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Thread: Newbie with Solana 34, help me pick lights, etc (and WTB lights)

  1. #1
    Amphipod

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    Newbie with Solana 34, help me pick lights, etc (and WTB lights)

    Hi! I'm brand new to salt water, and have just made plans to purchase a barely-used beautiful Solana 34 all-in-one system. After a lot of research, I think it perfectly meets my wish list (except for the start-up cost, LOL, although I'm getting this set-up with the stand for half the cost of new).

    This does not come with lights, so my first question is: What lights should I consider for the Solana? I want a primarily corral reef tank. Not sure if I should just bite the bullet and start with good lights that would support any future goals, or start less expensive. I was originally looking at BioCubes and so haven't really researched lights yet. Would really love some tried-and-true advice on lights for this. I don't care for the pendant-style lights they offer, and think I want high-intensity anyhow. I also want moonlights. Prefer lower power consumption. Suggestions?

    Next:
    Aside from the tank, lights, & live rock & sand, what are the essentials that I must buy up front? I want to go to the fish store armed with a complete list so I don't get talked into things I don't need.

    Any other words of wisdom for a newbie with this set-up? Yes, I've devoured most of the newbie threads on this forum already :-)

    Also interested to make connections to other Puget-sound-area reefers, as I've been told there are a variety of them on this forum.

    Thanks,
    Dawn
    Seattle

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    Welcome to RF Dawn!!

    On the Solana, if you don't want a pendant and want some moonlights, then you will probably have to go with a light fixture. I had the Current USA 150w HQI metal halide which came with 6 blue and 6 white moonlights and I really liked it! Not sure what the others are using on their Solana's (most people probably sue the lights that come with the combo) but for starters take a peek a the light I suggested.

    On what other stuff to get, you will probably want to invest in some powerheads to increase the flow in the tank. I doubt seriously that the pump that comes with the tank will be sufficient. A skimmer is something to consider as well. Not sure what exactly can fit in the back compartment of the Solana so you may have to get some advice from the others. Maybe take a peek in our nano reef section here and scroll the list of threads and check out a few with people running Solana's. They will probably be your best source of info.

    As for the members from your area, they have a club here. Just click on the forum's tab and scroll down to the bottom of the page where all of the clubs are listed and you should see the PSAS club there. Probably one of the biggest (if not the biggest) club here.
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  3. #3
    Cleaner Shrimp

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    Not a big fan of the all-in-one units, not as many options. But I have seen some set up that took the cake. One of the LFS has a BIO-cube(40) that is breath taking.

    Any way, YOU DON'T WANT TO CHEAP OUT ON LIGHTS AND SKIMMER! LEDs seem to be a populaur choice (I jumped on the wagon). Very low power, while still intense with awesome color. Just be carefull when looking at lights, there are a lot of units not worth a closet light, LOL. Evolution has different sizes, starting at 200w to 50w, as well as UFO pendants. And if you like the open top like me, they come with wire hangers to suspend them. I here that OC reefs( I think) has a good unit. Don't get Marine land or anything like that, crap. I was talking to a man at the LFS who bought a MLand LED, he paid the same as I did for my Evolutions. Crapy light, and it stopped working after a month!

    Skimmer, if it is cheap, well, that is what it is, CHEAP. SWC or reef octopus. You are gonna want the help of the man, Skimmy. He can help, he will know.

    Lights and skimmers are the two things(IMO), that can not be down played. Go with the sizes appropriate for your needs, as well as your future needs.

    And as Krish said, flow, power heads or wave makers. Power heads are not as good because the flow is "aimed" and not a good spread. The new maxi-jets come with upgrades to make them either a power head or a wave maker similar to Koralias. But IMO, I would go with the tried and true, Hydor koralias.

    Good Luck, You have come to the right place. The peolple here will get you in the right direction. Happy Reefing!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by the6goat6man6
    And as Krish said, flow, power heads or wave makers. Power heads are not as good because the flow is "aimed" and not a good spread. The new maxi-jets come with upgrades to make them either a power head or a wave maker similar to Koralias. But IMO, I would go with the tried and true, Hydor koralias.
    Yea, if you want to get away from powerheads with only directional flow do to a narrow stream of flow they produce, I'd look into the Tunze nano streams, eco tech marine powerheads and like Jeremy suggested, Koralia's.
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  5. #5
    Goby
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    welcome to rf! u should put up some pics when you get it started!

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    yes, WELCOME to RF!!

    well, I would suggest LED's as well,
    the main big thing about LED's is you dont pay to change out the bulbs every 9-12 months like with T5, MH, or PC,
    and the amount of heat they cut out of the system. a decent LED fixture will give you 100% led output for up to 10 years, then about 75% output after about 50,000 hrs of use. and they can look sleek as hell...

    check out the new kessil 36w multichip led modules, they are very popular and 2 would do your tank perfect:
    New LED fixture from Kessil offers an attractive spotlight design

    also, the sunbrite S fixture might be enough as well for that size tank(this one is cool because it comes with a remote contol for the lights, and cree brand LED's):
    SunBrite Slimline S series coming soon dressed in silver or black

    for a skimmer on the 34g solana, i would look at these:
    http://www.marinedepot.com/CPR_AeroF...PSHONW-vi.html
    http://www.marinedepot.com/AquaMaxx_...PSHONW-vi.html
    http://www.swcskimmers.com/Hang-On-Skimmers.htm
    Last edited by Skimmy; 04-26-2011 at 07:22 PM.
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    Amphipod

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    Hi everyone! Thanks for the suggestions.

