Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Live Rock Lighting

Related Articles: Live Rock, Answering Some LR FAQs by James Fatherree, Live Rock, Reef Systems, Refugiums, Marine Light/LightingFishes and Invertebrates Marine Set-ups

Related FAQs: Marine Light & Lighting, LR Life Identification, Live Rock Selection, Shipping/Moving, Curing Liverock, Placement, Water Quality, Live Rock in General, Live Rock Studies in Fiji Collaboration & Charts, Sumps, RefugiumsFaux Rock,

Wouldn't it be more spectacular w/ lighting? Dendrochirus biocellatus

Live rocks turning dark greenish-black   3/22/10
Hi Bob and Crew,
Sorry to pester you guys so much specifically Bob :(
Well a few weeks back my light kit got conked. So sent it for repairs.
Meanwhile since I've a few corals like the Goniopora and some Polyps I got the blue background out to let in some sunlight from the window behind.
Needless to say been having some Diatom bloom and now noticed the rocks facing the window are turning dark-greenish black ! Is this harmful and what is it ? BGA ?
<Hard to say from where I'm keying here. Likely not problematical... with the return of your lighting, you will likely have desirable forms succeed this stuff>
Attaching a snap.
<Mmm, no. Nothing attached>
hope its not too large
On another note is the new CMA out ?
<Actually the second edition came out last year (09)>
Thanks for everything you guys do.
<Welcome! BobF>

Live Rock in sump with no light 11/3/07 Will fully cultured live rock placed in a sump with no light provide the same de-nitrification as live rock in the lighted show tank? <Yes, the lighting will not affect this, but for denitrification purposes you would be better served with a lighted macroalgae refugium.> If this is done, do you suggest placing the live rock before any filtration or after water passes through the skimmers (Turboflotors)? <After the skimmers would be preferable. This would allow any pods from the rock to safely make it back to your tank.> My system uses only live rock and 3 Turboflotors, no mechanical or other filtration. 8 years in the hobby with Bob's and Anthony's books and WWM, Howard <Awesome Howard, this is a great hobby. Happy reefing, Scott V.>

Live Rock Lighting - 8/26/07 Greetings, <Hello, Brenda here> I, as usual, would like to thank you for the great advice you guys provide. <Thank you for the positive feedback!> I have a quick, very simple question. Ironically, after many days of research I can't find a definitive answer for. I have a 29 gallon tank, a hang-on refugium/ skimmer and regular florescent lighting that came with the tank. I have 30 pounds of live rock and 3" of crushed coral substrate. I would like to house 2 ocellaris clowns, a clown goby, a bi-color blenny, a couple green Chromis, a peppermint shrimp and a small red starfish. I plan on decorating with fake corals. How much minimum lighting would I need for the live rock? Thank you for you assistance!! <The florescent lighting that came with the tank is fine for live rock. Live rock does not need any special lighting unless you are looking to see some coralline algae growth. Power compact lighting would be fine for coralline algae. Good luck with your new set up! Brenda>

Lighting and cycling   3/3/07 <Greetings!> Is it necessary for my main lighting (MH) to be on during cycling? <No.> I have a 12g AP w/ 70W MH. I currently am running the moonlights on 24/7. Thanks. <Welcome!  -Mich>

Using Perfecto Light Fixtures   7/22/06 Good evening. I am so glad that I have found your website.  It has been an incredible source of knowledge for me.  The work that everyone puts into this website is incredible. I have a question concerning using perfecto light fixtures on saltwater tanks.  Can they be used without any problems.  The light that was on my 29 gallon tank went literally down to Davey Jones locker.  Nothing was hurt from it, but I do not feel comfortable with using this light due to the salt contamination on it. (I have a healthy fear of electricity)  I have read that any equipment that has been damaged by saltwater should be tossed.  I have a spare perfecto light in my shed and I would like to use it to cure my live rock, as I'm still searching for the right compact light. Thank you for any help. <<<Threemvt: Live Rock can cure with little to no light.  Thus, your spare light will work just fine while you research and buy the perfect light for your needs.  Best of luck, Roy>>

Lighting For My Live Rock - 03/12/06 Hello there: <<Howdy>> Few quick questions, first one.  I just got a new light for my 29 gallon salt FWLR tank <<FOWLR?>>.  Its a dual Satellite compact fluorescent fixture, with 2-65 watt lights.  The problem I'm having is that the algae is out of control. <<Likely little to do with the lighting.>> I have the actinic lights on from 11am till 10pm, then the daylight ones from noon till 8pm.  Is there any way I can back on light and still have good growth from my live rock? <<I wouldn't do this...best to keep the lights on 10-14 hours a day, in my opinion, and deal with the nuisance algae (and the source of same) another way.  You could try biological controls (algae eating fish/inverts) but it will benefit you to find/determine the source of the algae and eliminate it.  Have a look here and among the indices in blue, much good info and more than I can pass here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm >> Also how long does the lights have to be on for growth to appear on live rock? <<Adequate intensity/spectrum with an average photo-period of about 12 hours per day should do it.  Here's another good link:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/index.htm >> Then last question, I have 5 dwarf purple leg hermit crabs.  The pass few days I lost 2 of them due someone or something tearing their heads out of their shells.  Why is this happening?  Just to let you know I also have 2 dwarf red leg hermit crabs.  Please let me know why. <<A few possible explanations...the crabs are hungry (not finding enough/being fed enough food) and are resorting to cannibalism...the crabs don't have larger shells available for exchange when/as they grow and are fighting for each others shells...or...you have a fish/other invert that thinks your crabs are tasty.>> Thanks Cody
<<Regards, EricR>>

