1-65 watt actinic and 1 65 watt 10k bulbs with my limited budget. I understand I'm pretty low on the light requirement BUT I was thinking I could replace the actinic bulb with another 65w 10k bulb or a 65w 50-50.  Would this configuration allow me to keep some soft corals or anemones.  If so, which kind.  <This lighting would keep pretty much all the soft corals normally available to the hobbyist. I think I would probably go with your 50/50 idea instead of another 10K. The bubble tip anemones are one of the easier ones to keep that would do well with your lighting. James (Salty Dog)>

90 Gallon Reef Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 <Hello Collin, James (Salty Dog) to assist.> Tank: 90 Gallon Hagen 48"L x 18"W x 24"H Lighting: 48" Power Glo, Marine Glo, and a Coralife 50/50 Filtration: Eheim 2217 Protein Skimmer: Prism Pro Deluxe Power Head(s): Aquaclear 220 GPH <How many of these?> Heating: 175W Submersible Live Rock: 150 pounds Live Sand: 70 pounds Corals: One colony of Button Polyps My tank has been running with the current setup for the last 6 weeks. I have a Marine Tidepool II that I will install after I have saved enough for the Tidepool SOS Skimmer Box and a submersible pump. I also have the Coralife Metal Retro 60" with 2 x 175W Metal Halide and 2 x 40W Fluorescent Actinic, for which I need to build a canopy for my Tank to install it. I am working with a limited budget. I am wondering if I could add more corals/invertebrates if I complete the canopy and install the lighting then add the Tidepool later. <No problem as your live rock is now serving as the biological filter.>  I also would appreciate any advice you could provide regarding types of Corals and Invertebrates that would flourish under my current setup and continue to thrive once my upgrades are complete.  <Probably just about any of the species will work out in that system. I would probably opt for VHO lighting for the actinic.>  I also am concerned about the temp in my tank once I add the lighting. <You will need a cooling fan in the hood to exhaust the heat buildup.>  My tank currently runs at 79 degrees without the heating. Any advice you provide will be greatly appreciated. Please keep up the awesome service that you are providing. It is critical for people such as myself.  <Based on the 79 degree temp, I'm assuming you live in a warm climate. If so, you may need to get a chiller. You really don't want to get up much more than 79. James (Salty Dog)>

Photosynthesis vs. Fluorescence Hello James : After reviewing this link : < Blundell here today. > http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/actinicfaqs.htm It seems that Mr. Calfo is saying that very little (or no?) photosynthesis occurs in the 420nm-ish range... < Yes I will agree with that.  I think photosynthesis is occurring, but red light sure is the key to photosynthesis. > Now I have becoming thoroughly confused! < I'll do my best.  I love this topic, so feel free to write back.  Coral fluorescence isn't really related to coral growth and photosynthesis.  For the maximum coral growth you want more red light, like a 6500K bulb.  If you want colorful corals that fluoresce then you want more blue light like a 20,000K bulb. The problem is most people want their corals to be colorful, as well as to grow.  That is why the common recommendation is to use 10,000K bulbs with actinics.  Otherwise I think 14,000K bulbs are the best overall combo.  Also, I should mention there will be a lot of new information on this subject in two weeks.  If you are interested please check out the www.advancedaquarist.com article that will be coming out on Feb 15th. >    Clarification is greatly appreciated, SLC <  Blundell  >

Reef lighting Hi, I have a question about lighting for a standard sized 75g reef tank. I am currently upgrading from a 30g to the 75. I want to keep Soft, LPS, SPS corals and a clam. The 2 lighting choices I have are the HQI Aqualight Pro which has 2x150w HQI MH bulbs and 2x96w PC actinics vs. the Orbit HQI fixture with 2x150 MH and 2x130w actinics. I prefer the Aqualight even though it has less total wattage because it has an external electronic ballast which will cut down on heat and it can easily be replaced if it breaks. The Orbit has an internal ballast. Will the Aqualight be adequate or should I go with the Orbit? I can also go with a Hamilton fixture with 2x175w MH's and 2x65w actinics. (by the way, I want to keep a maxima clam). Thanks!  Larry, Frozen in Minnesota! (Please send some warm weather with your reply, Brrr!) <I hear you... both these fixtures would/could work... I am a fan of units that are easier to service. Have you read here?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm  and the linked, blue files above? Bob Fenner> 

Minimum lights needed for a reef tank As a follow up, I've had many people tell me that roughly 4 - 5 watts per gallon is needed, for proper live rock growth (yes, I realize we're talking about the organisms, not the rock itself), but if you say 130 watts with the Satellite is fine, that's good enough for me. A couple of follow up questions though, if you don't mind. If I go with the Satellite with two 65 watt bulbs (the one I'm considering also has lunar light), what type of bulbs would be best? 50/50? Actinic?  <I would use one actinic, and one 50/50. >  Finally, are there any soft corals and /or any type of anemones that could handle that lighting setup, or would it not be enough? <Yes but not as many. I think you are best to start with mushrooms and anthelia and work your way up from there. > If I plan to add any soft corals or anemones, would I be better off going with something like the JEBO 48" with four 55 watt bulbs? I can't afford to spend $300 on lights, and the above mentioned JEBO can be purchased on eBay for about $75.  < 75$ is way cheap! I'd say the four bulb 55 watt set up is okay, but still not a lot of light. Yes this part of the hobby is very expensive. >  Can't seem to find much in the way of reviews on the Jebo, so I don't know if it's a piece of junk or a good buy for the money. The LFS doesn't carry them but tells me they're poorly made, old models. < I would feel comfortable buying one. >  Then again, maybe he's just trying to sell what he carries. Any thoughts on this? < You can never have too much light. > Thanks again!!! < Blundell > 

Quick lighting questions Greetings Bob & Crew! I finally have done it! My MH pendants and bulbs came today! YAY!!!I am still confused however on how to introduce them. I currently have a 55-gal reef. I am using a PC fixture that has 2x65w 10,000K and 2x65w 50/50 bulbs running about 14 hours per day. I have upgraded to two 175w 20,000K MH pendants (Mogul bulbs... didn't realize how BIG they are). I know I should introduce the MH slowly (or put SPF 45 on my corals and find tiny sunglasses for the fish) but I have read and read and I am still confused.  I have read to only have them on 1 hour per day and slowly increase the time they are on. Does this mean that the rest of the day there is no light? It would not be convenient (or very feasible) to switch from pendants to putting my old hood back on. How gradual should the lighting increase be?  I have also read on starting the bulbs out high from the surface and lower them slowly. Do you do this along with the increasing time they are on or do you wait until they are on for the full day and then start lowering them? How high should I start them? I am planning on having them about 6-7" from the surface at the end.  OK, I guess that was not a very quick question but I am dying to see my tank under the new lights (and seeing how my rose BTA responds).  <Hello Ray. You should place you MH lighting where you intend to keep it. You will be having a 63% light increase as far as wattage goes but with the pendants being about 10" from the water line you will lose some of the intensity. If it were me I would probably run one halide for 12 hours per day for three days and then both at a 12 hour per day schedule. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for all your help in the past!  -Ray 

Photosynthesis vs. fluorescence Hello WWM light-guru : I'm trying to understand at what light frequencies do reef invertebrate species with symbiotic zooxanthellae get their primary photosynthesis benefit, and at what frequencies do they (or their resident algae and/or bacteria) primarily fluoresce, and perhaps most importantly, if there is any overlap between the two?  <Photosynthesis takes place in the 420 nanometer area, hence the actinic tube. I really don't know if there is any overlap, maybe Mr. Fenner can comment here.>  This is so I can better evaluate what types of lighting colors I can mix and match to provide the best of both worlds, and to focus more on the photosynthesizing aspect. This is a pure theory question, no questions about wattage or the best ballasts or any of that - which I've pretty much got down by now. <For what its worth, I personally like the actinic/10K combo. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks - SLC <<There are actually a myriad of photosynthetic pigments... that can make use of photonic energy over ranges of wavelengths... and a host of factors that influence their function AND the expression of light energy proximally... water depth, dissolved color... Much more than "what meets the eye" here. RMF>>

Polyps, Open Brain Coral & Blue Mushrooms... actually lighting Thanks, I'm going to try to get my hand s on that book.  In the mean time, I'm planning on purchasing a 20 inch 96 watt Coralife to go with my other 28 watt Coralife.  Between those two, I think I'll be in better shape to build my reef tank.  Does this sound kosher to you? <Helana, I don't know what the price is on the 96watt Coralife, but I but a fixture, 30" with two 65 watt PC's and a moonlight complete with fan for just under $120.00 at Drs. Foster & Smith.  So consider that also.  With what you are adding I'm not sure you could keep any hard corals unless your tank gets a lot of direct light from a nearby window.  James (Salty Dog)>

Polyps, Open Brain Coral & Blue Mushrooms ... actually lighting A 30 inch will not fit on my tank, I have a 30 gallon, cube tank/Oceanic.<Hello Helana, didn't realize you had a cube.>That's why I need the 20 inch, 30 inch will be too long and go over the top of the tank.  Also, when you mentioned the fixture with moonlight and fan, what exactly does that mean?<The fan is just to get rid of some of the heat.  Even with two 65 watt PC's, quite a bit of heat is generated.  The moonlight is actually a small LED that sort of simulates what it says.>  I read some of your articles on your site but I'm still a bit confused. <Nothing to be confused about.  To keep hard corals, you will need at least four to five watts of light per gallon of water.  In your tank that's about 135 watts providing the correct spectrum is there.  I would suggest the 28 watter you have be an actinic tube and the 96 watt be a 10K.  James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting Choices for full blown mixed reef - 1/18/05 Dear Crew, Once again my great thanks to an excellent webpage. <Thanks for being part of it> I greatly appreciate such easy access to your expertise. I am planning on a 175 gallon bow front reef tank (72 long, 24 width and 29 inches deep). It will have 2-3 inches of LS, LR and a protein skimmer in the 40 gallon sump. <Sounds like some thought went into this. Good for you!> I plan on keeping mostly soft corals, feather dusters and compatible fish and crustaceans, but in the future I hope to have a few Acropora hard corals and clams. <Well, soft corals could be a problem for the SPS/LPS selection> I am debating which lighting is best investment in the long run: * 6 X 96 watt PC that would be a mix of 7,500 to 10,000 K lights and actinics             OR * 3 x 150 MH (10,000K) plus 4 x 96 watt actinics The lighting fixtures that combine MH and PC appear to have all the bulbs (the MH and PC) at the same height from the water. <this is fine and I like the MH choice personally. It will be the best choice given the depth of the tank and your chosen coral selection. If you were only to have soft coral then power compacts or T5s would likely do the trick but for SPS/clams the better lighting choice is the metal halide. By the way, there is no advantage to actinics other then color balance and aesthetics. I have seen little to no true scientific evidence that prove the growth of corals using actinics.> I have read that MH should be higher off the water than PC. <I agree with this more because the heat aspect, but also a splash of water could cause the cracking of the glass shield or in some very rare cases if the lit bulb is exposed to water it may explode.> Are the fixtures that mix the MH and PC together (such as the Current Outer Orbit or Aqualight Pro) and have all the bulbs at the same height from the water problematic for that reason? <read my previous statements regarding the actinics. It really won't matter. Even if you were using more PAR output bulbs like the 6500 power compacts, it would be better to have them closer to the top of the aquarium, but likely higher up would be OK too. Won't lose any animals if the spectrum and output are enough.> I am concerned about heat from the lighting. <With metal halide I would could it a minimum of 10 inches form the tank top> The Current Outer Orbit fixture has internal ballasts, while the Aqualight Pro has external ballasts for the MH. Is it better to have external or internal ballasts for the MH? <Well depends on your hood. I like the external ballasts myself. They tend to be really hot and if you can remotely locate them you dedicate a fan to cooling them. Be aware the bulb will still generate heat, though. The internal ballast hoods can get fairly hot. You might want to be sure to utilize fans even if the hood comes with built ins. Hope this helps. Thanks for being part of WetWebMedia. ~Paul> Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Chris New Tank Lighting Hi and thank you for having such a great website.  I have a quick question for you guys.  I have a 55 gallon tank with some mushrooms/hammers/frogspawn and I would like to add a clam and an anemone.  My tank dimensions are 48L x 18HT x 15W.  I am thinking of purchasing this lighting system and could you tell me if this is enough lighting?  I also have a 4" sandbed with live rock.  Thanks again and the lighting system is :  1- 175watt Metal Halide bulb and 2- 24inch VHO lamps at 75watts which equals 325 total watts. Jose >>>Greetings Jose, That light sounds just fine, and you should be able to keep any clam except for a T. crocea just fine. A small E. quad anemone should live for quite a while as well before he outgrows that tank. Good luck Jim<<<

