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  1. #1
    Senior Member AmphiprionX's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    expandable lighting

    Hello again all,

    I am looking for an expert opinion on lighting for my tank. It won't be for a while but I would like to get some initial ideas. I am starting my transition into saltwater with a 55g FOWLR setup, I'm going to want something that I can salvage later should I decide to take the step into the realm of reef keeping. My tank is 48'' long. Please feel free to post what kind of lighting you know and love or some less expensive DIY project, or a site that can help with a DIY. I may want both MH and VHO. There are some corals that I was looking at that were really interesting that require at least 7-8 watts per gallon. Any ideas??? Thanks a lot for reading and posting back.
    Scott

  2. #2
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
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    I'd check out some hydroponics shops for basic reflectors and ceramic sockets. This is the most versatile as it can be retrofitted anywhere- they may also have tar m.h. ballasts for sale- this would be the cheapest route for single ended m.h. bulbs.
    for double ended, you can pick up reflector hoods for bulbs from reno depot or home depot etc - not too sure about the ballast. Either s.e. or d.e. bulbs are real cheap right here on Aquaria.
    You will also find (with a little looking around) the Workhorse 7 ballast in some lighting or electrical supply shops that will run 2x 4 foot vho flourescents- I think in the $70 dollar range.
    I run single ended bulbs under these basic reflectors attached to a ceramic socket- they can be screwed into wood anywhere as long as the reflector isn't directly touching the wood (too hot). You can move them easily if needed and the s.e. bulbs put out a wider light source than the d.e. bulbs so you can cover more tank with fewer bulbs.
    hope this helps...
    Matt.

    Old system torn down to make a playroom.. planning a 62x42x28 high

  3. #3
    Senior Member CableGuy's Avatar
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    In my opinion I wouldn't waste your money on metal halide's right now if you are only going to run a FO tank. I would instead run VHO's or T5's, Then when you are ready to make the reef jump you could add the halides and use the VHO's or the T5's for supplementing your halides.
    This way you won't be wasting money on electricity bills when you don't need to. Yet you will still be able to use the lighting from the FO tank on the Reef.

    Colby
    "DREAM LIKE YOU'LL LIVE FOREVER, LIVE LIKE YOU'LL DIE TOMMOROW"

  4. #4
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
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    Yup, can't argue with that logic. The T5s are getting very good reviews too, in terms of intensity. They run very well on electronic ballasts. Apparently, running on an Ice Cap flourescent ballast (the best ballast there is, period-IMO) they rock!!
    Matt.

    Old system torn down to make a playroom.. planning a 62x42x28 high

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    I agree with Cable guy and reefmutt. Get a good set of T5's or 110w vhos (if you want to go with the full 48" length) and soem Icecap ballasts and your well on your way. Like they said halides are expensive to operate, so no need to just "waste" it on a fish only tank. If you do decide to move over to a reef halides can be added to an existing setup relativly easy. Just don't do like I did and cheap out staring off and get two 24" no flourescents and have to upgrade 3 time in 6-8 months to get the look you wanted, while being beneifical to the inhabitants of the tank. I scraped those no's in a hurry and added a set of 24" 50/50 power compacts and then added to that a two sets of 36" cooltouche vho's. I added these as I got them used locally. I have two atincs and two 10K 95w bulbs in this setup and am finally impressed with how it looks. When I get my bigger tank for christmas I think I will add some halides to thius though just because I want to start keeping sps, and that I can get the ballasts for free. Good luck in it though.

  6. #6
    Senior Member AmphiprionX's Avatar
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    Do T5 lights need to be covered with glass or can they be exposed to the water? I'm kinda looking for an open water setup to promote gas exchange. I checked out some T5's and they are fairly expensive for my budget, anyone know where I can get used or cheaper in Ottawa? What is the look of T5 lighting? How much are replacement bulbs? Do I need to buy the ballast seperate? Thanks.
    Scott

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