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Great Lakes

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OK Mr Crimson :)
I am going to go on record as saying that I think halides are just more trouble than they are worth. Lighting a reef tank is already an expensive proposition, and halides are over the top.
To anyone running halides, I understand the benefits. However, for many years successful systems were run without them.
Halide benefits are fewer lights, incredible illumination, and the lovely ripples.
Detriments. Placement, cost, heat, frequent replacement, and additional energy consumption. Yes, equal wattage regardless of type of bulb should have comparable energy use, but when switching to halides, people generally double or triple their wattage.

Crimson, I have a 90gal, I used to run four normal output 3ft flourescents for a total of 160 watts. Once I had gone through my cycles, I knew I had to upgrade. Most reasonable reefers will admit 4 watts per gallon is the minimum wattage for coraline algae growth, and to keep your corals happy.
So here is where the fun begins. In a DIY forum I learned to do this: I went to home Depot and got 5 electronic ballasts.
Four are designed to run four 4ft lights. One is a two 4ft light model. I wired up ONE ballast per light. Here is the beauty of it. Three of the ballasts are wired up to phillips 6500k bulbs that cost four bucks apiece! Another ballast hooked up to a 4ft blue actinic, and the final double ballast hooked up to a 3ft blue actinic. Then I wired in a double lamp fixture for two black lights(moonlight).
Flourescents are about 80-90 percent efficient run like this. So I figure I am running close to 500 watts, about 5.5 watts per gallon. Since I did this, my coraline algae has been taking off like wildfire. The more it growa, the faster it seems to grow. It's almost exponential.
So, I would think you need to be in the neighborhood of around 900-1000 watts. Your tank is double the size of mine( :angry: ) so this makes sense. I would venture that you need to fit six of those bad boy 160 watters in there, and you would discover happiness. :)
 
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Oops, forgot duration :blush:
 Wife turns on 3ft actinic at 6:30 am when she gets up. We turn on a 4ft actinic and 4ft 6500k(wired together), at 7:30, and the final two 6500k about 8:30.  Sometime between 8 and 9 at night, we reverse the process. :D
 Hope this helps.
 

Crimson Ghost

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GL – hmmm, something to think about.

I just upgraded these bulbs and I also have another white bulb 3 footer that’s in a reflector box – if my coralline doesn’t get moving than perhaps I will have to visit home depot as you suggest.

But I will add, I wish I could have housed the Halides in my canopy from the start.  From everything I have read they are simply the closest man made simulation of the full spectrum yet. If you start to really research the topic you will find that people debate Spectrum versus Intensity until they are blue in the face. The bottom line is that reef aquariums are new - its not as if this hobby has been around forever and a day. In the past lighting was an issue and basically things didn't grow. Red and Orange light is absorbed by the sea water, so that’s why people focus on spectrum over intensity. In the past 20 years advanced lighting has let us maintain reef tanks that could house corals that in the 70's were simply unheard of. Most corals come from shallow water and for that reason Metal Halide lighting is more over thought to be the best.

For me, I have 640 total watts plus another 200 watts in a 3foot white VHO in a reflector hood. Nearly the 900 “ideal” watts I *should* have. However, I have 10,000 kelvin bulbs which will produce more blue light than say the 6,500 kelvin bulbs which will produce more green. (I want 20,000 kelvin – but that hurts the wallet too much).

If the amount of Kelvin is 10,000 or higher then there is a higher percentage of light regardless of wattage (PAR wavelengths). The larger percentage of light primarily is in the blue spectrum – but its thought this is done by producing less light in the red-orange and yellow-green wavelengths (which is filtered by salt water anyway). 10,000 Kelvin and halide bulbs has been proven to produce more vivid colors in SPS corals – that says a lot.

Now, 6500 Kelvin some people will swear will produce better coralline growth – but will also give the tank a yellow appearance. That’s why people who go this route usually will add more blue bulbs.
 
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Crimson. Your reply is exactly why lighting debates frighten me :laugh: :laugh:
Somehow, I am lucky to have a setup that works for me. Since switching as I explained, We have been very happy with the results. So, lucky for me, I have not reseached the matter to exhaustion as some do. What I have done is visit every lfs within 500 miles. Serious. And from what me and the missus have seen, we think most metal halides are unnaturally bright, and much prefer the warmth of VHO style. Everyone gives a different answer.
But, hang in there with your setup a bit, it did take a few weeks for us to see growth, and now it's growing faster all the time :)
 

swayze

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I am going to go on record as saying that I think halides are just more trouble than they are worth.
Hmm :p

T5 Flouros could be the happy medium ? The Germans are using them with great sucess
 
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T5's? Must be able to fit a dozen of them under the hood.
How long can they come? Seems that small of a diameter would break very easily.
 

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Bringing this old beast up from the dead :alien: :alien:

Now GL I know your opinions:) maybe they have changed though? Whats T5 like - need to know more about it. Also what are Tyvex's and Whacky's not to mention any new people looking - hello there! :look: - opinions on the subject?

So for a 20-30 gallon tank which is going to have lots of liverock with a few corals and lots and lots of inverts, which is the way to go?
 
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Well, William, here is where I might just have to eat my words on Halides.. :(

I am a flouresent fan, but not having used the T5's before, I don't know how many you could get in a canopy over a small tank. That is the dilemma with a small tank. You will need 150-200 watts over it to grow anything you want. This is where one MH starts to look logical. I am going to have to do some research on the T5s.
 

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Just to let you know I am 90% sure I will get a MH 150W :) The T5's apparently run out after a year (supposed to last for 20,000 hours!!) u have to replace like3 of them to get the same amount as 1 MH so MH works out cheaper in the long run plus I am going 2nd hand! :sly: :)
 
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But don't forget William, you have to replace your MH bulbs frequently too. And have you priced those?
 

William

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About once every 12 months, they are about £30. With the STM you need 4X£18 which works out at £72 or something.
 
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