Lighting LR while it's curing? Hi Folks, As long as we are on the subject of lighting... I am delving into the uncharted realm of live rock. I have 3 BW puffers that I have brought up to SW as adults. I finally broke down & bought a Backpack skimmer (there also is an Aquaclear 500 & Eheim 2213 on there). After over 25 years of fishkeeping, it made me feel like I really have a marine tank now. So I guess my next step is LR. I bought 3 pieces of it (1 Bali, 1 Fiji & 1 man-made) & after over a week, it still looks "dead" (cost me close to $50). I returned that rock & ordered 30 lbs of rock (on sale for $100) from here. I'm a wreck about having to cure this rock, but have read all the info from WWM about it (I think I may just buy saltwater from my LFS for all the water changes). I plan on borrowing the skimmer form my existing SW tank for this curing process. I need to know if I need extra lighting for the inhabitants of this rock? It is a 55g tank & all I have is the 1 strip light that came with the tank. Also, what do I need to feed the rock, other than calcium? Thanks, Jeni/PP (SW newbie) less to none at all during LR curing... I am a fan of some lighting... the one strip is barely some, but will do. Monitor alkalinity and pH, along with calcium as you mention, have enough water on hand for change-outs if/when needed, and you'll do fine. Welcome to the marine hobby! BobF>
Re: Lights Thanks Bob, on the info on lighting while curing LR but now that I read my message, I wasn't clear, I guess.  I was wondering about lighting after it it is cured & in my tank? <Ohh, then definitely, yes, should be illuminated> It will be a FOWLR tank, as I'm afraid the puffers may eat anything else I add.  I don't even know what they'll do to the inhabitants that come with the LR yet...  but I need to know if I need extra lighting/food for them, if the puffers let them be. ~Jeni <Will delightedly chew up most all over time. Enjoy! BobF> RE: Lights
EricR's Illuminating Input Hi Jeni! You're likely to get as many differing opinions as replies on this one.  I like "some" light when curing live rock for the benefit of the photosynthetic organisms that should/will be present.  The "1 light strip" is a bit too marginal...the rock (organisms) will fare better with at least a couple or three 65w 6500K PC lights in my opinion. No need to "feed" the rock anything, though I do like to add a few shrimp pellets/flakes from time to time for the benefit of the micro- and macro-fauna that is likely to abound.  And weekly/bi-weekly partial water changes will provide plenty of calcium, along with any other trace element the rock may "need." HTH, Eric Russell

-Lighting Live Rock- Hello, <Hello> Fantastic Web Site! I check it daily for the recently asked questions because I sport both fresh and saltwater tanks. <Thank you> I checked on some lighting requirements for live rock, but I'm still not sure my question is answered. I'm on a limited budget, but I would like to add some live rock to my fish only saltwater tank. I currently have a Aqua-Glow 36" bulb lighting a 46 gallon bow front tank that is 2 feet high. Will this light be suitable for supporting live rock? <It will be fine. Some photosynthetic creatures will die off, however, all live rock will compensate for whatever lighting it is under and more non photosynthetic things will grow.> I know there are better lighting combinations out there, but as I stated, my budget limits me to this quality level of lighting. I have two clowns, a firefish, a royal Gramma, peppermint shrimp, and now I'm adding a coral beauty. I wanted the live rock for general grazing for the new addition.  <That will do just fine.> I have a AquaC Remora skimmer, an UGF powered by two power heads on stacks, and also a hang on filter. My water conditions are Ph - 8.1, Nitrite - 0, Ammonia - 0, and Nitrates - 0. Any information would be extremely helpful. Thanks! Light Searcher <Well I recommend removing the under gravel filter, as its not really a suitable filtration method for saltwater; and it can get clogged with waste quickly. Other than that, everything sounds great. Good Luck.> <Justin (Jager)> 

Curing live rock Hi Crew,  <Hello> Based on what I have read it is seems that die-off during curing is a combination of being out of water during shipping time and the fact that its new home can only simulate its original home to a very small degree. I have as yet not had any live rock but I would think that aside from filtration benefits it is probably very exciting to discover all the living things that pop out of it over time. And the consensus seems to be to keep lights off so as not to have an algae problem. If I would decide to risk the algae problem by leaving the lights on would I at least be rewarded by having some organism stay alive that otherwise would not.  <You may have some, but in my opinion it isn't worth the end result. James (Salty Dog)><<In mine it is. RMF>>

