Newbie here needing help

Discussion in 'Reef Lighting' started by Zgetman, Jun 15, 2013.

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  1. Zgetman

    Zgetman Ritteri Anemone

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    Dumas, TX, USA
    I am on a very strict budget and am getting into a very expensive hobby. First off I want to state that I know I will need to upgrade my lighting in the next few months, but right now I need some other advice about lighting.

    The Setup: 55 gallon tank
    FOWLR (untill I get it completely cycled and am able to invest in a good lighting system).
    3 18" N.O. Fluorescent fixtures, 2 of them are the kind you get with a tank

    So I know I need a high wattage than what the basic normal bulb uses.

    Can I use Actinic Bulbs in this setup? Which is better 2 50/50 and one normal bulb, or two normal and one actinic bulb? Will there be enough watts and Kelvin in the tank to promote coralline algae on my live rocks?

    If you guys can help me find some bulbs for this setup and post links that would be great. I am completely lost in the lighting.

    Thanks in Advance,
    Zach
     
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  3. Mr. Bill

    Mr. Bill Native Floridian

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    First, any light will work for a FOWLR setup. Some don't use supplemental lighting at all; it depends on how bright the room gets during the day.

    Personally, I find coralline to be a nuisance (not a popular opinion); it covers everything, is a pain to clean off the glass, and competes with corals for cal, mag, and alk. Unfortunately, one can hardly prevent introducing it into their tank. And yes, it will grow under lower lighting.
     
  4. oldfishkeeper

    oldfishkeeper Giant Squid

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    are you just wanting to grow coralline or are you planning on adding corals? If corals, then there's metal halide, T5's and now popular LED's. I have T5's and have been pretty happy with them and they're not super expensive. There are some DIYer LED options out there that makes them pretty reasonable as well. The benefit to LED's is that they are lower cost to run and you don't need to replace bulbs every 8 month or so so you save that cost. Metal halides run hot so usually you need some sort of cooling device to run due to the heat created by them.

    It really depends on how techie you are and how much you want to invest. It also depends on what you want to keep as well. Lower light corals (like softies and such) you don't need a lot of light but SPS and anemones and some LPS need a good amount of light.

    HTH. I would advice reading the various threads on lighting available on the forum.
     
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  5. Daniel072

    Daniel072 Giant Squid

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    Great answer....
     
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  6. Zgetman

    Zgetman Ritteri Anemone

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    Thank You guys for your answers so far. My end goal is to have a Reef Aquarium. I know that anemones and other corals need good lighting. My question is aimed at keeping my initial spending cost down, until I have the funds for the lighting I plan on getting. I know that cycling my tank will take 8 weeks to be safe to add fish and other life, and during this cycling time I expect coralline algae to be growing. So that gives me time to be saving for the things I need for this setup. However if I can extend the money saving time by adding some inexpensive lighting with the fixtures I have already, that would be awesome. So I ask again.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013
  7. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    Coralline takes awhile to set in and grows pretty slowly initially for most new tanks, count on roughly 3 months.

    You can always go with power compacts to save some money. No they are not high tech but they get the job done if you stick with easy soft corals, hardy LPS, you can grow some easier sps under them as well. I kept Bubble Tip Anemones under them for years.

    Check out craigslist for lighting fixtures, go to forums and look for fixtures (when your eligible to view their market place).

    24 inch Compact Fluorescent Aquarium Fixtures Power Compact Coralife Aqualight Current USA Orbit Current USA Satellite

    Welcome to 3reef and a expensive hobby initially.
     
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  9. Zgetman

    Zgetman Ritteri Anemone

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    Ok, here is the short of the story. I read that I needed something other than N.O. lighting for my FOWLR tank while it was cycling or I would get a bunch of unwanted algae. I do not want to invest in a new lighting system until I decide to introduce my first anemone, which won't happen for at least 2 months after I start the cycle. I already know about the type of lighting I want at that time. What I am concerned about is the lighting up till that point. Is there any bulbs that I can place in a N.O. fixture other than the regular ones that will give me better lighting, or will the ones that come with the hood be okay?
     
  10. Kevin_E

    Kevin_E Giant Squid

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    Welcome

    A) I wouldn't add an anemone 2 months after the start of your cycle. Odds are it will die. Give it a 10-12 months.

    B) You don't need any lights on the tank for it to cycle, even if there are fish (which is completely unnecessary to cycle a tank). I don't believe you will have an easy time finding 18" reef bulbs. If you do, target a 10,000K and or an actinic. What wattage is your ballast rated for and type of lighting (T5 etc.?).

    C) You are going to get algae during or soon after your cycle regardless of the lighting you use.

    D) The cheapest thing to do is save up and buy the lighting you want. I bought 3 light units in 1 year because I wanted to start cheap. It cost me more in the long run. Wait 2 months while it cycles light-less, save up, and buy what you want.

    Good luck!
     
  11. oldfishkeeper

    oldfishkeeper Giant Squid

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    I guess I did ramble and didn't really answer your primary question. When I had a FO, I used 50/50's for bulbs.
     
  12. Zgetman

    Zgetman Ritteri Anemone

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    It is okay Oldfishkeeper. I am taking everyone's suggestions and chewing on them. I am really new to this hobby and don't even have my 55g going yet, but I am armed with a bunch of information right now. I am also willing to scour the net for the information I need. That is why I have joined so many different forums and read a bunch about it. If only I can put the same enthusiasm into my Ministry school. lol