Lighting for reef tank Hi. <How goes it, MM here catching up on some mail>  I have a 75 g tank with 4 fish and 50lbs of live rock that has been running for about 6 months.  I now want to get the lighting necessary for corals or anenomes (not sure which yet, but my understanding is that anenomes require roughly the same to slightly more light than the corals, on average). <Quite an arbitrary statement - depends on the species of corals or anemones> I was thinking of buying a 6x54 (324 total watt) HO light setup and wanted to get a more expert opinion. <Do you mean VHO or PCs?> Is this enough or the recommended kind of lights?  <All depends on what you want to keep.  Email me the species you are interested in and I will recommend lighting> Thanks as always, <Anytime> Kris <M. Maddox>

Lighting Differences (of opinion) Hello. I had a quick question about lighting... I have a 20 gallon SPS and LPS tank with a few Ricordea... right now I have 1 175watt 10000k PFO retro setup. I want to upgrade my lighting to either 250W or 400W but was wondering if the corals need to be acclimated to the lighting and how do I do this.  I also want to switch from 10k to 20k. thanks for your help, Roel <Roel, I wouldn't go to a 400 Watt on a 20 gallon but a 250W will be acceptable.  The best way to acclimate them is to do it slowly.  Run the lights for 4 hours a day to start and slowly work to getting them to where they are at now.  I would stick to 10K but I don't see a problem going to 20K.  The tank will just look more blue.  Good Luck. MikeB.> <<ed. note: Even 250 watts is too much light for most corals if the lamp selected is heavily weighted in the daylight end of the spectrum (<10k K). It exceeds the basic rule of 5 watts per gallon for garden reef displays of shallow depth. At best, a 250 watt 20k K (heavy blue) lamps would be tolerable. A 100 to 150 watt double ended 10k K HQI would be better if not ideal IMO. Anthony>>

Reef Lighting Dear Bob, <You have Michael here (and I'm 21 today, time for intoxication, except I have work tomorrow, and the next day, and rock climbing the next day...but it'll happen sometime! :P> After reading your daily Q & A column I have a question on lighting. I have (2) 65 watt actinic (2) 65 watt 10K in a 90 gallon with all soft coral. Everything looks good and growing well. But my question: I start on the day with the actinic coming on two hours before the 10K. The tank doesn't seem alive until those 10K come on. Do I really need the actinic lighting or would the tank benefit from (2) more 10K or some sort of 50/50 bulb? (if they make that for PC) The tank has kind of a dull look compared to some of the better looking tanks at my LFS. (he runs all PC also) Thanks Again! <You're right, actinic doesn't really do a whole lot for photosynthetic animals, it's mostly for looks.  I would have your 10k's come on at the same time as the rest of your bulbs as well.  If you'd like a brighter look and faster growing corals, add more white light and less actinics.  M. Maddox>

Upgraded lighting? How are you today? I've been a reef hobbyist for about 3yrs and currently I have 72 gal w/dual 45 gal sumps (1 ref other true sump) cal react. and all basic goodies now I'm currently running 2 250w MH 1-250w 14k Hamilton and 1-250w radium 20k centered w/2 no actinics and a strip of 460nm LED lighting now I'm going to upgrade to a single 400w XM <How to suspend, light the entire tank?> I haven't quite decided but it looks toward the 20k I do not think that the 10k will be blue enough with how much actinic I have. I know that the 10k is a better growth bulb since I do have a acr. frag a maxima the rest is softies, If I offset the 20k with a 4100k 70w MH do you think it will hurt anything in my tank or promote an algae bloom we are on a tight budget and cannot afford another lamp? thanks <I would stick with your current two 250 watt units and upgrade their lamps. Bob Fenner>
Re: Upgraded lighting
The reason for going to a 400w is because of cost! <Cost to operate a 400 watt fixture instead of two 250s?> We cannot afford to replace two lamps <Cheaper than a new fixture...> What will a 4000K lamp do in conjunction with a 20k 400w lamp???? <What? A 4,000 K lamp is worthless... Please read, study what is archived on WetWebMedia.com re lighting. Bob Fenner>

How much light and how much calcium? Hi Guys, first question is how much lighting is necessary for a 48 gal reef with all the things you would expect a reef to have. << Generalized question, so I'll say two 150 watt HQI halides, and two VHO actinics. >> and secondly, Where should I keep my calcium levels at? << 450 to 550 >> I have been given different numbers.  So, as Jim Rome would say, What is your take?  Thanks, Pete in Madison Wisconsin <<  Blundell  >>

Lighting options for a 30 gallon reef? - 11/17/04 Hey Guys I am planning to set up a Coral Tank. The tank is approximately 30 gallons and is 20 inches deep (about 50 cm.s). Would I need to have metal halides for these? <Wallace, this is entirely based on what type of animals and corals one keeps. More specifically the corals. For corals I like metal halide (PFO is great brand that I highly recommend. We use them at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on a few tanks and I personally use them as well).> Or are 4 fluoros enough ? (e.g.. 2xactinic, 2xwhites). What if I hold Clams? <For clam keeping and SPS corals I would recommend at least one 250 metal halide (best bet) or 400 metal halide (a little overkill but wouldn't hurt if you can keep the tank cool). More than likely the 250 HQI PFO pendant or retrofit will work for you again, depends on what else you will keep but if you want to keep any species of clam available then this would be your best bet. If you don't have the money then a good amount of power compacts would probably suffice.> Thanks <Thank you for being part of it all. ~Paul>

Lighting and coral coloration Hi there ,    I have several q's regarding Reef Lighting. My q's are as follows; 1) Is it necessary to have actinic lightings at all for Reef Aquarium? << Not necessary, but it sure makes them look better.  Many people would rather have the actinics than have the white lights. >> 2) I am currently using 2X24W T5HO Coral Blue ( Blue tubes not Actinic) from AQUALIGHT , and 2 x24W T5HO 20,000K white tubes . Is this combination okay for a 25 Gal tank of all LPS? << I actually think this is okay. >> 3) I recall seeing somewhere on WWM that the 10,000k white tubes are preferred to 20,000K for certain reasons, if I replace my current 20000k tubes with 10,000k , will it be better Combi? << It will look much brighter, and probably give you much better growth.  Maybe not as good of color, but better growth. >>   My other q's is pertaining to coral colouration. I have a Blastomussa wellsi that appears blue the moment I just turn on my blue lighting( and no, the pigment of the Blasto is blue , not due to the lighting) , as it expands when my daylight is on , it starts to turn dull brown...I suspect this was due to my high nitrate level of 40ppm initially . I manage to lower it to 20ppm currently and is still diligently bringing to 0ppm. Will the blue pigment of the Blasto be able to come back one fine day? << Yes, but lighting has a big impact.  I would just let it be whatever color it wants to be.  Nothing you can really do about it. >> Is there anything that I can do to improve the UV pigment to regenerate? << I think higher kelvin bulbs helps. >>    Yours Sincerely,    Alex <<  Blundell  >>

Lighting for reef aquarium LOVE your site! <I like it a lot> I'm finally upgrading from a 55 gallon marine tank to a 120 (2' x 2' x 4') in two weeks--YAY!!!. <Exciting!> I'd like to set it up so that I can grow a few soft corals or other colorful reef life for visual interest.  I have a number of Discosoma and numerous small feather dusters (samacina?) that are flourishing and reproducing, as well as purple-red coralline growth that has spread to every inch of the 60-plus pounds of seed rock exposed to light (all this in just a year).  My Zoanthus never did seem to do very well, regardless of the intensity of light they received.  I'm currently using two bulbs:  a 40W 50/50 reef/sun and a generic 40W 6500K, along with some daily sun exposure from 72 square feet of glass panels overhead (the Discosoma love that). <Yes... though this is very little light> This is why I'd like to set up the 120 tank with lighting that will work for all-around reef purposes without resorting to MH or VHO.  I believe that I can install up to six 48" fluorescents in the space over the tank.  At 40 watts each, that's 240 watts total, or just 2 watts per gallon.  I wonder if the standard ballasts would handle 65W bulbs? <Some will> I could get an additional 150W that way, achieving just over 3W/gallon. <Mmm< If you were limited to six 48" fluorescent bulbs, what combination would you recommend? <All "white" of at least 5,500 Kelvin rating, 92 + CRI... but I wouldn't go this route>   And......based on your bulb recommendations, what types of reef life would be a good bet to introduce?  I'm sure I'll be limited as to what will do well under those lighting conditions.  The tank will be in the same spot as the 55G, so the daily direct sun exposure (1 hour) will continue. <Too much to answer here... there are within groups like soft and stony corals, species that would do okay to well under a given light intensity... depending on where placed in the water column, fed ancillarily...> Another question.  Several manufacturers produce blacklight and "blacklight-blue" fluorescents.  I imagine they don't necessarily contribute to reef health, and eliminating another bulb to incorporate this would reduce the overall useful spectrum wattage, but would a single one of these provide any viewing benefit? <They are of minimal benefit functionally or aesthetically> Finally, a question on compact fluorescents (screw-in type replacements for incandescent bulbs).  Many put out up to 75W and 6500K.  It seems that I could fit many more of these 6500K bulbs in the same space as the 40" tubes.    Would there be any measurable benefit to the reef by going with these compacts? <Much better... I would keep investigating here... and go with either a system of boosted fluorescents (HO, VHO, CF, T-5's) or a couple of metal halides... you will be "shooting yourself in the proverbial foot" otherwise... Normal output fluorescents will not get you either the look or what you want to keep, do. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Dan

Lighting 90 gallon reef 3/28/04 I am getting close to having all the necessary pieces together for my 90 Reef Tank but now am at the all important lighting decision phase. Here is what I am planning to use. I have access to very cheap Metal Halide system using two 250W MH bulbs at 8500K and 18,000 lumens per bulb. Will these two lights be sufficient or will other lighting with a higher K rating be needed. Thanks for all the great info on this site. Erik in Spokane <its impossible to pick one's lights before you pick your species that will be kept (cnidarians have such very different needs!). Its like asking "What should I feed my pet" without stating if your pet is a bird, dog, cat or fish. Please take the time to read through our very extensive archives at WetWebMedia.Com on the topic of marine lighting and beyond. I have several recent and concise articles there myself. Anthony>