Live rock lighting Hello, <Hello Emma> I am converting a 55gal tank to saltwater with seahorses and live rock, I have a problem in that our house is on solar power so therefore there is a need for maximum efficiency. I have been researching lighting and have had trouble determining which would be the most efficient. Would lumens per watt would be the best determinant? So which lighting system would be the most efficient? What would be my minimum needs to keep live rock healthy? <Emma, I will direct you to some FAQ's on the wet web concerning live rock lighting.  And, in my opinion, the power compacts would probably be the most efficient in lumens/watt. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrlightingfaqs.htm.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks very much Emma Live Rock Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 I recently upgraded my previously dreadful lighting on my 55 gallon fish w/live rock tank. The tank is 48 inches long, about 18 inches deep, possibly less. I now have 260 watts total (using a 220 watt Jebo light, which has 2x55 watt blue actinic and 2 x 55 watt 10,000k daylight, and also a standard 40 watt 50/50 bulb fixture as an extra, for the total of 260 watts). I also just added about 10 lbs of Fiji live rock, and I want to do everything I can to optimize conditions for the live rock. I read one of your responses to another question, indicating that Calcium should be 300 - 500 ppm... <I like 380-420>  ... and alkalinity at 5 meq.<5 meq/l is pretty high. I like 3-4 meq/l.> However, that was in response to someone who was in the process of curing his live rock. Would the same parameters apply to already cured rock?  <Yes>  Also, I have been adding Aragamilk 2 - 3 times/week at the dosage recommended on the product (1 drop for every 2 gallons of water), and I've been leaving the lights on for 11 - 12 hours/day. <You do NOT want to leave lights on while curing rock. The die off creates such a high level of waste that with lighting being on you will have nuisance algae galore.>  Is the Aragamilk any good?  <Can't say, never used it. Keep checking your calcium and if the dosage gives you the level your looking for, then OK.>  Would you be kind enough to give me your thoughts on whether I have enough/proper light... <Your light is adequate for live rock.>  ... and what other additives I could/should use? <You really need no other additives. Do a 10% water change weekly to supplement lost trace elements.>  Temp is a constant 79 degrees, SG is at 1.021.  <I like 1.023-024>  The tank has a bi-color Pseudochromis, 3 damsels, a small red Coris wrasse, and an algae blenny, with a feather duster and a couple of hermit crabs.  They all seem to be doing well at this point. Thanks for all your help.  <You're welcome and good luck with the rock. James (Salty Dog)>

Lighting For Live Rock I have a 55 gallon tank, 48 " x 18 " deep, FOWLR. Is a Satellite Compact with two 65 watt SunPaq bulbs with lunar lights) adequate to promote live rock growth? Thanks for your help. <That is a very nice compact fluorescent fixture! As far as promoting "live rock growth", I think that you are referring to the life forms on the rock (after all, rock doesn't really "grow", right?). Certainly, many life forms will benefit from relatively intense lighting. Sure, there are some organisms that live on live rock (particularly some of the more demanding "small polyp stony" corals and anemones) that will require extremely intense lighting in order to thrive, but the majority of the organisms should do well under PC lighting. As we recommend so often here on WWM, you should plan your lighting based upon the needs of the organisms that you intend to keep. That's really the best way! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> 

Live rock lighting and skimmer selection Hi gang, two questions if possible. First, I am setting up a 125G FOWLR tank. I've read a million and one articles on the proper amount of light (watts per gallon), but I'm not sure what's appropriate for my setup. I plan on having flourishing liverock, but don't plan on purchasing any corals, with the possible exception of some mushrooms. I don't want to overdo the lighting since I won't be keeping corals. What is appropriate just for the liverock to do well with it's variety of life? <Coralife makes standard T-8 bulbs (the 48" bulbs are 40wts each) which would be fine for supporting the inhabitants on the liverock. If you're up for it, 2x 96wt power compacts would be great for supporting low light corals (such as mushrooms, zoanthids, etc.) and support the life on the liverock. Either choice would be good.> Also, as far as skimmers go, what is the best? I've tried an AquaC with pretty good results, but now I'm reading that the Aerofoamer is testing out to be the best. Any suggestions from those that have probably gotten to try them all? <I've heard some amazing comments about the Aerofoamer. While I haven't any first hand experience with that model, people who have used it claimed that it was extremely high quality and pulled out quite a bit of dissolved organics. Hope this helps, Graham.>

