Thinking About Changing Lights......have questions


Premium Member
OK, here's the scenario. Jen and I live in New Jersey where everything's very expensive. The electric company has just increased their rates another 15% as of July 1st. Currently we have 3 250 watt MH's and 4x96 watt PC actinics over our 125 gallon 6' long tank. We are thinking of changing our lighting to 2 175 watt MH's with either 10K or 14K bulbs. I'm wondering if that will be enough light or if we should go with 3 instead of 2. As far as high light corals, we have a purple slimer, tri color acro, various acros, pink birdsnest, a crocea clam ,two maximas, and two seabae anenomes. The tank is 24" tall.
I think I covered it all. Any help is appreciated. Thanks



Active member
Hi Jen n Kerry

Depending on how deep your tank is and how you place your SPS, I think that 175 will be okay. It will help a lot if you can switch to a more efficient reflector like Lumenarc, then switch to a PAR monster bulb like an Iwasaki 15K, and also to 2x T5's instead of power compacts.

However, the energy savings from switching from 250 to 175 might not be enough to justify the amount that you'll spend for the downgrade. There might be other things that you can cut usage on around the house that will give you more savings.



Premium Member
Thanks for responding. The thing is we have already cut back everything we can possibly think of including breaking down a 29 gallon freshwater and a 150 pond outside.
Right now we have 1134 total watts on our tank. Going from that down to 300 watt MH is a drastic difference. I just want to make sure our higher light corals will be ok. We will not run actinics if we decide to do this. Thanks


Premium Member
Have you considered an LED system? They are pricey but if you live in an area with high electric costs, it may pay for itself in a year or so.


New member
I'd say if you're going to change out your lighting, I'd try the following first:

1. Decrease the photoperiod significantly down to 8 hours with a staggered dawn-noon-dusk effect:
The first hour CF only. (5pm)
The second hour fire the left and right halides. (6pm)
The fourth hour fire the center halide. (8pm)
The sixth hour shut off the center halide (2 hours on total) (10pm)
The seventh hour shut off the left and right halides (6 hours on total) (midnight)
The ninth hour shut off the CF lighting (8 hours on total). (1am)

I run something like this. I don't get home until after 6:00 pm no less than 5 or 6 days per week, and I like to enjoy my tank's full lighting period.

2. If you're running a chiller, look into some cheap PC fans to blow across the tank surface. Frys should have some for a few bucks. Chillers cost more to run than lights.

3. Set your photoperiod to run in the late evenings, when your AC unit isn't already struggling with the daytime heat.

4. Set your thermostat higher during the day when the tank lights are out. Without halides running, the tank temp should remain around room temp without stressing the AC or the chiller.

Some of these ideas will accomplish the same sort of thing and it will cost you nothing to try. It's in the 80's where you live, so you don't have as much to worry about heat-wise. Try living in Texas or SoCal.


Premium Member
OMG! Yea, if I cant pay my $300 electric bill, Im not picking that up for over 4 grand! LOL! Great idea, too expensive for my blood though.

Well, BigJay...I gotta say, we are doing even less then what you recommend. I refuse to run the air, its too expensive to do so, so we sweat it out. I dont run a chiller, again too expensive. I use small fans to keep the tank cooler.
As of last month, I cut back the MH back to 4 hours, I run them from 10 am till 2pm. The actinics run from 8am to 7pm. I used to run thr MH 8 hrs but I cant hack it anymore.
AND to boot, I used less energy last month AND this month, my bill went up $50!!! I cant understand it...its a wonderful corrupt state we live in