Help me decide on lighting for the 8x4x30"

Hi guys,
Well, I'm back to serious planning on the 96"x48"x30" 600 gallon to replace my 240 cube. This will most likely happen this summer :)
I'm trying to come up with the best (read: most efficient, cost effective, and attractive) lighting system for the tank. I am going with a 'canopy less' design, just like me current cube.
Here is what I'm considering:
Option 1:
Keep my two 48" Aquamedica Oceanlight dual 250 watt with T5 pendants and order two more and hang them over the tank.
Pros: I get to keep what I've already got.
Love the T5 and halide combo.
Cons: Cost: roughly another $1200 for the other two pendants.

Option 2:
Sell the Oceanlight pendants with the cube and get 2 1000 watt 20K bulbs in Luminarc III reflectors.
Pros: Love the intensity and coloration from these bright 20Ks.
Relatively cheap and only two bulbs to replace every year.
Cons: Ugly reflector hanging over a 'canopy less' design.
Heat and light overspill.

Option 3:
Get a 72" 3 halide (400watt?) Oceanlight pendant to hang over the back half of the new tank and keep one of the 48" pendants I have to hang over the front half. This would provide some off set lighting and give a unique look to the reef with shadow and bright spots.
Pros: Get to keep one of my pendants.
Would get to keep a nice clean look over the tank and have T5s and halide combination.
Cons: 72" fixture would be expensive.
May not light the reef the way I envision.

Option 4:
Get 4 400 watt Reef Optix pendants and spread them over the tank.

Option 5:
Build a canopy and install 4 luminarcs with 400s and plenty of 48" T5's.

Help me out guys. I'll keep reviewing the other threads of similar size tanks to get more ideas.
What would you do?
Thanks a bunch!


New member
WOW, you just got a new tank!! :) But I can understand how you feel! Good luck with the mammoth tank!

I say keep what you have and get the tank first. Then you can work from that.


Ancient Eskimo Legend
Staff member
RC Mod
I would go with 8 metal halides over that tank and 12 T5s. I wouldn't want only one mh over a 4ft depth.

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New member
I think the most cost effective would be option 1, getting a couple more of the units you already have.

The most effective lighting IMO would be to build a hood, and like Nanook suggests, use 8 mh. Maybe 8 Lumenarc mini's. You could use 250 watt MH bulbs if you go with something like an XM10K, something with good PAR, and T5 or VHO to supplement.
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=7521467#post7521467 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by invincible569
WOW, you just got a new tank!! :) But I can understand how you feel! Good luck with the mammoth tank!
Thanks Invincible, Nanook, and Fiziksgeek.
My local reef buddies are already razzing me about the tank size upgrade. The 240 is just over a year old now, but I'm already realizing how limited I am by its 'short' size. Its hard to think of letting it go since it is such a great tank.
Really, I'm wanting the longer tank for my fish. I enjoy my fish more than I do the corals so I want to give them as much swim room as possible, plus the larger tank allows me to get a few more specimens that I just can't consciously put in the 240.
I have to decide wether to sell the 240 as an entire package, lights, pumps, OM, and such included and start fresh with the 600. I'll be keeping all of the livestock and at least one of the Darts but the rest may need to be upgraded with the new tank.
In terms of lighting:
I don't think 8 halides is really necesssary. Plus, I don't want to blast the entire tank with light. I really feel that a natural looking reef will have shadowy areas as well as bright spot light areas and everything in between. I'm wanting to create a natural looking reef setting with this big tank, not necessarily the 'perfect' SPS growing tank. So, I think 2 1000 watts would be sufficient, maybe 4 400s, maybe a single 1000 watt in the middle and two 400s on either end.
Keep the advice and suggestions comming please!
Thanks again.


New member
Good point. I wasn't thinking about what you plan to keep in the tank. If I recall, your other tank is that gorgeous cube with no top bracing at all? If you really want to keep the top open in the new tank, a couple of 1000W MH in the big Lumenarc or the Lumenmax from Sunlight supply might work nicely. Or a couple of 400's on either side of a single 1000, all depends on your bracing. The Lumenarc was originally designed to cover a 4x4ft area. You would just have to raise the reflector up a bit to get the coverage, but that just gives you a better view from the top!

Based on your current tank, I am sure the new one will look awesome no matter what you decide!


New member
have you thought about natural sunlight? With solar tubing and then some t5 suppliment you could really get a good look to the tank that can even be replicated with halides!! this would be more cost effective in the long run!!! I cant imagine what a tank that size does to an electric bill....