Lighting live rock Hello there, I have a 46 gallon bowfront tank with a standard single bulb "perfecto" type hood, and glass top. The tank is currently empty except for saltwater. I am very interested in cycling the tank with live rock, and I'm just wondering if I absolutely need more light.<If you want to keep the critters on the live rock alive you will need more lighting> Will the rock survive, if not flourish, under these conditions?<probably not unless your aquarium is directly under a skylight or near a window> I am shooting for a FOWLR setup, but my wife will kill me if I have to buy better lighting at this time, especially since she just spent a ton of money to get me this setup for Christmas!<agreed> The whole setup consists of: 46 gallon tank and stand Glass Top Standard light hood 100 lbs Old Castle Play sand for substrate Fluval 304 Canister Filter Bak Pak 2R Protein Skimmer 200 Watt Tetra Heater Thanks in advance for any help and/or comments. <everything sounds ok...I would make sure that the sand is thoroughly cleaned..:). IanB>

Lighting for live rock - 12/18/03 Hi,        I have a 33 gallon marine tank with the standard 20 watt florescent tube for lighting. Would I be better off to avoid adding liverock with this amount of light or will it still be beneficial for biological filtration? <No lighting is really needed for live rock per se. Just go ahead and add it> Should I just avoid the juicier pieces of rock and get ones that have less life on them right from the start? <No need. Go for it! ~Paul>

Lighting for LR Hi guys, Could you please tell me how much light I would need to support my FOWLR tank. Should I have actinic and white lights?? My tank is 48x17x  20" deep and I want to keep the live rock alive and thriving!! Thanks very much<I would just purchase a 48" power compact light strip that has one white and blue actinic bulb. this should be sufficient for your FOWLR aquarium, IanB> LB.

Lighting for LR Hi , I really appreciate the reply but could you please answer me this, what wattage for N.O. fluoros would be suitable for my tank?<I would purchase the 48" strip, with one 110 Watt bulb, That light should be fine> Are the Coralife 10000K white any good??<they are ok> Is the arcadia brand actinic any good also?<Its all pretty much personal preference> Thanks<good luck, IanB> Thanks

LR and Lighting Hello, I am sure that you get a lot of questions about LR and Lighting so I will make my quick and hopefully simple. I am setting up a 125 gal tank (60x18x24) and am planning on adding live rock. <good> I have read most of the post in the FAQ and the articles that you list.  I know that you suggest 3-4 watts per gal is that enough for a 24". <yeah> This is a fish only tank and will not house any corals.<ok>  I want to make sure that I have enough light for the LR and not spend so much on lighting that my wife kills me.<I would go with just power compact lighting. the ones with lower wattages 1-65 watt bulb. cheaper. I believe they come in 30" fixtures so you would need 2> Also since this not going to be a reef tank I want to add Live rock to help in the filtration of Nitrates, what amount of live Rock do I need?<I would go with 1-2lbs per gallon, I have around 300lbs in my 180> I know that the general rule is 1 to 2 pounds per gallon but can you get away with less than that?<you can but I love live rock because I keep tangs and angelfish and I believe its essential for them to have live rock to graze on, it all depends on the species of fish you want to house. I suggest you get as much LR as you can if you get angels, tangs, b/f fish> Thanks Todd <good luck, IanB>

LR and Lighting Ian - Thank you very much for the information.  The Live rock issue is good point on source of food for angels and tangs.  I have one clarification question: On the lighting you are saying that I only need 130 watts total of lighting. 2 units of the power compact 30" that contain 1 65 watt bulb each. <130 Watts should be more than enough lighting for live rock. most of the organisms on the live rock will die anyways or be eaten by your fish. good luck my friend, IanB> Thanks again for all the help. Todd

Lighting Hi, I have a 135 gallon saltwater tank (fish only) and I just bought 2 (40 watt daylight)>(around 6500K, about 2300lumens) bulbs from my local home depot. Well , I was wondering if using these 2 daylight and 2 actinic lamps in my canopy would they be efficient enough to illuminate my live rock. so that they will thrive and grow properly with coralline algae. If not what should I use. <I currently have two "sun light" bulbs over my refugium, 5500k or 6500k, I forget.  The lighting is pretty yellow, but the coralline on the live rock is growing like crazy.  Your calcium and alkalinity will also affect the growth of your coralline.  Fluorescents do not penetrate too deep either, around 12in.  If I were you, I would try it, and upgrade if I did not like it.  Best Regards, Gage>

- Lighting Live Rock - I have a 120 gal tank with 25gal sump and skimmer. I plan on adding 100-120lbs of Fiji live rock. this will be a FOWL tank. my LFS supplied me with 2 sets of 24" lights. each set contains a 20watt full spectrum white and a 20watt actinic blue. with a total of 80 watts. is this ok? or do I need higher wattage? <Fine and dandy for live rock and macro algae to flourish. Good luck! -Kevin>

Lighting Question - 2/12/03 Hello once again and thanks in advance. <cheers> I'm starting up a 55 gallon fish only tank and I'm planning on adding about 50lbs. of Live Rock. For lighting, I was probably going to purchase a 48" fluorescent strip light, like the ones made by Perfecto, but my local fish store recommended that since I have the Live Rock, I should buy a more powerful lighting system, like a power compact. Is this true or will the strip light be enough? There is an enormous amount of information in the archives at wetwebmedia.com. Please browse the surveys and FAQs. Here's a specific article too on lighting with reef invertebrates: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm  > I'm also planning on using Aragonite but my LFS recommended that I use crushed coral instead. <aragonite has many benefits over calcite (crushed coral)> What do you recommend as far as substrate is concerned? Crushed coral? Aragonite? Both? <only aragonite> Greg <best regards, Anthony>