Lighting Question Hi guys/girls Robert here from South Africa, it has been about a year since I asked questions about setting up my first marine aquarium. Everything has gone well but now I am really interested in starting a small reef system. My tank dimensions are 36" long 23.5"wide and 24" deep. I have searched all over to find correct lighting for a mini reef and have narrowed it down to 2 options. 1) 2 power compact retro kits each holding 2 lamps of 96w each, 1 10000k daylight and 1 actinic. the second option that I am thinking about is a hood containing 1 175w 6700K metal halide and 2 power compact 55w actinics. << Go with option #2.  I have that type of tank, and have had both lighting options.  I recommend, and love my halides. >> I don't know if the Power compacts will be enough to reach the bottom of the tank, I have not decided which corals to keep as I do not want to mix to many different animals as this I feel is a sure way to slowly kill them in such a small space, so I would like it to be species specific, but I do know that the animals that are available to us in South Africa come from really shallow parts of the ocean as the sales guy at the LFS said. Will power compacts be enough if I keep mushrooms at the bottom << Yes but just about any light will grow mushrooms. >> and the light loving animals in the top 1/2 of the tank or should I aim at the 175 w metal Halide fixture. Any suggestions will be appreciated. << You won't regret getting more light.  In fact in a few months you may want even more than the halide set up.  I would avoid the pc retro kit because I really think you'll want to upgrade too soon. >> Regards Robert <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Reef Lighting 8/17/04 thank you for replying my last message so quickly I am really confused and don't know what to do you have helped me a lot with your advice and the FAQS but I want to have good light in my 75 gallon tank its 18 or 21 inches deep I want to have featherdusters, anemones, <please reconsider the anemones... keep none if you want corals in this tank and if not, still keep only one species  of anemone. They really do need species tanks> and some other clams or I don't really know yet will 4 fluorescent of 40 watts (2actinic and 2 daylight) and a 175 watt MH  do the job? <the fluorescents give little help here on a tank so deep... and the one MH is modest for a 4 foot long tank. This lighting scheme is "low" by most any standard> with a custom made canopy plus 2 fans or another choice is a 2 40 watt actinic and 2 175 watt MH which is the best choice for my LR and future inverts and me. <yes... much better!> Please help me I want to do a good spend on my lights not just buy to have lights. <pick 10K Ushios lamps (or Aqualines) and you will be quite happy. XMs are good too> In your last mail you told me to get rid of my Humu Humu trigger if I wanted the anemones and shrimp he is about 3 inches will he get used to them? <he is not reef safe at all and must be removed to be sure> I really like this fish and wouldn't want to get rid of him. <most triggers will kill desirable reef inverts like shrimp, clams, etc> Also what is a good blue fish for my tank? <I have no idea what to recommend without knowing the other fishes in your tank. There are no doubt some handsome damsels (Chromis if you need peaceful) to be found in blue colors> Well thank you very much hope to hear from you soon <best of luck, Anthony>

Re: 75 Gallon: New Reef Tank Thank You for reply so fast, last night I stayed up reading the light FAQs on your web, I decided to add 2 175 watt MH and 2 40 watt actinic fluorescents. do you think that I should have 2 40 watt actinic and 2 40 watt fluorescents plus the 2 MH or the other choice above? All your advices are helping me a lot narrowing down my choices, I really want to get good things for my tank but buying the correct things, doing some research first, my main worry now are the lights, so do you think 2 175 MH plus 2 actinic 40 watt fluorescents would do for my  75 gallon tank and I want to add some anemones, polyps and start from there will this be enough? My trigger is about 3" will he adapt to this environment I really don't want to get rid of him? my live rock seems to be dying should it be because insufficient light? I want a blue fish for my tank what would be a good choice? Well thank you very much hope to hear soon from you. <<Hey Alejandro; Good job on doing some reading-up! It will help you a lot if you can continue, especially about water chemistry issues, such as testing for calcium, alkalinity, pH, etc. and understanding (to the best that any of us can...) what the test results mean, how they affect each other or work hand-in-hand, and how to correct them when they are off. These are things you need to know in order to succeed with your tank and its inhabitants. For example, right now you are asking me about your live rock dying...this could be due to many things, lighting or water parameters, but I have no idea unless you provide me with more information, such as what your calcium levels are, alkalinity, pH, salinity, how often you do water changes, etc. In order for anyone here to help you, you will need to learn to add this info each time you have a specific question. Basically, it all revolves around water chemistry. Therefore, you really need to read up on this before attacking lighting issues, or even fish compatibility issues. You can't keep fish or corals alive if your water parameters are off. Water chemistry comes first, as it is essential for you to understand the basics of it before you will be able to try to balance your tank. Keeping a reef tank is all about balance, what you need to add, what you need to lower via water changes, and you must pay attention to your water parameters constantly. Some people test their water weekly, some daily, many of us have electronic monitors for the basics, such as salinity, temperature, pH, etc. You can glance at these monitors on a daily basis and note the numbers...if anything is off, you need to take immediate steps to correct whatever it is. I am not saying you need expensive monitors, not at all, I am merely trying to show you that you need to test your water quite regularly to be sure nothing is too far off. Things like pH should be stable in the 8.2 or 8.3 range during the day, along with temperature and salinity. Alkalinity can fluctuate now and then, so it should be tested, too, along with calcium and magnesium. These are the basics for any reef tank owner to know. There are others, but you can safely start with these test kits and do fine until your experience progresses. Your triggerfish is not a reef-safe animal. As he grows he may become quite aggressive. He will eat any shrimp you add, and trust me, you don't want to pay for a fancy shrimp just to see him disappear into your triggers mouth...same with smaller fish, such as your royal Gramma. Snack food for triggers. He may also snack on other inverts, like brittle starfish, snails, crabs, whatever is lying around on your reef that he feels like "tasting", etc. I know you want to keep him, but he will destroy your reef, in time. For a "blue fish" there are many to choose from. See what comes available at your local store, and ask them for recommendations. I will also mention again that your lighting is up to you. Either way will work, the problem with adding too much light is that you are a beginner, and I would not recommend stony corals to you until you have more experience. However, if you are determined, there are some stonies that are easier to keep than others, like frogspawn. A bit of research should help you decide which species you think you can keep. You can keep the lower-light-requiring softies at lower levels in the tank. You can arrange your rockwork and set the soft corals beneath overhangs until they adjust to the light. Again, read up on light-shock so you can understand this. And again, please do not attempt to keep corals and anemones in the same tank, for two reasons: one is that anemones MOVE around the tank in order to find themselves a favorite place, and unless your water parameters are excellent, they will trample all over your other corals, and in the process either sting them silly or annoy them greatly. Then they might simply decide they are unhappy, and crawl into a crevice where you can't see them, and die...causing high ammonia levels that will create major problems for your other livestock. Anemones are carnivores, so be prepared to target feed them every few days, unless you want your water quality to deteriorate if they don't manage to find the food you toss in at the surface. So the second reason is that water quality will deteriorate if you need to feed a bunch of carnivores on a regular basis. Do you see what I mean? So I guess if I were you, I would go with the double metal halides, and two 40 watt actinics. Other members of our team here might be able to give you explanations for each specific lighting set-up, but I have found this simple combination to be workable with many species of "beginner" corals...if you can call them that. I think it will be quite a while before you will need to upgrade your lighting, and by that point, you will be experienced enough to be wanting a much larger tank, anyways :P -Gwen>>

Mini Reef PC lighting choices - 8/11/04 Hi Crew, I am in the process of setting up a 15 gallon mini / micro / nano / pico reef tank (choose your buzzword here).  I already have a 125, but you can never have enough toys. <Too true>  Anyhow, I am looking at different lighting options and would like your opinion.  The tank is a 15 gallon high with the same footprint as a 10 gallon.  I have a 5 inch sand bed and 15lbs of new live rock cycling away in it now.  That leaves me with about 10 gallons and 12 inches of depth.  I am surprised at the number of lighting options available for such a small tank. <Well, this all depends on what you plan to place inside you mini reef> I plan on using power compacts. <OK> I want to make sure I have enough but not too much light. <What is this justification based on. Depends on the animals and their environmental distribution.>  Here are the 20 inch lighting options that I found: 28W single bulb 36W single bulb 40W single bulb 2 x 36W double bulb <OK choice for budget conscious> 2 x 40W double bulb <Good choice> 96W single bulb <Good choice> Double bulbs are nice, since one actinics and daylights can be controlled separately.  Is this really important? <Not really. As a matter of fact you don't really even need actinic lighting. This is for the human aesthetic> I don't plan on any SPS corals or clams. <Then what animals do you plan?>  How much and how many? <Light? I like the 2x40. Seems to be great for small aquariums gives you some options for bulb types as well. For example - 1 bulb at 10k and another at 20k or the standard 10k and the Actinic. You get the idea. Otherwise the 96w is a fine choice as well I use the 2x40s and have various fish and soft corals. All seem to adjust and grow well with good color. The difference between the three I remarked on above will come down to inhabitant choices, and funds available.>  I can't decide.  Any opinion on this? <You got it. You will have to make the decision from here. I gave you the knowledge and opinion, you must now use the power to your advantage to make the decision that best fits your needs.> By the way, I upgraded the skimmer on my 125G to an AquaC EV180 (per your recommendations) and it kicks butt. <You KNOW!!!> Lots of foul scum coming out of that one. <Great product. Have fun. ~Paul> Thanks again, Larry

Reef Aquarium I have a 45 gal and a 55 gal aquarium system and want to set up one of them as a reef system.  The 45 gal. is 36 x 21 x 12 and the 55 gal. is the standard size.  What is the best lighting for the money?  I want to have soft corals and maybe a few anemones.  Please advise.  The systems I have checked on are very expensive. <In order to get good prices on expensive metal halide lighting or power compact lighting you must first look around, online stores, local stores, classifieds and chat forums. This may take time but can ultimately save you a bunch of cash. You want to keep soft corals so I believe that power compact lighting will work the best. AND YES REEF AQUARIUMS ARE EXPENSIVE!!  Good luck, IanB> Thanks,  Judy

Quartz halogen lights and converting a FO to reef Hey Adam thanks for helping me with my reef questions. <Glad to, that's what we're here for!> Well I just asked my local fish store about having to put such yellow lights and they said the same thing that the corals really don't care about the color and they could stand pretty much any Kelvin rating.  So, I was really thinking of probably using these lights to start building up my reef tank until I get some funds to get a state of a art lighting system  in the future. <Do beware of the heat produced by these lights.  In the short term, you could supplement them with some actinic to improve the appearance.> Right know I have about 80 pounds of live rock a 11/2 to 2 inch thick crushed coral gravel< about 20 algae cleaning snails< Clarkii clown <yellow damsel<Rio BakPak CPR skimmer with a canister filter on my 135 gallon long tank.  How would you think I should go if I were just beginning a reef tank of mainly soft corals and those easy begging corals after all I am a beginner at this reef hobby but had marine fish tank for about 4 yrs. now. I am going for the Berlin method < I know I would need more live rock but overtime I will do that adding a rock at a time. <Your lighting will be adequate, but you will want to look ahead to upgrading it to something more efficient and more visually appealing (VHO or MH).  80lbs of live rock is plenty as long as you don't overstock and it provides enough place to put the corals you want to keep.  If you do add live rock in the future, be sure to cure it very well yourself (don't trust a shipper or LFS) before adding it.  A CPR backpack is quite small for that tank, so you may want to consider upgrading.  You will also want to be sure that you have enough water movement. (at least 5x if not 10x the tank volume).  Crushed coral substrate can be a problem in reef tanks because it traps detritus.  If it is very alive with pods, worms, etc, it may be fine, but do be suspicious of the CC bed if you have problems with nutrients.> I also want to know how do improve the coralline algae on my live rock. Because my seems to be very dead now with no life at all it kind of looks like rock when you buy it at the store quarantine tank. I really want it flourish with coralline and biodiversity is there a way to satisfy this with my setup . <Calcium and alkalinity are important here.  I would drain the tank and refill it with new salt water, up the water movement and test and maintain high calcium and alkalinity.  Adding a bit of coralline encrusted live rock will help "seed" the system and get it going.> And my water parameters are pretty much zero. and the calcium and other reef  additives are also probably zero since I never added these things. I've seen the SeaChem reef complete concentrated solution ,it seems to meet all the additives needed for a reef and only needs to be added only two times a week. Is this chemical a good choice. or are there any other chemicals that have everything into one and doesn't' require the frequent dosing like others. <Most of the commercially available products for maintaining calcium and alkalinity are adequate.  I would use their dosing guidelines as a starting point only and adjust based on your test results.  I am strongly in favor of adding smaller doses daily or several times a week instead of larger doses once or twice a week, regardless of the product instructions.> "thanks and mahalo plenty Adam for your time"  as we say in Hawaii" aloha" <Your welcome, and best of luck!  Adam>

