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Discussion Starter #1
The tank:
Hi everyone! I'm starting a new small mixed reef build with some small fish. The tank is 43 gallon cube with dimensions are 24" x 24" x 18". I have been doing research on lighting the last few days and I feel like I am running around in circles. The main issue I am having is picking lights with good spread. Since this will be a center overflow with a rock structure around it I cant put something like an AI prime in the middle because the center of the light seems like it would go completely to waste.

Supported Coral:
I am looking to be able to support SPS in the top half (maybe some acros down the line when I have more experience) and LPS in the bottom half. Maybe a derasa clam, RBTA, or rock flower anemone on the sand bed.

Features I need:
  • Under $600 but the cheaper the better haha
  • Good spread for a 24" cube. I think a center unit like an AI prime or Kessil will just create a bunch of shadow since the rock will go pretty high up
  • Customizable color spectrum
  • Good color blending
  • Timer
  • Ability to hang light from ceiling
Features I'd like:
  • Some kind of wireless control, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or even a remote
  • Dawn to dusk settings
A few lights I have looked at:

Please let me know if there are better lights for what I am looking to do and the best positioning for them!

-Thanks again
 

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Just some guy, you know?
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22,649 Posts
I have a 36" cube that used to have a center overflow, but how has a large one in the back,.. it's not the easiest lighting situation. I feel like no matter what you do, lots of light will be lost down the overflow. If you hang AI lights about 20" up they will easily cover a 24" area, but even if you get two lights over the water area, the highest light part will be over the overflow, because the light overlap will create the strongest light.

You could put Macro in the overflow to use that light, or a Mangrove.

If it were me I would probably start with an AI 32 over the center about 20" up. I feel like that will create a nice even light with SPS power at the top. Because I have 36" to cover I'm going to end up with 4 of them at low power, but for you I think one will be great until the coral really fills in. When things start to get bigger and shadow the corals at the bottom you could upgrade to two of them for more light angles.

Whiskey
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have a 36" cube that used to have a center overflow, but how has a large one in the back,.. it's not the easiest lighting situation. I feel like no matter what you do, lots of light will be lost down the overflow. If you hang AI lights about 20" up they will easily cover a 24" area, but even if you get two lights over the water area, the highest light part will be over the overflow, because the light overlap will create the strongest light.

You could put Macro in the overflow to use that light, or a Mangrove.

If it were me I would probably start with an AI 32 over the center about 20" up. I feel like that will create a nice even light with SPS power at the top. Because I have 36" to cover I'm going to end up with 4 of them at low power, but for you I think one will be great until the coral really fills in. When things start to get bigger and shadow the corals at the bottom you could upgrade to two of them for more light angles.

Whiskey
Thanks for the reply! Not sure if this would work but I have been thinking of making a lighting box/cover with a mirror walls on the inside. The fixture would be full tank width, about 15-16" tall, and hover about 4-5" above the tank. I'm thinking that might help with lighting angles and still keep the light around 20" up.
 

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Just some guy, you know?
Joined
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22,649 Posts
Thanks for the reply! Not sure if this would work but I have been thinking of making a lighting box/cover with a mirror walls on the inside. The fixture would be full tank width, about 15-16" tall, and hover about 4-5" above the tank. I'm thinking that might help with lighting angles and still keep the light around 20" up.
With AI lights the light output is really directed well, so 99% of the light goes straight down. The only way I can think of to spread the light more would be to mount it upside down and shine the light into a mirrored triangle which would kick it out and around the fixture with mirrors mounted at a 45 degree angle outside the fixture.

Another thing to consider if you are looking for low light is using 4 primes instead of the 32's, but to get the penetration down to the bottom I think the 32 is a better fit.

Whiskey
 
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