I've read these thread a few times and I'm very interested in it.
I just got a 40 gallon breeder tank with a 2x96w Custom Sea Life fixture. It also came with a canopy that the person didn't use.
2x96w would give me ~5 WPG, which is definately high light. When I setup the fixture the other day, one of the bulbs started flickering and buzzing. I'm thinking I have to replace it soon.
OK, so I'm thinking I have a few options. For sure, this will be a high light/high tech tank.
1) Just replace the ballast on the fixture. This gives me ~2.5WPG with one bulb on, and 5WPG with both bulbs. ~$45 for the ballast? Haven't checked yet, but have read that it's somewhere around there.
2) Go with 2 x 70w. This will cost ~$140 to build. The canopy I have is about 6" off of the top of the tank with an open back. I have no wood-working skills so installing fans on the sides of the canopy would be out of the question. Can I still mount fans inside the canopy and have the air circulate and blow out the back of it? Or would 2 x 70w MH be too hot? The problem with this is that right off the bat, I'll have to be working with ~3.5WPG of MH. I like flexibility in my lighting options. Of course there'll be two ballasts, but since I plan to have the reflectors next to each other, I'll need both on at once to have even lighting.
3) Go with 1 x 70w plus 2x36w PCs. This will give versatile lighting options. I can have the 2x36w on for 8 hours for 1.8WPG and the MHs on for 5-6 hours for high lighting during those periods. The AHSupply kits are $58 for each 1x36w setup, for $116 total. That's the price of a DIY 150w MH! I can't get the 2x36w kit because that only comes with one wide reflector whereas I'll be needing two of them. This setup will cost close to ~$190.
This is the proposed staggered plan:
xxxxxx ==== 36 w ====
xxxxxxx 70 w MH xxxxxxx
==== 36 w ==== xxxxxx
Another question is...is the spread of the 70W or 150W MH enough for a 36" long tank?
The 150W reflector is from: 150W HQI (Double Ended) MH Reflector
and the 70W reflector is a Halogen floodlight reflector (pics in the first thread I posted).
4) If so, my last option would be a DIY 150W MH setup mounted right in the middle of the canopy. This will be about ~$100 from co2's thread and give me 3.8WPG. The cheapest option yet. =)...would heat also be an issue?
I think the shimmering effect of the MHs would definately be a plus in this tank.
Thanks for all your opinions!