Need lighting ideas for a 180g - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-21-2006, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Need lighting ideas for a 180g

I'll be getting a 180g tank in the next couple of weeks and have been debating the best lighting options for quite a while. The tank will be an All-Glass 72-1/2 x 24-1/2 x 25-5/8" with cross-braces every 2 feet. Despite my best efforts I couldn't find a 180g Oceanic - sob, sob, whimper, sob. It will be arriving with a very tall enclosed custom canopy that was originally designed to house MH lighting to go over a reef setup.

As I see it, there are 2 good options available to me:

1) AH-Supply CF lighting, probably three 55W bulbs per 2' section. This would result in 9 bulbs total. I'd probably only run all three for about 3 or 4 hours a day.

2) 150W Metal halide lighting, one bulb per 2' section, supplemented with regular T8 or T12 lighting. I'd probably run the MHs for 8 hours a day and use the regular fluorescents just for tank viewing (per Dennis' suggestions).

Arguments against 9x55W bulbs: Lots of messy wiring with 9 separate bulbs. Questionable penetration of CF lighting to a depth of 24". Maybe I'm making this a bigger issue than it is, but I want good light all the way to the bottom of the stemmies & for the foreground plants.

Arguments in favor of 9x55W setup: Very modular - easily able to mix & match bulbs and hours per day at a given light setting. Familiarity with AH supply stuff. Availability and variety of 55W CF bulbs.

Arguments against MH setup: I have absolutely zero experience with this. This project is big enough that I want to get the right stuff the first time. I don't know what brands to look for, what type of bulb/ballast combination is best, what type of reflector to get, or what the availability of appropriate bulbs is. Mogul base? Double-ended? Medium base? What's the difference????? Also, heat is more of an issue, I'd probably need some serious cooling fans in the canopy.

Arguments in favor of MH: Fewer wires, fewer bulbs to monkey with, good light penetration to 24", most people with big tanks tend to go this route.

Is there anyone out there with experience in the MH stuff (former reefer)?

Does anyone have any input/experience with this reflector:

http://www.hellolights.com/15hlmhrekith.html

With this bulb:

http://www.hellolights.com/156dhqiiw.html

Any input will be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-21-2006, 10:01 PM
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How about an 8x54 T5 HO? Easily customizable bulbs, no heat to deal with, all in one fixture. Very powerful.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-21-2006, 10:45 PM
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I have MH and I love them. I like the sleekness and it really gets the job done.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-21-2006, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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fresh,

Do you supplement this with anything else like CF's, T-5's, NO's, or anything else?

I like to be able to view the tank for at least 12 hours, but I think running the MH's for this long would lead to trouble. I'm looking for an inexpensive option for something <1 wpg to run in the morning & evening.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-21-2006, 11:19 PM
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yes..I got a fixture that has 2-55 w actinics and 3 lunars, and I took out the actinics and replaced them with coralife 50/50 PC's, so I have the MH on for 6 hours, then the PC's for 6, then the lunars for 12. It seems to work out nicely, but I have to prune a lot...lol
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-22-2006, 12:03 AM
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One nice thing about the 9X55 watt setup is that you can run the bulbs front to back and have all the wiring in the back of the tank. And you will not have penetration problems at all with 24" of water. Which is actually not 24" because I would guess you are going to have some substrate. I get really good penetration in my 55 gallon tank which is 21" in height.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-22-2006, 04:55 AM
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6x54 watt HO T5s would work fine as well. Like a Tek. Runs cooler than MH and I get plenty of light to the 24" depth with just 4x54 watts T5. Just another light to contemplate. But you definately want a setup with the parabolic reflectors on each lamp. Yet I agree, folks generally go with MH on big tanks like this, being green with envy except for maintenance... 6' x 2' depth is the perfect 'scaping tank.





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2006, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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OK, right or wrong, I've decided on 3x150 W HQI metal halides for 5-8 hours per day.

Next question..... I'm thinking of supplementing this with T-8, NO lighting for a longer photoperiod. I'll probably use 8 bulbs total, but ballasts and bulbs for this size are dirt cheap.

Does anyone know a good source for 36" generic reflectors and T-8 medium bi-pin sockets? I think I have a good source figured out for bulbs and ballasts (www.bulbs.com). Maybe I'll just steal the guts out of some shoplights.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-26-2006, 12:50 PM
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The only thing you would get from shop lights would be sockets. They don't have reflectors.

You can get sockets at most any decent hardware store.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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OK, how 'bout reflectors then......?
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guaiac_boy
OK, how 'bout reflectors then......?
Just some wild ideas. Maybe a T5 reflector (Ice Cap etc.) might work if the bulb hangs just a little lower. Definately want something ala parabolic. Or maybe the over sized PC reflectors that AH Supply sells. You'll probably have plenty of room with 24 inches of width. Obviously none of these are to T8 spec.





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 05:27 AM
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former reefer

defiantely go the metal halide lights mate you wont regret it.
i started with 4x 40w PC's, (160w), then went to a 150w MH, on my reef tank this is.
the tank has now been planted for about the last 3 weeks and the MH helps the plants really power!!!!
plus the glimmer effect on the substrate and plants looks much more like natural light IMO.
i have 1 x 150w MH over a 36x18x18 suspended about 6 inches above the water and it does a fantastic job.
just installed diy co2 last week and things are starting to look good.
also think about bulb lifespan and replacement costs not to mention light penetration in 2ft of water.
a good formula i once read for a reef tank was:
150w - 18 inch deep tank
250w - 24 inch deep tank
400w - 30 inch deep tank
a planted tank should be similar considering both corals and plants live under natural sunlight
not the best pic but you get the idea,
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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I've decided on 3-150W HQI ballasts & reflectors, 3-6,500K 150W double-ended Iwasaki bulbs, a total of 8-25W 6,500K 36" long T-8 bulbs with appropriate ballasts, and four 36" x 4" AH Supply reflectors. All the ballasts will be electronic. I may eventually switch to the 8,000K ADA HQI bulbs when these go bad, but we'll see.

The T-8 fluorescents will be on for about 12 or maybe 13 hours per day and will supply a bit more than 1 wpg.

The MH's will kick in for 5-6 hours per day (maybe more ?) and when combined with the T-8 tubes I'll have a little over 3.5 wpg. For a tank this size I'm guessing this should be more than adequate to grow a nice foreground and produce nice coloration in the other plants.

I'll post some photos when all the stuff starts to show up. It'll probably be a couple of weeks before I can put an order in.

Does everyone here locate the ballasts in the cabinet? I'm assuming this is preferable to in the lighting hood where they'd be subjected to water, humidity, heat, etc.

Thanks everyone for the help.

Nice tank CrypT
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 10:51 PM
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thanks mate.
i have my ballast on a small table beside the tank to protecet it from splashes and moisture.
i also run my MH's for 12 hrs a day and this is the only lighting i use.
am due for a new 10000k bulb though which i will supplement with a 2ft arcadia actinic T8 just for aesthetic purposes.
got a newe camera, so will try to get some good pics of my tank and the lighting set up.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-28-2006, 02:20 AM
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I think you are probably right on ballast in the cabinet. But it seems most everyone here is running flourescent lighting or one of the newer Coralife MH, so maybe you could get better answers from your supplier or one of the reefer forums. I'm sure the folks at Marine Depot or Reefgeek would happily answer the questions. I have talked to guys at each of those companies re: T5 and UV queries and they were very helpful.

One thought though. Have you thought of supplementing or exchanging some of the T8s with some PC 9325K GEs? That spectrum really seems to crank the plants, though I've never used them myself.





Three Tanks...Eheim 2128 & XP3-90G, Eheim 2128-65G, Eheim 2232-25G.... Tek 4x54 watt T5-90G, Aqualight 96watt PC 65G low tech, 65 watt Aqualight-25G.... Hydors-90G & 65G ... Flourite in 90, 65, & 25 Gallons, .... Auto Water Change/Auto dosing on 90 & 65 gallon..... AGA member......
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