I Need Lighting Advice

Discussion in 'Reef Lighting' started by Servillius, Apr 10, 2013.

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  1. Servillius

    Servillius Montipora Digitata

    Joined:
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    Houston, Texas.
    We have decided to stay in our current house for another year or so. That means I want to upgrade my tank and I think I've chosen about a 30" by 30" by 24" which will fit nicely in this place and is very adaptable in a new place. The tank will be an SPS dominated, slightly mixed reef. I'm transfering my current equipment so I'll have 2 x MP40's, Bubble King Mini 180, 2 part dosing pumps on reefkeeper.

    The problem is it comes with a lot of lighting options. Let me set the ground rules. My wife's tank has an ATI Sunpower. That tends to weigh things in favor of an ATI fixture just for the symetry (it is also an amazing fixture). On the other hand, it is not set in stone. My wife and I also tend to be very finicky about getting the thing to look just right. Black industrial fixtures tend to be out of place in the living room. We want the fixture itself to be attractive. ATI accomplishes this to some degree. Elos has a really nice looking metal halide. The plastic combo units dont.

    Finally I've had bad experiences with LED and I'm not going back soon (I'll get over it eventually, but for now, its too soon).

    That all said, I think there are a lot of options and I need ideas for others and/or help chosing.

    1. 1 Elos 250 watt metal halide. I worry it doesn't have enough oomph and I can't figure out how to include night lights or evening lights (I like running 10-20watts of LED for a few hours around the primary light cycle just so I can enjoy the view).

    2. 2 Elos 250 watt metal halides. This seems like a lot of light. I worry not only about the amount of light, but the sheer bulk of the fixtures. The advantage is I can brace them and mount a small LED cluster for the low light effects. Alternatively I could go with 150's, but I'm not sure about buying a fixture I may need to upgrade soon.

    3. I'm slightly tempted by the new LED Powermodules. I would not rely on the LED's for primary lighting, but since they come with a cluster, I have a clean look and everything I need in one/two fixtures. Cost is a bit of an issue, but the biggest issue I'm having right now is how many of what size of these would look most well balanced over the tank. If the answer is 2 of the 2 foot 8 bulb units, then I have to roof mount to get them to look right. Where do I run the wires so they're not an eyesore?

    4. There is also a lot to be said for one or two Sunpowers. They're simple and work well. That still leaves me with chosing a size that looks balanced over the tank (remember, it needs to look good in at least 3 directions, so if a fixture is too narrow relative to its width, it can end up looking goofy). Since 3 foot fixtures don't work on a 30" tank, how big do these need to be?

    Thanks for the help guys. I'm looking for any ideas you have.
     
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  3. Servillius

    Servillius Montipora Digitata

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  4. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    24" T5HO fixture would be fine for width and 8 bulbs for coverage. Might be cheaper to get a T5HO only Powermodule.

    Also look into building a canopy and doing DIY lighting. I have done it with T5HO and it is not difficult at all. This will give you the advantage of using fewer bulbs since you will control the distance between the bulbs. Again 8 to 10 bulbs should be plenty.
     
  5. sanchoy

    sanchoy Astrea Snail

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    I'd rather Go led
     
  6. Servillius

    Servillius Montipora Digitata

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    Okay, I just bought a marineland 30x30x30 on a custom stand. It looks amazing (pics will have to wait). I intend to keep the rock work light and fairly short and get my sps to fill the water column over time. I'm thinking two ATI 8x24 fixtures at that depth. Does that make sense?