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  1. #1
    Senior Member coral's Avatar
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    Question help with light upgrade please!

    I had some bad advice at the LFS, (could be the guy wasn't paying attention on my setup...he was distracted by a very busy store in his defense.)
    SO! I would very much appreciate any input on ideas on a GOOD lighting setup things to avoid..
    My aim is to one day to have a decent reef! Cost is definitely a factor though, so please be gentle!

  2. #2
    Senior Member heniochus18's Avatar
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    Power Compact lights are a cheaper and good upgrade -then from there you can go to metal halide -that's what I did (more afordable)
    And you can get some good corals too

  3. #3
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    I''m running 4 x 48 inch VHO on my 90 gallon. This will allow me to have all but the high light corals. I just have to be carefull to put the corals that require more light, higher on the rock work so they are closer to the lights. Like any bulb (as I am finding out) they all have the people that like the looks and the people that don't like the looks. I was running 3 actinic and 1 AquaSun. I am in the process of switching to 4 actinic whites (1 every 2 weeks).

    VHO, like power compacts are popular lights and if you can pick up a used system (like I did), the costs are very reasonable. I was even able to trade a few bags of Southdown for 4 used actinic white bulbs.

    You can go with the cheaper ballasts and then upgrade to the electronic ballasts later. With me, it was a matter of being able to get an used Ice-Cap VHO hood for the same cost as a hood with a cheap ballast.

    Vickie

  4. #4
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    The most cost-effective set up is probably 4 VHOs driven by 2 Fulham Workhorse 7 ballasts. IJO sells the ballasts on this site for around $50. 440 watts on a 75 gal will let you grow about anything including clams. VHOs don't penetrate well but a 75 is a shallow tank so no problem. The ballasts are easy to wire for a new DIY person.

    When it is time to upgrade to metal hallide, you can keep one of the ballasts to drive your actinic supplements and sell the other.

    Good luck,

    Bill

  5. #5
    Senior Member coral's Avatar
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    :yay: thanks for the awesome ideas... I appreciate it. Bvoss, I am DIY challenged, although I do have a brother whose an electrician hmmmmmmmmm.............. I'm going to have to do some major planning.
    Keep the ideas coming & MUCH thanks everyone.
    I've noticed that raising kids & fish are similar: Patience & dedication really pays off!

  6. #6
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    You know you might want to check out places like litemore and hydroponic stores And just bite the bullet once and go Metal Halide. These places you have to do a little diy. But from a place like litemore or most lighting stores(non aquarium) you can pick up a MH ballast for around 50 bucks. Then to add some atinics just got to a glowmat ballast kit runns around 2x 40w 48inch.
    I have a 108gal and was running 4 110x vho and to 40w and for a while and true you can keep a lot of corals but the growth and color you may not have as well. I just recently upgraded to two 175 w mh and 4 vho atinic, The difference of what I did have and what I have now if night and day.
    Also you can try looking under different forums classified for someone selling lighting set up.
    Just something to think about

  7. #7
    Senior Member AJ_77's Avatar
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    While MH is the goal for many, it brings issues such as heat and ventilation, cost and care. There are plenty of gorgeous, thriving tanks using PC and especially VHO. I would definitely talk with your brother, and get his input as well.

    Get a look at as many tanks as you can (as many people as will have you) , and get an idea what looks best to you, and what seems closest to what you want your system to be like. Some find they cannot live without the MH ripples, and you may be one of those... Then decide how far you can push your budget.

    I'm still using PC after almost 2 years, but like the look of the VHO tanks. Halides are crisp and bright and those ripples are indeed dazzling, but the costs are still prohibitve at this point.
    - Alan

  8. #8
    Senior Member coral's Avatar
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    awesome advice thanks much! Everyone's support makes this much easier. Reefers rock!:A1: :A1: (time to cruise the classifieds!) thanks again.
    I've noticed that raising kids & fish are similar: Patience & dedication really pays off!

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