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I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction. I am sure someone somewhere has compared all of the different lighting choices we have. I am trying to figure out what is the best lighting for me to choose. I plan on having all different types of corals in my tank, but I am not sure what is the best lighting. I have read that xyz corals need 3-5 watts per gallon, and abc needs 7-9 watts per gallon and so on. But doesn't the type of lighting also come into play? Is the light output of a 175 watt metal halide the same as 175 watts from a T-5 or power compact? Obviously I am very confused about lighting...someone help! :(
 

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Short answer is that if you are going to have all types of corals in your tank, MH is the easiest to achive this. Because it is brighter in some areas and easy to make shadows in others, you can find places to put everything.
Flanking MH with 2 or more T-5 or VHO is nice if you can afford the cost and space.
 

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the lighting from a MH is considered a point source light. much more powerfull and deeper penetrating. flourescents are considered diffused light sources. the amount of light produced per watt is actually closer than you think, the difference is the power of the point source light. all of that light is not coming from a tube that is several feet long and radiating in all directions from its surface. it is much easier to get an even light distribution in a tank using flourescents, but getting enough light to the bottom of the tank can be problematic.

HTH,

G~
 
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