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Hey, i've been into fw tanks for a while. i countinually read about reef tanks and i've got a fair idea of what i need, but its the more minor details like how much and what type of lighting, and what to put in the refugium (about 40g), and any other handy hints. By the way i live in Southern Australia and i noticed this is a american site, but if there is any aussies here i would appreciate some extra help in the way of of good hardware and stuff down under.
 

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Howdy fatamaran,
Well, lighting really depends on the type of corals you wish to keep, and the depth of your tank.
Any shallow water creatures (such as SPS, maxima clams, anemones) will need more intense lighting than deeper water creatures... though all species should benefit from the extra light. Even with our artificial lighting there's no way we could match the intensity of the sun.
As far as halides go, 175w bulbs are usually good for a tank depth up to 18", 250w bulbs up to 24", and anything over 24" depth you should use 400w or larger.
You'll need 1 halide bulb for every 2' of tank length, though this is a guideline... you can raise your light a little higher and cover more area, but there will be less intensity at the lower depths of the tank.
A good rule of thumb is to shoot for somewhere between 5-10w per gallon... it's the intensity of the light that's important, as well as the spectrum. Normal garden-variety halides in the 4000K spectrum won't work on a reef tank... you need bulbs that are 6500K or higher so enough light intensity is generated in the blue/purple spectrum that the symbiotic zooxanthellae in corals can produce food.
If you only plan on keeping soft corals or LPS (Large Polyp Stony corals, such as Torch, Frogspawn, Bubble, etc), you can get away with using VHO's (Very High Output Fluorescent), PC's (Power Compact Fluorescent), or overdriven NO (Normal Output Fluorescent) tubes. I wouldn't use standard NO tubes over anything but a fish-only tank, unless you have a whole bunch of them installed...
On my tank I currently have 220w of PC lighting (a mixture of Actinic/Daylight bulbs) but am upgrading to a 250w 10K Ushio halide with 220w of Actinic PC's due to its 24" depth.
I can't comment on the refugium part, but there's a great sticky thread going at the top of this forum that seems to be covering it pretty well.
The only handy hints I can think of right now are to just take your time getting everything together, and get used to having an empty wallet. :D
HTH

P.S. A good link to check out the different bulb spectrums is here
 

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Well, Welcome to TRT!
I would recommend starting out with VHO lighting, you can keep a lot of different things under them including certain types of SPS corals. Some types of SPS will just turn brown tho. In your refugium I would recommend keeping a DSB some live rock and grow macro algea for nutrient export. As the algea grows you trim it down and thus are removing the absorbed nitrates. The DSB will also process nitrates wich your corals will be happy about. I am sure that there are a lot of different types of equipment down there, if you can get eheim pumps they are good. I am not sure what voltage freq. you guys use down there? Most of the pumps we use over here don't run very on 50hz, I experienced that when I lived in England. Well best of luck to ya
 
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