- Reef Lighting - Hello Bob, <Not Bob today, but JasonC... greetings.> I have a 55 gal reef tank/20 gal refugium with 4 40w standard florescence and 2 55w compact florescence lights.  50/50  and actinic bulbs (URI and custom Sealife).  I want to switch over to metal halide two 10,000k or 14,000k 175w (Blueline e-ballast) and two 40w actinic florescence.  Will that be too much light? <Not really, but you will want to bring this change in lighting in slowly... more to read about this here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm > I was thinking about rebuilding my canopy and making it 8 inches instead of the 4 inches that it is right now and keep my two 4 inch fans.  I also keep my glass on for safety reasons. The tank is filled 3/4 of the way up with live rock in the back.  I have at the top Green and yellow Goniopora, pulsing xenia (red sea), green star polyp coral, yellow polyp coral, finger leather, and a finger toadstool.  In the middle I have cabbage coral, glove polyp, pagoda coral (cup), green and purple mushrooms, Ricordea mushrooms, colt coral, two toadstools, and green finger leather.  At the bottom I have snake coral, green and brown button polyps, red mushrooms, and a Sebae or long tentacle anemone. I want to get into some more LPS corals and then move into SPS corals without sacrificing my existing corals with bleaching from the new light. <Do be careful with this mix... most all corals are chemical warriors, and with a tank of this size, you are going to have some fall-out if you pack it with corals.> Also if I could switch over to the new lighting can you give me some help on how to switch over without hurting the corals. (acclimating with the new light) <Read that article.> Also what bulbs should I go with (company names and Kelvin ratings) (long skinny bulbs or the fat mushroom shaped bulbs) note: I am going to run 2 48" 40w actinics (URI) <Do believe that bulb choice has more to do with what your eye prefers than anything else. Personally, I'm really fond of the light provided by the Aqualine 10k bulbs.> Cheers, Kris <Cheers, J -- >

Lighting questions for a reef - 2/1/04 Hellooo there whoever this may concern, <Heylo> I'd like to start off by saying thanks for all the help I've written you guys before. <No worries. Be sure to support our endeavours whenever and wherever you can>  I have a new question that I can't seem to find any concrete answers on. <Let's see what we can do>  As of right now I have a 75g tall tank that has 3 three foot VHO's in it. <OK. Size doesn't matter....wait>  I'm looking to upgrade to a 175w halide retrofit kit into my canopy.  My question is what light combinations could I run? <Well, you tell me. It depends on what you plan to keep, your budget, and space in your canopy (and more specifically, how you deal with the heat)>  Specifically what color temperature combos work best between halides and VHO's. <oh, 6500 and 10000 are usually where people get beneficial spectrum and good visual aesthetics>  I'd assume it depends on what you're trying to grow. <Are reading as I'm typing??>  I'm ultimately looking to grow many varieties of xenia, zoanthids, mushrooms, and SPS corals (Acropora mainly). <You'll need a much higher light intensity. More like one you might get from a pair of 400W halides. Remember that you have a 75 tall. See here for more information on lighting: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm It's all in the articles and the links> From what I've heard most of these corals are fairly light dependent the exception of the mushrooms which will be placed low in the tank. <Yes indeed>  With those corals in mind what Temp halide would you recommend. <It isn't just the Kelvin output of the bulb, my friend. PAR saturation and intensity is the order of the day, and you will need plenty in a 75 tall. Please read through the lighting articles for more information. No need to re-invent the wheel> I love the look of 20k's with blue actinics from the VHO's but I'm afraid that might be too much blue. <The actinic means little in the scope of reef building. It is really more for human aesthetics and not for coral building per se. We, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, as well as the many personal tanks I own and help with, don't even use actinic light at all.>  Any suggestions on color temp and combos of lights would be GREAT. <Two 400w or one 250 and one 400 with 6500 and 10000k would look cool and be beneficial in growing coral, if I had to be forced to answer> Like I said you guys have helped me before and I'd greatly appreciate the help again.<Well, we appreciate your being part of it all> Your work is invaluable! Chris aka Fishtank <Well, thanks for the kind words and be sure to support our site!!! ~Paul>

Light question 3/19/04 Good Morning crew! <morning> I have three questions that I hope you can help me with. I am setting up a small reef tank.  The tank is 10 gallons.  I have two 32w Power Compact lights and one 18w normal fluor. about 8 watts per gallon. (Q1)--Which setup of bulb color should I use?  (2-10,000K pc and 1-actinic nf) or (1-10,000K pc and 1-actinic pc and 1-10,000K nf) or other? <you should use the one that suits your invertebrates best. Please do not make the mistake of picking your light before you pick your invertebrates! Make a species list first, whittle out the incompatible ones... know that many do not survive together under standardized lighting schemes (low light mushrooms with shallow water SPS corals, for example). Then select your lights> (Q2)--I plan to use 3" of superfine sand (enough for denitrification in 10 gallon?) <yes... likely so, although it is the bare minimum. 4-6" would be much better> I plan to keep small SPS frags and maybe a small clam or two.  The tank will be filtered, skimmed, heated, and have a small powerhead behind the 10-15 lbs of live rock. <ahhh... in that case... opt for 6500-10k K lights... the former if you want better growth> (Q3)--Is this lighting sufficient for clams (on the sand about 10" from  lights) and SPS (on sand and rock from 10" to about 4" from light) <yes> I will keep alk @ 4-6 meq/L...Ca @ 400-420...PH @ 8.3...S.G. @ 1.0245...NH4/3, NO2, PO4 @ 0...NO3 as low as possible <be careful of maintaining ALK and CA high at the same time. Its not necessary... but even dangerous perhaps (precips)> Sorry one more question: When I set up this tank should I leave the lights off for a week or two with the rock, sand, filter and skimmer all in and going and no coral or fish?   <very helpful. Some hardcore reefers do this for months and get even better starts> Will this help coralline to grow?   <not as much as stable bio-mineral levels in general (water changes and dosing)> Thanks in advance and for all recent help.  The site is really a big help and great job with all the info you have to offer! <kindly, Anthony>

Reef Lighting Hey, I got another question for you.  I have 60 gallon hex tank(28"deep), and right now I have a Coralife quad pc light.  The light has 96 watts 2 10k and 2 03 actinic.  I also have a double tube fixture with one 20k and 1 03 actinic light for a grand total of 126 watts.  Would it be better to take the double tube fixture and lights back (they haven't been used and my buddy owns the LFS) and get another quad bulb.  Financially it would cost another $65 if I took back the other lights and fixture  and got the quad light.  I think I mine as well for $65 so I won't limited to only low light corals.  What do you think, can I get away with 126 watts or should I just spend the $65 and jump up to 192 watts???? <The lighting you need is dependent on the life forms you want to keep in the tank. With 192W over 28" of water, low light need animals for the bottom middle of the tank and maybe some medium need animals at the top. Hope this helps, Don> Thanks

Reef Lighting without Direction - 8/21/03 Hello! <howdy> Wish to get a little advice.  I'm installing a 96x30x30 reef system (5" - 6" DSB, 75 gal. sump, 30 gal. refugium, and AquaC EV-400 skimmer) and have some questions about the lighting.  I'm using some equipment I have on hand from an old (and smaller) system that includes two 175W MH with Ice-Cap ballasts and 440W of fluorescents on an Ice-Cap 660 ballast.  I'm building a fixture to hold the two halides with the bulbs positioned next to each other but facing opposite directions.   <most halides give a better spread if mounted horizontal (as it sounds like you intend) but perpendicular to the long sides of the tank (contrary to your intent). These MH lamps should also be set at 6-9" off surface of the water while the fluorescents are to be mounted no higher than 3" off the surface of the water for effectiveness> My intent with a tank this large is to position the halides over the center of the tank to display SPS and clams and put fluorescents at each end (VHO, PC, or combination there of) for a varied; and hopefully more visually interesting, light scheme.  My question is, if not keeping SPS or clams at the ends of the tank how much (fluorescent) light should I use?  Would 220W at each end (keeping in mind I'll have 2x175W halide in the center) be sufficient for a low reef structure with various LPS and soft corals? Many Thanks!  Eric <the question is so open ended without knowing what species are being kept (other than "non-SPS" or clams) that it is impossible to answer other than the fact that there are surely some low light corals that will survive there. The lighting overall is on the low-medium end of the spectrum. Do make your list of desired corals and discover their lighting needs first... please don't pick the lights before the animals, mate. Literally make a species list and hopefully you won't be tempted to make a typical garden reef tank with unnatural combinations (SPS, clams, LPS and soft coral all together). Poor long-term prospects for success... read more about the reasons why in the WWM archives by doing a google site search for "garden reef aquarium" and "allelopathy" for starters. Best regards, Anthony>

Lighting a 35 gallon reef tank - 10/14/03 Hi There, <Hey> I want to have a reef system. <OK> I did my study about the corals and lighting. <Very good> The problem is the only LFS in my area has nothing to do with selling reef lighting <Can they order from their supplier for you?> so I just wanna know is it possible to buy the lighting from a normal light store? <Possible. Look for DIY lighting in your favorite search engine. Why can't you order from a mail order company? Many will ship quite some distance. Too costly to do it this way?> They sell PC and MH <Well, if they sell the equipment for this type of lighting, I would still be sure to get an aquarium rated bulb for either PC or MH. Any other lighting will be just too red/orange for a reef aquarium.> I am not planning on having SPS or anemones. <Soft corals then? PC is ideal in this situation for your tank size.> My tank is 35gal .So what do u think? <PC would do very well with a bulb in the 10,000K spec. Of course all this depends on what you plan to keep in your reef. Thanks for the question -Paul>  

Question for you :) about lighting and other things... I went with VHO bulbs with the built in reflectors, so far I have two VHO actinics and one 96 watt Compact Florescent (the beast from AH supply) but plan on adding another 96 watt Compact florescent and allowing myself to add 2 more VHO's (possibly 50/50's even though I have 5 more actinics at my disposal) in the next 2 weeks.  <Daylight colored lamps will grow most coral better faster and the 50/50 bulbs are plenty blue enough... resist excessive actinics unless housing deepwater symbionts> I just hooked up my calcium reactor at a rate of one bubble of co2 per second.  <not much of a gauge of performance... do test outflow pH and alkalinity/calcium of the system over time> I do have another question, because of my limited space I had to hook my protein skimmer up so it's return came back into the tank direct. This is causing alit of air bubbles (small) in the tank. Is this a bad thing? <can be very irritating to some coral (like Alcyoniids "leathers")... simply pass the effluent water over/through a small portion of plastic bioballs (cup/cylinder) to act as a baffle and diffuse the bubbles> Thanks, Scott Allen <with kind regards, Anthony>  

Reef Lighting Bob and Crew, <Anthony here> Your web site has been extremely helpful in my endeavors. I am presently converting a 180 fish only system that I purchased used. I have upgrade the filtration to support the necessary flow rates for a reef system but I am struggling with the lighting.  <and easy quandary> I would like to be able to grow SPS, Soft corals, and clams.  <SPS and clams require the highest light of all reef animals as a rule... the soft corals vary...running the gamut from very low to very high. All will depend on species> Can MH bulbs be placed under and canopy that is only 6 inches from the top of the tank? Or our PC my only option?  <if the tank is glass and we are talking 150 or 175 watt MH, then 6 inches and no closer is OK. If acrylic tank or higher MH watts... no go. PCs are fine quality lights but only for shallow to medium depth tanks. not all SPS and clams will thrive without higher intensity bulbs. All depends here on placement of the tank. My specific recommendation if the tank is glass is to have 3 175-watt 10K Aqualine MH lamps. You need no fluorescents or other bulbs... they will last for perhaps as much as 3 years before needing to change bulbs, corals will look and grow well.> I am purchasing a chiller irregardless of which lighting system I go with. <if necessary... but not because of the MH lights.> Thanks, Mark <best regards, Anthony> 

Nighttime lighting on reef 2/26/03 Dear WWM consortium: <is that what they call beer-drinking buddies nowadays... a con-sor-tee-um. Fancy that :) > Quick question. I want to install a couple of small bulbs inside my canopy to light my reef tank at night with a purply/blue/reddish hue......nothing bright. These lights will come on 1/2 hr before my actinics turn off, and I'd like to know what types of "moonlight" lights (manufacturer/brand) you suggest to do the job. <for purely aesthetics with economy/efficiency in mind... the new fiber-optic LED lights get my vote> I hear incandescent "party lights" run very hot, <that's just silly <G>. Ya.. they do indeed run "hot" and produce heat as it were... but your tank would experience a drop in temp at night from your day lights being off if it were not for your heater kicking on every night (more than by day if at all). There is no way that a single incandescent bulb can offset or exceed what your day lamps throw. Who was the turnip that told you that one <G>? Incandescent moonlight is cheap and easy. Just not too efficient in the long run.> and I am uncertain how small they make power compact fluorescents with a deep blue/purple/reddish bulb in them.   <hmmm... actually, I have seen some dark blue 9 watt pc.s> I only have like 6" to work with here <don't we all... if we're lucky> on each end of the canopy. <oh... right. Sorry. The light fixture. Ahem... LEDs would be cool... but a 9 watt pc like those old mini-might lights (junk) would be very fine if well made> Thanks a bunch. Steve <best regards, Anthony>

