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Old 02-01-2002, 10:21 PM   #1
Diener311
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30 gal. Reef Lighting


I was wondering what the most inexpensive route for a lighting setup for a 36" X 12" 30 gallon long tank. I made my own canopy so i could use a striplight or retrofit kit. I was considering keeping my current 30 watt flourescent striplight and then purchasing a 96 watt power compact w/ half actnic, half daylight. Would this be enough light for anenomes and corals? Also if anyone knows any good places to buy power compacts let me know.....the cheaper the better. The most inexpensive I have found was around $130 for a striplight w/ 96 watt bulb. Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2002, 10:38 PM   #2
dbmet
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You might try this place..
http://ahsupply.com/index.html
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Old 02-02-2002, 12:08 AM   #3
natex
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i have a tank of exaclty that size and i have had great success with 2, 55 watt pc 50/50 bulbs, and a 20 watt actinic light. my corals seem to be happy and healthy. good luck with the new setup.
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Old 02-02-2002, 10:12 AM   #4
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My tank is a 29, and I also have 2x55 PC lights that I bought from AH supply. Online ordering is easy and they are shipped qucikly!

Natex...tell me about the 20W actinic. I have a 50W actinic as one of the set, is your 20W in addition to that?
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Old 02-02-2002, 10:55 AM   #5
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Here is a twist on lighting you may want to consider. at
http://www.1000bulbs.com/shopping/shopexd.asp?id=1221
there is a 44watt complact fluorescent with built-in ballast in 65k color range. This is an image of the light. Is uses a standard household socket and standard wiring. It is easy to install, just break your wife's favorite lamp by accident then use the socket and plug attached in your hood. I did this on a FW planted tank and it worked well for that. It wont get you actinic, you can scavage parts for the from a cheap strip light, or an under cabinet flourescent for that.

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Old 02-02-2002, 04:02 PM   #6
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Mud I looked at that and noticed its also available in 6500K with a different ballast type but was unclear how to specify that option
Deiner the power compact lights are cost effective way to light small tanks but again, it depends on what your long term goals are. A couple things to factor in are the possibility of keeping SPS or tridacnid clams(pc aint gonna cut it long term) and the possibillity of moving to a larger tank in the future. If you even remotely think a 4 ft tank (or bigger) is in the future, you would be better off biting the bullet now and buying an IceCap ballast. You get good bulb selections plus the option of running NO flo tubes at near VHO levels and you can change to longer bulbs, so its very flexable setup
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Old 02-02-2002, 06:37 PM   #7
MikeP
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I bought my 2 55 watt PC from AH, the directions for setup were great. My fish,mushrooms, liverock, xenia love it. I also have a cheapo home depot15 watt 20" with a actinic on it for dusk and dawn. Great price at AH. Good luck
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Old 02-02-2002, 07:19 PM   #8
Doug1
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AH and Lamps now as well as a few other sites offer great deals on PC lights
No question they rank way up there in low cost effective lights, esp on tanks 30" and under. When you get to a 36 length the longer 96 watt PC make more sense. 2x96w PC from AH is about $190
2x95VHO /Icecap is about $235 thru one of our sponsors, but it's only $90 more to upgrade to a 4x95 setup, that you can change to 110 watt each by switching bulbs later on. Not to mention VHO bulbs are offered in 6' and longer
getting off on a tangent here but iIMO one of the least cost effective ways to light a large tank is with the 8x55w PC esp the prefab units, way too mjany parts and bulb replacement is killer. Compare PC vs VHO bulb price online and add about 50% for LFS price, its scary. Then again try finding the bulb you need on a sunday in typical american town, always keep spares handy no matter wwhat you run
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Old 02-02-2002, 07:34 PM   #9
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I kinda agree with Doug that using an Ice Cap 660 gives you more versatility than anything else you can do. The IC can run any combination of bulbs, VHO, PC, and will drive NO bulbs to much higher intensity. If (when ) you upgrade to a larger tank you can go up to 440 watts of bulbs with the IC 660.

I use an IC 660 with VHO on our 55 reef.

The PC retro kits are good but you are pretty well going to be limited to just the setup you buy.

I have one of the Custom SeaLife 96w Smartlamp striplights on the 38 FOWLR. Really nice light; just a tad bluish, but you could certainly keep softies on your 30 with a single 96 and most LPS with 2 of them. Again, if you upgrade to a larger tank, you would need a new light setup. Just thinking ahead, if and when you go to a larger tank, the 30 would make a nice sump!

I guess the main point I want to make is to think ahead and get the best light setup that will do the job now and give you flexibility for future expansion.
Dick)
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Old 02-04-2002, 11:37 AM   #10
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Doug1, I had to e-mail the site to get info on ordering the 6500k screw in compacr fluorescent. I also agree VHO is preferable, but the request was for an inexpensive solution. The screw in CF bulbs cost about $17 ea X 3 to get 132W of 6500K plus a few $s for standard household socket kits. Add an actinic in the current strip and you are at 160 watts for less than $100. If later a guy wants to upgrade to VHOs, there is little loss. Just use the screw in CFs for household lighting and save $50/yr over incandescents.
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Old 02-04-2002, 12:20 PM   #11
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Diener,

I'm in the same boat - trying to find inexpensive lighting for a 30. I plan on stocking low-light stuff to start - 'shrooms and some polyps. I came up with an AH retro kit for 96W PC with a 10,000K. Hav a DIY canopy big enough to permit a second 96 later on. Also considering a HD shop light with an actinic and a spectralight to supplement the 96.

hth
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Old 02-04-2002, 12:31 PM   #12
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Hi Groucho,

Good to have you join us!
Your 96w pc should be fine for shrooms and polyps; even some of the lower light leathers. The extra NO's will help a bit but the intensity of the PC will be the primary photo source.
A second 96w would allow you to keep most softies and LPS.
Dick
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Old 02-04-2002, 01:46 PM   #13
Emprr_Angl
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i had a 29gal with 3 bulbs, (1) superdaylight, (1) 50/50, & (1) actinic blue. it did beautifully throughout the yrs.

Pick up a good electronic ballast such as an IceCap. Theyre more expensive you wont ever have to replace it and your bulbs will last longer.

happy reefin'

-chris c
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Old 02-04-2002, 08:33 PM   #14
MikeP
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I happened upon this site this evening. I wish I found it before I bought my PC's
http://www.aquaticlight.com/

They sell 175 watt MH retrofits for 75.00 and the reflector for 25.00 and they are in Ohio. Good luck, I am going to order one in a few weeks.
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Old 02-04-2002, 11:30 PM   #15
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Mike,
The only problem with the $75 price is that it comes with only a 4300k bulb. That falls into the "Growlight" category! Their next bulb is still only 5500k for $37 more, very marginal for a reef tank. The only other bulb option is a 1200k but it's an additional $79, so the kit with 12k is actually $154.
For comparison, PA has the PFO with 6500k 400w kit for $190.90 and with a 10000k bulb for $254.90, so it would be a substantial savings.
I saw this awhile back but haven't heard from anyone actually using it yet.
Dick
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