Lighting Question

boogs79

New member
I am new to the hobby only about 1 month in! I have a 75g tank with a 130w Coralife Aqualight Single Compact Fluorescent. I know more light it needed to reach the desired wattage.Is it possible to add an additional light fixture or should I upgrade to a new unit? If so what would you recommend for a long term fix?

Thanks for your help!
 

JWJTide21

New member
Your lighting will depend on what you want to keep in your tank. Most people I would say are using T5's or Metal Halides. Make sure you have a plan or at least a general idea of the types of corals you want to keep. I have been using T5's for about 6 months now and I am very impressed with them. And they are the more cost effective short and long term. Good luck with your tank and let me know if you have any questions.

Jimmy
 

boogs79

New member
Thanks Jimmy, I would like corals in the future for sure. Do you think the T5 would be a long term lighting solution? I guess I would like to get some lights that would not require an upgrade for some time.
 

Tomoko Schum

New member
I suggest that you first look at some established tanks with various lighting options. Since you are in Madison, you can go to Coral Reef Aquatics to look at both Metal halide and PC's in operation. I don't know where you can see a tank set up with T-5 light in this area. You can visit a few of us in Madison. I have a tank set up MH and another one with PC's. I am sure others NARC members do not mind showing you their set up.

The reason I suggest that you do this is that a reef tank can look very different under different light. Some people don't mind the colors under PC's. Some just adore the color of corals and fish under MH. You just have to see how things look under a few different lighting fixture/options before you settle on one. Lighting is probably the most important and the most expensive thing for a reef tank. If you want a reef tank, you should find out which lighting option gives you the appearance you like. Since you still have some time before you need real good lighting, I recommend that you take your time and check out a few options.

As far as cost effectiveness is concerned, it's a real toss up there. T-5 bulbs can be expensive to replace. A MH bulb is generally good for 1-1/2 years. You have only two bulbs to replace if you use 20K bulbs. I replace my PC's on my reef tank every 6 months or so. This can be costly as well.

Tomoko
 
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boogs79

New member
Thank you Tomoko,
I've been going to the Aquarium shop in Huntsville, I didn't even know about a shop in Madison! I'll swing by Thursday, it looks like they are only open Thurday through Sunday.
 

Tomoko Schum

New member
You are welcome.

CRA's frag tanks and fish tanks are lit with PC's while their larger coral tanks (58's, 60 hex, and 225's) are lit with metal halides. You will see the huge difference in the way corals and fish look in these tanks. Ask John which PC tanks and MH tanks have the same corals for the comparison sake. I am sure that he has a number of frags from the same mother colony scattered around the place. Some MH should be 20K and some 14K. Some MH fixtures have actinic supplements and some do not. You have a number of things to evaluate for sure. Find the option that you like and compare further to T-5 setting if you can find T-5 only setting. IMHO corals look best under MH lamps, but it's really a matter of personal taste.

Tomoko
 

8BALL_99

New member
I wouldn't buy PC anything at this point. Either MH or T5s or a combination. I agree with Tomoko as far as looks go I like MH. They give you shimmer that looks much more natural. That said though T5s Are a very good option for a 75 gallon. If we are talking about a standard 75 thats 48" long 18"wide 21" tall. Thats one of those tanks were T5s just fit pretty good. You can light that tank with 6x54 watts of T5s. Thats only 324 watts of power but would keep most any coral depending on what bulbs you buy. Bulb cost would be about the same with T5s and MH for that tank but the T5s would save you some power and Heat. So T5s would be cheaper option for that tank for the most part. But MH sure is pretty :) The other thing you should consider that most don't.. Do you think you will upgrade tanks later? IF so what do you think would be your next tank. If your talking Retro fit kits.. Then both t5s and MH can be added to for a larger tank. But if you want a deep tank or 6foot tank then T5s start to cost more and just don't work well. Hope I was able to confuse you with your options :(
 

Tomoko Schum

New member
8Ball made a very good point regarding upgrades. It looks as though people continue to upgrade once the fever gets hold of them. Some keep adding more tanks and some just replace a smaller one with a larger one. You might keep that in mind.

Tomoko
 

boogs79

New member
My wife might kill me if I upgrade anytime soon! Who would you recommend for live rock around here? I'm paying $6lb at The Aquarium Shop right now, which sucks!
 

Tomoko Schum

New member
You can mix live rocks with lace rocks or other non-live aragonite rocks. The non-live one gets colonized by beneficial bacteria before long in the presence of live rocks and live sand.

I would first check out what other hobbyists are selling. CRA may also charge something like 6 to 7 dollars per pound for their live rocks.

Tomoko
 

H@rry

In Memoriam
Go to Across the Pond out North Parkway toward Meridianville (next to Bennett Nursery). They have lace rock at a very good price. Put it in with your live rock and it will become populated with bacteria and corraline from you other rock. In a few months you won't know the difference.
 

boogs79

New member
Thanks to all, I'm so glad I was referred to this site! The knowledge is outstanding! I have a lot to learn and have a tendency to rush things, so this site is just what I need to do things right.
 

H@rry

In Memoriam
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14151949#post14151949 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by boogs79
I have a lot to learn and have a tendency to rush things

The last thing you want to do is rush things! There is a saying among reefers: "Nothing good happens fast in a reef tank,"
 
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