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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking about converting my 30 gallon, fish and live rock system to a reef. Currently, it has the standard flourescent bulb on it. I understand I will need more and better light. I don't plan on keeping any difficult coral. What type of lighting should I be looking for, without spending big bucks?

Thanks
B and U
 

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if u want simple corals, getting power compact lighting is preferred though some will thrive even in regular-i have a (supposedly)demanding monti cap in my 125gal that we keep right under a 35watt reflector regular fluerescent and it has been doing better than the zoanthid!
 

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I'm not a lover of power compacts. They were fine until T5 HO lighting came around. You will get so much more for your money with T5s and the tubes should last 3 to 4 times longer. Most who initially buy PCs are sorry they did. It shouldn't cost much more to start out with T5s. There was a time when I said all I wanted was.... Unfortunately as I gained experience, I realized how much I could have saved if I hadn't tried to skimp to begin with. Take your time. Read, Research and ask before you spend. It will save you money in the long run.
 

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it never ends
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I agree with the post above, not a big fan of pc's...Don't cut yourself short when it come to your lights. Your lights are the life blood of your tank. And these days you can pick up a set of lights for far less then you could a few years ago. You can even do a retro kit and save even more. One thing I said about my lights where I never want to have to upgrade my lights. If you low ball and just settle for some old lights you will find yourself limited in the coral you can keep and 9 times out of 10 it will be a piece you really want.
 

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~/root
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technically speaking its not what kind of lights you want its what kelvin rating you need to put out. Different coral need different kelvin rating. Usually 14,000Kelvin and up. Keep in mind each day they are on they lose x amount of kelvin so eventually you will have to buy new bulbs. Also keep in wind your watts per gallon. For example my tank is 150gallons with 800 total watts of MH at 20,000Kelvin. This means as my kelvins decrease i am still staying within what the coral needs.

If you want coral now and don't mind eventually having to upgrade your lights as long as you at a reasonable kelvin rating and your watts per gallon is good (you want about 3-4 watts per gallon) your fine with whatever light you want.


My .02
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all your input. I just stopped by the local shop and picked up a T5 setup. I got the 78 Watt system for my 30 gallon. I think I'll rig up the hood so that I can also keep the original 30 inch flourescent light on as well. Do you think this will be enough light to start a reef, or should I add more?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
what fixture did you get?
I got the Coralife Aqualight High Output 36 inch. It has two 39 watt bulbs. One daylight, one actinic blue.

The tank had a 30 inch flourescent on it. Not sure of the wattage. It was the regular strip that came with it when it was new. I bought the tank used.
 

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~/root
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as my post stated above as long as you have approx 3-4 watts per gallon and at LEAST 14,000K you have enough light to grow *most* corals.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It's amazing how much better the tank looks with the new lighting. The color on the live rock really pops and maybe I'm imagining it, but I think the fish look happier as well.

Today is maintenance day. Hopefully I'll get a chance to post pictures later.
 

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Pics plz i feel like i am missing something here
 

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Discussion Starter #13
how many K did you get?
The box says "Includes one 39 watt 10,000 K Daylight Lamp and one 39 watt Actinic Blue Lamp."

I took out the old cover and put in a plain glass lid. Doing this I can use the new light and still have room for the old flourescent. The old light is a 30 inch fixture with a 24 inch bulb. I don't know the specs on the old light. It came with the original setup. I'm sure it could use a fresh bulb by now.

Once I get out of work I'll get some pictures up. Why am I working on a Saturday?
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Here are some pics from the tank:



Here are the Fish:



Here is the purple live rock my daughter loves:



And another piece of live rock that is turning purple:


--------------------------

I am not much of a photographer, and I have a cheap camera. Sorry the quality is low.

I just pulled the old florescent bulb and replaced it with a 18 Watt Coralife "Ocean Sun" bulb. It says 10,000 K on the box. Hopefully this and the T5 setup is enough.

As I said, this was a used tank. There are a bunch of scratches on it. I plan on upgrading to a 38 gallon with the same length (36") and width (12"), just deeper (20" opposed to 16"). Then I will use this 30 gallon as a sump. When I do that I will get rid of the gravel and add sand. I'll then hook up the heater, Hang-on Back filter and protein skimmer in the sump. For now it will do. I don't plan on adding any livestock to it until after the upgrade.
 
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