Quantcast

Lighting Investment - new tank

Help Support Reef Frontiers:

spe934

New member
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
3
Location
Evansville, Indiana
Along with my new 55gal tank came 2 cheapy light strips for the top (seperate pieces that fit one on each side). I know these are fine for freshwater (kinda) but aren't really worth a squat for what I want to do (reef set-up). I was planning on replacing the entire top with glass panels and then purchasing one 48" lamp set up. My question is what kind should I get? It must remain under my canopy (part of the agreement with my wife in order to place my tank in the living room instead of our basement). I am not really going to be doing advanced corals, but would like some. Are PC's the way to go? Should I get MH and if I do, will heat be a problem under the canopy? Do I really need "moon lights"? I have heard several different things from my lfs and was just wondering your opinions. I would rather spend a little more now then a lot in the long run. Cost is somewhat an issue; no bank breakers, but not on el-cheapo budget either. I appreciate all your help!

Paul
 

johnehr

Ignorant and Oblivious
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
Messages
210
Location
Seattle
Lighting really depends on what corals you want and the amount of space in your hood. Metal halides are preferred to power compacts for SPS, clams, etc., but they do heat up a lot more. If you are on a budget, dont have a large hood, and dont care about SPS or clams, go pc or vho...
 

Rob Schwartz

Active member
Joined
Sep 26, 2004
Messages
37
Location
Redmond
What height is your canopy would be another factor in your decision (unless you want to buy a new one). Generally you need more distance between the water line and your MH's than with PC's. MY halides are roughly 11 inches over my water and I do not have heat problems (MY canopy is open in the back and also has two fans).

Is your present canopy open to any type of venitlation or air circulation?

If it helps, when I first started with roughly the same size tank, I used a nice little unit that sat on top of the tank under the canopy, 2x96w PC's. One bulb 10k and one actinic. The bulbs were enclosed with the ballasts below the tank and vented remotely. I was able to keep with this system some soft corals and one or two pieces of easy LPS with no problems at all.

When I did eventually upgrade to MH then I removed the bulbs from the PC unit and attached them to my new canopy with the halides. While overall this cost a little more than buying a whole integrated PC/MH kit it still allowed me a year of enjoyment and put my PC's to use when I did get the MH's.

The only downside with my original lights were that they sat on top of the tank which meant that I had to use the tank cover which ultimately effects gas/heat exchange. I would also have to move the unit a little bit for feeding but that was not a big deal.

If I had to do it again, I probably would have attached the bulbs directly to the top of my canopy.

Lights are definitely one of those things that everyone has an opinion, so good luck!

Rob
 
Last edited:

spe934

New member
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
3
Location
Evansville, Indiana
Thanks for the input! My canopy is roughly 3 inches (maybe 4, but that is pushing it) above the top of my tank (I will be measuring it tonight). Rob, you mentioned something about heat/gas exchange. I was planning on putting a glass lid over the tank (instead of the crappy black plastic one the came with the set up) and then place the lamp on top of the glass. I will be having a sump/fuge set up with a protein skimmer all under my cabinet, so that should help with gas exchange, if that is what you were talking about. My canopy does have some open spots, so that should help with the venting issue. Right now I am leaning more towards PC or VHO (what is the main difference and pros and cons between these two?). Again, thanks for all the help from everyone that has posted. I will update as I go and I am sure I will be asking more questions.

Paul
 

Rob Schwartz

Active member
Joined
Sep 26, 2004
Messages
37
Location
Redmond
Hi Paul,

I've never used VHO's before so I can't really comment on that. The heat/gas exchange with your lid is what I was talking about, but as you mentioned your sump/etc will definitely take care of that!

With your short canopy you have just answered your mh question, unless you want to buy or build a new one!

Best,

Rob
 

spe934

New member
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
3
Location
Evansville, Indiana
Update: I went home last night and measured the interior demensions of my canopy. It is a little over 47" long, 6" high (more than I had originally thought!), and about 12" wide. I am still trying to figure out the main differences and pros and cons of VHO vs PCs. Any help would be great!
 

gobie

dave the gobie
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
Messages
366
Location
Auburn
Here Is A Thought You Could Go With Anice Cap 660 Ballast Since Your Canopy Is Short You Wont Beable To Utilize The Uri 46.5 Vho Bulbs.
I Would Then Make Use Of Power Compacts 96watts. You Should Be Able To Fit 4 Under Your Canopy. Go To Hamilton Lighting They Should Have Everything You Need. And You Get To Buy Straight From The Mfg. To Cool The Canopy Go To Radio Shack Buy A Computer Fan 12volt(1/3 Of Cost Of The Ones You Find In Catalogs And On Line) And You Can Pick Up A Transformer At A Second Hand Store Go About 4-7 Volt Output This Will Be Plenty To Cool Your Lighting Attach Both To A Timer And You Are Good To Go
 

Rob Schwartz

Active member
Joined
Sep 26, 2004
Messages
37
Location
Redmond
Paul,

Gobie definitely has the right idea, with a canopy that short you might have a problem with VHO's regardless.

If you don't want to do all the DIY, you can also buy units already set up or a mix of some DIY, and some prebuilt. There are tons of great companies out there, including Hamilton.

Best,

Rob
 
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

Latest posts

Top