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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm at that point where I've got to make a choice about lighting for a 36"L X 18"W X 24"H 65 gallon tank. The tank came with a decent stand and canopy and a 2 X 95W Hamilton PC fluorescent retro. The system is now thoroughly cycled and matured to the point where it's supporting a green hairy mushroom colony, a couple colonies of button polyps, one lobophyllia, a Cole tang and a Coral Beauty in fine style along with a "herd" of blue legged hermits, astraes, and turbos. All the above have been healthy and quite happy for a few months now, but I know I've got to upgrade the lighting before trying anything more ambitious.

Here's my dilema. MH is out of the question because I don't have the resources to handle either the utility bills or the heat, and the canopy really won't accommodate MH lamps. I know this'll limit my choice of critters (no clams or SPS, etc., and I can live with that. So that leaves either another PC retro unit or VHO. Frankly, I'm leaning towards the 36" 4 bulb VHO retro I saw at http:www.hellolights.com. The price is very attractive and the cost/useful life of VHO lamps seems signficantly better than equivalent PC bulbs. But I'm a bit leary of the ARO ballast they supply primarily because I'm not familiar with it. Is it an e-ballast or TAR. I'd rather not build up a lighting unit from parts becasue my DYI projects tend to be functional, but UGLY, and a big part of "selling" this to she-who-must-be-obeyed is it's gotta look neat & tidy.

So.... whaddaya think? Sorry this is so long-winded, and I hope it's not out of place. I just figured (based on several weeks on lurking) that the expertise is here.

Thanks!!

Bert
 

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Bert, I like VHO, period. At least as opposed to PC most of the time, however on a 36" tank you are at the break even point, as far as initial cost, I like the life of VHO and the ability of an e ballast to drive a NO bulb OK. Thats handy on a sunday night when alll thats open is Walmart( if they have 30watt flo tubes)
 

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I have seen the T5 bulbs in person and I would lookinto that type of lighting, it seams to have low energy consumption and the bulbs did not get hot. I would look at our sponsor website www.aqualuxlighting.com and try to talk to John, he should be able to help.

Just my 2 cents

Jon
 

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I would either go with VHOs or the T5s. VHOs you will have more options just becasue T5s are newer to the American market. But I saw I T5 system from aquaticco, we had the last Atlanta reef club meeting there, and it was VERY NICE! His stuf is quality, quality, quality!! Either way I think you would be good!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to all for your input!! From what you all have said, I'm thinking the VHO set up is probably the way I'll go. I'm still a bit concerned about the ARO brand of VHO ballast because I can't seem to find a whole lot of info on them even after rigorous "googling". I still don't know if they're an electronic ballast or not.

As far as the animals I'm planning on/hoping for, I've got my heart set on some Euphyllia and maybe Plerogyra. I'd also like to try Pocillopora, the ubiquitous Trachyphillia and maybe one of the hardier Dendrophylliidae family. Might even give a T. squamosa a try if, and only if things go well. My reading tells me these criters ought to do well with the intensity I think/hope I can expect from 350 - 400 W of VHO/T5/PC lighting. 'Course I realize what's in the text books may be different from real world experience, so I'm certainly open to suggestion.

Just to round out the picture, I'm running a EuroReef C6-2 in a 20 gallon sump under the tank and using a Mag 9.5 for return with a couple opposing power heads in the tank for additional movement. I'm follwing a pretty standard program of RO/DI based Kalk for all make up and the recommended dose of Kent Strontium/Molydenum supplements. That's about it. It isn't high tech, but it has worked for me in the past and it seems to be working now. However, things have changed pretty dramtically since I ran my last reef over six years ago, so like I said, I'm all ears........

Thanks again to all!!

Bert
 
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