Lighting The Way (Reef Tank Lighting Schemes) Hello Crew, <Scott F. at the keyboard tonight!> Hope all is well with you. Here are my tank specs: 55 gallon AGA w/built in corner overflow (3/4"); Durso Standpipe 90-100lbs LR (mix of Fiji and Gulf) 220 watts PC (2x55w 10000K/Actinic 03; 2x55w 6700K) 24 gallon DIY sump AquaC Urchin Chemi-pure; Polyfilter Mag 9.5 return pump; sweeping powerhead in tank (no problems) Parameters: Ammonia=0 (Hagen), Nitrate<5ppm (Hagen), Ca=433.44 (LaMotte), Alk= 4.0-4.5 (SeaTest), pH=8.3-8.4 (SeaTest), Temp: 76F Livestock: 3 Damsels 1 Tomato Clown 1 Orange Spotted Goby (Valencia) 1 Lawnmower Blenny Blue Legged Hermits, Astrea snails, Sallylightfoot, Mithrax crab, Unidentified Crab, 3 Peppermint Shrimp Corals: 3" Brown Acropora sp. (near top of tank) Mushrooms (bottom of tank) Green Open Brain (bottom) Blastomussa Colony (bottom) Xenia (top) Cabbage Leather (top) Yellow Polyps (middle of tank) Greenstar Polyps (middle) This setup was started in June of last year. No deaths except for a couple of tangs. No additives since November of last year, except Iodine weekly. <Additive manufacturers will hate you- I love you! I agree with the school of thought that advocates testing for anything that you add to the tank!> Water change 5-10 gallons weekly, top-off with buffered/aerated RO water. I just bought the two 6700K PC bulbs; not aesthetically the best, but I wanted a "full" spectrum set-up for coral growth, etc. I need to replace the other two bulbs with either 2 Actinics or 2 new 50/50 bulbs. <Totally your call here. I like the PC "true actinics", myself> Borneman stated in his book that most coral growth can be attributed to light in the "bluer" spectrum. I hope I am not taking that out of context. <No- there is a lot of evidence to that end, and Borneman knows whereof he speaks! Some corals don't respond as well to "blue" spectrum, but many will benefit> Which of the two light bulb choices could my corals have adequate growth/survival rates with? Or, without going the MH route, what other lighting schemes would you suggest? <I ran a very successful soft coral/lps system exclusively with 96 watt PC's...After much experimentation, I found the "sweet spot" with a four bulb configuration of 2 true actinics and 2 50/50's...The corals responded wonderfully, and the aesthetics of the tank were great!> Also, I am planning to build a fishless refugium. Would a 15 gallon DSB refugium be sufficient for my system (for algae growth and 'pod reproduction)? <Sure! I like the idea of a remote DSB in situations where you don't want the 4-6 inch bed in your display. You'll still reap all of the benefits of the in-tank DSB (denitrification, etc.) with a remote DSB.> Thanks kindly, Randy M. Yniguez, MA, LMHC <A pleasure, Randy! I think you're going to do well with any of the lighting schemes that you're considering! Have fun! Regards, Scott F>

Increasing lighting Hi there folks at WWM, I have a 140g tank, 3x150w and bunch of actinics ( PCx9w, six and NOx40w x 2 ) Tank is 23 inches tall and I've successfully kept a Entacmaea quadricolor for over 6 years, growing from 8 inches to 35 inches, a few Tridacna, Goniopora growing and reproducing, some SPS and LPS and softies ( got a HUGE Sarcophyton ). My question is that I want to upgrade my lights to 3x250W and 2x80wT5. Will this will be overkill ? << Why upgrade if it is all working so well???  But no, that won't be overkill. >> I have fear that this increased light levels ( 584w previous setup, 960w in new setup ) maybe too much, or I'm overreacting ? << It won't be too much, but I would slowly increase your light so you don't sunburn your corals. >> I want my soft corals ( Sarco, colt, and so on ) to increase their growing rates, to my Tridacna that rest on the bottom to grow better and my anemone to be better yet ! ) . I'm I asking to expecting too much ? << Sounds like a good plan. >> Best regards, Goncalo Proenca <<  Blundell  >>

New to Saltwater + Coral - Part 2 Very good. I will go with the 65w retrofit or maybe more (if Eclipse can take it? Not sure). Which fluorescent tubes would you suggest as a constant in the Eclipse 3 hood with a 65w or higher retrofit? I would like to keep the easier reef species (mushroom coral, star polyps, etc.) that have been recommended. Also, what shrimp or hermit crabs would flourish in the same environment:? As always, advice and ideas are sincerely appreciated before I go spending money! >>>Hell again, I don't know of any specific kits or fixtures for that hood, you may have to ditch it and use a pendant, not sure there. I recommend www.hellolights.com. Give them a call or drop them an email, they can help you out. As far as hermits go, scarlets are good, as are bluelegs (although a bit more predatory) I'd stick with a single scarlet in a tank that size, maybe two at the most. Cleaner shrimp do well, so consider one, or small group. Cheers Jim<<<

Lights for an Eclipse 3 hood Bob, << Blundell tonight. >> For the 2 fluorescent lights on an Eclipse 3 hood, what combination of lighting would you recommend for a coral reef? << Two blue and one white. >> I will be retrofitting the hood with compacts, but as a standard, are there any specific bulbs you recommend that fit the T8 18 watt that fit the Eclipse? I have been considering a deep reef. I am not sure retrofitting would even be necessary. Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks, << It may be a good idea to replace the hood with a retro hood with more lights.  It just depends on what you want to keep.  That lighting system is fine for soft corals, but not stony corals. >> WL Huiskamp <<  Blundell  >>  

Moonlight questions Hello WWM crew,          I am very jealous of all of the diving and aquatic research you are involved in.  It sounds like a great life.  I have a quick couple of questions that I am hoping you might answer.  I have a 12 gallon eclipse with a 96 Watt Coralife hood and Aqua 300 retro refugium with a 13 watt PC hanging over it.  I recently purchased a blue moonlight and attached it to the Coralife hood.  I had read that the moonlight will help the corals and coralline algae spawn and spread. << I doubt that, but they do look cool. >> My impression of the moonlight was that you are supposed to leave the it on all the time. << Most people just have them on at night. >> My problem is that since I have been leaving the light on at night I have noticed that my invertebrates have not been coming out at all.  My turbo snails don't clean the glass or move around the rock, my peppermint shrimp stays hidden, and my bullseye pistol shrimp doesn't dig or come out of his hole, unless the tank is pitch black. << Then I'd leave the light off.  Or dim it down. That is one problem with moonlights is their negative effects on some nocturnal inhabitants. >> I know this because I tried turning out all the lights and using a red light.  Everyone seemed comfortable doing what they do when I turn out the moonlight.  I have a few questions now if you don't mind.  Am I supposed to leave the light on at all times? << I don't think it matters.  Some people leave them on all the time, some only at night.  I'd probably leave it on all the time because I wouldn't want to have to worry about another timer to plug in. >> If I am will the inverts get used to this light and still be comfortable moving around under this light? << Good question.  Some will adjust, but if it is too bright some will always hide. >>   If I am not then please advise me on how I am supposed to use this product?   The kind of corals I have are mushrooms, frogspawn, zoos, small BTA, GSPs, and a brain, just letting you in case this matters at all. Thanks for you help, Michael <<  Blundell  >>

Providing Proper Lighting Hey guys, <Scott F. your guy tonight!> I've been browsing through the site, and I have to say, outstanding work, keep it up! <Thanks for the kind words. We have some great people here who really enjoy what they do!> I know you are all very busy spreading your seemingless endless knowledge around the marine hobby world, but I have a few concerns maybe you could help me with. <Sure!> I have a 75G reef tank with about 110lbs of live rock, and some corals, mostly Mushrooms, and some Yellow Polyps, I have an Octobubble Coral and a few Toadstool Leathers.  The tank has been going for about six months now, before that the same setup had about a year in my old apartment before I moved. I had to break it down so I don't count the time prior to the move. Filtration is handled by a sump with a mesh sock, a Kent Nautilus TE protein skimmer and a UV sterilizer.  How am I doing so far? <Sounds fine. Just make sure that you regularly (like every couple of days) clean the filter "sock", so that it doesn't accumulate detritus that can degrade water quality. Also, make sure that the skimmer is yanking out a couple of cups of dark, yucky skimmate per week.> Lighting consists of four 65W PC's two blue and two white.  I have a mated pair of Gold Stripe Maroon Clowns, and two Firefish. <Nice fish to work with!> This brings me to my first concern.  I don't think my light setup is good enough, I have had a purple Bubble tip anemone for about four months now, and it is constantly on the move.  I don't think it's hungry, as I feed it every two days, and on the other days, the female clown is real good about feeding it, but I do think my lighting setup isn't cutting it.   <Well, anemones have very demanding lighting requirements, and will move about the tank to get into a position that suits their needs. Although PC's are great lighting systems, they may not provide adequate intensity for these animals in many systems.> My LFS retailer said this was the recommended amount for a reef tank, but I know enough not to get all my info from only one source. <Good intuition!> My anemone won't stop running around in my tank, and I know it's only going to move when something is wrong, so I guess I can say something has been wrong for the better part of three months now.  Water quality is good, and I change about ten percent every other week. <Very good.> Please advise. <Well, as you surmise- the anemone is trying to tell you something! If water parameters are checking out, the obvious culprit is lighting...Do consider an upgrade, or offer the anemone to a friend who has more intense lighting.> My next concern is that I would like to add tang to my setup.  It's been about three months since the last addition of livestock, and other than my endless anemone migration, everything seems to be going good.  Ideally I would go for a powder blue tang, but I've heard nothing other than ich magnet, and guaranteed death in the tank. <Well, not "guaranteed death", but these fishes require very careful selection, quarantine, diet, and environmental stability, or you will encounter problems. Also, I personally feel that you'd want a larger tank for their long-term husbandry. Physical space is very important to these guys.> Do you think it would be stressed out? <Well, "stress" is caused by many factors; If your tank is not suitable, the fish will "tell" you!> Is my tank too small, or two crowded? What do you recommend? <Not too crowded, but I think that a larger tank would be better. Perhaps you might want to try a more suitable tang, such as the Yellow Tang (Z. flavescens), which in size, tolerance, and behavior, is better suited for this tank.> I would like to start adding some Acroporas to my tank, if you could give me some pointers on that, that would be awesome. <Well, my best advice on Acropora is to be aware that, in general, they have high demands for lighting (I HIGHLY recommend halides), water flow, and calcium (supplied either with Kalkwasser or a calcium reactor). Arm yourself with a good book on coral husbandry (Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" and Anthony's "Book of Coral Propagation" are great choices), study your selections carefully, and start only with captive-propagated fragments, which give you a much higher chance of success. Also, it's not an ideal situation to mix SPS and soft corals (as well as anemones) in the same modest-sized aquarium. Better to "specialize", IMO> Again, thank you for all your help, you are a guiding light in what sometimes seems to be a sea of contradicting information.  Thank you and don't ever stop, the way I see it we can never know enough about our hobby. Frank <Thanks again for the kind words, Frank. With a little research and some minor tweaking to your setup, you will advance well in this hobby! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>    

