Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas is Coming Early

For Christmas my wife is getting me a new light fixture for my tank. Well actually I talked my wife into letting me get it. My current fixture, a 4x65W PC, is just too dim to keep the corals happy. My nitrate level is now barely detectable at <0.2 so lighting appears to be the remaining thing to improve. So here is what I went with:

Nova Extreme Pro 6x54W T5HO

MH vs T5 seems to be a raging debate right now. It appears that T5s are gaining popularity. Metal Halides are a point source so you get a nice shimmering effect in the tank. You also get the most light penetration under the bulb and less further away. They have been around a long time so there is a big following. Haklides consume a lot more electricity and often require the use of a chiller to keep the tank cool.

With the T5HO fluorescents the lighting is more even so it reduces shadows in the tang and allows corals to get more light, in theory anyway. They also run much much cooler. You also have the ability to mix and match bulbs to get the color light you want. I've read and heard that the bulbs that come with this fixture are not great and should be replaced. I've read this and heard it from multiple sources so I ordered bulbs along with it.

This is the arrangement of bulbs I selected from front to back:
ATI Blue Plus
Giesemann Aqua Blue+
Aqua Science Special 15000 K
Giesemann Midday
Giesemann Aqua Blue+
ATI Blue Plus

The Aqua Science bulb was a substitute for UV Lighting 75.25 Bulb 14000K. The Giesemn Midday was a substitute for GE Starcoat. Both of these were out of stock at Aquarium Specialty.

I found this combination of bulbs at Reef Central used in a tank by Wendy. She has a most impressive tank. I figured if that combination of bulbs works for her I'll also give it a try.