Help me decide new lighting set up for my 90.


New member
I currently have a 90 gallon AGA tank. I am running a hamilton light assembly with two 175 14K halides, and 2 110 VHO UVL Actinics. I have noticed less growth from the 14k hamilton bulbs since I swapped out from 10k. I have also purchased the recently released parablic reflectors from hamilton that they are including on the delux hoods now, but have not added them yet. I was waiting till i tear the hood apart to add them in to the mix.

I have gotten so many different opinions on lighting that my head is starting to spin. I was contemplating going back to 10K halides, still keeping the 175's but also adding two 54W T5HO, with more blue color to help bring out the colors of the corals that I like with the 14K halides. This set up would have me running 2x 175 10K halides, two 110 VHO actinic, and two 54 blue plus or similar bulbs.

Then I started to think about upgrading the 175's with a new ballast and bulbs and going to 2x 250 halides. I was told i could replace the endcaps of the VHO's and switch out to T5's (not sure how true this is) This set up would have me simply running 2x 250 halides probably in 10k and two 54W T5 in blue plus or again something similar.

The final thought i had was switching out totally to T5's and going with a 6 or 8 bulb retro run with icecap ballasts.

Can anyone give me some solid ideas and advice... are the two 175's not powerful enough for my 90, would i be better to go with the 250's, can i replace the VHO's with T5's run on the same hamilton ballast? How many people would simply recommend switching to a full T5 set up and if so, is six bulbs sufficient, or should i go with 8?

I al mainly running softies and LPS, I am not a huge fan of SPS, and really don't see adding much of that to the tank, but if i do add some I know i could add that to the upper half of the tank.

Sorry for all the questions, but I would like to really stop wondering and would like to start changing it out or at least feel a little more confident that what i have is ok.



lighting is one of the most debated components of a reef tank so im sorry to disappoint you but you wont get a straight definite answer and two people agreeing on the same exact thing.

i have a 90gal.
used to have two 175w MH with VHOs. changed to 8T5s. got much better color and growth. i have two 400w MH and i never liked them because even though i know ill get even better color and growth, i don't think its worth it because ill need a chiller also. i don't use one now with the T5s. if you already have a chiller. get 2 250w MH. if you switch to all T5s you might miss the shimmer. i know i do. i like the energy efficiency of T5s though, plus i don't need a chiller. dont listen to everyone opinion because you will never make up your mind.
what is important to you? energy? best color and growth? can you live without the shimmer? do you already own a chiller? are you prepared to get one of you have to?
answer yourself these questions and you will figure out yourself what lights to go with and what works best for you. good luck