Lighting and other questions I just purchased a 48 inch 260 watt lunar light from j&l aquatics in Vancouver 2 Coralife SP 65W 10000K Bulbs and 2 Coralife SP 65W Actinic Bulbs. for the other 24 inches I put a 130 watt power compact. will this light permit for all soft corals and maybe a deresa clam. << Soft corals yes, clam no. >> The tank is 18 high 72 and 24. I also was looking at purchasing a quiet one 4000 pump. I was told by J&l that this would be good for my tank. Is this a semi quiet pump and reliable? << Best thing to do here is to search online and find some people who have purchased them.  Better to get many opinions and not just one. >> I was thinking of a Malu anemone but I don't think there will be enough light am I right? << I would probably avoid anemones, just to be safe. >> What's the best anemone for false Percula clowns? << Xenia, but if you really want an anemone I really like E. quadricolors even thought they aren't natural hosts. >> also how deep should the sand bed be? << How about four inches. >> I was just going to use 1 inch of Aragamax select will this be ok? << I would definitely go deeper, regardless of what sand you use. >> thanks for your valuable time ( I know I couldn't answer all these questions you guys get) <<  Blundell  >>

Lights for a 55 gal I have a 55 gallon tank that I upgrade from a 20 gallon long.  I still use the 65 custom Sealife power compact that I had on the 20gallon until my new lights arrive.  All I have in the tank right now are frogspawn, star polyps, torch, kole tang, 2 chromis, clarkii clown, and a very tiny bulb anemone.  The torch, forgspawn, and bulb are all placed at the top of the tank, because of the small light fixture.  The lights I'm getting is a total of 220w Power compact.  Will this be enough light for this setup? << I swear I answered this exact email the other day.  Anyway, yes that light is enough, but after a while you'll want to upgrade.  I had 220 watts of pc on my 55 gal but eventually moved up into halides. >>  Also the only corals I will be adding are more torches and frogspawn.  And maybe a large Long Tentacle Anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis) or Carpet Saddle Anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni).    Will I be able to add one of these anemones with a total of 220W CP? << Yes, but I'd consider adding a few more 55 watt bulbs; maybe double what you have for lights. >> Thanks, S. Montgomery <<  Blundell  >>

Lights for a 29 gal To who may concern I was thinking about setting up a 29 gallon reef tank I currently have a 2 65w = 130 watt compact light (smart light). will this be enough light for a 29 gallon reef tank? << No way.  I have a 29 gal reef right now.  I started with 220 watts of pc lights, but have now upgraded to 300 watts of halides.  I'd certainly recommended a lot more light than what you have. >> if so what kind of corals can I put inside please respond << With that light I think are limited to very low lights corals, like mushrooms and anthelia. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Lights for a 55 gal I have a 55 gallon tank that I upgrade from a 20 gallon long.  I still use the 65 custom Sealife power compact that I had on the 20gallon until my new lights arrive.  All I have in the tank right now are frogspawn, star polyps, torch, Kole tang, 2 Chromis, clarkii clown, and a very tiny bulb anemone.  The torch, frogspawn, and bulb are all placed at the top of the tank, because of the small light fixture.  The lights I'm getting is a total of 220w Power compact.  Will this be enough light for this setup. << Barely.  I had that same light set up on my 55 and it did well for a long time.  Eventually I just decided that it wasn't enough. >>  The lonely corals I will be adding are more torches and frogspawn.  And may a large Long Tentacle Anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis) or Carpet Saddle Anemone, Colored (Stichodactyla haddoni).  << I would consider a halide set up, or maybe just adding more compact bulbs.  Like using both of your fixtures on that tank. >> Thanks, S. Montgomery <<  Blundell  >>

Lighting Scheme If you were setting up a standard 75g tank for a reef tank, what type of lighting would you use?  I am looking to maintain all types of corals and do not want any limitations due to lighting when it comes to selecting livestock. <Hi, I'd try a combination metal halide/VHO hood.  It's really about color preference, and I'm not inclined to mention a brand of hoods to you- That's the fun part!  You get to look around, find something perfect for your tank, and set it up.  Look to the lighting FAQs section for more info!  Have fun, Ryan>

Bulb selection Hello all, I am a daily reader of your wisdom and FAQ's.  The information that I have received from has greatly increased my understanding.  Also you have saved me a lot of money by not trying things that do not work and doing things right the first time.   >>Great!>> The question that I have is about bulb selection.  I was given some lighting and am going to need to purchase some bulbs.  The lighting system is for 4 VHO bulbs 60" because the system is already wired for this.  I plan to purchase the URI bulbs.  I know that the White light is best so I plan to add 2 10000K (Aqua sun) but am not sure about the other 2.  Is it best for coral like mushrooms and star polyps to add 2 50/50 or 1 50/50 and one 03 actinic.  I have heard that the 03 is not beneficial at all.  The plan is to add only corals on the less demanding side. >>Given the corals you are interested in keeping, I would say go with the bulbs you like the look of. I would do one 50/50 at the back and 1 Actinic at the front with the 10K's in the middle. The idea of 03 is misleading, and Actinic 03 was recalling a marketing idea from Phillips, not a description of the light. >> Also My wife would like to have an anemone for our clown fish.  I have been doing a lot of reading on them and know that they need a fair amount of light, would this amount of light be suitable? >>I would go with MH lighting for anemone's. Some have reported success with them with VHO, but it scares me!>> The tank that I will add this to is 125 gal with 180 lbs of live rock and is 24" deep..  If you have any other suggestions please let me know. As the lighting is free I want to use it to its capacity.       Thanks for all your time and wisdom.  Todd Rosencrans >>Rich>>

Aquarium Lighting for 150 Gallon Reef System 10/14/04 Hello to all the Wet Web Media crew. This is the first time asking a question, so be nice! <welcome, my friend :)> I would like to know if the lighting I am going to purchase off a friend, is going to be able to sustain a 150 gallon reef tank. The tank is around 28-30 inches deep. The Lighting system is a JBJ Formosa SS-JD2 lighting system with 2 65watt 10,000K daylight bulbs and 2 55watt 7100K Blue Actinic bulbs and is nearly 1 year old. The tank will probably include the following corals: -Pulsing Xenias -Star Polyps -Leather Corals -Zoanthids -Frog Spawns -Montipora digitatas -Diverse Amounts of Mushrooms -Bubble Coral -Candy Cane Coral -Hammer Coral -Brain Coral -Acropora Sp. -100-150 pounds of live rock -150 pounds of aragonite substrate And if you can, can you tell me how long the lights will last and the placement of these corals so they do not die or perish into the water. Thank you for all your help, and reply ASAP or else!! just kidding with ya. -John <the lamp life has passed its optimal/useful limit and corals under these lights will begin to suffer soon. Fluorescent lamps need changed every 6-10 months. The total wattage here is also very low (not even close to the 5 watts per gallon average range needed for most corals... particularly in a tank this deep). Still... once you change the lamps to new (and go heavier on daylight... not so much blue for the corals best health here with limited wattage overall), the majority of this list of corals will be just fine if you can place them in the top third of the water. Id suggest 2 daylights and 2 50/50 lamps here. Best of luck! Anthony>

Lights for a 65 gal hello,    thanks for all your great info. I have a 65 gallon tank. I have some coral mushrooms and some button polyps. I also have Goniopora and a Christmas tree worm rock which I found out after I bought them are hard to keep.  I know, I know, research first.  I have a question about light requirements. right now I have one actinic 50/50 and one 10,000 k. << Can you be more specific?  Are these each 55 watt pc bulbs, or are the 110 watt vho?  I'll assume vho. >> Is the 10,000 too much for the mushrooms should I go to 6500 k.  do I need the 50/50. << Having a 10k and a 50/50 is probably the best combination.  Otherwise get rid of the 50/50 and go with a true actinic.  The 6500k I would stay away from. >> it gets confusing reading everyones input. If I decide to keep the Goniopora and Christmas rock, what are the light requirements for them. << Basically as much light as possible.  On a 65 gal tank I would probably double the light you have. >> thank you so much for your time. Jennifer <<  Blundell  >>

Lighting for a 2' Tank Just a quick question for you.... I currently have a 2 foot tank which is being lit by 2 18 watt Power Compacts (1 white, 1 Actinic) and 1 15 watt Normal Output Arcadia Actinic Fluorescent Bulb. I wanna keep softies and maybe 1 anemone for my Maroon Clown. I'm using a canister filter, Eheim 2213, set up with coral chips, Seachem de Nitrate and Matrix carbon and poly filter. I also run an air driven skimmer sized for a 3 foot tank. What kind of lighting do you recommend and how many watts should it be in order to achieve my dream? That is all and thanks for your help in advance! Malcolm Ragan >>>Hello Malcolm, Given what you're trying to achieve, I think a 150W 20K double ended "HQI" metal halide fixture would be appropriate, or a 250W mogul fixture, again 20k just to bring the colors of the anemone out. You can use more wattage if you want, but you don't need it. You can also use PC's, T5's, combinations of them. I like MH's though, simple and they look fantastic. Cheers Jim<<<

Reef Tank Lighting I have read a lot of your articles on this, still just want to make sure ok. I have a 30gal long w/96w smart 50/50 getting a 80w smart 6500k  with a 12"cpr using Miracle mud & Rio 600?o alg ---have a couple of asst. mushrooms & a torch would like to add a maxima clam and hard corals SPS & LPS will this be ok and what about location, placement. >>>Greetings, Well, you don't have nearly enough light to think about SPS corals or Tridacna clams for the most part. There are a few Montipora species (SPS) that may do OK, and as far as clams, a T. squamosa may do fine. Outside of that, you need more PAR. You need at least a 150W double ended fixture, preferably 250w, or a 400w single ended "mogul" setup. Euphyllia (hammers, frogspawn, torches) will do fine under your light. Jim<<<

- More Intense, Intense Lighting - Hi WWM crew!! I wish to have shallow water species of invertebrate like Acropora. My tank is a 50 gal and is 18 inch deep. I am now lighting it with a 175w MH and I am thinking to add a 400W MH bulb. What do you think about it? ( do you think that my inhabitant would need some Coppertone?!) <Yes.> Should I only add a 250W MH bulb? <Yes, this would be better - would be the right amount of light for a tank of this size and would be easier for you to deal with the additional heat load this lighting will produce.> I am thinking to add 1 or 2 actinic VHO to add some blue and to be able to make a dimming effect!! <Is purely aesthetic, and your choice.> Thank you very much for your answer!!! <Cheers, J -- >   

Marine invert. lighting Hey there guys, Quick question I looked and wasn't clear on the lighting requirements for my tank. I have a 60gal hex. I want to keep soft corals and inverts. As well as a few fish I currently have 2 cinn. clowns and 6 snails (different species). I got a great deal on a 175watt Hamilton MH fixture with a 14k Ushio bulb( $100.00) used. Do I need to supplement this with another light? I will hang it and add a fan to keep my temp regulated. When applying the wattage vs. gallons do I take in to consideration the sand live rock etc... or just go by the tank size of 60 gal? Thank you Jeff <Hey Jeff, Your light will do fine for this tank. There is no need to supplement it if you're happy with how it looks. 14k should be a bit towards the blue side which most aquarists find pleasing to the eye. Also keep in mind that there is no "watts per gallon rule" really. It's the depth of the tank that matters. So, a 24" deep 180 gallon tank requires the same wattage (per 24" horizontal space in the tank) as a 24" deep 5000 gallon tank. Does that make sense? So a 24" long, 24" deep tank might use a single 250W bulb, while a 6, 24" deep tank would use 3. This is all assuming the tank is no more than 24" from front to back of course. Cheers Jim >