No lights for LR Hello again. . .this situation keep dragging on and on!  We are about a week and a half away from getting our new tank.  However, the 24" power compacts that I have on top of the temporary 75 gallon just went kaput.  The ballast is not longer working at all.  I had been keeping the light over the live rock in hopes of keeping it alive until we got our new tank (that have VHOs attached to the canopy).  Here's my problem. . . I HAVE NO LIGHTS!  What will it do to the fish and live rock to not have lights for a week and a half? <Mmm, nothing to do if you don't have them... not much will "go wrong" during this period of time... just carry on as usual> I am trying to contact the local fish store to see if they will let me "rent" some.  I would just hate to spend $100+ on new power compacts for 2 weeks!  Suggestions?  Will the live rock die?  Will the fish stress out? <Your rock will not die and your fishes will not be nearly as stressed out as you are. No worries, I assure you. Bob Fenner> Thanks yet again for saving me! :)

- New Tank, live rock - <Hello, JasonC here again...> If I were to go with some live rock at the start can I use the single strip light that came with the aquarium (40 watt I believe) or do I need to purchase a new light (or just a bigger bulb?). <Nah... for the interim, the lighting that came with the tank is fine.> . Could a shop light work. I'm very handy with wood and electrical and could build a canopy if it would save me a lot of money. <I think the rock will be fine with the lighting that came with the tank.> thanks again, Todd <Cheers, J -- >

Lights for LR, "some" invert.s Hi Jason <Hi...> T.J. here again, thanks for the fast reply. <My pleasure.> I was looking to see if the lights would support the LR, <Should work just fine.> and after the tank gets established maybe some inverts and basic anemones. <Well, I'm sure what you mean by 'some inverts' but the anemones, definitely not.> Thanks Again, T.J. Fitzgerald <Cheers, J -- >

Live rock II hi me again so if I do add live rock to system detailed below I can leave set up as it is know also I read that its best to add 1k of rock to every five gallons of water does this sound right also will I need and special light to keep it going I eventually want to have 1 10000k Coralife 1 50/50 coral life 1 actinic Coralife my tanks 24 " deep will lighting be ok <the stocking level is only important if it is a significant part of the biological filtration (at which point 1 to 2 lbs per gallon is in the ballpark). The lighting is not so critical for most growths on live rock. However, A VHO combination of the above bulb colors would be very fine. Anthony>

Marine Aquariums Dear Mr. Fenner , My name is Richard Atkinson and I am a big fan of yours . I have your book "The conscientious Marine Aquarist". And I never leave home without it when I am making a purchase . I don't know if your in the habit of giving advice , but I am having a hard time finding a dealer selling the Duro Vita lite system you recommended in your book . <These products, unfortunately the entire company, no longer exists> Also I am not even sure what I actually need . I have had a fish only system for many years and I have purchased my first box of live rock . What kind of lighting do I require for a healthy rock without asking the electric company to open a substation in my back yard . What ever advice you may have would be great . Could you recommend another book that you may have written since the above mentioned addition . Thanks again , Richard Atkinson <Welcome to our principal site, WetWebMedia.com, particularly the marine index, light and lighting articles and many FAQs files... Additionally, please avail yourself of our chatforum: http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ where you will become a part of friends who have the "latest and greatest" input to share with you. Bob Fenner>

lighting 4 live rock Hi Bob, I've gotta admit that going through your FAQs has become a sort of late night pastime for me! <I as well> It's great to learn from experience, but even better-- when it's not yours. :) Anyway, I'm setting up a tiny 18g mixed tank (where a lucky true pair of clowns and 1 shrimp will live one day) and am planning on putting around 20lbs of live rock in. I've retrofitted the poorly underpowered 8watt fluorescent with a 32watt SmartLamp from custom SeaLife (50% 10K daylight 50% ultra actinic), as I've heard good things from a reefkeeping friend as well as your site about their products. <Yes. Good lights> This results in ~1.7 watts per gallon. I know you recommend 3-4 for reef setups. Unfortunately, this is the highest wattage lighting retrofit I was able to find for this canopy. Will this lighting stunt (and eventually kill off) the coralline on the LR? <Not necessarily... if graded in (time, shielding/shading wise...) over a months time or so... and you maintain sufficient alkalinity...> Or is it marginally sufficient? I'm hoping the rocks will grow and help with nitrates in the long-run. (I was going to go with some sort of denitrification filter, but was dissuaded by your comments and especially the thought of hydrogen sulfide being released in the tank!!) <For this size, shape tank, stocking plan I would dispense with other purposeful denitrification (your live rock, substrate s/b fine) as well.> Thanks for the help + Mabuhay! Ben Fojas <Thank you mi pare jo. Bob Fenner>

