Originally Posted by JerseyBird97
liveaquaria recomends minimum 3 watts per gal for monti. The 96 watt would more than cover that.
first let me clarify about watt/gal. That is just a starting point and it probably works well for soft corals, however for stonies and lps you should now have to take into consideration much more than just watt/gals. consider the depth of the tank. If you have a 20 gallon long tank (30x12x12inches lxwxd) and you have 60 watts of light or if you have a 20 gal tall (24x12x16 inches lxwxd) with 60 watts of light would you have the same effective amount of light for the aquarium? Absolutely not! there is a law called the inverse square law that states " if you double the distance you will have to square the power of light to get the same power or brightness to the bottom.
Secondly you will now seriously have to consider the type of fixture for efficiency. Assuming you are using T5 HO. If you use one that has 4 bulbs all under one reflector or you are using a fixture with 4 bulbs and 4 individual reflectors are they the same? Not even close! For simplification and because I'm lazy and don't want to pull out my 25 year old calculus math book there is a law about parabola that I can't remember but applies to this situation. I would probably say the one with the 4 individual reflectors is probably somewhere between 2 to3 times as efficient at putting out light verses the other even though they consume the same amount of power. For simplification, if you have a light without a reflector or one with reflectors and they have the same power consumption then light output is the same but the reflector directs all the useable light to one direction where as the one without the reflector shoots light all over the place and effectively has less light where you would want it and thats in the tank.
So basically you have to really take into consideration the depth of the tank, the efficiency of the light fixture and at that point the watt/gal theory is out the window with the dirty baby bath water!
Then after deciding the light you will now have to consider spectrum of light to be used. All bulbs are not created equal. An atinic bulb versus say a 10k bulb have totally different output of light. For simplification of this discussion (and because i can't explain) just trust me on this one.
So if you are going to error on lighting it's best to error on the "too much" light side because the sun is wayyy more powerful than any light you can put over your tank. Remember we want to have the corals thrive and not barely surviving. So yes you could probably keep montiporas under 48 watts BUT it will not look anything like what you see in books or pictures. it would look pale white, never grows, and basically starving ever so slowly just like a human could live on eating one slice of bread a day.
hope this helps.