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ONE VERY BIG FISHY
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ive asked that same exact question and have figured out that the k rating is to low. For example most corals do well with a k rating of 10000 to 20000 and most of the halides at home depot and other hardware stores are no higher then 6500k. So its not exactly good. But i do believe you can use the fixtures and ballasts. Oh and k is kelvin if you didnt know...hope this helps.
 

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the ballasts and all of the electronics are exactly the same. they are tar ballasts so they can be very loud, but other than that they will fire an aquarium bulb. it is the bulbs that make aquarium lighting so expensive.

it is not the corals that make the bulbs expensive it is our eyes that make them expensive. a 5.5K bulb will give you incredible coral growth, but it will be one yellow tank. in order to use a 20K bulb for some corals you need to go up a wattage in order to get enough PAR to support the corals photosynthesis. the reason people use higher K bulbs is totally cosmetic. most people prefer to see the flourescents of the bacteria in the corals rather than the corals themselves, so they up the K value. the bacteria that flouresce are not used for photosynthesis.

G~
 

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they will also have problems running the higher kelvin bulbs and run much hotter and louder than the ballasts we normally use. they will turn all the beautiful colors into shades of brown.
 

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With those, could you run the ballast remote? Are they directly connected or is there a little wire you could cut to splice on a long cable?
 

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you pretty much have to run them remotely. Tar ballasts are really noisy and hot. it is real easy to put in the length of wire needed. i ran my $30 HD 400w MH security light remotely in the basement. i have had no problems running any bulbs that were rated the same as the ballast.

G~
 

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I was fixing to buy a retro fit metal halides... but if I can get away with it cheaper I would love it. Please tell me what part number at home depot to buy and how to set it up to run 10000k bulbs.
 

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depending on where you are thinking about getting your retro kit, it may not be cheaper than reengineering a HD light fixture.

what wattage are you looking for? lately i have been seeing less and less MH lights and more and more Sodium lights in the security section. do not know if they even carry MH lights any more in most sizes.

G~
 

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Geoff said:
a 5.5K bulb will give you incredible coral growth, but it will be one yellow tank.
G~
so if my lights go on at 3pm and shut off at 12am. can I run a 5.5k bulb when im not there so the corals get a boost of growth? like say 11am to 2:45pm??
 

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yes, but. :D

this spectrum of light is perfect for photosynthesis, this also means for algae. if you are running a nutrient poor BB system than this should not be a problem, but if you are running a lagoonal DSB setup than you might find that you will be fighting algae more.

the higher K bulbs produce less PAR for photosynthesis, but since corals are able to get food from other sources this generally is not a big deal. the corals can absorb nutrients from the water column to suppliment their low photosynthetic yields. this supplimentation requires extra energy so less energy is used for growth. this is why people say change your lights if you are getting an algae problem. what they do not tell you is that the algae is not the problem, but the maintenance/system setup is the problem. ;)

think about it this way. 5.5K is considered sunlight in every other industry except reefing. :rolleyes: this is the light spectrum used in agriculture. corals are nothing more than stone forming plants. they need the same requirements as plants, this includes the lighting. the corals are doing fine in the wild under 5.5K lighting. ;)

G~
 
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