Lighting and live rock To make a long story short I had a copper problem with my house pipes and you guessed it I was taking out medicated copper and putting pipe copper in. <Ah! and Argghhh!> The live rock that has turned white and the rock that still has growth should it be kept or tossed because of the copper? <Keep it... likely will "come back" with time> My second question with lighting is, how much does live rock depend on the lighting.  <Hmm, to a degree... different species, types of rock are more photosynthetic...> Have gotten different answers from 3 or 4 LFS and two people at FF Express because I have a 48 gal pent and because of its depth of 22 inches I am not sure if the normal 3-4 watts would be sufficient, <Should be> I do eventually want to add some other things besides live rock and fish Thank You <Creative placement, stacking of rock will likely grant you sufficient flexibility to keep what you'd like. Bob Fenner>

RE: Lighting and Live Rock Robert, I took your advice and checked with Champion Lighting... not only are their prices MUCH better than anyone else's, they are also having a sale now so it was even 10% less. I was able to go ahead and get the 48" 4x96W retro-fit kit, with reflector/bulbs.. everything, for right at $400. <Ah, even I work in seemingly mysterious ways...> Not only that, but the manufacturing plant is in San Marcos, and since I live in Oceanside I asked if I could just pick it up instead of them shipping it.. they are OK with that, so I'll have the unit in a day or so. <Amazing, eh?> Just wanted to write, say THANKS, you saved me a bundle.. btw: Like I said, I live in Oceanside... my new wife and I are both certified divers (about a year certified/approx 25 dives each)... if you're looking for new dive buddies, let us know!!! <Can barely stand the quality of water (the organisms are fine but the runoff/dump-off the coast is atrocious...) near shore... Perhaps an exotic trip in the future.> One last thing... any suggestions for LFS in North County/San Diego that are better than others???? <Haven't been around to that part of San Diego for so long I don't have an opinion. The ones "down here" to visit: Octopus's' Garden, Aquatic Warehouse/Aqua fauna, Fountain's, Clairemont Tropical, Sports Arena Tropicals... are worth investigating. Bob Fenner>

Lighting and Live Rock Bob, First of all, thank you for keeping your site so up to date, for someone that is delving into the wonders of a saltwater aquarium for the first time, the information is EXTREMELY valuable.  <Glad to hear/read this opinion> (had freshwater aquariums for years, and finally am "making the plunge"). Now for the questions.. sorry for the "newbie" level of the questions, but after searching your site, reading the section in "The conscientious marine aquarist", and doing other research, I'm a little confused about the lighting I should use. <Okay> What I have: 90 gallon acrylic tank (Clear for life brand), 48" long, 24" deep, 18" wide, stand and canopy (don't recall the brand, some sort of heavy wood, oak maybe), Berlin H.O.T. protein skimmer, Fluval 404 canister filter, fluidized bed filter (don't recall the brand, but I know the model is "300"), about 3-4" of aragonite substrate. <In a month or two you will likely not need, nor want to run the FBFilter... you will notice an accumulation of nitrates... when this grows to tens of ppm, pull it> Where I'm at: nearing the end of "cycling the tank". Ammonia is close to zero, SG 22, nitrite coming down a bit, nitrate is pretty high (50??). <Wait a week or so, then ixnay on the FBFilternay> I have 3 damsels left (started with 10). I went to the LFS late last week, and they recommended doing a large water change (about 20%) to start, and then smaller ones every other day until done, which I'm doing. <Mmmm, I would not have sacrificed the damsels... nor would I (don't do it) change water here till the nitrites are at zero> What I want to do, start with fish only, and move slowly into a reef setup. I know I need to get some live rock (suggestions for how much?), <A "box" or two for now... sold at about #45 per box... Look at the etailers listed in magazines, the WetWebMedia Links Pages, your LFS to make you "whole box" deals... for "pre-cured" (You'll have to re-cure it... can likely be done "in place"... Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/morelrcurefaqs.htm> but when I went to get it, I was told I need lights (Told you I was new!!!). Now is where the confusion starts. I've pretty much narrowed it down to getting a Power Compact retro-fit fixture, but don't know if I should do that, or buy the ballasts and bulbs separately... <Almost always a better deal to buy all at once... do give Champion Lighting a chance to bid on your business as well...> (been looking at www.ffexpress.com web site). The only difference I can see is the reflective part, and don't know how much of a concern that is.  <"Reflection is good", what corn, but true> The other questions is wattage, and size of fixture. The mounting area that I have to work with is 51.5" wide. Should I get the 36" and mount towards the middle, or go with the 48" and have things really jammed in?  <Both/either will do... do you have much notion re what sorts of livestock you want to keep, what you want to do with it? If culture (boosted especially) of high-light intensity organisms, go with the 4 foot long lamps...> I'm thinking of going with the 2 96W (36") for now, and then adding another unit the same later as needs and budget warrant, or using the 48" 260W (4-65W) now and be done with it? (Don't know how much light I'll eventually need, and need to keep the total cost to under $400 for now, can add more $$$ later). <I understand. Contact the various companies on our links and ask them to negotiate...> Also, with my tank, about 50% of the top of covered with acrylic, how do I handle this as far as light passing through it, (or is it even a concern?). <Not much... for now just keep the acrylic cleaned, dry when you lift the top> To sum up the questions: How much wattage do I need finally, and can it be split into 2 purchases? <3-4 watts should do of CF, and yes, can be done in two phases... but may be cheaper/better to buy the final fixture, lamps now> Is the portion of the top of the tank that is covered with acrylic a concern and if so what do I do? <No big concern, keep clean> What size fixture is best? <More coverage is better for keeping your "options open"... flexibility going forward, the 48 inchers> How much live rock would you suggest? <A box or two, 45-90 pounds... you can add "another box" later> Sorry for the length of the mail and number of questions... I tried to jam everything I can think of into 1 mail instead of writing to you over and over. <No worries my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Matt Fielder