Home Improvements (Pt. 2) I bought all new bulbs for my system which is 1-10k 96w, 1 actinic blue 96w, 1 50/50 96w, I think I already told you this. Thing is that enough light for clams and SPS corals or should I just stick with soft and LPS? I calculated it out and its roughly 6 watts per gallon for the 46 gallon tank. <Well, this is an area subject to much debate among coral enthusiasts. Many hardcore SPS geeks will laugh you out if you use anything less than 250 watt halides, but that's just one school of thought. PC's are an excellent light source, IMO, and you can keep many of the less demanding SPS corals under these lights, if they are high enough up in the tank, if other environmental parameters are met, AND if you compensate with feeding (i.e.; zooplankton, etc.). I have seen some wonderful tanks lit entirely with PC's. In fact, my friend Ken Uy, who has had his small tank featured in several "Tank of The Month" articles on various websites, used PC's and VHO's exclusively for years, and had an amazing collection of stunning pink Pocillopora and some wonderful Acropora and Montipora in his tank. One of the most colorful tanks I have ever seen! Yes, you can get terrific results with LPS and soft corals under this lighting regime. As far as clams are concerned, that's another controversial topic. Some people say yes and some say no. I have seen people keep clams near the top of the their rockwork under PC's, and the clams thrived. Many other factors come into play, of course. Why not shoot an email to our friend Barry Neigut of ClamsDirect.com? He's a great guy and will give you the straight answer on this subject. This is a guy who handles these amazing animals for a living, so who better than he to know? Tell him I sent you. In fact, Barry has written an article on clams for the upcoming September/October "Conscientious Aquarist" online magazine right here on the WWM site!> Sorry for all the emails and pestering you for answers, hopefully Kent can get an answer back to me soon on the RO unit. <If you don't hear from them, do give them a call. I consulted with them once on my RO unit and they were very helpful!> Thanks, Jim <My pleasure, Jim! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Lighting upgrade for Reef Aquarium 7/31/04 Dear crew, Anthony answered my original question a couple of months back. First the background. I have a 120 gallon (48x24x24) FOWLR tank. I want to start adding some corals. Based on Anthony's response and some further research I did I was planning on upgrading my lighting to a pair of 150watt DE HQI mini pendants. However now that I am ready to order I have noticed that the price increase to go with the 250s instead of the 150s is not that large. I eventually would like to have a clam or two in my tank and I imagine they would appreciate the extra light. <depends on the clam species... but assuming you like the popular blue crocea or maxima varieties (versus lower light Hippopus, or Tridacna Squamosa or T. derasa types), then yes... a little extra light would be nice> What I wonder about though is how would my starter lower light corals, like mushrooms, do under these lights? <keep them in the bottom third of the tank and perhaps add a few layers of plastic window screen to the top of the tank (removing a sheet every few days until all cloth is removed over a couple weeks for a slow acclimation to new/bright light without having to alter photoperiod> Would it be too bright? <not bad at all... you are still close to the average (5 watts per gallon) for reef tanks> I plan to mount the lights 8" above the water's surface and the low light corals would be at the bottom of my 24" tank. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. <if you do 250 watt lights... you may want to go higher off the water... 9-12"> Regards, Matt <kindly, Anthony>  

How much light for a 40gal Hi all I have never written to your site before but after reading just about every page on here I thought I would make sure of some info prior to starting my new tank this Wednesday. I have a 40 Gal set up with a 30 Gal sump underneath, I plan on having a small reef set up with some softies and maybe a frogspawn/BTA further down the road. I have 192 Watt PC lights with 3 LED moonlights over my tank depth of tank is only 16 inches from top to bottom, should my lighting be sufficient? << To me, I say no way.  I would at least double that lighting. >> Also for reef set ups is a DSB better for filtration and micro life such as copepods? or should I keep sand level lower? << I really like deep sand beds for microfauna. >> Also I have heard all over that people use 1.0-1.5 lbs of liverock per gallon as the best way to go. But my LFS store guy and some friends at Birch tell me that .7 or so lbs of live rock per gallon would do much better as it lets the water breathe more...what is the best way to go on this? << My take is this.  Buy as much live rock as you can afford, then use terrestrial rock for the rest.  I don't think you can ever have too much rock. >> Also for my circulation I have 475 Gal ~ 500 gal per hour at surface level of tank coming off a wavemaker on three separate powerheads, should this be efficient for the softies, frogspawn, BTA? << This should be fine, but you can't ever have too much water motion. >> And lastly with a 40 gal how many fish is considered too many? I was hoping for a clown, tang , goby and maybe one other...should this be fine? << Yes that sounds fine. >> Thanks much for all your help =) sorry about all the questions just want to make sure I do everything right so I have a nice stable and long lasting tank =) << Good idea, glad you are doing your homework. >> James <<  Blundell  >>  

LIGHTING FOR A 55 GAL Good morning/day/evening! I hope everyone there had a great long weekend. << Hi there, I know I did. >> I have a lighting question that requires an expert's touch without a marketing bias of a LFS guy. << Well I'm no expert, but I am LFS free. >> I currently have a 58g aquarium, 3 small fish, brain coral, mushrooms, star polyps, frogspawn, and a "flower pot." The tank has a 20g for a refugium with 4"dsb, mangroves, and macroalgae. Lighting is provided for the 58 by Coralife's 36" 2x96w Aqualight (10,000K + actinic 03). I'm not too impressed with this lighting set up. The only corals doing well are surprisingly the frogspawn and flowerpot. Mushrooms and star polyps are ok, but not too much growth. Brain is sad. As seems to be the consensus on wwm.com, MH is too much for such a small tank, regardless of what LFS guys say. The tank is 36" long and 18" wide...so much of my floor would be bright. Would it be a better idea to ditch the PC strip light and rig up my own URI tube canopy? with 30watts per each 36" tube, I would need many tubes to even compare to the wattage of the Coralife fixture...but that's confusing because a watt isn't a measure of light or light output...but heat? Is VHO the way to go? << I think VHO is great.  I'm not sure it is better than pc, but probably the same in terms of output. >> Those are 95w a piece for 36" and 2 of those would put me at square one with the current fixture. So, what is the way to go? MH: 1-175w + 2 tubes? 9 tubes @ 30w/each? 2 VHO @ 95w/each with 2-4 tubes at 30w/each? << Well here is my answer.  I would simply increase the lighting.  Instead of two 96 watt pc's, I would go with six 96 watt pc's.  Or maybe a 200 watt halide with just two 96 watt PCs for actinic light.  You can go with VHO as well, but the key is to simply have more bulbs, and more output, than you currently have.  I'm really becoming a big fan of metal halide lights, so I would go that route.  I would probably not use VHO, because you would have to buy them, and you already have pc's.  I'd see some other tanks first, and see what color and lighting you like, but halides and pc seem like a good move to me. >> As always, any information is appreciated! Thanks again. Ian << Blundell >>

40 Breeder Lighting Recommendation Hello Bob. << Adam B. here. >> Was hoping you could help me with my lighting choice. My 40 breeder is a 16" deep tank with a 2" sandbed. It is 15" from the bulbs to the top of the sandbed. Anyway. I currently some softies (bubble, star polyp, pumping xenia) and one LPS (metallic green moon brain coral) and a rose anemone. I am wanting to add some SPS. I would be happy with some moderate light SPS like Montipora or digitata. However, want to keep their color. I currently have 192W of PC lighting. The bulbs are those new SunPaq bulbs. One 6k/10k daylight and one 450nm/420nm Actinic. Some have told me this is plenty of light for this tank and moderate light SPS. Others say that this is not enough and moderate light SPS will just loose their color and brown out. << I tend to think this is under lit. >> Your thoughts? << My thoughts are you can't have too much light.  I would definitely upgrade, as I seriously doubt you would regret it. >> Also, was thinking of upgrading to a 384W PC. MH not an option due to room temp being warm year round. I tested a 250W fixture once and it raised the room temp by 10 degrees. << In that case, 384 watts of pc is a great way to go. >> It is an above garage room in a ranch house with a/c but is still warm because all the warm air in the ranch raises to room above. Anyway, If I did upgrade to 384W would this be too much light for this tank or softies? << No way, just add the light slowly so they don't sunburn.  Some corals may need to be moved to other parts of the tank, but it would be well worth the efforts. >> Would this additional light allow me to keep high light SPS? Will high light SPS brown out with this light? << I think they will do fine. >> Thanks and have a great day! << You to. >> Rob <<  Adam B.  >>
 Re: 40 Breeder Lighting Recommendation One last question. Which do you prefer. PC or VHO? VHO bulbs are cheaper in 36". I have heard VHO run hotter and need replacing every 6-8 months. Any truth to this? << That sounds about right.  The other item to remember is that pc bulbs are usually smaller, and you can fit more of them over a tank.  I have been back and forth on this issue, but for now, I really like the VHO bulbs with the built in reflector, which is in the bulb itself.  I think this really helps with light output. >> Thanks again, Rob <<  Adam B.  >>

Big Lights For A Small System Hi, how are you? <Fine thanks! Scott F. here today!> I plan to set up a 38g tank. I would like to keep some soft corals and small marine fish. I would like to set up a lighting system that allow me to select from at least half of the commonly available soft coral species (e.g. Leather, Colt, Xenia, etc.). I have a DIY canopy that is about 9 1/2" in height and will fit perfectly well onto the tank. I would like to get a 175w MH to fit into the canopy (with 2 fans) but I think I need more canopy height space for that. So, alternatively, I looked at T5 lighting system. Will you recommend the use of 4 X 75W T5 lighting system? If I DIY the system into the canopy, this will leave about 3" space between the light and the water in the tank...Is this appropriate? <For T5 fluorescents, this might be perfect. I really like these lights for smaller systems. They'll do a great job!> Should I use a cover for the tank to prevent any possibility of water splashing? <I'd consult the manufacturer of the fixture that you're using. Most come equipped with waterproof end caps, but splashing water onto the bulbs themselves is potentially problematic.> I cant really find a lot of information about the T5 lighting system, what are the benefits and drawbacks of this lighting system? <A lot of power for relatively small size. Being so small, they are well-suited for smaller systems, and do not impart as much heat into your tank as other lighting technologies can. On the other hand, their biggest drawback is that they are...small! On most systems, to get a decent amount of intensity, you need to use a bunch of 'em! All in all, they are a good value, but you should also check out compact fluorescents, as they offer a lot of power in a small package, too! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Thank you sooooo much! Leo

- Lighting - Hello, I have emailed twice and not gotten a response, so I figured I would try again. Hopefully this is going to the proper address. <Hopefully...> First off let me say that I really enjoy your site! I do have a question for you... I have been looking through your website gathering info on lighting but I am still kinda confused. I recently purchased a used tank that I will be setting up a reef system in. I would like to setup the tank to be able to have a variety of corals, clams + fish in the tank and want the best lighting solution. The tank measures 72"L X 18.5"W X 22"D, what would be the best type and intensity of lighting? <Well... for the clams, only metal halide will do. For the corals... would depend on exactly which corals you had in mind.> I think I would like to have metal halide and fluorescent but could use some guidance. What wattage MH bulbs would you recommend? <Probably at least two 175s or two 250s - the 250s would do better for the clams - allow you to place them low in the tank, and also provide adequate light for some of the more picky stony corals, like Acropora.> How many of the different types? What type fluorescent would you recommend? <After the metal halides, this is really a matter of preference and your aesthetic concerns. Most people like to round out their metal halide lighting with some source of actinic blue lights - you have many options.> I was considering using 2 or 3 - 175W or 250W MH + 2 or 4 VHO/CF (would VHO or CF be better) bulbs, would this be a good start? <Either would be fine.> I plan on installing 2 or 4 fans (in and out) for cooling. Are there any particular brand of bulbs that you feel are superior? <No, is a matter of personal preference - what looks good to your eye.> How about fixtures? <Nope... all are pretty much created equally.> Thanks for any input. Doug <Cheers, J -- >

