55 gallon lighting system

Discussion in 'Reef Lighting' started by matt s, Sep 30, 2007.

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  1. matt s

    matt s Flamingo Tongue

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    Chadron, NE
    I'm not sure if this should go here or in newbie, thought this area might draw more expertise. If a moderator needs to move it please feel free to do so.

    Anyhow setting up my first SW system, using a 55 gallon that was previously used for freshwater. I have my heater, skimmer, and filter ready to go, will be purchasing a couple powerheads also, but have no idea where to start on lighting. Also the two books I bought really don't address this too well either. Currently I just have the pair of flourescent lights that were used for freshwater, I'm guessing those aren't going to do the trick here though.

    I will be buying live rock and want kind of a "standard" tank with as much cool stuff as I can safely do (realizing the limitations of the smaller tank). So I assume I'll need something with both daytime and moon lighting. I know there will be lots of opinions on what lighting I should use, and I'm interested in hearing all of them and the reasons behind your support. I've heard lots of talk about metal halides vs. flourescent, if I can get a quality product in flourescent I think that'd work better both for cost and to avoid buying a cooler (skimmer is hang-on and this is starting as a no-sump system).

    So have at it folks - realizing that I want something good but I don't have an unlimited budget what would be a good system to go with, why, and what would be a fair price (if you want to recommend a dealer that's fine too).
     
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  3. omard

    omard Gnarly Old Codfish

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    Matt,

    If you just want to keep soft corals and maybe some LPS...lighting can be quite simple and far, far less then if you want to keep SPS corals and clams.

    Depending on the wattage of your current lights, they just might be OK...for keeping many beautiful things.

    I am partial to soft corals as I find they have much more character and I like the growth and movement of them.

    See pics of my main tank. Populated almost entirely with soft corals (with a few frogspawn.)

    My Reef

    I am running it now with only 2 - 65 watt/10000 pc's and 2 - 65 watt/actinics in my 125 gallon. Same hood I ran on my 55. So should be plenty of light for you...again depending on what you want to keep.

    I also have a PFO 250 watt HQI MH - which I do not even turn on anymore as I have discovered it severely adversely affects growth and expansion of most of my corals. (My anemones don't seem to mind much, and so far my 1 clam is doing OK - am keeping a close eye on) --- If need be, I will run the MH for a short period of time on weekends. But so far all is OK.

    People here are going to recommend much more light then what I am running.

    All I can say is what I have found that works best for me and my tank. :)

    Scott
     
  4. Diver_1298

    Diver_1298 Eyelash Blennie

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    MattS

    You might get anywhere from one to a hundred replies on this question.....But first,
    You have to answer some questions, before anyone can offer advice on a lighting system. What do you plan on keeping? Fish only or Reef with fish? IF you want to keep corals what kind? LPS, SPS, or softies? :p See what happens.
    A 55 gallon is not hard to light and will not cost you an arm of a leg either. You can go with VHO or Compact fluorescents and still keep some light demanding corals. Their placement in the tank will be important. You can also go with MH pendants or a mh fixture, then you will have to deal with some of the heat issues you were worried about, but you could keep just about any light demanding coral... .. If you are asking what name brand to purchae, I know that Coralife make a decent PC light for a 55 and you can get leg for it o that it stand 4 or so inches from the surface of the water. Are you any good at DIY projects. You could by the bare components and assemble them yourself?
    Good Luck

    Jim
     
  5. Tangster

    Tangster 3reef Sponsor

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    What type of animals do you intend on keeping ? be it corals ? Fish only .. All of the coral types have different needs and lighting demands one size/type will not fit all .. So I guess the thing one would have to know is what type will it be ?F
     
  6. coral reefer

    coral reefer Giant Squid

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    If you plan on keeping small polyped stonies and Maxima and Crocea clams...I would recommend halides(250 watt). Keeping soft corals and LPS, you could go with lesser amounts of light intensity!!!! Remember that zoanthids require intense light for the best coloration, though they are not as difficult to keep.
    Actually many corals can be kept under less than optimal lighting conditions and survive, though their color will not be as vivid and brilliant!!!
     
  7. matt s

    matt s Flamingo Tongue

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    I'm looking at reef, a mix of docile to moderately aggressive fish, and "cool stuff on the rocks". I read several books before jumping into this but none of them went to the detail you are talking about here, such as LPS, SPS, or softies, so those are questions I'm trying to answer myself right now. Based on the responses and looking around the rest of this site I'm probably looking at SPS and maybe some softies, I'd like to have it all but can't justify a $500 light set right now.

    I'm decent at do it yourself stuff, so as long as I could make it so it doesn't look like DIY when I'm done I'd be good with that.
     
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  9. omard

    omard Gnarly Old Codfish

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    For soft corals, LPS this is a great light you might consider. Is similar to mine that I had for my 55 gal. And now use almost exclusivly on my 125.

    Effective and good price.



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  10. ziggy222

    ziggy222 Fire Goby

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    if you scroll down the left side of the screan you will see a forum titled lighting.there will be plenty of info there.also this link is extremely helpful marineandreef.com/ Aquarium Reef Lighting Chart--Find the best aquarium hood lighting for all sizes of reek tanks. they don't list info on high output t5 lights though.i'm currently keeping every type of coral accept anemonies under 4 54watt t5's with individual reflectors on my 55 gallon tank.read my signature,i have named them all.with your 18 inch deep tank will will be able to choose any lights you want depending on what you want to keep under them.