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  1. #1
    Senior Member nbreau's Avatar
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    Lighting Expectations

    Hi All,

    I recently purchased the following lighting setup from a local reefer who is moving and had to sell his gear:

    2-400w MH ballasts, spider reflectors and ceramic sockets, including two 20K
    Radiums ($150 each brand new [even though AquaCreations sells them for
    $400], 2 months old) and two 6500K Iwasaki (only 2-3 months left in each
    bulb)

    Hopefully 250$ was a good deal....


    Anyways my question is what kind of effect will this type of lighting have on my tank ? (77gallon, 4"DSB, 90lbs LR) Should I expect alot of bleeching and and very little coralline growth ?

    Should I also expect a very bright, whiteish light or a blue tint... the previous owner would leave the lights on 24/7 ... am I also right in assuming that only 10-12h a day should be enough ?

    And finally, would there be much gain in adding a NO or VHO ballast and a couple of Actinitic Bulbs ?

    All comments and suggestions you have are greatly appreciated ! thanks !

  2. #2
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    Are the ballasts HQI? If not your tank is going to be very blue. As blue as the side scroll bar on this site. If they are HQI ballasts the light should be whiter but the bulbs will only last 6-9 months.
    The VHO actinics will give you a cool dawn dusk effect but you could just go with regular NO's if your Ballasts are not HQI. No need for the blue spectrum addition that you get with VHO's.
    400 watters don't give you the same purple coralline algae as say 175's or 250's. It will be relativly washed out.
    Your corals will definitly need to be acclimatized to 400's. Start low and every few days bring them closer to the light. In your depth of tank most of your sps's will thrive on the sand bed!
    Hope that helps.
    ________
    Tanks: 400 gal Reef, 180 gal FOWLR, 300 gal Sump, 40 gal Frag Tray plumbed as one system - 900 gal total water volume.
    DIY Calcium Reactor, Nielson Reactor and Skimmer

  3. #3
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    Sorry to add - I was speaking about the Radiums. The Iwasaki's are much yellower. You could try a combo of 1 radium and 1 Iwasaki. Run the Radium as your dawn/dusk light 1 hour before the Iwasaki comes on an balances the light.
    10-12 hours is fine. The past owner must have had the bulbs on a lighted sump if he/she was running them 24/7.
    Corals need a "down time" from the light to grow naturally.
    ________
    Tanks: 400 gal Reef, 180 gal FOWLR, 300 gal Sump, 40 gal Frag Tray plumbed as one system - 900 gal total water volume.
    DIY Calcium Reactor, Nielson Reactor and Skimmer

  4. #4
    Senior Member nbreau's Avatar
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    That sucks... I really don't like the look of bare rock, much prefer rock covered in coralline.... is there anything I could do to promote corraline growth other than use different lighting ? Would elevating the bulbs (higher canopy) make much difference ?

  5. #5
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    You could try dosing with Bio Calcium. Before I got my reactor the Bio Cal encouraged tons of Coraline. Like I mean tons, my back glass had sheets of it growing on it.
    Fishysan has 400 watters over his 180. Ask him about the Coraline algae.
    You will still grow some on your rocks, it just will not be as deep purple as you see with on peoples tanks with less intense lighting. Having said that though you will have almost as much light over your 77 gal as Fishysan has over his 180 so you may get more bleaching of coraline than he has.
    Remember that light isn't the only ingredient to good coral growth and color. I have a purple tiped acro 4 inches from the surface and a frag of that exact same piece at the bottom of the tank 22 inches down. The coloring is the same and the growth rate is very similar.
    You need:
    1) Proper lighting with a good amount of PAR
    2) Proper calcium/Alk levels (try for 400 cal and 3.0 alk ~ natural ocean. Any more than that will increase growth of corals but may be harder to maintain stability of the system. Remember that you must try for ionic balance of the two levels to eliminate the see saw effect. 400 cal = 3.0 to 3.5 alk, 425 cal = 4.0 alk, 450 cal = 4.5 alk.
    3) Proper salinity levels (try of 1.025 ~ close to natural ocean as possable)
    4) Proper nutrients. (An article in Fish Keeping Mag showed that even though most of the SPS's we keep are 80% photosynthetic they do need alittle nutrition in the water to grow.)
    5) Stability, Stability, Stability (Keep things stable and the color of your corals will be maximized.)

    I am by no means an expert but after 2 years of incesent reading of articles and talking with some of the most successful sps keepers in the U.S. this is what I have summarized.
    ________
    Tanks: 400 gal Reef, 180 gal FOWLR, 300 gal Sump, 40 gal Frag Tray plumbed as one system - 900 gal total water volume.
    DIY Calcium Reactor, Nielson Reactor and Skimmer

  6. #6
    Senior Member nbreau's Avatar
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    wow, awesome post, thanks !

  7. #7
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    No problem, one thing to remember that bigger is not always better in this hobby.
    ________
    Tanks: 400 gal Reef, 180 gal FOWLR, 300 gal Sump, 40 gal Frag Tray plumbed as one system - 900 gal total water volume.
    DIY Calcium Reactor, Nielson Reactor and Skimmer

  8. #8
    Senior Member nbreau's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm now thinking of turning back on purchasing the MH's... Here is a pic of the seller's tank and everything seems extremely bleeched. If I can still back out I'll probably go with a VHO setup....

    oops... pic is bigger than allowed attachment size... had to change into a gif... quality not their but you may get the idea....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Lighting Expectations-01010080gif.gif  

  9. #9
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    I wouldn't go with VHO, go with 2 X 175 watt MH or 2 X 250 watt MH with VHO actinics.
    If you want to start with a proven setup and not too much money go with 2 Venture 5500K MH's. They are a good price and with VHO actinic you will get a nice color.
    I use 2 X 175 watt MH Ushio 10,000K bulbs and 2 X 96 watt VHO actinics and get a nice color.
    MH bulbs give a very nice shimmer effect on your tank, something that VHO can never do.
    I think that if you go with the MH now you will not be disappointed 6 months down the line.
    Fisysan might have some 175 watt balasts for sale.
    I have 2 X 175 watt Ushio bulbs that you can try over your tank to see if you like the effect.
    I would still buy the guys spider reflectors. That way you only have minimal hookup/electical to do.
    ________
    Tanks: 400 gal Reef, 180 gal FOWLR, 300 gal Sump, 40 gal Frag Tray plumbed as one system - 900 gal total water volume.
    DIY Calcium Reactor, Nielson Reactor and Skimmer

  10. #10
    Senior Member nbreau's Avatar
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    Well I'm looking at getting lighting setup for 200-250$ so unless I find some used MH for sale that is more along the lines of what you have just mentionned I think that I'm pretty much restricted to going VHO....

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