Lighting Her Tank Without Breaking The Bank! Hello, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> I have a 36 gallon bow front corner tank that is about 24'' in depth. I am just looking into having soft and hard coral, NO stonies, I was wondering without going into spending the big $$$ for metal halide if the following would work for my purpose: 24" Orbit PC / Lunar Lights 2-65W/2-Moon (Current). It packs a SunPaq Dual Daylight (10,000K & 6,700K), a Dual Actinic (460nm & 420nm) and a Lunar Light. Thank you so much for your help. Christina <Well, Christina- there are many soft corals and LPS corals that will do just fine under your PC regimen in this sized tank. Halides give you a lot of "bang for the buck", but are not necessary for these animals. If your potential long-term leanings are towards SPS corals, then you will be better off investing in halides. Of course, in a smaller tank like yours, the heat generated by halides is a concern, too. Stay with your PC's and enjoy the results! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Lighting question i am wanting to keep  acroporas and a few other stony small polyped corals with the entire bottom of my tank (well around the perimeter of my live rock structure) covered in giant clams <I'm currently trying to achieve something very similiar -- I'm now in my "grow-out" process.> , now my question is about lighting (my tank is 4' x 2' x 30"  145 gallon) i want to enclose in the stock oceanic canopy 3 metal halide lights so the question is 400 watt or 250 watt? <I would go with the 400wt halides. I'm personally very fond with Ushio brand bulbs.> I'm concerned that the clams want get enough light for the 3 250 on the bottom of the tank, and of course there is some heat concerns with 3 MH light closed in the canopy, i plan on adding at least 2 fans to the canopy, and i have a chiller rated for a 260 gallon tank already up and running, all the powerheads and the three little giant pumps make a lot of heat well added in to the 8 x 65 watt compact lighting im currently using, so you guys tell me what you think 250 watt or 400? <400wt would be best.> I've always heard go with the most powerful u can afford, but the price difference is minimal between 250 and 400 its really the heat concern and the difference of quality of lighting 3 400's vs 3 x 250's will provide? I think the  3 250's will be fine for all the corals it's the clams on the bottom, im concerned with. <I would go with the 400wt halides, especially with a 30" deep tank. The 250's simply are not intense enough to fully illuminate the bottom portion of the aquarium. You may also want to invest some of your money in a PFO HQI ballast (I assume you'll be using a dual PFO HQI ballast and a single PFO HQI ballast for your 3 halides?). The HQI will overdrive the bulbs giving you much more intensity.> Well thanks for your time, and any input will be most helpful im wanting  to achieve the most out of my Acropora tank! <Take Care! Graham.>

Minimum Kelvin Ratings 5/3/04 Hey Guys, I'm in the process of upgrading my lights on my 55G. I currently have 1 NO 30W and 1 30W Actinic and I want to be able to keep softies and some LPS (and perhaps an sps or two after a while.) <Some kind of increase is definitely needed to increase the diversity of what you can keep.> There are problems though...I live in the Middle East and the best halide Bulb I can find is a 150W USHIO 5200K Day White bulb. I would've gratefully accepted a 6500K bulb but I am hard pressed for components to reef with out here and honestly cannot afford to pay shipping from America if I buy online. <Understandable!  Europe (esp. Germany) is also a potential source.  Do also consider seeking a public aquarium facility or livestock collector that may be able to help you out.> I plan to supplement them with 2 NO 30W 6500Ks and 2 NO Osram 67 12,000K blue. Will this suffice ? Am I heading towards an Algae Party ? <Many folks associate lower Kelvin ratings with higher algae growth, but with proper nutrient control, this isn't really true.  In order to get a pleasant appearance, you may wish to use four NO actinic lamps.> Will this please the corals ? <As a general rule, corals don't care a whole lot what the light looks like, only if there is enough.  Your proposed lighting will certainly be enough, however, you may not be pleased with the appearance or the coloration of some of the corals.> I have read your articles on lighting but would like a second opinion from you anyway.... Thank You Lyndon <I hope this helps!  Adam>

Changing MH bulbs and photo acclimation period for new lights - 4/8/04  Hello Again Guys and Gals !  I currently have a 3x250 10k de MH bulbs over my tank. I would like to get a more "bluish" tone to the lighting so I am going to change to 20k bulbs. <I think this is an excellent idea, however, I would switch one fixture at a time until you get the bluer tone you want> When I switch, should I start with a short photoperiod in the beginning to let the animals adjust to the new lighting or does it not even matter since they are still 250w? <A very good question. In most cases I would say that a shorter photoperiod is usually not sufficient enough for animal acclimation. Usually, it is necessary to limit the amount of intensity for a given period of time until there is bulb "burn in" (usually about two weeks) Use a mesh/screen device or raise the fixture further from the surface of the water a few inches as to limit the PAR intensity. These are the most frequently used techniques. Take a look through our site for more info. Anthony Calfo has written a bit about lighting acclimation and lighting in general. Great question. Hope I was able to help. ~Paul>

Sizing an Ozonizer and Lighting 3/28/04 Hello crew! <howdy> I have a few questions I hope you can help with. <OK> First, here's the system: 180 gal tank (6" DSB, LR, Fish, Coral down the road), 2 20 gal refugiums (One with live rock and some of the green spaghetti looking stuff, forgot the name, <Chaetomorpha... one of the best> the other with 1/2 live rock half Thallasia, did I spell that right?) <correct...sweet> and a sump holding approx. 40 gallons.  All water from 5 stage RO/DI filter.  Both refugiums have been on a 55 gal system until the 180 is set up, and both have more critters than can be counted running around.  I have already ordered a calcium reactor, and intend to add a chiller before summer hits.  I currently have a Berlin Classic skimmer, but intend to upgrade to a better skimmer soon as well. <very wise...agreed> Now, the questions, before I purchase the last of what I need to migrate that 55 to the new system: 1.  Ozonizer.  I will be using an Octopus 3000 controller.  Will the AquaZone 200 likely be enough for this system?  I know there are a lot of variables, but should it be sufficient in general.   <tough to say... but likely so, yes> 2. Lighting.  Once the tank has matured I plan to start keeping corals.  There is quite a lot that I can't even identify growing from rock I purchased for the 55 gal already that will be moved.  For additions, I will probably stay with mushrooms and soft corals?  I know this should be a firmer decision before selecting lights, but it is too far off and the wife's input will change whatever I decide anyway :) So, I'm looking more for what would be a good match for the lights I intend, or to know if it is way too much or too little for anything.  The tank is 72x24x24, the lights will be hung about 6 to 8 inches above the water.  The tank is built into the wall with a utility room behind.  I have 4 96W PC lights I plan to reutilize, <these lights should be mounted no more than 3" off the surface to be effective> and intend to purchase MH in addition.  Would be 3 250w Aqualine 10,000k MH, <and yes... 6-8" is good here with MH> 2 96W 6700k PC, and 2 96W actinic PC.  In general, what range of corals would do best under those lights, and what would be REAL bad under those lights? <this is moderate to bright lights. Do avoid deeper water LPS corals, and many/most corallimorphs/zoanthids> Thanks for any advice! Steve <best of luck, Anthony>

Lighting 3/22/04 I have been getting mixed answers to most of my questions from people, so I thought I'd try yet another. I have a small reef tank...29 gallon. I am using a 65 watt 50-50 bulb for lighting. I have a flower, and purple Condylactis anemone. I also have a star polyp. Is my lighting adequate? <not even close in my opinion. Your cnidarians will "hang on" for some months... perhaps even over a year. But slowly starve I suspect, under this lighting scheme> They seem to be doing fine, but  I'm hearing I don't have close to enough light. <correct... as with most zooxanthellate reef creatures, you need at least 4-5 watts per gallon. A 110-150 watt lighting scheme is recommended here minimum... more if you go fluorescent. Else, a 100 watt HQI 10k K halide would be excellent for a single lamp with good reflector> Any help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.... <kindly, Anthony>

Light question 3/19/04 Good Morning crew! <morning> I have three questions that I hope you can help me with. I am setting up a small reef tank.  The tank is 10 gallons.  I have two 32w Power Compact lights and one 18w normal fluor. about 8 watts per gallon. (Q1)--Which setup of bulb color should I use?  (2-10,000K pc and 1-actinic nf) or (1-10,000K pc and 1-actinic pc and 1-10,000K nf) or other? <you should use the one that suits your invertebrates best. Please do not make the mistake of picking your light before you pick your invertebrates! Make a species list first, whittle out the incompatible ones... know that many do not survive together under standardized lighting schemes (low light mushrooms with shallow water SPS corals, for example). Then select your lights> (Q2)--I plan to use 3" of superfine sand (enough for denitrification in 10 gallon?) <yes... likely so, although it is the bare minimum. 4-6" would be much better> I plan to keep small sps frags and maybe a small clam or two.  The tank will be filtered, skimmed, heated, and have a small powerhead behind the 10-15 lbs of live rock. <ahhh... in that case... opt for 6500-10k K lights... the former if you want better growth> (Q3)--Is this lighting sufficient for clams (on the sand about 10" from  lights) and sps (on sand and rock from 10" to about 4" from light) <yes> I will keep alk @ 4-6 meq/L...Ca @ 400-420...PH @ 8.3...S.G. @ 1.0245...NH4/3, NO2, PO4 @ 0...NO3 as low as possible <be careful of maintaining ALK and CA high at the same time. Its not necessary... but even dangerous perhaps (precips)> Sorry one more question: When I set up this tank should I leave the lights off for a week or two with the rock, sand, filter and skimmer all in and going and no coral or fish?   <very helpful. Some hardcore reefers do this for months and get even better starts> Will this help coralline to grow?   <not as much as stable bio-mineral levels in general (water changes and dosing)> Thanks in advance and for all recent help.  The site is really a big help and great job with all the info you have to offer! <kindly, Anthony>

Lighting Quandary? Hello, I had a couple of questions about lighting a reef tank. The coral in the tank is  primary  mushrooms, polyps   brain ,three sps coral, a torch, fox, and live rock. <Quite a mixed bag of animals with varying light requirements!> I was have a debate with a guy about light cycle, he stated that it is better to run your light in cycles instead of a constant 12 hour period. <I cannot imagine why you wouldn't want to have a regular "day-night" cycle, like corals have been accustomed to for untold millions of years?> He also told me that running light like that is one of the cause for hair algae and one sure way not to get a good growth of coralline algae growth( my coralline growth is real slow, need to do more tests on water). <Light itself will not cause nuisance algae to proliferate! Light, coupled with abundant nutrients, will lead to algae blooms. As for the coralline growth- many factors (including water chemistry) contribute to its growth, not just light. It is a very adaptable algae, and species of coralline can be found in all sorts of environmental niches: High light, low light, high flow, modest flow, low flow, etc. > If this is true how about running light more like the natural sun? I currently run a power compact (2-96watt 10000k+2-96watt actinic). should I run them all together or in cycles like  10am-actinic,12pm-actinic/10000k,6pm atinic,10pm moon lights. <I don't see any advantage to doing this with PCs. Some people run a "peak lighting" period (like noon time) with halides, where maximum lighting is in effect for a few hours. Interesting, but certainly not required. I'd just run 'em all at the same time> Or, do you think a major part of my lack of coralline growth is due to water chemistry? <As above- water chemistry is a major contributor to the growth of coralline in aquaria...You can read a lot about its needs right here on the WWM site> Oh, yeah- what by far would be a great calcium additive? Kalkwasser, wo-part additive, or both? <I use both with good results...Remember, there is a sort of compromise between high alkalinity and high calcium levels in the aquarium. Two part additives and kalkwasser additions, with doses determined through regular water testing, will often do the job.> I have been using kalkwasser and the SeaChem Liquid Calcium. <Both fine products. Seachem's Liquid Calcium is a unique form of calcium (Calcium gluconate), which has been cited as an excellent help in growing coralline...Again, I recommend Bob's sage advice regarding additives: If you are going to add ANYTHING to your aquarium, do test for it, so that you can determine proper dosage and measure effects of the dosage...Very important!> My tank filtration is the Ecosystem mud filtration. I called Ecosystem aquariums and they told me that kalkwasser was not a good calcium additive for their system. <Really? Why?> They said that it promotes hair algae! How can that be if kalk is suppose to help remove some phosphates? Any opinions would help? <I'm at a loss to understand that one? Sounds like you may have heard something out of context? You are right- kalkwasser does help precipitate phosphates with regular use....> And again, the guy told me that coralline doesn't like bright light. <As above- partially true. Remember- coralline grows in many environments. Many species do thrive in subdued lighting. However, there are numerous species that thrive in bright light, too> Well, why do some people have it growing on the sides and front of their tank? And, if I cycle my light, will it hurt the coral (sps and lps)? <I don't think that it would "hurt" the coral, but I cannot imagine why you wouldn't want to keep a simple day/night cycle for all of the lights...So much easier, and the results will be fine in the long run...> Thank you.  Mr. McCoy <You're quite welcome! Regards, Scott F>

Small Marine Aquariums
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ook 2: Fishes
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