Lighting Hi Bob, It is me again I had a simple question. My aquarium lighting consist of 1- 36" [30w] florescent light(10,000k) 1-18" [15w] florescent light(10,000k) and a 18" [15w] florescent light (50/50). Is this enough for a 45 gallon aquarium with live rock and a couple of hermit crabs?  <Mmm, just barely... you might look into modifying a simple shoplight... two 40 watt lamps would be much better> I know you recommend 1-3 watts per gallon. I do not know if I spell florescent correctly? <Spell check my friend... it should be part of your e-mail program, and habit. Bob Fenner, fluorescent> Thanks Again for all of your wisdom David Garcia

Curing LR/lighting Hi Bob, Wow, I ask you so many questions, I feel I should be paying you!  <You are... with your friendship. I thank you> I've noticed your preferred currency is "little brown bottles"? :-)  <Ah, that accursed beer/bier/bir! Why does it have to be so tasty at times?> My question this time regards curing liverock. I have the 36x30x20 tank. I was going to order two 45lb boxes of LR from FFE. Is it ok to add all at once and cure in place?  <Hmm, without livestock currently... I might be tempted to try re-curing the "cured" product all at once... if you have the time, I would place one box, than another a month or so later...> I currently have 2x55watt PC lighting, is that enough for the curing process?  <Yes> I was planning on adding another 2x55 later. Also, I know the rule of thumb is 3-4 watts per gallon of lighting (of NO fluorescents?), <A difficulty of rules of digits... about this amount is fine... boosted fluorescents would be better...> but since PC's put out 2-3x more light than NO, is that rule of thumb still good, or should it be reduced 1-2 watts per gal for PC's? <3-4 watts here is better> I'm not interested in stony corals (yet), only the easier to keep shrooms and leathers. I know this seems like a simple question, and it's probably been asked before, but I've been skimming your FAQs and couldn't find a satisfactory answer. Thanks, and have a good weekend. <Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Live Rock Lighting It's me again! Just a quick follow up question to the lighting question below. I've read that power compacts produce 2 to 3 times the light intensity of regular fluorescents. Does this mean it takes less wattage with power compacts or do the normal watt's per gallon guidelines still apply?  <Ahh! Yes> If I were to buy a power compact fixture with 2 65 watt pc's, is this the same as 260 or 390 watts of regular fluorescent light? <Roughly speaking, yes> I'm confused. <But becoming less so...> Thanks again! (I love your book "Conscientious Marine Aquarist", by the way.) <Good to hear/read. Bob Fenner>

Live Rock Lighting Mr. Fenner: I've emailed you a couple of times as I have been getting started in saltwater, and I always appreciate your quick responses. You're a great help! <Glad to be found to be of service> I have a 75 gallon tank with about 100 pounds of live rock, which I just added 2 days ago. The rock I got wasn't cured, so I don't plan to add fish for about 6 weeks. I have a Remora Pro skimmer working on the tank, and it is pulling out some brown, nasty smelling gunk! <yes> I plan to make this tank primarily fish only, but I want to keep the coralline algae alive. What amount of lighting (watts per gallon) would I need to accomplish this? <A watt or two per gallon... depending on what sort of fixturization, lamps... Do also monitor ammonia, nitrite, alkalinity and calcium... and adjust as needed...> I currently just have one 40 watt tube which came with the tank (which I know is not near enough). How about 2x65w power compacts?  <Okay> At this point I don't plan on invertebrates (except maybe a featherduster or two) until I see if I'm any good at this! <You will be.> Thanks for your help with the lights! Dave Hopkins <Please read through the "Live Rock" and "Curing Live Rock FAQs" sections on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com for more background, insights that others can share. Bob Fenner>

