View Full Version : Looking at trying some MH lighting for the first time

02-08-2011, 11:56 PM
We have a standard size 65 gal tank in the garage set up as a holding/QT type tank and we were thinking of trying some MH lighting on it. We want to see if we get the same or better growth than the T5 we run on the main tank in the house. The dimensions of the tank are 36" x 18" x 24" deep. Would a single 250w light be enough? Also would a large (22" x 22" x 9") Lumen Bright reflector be too large for a tank this size? It just seems like since the tank is only 18" front to back that the reflector should be less than than??? One other thing is that there is a center brace on the tank. Would this be a problem with heat or a shadow? We are planning on it being a hanging fixture or pendant so we can adjust the height above the tank as needed. We are looking for input and all is welcome.

02-09-2011, 12:05 AM
I am currently building a 65 High tank with those same deminsions. I am opting for doing dual 175 SE in a Lumenmax Elite fixture with T5HO supplementation. With the ballasts that I will be purchasing I will have the option to either run 175 SE or 250 SE bulbs. The ballast is the Lumatek multiwattage ballast that Barrier Reef carries.

One of my main reasons for doing dual MH instead of a sigle is that darned black center brace. Also the fact that after seeing a 65H tank with only a single MH I found that I did not like the dark corners.

02-09-2011, 08:05 AM
Yea, usually the rule of thumb with metal halides is one bulb for every 2 feet so as suggested, you may have dark outter edges although I'm not sure how much you would actually have as technically, that will only be 6 inches to either side, but it may be noticeable. You could always just put your lower light demanding corals on the sides though if that is something you don't mind. The refelctor does make a difference though so I guess you will have to get some more feedback on the Lumen Bright reflectors. From what I've read and seen, they distribute light pretty nicely. If you dont have a center brace, then that would work even more in your favour as you could just do most of your rockwork in the center of the tank with your corals under there and that way they will all get sufficient lighting. In addition to that, with a 24 inch deep tank, 250w IMO would be the way to go.

Just a few personal thoughts. :)

02-09-2011, 10:30 AM
Another idea is to use a single 250 watt bulb and make your own lumenarc reflector. All of the plans I've seen make a standard square reflector, but I made one for my zoanthid tank that is 16" x 28". I'm sure it changes the orginal light spread somewhat, but it will help eliminate dark spots on the ends.

02-09-2011, 11:35 AM
chop your center brace, leaving an inch on each end and attach a piece of clear acrylic with vinyl screws.

imo, a single small diamond lumenarc reflector which is 18"x18" would be perfect with a 250w in the center.

02-09-2011, 11:39 AM
also, the lumatek digital ballasts are the best, imo...
check em out!

02-09-2011, 12:16 PM
Or, like Skimmy said. Cut out the center brace. In my case. I removed the center brace and custom ordered a piece of tempered glass and used E-6000 to mount it into place.

FWIW the aqueon 65 is only two inches taller than the 50 breeder which has no center brace. Same foot print as that of the 40 breeder too.
Everyone worries about bowing, my 29, 4 inches taller than the 20 long has 3/16th bowing straight form the factory.

I ran a single 250 over the 65 and 40 breeder for years. You will get some shadowing near the top on the ends (with no center brace). I wouldnt want it that way for a display in my living room but it works fine for growing a variety of corals.

02-09-2011, 12:45 PM
Here's an idea of what a dual 150 DE lighting set up will look like in a 65H tank. These are not my photos and are from doing a Google search in regards to lighting for a 65 reef.

I also have a photo that shows how 2 Lumenarc Mini reflectors would fit perfectly. LMK if you'd like me to post that photo for you.


2 MH 150
2x 150 Reeflux 12K
4x39 T5 (2) ULV Super Actinic (2) ATI Blue+



02-10-2011, 02:03 AM
Thanks for all the input. This tank is really just an old beat up frag/QT tank in the garage so it definitely doesn't need to be fancy and more importantly it can't be expensive. Dual MH lights violates both of those ideas :D. I am kinda liking the idea of chopping the center brace and gluing in a glass one instead. Our 70 tall DT in the house has this type of brace. I can probably get the glass from work for next to nothing and I already have E6000 on the shelf in the garage now. Now it just comes down to finding something inexpensive to give this a try. Anyone got anything laying around??? If not maybe I will try my hand at some custom fabrication of a reflector as Martin mentioned. I can get the highly reflective metal that the solatube skylights use. Does anyone have any experience if this material is thick enough and works well for DIY reflectors?

02-10-2011, 10:08 AM
Does anyone have any experience if this material is thick enough and works well for DIY reflectors?

It works very well.