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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    DIY Lighting Question

    Hi folks,

    Let the debating begin...

    I'm in the process of purchasing equipment for a 120g tank (4'x2'x2') I'll shortly be setting up and I'm have a real hard time sorting out the lighting situation.

    I'm in no rush to get this tank fully stocked as I'm new to the hobby, and plan to ramp it up slowly. That said, end state, I'd like a predominantly LPS/Softie tank, but with a clam or two and possibly an anemone (when I really know what I'm doing and the tank is pristine).

    I'm leaning towards the following lighting configuration and can go with a fixture or the DIY route: 2 x 250W MH + 4 T5s

    First question:
    Will the 2 250's bleach my corals? I've heard yes and no's on this one...

    Second Question: Fixture or DIY?

    I was leaning towards the 48" 2x250 watt 4xT5HO Outer Orbit Current USA fixture, but hear the MH bulbs that come with it are not very good (too yellow, burn out quickly or broken). I'd hate to drop $1,400 on a light only to have to drop $240 more on MH bulbs right out of the gate (and likely T5 bulbs too).

    On the DIY front, I was thinking that 2 Lumen Bright 250 pendant kits + 2 48" Coralvue T5 2 Bulb Retro Kits would do the trick (+ fans), but I have no idea how to construct a hood/light rack for this set up. Any Idea where I can find sample pendant/T5 hood or rack diagrams or photos?

    Oh, and I should say the light rack/hood does not have to be pretty. The tank will be in-wall, with a dedicated fish room in the back end, so function over fashion is preferred.

    Third question: What will I lose if I just go with the MH pendants? Colour? Growth? Nothing?

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kenzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    One of the biggest problems with lighting these days is the amount of choices that you have.

    A 120g tank is a nice size since it much easier to light than some other sizes.

    For a softy/lps I would look at 4 lamp t5 set up either DIY or premade depending on what you feel up to.
    I don't think you will need to go MH just yet and being a built in it will be easy to add later on.

    Or you could just run 2x250w MH with lumen brite pendants, I would look at either 15k or 20k lamps for a bit more blue.

    No MH won't bleach your corals but you do need to be careful whe you add them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member kennyfish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    I manage to grow plenty of lps and a few sps just fine with T5's only. Quite a few people doing that these days I think. I choose the Tek Light as it was the same cost as diy. Only drawback is I have my ballast over the tank instead of remote so I have some heat trapped under my canopy that needs to be exhausted with a fan.

    I guess it depends on how much punch you want to reach the sand bed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Thanks for the info. Will go the DIY route.

    I've ordered 2 250w LumenMax Elite DE Metal Halide Pendents, IceCap Ballasts and 14,000K Iwasaki bulbs to get started. I'll add the 4 T5s in a few months.

    The Lumen Brights were pushing the limits of my budget, although I have heard awesome things about them. Maybe for the next tank...

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