Need Feedback - Lighting Setup

Gondore

New member
Alright, so I just purchased my first 90 gallon (48 x 18 x 24) reef aquarium. I have gotten some great recommendations/information from sgarron and DarG. I am having a custom hood built for the aquarium so I can build it around the lighting. I am planning on starting with soft corals and LPS, but would like to move to at least a partial SPS tank.

Here is what I am considering:
2 x 250W Galaxyâ"žÂ¢ HQI Retro Kit with Lumen Max 3 Pendant
1 x Icecap 48in 2 Bulb T5HO Retro Kit

The price for the items mentioned about would be $764 plus shipping.

Can you please provide feedback on cost for quality of equipment. I want to get the very best possible for $700-$800.
 

Gondore

New member
Bump again for more replies.

I am also wondering if this is going to be overkill on lighting for soft and LPS corals, which I will initially keep to gain experience before moving to SPS corals.
 
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Reef Stallion

New member
For $765 you could go with a Maristar 48inch unit and wouldn't have the DIY project. Dual 250watt DE MH with 2 54watt T5:strange:
 

Gondore

New member
Based on the reading I have done and the opinion of several other people on the forums, retrofitting your own canopy allows you to purchase higher quality components with the same money as what a fixture would cost. It also makes it easier to cool because you don't have an enclosure inside of an enclosure.
 

luke33

In Memoriam
The above will work just fine for you as its a nice setup. Only other thing you could do is use a 6x48" IC t5 retro. I've noticed my zoa's and lps prefer and grow faster with the t5's than the mh's I use to use. I only have a few sps but they have been growing well with the t5's as well.
 

Gondore

New member
Interesting post luke33. Everything I have read on these forums and also other places online suggest that MH are better for keeping SPS corals. Even though, as I mentioned earlier, I will most definitely not be starting with SPS corals they are the long term goal. In your opinion, if I decide to go with 6 T5s instead of the 2 T5s and 2 MHs would I have adequate lighting to support the majority of SPS corals when I get to that point? One of my main concerns is that the setup I am planning on purchasing now will be to much light to keep some softies and LPS corals.
 

luke33

In Memoriam
Either setup will allow you to keep anything you want imo. I'm not saying sps grow better under t5's, but they grow well under a good t5 setup. Thats an argument thats happened to many times that i want no part of : )
 

Gondore

New member
I understand your point and from the reading I have done on the forums I gathered this was an area of considerable contention. :)

If I was simply following the wattage/gallon rule it would seem my current setup is far superior considering I would be running 604 watts versus 288 watts with the T5 setup. I realize that wattage isn't the most accurate measure of quality of light for corals though.
 

luke33

In Memoriam
Watt per gallon means nothing when it comes to what corals you can keep. If you compare 250w of mh vs 250w of t5 youll see a huge output diff for the t5's. Personally i think both are nice and set up correctly work just as well as one another. The big difference to me is light consistency and color preferences (t5) vs shimmer effect. I use to light my tank with 3x250w mh's and now i have 660w of t5's. I save a bit of electicity and my tank seems to get better growth now. But my t5 setup is superior to my old reefstar setup.
 

Gondore

New member
I appreciate all your feedback luke. Do you have any pictures of your tank you could post to get some ideas of coloring?
 

luke33

In Memoriam
The color is pretty close.
Actinic

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100_1881.jpg


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Regular. Its a bit to white for me but i'm getting good growth. I plan on swapping out a 60" 6k and adding a blue+ or aquablue

100_1864.jpg


100_1862.jpg
 

DarG

New member
I dont think you can get the Maristar 48" for 745$. It may be close to that but the halide ballasts are seperate expense as far as I know. The Lumenmax reflectors are superior and the Icecap T5 setup has better reflectors and slightly overdrives the T5's for more output.

One point Gondore ... the Icecap 430 does not overdrive the T5's to the level that the 660 does. Keep that in mind. If you wanted to fully overdrive the lamps, the 660 is the ballast to use. I confirmed this with Icecap service yesterday.
 

Gondore

New member
DarG - Do you think the 660s are the way to go? One thing I am really concerned about is the heat in the canopy from all this lighting. I refuse to buy a chiller since they add more expense (initial purchase plus more power consumption). Like I mentioned earlier, the canopy will be custom built and the back will be open. I also plan to build in several fans into the canopy. I haven't determined how many or optimal locations yet. Do you think it's possible to cool a system like this effectively in a canopy so I can avoid purchasing a chiller? Also, can you address my issue regarding this being to much light for some softies/LPS corals I would like to initially keep to develop my reef keeping skills?

luke33 - By your profile I see you are from Indiana. What part? I am from Fort Wayne. I like the coloring in your tank, even though I think I would prefer a bit more of a blue tint.
 

luke33

In Memoriam
Indy. Are you coming to the frag swap tomorrow? I plan on adding the new bulb soon so it is more of a blue tint, just have other priorities ahead of that move. And fwiw, i have them in a canopy with two walmart fans. One on each end. I keep my tank at 80degrees always. No heat problems with this set up or with the 3x250w mh setup.
 

Gondore

New member
luke33 - I read about that frag swap. I would enjoy going but I have nothing to swap since this is my first reef aquarium. :) Would you suggest it for the future though? Also, I was thinking about purchasing my live rock from a place in Indy. Maybe you have some thoughts on the company. The name of the company is premiumaquatics/
 

Gondore

New member
Darn...looks like it's going to be a great event. I so wish my tank was up and running. I actually just got a call from my local pet store today telling me my aquarium had arrived. The friend I have making my stand and canopy (great wood worker) said it will probably take him three work days to complete both, but can mostly just work on it during the weekends. While waiting for the stand/canopy I want to get my sump/protein skimmer/lighting/etc purchased. I can't wait to get things going!!
 
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