Advice on Lighting

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New member
Dec 23, 2004
I'm setting up a reef aquarium which eventually will have fish added to the system.
My aquarium is 44" long, 19" wide, 25" high.....basically a 90 gallon aquarium.
After everything I've read in terms of height being just as important to consider as watts per gallon I was going to purchase a 450 watt Metal Halide setup. My local reef shop "expert" thinks I'm crazy and should stick with 175 watts.

Any advice would be appreciated.


Well-known member
Jun 30, 2003
Mukilteo, WA
What do you plan to keep? SPS, LPS, soft corals?

This makes a HUGE difference in what tpe of lighting is appropriate. Also, how will you deal with heat? Chiller, fans, other? If you can't deal with the heat stay away from the 400 Watters. 250W should be fine for a 90, but 400 will allow you to keep light demanding corals lower in the tank.


Reef Keeper
Jul 5, 2003
A few things to look forward to. Once the tank is setup and cycles for about a month your going to go through a period algae blues. This is a period where the tank is still in a state of flux biologically. Going to sps or simular corals is not usually the best choice as they tend to be more sensitive to these fluxes. In plce most folks go with softies and lps for the first year to save themselves the pain of loosing delicate species while still wanting to have a nice reef to enjoy.
So to start with I would suggest going the route of soft corals and lps for the first part of your tanks life. Now you have to look to the future when purchasing equipment or the cost of upgrading can be to tough. You say you want a 450 watt set up (I think you meant 400), to get good coverage over the whole tank your going to need 2 metal halides (each cover two square feet). With this lighting you will be able to keep the most light demanding corals and clams, but your going to have a hard time trying to keep any thing soft or most lps in the mean time. On tank that is only 25 inches tall, any 250 wat setup will still allow you to keep the tougher sps when the tank is ready and wont burn the soft and lps that you might want to keep in the mean time.

Thought I would give some reasoning behind it.



Well-known member
Aug 23, 2004
Auburn, WA
Mike I think he meant 450...that would be 400 in "Canadian watts" sorry I couldn't resist..... Sounds like 250 is the way to go though :D
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