How Much to Setup FOWLR for 120 Gallon Tank


I'd tap that glass
I have a 120 gallon reef ready all glass tank that I was going to sell because I'm really not into corals anymore. I have a 29 gallon tank with fish and corals, and was thinking of setting up the 120 as a FOWLR. Now, I wouldnt need the same kind of lights as I would with a reef tank, correct? Thats part of the reason I was going to sell my 120 was because I couldnt justify spending $800 on lights and all the other expensive crap that you need to keep corals.

So, my question is, if I already have the 120gallon tank, what kind of lighting do I need? What type of filtration? If its cheap enough, Ill just keep my 120 and fill it with gorgeous fish and live rock.

Thanks in advance.


I like Triggers

New member
well you could go to home depot, and buy a light setup cheap. i got a 2-48" florescent lighting setup for $13. the bulbs i bought from the fish store though at $20 a pop. florescent is all a FO/FOWLR will need.

filtration wise... do you have a sump or do you want to go with hang on the back?


I'd tap that glass
well, I would have a 29 gallon as a sump, and a 10 gallon for whatever. i could get a bigger sump if needed. I have pretty decent skimmer too.


Dogmatic Dinosaur
If you want "beautiful" live rock then you will need water quality very similar to a reef.

Strip lights are fine, just put some Marine quality bulbs in them or they might grow some ugly algae and not show off the good color as much.

Get a skimmer rated 1 size higher than your tank.

I would recommend growing marco algae in a refugium to export nitrate and phosphates. DSB can keep nitrated down in a FOWLR, but you will need to put a layer of shells or larger substrate over the top of it to keep the fish from moving it all around.

I use MH on my 210 FOWLR, but not because they were necessary. They make the fish look cool, really keep the live rock looking good, shimmer lines and it is only 500W. I used 5 165W VHOs before which was more wattage and less impact.


10 & Over Club
Premium Member
De- depending on what you want this tank to look like will depend on what kind of lighting you'll want. You can go the cheap route and do the home depot thing (expect it cost about $30 for all the lighting) or you can go the other extreme.
For me Home depot lighting is the way to go, its plenty bright for the fish to see food and for me to see the fish, and importantly i leave it off most of the day-when i'm not around, this way it prevents any nuscience algae. The fish only need light to see food, well some of them.
But if you want a show tank w/ coraline algae encrusted live rocks...well then consider the halide suggestion