    I'm very interested in LED's from an environmental standpoint. However, the cost seems prohibitive, and, when I visited my LFS's for the first time today, every one discouraged LED's as "too new and too unknown." But then I followed the link on this thread to the Sunbrite Slimline, and boy, that has potential...

    So I'm still wavering, but I think I'm leaning towards metal halide or LED.

    If anyone has something they want to sell that's the right size for the Solana (20") that is bright enough for anything I might ultimately want to grow, that would rock. Let me know.

    Also, please keep throwing out suggestions for lighting enclosures, etc.

    Thanks so much!
    Dawn

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    SKIM FU
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    I've been growing corals with led's for over a year now with great success....
    granted, there were a couple sps/chalices that didnt seem to like it much,
    but most sps/chalices thrived under the leds, as well as all my zoanthids/palys, acans, lobos and shrooms.
    for awhile i was experiencing some color loss, and blaming it on the LED's,
    but when i got a fish in the tank and started feeding more/dosing more aminos,
    things came back around. I suspect i was starving things between the oversized skimmer and biopellet media in a reactor.
    also, I was using only 36watts of led's on a 12" tall 20g, and im going to upgrade to a better fixture here soon to increase the power.

    I was going to mention the slimline fixtures are at barrier reef aquariums,(the best store around) but you beat me to the punch,
    i kno they carry the smaller $250 model, the one i linked you to is the larger $350 model with 18 instead of 12 led's,
    im sure if you asked, they could probably get it.

    they also carry maxspec, and aqua illuminations led fixtures with are pretty sweet as well.
    Last edited by Skimmy; 04-27-2011 at 12:24 PM.
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    SKIM FU
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    also, any well made/nice looking light fixture and combination of good quality bulbs is going to cost you $300-400 easily,
    if not lots more for really good imported italian or german metal halide or t5 (or combination of both) light fixtures.
    so considering the total cost savings of not buying initial and replacement high quality t5 or metal halide bulbs,
    (because the bulbs they come with will not be high quality) the lower end led fixtures are actually cheaper up front and in the long run both.
    and with led's, your not polluting the environment with mercury and crap as with t5 and mh bulbs.
    then there's the no heat issues with led's, and lower power consumption costs for led lighting to boot.
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    BRA
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    Welcome to RF.

    As a fellow Solana owner, figured i'd toss in my 2 cents...

    I agree that the skimmer that comes with it is total crap. I took mine out almost immediately.

    One skimmer that fits perfectly in the dedicated skimmer area of the Solana is the Tunze NanoDoc. However you need to buy the custom skimmer cup by StevieT at MediaBaskets.com, just look in the Solana section. He also just released some stacked media baskets made for the Solana that i'd recommend if you happen to be keeping the middle filter area for filtration media and not macro algae.

    As for lighting, it can be a little hard, since alot of lighting companies skip right to 24" in length... If you want to go with T5s, Aquatic Life makes fairly affordable light fixtures that come in 20" lengths. They make a 4 bulb and a 2 bulb. For halide, there's a variety of companies that make pendants that you hang over the aquarium via cieling mounts. And then yes, there's always LEDs... I personally had a CurrentUSA 150w Sunpod over my tank originall, which I loved. However they've been discontinued for quite a while so they can be hard to come by. I now have a MaxSpect LED fixture over it, and am still on the fence over long term usage. But there are definate pluses to LEDs like bulb life(5 years+ in some cases), and ALOT less heat transfer to the tank. My chiller is hardly ever on now.

    And speaking of chillers, I dont know if you mentioned it previously, but I would recommend picking up a chiller unless you have hardcore AC in your house(and even then, its still smart to have one).
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    BRA
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    Here's a link to Aquatic Life's T5 fixtures. 4 bulb:AquaticLife LLC | Premium Marine Aquarium Products 2 bulb: AquaticLife LLC | Premium Marine Aquarium Products

    Thier little nano skimmer isn't too shabby either. I've heard lots of good things about it from the various people who've picked em up. They have a slight micro bubble issue but its easily fixed. I picked one up for my tank and played with it, but it's like 1/16th of an inch too wide to fit in the dedicated skimmer box in the back of the solana. If you aren't planning on using the glass top, it can easily just go inside the main tank. AquaticLife LLC | Premium Marine Aquarium Products
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    Amphipod

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    Thanks so much!! I really think I want to try the Slimline S. Hopefully they will really arrive soon.

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    Mr. Reckless
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    lights: aqua illuminations nano sol w/ controller. A little more expensive than say a MH or T5 setup but start figuring in the costs of bulbs, power consumption etc.

  14. #14
    SKIM FU
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    LOVE the AI nano sol w/controller... is it finally freakin available??
    and yeah, I always forget about the tunze 9002 skimmer...it's gud!
    but IMO the aqualife internal skimmer is meh... ugly looking and no power...
    if it was me, I would still go with one of the more powerful HOB skimmers I listed than an internal one.
    but if an internal skimmer appealed to you, this is a great little internal:
    HY-S03101 Premium Aquatics - HY-S03101 Aquarium Supplies

    also for flow inside the aquarium, this tunze powerhead would be perfect! :
    T6045_000 Premium Aquatics - T6045_000 Aquarium Supplies
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    Mr. Reckless
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    I believe it is available now. I was shopping for my AI SOLS earlier and one of the vendors had them...I'll have to go through my history to find them. It may have been aquarium specialty in SC

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