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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well here goes.
Long story short I was in the process of buying and building a really amazing reef tank.
ada 90P drilled, ice cap ballast 175W ballast and 175W MH giesemann bulb
with ice cap 660 ballast and 1 x Giesemann Aqua Blue+ 36" 39 watt
2 x Giesemann Midday 36" 39 Watt
1 x Giesemann Actinic+ 36" 39 Watt
Lumanarc III mini reflector
Euroreef skimmer
Custom sump, stand and fixture. In the process I kind of bought a condo and ran out of money.

I had a friend who gave me a 55G tank. Right now I have a 48" Corallife T5 2x 28W 1 full spectrum 1 actinic bulb.

My question is while I am still saving up the money to finish the reef tank I would like to use some of the lighting that I have laying around collecting dust.

Would that 1 175W metal Halide with the lumanarc reflector be a better lighting solution than the Corallife i.e. would my plants like it more?

It would be pretty cool to raise the top off my tank and use the metal halide.

Any thoughts recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
 

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If you are doing a planted tank do the MH. The T5 will look but but not give any power (wpg) for plants but will work for fish a the few low light plants. The MH will give you about 3WPG for a 55gal that will work for just about all plants for a planted tank. The bad this is that you need to change out your bulbs out every year. A T5 bulbs will be a low cost $$ to replace in a a year. A MH will be $$$.
Also T5's pull very little power. Little. Saving moeny. MH you will see a power difference real quick if running the light more than 4 hrs a day. My 2 150W HQI 8 hrs a day push my power bill up about $80 a month.
 

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If you are doing a planted tank do the MH. The T5 will look but but not give any power (wpg) for plants but will work for fish a the few low light plants. The MH will give you about 3WPG for a 55gal that will work for just about all plants for a planted tank. The bad this is that you need to change out your bulbs out every year. A T5 bulbs will be a low cost $$ to replace in a a year. A MH will be $$$.
Also T5's pull very little power. Little. Saving moeny. MH you will see a power difference real quick if running the light more than 4 hrs a day. My 2 150W HQI 8 hrs a day push my power bill up about $80 a month.


kilowatt hours x energy cost per kilowatt hour = cost to run

300 watts for 300 hours per month (10 hours x 30 days) is 90 kilowatt hours per month. Electricity is somewhere around 10 cents per kilowatt hour.

So about $9 per month
 

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The MH will be far superior to the coralife fixture you're using now. Im a huge fan of T5's, but those coralife (or any T5 set up with out proper reflectors) is just a waste of good technology. You will have a hard time using one MH bulb to evenly light your tank though. You just wont get an even spread of light. Which depending on how you want to do things, may or may not be a problem.

You could use the IceCap ballast and T5's though, assuming you have the individual reflectors with them...and be VERY comparable to the MH set up. Except the T5's are much more efficient...they convert more of that energy to light,compared to MH that use alot of the energy they consume to produce heat. So watt for watt, good T5 set ups better in my opnion. PLus you will get an even spread across the tank.

I LOVE the look of MH though! You just cant beat that shimmer they produce in the tank (except with LED lighting, but thats a whole new can of worms! haha) But honestly, I think the icecap T5's will be MUCH better for you...

Whats your plan once you do get around to setting up the Reef tank? Just robbing the lights off your beautiful thriving PLanted tank, and going back to the barely adequate Coralife???
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
:) that seems to be the good question now isn't it. The real answer is I just haven't made up my mind yet. I would like to keep both for sure but right now the maintenance on my fresh water planted is quite alot I think because I just haven't gotten in the rhythm yet.

I really would rob the lights back off of the planted for the reef. Not to sure if that is such a good idea though. Is it a bad thing to kind of downgrade the lights once you have been running a nicer setup on them for a long time?
 

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I'd leave the MH on the reef tank. Corals are generally much more sensitive (and need more light) to light changes than FW plants.

If you want to stick with a very low tech tank, the current T5NO will work just fine. If you want to upgrade to CO2, then I'd get a T5HO fixture for the tank. Check out the Solar T5HOs at www.Catalinaaquarium.com A 2x54 watt fixture would be all you'd need.
 
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