Really need help picking lights


New member
I want to upgrade to metal halides, but I have quesions

How much better are electronic ballasts?

I want lights i could easily use in my next setup if I upgrade to a 75 or 125, is there anything that you could suggest that would look good or could easily be integrated into a hood?

Right now I'm looking at these below. WHat do you think about them.
aqua medic T5 + MH
Ocean light MH
reefstar HQI


New member
You can save some cash by piecing together and putting it together yourself... if you are comfortable with that. Keep an eye on this board and others and you may be able to get it all for a nice price. (I got my whole setup for $150 including lamp) I went with a 250W DE setup on a e-ballast. If (when?!) I upgrade, the lamp will be able to go anywhere. I added at plug between the lamp housing and the ballast if extensions or disconnects need to be made.

I guess to better answer your question... I really like the reefstar low profile pendnts for a general purpose pendant, but I already had the lamp and ballast. And should also add that I use a single 14k lamp and no supplements.

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New member
dont know anything about aqua medic but the t5 for supplement would be nice.

electronic ballasts are not necessarily better. they will just drive bulbs differently than a hqi on the same bulb. hqi tends to overdrive SE bulbs which shortens life. but some people like the color they get from doing that. i had a electronic ballast on SE ushio 10k 250w and liked it a lot. it ran right around the 250w. a hqi ballast on that light would have been pushing over 300w through that bulb according to melev in the lighting forum.

personally i like the shimmer of the halides but the look and versatility of the T5 fixtures. i have been running a 120g with a 8 bulb T5 retro (no canopy) and love it. i always have my hands in the tank so it is nice and easy to move


Premium Member
I've got 3 Aqua Medic fixtures running, a 6" over my 125 and 2 4" ones over my new tank. Very happy with all 3. I purchased the 6" one new the other 2 used.
I wouldn't use them with a hood due to heat issues.


New member
The ballast that the Aquamedic Ocean Lights come with are better ballast to run on a DE bulb IMO. They burn much brighter, and have better color from what Ive seen.