12-17-2006, 12:04 AM
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Hello, my name Rob (bettababy's husband).
The only "coral" that I have seen mentioned specifically in this thread are anemones (contrary to a lot of people's opinions, anemones are a type of coral. They belong to a group of corals called Hexacorals. Tentacles generaly occur in multiples of six.). Are you intending on keeping just anemones, or other corals such as stoney corals?
A 55gal tank in reef terms is a shallow tank. Metal halide lighting can be used, but nothing higher than 175watts mogul base (screw-in), or 150watts double ended HQI. There are halide bulbs available from 4000K on up to 20000K but 5500K would be the lowest for reef tanks. The intensity of the bulb would depend on the species of corals you wish to keep. The only sea anemone I would keep in a 55 gal tank with 20000K Halides is a Ritteri anemone (Heteractis magnifica, formerly Radiantus ritteri), as it occurs on the upper reef within 5 or 10 feet of the surface.
Halides give off intense light and heat. I see you are from the Phillipines so heat will be an issue for you. You can get around that with a quality water chiller.
If you are as of yet unsure and would like the broadest range of choices for coral selection, I would suggest going with HO (high output) T5 lighting using an equal combination of Actinic blue and 10000K daylights. HO T5 runs cooler than power compact and metal halide lighting and uses less energy. Good HO T5 daylights have a very good CRI (color rendition index) and almost that of 14000K metal halides. Even SPS (small poyp stony) corals grow exeptionally well and show exceptional color when grown under enough watts of HO T5. For a 55gal tank I would use a 6 or 8 bulb unit. There are a few good brands such as Sunlight Supply, Finex, and Coral Life will be coming out with a HO T5 lighing fixture. Don't be confused with standard T5 as in the Coral Life T5 standard output fixtures that are on the market now (they are skinny fixtures with 2 bulbs in them).
The other advantage, is that you will not need a chiller when running T5 lighting.
If you have any specific corals in mind please let bettababy know and she will ask me about their lighting needs if she isn't sure.