Lighting configuration suggestions

eyeguy

New member
I'm building a custom tank 60x24x30 and trying to figure out how to light it. It will have a 3 inch center brace as well as a 2 1/2" Euro perimeter brace. Due to the center brace I really only have room for two MH plus 2-4 T5's. Reading Sanjay's articles, the LA3 reflector looks like the choice for the widest most uniform light spread (but will have to raise the refector 10-12 inches off the water). Since the tank is only 24" front to back and LA3's are 19 1/2 wide, that only leaves room to place one t5 directly over the Euro bracing front and back! Can I move the t5's inward to the center slightly w/o creating a shadow from the MH? Am I going to have very dim area in the middle of the tank? Can I get by w/ 250 W MH or must I go w/ 400's w/ a 30" depth?

I need ideas on how to set this thing up. I plan to have a primarily sps reef. The hood has not been constructed. Suggestions please!
 

kodyboy

In Memoriam
I would get an icecap t5 retrofit unit and not even bother with metal halides. Doing that your problem is solved. I would go with two 6 bulb 39 watt retros or 2 8 bulb 39 watt retros if they have them.
aquariumspecialty.com
 

eyeguy

New member
I'm a little skeptical of being able to grow sps in a 30 inch deep tank with t5's only. I'd like a clam or two as well. I know, I know. I don't want to start a which is better MH or T5 thread. I've read a ton of lighting threads and know there are stong opinions on both sides. I like the glitter lines of MH, but I currently have only VHO's over my 75 and have been satisfied with that for years (though I put MH on my 300!). I'll admit, all the Sanjay stuff I've read is MH-oriented, so that has biased me somewhat in that direction. Can someone point me to a nonbiased (Sanjay-like) evaluation of T5's vs MH?
 

bertoni

Premium Member
I don't think there's enough real data on T5 vs MH to say much. Personally, I think they're about equally efficient, most likely, for hobbyist purposes, if efficient setups are chosen.

I don't like the look of T5, so I'd stick with MH, and consider both 250 W and 400 W setups. The LA3 (Lumenarc, right?) seems to be very nice. I have a Lumen Max 2, which is much like the mini-Lumenarc. An efficient bulb, like the Iwasaki or XM 10,000 K, might be enough, but the first question is, what kind of coloration do you like. The bluer bulbs tend to be less efficient.
 

eyeguy

New member
Yes I meant the Lumenarc III. I'm leaning towards the XM 10K w/ a little blue addition (hence my original plan to add a couple of blue T5's). I want a good white light w/ a slight blue.

Is there a good way to configure this in my allotted space?
 

bertoni

Premium Member
I'd be tempted to use two bulbs and let the ends of the tank be a little dim. They'd need to be up a bit. Your eyes won't notice it, although cameras will show the effect more. I don't know about 400 W vs 250 W, but I'm think 400 W. The plan sounds basically fine to me.
 

eyeguy

New member
So can I move a T5 just inside the Euro bracing (2.5") without creating a shadow in the MH? Another thought: Maybe slide the Lumenarc reflectors towards the end of the tank slightly, thereby eliminating any shading at the end of the thank, and put a couple of short T5's front to back across the center section of the hood. They do come in 18-20" lengths don't they?
 

LeeMc

New member
I think 24" is the min for VHO. I have a similar project under construction. Mine is just a tad longer at 68 x 24 x 30 deep. It’s difficult to work on a tank that deep unless you have long arms or a small child willing to get wet. I guess you could also use a snorkel…

At that depth light hungry critters will need MH at least in the 250Watt + range. I am using a combination of MH and VHO as it allows me to control each separately and thereby better simulate the solar cycle. There are automated dimmer modules to ramp up and down VHO lighting to simulate sunrise and sunset. The MH will simulate peak solar periods in the core period of the day. Your issue is working around the brace. Can you fit two 24" VHO 12K tubes on either side of the MH fixture?
 
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