Live Rock for newbie Hi Bob Here goes - I've read comments from many people that you have been most helpful with your advice, and I'm hoping that if you can find the time, that you can also help me. I am new to marine having kept freshwater tropicals for some time. I apologize now for the length of this text, but I wanted to provide enough info for you. <Glad to help> I have recently setup a 24"x24"x24" marine aquarium. Some more spec: Total water: 55 US gallons. Water depth is about 21". Wet / dry trickle filter with floss, bio-balls and activated carbon. One air pump in one corner with wood block. One counter-flow protein skimmer - air driven (separate air-pump) - added this today. One heater (I will add a second as a redundant backup) Three 18" 15 watt fluorescent tubes. One Actinic 03, one coral glow and one day Glo I think. 1and half inch crushed coral substrate. Quite a few pieces of hard coral (dead), which I inherited from the previous owner of the tank (I have added a lot of the hardware from new though) <Sounds good... pretty deep for this lighting for photosynthates> The circulation is fairly good due to the overflow cycling and return pump from the wet/dry and is helped by the skimmer and the air block. Lots of bubbles in the water and you can watch the occasional bit of debris move about the tank quite well. PH is about 8.4 and stable. Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates are all fairly good but not zero (still a very young tank). I am doing weekly water changes. Gravity is 1.0215. Temperature is 78F and stable. I waited five weeks before adding stock. That took me up to just over one week ago, when I added a 3" tomato clown and he has been quite happy and feeds very well indeed. He has adopted a hole in between two pieces of the dead coral. Four days ago I added a 1 and half inch regal tang, who seems to have settled in well - gets on with the clown and is also eating. I have brown/green & pink coral growth on the coral and substrate - not too much though. <The algae/bottom color are a reflection of the low lighting, depth, availability of nutrients, low specific gravity...> I realize that it is very early days and I want to wait another month before adding any more stock. I am thinking of a bottom feeder of some description and also a cleaner wrasse. I am monitoring the fish (particularly the regal tang) for ich - things seem okay at the minute. <Good idea on waiting... for a few reasons as you know... and no to a cleaner wrasse... rarely live. Maybe a Gobiosoma spp.? The folks at Tropical Marine Centre breed them in good numbers in the UK> I have read so much about live rock and would love to have some - both for aesthetic reasons and for water quality. <Also likely... I would add some> My question is two fold. The tank seems fairly bright. Is it bright enough though? Just how bright does it need to be? I could possibly add one more strip into the hood. As you can imagine a 2' square area is not a lot to work with in terms of length. <Agreed, and your lighting for the depth, size of system is actually minimal. Do look into compact fluorescent technology... much can be done with these in a two foot run> My fish are coping at present with the young tank, but would the live rock? <Actually, the live rock would have been better to place first... As it is now, I would wait another month to allow the system to stabilize further, then do your best to acquire as well 'pre-cured" live rock as you can, and place it all at once... allowing another month to add any more live material... likely some "clean up" organisms at that time> Thanks in advance. Yours in anticipation. Andy Barnes (Essex - UK) <Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Live Rock for newbie Wow - thanks for the speed of your reply. If I did add another two strips - giving me 5 x 15w tubes, could this be sufficient for the rock to survive if I had the lights on for say 16 hours a day? Cheers, Andy <Yes, most all the live rock organisms will survive and grow in good quantity with the light addition (but just twelve hours a day will be fine). Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Manono Live Rock Question (another one) Just read daily Q&A about the lighting during curing. Could you elaborate a bit more...I have been told to leave light, leave off, etc. I have 20 lbs of Manono rock in a 20 gallon tank (just received it yesterday). We have a powerhead and a CPR Bak Pak skimmer on the back and a cheap Whisper Filter. Here are my ?'s If I don't have any light, won't that kill off the coral I DO want and the feather dusters (that I hope are on there)? If I do use light, what should I use (right now we have a 20 watt actinic and a 20 watt maybe full spectrum-not sure)...How long do you think it will take for me to see any life on it all--right now all I see is blackening algae (which I will scrape off when the smell dies down!!) and some pretty green grass like algae. Also, you are so helpful-you have answered a question for me before and I was so impressed that you actually emailed me back!! Your answers always make good sense and seem to be without bias towards particular companies or products (I am finding that is a rarity in this hobby!!) Thanks in advance < Thank you for writing. I am a proponent of "regular light photoperiods" when curing live rock... there are other schools of thought... that the lack of lighting might aid in ridding the rock/system of undesirable photosynthetic life... Leave the lights on as if the tank were fully set-up. For such low wattage lighting, have both lights (all 40w) on a good twelve hours a day... best with a timer. You should see a veritable explosion of different life forms in a few days to a couple of weeks. And thank you for your kind words. An honor, and pleasure to serve the interest and public. Bob Fenner>

Hey Bob: I just purchased about 60 pounds of cured live rock from FFExpress (great rock by the way). My tank is about 31/2 weeks new and I've been wondering about how much light I should be using. The tank gets light for about 6 hours per day. Brown algae film is developing on the glass. Grassy moss type stuff is starting to regrow on the  rocks. Am I using to much light? When should I start adding algae cleaners (hermit crabs, snails etc.)? Thanks for you help. Sherm >>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: