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100g Low Tech MH / CF Lighting Help Needed

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Hello - I've got a new 100gal (60x18x20) acrylic tank that I intend to set up with african cichlids and a few plant types as recommended (yes I know the two don't always mix well and have read about some of the workarounds on this board). It's been awhile since I've been at this hobby so I really need a recommendation as to what combination and types of lamps to use and the proper amount of wattage.

My goal is to provide the glimmer from MH while bringing out the color of the fish and providing enough light/range to help support some plant growth. Currently I'm looking at a 60" fixture that comes with (3) 250w MH and (4) CF which seems the norm for this size fixture. I suspect this might be overkill but the seller seems to be willing to exchange lamps, at least in different kelvin ranges (not sure if I can swap for 175w MH yet).

That said, would I be able to accomplish this with MH alone (175w or 250w?), or do I want a combination including CF? What is the proper Kelvin range for the MH and/or for the CF to achieve my goal?

Many thanks and throughly confused!,

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK OK - I guess I deserved that except that someone recently on Craigslist had a MH for sale which he had used on his own cichlid tank (no plants) so I assumed it can be done. It was a Hamilton fixture with 3 175w MH's and either CF or T5.

I had planned to run UV to try and keep the algae down but without the experience with MH and freshwater, I don't know what I'm in for but I guessed this would be the result.

Is there a workable balance of light using MH alone to bring out the colors of the fish, grow a few plants or do I have to forget about the natural effect altogether with MH and just run CF or straight fluorescent? Could I use a single MH pendant (with whatever the right spectrum is and wattage) and hang it high enough to still produce the shimmer effect and with the height, have the light spread enough to meet the ends of the tank?


· Registered
9,774 Posts
Mount the lights atleast 12-16" above the tank at minimum to reduce the lgith intensity. Keep the lighting short with the MH only a few hour and run the CF or T5 more.

That is the only thing I cna think of. You will still probably have some algae aswell. but may keep it to a minimum

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